May 2019 OWLS Post – Finding Happiness In and Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Hi everyone. Sorry it has been a couple of months since I’ve had a go at an OWLS post but I decided to definitely get back to it in May and then, once I saw the prompt for May I knew I had to write something for this one. Let’s get into it.

Happiness is subjective. We all have different definitions of what happiness means to us and we also feel happiness in varying degrees. This month we will be exploring several questions describing our happiness in our fandoms, communities, and hobbies. Why do we find enjoyment watching anime or reading manga? Why did we decide to join the anime or pop culture communities?  Why do we blog about our hobbies or cosplay as our favorite characters? This topic is all about the passions we have for our interests and why they are important to us.

OWLS Theme for May

Finding Happiness In And Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When I read this prompt the first thing I was reminded of was Prince from Run With The Wind and while I’ll get to my own experiences in a little bit, I’d like to examine his character first the journey he went on throughout the series.

Run With The Wind Episode 7 Prince

Prince has a clear comfort zone at the beginning of the series. His room in the apartment is floor to ceiling stacked with his manga and he is most comfortable when his nose is stuck inside one of those volumes absorbing the story and the characters within it. While superficially this might seem like a story about getting the loner out of his room and exercising, what we see instead is Prince connecting the new experiences he has with his experiences within stories and blending the two in a way that few anime or stories dare.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Prince

Ultimately, his passion for manga is still burning fiercely at the end of the series. He hasn’t moved on from it, grown up, found a new love that surpasses the old. While the manga is visually less prevalent in later episodes, in case there was any doubt that the message here was about embracing multiple experiences, Prince’s passionate speech to Haiji about the great characters who could inspire him makes it clear that Prince’s head is firmly still with his beloved manga and the characters he has formed attachments to.

Run With The Wind Episode 19 - Prince

Equally though, he tells Haiji at the end that he’s had fun with running the race and its truly the first time Prince acknowledges what the audience has seen in the second half of the series, Prince has embraced the team and the new hobby without compromising on his first love.

Run With The Wind Episode 23 - Prince

I bring up Prince because he’s a truly wonderful example that it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. I am an anime fan and also a fan of gaming, a fairly new fan of light novels, a much older fan of novels and movies, but I also enjoy hiking, travel, and anything that involves eating chocolate. As such, I don’t define myself solely through one fandom or another and nor do I allow one fandom to prevent me pursuing new avenues should something take my fancy.

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One of the many things I love about anime is that it is squarely in my comfort zone. It is largely an individual hobby, though there is a thriving online community I can interact with, largely activities involve being indoors, and anime, despite having some interesting variations and themes, essentially follows the same basic rules and structures of narratives that I love from movies, books and other TV shows. Slipping into the anime fandom was easy, getting hooked even easier, and staying within the fandom is very comfortable.

There’s a genuine happiness that comes from finding a new anime and falling in love with it, watching a terrible anime and pulling it apart, watching an anime with a friend and cringing when you realise that they are about to do something that as an anime fan you are very used to but you are about to get asked to explain by someone less familiar with it. There’s happiness to be found when you finish an anime, whether it was better or worse than you expected and there’s true joy in the anticipation of a new season even if it doesn’t end up panning out. Then there’s the happiness of connecting with others who equally love what you love, collecting figures, books or other merchandise of characters you’ve truly come to care for, and ultimately owning the shiny DVD’s of a series that you will binge again and again.

However, anime also takes me out of my comfort zone in ways I’ve learned to love and appreciate.

Five years ago I would have said I was never going to watch harem based shows. Now I routinely have these in my list of anime watched for the year, though more reverse harems.

Three years ago I would have said I wouldn’t watch sports based shows. Now I’ve got quite the catalogue of sports anime that I’ve finished and I’ve had in depth conversations with a friend who coaches volleyball around a game we were watching because having watched Haikyu I actually know what is going on now other than the ball goes over the net.

There are so many anime in so many different genres that I never thought I would try that I’m now loving each and every season.

Two years ago I started reading light novels and some manga. I’ve since had to once again reorganise my shelves in order to find space for the next volumes of Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash and of course Natsume’s Book of Friends. The collections are growing as quickly as I can buy them and yet my shelf space is limited and I already have quite the library of novels that I’ve been accumulating since I was a pre-teen.

I don’t actually dislike e-books, but there’s something truly magical about opening a new volume and the feel and smell of the paper.

In the last couple of years I’ve been to two conventions (which given where I live is quite the venture) and spent the weekend surrounded by hundreds of people. For me that is an intense and overwhelming experience and yet because everyone there was embracing the fandoms and a love of the same kinds of movies and anime that I love both were incredibly rewarding experiences.

Even on this last trip to Japan I made a note of a few things I particularly wanted to find and managed to even ask at shops for certain items or shows to see what they had in relation to them, though my tongue tried to glue itself to the roof of my mouth before hand as I freaked out about whether I’d be understood or not.

All of these things bring me happiness even as they push me further beyond what I thought was my comfort zone and I try things I may never have given a chance and interact with people I might never have had any reason to speak with, because of the happiness and joy I’ve found in anime.

here’s no one reason why I love anime, but because of my love of anime, my life is filled almost daily with small pieces of happiness. For as long as I keep finding those moments of happiness I will continue to love anime. How about you?Be sure to catch Jack’s post on the Aniwriter and next up in the tour is Naja on the 13th.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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In Case You Missed It

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 11 Sakuta

For those who may not check back until next week, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I’ll still be posting more or less as normal though Features and Reviews aren’t starting up again until the new year. Still, plenty of episode reviews, my Top 5, the 12 Days of Anime posts, and an OWLS post from last week so heaps of content coming out on the blog. For patrons there was also my second video review to check out which is linked to below and you can get the password from my patreon site. I’m definitely still learning the whole video editing thing and having to travel midway through putting it together didn’t really help, but I learned a lot and I’ve got quite a few ideas for the next one on Bloom Into You that should come out in the first few months of next year.

In the meantime, the ani-blogging community have been busy, busy, busy and there are some great posts to check out. Below I’ve linked to some of the great posts I found and as always feel free to give a shout out to a post you read last week that you think deserves some more attention in the comments. One more In Case You Missed It post for the year next week and then we’ll be into the new year. 

Posts from the Community

Ka-Chan has a great post as part of the 12 Days of Anime about Fruits Basket. They explore what drew them to the original anime, what they learned while checking out the manga, and why they are looking forward to the reboot. A great post for fans of Fruits Basket or those wanting to know why there’s a lot of anticipation around the new anime. Actually, Ka-Chan is on a roll with their 12 Days of Anime posts as their one about Free (an anime I can’t finish watching for reasons I’ve discussed previously) is pretty amazing in sharing their enthusiasm for this franchise and what it means to them.

OOCentral has a really fun post about Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family). This was an anime I loved but seems like it doesn’t get much discussion. However it is great fun and the sequel was pretty solid and I really enjoyed coming across this post last week. If you’ve never seen the anime, go check out this post.

On The Well Red Mage this week there was an excellent game review for Mario vs Donkey Kong. This little piece of nostalgia was a highly entertaining read and while a lot of people won’t be interested in reading a review of a game for an old system this one was a fun read and made me want to go back to these style of games (at least for a little bit).

Banana Fish Episode 21 Ash and Eiji

Ty-Chama looks at the different shapes and sizes romance has come in during 2018 and it was something I realised while putting together my best couple list for the year – there have been some awesome diverse couples in anime this year. This post celebrates some of the pairings that have confronted issues such as age, gender and even species differences, even while looking at issues that anyone in a relationship can relate to such as being lead on, codependency, etc. Really great post.

Floating Into Bliss looks at some of the really amazing Yuri anime out this season (and anime that may contain Yuri elements). When they line them all up like this it becomes fairly clear that Autumn 2018 has had a lot of same sex couples (and they weren’t even looking at the guys). So if you are interested in titles containing yuri, or anime that have potential yuri pairings, out this season, this is a video/transcript for you.

Bloom Into You Episode 11 Camp

Astral Gemini shares their top 5 favourite snowscapes from anime in a post that looks at different moods and ideas that are captured within snowscapes. It’s a really great post with some great images of snow scenes in anime and well worth checking out. 

Pick of the Week

Irina has a great post about Gurren Lagann this week and while she does do a fair amount of discussion about leadership within the anime, she really looks at why it is the emotional roller coaster it is and why it ends up resonating with so many viewers. It’s an excellent post looking at a series that despite initial impressions has quite a lot of depth to it (and is a lot of fun). This is one for all fans of the series to check out and if you haven’t watched it this may be the post that gives you the push to give it a go.

Gurren Lagann - Yoko

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Karandi James
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