My Life in Anime & Manga

Let’s get serious for a moment, totally dead serious. Sure anime and manga is just a hobby for some of us, but for me it’s a life-long love affair. I’m 33 years old and though that’s still quite young (don’t mess with me here), I’ve gone through quite a bit (career, marriage, child). I’ve started watching anime just about after I learned to walk: Mazinger Z, Voltes V, Gatchaman, and of course Macross.

Since I’ve been watching anime for just about 30 years I thought I’d look at my life in the context of shows I’ve seen and liked. Some shows I just found very relatable and maybe they would at least superficially describe parts of my life.

Now, I’m going to be looking back here and I’m going to be using shows or manga that I’ve read quite recently. This isn’t an exercise of compiling a soundtrack of my life or something, wherein the songs should be ones I actually listened to at the time. I just used shows and manga I thought fit best. So, onto the list!

childhood yotsuba 20th century boys

What I lived through: Childhood

How I want to remember it as: Yotsuba&!

How it really was: 20th Century Boys

I love Yotsuba&! it’s a rather quiet story of a child with a single adoptive parent and their interactions with their friends and neighbors. The titular character is superbly charming in how everyone ends up playing with her on her terms – which seem like the innocence and wonder all these other, older kids as well as adults have lost touch with.

However, my childhood was more like the kids in 20th Century Boys in that I ran with other boys around the same age as I was in the streets of Manila. We built mock forts in our yard and shot each other with pea shooters and water pistols; and caused all kinds of mischief in the neighborhood. Even so, we were all good kids who let our imaginations run wild.

high school kare kano beck mongolian chop squad

What I lived through: High School

How I want to remember it as: Kare Kano

How it really was: Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad

(How it kind of felt like: Cromartie High School)

My high school attempts at romance failed miserably. I started out going the Arima path (in Kare Kano) having great grades and graduating from grade school a valedictorian. But high school was a whole lot tougher and the school I transferred to had a lot of very studious kids. When I started struggling with algebra (and puppy love) I went bancho on everyone and decided I’d be a rock star.

LOL the chicks didn’t exactly line up for me (or my band) because we kind of really sucked and played loud punk and metal songs LOL. So when I discovered the Beck: MCS anime (and the manga) I was immediately hooked. I learned to play guitar almost exactly like how Koyuki started out, though the Minami Ryusuke figure in my life had a different band.

But strangely, I was the nerdy leader-type in my crowd of delinquents which made for a lot of awkwardness, not quite fitting in, and emo. And yeah, fights. I was banned from attending my own graduation because I roughed up some punk three days before the ceremony. FML.

university honey & clover

What I lived through: University

How I want to remember it as: Honey and Clover

How it really was: Honey and Clover

While I was in an arts college in our uni, I was into the literary arts as opposed to visual. Nonetheless, I went through uni with very talented (and weird) friends, falling in and out of love with each other along the way. I even went straight to graduate school like Ayu, and was almost exactly like Shuji who became a teacher (I was a lecturer at my alma mater for two years) at the same time I was facing my limitations as a poet (while I got published a couple of times, I never placed in any of the contests I joined, nor got accepted in the fellowships I applied for).

It’s kind of weird since it feels so long ago, but Honey and Clover still feels so right. I only discovered it in 2007, but I pretty much marathoned it over a few days with my wife. It’s probably the most intensely relatable things I’ve ever seen.

adulthood hataraki man kare kano

What I’m living through: Adulthood

How I expected it to be like: Hataraki Man

How it really is: Kare Kano

Hataraki Man may not be as relatable to me as Honey and Clover but I think it is every bit as intense. I lived vicariously through Matsukata Hiroko, a 28-year old copy editor of the Weekly Jidai magazine. When I left graduate school and teaching, I started working for an AM radio station as a producer, writer and director; pretty much what Hiroko did, but in my case it was in broadcast news and public affairs. It was very interesting and exciting work, but it sucked in many other ways.

I’ve done many things, but my most important success is finding happiness in sharing a life with another person. My wife is an amazing woman, just as – if not more accomplished than I am. We marathoned Kare Kano when we were still dating and we love it so much that she used the Miyazawa Theme I as part of our wedding reception (tracks from the Beck and Escaflowne OSTs also made it).

While I never got to be the amazing student that Arima was in high school, I certainly married a woman just about as neurotic as Yukino. Just like the manga’s happy couple, our first child is also a daughter (I’m not sure if we’re up for twin boys next, but having brothers of my own, I think it’ll be great).

It’s not surprising that the shows listed have very strong slice-of-life elements (except maybe Cromartie, but still). I suppose this is part of the appeal of such shows – they’re very relatable and speak to our experiences even if we’re from different cultures.

The question “if my life were an anime, what would it be?” had always been a difficult one for me, maybe because there isn’t just one show that spoke to me, Honey and Clover notwithstanding. Now I ask you the same question:

If your life is like fiction, what anime and/or manga would they be?

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  1. Posted August 26, 2010 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    this is an interesting entry and as I went through it, some anime just popped up in my head. As I am not so much younger than you are (just a couple of years different), I might do steal this ideas. Perhaps.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Thank you and I look forward to your post whenever you choose to publish it!

  2. Matt
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    That is a neat exercise. It makes one think that we have alot more in common with the people who produce the media we consume then we suspect. As they say, art imitates life and it appears that your life and art were very much in sync.

    Good post. :)

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. It’d be great if you can share your list as well — no need to post your photos if you don’t want to show your sexhair self :3

      • Posted August 27, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        I wana see his sexhair self! :D

        • Matt
          Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Well since Im getting such good feedback, i guess there is no way I can hold back. Might have to actually put something together now. ;)

  3. inachan
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Thank you for a great entry!! I really loved reading it and made me think I have to go back to Honey&Clover, which is a show I stopped after a few episode because I could not really relate to it and at the same time it made me think about some things in my life and got me depressed (I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself).

    I’m just a few years younger than you; I used to watch anime in my early teen years, than stopped for lack of accessibility and I started again when I discovered the existance of fansubs almost 4 years ago. Since then I’ve been reading and watching anime and manga every day and I feel they fill a very important role in my life.

    As for relating to shows, I always related more to characters than to a story that resembled my life. In my teen days I adopted Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth as my role model, and some characters had a huge impact on me, like Himura Kenshin. Evangelion made me relate in a very deep way with the emotions of the characters, as I could very well identify with most of ther emotional struggles.

    The biggest impact a show had on me because of what was happening in my life (and not in a positive way) was Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and the first part of Nana ; it was so intense that I was depressed for a fews days and did not watch anything during that time, sorting out my own feelings.

    In a more bright way, the show I can relate more is Nodame Cantabile, having myself studied an instrument in a Conservatory for 6 years and searching for a job right now in an orchestra. It was extremely realistic in some ways and it made me relive my own motivations and experiences, and my failures too.

    There are many other shows that made me relate to things that happaned in my life or make me wish for things to happen ; many shows affect me in a deep way for differents reasons.
    That’s why I love the special world of anime/manga, that has become a necessity in my life!

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your kind words and for generously participating in the exercise.

      It’s interesting how in your teens you looked for role models… it would seem like very few things available to you (or us) at the time could describe our experiences. Later on we discover Josei (or seinen) fare like Nana/Honey and Clover and BAM it feels like somebody knew us and wrote something that speaks to experiences directly.

      What instrument do you play? I’m a big fan of the Nodame Cantabile (live action) and it pleases me to no end to find out about real musicians who love it too.

      • inachan
        Posted August 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Your post really awoke the memories of the emotions I felt while watching some shows and made me want to share my experience. I also started to read We Remember Love and I’m loving it!

        I’m a violinist; I started playing the violin when I was seven and at 19 I entered the Conservatory for professional study.
        Nodame (anime, I still have to watch the live action) was very accurate in portraying the atmosphere of a Conservatory and the lives of music students and I connected to it in a deep level.

        Josei/seinen was definitely a huge discovery; even if sometimes it can be dangerous for health ;-)

        • Posted August 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          I consider the live action version to be superior. The actors are amazing, and the budget is pretty big so it goes all out for concert scenes.

          Glad you’re enjoying WRL, where I usually write.

          • inachan
            Posted August 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            Great, I will definitely watch the live action then :-)

  4. Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    GOOD END (and by that I mean Kare Kano as opposed to Hataraki Man)! So far so good.

    they’re very relatable and speak to our experiences even if we’re from different cultures

    Very true, I think that’s great. I’m not quite up to your achievements in life, I’m not married, etc, but let me say that you are still very young! Personal reference on this, I attended my older brother’s wedding in autumn 2008… he was never previously married, he was 37, and still living like he was early 20s (although his work career scaled far higher than this youth). IMO, we only age when we stop living.

    Anyhow, my life… as fiction. orz

    Childhood: Kino’s Journey
    High school: true tears meets Bebop
    Before uni: god I don’t even know… Aishiteruze Baby?
    University: Paradise Kiss and … Chobits!
    Now: Welcome to the NHK meets GTO

    Okay, not sure those are the best ones, but it’s really tough to make any of my anime/manga experiences fit very well ;;

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it’s a GOOD END relative to Hataraki Man, which had a more interesting end. There’s a wide gulf separating the tastes of me and my wife: she can’t stand anything sad or tragic, whereas I eat that shit up.

      The final episode of HM anime for me took the series from awesome to sublime. It was an alternate telling of the events of the previous episode, revealing things that could not have been shared in that specific perspective.

      If the penultimate episode was a depiction of the challenge of work, then the finale took the challenge of work and how it impacted life as a whole. I thought it was brilliant.

      Aaaand, you’re going to have to say more about high school being “True Tears meets Bebop”

      • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        The final episode of HM anime for me took the series from awesome to sublime.

        I need to get on this.

        High school – True Tears
        For girls, it was the trio; the close friend, the one who affected me and taught me, and the one who I wanted ultimately, although it didn’t completely turn out the same to this day. Love life was interesting…

        High school – Bebop
        I was quite the loner (still am I guess), and much of my activity was in a world where simply none of my high school friends exists; I shouldn’t have been there. Sometimes it mixed, and sometimes I found myself searching back for something which I eventually lost (see above). I wasn’t a bounty hunter or anything, it was just being in an identifying position with Spike mostly. However I didn’t bite the bullet and disappear, I eventually went back to my friends and abandoned the other world.

        The other world wasn’t the underground, it was just people who were 10-15 years older than I was and were involved in too much money/drugs/partying/ridiculous things. It was rather exclusive, and sometimes people did go to jail in that mix, but it wasn’t a gang or anything.

        To me Spike was capable and connected, but completely disclosed only with Julia, and I sort of held that same attitude of not letting people in for a very long time, while being great at connecting with people, being clutch, but never to full extent. :\ … I didn’t watch Bebop until a few years after high school though, and it’s hardly 1:1, but I felt the identity with those years of my life.

        If that makes sense heh.

        • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Man that was SOME high school experience. I never had anything as interesting as your TT experience, having gone for the unattainable “yamato nadeshiko” from an old and rich family who was in my class freshman and sophomore year (she’s in the photo above kekekekeke) — I pined for her throughout hs and the summer before uni, but I never ever had a chance (I was her first dance though, I’ll always have that lololol).

          Your life as Spike… jeez, that was pretty wild. You could write pretty interesting fiction based on it man.

          But yeah, go finish Hataraki Man :3

  5. f0calizer
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    This is a very generous & thought-provoking post!. On a personal level, I’m happy that you’ve found a wonderful lifelong companion who shares your interest in anime. I hope your kids will too!

    I’m only one year younger than you are, but I feel my life is a cross between Genshiken and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Genshiken, because that’s the anime / sci-fi / fantasy geek side of me that most mainstream people can’t relate to. While I can function as a “normal” person most of the time — my job requires it! — there are only a few people around whom I can comfortably show my geekier side, which makes up an important part of who I am. Sadly, they’re not all in the same place.

    Why Ghost in the Shell:SAC? Well, I’m a less-stylish, non-lethal, page-flipping, bespectacled version of Major Kusanagi’s team. I don’t fight cyber-crime or hack into people’s e-brains, but I find my life and my job require me to be a kind of one-man Section 9, fulfilling all the different roles the members of the team play. I teach & do research at a large public university, & I constantly access multiple databases of information, both physical and digital, processing and interpreting them in a way that makes sense and can produce something new in my field. If you took these external databases and archives away from me, I’d lose a substantial part of myself too. I’m also involved in some collaborative projects with people at different universities & in different countries, literally networking across space and time zones, hence I’m not a “stand-alone” person but rather part of a “complex” system. Major Kusanagi and her team act in similar ways, of course with cooler weaponry & equipment & Tachikomas, & with more intense results. I’m just trying to write a book or two! And finally there’s teaching, serving on departmental committees, and handling administrative bureaucracy, which I consider to be what the Chief, Aramaki, does best in the show. Besides, one might consider teaching students a form of “hacking” into people’s brains, but in a good way, eh?

    An odd combination, I admit, but the slice-of-lifeness of Genshiken balances well with the specialized techniques and roles of GiTS. Now if only my life had an OST composed by Yoko Kanno!

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Yeah thanks man! My wife is my luck, not just my love.

      Being a one-man Section 9 is freaking awesome. I’m glad you appreciate Aramaki the way you do. I suppose that’s who I want to be when I get to his age (I am trying to get into public service again) — with a hawt boss (2nd Gig) and a hawt staff. Thanks for making me consider this.

  6. Posted August 26, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    So this is like diary of an anime lived, through your whole life. Let’s see. For me, elements of Kare Kano and Beck figure in my life too, but more prominently are Angelic Layer (I spent most of my considerable free time in middle-high school absorbed in Super Smash Bros and video game tournaments) and Genshiken (lulzy college anime club experience). I went through a troubling period like Welcome to the NHK (an uncomfortable number of things hit close to home) but I’m up on my feet again and things are looking up. Hmm, no anime comes to mind about where my life is at right now, so this is like uncharted territory!

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Those posts in the Diary series are more intimate, detailed, and/or in-depth. This is more like an overview and is light-hearted (or I tried to make it so).

      Like you, the present is pretty difficult to describe in terms of anime — maybe because very little of it is made with young adults in mind, that isn’t an essay on deviance/otaku/or are outright fantasies no matter how “realistic” the treatment.

      That said, I think Hataraki Man is awesome and if you haven’t seen it yet you really should.

      • Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        I have seen and enjoyed Hataraki Man, but can’t relate (yet) since I don’t have the same hardcore attitude about work. I actually watched the anime and live action simultaneously, and found the live action version infinitely more satisfying since the episodes flesh out more storylines and have more breathing room. Very Iyashikei. Also it doesn’t stop where the anime did, which I thought was an abrupt ending point, but hey to each his own.

        • Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          Wow, I actually thought the live action had all of these unnecessary scenes — material that was there just because there was time for it. I thought the anime was superbly tight and well paced. I’ll try watching more episodes then, since I am quite interested in what happens next — though I thought the anime ended perfectly in it’s hopeful yet crushing way.

  7. Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Oh man. I am so doing this!:

    What I want to remember it as: Dennou Coil
    What it was really like: the non-apeshit parts of FLCL

    High School
    What I want to remember it as: Kare Kano
    What it was really like: Toradora meets an Inio Asano manga.

    What I want to remember it as: Honey & Clover
    What it was really like: Honey & Clover (I even go to design school, what!! We have a friend we refer to as “Hagu” :))

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for indulging yourself!

      My reactions:

      Childhood: LOL at the non-apeshit parts of FLCL.

      High School: Toradora meets Nijigahara Holograph? So you were like Kitamura only that you went further down the deep end and started haunting drainage pipes and causing swarms of butterflies to appear?

      Uni: <3

      • Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Think of the high school years as switching in a more binary way between the Inio Asano and Toradora phases. :p

        • Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          Oh you’re like Minorin, but instead of being genki about baseball, you have this thing with the restaurant owner where you wait tables just like in Nijigahara Holograph! :3

  8. Posted August 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    My life is nothing like anime. There, I said it. Even when my life is something like anime, it’s mostly completely different.

  9. otou-san
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    My childhood was a lot like Tetsuwon Atom, but college was definitely more Initial D. Sadly, I can’t handle that kind of action anymore so I’m slipping into the old man phase of my life, or as I like to call it the “Porco Rosso years.”

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      You’re at least 2 months too early for your Porco Rosso phase old man.

  10. Marzan
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    That’s a beautiful exercise you’ve done here Ghostlightning. Love your blogs.

    It’s quite difficult for me to break it down like that, but when I think about it, if there’s one anime that can somehow reflect my life it would be Wolf’s Rain. I’ve been constantly on the move, never staying anywhere for too long, always searching for that special something (and never quite finding it). At the end it’s been all about the journey.

    O.k so maybe not quiiiteeeee as sad as Wolf’s Rain, but you get the idea.

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Thanks! I’m glad the articles engage you :3

      Oh man, I wouldn’t wish a Wolf’s Rain kind of life on anyone… though now whenever I read your comment I’ll start seeing the white wolf running and hear sakamoto maaya singing…


  11. Posted August 27, 2010 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I would firstly like to majorly daww over the final photograph and the Kare Kano-esque GOOD END :)

    Personally, I’d like to think of my current life as like that of Erika and her otaku crew from Drrr!!: ‘Reality is always a pain. Fed up with it, we decided to remake the world. Make walls, divide things into trash and things we care about, leave what we loved inside and kick the rest outside. And when we tried it, it really worked! You can make a world out of noting but tsundere, moe and BL!’ (Erika and Walker, Durarara!!, episode 20.)

    However, as a newish teacher in the incredibly unglamous FE sector in the UK, my life is more like Shurrei’s from SaiMono when she first sets out to become a government official, i.e.: trying to maintain my youthful optimism in the face of a never-ending supply of red tape. Minus the courtship of any bishie emperors, of course. *Sigh.*

    Might do a longer list in the future, otherwise just wanted to say thanks for the adorable and interesting read! :D

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you!

      FE Sector? Hana I promise you there is little worse than working in the government, except perhaps working the government of a third-world nation. I’ve been in and out of public service in various capacities over the years and am still dead-set on getting back (no elected positions please) as one of the younger technocrats.

      My wife has been in public service her entire career.

      Don’t let it crush your soul. Perhaps there is fiction to be written from your reality. Cheers.

  12. Jess
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Shin-chan (rowdy mouthy kid)
    Hōrō Musuko (transgender issues)
    Beck (musical rebellion)
    Genshiken (attempts to form bonds)
    Paranoia Agent (feelings of angst, paranoia, and detachment from reality)
    Welcome to the N.H.K. (emotional shutdown and self-imposed isolation)
    Aria (inner peace)

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for indulging the exercise, and I’m extremely pleased at how you can transition from a shut-in in your adult life to becoming a young girl in a white uniform guiding tourists in a boat out there is Mars ;3

      In all seriousness, that’s some life. I’m glad you’ve found peace for now.

      • Jess
        Posted September 1, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        :) thanks, and thanks for starting an interesting and thought-provoking discussion

  13. Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Man, it’s kind of crazy how much people change through their lives, isn’t it?

    My childhood years: Evangelion, except a billion times less extreme, miserable and depressing. I moved around a few times after starting school, so a lot of friends were abandoned, and I was light bully bait at the final school I ended up at. Fortunately, it didn’t take me 26 episodes and a severe mental breakdown to eventually break out of my shell and make some friends. :p But it’s probably because of that that I am a bit more forgiving of wussy protagonists than most.

    Middle school: Like a lot of kids, this was my huge douchebag period. I wasn’t as bad as some people, but I could have used a few Bright Slaps. And I wasn’t man enough to be the big bully, either; just take any random, generic lower-tier bully character, and that was me in middle school. (Right now the fatass from Heroman comes to mind.) Holy crap, I sucked in middle school.

    High school: I mellowed out a lot, became a good little student again, developed a sense of humor and got interested in most everything I enjoy today. Can’t think of a specific series that correlates to these years . . . maybe some generic high school slice-of-life comedy series. My high school years weren’t cool enough to be a name series, but they weren’t offensive either.

    College: My Kyon period! Found the perfect balance between keeping up with studies and goofing off, found a solid core of friends and had many a wacky misadventure. My buddies were mostly more dynamic than me, and I was the one getting dragged into stuff, but I secretly enjoyed it all along. And just like Kyon is guaranteed to look back on all this craziness fondly and wish it could last forever, so too have I with the ol’ college years.

    Now: Not quite sure yet! It was part Honey and Clover in the beginning as I went through a Takemoto period of restlessness (a year of being unemployed will do that to you), but I have a solid job now and am settling into that scary adult period with actual responsibilities and whatnot. I work at a paper, but my job isn’t anywhere near as intense as Hataraki Man lol.

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the intense share.

      I favored my college years over my high school years — which I find to be more common among geeks since high school would have been either a more boring time, or a more stressful one for them/us.Here in the Philippines there is no middle school. After 6-7 years of elementary, we go straight to 4 years of high school (but like you, I was douchiest when I was around 12 — which would be the start of your middle school if I’m not mistaken).

      The present is the toughest to relate to a show or manga — since it’s in flux. The Kare Kano “GOOD END” that I put in there only describes a part of my adulthood (though it’s the very important part). Outside the context of romance I find it hard to think of a show.

      And finally, to your point: how much people change.

      It would seem so, but the thing is I think I’ve been pretty much the same person — only that aspects of myself become revealed. The douche in us is there, and can manifest under some circumstances, even if it’s no longer part of our daily behavior.

      This is not to say we can’t transform our lives: I most certainly have in my mid-20s when I finally dealt with my parental issues (I hated my dad, and blamed my mom; now we’re the corniest loving family in Asia) which allowed me to be more of a functional human being in society in general. But if you look at many of your behaviors, you may be surprised to find how a lot of them were already there so long ago. As for newer ones, the context for them simply did not exist in the past — you’re not so much changing as discovering yourself.

      This too, is awesome :3

  14. Posted August 28, 2010 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Ah, I really liked this post a lot. :)

    As for my life in anime? Well, let’s get to it, shall we?

    Childhood years: Hanamaru Kindergarten. It really did sum up the innocence and wildness I had during those years. I was also a ladies’ man, too. Oh yeah, those were the days…(And no, this has nothing to do with Hanamaru Kindergaten. Well, maybe a bit. ;D)

    Middle school: Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. No, no weird occurrences. No, no ESPers and the like. But I did hang around with a group of five guys, and we’d brew all kinds of trouble.

    High school: A mix between KareKano and Byousoku 5 Centimeters. I chose KareKano because I hang out with lots of awesome people who are generally smart and know how to have fun…usually. Byousoku 5 Centimeters since I’ve got someone I like (and who also likes me back), but circumstances prevent a relationship. Whether or not this mix will continue is a mystery…

    • Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      Thanks, and for engaging the post as well :3

      I think that kid that Koume had a crush on was some kind of ladies’ man, though not in a mischievous way. But how do you know this? The other kids were drawn to you more than they were to others? How could you tell?

      I think only Haruhi brewed trouble and the rest were all about trying to contain her.

      Well, I hope you get a Kare Kano end (manga, not the Gainax end) and not the 5cm/sec end!

      • Posted August 29, 2010 at 1:20 am | Permalink

        LOL well, I tended to hang out with all the girls, and the girls kept following me around. We also hung around the play structure all the time, while the guys just sat inside the classroom doing their own thing.

        And yeah, I really couldn’t find an anime to fit that (I haven’t seen many XD), so that was the one that fit the most. XD

        And at the moment, it seems as though the 5 Centimeters per Second ending is inevitable–much like the relationship between the two in the beginning had to inevitably end. It just couldn’t work. And eventually, we move on. So no worries. :)

        • Posted August 29, 2010 at 2:23 am | Permalink

          I’m glad you’re not that hung up on it the way I and what seems a lot of other people are with their adolescent loves. Mine I pined for something like 5 years and it never really completely goes away.

          No matter what happens though, you will always have that play structure back in kindergarten, always.

  15. Robert Weizer
    Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Most of my life feels like Hajime no Ippo. I train and conquer every fight, but something stronger comes up every time that requires me to think differently or act differently!

    • Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      This could be any shonen story, but why Hajime no Ippo in particular? Do you literally do boxing?

      • Robert Weizer
        Posted August 28, 2010 at 6:23 am | Permalink

        I’m really into Ippo right now?

  16. Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    My life so far has been 5cm/second. I’m haunted by a lot of missed opportunities, in life and especially in love. But at the same time, at those times when I can manage to filter out all the cynicism and embarrassment, I recognize that there have been some really beautiful times as well.

    The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, too. I don’t think I’d actually want to go back to being a teenager, but sometimes I look back and wish I had soaked more of it in and enjoyed it instead of waiting for everything to be over, because you really never get that again. Time waits for no one.

    Wow, I’m sorry. This has been surprisingly depressing. But it was a fun thought exercise. :)

    • Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry I led you to melancholy. I can only offer that in hindsight, I loved that I suffered so much as an adolescent and as a young adult. I mean, I don’t like the suffering… only that I tend not to dwell on it but rather on how interesting those times for me were. Most of it I dare not write about in a post like this. I know that I truly, truly lived back then as it seems you are doing so now.

      • Posted August 28, 2010 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        It’s okay; on the whole I’m peachy keen! :D Just when I look for anime that really resonates with my life, that’s what comes up.

  17. nilpotent
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    This was a really good post about a subject that interests me quite a bit. Whenever I watch anime, or listen to music, or read a book, or anything like that, one of the first things I do is try to connect it to my own life story. At first I just chalked it up to ego since my life isn’t anything too out of the ordinary, but I guess lots of other people do it too! I guess I’ll try to find some anime that remind me of my life now:

    I can’t really think of anything for my childhood so I’m just going to skip to high school and college.

    High school: I think what most strongly reminds me of high school would be some combination of K-ON!! and Honey and Clover. This sounds kind of strange so I should explain: I was on my high school’s speech and debate team for all four years. It was a lot of fun, and even though by the end it didn’t really affect my life as much as it did the people I knew (most of my friends from the team want to be lawyers now, lol) I have lots of great memories from that period of time. Most of those memories, however, aren’t from the competitive aspect of the team (although that was fun and exciting). What I remember most fondly from those years is just goofing around with my friends in the team’s club room. I probably spent more than half of my time at school in that room, for one reason or another. Whenever I watch an episode of K-ON!! and the girls are just hanging out in their club room I can’t help but reminisce about those times. Granted we didn’t have tea and cake, but it’s close enough.

    Although I mentioned Honey and Clover, I really only wanted to focus on one small part of the series, that so far, has really resonated with me. I’m only about halfway through the first season of Honey and Clover, and there are a lot of things I like about it – the characters are interesting and well-developed, there’s a nice mix of drama and humor, and I really love the music. But what stands out to me the most so far is that this series seems to understand unrequited love really well. In retrospect, it’s really a silly thing, but for better or for worse, I spent most of high school pining for one of my good friends, someone who I knew early on would never reciprocate my feelings. It was really difficult for me to see her every day for over a year, knowing that. I pulled all sorts of ridiculous, idiotic stunts to try and win her affections, to no avail. Honestly, it wasn’t until I was already in college that I really got over her (and by then, I hadn’t seen or talked to her in over a year!). It was a really emotionally taxing period of my life, and when I started watching Honey and Clover, I couldn’t help but put myself in Yamada’s shoes. Her relationship to Mayama over the course of the first 12 or 13 episodes hits extremely close to home.

    College: The three things that come to mind here are 5 Centimeters per Second, Welcome to the NHK, and The Tatami Galaxy (actually I’m a little surprised this hasn’t popped up yet). I’ll just go down the list:

    1) 5 Centimeters per Second: this will probably always be one of my favorite anime movies, because I watched it when I was first starting to get back into anime (I watched stuff on Toonami and Adult Swim as a kid, then got back into it again in college) and I watched it at a time when it was extremely relevant to my life in a bunch of ways. I think it helped me get over my friend from high school, because by that time I realized that more attracted to the novelty of a romantic relationship than anything else. But more importantly, 5 Centimeters per Second helped me deal with the prospect of drifting apart from my high school friends. When I first started going to college, that idea terrified me, because everything I had seen at first seemed to indicate that I was incapable of making friends in college. But even today, when we spend most of the year on opposite sides of the country, my circle of friends is still quite close. I guess this part is less about the content of 5cmps and more about my reaction to it over time; although the movie doesn’t portray the notion of drifting apart in the most positive light, I’m starting to accept the reality that the lives of my friends are starting to diverge. As far as I can tell, however, that hasn’t really changed the fact that we can still get together, catch up, and reminisce.

    2) Welcome to the NHK: this one is actually really straightforward. I started playing World of Warcraft my freshman year and spent the next 2 years addicted to the game. My grades plummeted (oh god why am I posting about anime instead of studying so I can actually get into grad school) and at the time when even the most socially inept people can freely make friends, I locked myself in my room all day, every day. I only snapped out of it after my friends from high school forced me to consider where my life was headed. That was 2 years ago. Now…well I’m not that much better, but it’s something at least.

    3) The Tatami Galaxy: first of all, while there are some instances where I’ve seen characters in an anime or a movie or something and said to myself “that person is kind of like me!”, Watashi is so much like me that it was sometimes kind of awkward to watch. I guess this series came to mind because it really reflects the content of the rest of this post: when I think about the things that I’ve written about so far I can’t help but feel a bit of regret. Hindsight is 20/20, and I know that if I had one more chance, the chance to go back and do it again, I’d do it so much better-

    -but I don’t. I spent a lot of time agonizing over those little decisions, constructing elaborate fantasy worlds where I chose option A instead of option B, as if the permutations of my life experiences were that easy to predict that one decision could make that sort of difference. I always knew, in the back of my mind, that this wasn’t true, but ever since watching The Tatami Galaxy I’ve actually started thinking about those “what-ifs” less.

    Wow, that ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be. Still an interesting thing to think about, though.

    • Posted August 29, 2010 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing all that. I’m very glad that this post spoke to your experience somehow, similar to how I know the stories in anime and manga spoke to mine.

      How lovely it must have been to have those days in a club room like that. I enjoy K-ON!! quite a bit and part of the enjoyment too is how I never got to have that kind of easygoing life at the school club level. I had a band too, but it was fun in a desperate way (we didn’t have a lot of skill and had even less equipment) so it was very different form K-ON!!. I too can relate with unrequited love at the high school level — especially in that the girl I liked, was like Hagu but only in how she is completely above reproach; there is nothing wrong about her in any way. I just never had a shot.

      I too, experienced Tatami Galaxy in an intense way, but the thing about this show is that it is still quite new, and haven’t really entered the memory of viewers, or at least the part of memory where nostalgia and reflection draw their waters from. The show is uplifting but not in a trite or condescending manner. Unlike you I don’t dwell over my mistakes — back in college when I really fucked things up in the most tumultuous romance in my life, but rather, instead of dealing with how I can do better I construct those elaborate fantasy worlds you speak of, as entirely alternate histories where things end up going my way.

  18. Marigold Ran
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Childhood: Calvin and Hobbes
    High School: Tatami Galaxy
    College: Welcome to the NHK!
    Now: Calvin and Hobbes (Miss Wormwood’s viewpoint- Miss Wormwood is their teacher)

    • Posted August 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I find it interesting (beyond the symmetry) how you went from what seemed to be hopeful Tatami Galaxy to the bleaker Welcome to the NHK. Then again I’ve only read the novel which I am told is bleaker than both the manga and the anime.

      Being Ms. Wormwood suggests that you’ve become an enemy to your imaginative, and perhaps your child-like, free self — your Calvin, as you’ve suggested your childhood to be.

      This strikes me as sad, but I’m not judging you for your circumstances. For all I know this is more than acceptable for you.

      • Marigold Ran
        Posted August 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I only watched the first 8 episodes of Tatami Galaxy, and so I never watched the redeeming parts. Tatami Galaxy is hopeful? I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.

        There’s a big difference between “creativity” and “lack of discipline.” Having extensive experience with children, the most creative types are often the best-behaved. Thinking up a good story, or making a paper ball using origami requires patience and discipline that Calvin doesn’t have. The kids who behave like Calvin generally find ways to destroy things. They’re “destructive,” not “creative.” There’s a difference there.

        I’m probably closer to Rosalyn than Miss Wormwood. She’s the only one who has the cunning to consistently beat Calvin down.

  19. Marigold Ran
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Add in a touch of Rosalyn to that too.

  20. Zi Densetsu
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Now this I found as a great way to spend a couple minutes of my life reading.

    For a fifteen year old, I can’t say that I want to try analyzing my life just quite yet, but it was very enjoyable seeing how your experiences over a life time can be related to anime. Seeing these types of articles written by those beyond my years really makes me look forward towards the future and the experiences it holds. (If not slightly more warily)

  21. Posted August 30, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    This post reminds me how my life could fit into any show and none at all. I feel like I have always been living in the background of every story but my life ends up simply unremarkable. I have surely missed countless of chances to make something fantastic happen. Oh wait…that sounds kinda like 5 cm per seconds :)

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