There are a lot of people out there who would say watching anime is a waste of time, some even call it cartoon– argh!!! It is A-N-I-M-E. Well, I think it’s a normal feeling of prejudice because I used to feel that way about it before, as I called them “paper cartoons”. The hatred I had for anime was unexplainable, maybe it was just my brother’s obsession about it that I detested, I really can’t say. Watching anime is like embarking on a journey of no return. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean in the existentialist kind of way, I mean they are extremely long. Of course there are a few short-length anime, but most are long and when I say long, I mean very long. But the fact that you can be kept glued to your screen with over 100 episodes should give you a glimpse of how captivating animes are.
In my years of hatred for anime, Naruto and my brother were the villains. They deprived me of watching my K-dramas and there was always this constant battle of who got a hold of the TV remote first. However, this was something my brother always beat me to because this weeb (a term used for people who are obsessed about anime) was always awake. Then the year 2020 came and the pandemic happened; school was on hold; movement was restricted, in short, the world literally went on a stand still. During this time, I got so tired of life that even movies couldn’t save me from boredom. I went through a lot last year, something I won’t really be getting into and no, I’m not gonna say anime saved my life from blah blah blah.
Anyway, my point is you can never know the beauty of something unless you give it a try and that’s exactly what I did. I was always complaining about how fed up I was of the whole situation and how I wished for this or that. My brother recommended Breaking Bad but I dropped the show about 2-3 episodes into it. I also tried watching some other series; House of Cards, The Lost Kingdom, The Blacklist and some others which I just couldn’t push myself to watch. Imagine me forcing myself to watch movies; a day I never thought would rear its head but I can remember watching Coco, Shrek and some other animations for the millionth time.
Something was missing, what it was, I couldn’t place my hands on it. I needed a change to fill this emptiness— not to be too dramatic, I was just bored. Then my brother started pestering me about anime— “Joke, please try to watch anime”. It was like he felt so bad that he was the only one in the family who knew about that amazing world of fantasy. He even decided to download all the episodes for me just so I could watch. Normally, he never really would have done that, because his precious data is for his consumption alone. He just wanted to sound super convincing. To cut the long story short, I decided to give Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer) a trial, mainly because the first season was just 23 episodes which I finished in a day. Infact, it was the best day of my life since the pandemic started.
The animation, the story, the characters, the historical Japanese settings, the fight scenes and the art employed to depict the intricate relationship between characters was top-notch. The anime was perfect; it was just the thing I was looking for to fill in the void I felt. I loved it, every bit of it. Then my brother brought up the idea of watching Naruto, which I gladly declined. I just needed an anime with not so many episodes like Demon Slayer. I felt I couldn’t finish an anime of 700+ episodes. So, I told this ‘goat’ to give me another short anime to watch but all that came out of his mouth was Naruto. I sought the help of another weeb and he gave me a list which included Naruto, Seven Deadly Sins, Vinland Saga, Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titans (AOT) and some others.
I went on to watch The Seven Deadly Sins, Kengan Ashura, Given, Maid Sama, Haikyu, Devilman Crybaby, A Silent Voice, Akame Ga Kill!, FullMetal Alchemist, Erased, AOT and some others. Attack on Titan was the title that made me realize I couldn’t turn my back on this beauty called anime. Apart from the irreproachable plot and unerring dialogue, there’s always a controversy surrounding the story and how you can never differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Also, the original soundtrack (OST) in AOT is impeccable, something most anime have, a unique OST.
After realizing that I loved every anime I had watched, I decided to try Naruto — an anime that turned out to be one of the most inspiring shows I have ever seen on-screen. I don’t care about the number of animes I haven’t seen or the ones that are yet to be conceived, Naruto will always be my favourite. The plot twist, the memorable characters (especially the villains’ backstory) and so on, yet, all these aren’t even what makes the anime so special. What makes the show so beautiful are the many life lessons it teaches with its heartfelt story and how each character embodies a different message to relay to viewers. It also boasts an array of characters to invest in, most with different pain and trauma. I cried, laughed and cussed during Uzumaki Naruto’s journey, one of the greatest tales ever written. The painful end of the pervy sage, Jiraiya; the martyr, Itachi and the witty Obito made Naruto more emotional than it already is. Sasuke taught me revenge is a bad path to tread on; Gaara’s character depicted the importance of love to overcome loneliness, Naruto himself taught me to never give up on myself and the villain himself, Pain, justifies that severe pain can turn the most virtuous person into evil. The way Masashi Kishimoto made viewers grow up with the characters is nothing short of amazing.
Anime is something that I have grown to love and truly cherish; an escape from reality, especially whenever I’m feeling down. While some people might find it repulsive, I dare to say and believe it is a whole lot of experience on its own. Recently, I have gained new anime friends. We share wallpapers and new animes, and it makes me really happy because there is this joy in finding someone who shares one’s interest. One of these weebs is even trying to make me start reading Manga, but I hate spoilers, so I doubt I’ll ever do that. But, yo! It’s anime, so anything might just happen. I am currently watching My Hero Academia, B: The Beginning and One Piece.
I even named my cat after the main character, Luffy. One Piece is my greatest anime challenge right now, because it is an anime that has over 900 episodes and is still airing. Hopefully, I will be away from this country when I reach the last episode and trust me, I will definitely be in a Pirate costume, with Luffy’s straw hat when I flaunt the achievement on social media. It might mean little to some people, but this means a lot to me. I have become someone who literally dislikes people who bash anime. It’s fine to not be a fan but do not bash that masterpiece. I will continue to watch anime and nothing anyone will ever say will hinder me from embracing that fantasy world. If you’d like to join me in this world, I would suggest you start with Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer), Attack on Titan and Naruto.