Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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What *is* wrong with us?

So yesterday I posted about Ueki no Housoku, because we had just watched the latest episode as part of our Saturday morning regimen, and I wanted everybody to know about it. You may have read the post. You may have also read the anonymous comment, where someone expressed their opinion that it's sad how we waste our lives on such nonsense, and asked what's wrong with us.

My first reaction, as you may have read, was to see if I could find out who this person was. I guess that comes from reading Lagoon Engine, where the battle is a whole lot easier if you know who you're up against, and nigh impossible if you don't. I think it's a little bit odd for a random stranger who may have stumbled upon our LJ to indicate that they think I'm wasting my life based on one entry.

For all they knew, I could have been talking about my favorite show, much as people will mention The Daily Show, or Survivor, or some other show they may enjoy enough to watch every week and share with their friends. You can hardly say someone's wasting their life just because they watch their favorite show. So the way I figure it, it must either be someone who knows us (in which case I would have preferred a more honest confrontation), or someone who doesn't know the true meaning of wasting one's life, as they would have either had to read several of our entries, or be the type of person who likes to go stirring up trouble on LiveJournal and various other public places.

Anyway, I later realized that it may have been a mistake to respond the way I did, because the way I worded my comment made it sound like my attitude is, "It's my life! It doesn't affect anyone else, so what's your problem?" So I have come to answer the question.

As to the question of "what's wrong with you?," there are various psychological issues that I would consider to be wrong (not necessarily certifiably wrong, in most cases, but enough to cause problems that someone without these issues wouldn't have) with us, but the one thing that I think has caused us to turn to a life of anime is the difficulty we have in making friends. You could say we're shy, but once someone gets me started, I can be pretty talkative, so we'll put it like this: we're afraid of approaching people.

Through high school and stuff, there was the Young Women program, which made it so we didn't have to go out of our way to approach people, but it would seem that's not our only problem in making friends. There were a few times all the girls in our class, or even in our ward, would be standing together talking, and we would be in the circle. I really don't think we were that non-participating, but for some reason, as people shifted around in the course of the dialogue, a new circle formed, and we were on the outside.

But while we were in YW, being sad that we didn't have any close friends, we discovered SailorMoon, and thus we started down a path of corruption. The characters in SailorMoon didn't leave us out of the circle--they were happy to let us join them on their various adventures, and they didn't expect anything of us, either. And so we found a way to deal with the need to have people around.

I should also point out that we had awesome YW leaders who tried very hard to help us belong. We also had a few non-member friends in high school, but when we got together, we talked about SailorMoon and other anime that we had discovered. And when we got to college, we made new friends, and most of them were into anime too. So maybe we're all wasting our lives.

But the real reason we're into anime is that we're suckers for children's entertainment, and our tastes are such that Japanese animation is our favorite kind. I actually think that we would have discovered anime sooner or later, no matter what our circumstances were, because before we found it, I would often get a feeling like there was something I needed to be doing--I just didn't know what it was. And since we discovered SailorMoon and the world of Japanese animation, that feeling has rarely come back.

I actually find it very difficult to think that we're wasting our lives with this nonsense, either. It's like that kid says in the movie Fever Pitch: You love the Red Sox, but have the Red Sox ever loved you back? I think that anime has loved us back. We've learned a lot of things about respecting other people, following our dreams, not giving up, etc. etc.

In fact, Ueki no Housoku is one of our favorites for that reason. The episode that we saw and really thought, "This is a good series," for the first time was the one where this one guy was mad at Ueki, because he was jealous that while he (the guy) had to work and work and work like an idiot to be a good runner, Ueki hardly has to try at all. And Ueki's response was to get angry and say, "How can you say you worked like an idiot? If you really like running, you'll run, just like someone who likes singing will sing, and someone who likes cooking will cook. How can you call that stupid?" (Okay, so I paraphrased, but that was the general idea.) And that's only one of the awesome messages in that series.

Also, we've made a lot of friends because of anime. In fact, I think the only people on our friends list whom we didn't meet because of anime are our relatives. I even have a penpal in Japan because of anime. Well, actually more because of manga, but we talk more about anime.

On top of learning life lessons, we learn actual facts. I guess most of that comes from American anime, like Animaniacs and stuff, but Japanese anime has even taught us a second language. And now we're even making a living translating manga. So maybe we're wasting our lives with a deadend career in your mind, anonymous friend, but at least we're doing something we enjoy, which helps others to enjoy their lives a little more, and hopefully teaches them a few life lessons too. I can't think of that as a waste.
Tags: ueki, verbal rampage, why anime is not a waste

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