Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh, Yuu Slay Me: Fans with Low Self-Esteem

In creating this blog, I inherently had to admit a bitter truth to myself. After many years of my almost unhealthy manga and anime obsession, I finally kicked my addiction and lived a few years clean of screentones and clich├ęs. However, my former fixation began to creep back into my life, and it is with this very recent reentry into the world of Japanese/Korean comic fandom that I have had to face a few demons.

My love for anime has always been a bit closeted. I remember my slow descent, the feel of the pages of Marmalade Boy rubbing coarsely against my fingers, the acrid smell of money full of the scent of a thousand sweaty hands as it slowly dripped through my pockets and seeped into the bank accounts of manga translation companies. You know what I mean. Like, I spent a crapload of money.

No one around me, save for a very few friends, shared my love. I never fell into a true anime culture, retreating into my own bedroom to burn through pages of Bleach like the soles of tennis shoes wearing down on a racetrack, to sigh over Yuki and Kyo and uselessly try to decide which one I would like more in real life (answer: Neither). Seriously, though. I was way embarrassed. As a result, I relinquished my manga tankubon for cooler endeavors, and even though I could fake it for a while, it really didn't fit. I would use another extended metaphor here but I think you guys get the point.

It was while coming back from a concert this past summer that I finally admitted my more-than-a-crush on manga and anime to one of my friends, and ultimately began to admit it to myself. I can’t say that my life revolves around manga and anime like it used to; a slight amount of my former shame still resides in the back of my skull like… You know. It’s sitting there, figuratively. I shouldn’t have to explain that one.

But I like to think that my love for manga and anime is like becoming friends with a former crush. No longer the focus of my passions, manga and anime is my totally-for-sure-platonic buddy, the friend I call when I’m down, the one who still kind of gives me mixed messages that makes me both love and hate it. And not only that, I've realized something that might be sort of elementary: I can love something without having to be part of that "culture," without fitting that image. My manga and anime obsession is just a part of me, not a definition.

But enough about me. If you've made it this far down the post, congratulations! Because now I want to hear from you. Has anyone gone through anything remotely similar? I think my conflict is pretty common, no? I mean, sort of angsty, but who hasn't had an awkward, angsty phase? Share your experience. We love comments!

And by the way, if you get the reference in the subtitle of this post, you’re awesome. Did you know they’re making a movie of it? Hell yeah.


PS: Picture of Yuu courtesy of Bishounen Garden. Character is copyright to Yoshizumi Wataru, of course.

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