On being an Anime fan at 40!

Four months ago it was my birthday which means I can no longer count myself among those in their thirties, yep I’m now officially among the middle aged. It feels weird to say that, I don’t really feel much different to what I did in my twenties. A lot more grey hair sits atop my head and I’m a little more world weary but other than that I’m pretty much the same person I’ve been for the last few decades.

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April 17th 2020. Me coming to the shocking realisation that I am in fact 4 decades old.

It got me thinking though, about how I’d heard that many western fans only tend to be into anime for a few years when they’re younger before losing interest and how us older fans who stay enthused about it could be seen to be a “rare breed” so to speak.

I think when you’re getting into any kind of culture having some guidance is important or at least a hunger for knowledge and deeper understanding. Because I’ve always had the latter I kept researching directors and studios and what else they’d worked on, finding manga from the same author etc. In the early days I got all my info from books and magazines but as time went on of course the internet became my main resource. I never stopped finding out new things and looking into what was out there. It helps that I’m a patient person, you have to be really in this fandom. After all some anime and manga classics I read about for the first time almost two decades ago have only recently been fan translated or officially released.

I’ve always been someone interested in stories as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved movies and books since I was a kid and felt that stories were an essential part of my life.

When I was in my teens I got into comics then Japanese cinema, then anime and manga and became very interested in the different ways stories are told over different mediums. Video game designer Hideo Kojima once famously said “70% of my body is made up of movies” I know exactly what he meant….except for me it’s more like “70% of my body is made up of movies, novels, comics, manga, anime and video games”.

I often remember periods of my life by not only what I was doing at the time and who I was spending time with but what movies I saw or books I read.

I love the way the Japanese tell stories compared to the west and that’s why I’ll always love manga and anime. It’s not just that, it’s also the level of artistry and passion that goes into many of the works produced. The insane level of detail in many of the movies, OVAs, TV anime and manga panels makes me wish I could draw even half as well as some of the greats like Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, Katsuhiro Otomo, Yukito Kishiro, Tetsuo Hara, Hirioki Samura and many, many more.

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If some people had could have any wish they wanted granted they’d probably choose riches or a superpower like flight or teleportation. Me? I’d like to be able to draw like Kentaro Miura.

I can’t ever see a time in my future where I won’t be interested in  anime, manga and Japanese culture to some degree. I don’t blog as often as I’d like about it but that’s down to time constraints and occasionally a lack of self belief rather than any lack of passion.

Retro Mecha Podcast is a project I’m particularly proud of and am glad to be working on with my buddy Ian Harper. I feel we’re doing good work in introducing people to stuff they may not have watched otherwise. Hopefully I’ve done the same with this blog and people have checked out things on my recommendation. I hope so, it makes it all worthwhile.

I think a lot of people have been re-evaluating their lives since Covid-19 and I’m no different. Since the lockdown I’d been thinking a lot about myself, my past and my future. I’d say I can be quite a introspective, soul searching and reflective person. I always wonder about some of the choices I’ve made (mainly in my work life) and about “getting more” out of life in general. There are times I’ve been a little embarrassed or ashamed of my geeky interests but everything happening in the world this year has probably cemented just how much I need them for my mental health.

2020 was supposed to be a landmark year for me. I turned 40 and was also supposed to be getting married on October 2nd and we were going on our honeymoon somewhere I’ve always wanted to go…..yep Japan!

Thanks to the looming spectre that is Covid-19 our wedding has had to be rescheduled to 2021. We decided to try and rebook our trip so it could still be our honeymoon but that wasn’t possible. However Japan isn’t currently accepting foreign visitors and that’s not likely to change by October so I’m guessing whatever happens it’s going to be 2021 now.

We’re lucky to be able to afford to go so I’m not complaining. I’m lucky to have such a wonderful partner and to still have a job in the face of all the crap the world is going through right now.

I worry about the future a lot these days but I know I’ll always have two really important things every time I celebrate a birthday. I’ll always have my future wife and my myriad of interests and for that I’m extremely thankful.

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Pictured: Me walking into the metaphorical sunset that is the future wearing a ragged post-apocalyptic poncho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I can totally relate to remembering periods of your life by what you were reading/watching at the time. When my brother and I reminisce about our youth, we’ll frequently do so by referencing the shows we watched together as kids or by talking about the books we both read as teens.

    Liked by 1 person

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