Friday’s Feature: So I Hear You Like Anime…

Bloom Into You Episode 4

A personal account.

It is amazing how those six words can fill my heart with dread.

“So I hear you like anime…”

I had occasion this week to wonder when it was that those words began to fill me with a stomach churning sickness, make my shoulders droop, and generally make my legs feel like they are filled with lead. It wasn’t like those words always did that. No, once upon a time I would hear those words and eagerly turn hoping to engage in a conversation about characters or ideas from shows and so on and so forth.

Tsurune Episode 2 Minato and Who

Alright, I make it sound like I’m Sister Sunshine who loves to converse with random strangers, but to be honest, if I get a good anime conversation out of it that’s probably the best way to get me actually speaking. That or books or movies. Stories in general.

However, the phrase “So I hear you like anime” is very rarely a conversation opener, at least in my experience. Generally speaking the tone that is used when saying these words is akin to the tone one would say, “So I hear you raise pet snails” (no offence to those who breed snails and even google couldn’t help me figure out if that was actually a thing and if there’s a word for it).

Now, when I was younger, I would simply brush the tone aside and put a smile on my face and bravely agree that I did in fact like anime and ask the person if they also enjoyed it. You know, engage in an actual conversation that was actually initiated by another human being.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 4

The problem being, as I said, the line is not delivered as a conversation opener. In point of fact it has almost always been delivered as a point of criticism. Almost as if the very phrase paints the recipient as some kind of oddball by default. And seriously, my liking anime was the least of my oddities as a teenager so I somehow never quite picked up that it was something worth picking on me over.

And so the years ran past and generally the people I associate with are all very clear about my love of anime and so I haven’t hadn’t heard the phrase in oh so long.

Until this week.

“So I hear you like anime…”

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Unlike my teenage self, I am now very aware of the tone in which this line is delivered, the connotations and the preconceived notions that surround it. I’m also very aware that it doesn’t matter. The more closed minded person isn’t going to be dissuaded from their view point and the more neutral person may very well just be curious about something they don’t really get and a conversation might even happen but it won’t be a particularly fulfilling one for me.

“So I hear you like anime…”

I don’t just like anime. I love it. The variety of shows, the crazy characters, the more serious characters that I can relate to, the ridiculously over the top scenarios, the quieter moments that make me think, the music, the visuals, the stories, the community… Yes, I love anime.

Dakaichi4e

But back to this particular conversation. Yes, I heard the words and yes, I felt that feeling and turned to face the speaker like I was about to face my own execution. I had enough else on my plate this week and more than enough other concerns of things gone wrong and exhaustion was a fairly common companion.  So I was feeling incredibly weary even before I heard these words.

And do you know what?

I fixed a smile on my face and agreed that of course I like anime and asked them what they liked. Turns out, they don’t really like anime (of course their experience is limited more or less to Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z) but it also turned out they were a fan of horror movies. By the end of the conversation I didn’t have that fixed and forced smile anymore I was genuinely enjoying the conversation.

Natsume Season 3a

It made me once again realise that while some people are just jerks, no denying it, a lot of people aren’t. While what they say may make me feel sad or angry or cornered, many times it isn’t intended that way and it is my experiences and interpretations that actually make it feel that way.

“So I hear you like anime…”

I may never like that line and I may never really appreciate hearing it, but I think I’ll dread it less in future. It doesn’t always mean what I think it means. It doesn’t always lead to what I fear it will.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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PERSONA 3 THE MOVIE: MAKOTO YUKI

Anniversary Special Post – Passion with Irina

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Starting again with a massive thanks to Irina for coming along to the anniversary. Of course, I guess the party couldn’t get started until she arrived, after all, she’s shouting the drinks. For the few of you who don’t know, Irina is the writer behind I Drink and Watch Anime which she describes as drinking games disguised as anime reviews, but really, her blog is so much more. Irina is one of the many fantastic people I have met because of my blog and discussing anime with her is an absolute joy. Our collaborations on Black Butler and Natsume Yuujinchou were amazing fun to write and I look forward to working with her again in the future.

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In nowhere near 100 words, plus we’re going to get off topic as Irina decides to make me blush, again:

Passion is most probably one of the most attractive qualities one can display. When I was younger they tried to fool me into thinking caring wasn’t “cool”. That you should try to be above it all, that the neutral and dispassionate argument carried more weight, but they are wrong.

I have always been drawn to passion like a moth to a flame, so I am well aware of it’s duplicitous nature. Having the courage to put your passion on display in a post will always yield something special. Something beautiful and worthy of your time – I very much agree with Karandi on this. It’s why I love anime where I can tell the subject meant something personal to the author beyond a tale to tell.

But sadly, the flip side is that an excess of passion can blind us to the bigger picture. Make us unable to appreciate alternate view. To me, someone who is truly passionate about an issue, subject, point of view…will have enough faith in it to let it stand up to criticism. If you can defend a thesis with both passion and reason – then you’ve truly figured it out.

Ok, so Karandi asked us to do a series of posts for her anniversary week. There were specific rules. Write a hundred words – I’m at about 200 now – make it about one of the 6 specific subjects, stick to a format.

I’m bad at things guys.

I read all the posts that were submitted last year, and they were all about how fantastic 100 Word Anime is. I wasn’t around then so I missed my chance but I’m not going to now. I got something to say.

Of course, I mention Karandi in my posts often, but I’ve never really taken the time to talk about her or 100 Word Anime as I have other blogs. At first, I was simply intimidated and awed. I mean everyone already knew her and was impressed, what more could I really bring to the conversation? I have come to realize that just because something is a plain and obvious fact, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it.

Most of the posts from last year, and really just the general consensus in the community, is that Karandi’s hard work and discipline are unparalleled. The fawning odes to her work ethic, the general whispers of How is it even possible for a person to do all that (I still think there’s an army of clones involved), the raw drive I see in everyone to try to be worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence (let’s face it, we all gave up on actually competing a long time ago)…All of it is simply undeniable. Every one of those compliments has been earned and paid for with hard work and dedication.

But you know what we don’t hear as often? Karandi is kind. She has done more to encourage new bloggers and bring the community together than anyone I know but she does it quietly, without ever drawing the spotlight to herself.

Every single week she collects posts form all sorts of bloggers and features them like it’s no big deal. As if it doesn’t take hours of work. Every day she reads through an unbelievable amount of posts. And when she comments – it’s always substantive. Not a simple good work or rehash of what you said in your post but an actual conversation, a relevant question, an opposing viewpoint always shared in a positive matter. This to me is encouraging above all else.

There’s a reason I went to Karandi when I wanted to get the blogwarming project off the ground. She’s proven that she deserves the respect and quite frankly authority she has in this community but more than that, I simply know that she would want to help. That she has always worked to bring us together and to make a community she clearly loves, one that we will love as well.

Since I’m reaping the benefits of that, I want to take this opportunity to thank you K. Here’s to another 2 years and then many more after.

When I first read this in my email, there may have been a few tears (happy tears, but tears nonetheless). Army of clones notwithstanding (apparently I’m also possibly an AI, depends who you talk to I guess), someone saying that about my blog was an incredibly touching moment. I don’t think any of us start our blogs because we want people to tell us we’re great and I know that I started mine expecting no one to read it and was mostly just hoping to maybe get a conversation or two around anime going, but just because that wasn’t the intent when starting the blog doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly appreciated when someone does offer you a moment of thanks.

So Irina, you made me blush and cry. But thank-you so much for those words. They mean the world to me.

And, if you aren’t already one of Irina’s avid readers, be sure to check out her blog. Now she didn’t actually provide me a link to share so I’ve picked two of her posts to link to:

Right, tomorrow we have Remy discussing scheduling and I use my feature to set some new blogging goals for the third year. Over the weekend we’ll have one more guest post from Arthifis on, well, everything, before I’ll conclude the anniversary week with a bang (hopefully).


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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