My Four Year Anniversary of Watching Anime Regularly
It was roughly around this time four years ago when I started watching anime regularly. I originally dabbled in watching anime due to being bored with video games and having nothing to do. Looking back, that era of my life was probably the most depressing due to my general disinterest in life and lack of future goals. Thankfully now I have somewhat of a future to look forwards to. Did watching anime cause this to happen? Of course not, but the butterfly effect from becoming involved with the anime community certainly helped me, compared to if I wouldn’t have become involved.
In the beginning, I watched around 20 episodes a day. It was the summer before my senior year of high school and I had nothing better to do. I was fortunate enough to not have to get a summer job. Also, I didn’t get out much since I didn’t make any real good friends until my upcoming senior year. Of course, the amount of anime I watched over time has come down due to life obligations.
I started using tumblr mainly for the anime content on there. I had a tumblr before, but I mainly just used it to look at funny posts. At the start, I just reblogged stuff that I like, but then I started to make gifs of anime that I watched or was watching. It was something I thought that was kind of fun to do, even if it was tedious and had little payback. I really enjoyed seeing the notes on the gifs I made go up. Back then, I thought it was cool when one of my gifs got over 100 notes. I wasn’t that popular of a tumblr user back then, but that changed when I started making anime gifs daily. Over a year’s time, I had about 2000 tumblr followers. That was awesome to me, who had only 40 followers for a long time before I made gifs. Along with the new followers, it gave me many new people to talk to. While I won’t never say a word to most of my followers, I did become friends with a few dozen of them. A majority of them were in the “anime gifer community”, which really wasn’t a community and more of just a few skype groups with various tumblr users.
With this community of people, I felt at home (for the most part.) It wasn’t the first time I made online friends or joined a circle of people, but it was probably the most important group I joined as of today. By doing a tedious and meaningless task like making anime gifs, I was connected to the anime tumblr community. Tumblr gets a bad rep because of some the people that’re on there, which are certainly there, but there’s a lot of good people on tumblr too. It’s the same on twitter or almost any site that somewhat resembles a forum. Along with these new friends I made, and the hundreds of people that followed me on tumblr, it made me feel good about myself. I haven’t made any anime gifs in three years, but I still have thousands of followers thanks to my anime gif days.
I’ve had many great (and horrible) experiences with people I met on tumblr and twitter that I would not have had happened if I never started watching anime. I honestly think my life would be totally different if I wasn’t an anime watcher. Usually anime is paired next to people who are antisocial, but in my case it made me meet many great people who I would have never met if I didn’t become a part of the anime community. While most of the friendships that happened due to this came and went with time, there are probably more people than I can count on my hand that I talk to because we have the same interest in anime.
Being involved in the anime community on tumblr also introduced me to various things, like the outer scope of social justice. Before then I wasn’t really informed on any of those things because the websites I browsed didn’t discuss them in detail often. Of the websites that did, 4chan by a huge margin, it was often negative. Before learning about these things, I was admittedly quite ignorant of them due to the constant bitching about them on 4chan boards that I frequented at the time. I was never a full out anti-SJW or a /pol/ user, but I really didn’t get social justice then. It took me a while to understand the whole movement, since many people that are prominent in that movement are abrasive and not quite persuasive, but eventually I started to get why the social justice movement is important. I don’t think I would have this knowledge if I never began to watch anime, as absurd as that sounds. It also helps that tumblr is a hub for SJWs (for better or for worse.)
Outside of the world of social justice, politics, and all of that fun stuff, watching anime also encouraged me to learn Japanese. I hate to admit it, but anime is a major reason why I’m trying to make Japanese my second language. It also helps that it might help me out in the job field, and is helping my brain not get soggy while I take a year break from school. I took two years of Spanish in high school, but was never interested in it and barely passed both classes. My degree requires me to have at least 6 hours of a foreign language to graduate, so this works out in favor of me. I could have learned a language that would be more useful in everyday life such as Spanish or French, but those don’t interest me as much as Japanese does.
While I don’t chug 10–20 episodes of anime a day or make anime gifs anymore, most people still recognize me on tumblr for being an anime blogger. As pathetic as that title is, I won’t deny it. It also helps that I branched out of my anime roots, but that’s for another time. Tumblr has been a big part of my life in the last four years. It has helped me mature and understand the world better. It made me grow up in ways that sites like 4chan or reddit would have not. I don’t think I would be as successful as a person today if I didn’t start watching anime. It’s a really interesting medium that keeps me hooked to this day. Here’s to four more years of watching bad anime and making bad jokes about them.