The Long Story

(Note: You can read the short story here.)

Who am I, you might ask? I’m no one, really. Just your average geek with fangirl tendencies. Music has always been my number one obsession, my ultimate crush, hence it was natural that my first public blog be dedicated to the subject. But a curious thing happened to me just last December: I decided to become an anime fan. To clarify, I’m the sort of person who, once I have decided that I am interested in a subject, I get interested in a subject. I loathe the half-assing of anything, so I devote time to research and become acquainted with whatever new topic has caught my fancy. One summer during college I became obsessed with The Kids In The Hall; by summer’s end I could tell you which cast member was which astrological sign, what their sexual preferences were, what kinds of music they enjoyed, etc. Another summer I was enamored withTim Burton: I read and reread his autobiography numerous times and frequently found ways to bring my own theories about the mid-nineties rift between him and Danny Elfman into conversation. Whether it be Harry Potter or Interpol or fairy tales, I love to make myself a bastion of knowledge about whatever topic possesses me enough to obsess over it.

Anime, however, was a subject in which I was strangely uninitiated. I certainly have my fair share of friends who like it. I even experienced a handful of wonderful anime films as a child. Yet anime as a whole, particularly anime series, had eluded me. I was certainly curious, and would often walk through the anime aisle in any given store. But anime has a certain reputation, or at least I thought it did, of being perverse and a bit on the shady side. The numerous DVDs covered in pictures of large-bosomed women in tiny outfits did nothing to quell my fears. And the one or two episodes of random shows that I managed to catch on cable were my worst fears brought to life: all guns and breasts, robotic and apocalyptic. In other words, nothing that interested me, especially as I have always fallen on the “fantasy” side of “sci-fi/fantasy.”

However, one day as I was aimlessly wandering through yet another anime aisle, a particular title caught my eye: Moon Phase. In reading the description I discovered that it was about a young vampire girl. And seeing as how vampires are a lifelong obsession of mine, I wrote it down to check out later. I was able to do just that several months down the road once Moon Phase went on sale. As it turned out, I loved it! I loved everything from the cute opening titles to the central heroine’s Lolita wardrobe. “If I could find more anime like this one,” I thought to myself, “I’d be in heaven. Surely there has to be more anime like this, without all the boring guns and thinly veiled porn.”

Yet years passed, and I was still in the dark when it came to anime. Then last December came, and with it a huge online sale on FUNimation anime. I figured at thirteen bucks a pop, how could I go wrong? So I read the reviews and randomly chose two titles: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo and Hell Girl. Then I noticed one called Vampire Knight and I bought the first volume of it, too. As I searched for anime a particular title called Black Butler kept popping up, so while I waited for my order to arrive I watched the first four episodes online. I really credit Black Butlerwith beginning this whole journey for me. I couldn’t stop watching those episodes; I watched them several times over, glued to the computer screen mere inches from my face. I couldn’t believe that something so cool, so entirely up my alley, existed. I had to have more! Then my order finally arrived. I fell instantly in love with each and every one of them, all for different reasons. I lovedHell Girl for its realism and deeply psychological questions; I loved Gankutsuou for its art and passionate retelling; I loved Vampire Knight for its unapologetic romantic fantasy. That was when I finally began to see just how vast the world of anime is, and how much it has to offer. And that is when I decided to become an anime fan.

However, the more that I watch, the deeper I go into the subject. If I enjoy one anime, there are five others recommended in the same genre. And now I’m more familiar with Japanese terms such as shojoyaoiyuri, and bishonen, which help me find the types of anime that I gravitate toward the most. But it hasn’t stopped at just anime. I was so desperate to discover what happens in season two of Vampire Knight that I read my first manga. I’m not sure why it seemed so daunting to me, now that I look back on it. I’ve been a huge fan of comic books and graphic novels since high school, and there are a lot of similarities. But the format worried me, made me unsure if I could follow everything that was going on. But Matsuri Hino’s brilliant story and artwork converted me into a full-fledged manga fanatic, to the point where I’m disappointed if there isn’t a manga I can turn to once the final episode of a much-loved anime series ends. I’ve also branched out into anime soundtracks, and have discovered some amazing music that I couldn’t imagine hearing anywhere else.

This brings us, dear reader, to the gist of this blog. Mostly I want a forum in which I can not only keep track of the anime that I watch, the manga that I read, and the bits of Japanese culture that I glean, but where I can also discuss each piece, however briefly. When I use the term otaku on this blog I am referring to its English meaning, knowing that the word is not exactly a compliment in Japan. Since I have long been a fan of witty wordplay as well as haiku, the name seemed natural. Hence at the beginning of each entry you will find my clumsy attempt at producing a haiku involving whatever subject I happen to be writing about that day. (By haiku I mean the most basic of formats involving seventeen syllables, not necessarily three lines of verse.) I’m not sure if this blog will strike a chord with anyone, but if you happen to be reading this, please feel free to comment on my reviews, leave links to your own reviews, or recommend anime or manga for me to check out. Since I am still a beginner much of it is new to me, and that is partially why I find it all so intoxicatingly wonderful. Word to the wise: everything that I review, unless otherwise noted, is intended for adults. However, I will almost always mention if there is excessive fan service. Cheers, and happy explorations to you.

P.S. This is my promise to you, as reviews can always be dicey: No spoilers ever! The informational tidbits that I provide in my reviews are just basic story outlines, nothing more than you would find in the first couple of episodes/chapters.

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