The Impact they had on Kai
Some weeks ago our friends on facebook started making top10 influential lists; it started with metal band albums and spread to video games to manga and anime. So we thought why not? Diary of an Anime Lived focused on anime that echo our real lives; ‘The impact they had on us’ seeks to pinpoint the anime or even manga titles that aren’t just a mirror of us or even our favorites but to highlight these stories that changed the way we viewed the world.
~by Foxy Lady Ayame
I was invited by Ayame of The Beautiful World to partake in this blog carnival of hers-The impact they had on us, in which we talk about some of our most influential anime/manga. In my list here, for some anime, I was influenced by the characters from said anime, allowing me to re-examine myself as an individual and the world. For some, they provide me with a new way to perceive the media, allowing me to be appreciative of another side of it I’m not familiar with.
Honey and Clover – Be Adventurous
To be frank, I’m not what you call an ambitious person-at some point in life, I thought of doing music, which obviously became a failed endeavor (you will see me talking about this at another segment of this post). Even worse, as a kid, other than being good at studies, I don’t really have any particular hobbies as well, as a person with no hobbies nor dreams, I struggled a lot trying to find my “identity”. As time passes on, my identity started becoming clearer despite the rocky start, and even now, I believe my identity is still in it’s journey of developing.
Life is a series of ups-and-downs, and one thing I could very relate to in Honey and Clover, is Takemoto’s personal struggles, uncertainty and hesitations. Just like me, he had problems finding and developing his identity; which propels him to travel halfway across Japan on a bicycle in a soul-searching trip to help develop his identity. In a way, I think living life itself is like a soul-searching trip. You live your life, face problems along the way, whether or not it’s about love, career or wealth, and you are really troubled by them, yet time goes on mercilessly and you had to continue your “trip”. At some point of your journey, you managed to overcome the problems you came across, and as time passes, you can look back at the problems you faced, and had a good laugh at them. However, what Honey and Clover taught me is the importance to initiate the journey; without the start of the journey, nothing can begin. With the passing of time, those issues you faced will make one a wiser person by the end of the day, with a grown perspective. Act, and be adventurous – and I feel it’s an especially important message to people like me who have an uncertain future and just let the flow of life takes me to my destination.
Hell, if I can, I would ride my bicycle halfway across the country on a soul-searching trip too…
Hyouka – Inferiority Complex
I think I mentioned before how the way I do things mirrored Houtarou and his “energy-conserving” style. Indeed, though that similarity has nothing to do with my own personality. Well, true enough, I admit I’m just as lazy, generally. I’m however, not as calm, collected and observant as Houtarou.
And In fact, and especially in this regard, I think I can identify with Satoshi more, on a pretty personal level too. I sure as hell don’t have a cute anime girl with big eyes popping up in front of my face and saying “kininarimasu!” as well, but I digress.
Have your ever been confident and always thought you’re skilled with something due to diligence in developing those skills? And as if mocking, someone who doesn’t spend that much time trying to develop those very skills are able to be equal or even better with you? In Hyouka’s case, both Satoshi and Houtarou has assigned roles they are respectively good at, so I admit that’s a weird metaphor to use, but what I’m trying to highlight here is the inferiority complex. In the anime, Satoshi has cheerful demeanor, but we had seen throughout the anime, there are some rare occasions where those inferiority complex of his briefly, and accidentally slipped out. I had always thought the duo between Satoshi and Houtarou worked well together – one is an informant, while the other is a problem-solver, using the provided information to solve the mysteries. However, Satoshi’s motto “A database can’t draw conclusions”, seems to argue that he wants to break out of his “database role” to attempt in drawing conclusions, which is Houtarou’s role in the equation. All these culminated in the school festival arc, where Satoshi’s cheerful facade finally breaks and both we, the viewers, and Satoshi himself are confronted with his inferiority complex.
It may be that I’m a “perfectionism challenger”, note the word “challenger” in that phrase. It indicates that I attempt to be a perfectionist than actually being a perfectionist. I think this part of my personality is why inferiority complex is something I’m also constantly suffering from. If I dive into something, I find no matter how good I’m in it, there will always be people better than me, and try as I might, there just seem to be a limit no matter how much I try to improve my skills. Although it’s still lingering even now, over the time, I feel like I had gotten better over my inferiority complex, and try not to let it get to me. If anything, watching Hyouka has helped me tremendously to come to terms with my inferiority complex; and to accept that there ARE just people better than you. Like Satoshi, perhaps I just need to find a “role” I’m comfortable with…
Sakamichi no Apollon – Enjoying Music
Using your hobby as a profession-have you ever thought about this? I certainly do. When I was a kid, I was once asked “What do you want to become in the future?” and I innocently answered “Musician”.
During some period of my life, I started loving music. While I loved listening, I wanted to get involve into it further as well. At first, I took guitar lessons, and ended up having three guitars at home, a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, a TGM acoustic guitar and last but not least, a classical guitar I can’t even remember the brand now. At some point, I even started self-teaching myself piano and the drums. At one side, it was fun, but at the other side, I was practicing for my possible “future”. As it turns out, my so-called “dream” isn’t realistic at all, and the more I grew up, the more I understood it. I could at best, form a band and perform lives for rare occasions and events such as for a wedding ceremony, but as far as I had heard, the pays are meager, and is certainly not a “job” I could do full-time in. It also doesn’t help that the music culture had been shifting rapidly, nuanced from the traditional perception of the culture. Meanwhile, I was suffering from inferiority complex too; at some point, I just lost motivation.
While musical anime like Beck fuels my motivation,
though it crumbles down fairly easy a little while after, anime like Sakamichi no Apollon (and perhaps, K-ON as well) helps me remind myself that I don’t need to see music in such a stiff way, and just simply enjoy them as it is. It’s fine if I no longer treat music as an occupation, it’s fine even if music doesn’t yield anything in return-then I should just treat them as entertainment. Throughout my reliance on music as a possible future occupation, it made me forgot that music can also be fun. I can just simply listen to good music and if there’s some I might be interested to do a cover on my guitar/piano, well, nobody’s stopping me (providing I can find the scores/tabs). Who knows, I might even start composing Vocaloid music sooner or later.
Later on, I would most certainly rejoice. Because I found out the hard way even if I managed to turn my favorite pastime into a profession, it will no longer be fun and games, and suddenly, everything doesn’t seem to be as fun as I thought they would be.
SekaTsuyo – Rekindling My Interest in Wrestling
I feel SekaTsuyo is underappreciated. No shit. Really.
Short alias for Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai, SekaTsuyo talks about women wrestling. And yes, it’s pandering. Fanservices came slamming from all corners and tons of submissions (Walls of Jericho, anyone?) are used for a questionable purpose. If you can look past that though, I think it’s a good sport anime with ample character development. Sakura’s struggles as a greenhorn pro wrestler are realistic, and the anime is also, arguably, an interesting alternative reality to real life “kayfabe”.
I wouldn’t say SekaTsuyo is one of the most influential anime of all time, but there is just something empowering about it-and it just simply speaks for itself when it can rekindled my interest in watching WWE again (and to a lesser scale TNA), something which I had stopped for more than half a decade. While watching WWE now definitely can’t compare to back then, during the “Golden Age of Wrestling”, with Stone Cold Steve Austin running amok, and Undertaker still going strong; some of the “new school” wrestlers are at least very refreshing to look at; especially guys like Cesaro, Daniel Bryan (though not sure where the heck he’s at now), Wyatt Family and all ex-members of The Shield.
Back then when I discovered pro wrestling is scripted, I tried very hard to suspend my own disbelief. In a way, maybe I just don’t want to believe it is scripted, escaping from the painful truth. I mean, how could you? A medium you are a fan of for years, and all of a sudden, you get told straight in the face that, everything you had been watching all these years are fake. Perhaps it’s because of such mindset which had exhausted me from watching wrestling. Being gone from WWE from so long though, right now I feel like I’m watching wrestling with a completely new set of lens – now I embraced the idea that it is scripted, and I know that the moves and finishers the wrestlers perform on screen, are just as dangerous, be it fake or real. It also allows me to appreciate the mic skills and charisma of some wrestlers that much more, something I assume you probably wouldn’t need in a real combat sports like MMA or boxing. I guess in a way, instead of trying very hard to disillusion myself into thinking it is real, I just accept the idea that it is scripted, that I’m watching something akin to an “action movie”. My re-ignited passion, and my new perspective on wrestling, in a way, is all thanks to SekaTsuyo re-introducing me back to wrestling again.
Evangelion/Gintama – Anime as an Interpretative Art Form and The Ultimate Randomness
For the last of this entry, I decided to write how certain anime had influenced me in the way I viewed this very medium. Initially separating them, I decided to group both Evangelion and Gintama entries together, since the things I talked about here is the same theme, despite both being completely different shows.
Granted, I watched Evangelion way back when I was a kid, so I couldn’t understand it much. (Hell, I don’t think I still understand it much now either). As far as my perspective goes though, there doesn’t seem to be any anime before Evangelion with the same unique style; so, at least to me, Evangelion is the first anime being treated as an interpretative art form, and needless to say, this style has paved the way for some future anime too. Evangelion is definitely up there as being one of the most influential anime-it tells it’s story through symbolism, metaphors, imaginations, all of which encourages interpretations, analyses and discussions for the viewers. While nostalgic at times, there’s a reason why Evangelion had aged so well, and even now, new anime films and merchandises are still being released, it just possesses that much impact.
It’s difficult to say just what makes Evangelion so good, so impacting, because quite obviously, the series went well beyond that. From Evangelion’s storytelling structure to it’s thematic approach, there are just a lot of elements in it absent from other anime at the time. It’s psychological approach, it’s anti-hero elements, it’s incredibly flawed characters; as far as anime goes, Evangelion is a huge visual culture shock-an impact which had, and is still in effect in me, allowing me to view the whole anime medium with a totally different lens, and to appreciate another new style of storytelling.
In contrast to the seriousness and interpretative nature of Evangelion, Gintama is a bizarre, wacky anime which strives on randomness. It uses extreme amount of parodies and references to tell it’s crude jokes. Even so, this barely scratches the surface of Gintama’s comedic capabilities. As far as “random” anime goes, Gintama is definitely the top of such types.
There is however, nothing to interpret in Gintama; it’s just too senseless for there to be anything coherent to interpret. Watching Gintama however, it allows me to appreciate these types of anime as well. You see, after I started aniblogging, I realized a certain trend-some fans had started to over-analyze anime. It’s fine to analyze and all, but sometimes, it’s best to just watch anime and be just simply entertained, just like what Gintama does best here. If you’re not having fun with your favorite pastime, then what’s the point?
I think this post ended up getting too personal, but I think this is one of those rare moments where I should take off a shirt or two and expose myself (no pun intended, seriously). Anyhow, that’s all from me for now. If you’re interested to participate in the blog carnival, you can contact Ayame as well.
List of Participants
Foxy Lady Ayame and Neko-chi