Loving what you love; a somewhat origin story

{This post is the first in the “series” I have planned, all in celebration and my somewhat participation in the Animanga festival. I saw the subtopics and kind of improvised and went with it. Also, a long overdue controversial origin story}

There is a wide variety of entertainment available to us, it comes in various shapes and genres. Anime is no exception to that, but, even so, there is a divide. Some say, if you like X- you have good taste, or maybe it’s the opposite? If you don’t like X, you’re a casual with no understanding of depth? This causes mainly clickbait-y youtube videos and youtubers beating the same dead horse for the same reason, and with the same tools, all while some people feel bad for loving what they love. Without a doubt, there are anime that are utterly awful, but more often than not this name is attached to shows that are more average than downright “the worst anime ever”.

In the past I used to feel ashamed of the anime I watched when I was starting out and the years following that. I wanted to use the term anime upbringing, but realized that people might get the idea that my parents are hardcore anime fans, which they are not. I suppose they manage to tolerate it and not call it Chinese cartoons after ~12 years? Either way, while my first few anime were the at the time classics like Sailor Moon, Naruto and Dragon ball; I watched them all in a horrendous native dub, grabbed whatever few volumes they sold that were translated of Dragon Ball and later on ventured out to the internet to find at least boring but decent voices or subs. Now my american followers might get confused: what, was it that hard? I still remember the site I found that had anime in my native language, with a wide range of even 9 different anime (most of which were OVAs)!

I was like 7-8 and didn’t realize how many anime were there actually out there, but I was hyper at the thought there are people who like anime in my country too

My first pick was based on the cover picture and the first reaction of “Ooh this looks scary!”. By whatever luck or lack of it, the first anime I officially stumbled upon was Elfen Lied in all of its glory and a rating of 17+ which the site had prescribed it. Of course, little 7-8 year old me clicked on it anyway and watched it in secret during a sick day when my parents were at work.

My otaku roots (wow this is a word I haven’t used in a while) showed themselves and I finished the thing in about two days and still remember crying super hard at the ending. Safe to say, while at first I was scared to watch it, I continued it to the end and later on even read the manga.
Since the site had very little anime, soon enough (when my English got better) I found another one, this time in English and my hunt for new anime begin in the list that at the time seemed amazing.

I seriously need to rewatch Lucky star, cause all I remember is one or two opening scenes. It was years ago, don’t judge me

I watched a ton of shows and shorts, most of which I don’t remember anymore. The other anime I distinctively remember watching was Sora no Otoshimono or Heaven’s lost property. I didn’t like the abundance of ecchi scenes, but after Elfen lied it just seemed different in its own way, but the sci-fi and the funny cast drew me in enough to watch both seasons and even the movie years later. I moved on to admiring the poster of and then finally watching Itsuka tenma no kuro usagi and loved the art style and the romance. Naturally and eventually, I saw the rest of Sailor Moon that was not shown in my country on TV, but the dark and perhaps shameful pattern of the anime I watched so far is getting clearer.

Inevitably, I stumbled upon the genre that I call magic-battle-harems and other similar anime (original name, I know) and binged almost everything that there was of it at that time. Up to this day I can’t answer why I watched all of those ecchi aime when I didn’t care for the ecchi scenes, maybe I was getting tired of the magic I’ve seen so far being just like in Sailor Moon? I’m not saying that all magic girl anime are the same, my opinion was flipped on its head when I saw Madoka back when it was first released, but after rewatching 5 seasons of Sailor Moon, I wanted to see something different.
What I did like were the fight scenes (action anime is one of my favorites now) and surprisingly enough the romance and music! I loved a lot of opening and endings, but my favorite at that time (still kinda is) was Blade dance from Seirei tsukai no Blade dance.

I watched Machine doll wa kizutsukanai, Seikoku no Dragonar, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin, Date a live and the Monogatari series at that time, just to name a few and enjoyed them all for one thing or the other nevertheless. The fact that I enjoyed Trinity Seven as much as I did, despite watching it a few years later after that whole phase, just shows me slowly accepting it. It probably sounds weird for a girl to admit to liking these shows, but what helped me get over it was the simple ideology of who cares and has enough time to waste to care.

The other genres that I dived completely into were mystery and comedy; I still remember Hyouka, Gosick, Rozen Maiden and Haruhi, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them or what I liked about them.

That huge anime list on the site that I kept using for like 7 years (the quality was horrendous at 360-480p, how did I even get what was going on in the screen) and my time on the computer were both limited so I could only watch a few anime series and at limited times. In conclusion, I made a lot of questionable decisions and watched a lot of questionable or average anime.

My knowledge of “good” anime was almost non existent. I watched whatever I thought looked cool. If anyone has or had poor taste, it was me, back then when I thought the 2006 Fate adaptation was kinda wonky but still cool.

To summarize, I watched a bunch of awesome and not so awesome shows. I can see and accept the flaws that they have. I grew accustomed to it and even accepted all of the anime weirdness and raunchiness quite fast, while nowadays it would probably be considered traumatic for a child to see anime like this, and the scenes themselves to be problematic. However, as someone who has seen both trashy and amazing anime, I can say I enjoyed both for different reasons and that it’s okay. My taste doesn’t suddenly become bad if I watch “bad” anime, while knowing they aren’t that good, just cause I enjoy them. I think what’s important is admitting the flaws of an anime and understanding why they are bad, while still being able to enjoy them without guilt or pressure.

Mashi dark origin story exposed

Here’s me finally going to the real focus of this post. There are anime that are considered bad or trashy and also the anime that are viewed like untouchable masterpieces. It’s okay to like either, cause liking something doesn’t necessarily mean that you like everything about it, as much as some people might try to convince you otherwise. We all have things we think are weird or feel weird for liking.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why I try to be as open minded as I can?
You can’t please everyone and there will always be people that will find what to criticize in what you like or don’t like in a show. What’s important is to just do what you think is right and watch whatever you want to watch, not paying attention to people screaming about how trashy or an untouchable masterpiece an anime is.

Remember that you’re not alone!

2 thoughts on “Loving what you love; a somewhat origin story

  1. I watched a ton of “magic battle harem” anime when I started out too, although I was in university at the time (6 yrs ago). I used to just go through the MAL top recommended anime and I basically ended up watching all of them. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure genre for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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