Absolute Zero

March 2, 2008

Entertainment and Subculture

Filed under: Anime,Games,Japan,Manga,Smarmy Matt — throughhim413 @ 5:27 am

Today’s post will be on the short side (EDIT – this was a lie).  I’ve got a test tomorrow I really should be studying for, but I’m going to watch anime with my host mother instead.  That’s what I want to talk about in this post – anime and my host mother.

When I came to Japan, I was already a fan of anime, manga, and games.  I hope nobody gets the wrong impression when I say that, I’m not on of the people who came here to go shopping.  I came here to learn Japanese (which I admit I first had an interest in because it coincided with my hobbies).  However, I don’t like being branded as “otaku”.  I hate that word in fact, so when my host mother took to telling people that I was an otaku, I wasn’t pleased.  I told her she shouldn’t say that, that it carried a lot of negative connotation, but she didn’t seem to get it.  To me, an otaku (in the Japanese sense) is someone who cannot define themselves outside of anime/games/manga or whatever else.  That’s my personal definition, so don’t take offense if you use a different one.  In any case, I don’t consider myself such a simple person that I can be defined by my hobbies.  They are part of what make me who I am, but I can’t nor would I want to survive without normal interaction with other people.

In any case, getting on with the story, I set out to convince my host mother that anime and manga were very much like any other form of entertainment.  We started out with One Piece (327 episodes), moved on to Touch (101 episodes), and now we’re on to Slam Dunk (101 episodes).  So in six months, we’ve watched over 500 episodes.  Give or take, we’ve watched around 150 hours.  That’s 6 full days worth in 6 months.  A pretty intense schedule.  Funny thing is, she’s often the one pushing me to watch.  She gets just as obsessed and into things as I do, which I think is cool.  Given, these three titles are three of the best out there, especially if you consider Japanese polling.  It’s no surprise that she likes them.  My point, I suppose, is that anime is for anyone who likes entertainment.  There’s no point in pretending like anime/games/manga are any different from Hollywood movies.  They’re all forms of entertainment, they will give you as much back as you put into them.

These days, more and more people are starting to realize that.  Just because it’s in another language, because it’s animated, because it’s interactive, that doesn’t make it any less valuable than another form of entertainment.  My point is that we’re all just looking to be entertained, so don’t worry about what other people think.  You won’t always be able to prove to others not to judge things in ignorance, so just roll with the punches.

When I started writing this, I wanted to talk about how my host mother is pushing me to watch too much Slam Dunk… Look where I ended up.  Today she scolded me for playing Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut instead of watching Slam Dunk with her.  I only have so much time in the weekend.  I try to make the most of it, but can you blame me for wanting to do one more than the other sometimes?  Like I said, I really should be studying for a test, but here I am writing a blog post about how my host mother scolded me for playing games instead of watching anime.  Do I know how to make good use of my time or what?



  1. My sentiments exactly. I hate how others have to brand people that enjoy anime, manga, and video games. Just because have such interests, it doesn’t mean that we’re limited to just that. Well, I’ve come to terms with it already.

    Awesome post, man. I’m glad I came across it somehow. Oh, and procrastination is a dangerous thing. =P

    Comment by skyre — March 2, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  2. I agree with you to a degree. I love a lot of anime. They are inherently a different flavor than other types of entertainment due to the cultural influences and the freedom/restrictions that anime have. I know people that dislike anime because of various reasons. It might take a very unique anime for this person to change their mind. I have tried to influence my brother with many great anime, and he rather finds it strange, or not in his taste, and it’s not entirely just discrimination. He is overly critical of anime cliches, over-stylization, and plot dynamics. Some of it is discrimination, and some of it is just opinion. I do think that if some people opened up, they might find that there are some really, very entertaining, awesome anime, though. Some people just prefer other forms of art.

    But likewise, labeling the entire genre in some way is unfair. There are lots of unique, amazing anime of many different flavors.

    Comment by Brendan — March 3, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  3. you deserve to be scold and some spanking
    for not watching slamdunk with your hosted mom
    also watch taboo charming mother with her ;p

    Comment by moot — March 5, 2008 @ 2:31 am

  4. I agree with you:

    “My point is that we’re all just looking to be entertained, so don’t worry about what other people think”

    This is a reality 🙂

    Comment by Josue — May 21, 2008 @ 11:50 am

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