If you’re anything like me you’re the “black sheep” of your family. Or at least you feel like you are. Living in America and watching anime is a lot different than watching it in Japan. In Japan there are anime for every walk of life, and every age. Everyone from young kids to businessmen watches and enjoys anime. Here in America Anime is seen by many as just a cartoon. Don’t worry; I know better than to try and compare them; however, many do not. Here in America we are taught that as we grow up we are to put away our childish things. We think that cartoons are only for children and as an adult we should never watch them.
Anime for Americans fall into this trap as well. As a child it is seen as appropriate to watch Anime. As a teen while still acceptable, some question why you still watch them. As an adult, like me, you start to hide the fact that you watch Anime to keep others from judging you; especially family. Family can sometimes be the most judging simply because they are trying to look out for you. They may not know they are hurting you. It is time to speak up to them, tell them how you feel. Let them know that this is part of who you are. Explain to them that Anime is something that is enjoyed by everyone in Japan not just children.
I know that can be a scary thing to do and I know it will not have the same outcome as mine did. Let me tell you what I went through. When I was 19 I was separated from my wife and daughter. I was depressed and looking for anything that could help. I was walking through a Hollywood Video (for the young generation: that was a place you went to rent movies.) (Yes I am that old. Don’t judge lol) looking for a movie. I went down an aisle and noticed a section that said anime. I hadn’t watched anime since I watched Akira in high school. I figured why not rent one.
This rekindled my interest in Anime. I started renting more of them as time went on. I had found a refuge from my depression. I ended up going to a con in Tampa Florida about a year later. My family didn’t really understand why I was going to it. As I got older I would be asked and I had to explain. Like I said you should above. I explained about the industry and the Japanese culture around anime. I explained how they were made for all ages. That they had age ratings just like TV shows in America. I also explained that you could learn a little about Japanese culture through watching them. This worked for the most of it.
Now almost twenty years since I got back into Anime I can tell you that my family has fully accepted that this is part of my life. I am truly happy and enjoy myself every time I watch a show. In fact I was streaming Tsuredure Children on Funimation just before writing this post. I love anime and my family, friends, and coworkers know it. I no longer shy away from the subject. It has made me stronger inside since I started talking about it. I no longer feel guilty for enjoying anime at my age. I am thirty eight years old and I am a self-proclaimed Otaku. Be true to yourself and when you’re ready let you loved ones know. Don’t be ashamed to love anime.