An extrovert’s retelling of introvert anime watchers. 50% accurate, but 100% overexaggerated (according to my recollection. . .)
Middle school: disastrous. An isolated form of loneliness, which I attribute to unaligned interests. Where were my fellow nerds at? There were no days of sharing my favorite moments from the new Fate/stay night episode, or debate like a loser over who our Best Girl was. Daily attendance was tormenting to the soul. Graduation came, and summer soon afterwards. Finally! I kept to myself throughout, watching as many shows as I could. However, eventually a new hope came upon me, and its name was high school.
Looking back, I had more joys dreaming about high school than, well, actual high school. I envisioned it perfectly! I would have two best friends, one guy and one girl, the catch being we’re all nerds, conversing over gross subjects. We wouldn’t necessarily be completely introverted or far removed from society, just preferred to have stayed in our own little clique. Of course, our life wouldn’t be anime 24/7, we’d still hang out occasionally and have our own aspirations and ambitions outside of the 2D screen. A happily ever after would ensue when my future love interest took on the mantle of watching anime as her hobby. We would go cosplaying together, and geek out over storylines and characters created by Japanese men.
Moving on to high-school was an interesting adventure. 1,600 different and profound personalities waiting to be socialized with. I was hesitant to approach people, but I was thankful that a semi-tolerable pleb (that is, for not watching anime) joined me in choosing the same school. My first day during lunch, a miracle happened! I joined my friend Nixie in the cafeteria and she introduced me to someone she had met recently named Patricia.
Patricia was in the long boisterous line of cafeteria mayhem. As she fought her way toward the overpriced rations, Nixie told me something of critical importance, “She watches anime, Lemar.”
Yes! I found it. My highschool life would be fulfilling! Long days of keeping my hobbies to myself were numbered. As Patricia headed back from the cafeteria, comestibles in hand, I bolted eagerly from my cafeteria seat to overwhelm her with questions. “Hi! I heard you love anime. I love anime too! I have a list of anime! I keep track of the ones I’ve finished! Which one is your favorite?” I say such statements only to establish as a weirdo to Patricia’s eyes. She looks at this list of mine, and glosses over the contents. She quickly goes, “Oh… I’ve seen this one.” She’s pointing to a random name on the list – Blast of Tempest – to appease my nerdy antics. She then states, “Oh, but I don’t like talking about it in public.”
I went home heartbroken. Why would someone not want to talk about anime? Isn’t it the best thing ever? Middle school began to replay in my head, as I came to the realization that nobody liked talking about anime in public. Saddened, I binged on depressing anime such as Your Lie in April and Anohana, both of which made me cry myself to sleep. The next day came, and then a few weeks passed. Everything halted as I started living a normal high school life. I dreadingly attended classes. But then, over the P.A. system one day, I heard an announcement, “Club Fair is coming up this Friday. As a result, our school will have an extended lunch.”
I couldn’t believe it! It was like I had been revived by the Anime Gods and given a second chance, like any other Shounen protagonist. A club fair meant there was a potential to be an Anime Club! Eagerly anticipating Friday, I convinced a friend who didn’t watch anime to come with me. I told him my intentions to join an Anime Club, and asked him if he knew our school had one. He didn’t know, but regardless, I still awaited this exciting moment.
But the moment never came. Sadness. Depression. Anger. Emotions welled up inside me. There was no Anime Club. How can a school have 1,600 people and have no Anime Club? It looked as if the days of keeping to myself would continue for the next four years.
Flash forward three and a half years; some progress has been made. I guess? I started recommending animes to all my different companions who had joined me throughout my experiences in theatre, cross country, and all other extracurriculars. Although I never had the high school Anime Dream that I had wanted, I found something that was good enough, a column dedicated to this incredible medium.