Today is my 31st birthday and I’m in a contemplative mood.
Right now, I feel both connected to contemporary goings-on and disconnected from them: interacting with friends and other enthusiasts through Twitter and blogs but still not very familiar with video bloggers popular with younger groups of fans. In the past two years, I have lost interest in attending many convention events, given up on keeping pace with new anime simulcasts, and reminisced about bygone and still active anime bloggers. There are hundreds of things I want to watch and read but I often succumb to indecision about which things to start watching or reading next. I experience moments of self-doubt where I ask myself “why am I still doing this?” and “what do I have to offer?”
I sometimes wonder where I fit into the overall landscape. I’m technically a “millennial” because I was born at the early end of that generational range but I don’t feel like part of that group. I hesitate to call myself an “old-school” fan because I got into watching anime when DVD was an established format, though I did use a VCR in the early 2000’s to tape-record late-night cable TV episodes of Wolf’s Rain and other anime series so I could watch them at a more convenient time.
The journey of writing about anime, manga, and related subjects has been an long and interesting one. I ended up living through many changes in the North American anime and manga industries and wrote about some of them: publishers folding and others springing up; anime box sets and omnibus manga volumes becoming standard practices for publishers; different business approaches to anime simulcasting and digital manga releases leading up to what we have today; the use of crowdfunding for projects that may not have been possible otherwise. I somehow managed to record 12 episodes of a podcast with different guests on each one.
However, it’s not enough for me to highlight previous experience and accomplishments, step away, and say “11 years was enough”. I need to apply what I’ve learned from those experiences and continue to improve. There are so many loose ideas I want to shape into structured thoughts and many books & series I want to discuss. I want to do better, not only at writing but also as a person.
While writing this introspection, I came across a post on Quartz from December 2016 about Simone de Beauvoir. Sandy Grant, a professor of philosophy at University of Cambridge, focused on Beauvoir’s autobiography Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter and how Beauvoir shifted from insecurities as a philosopher to a passionate commitment to social change. I want to do more with other people after becoming frustrated with the growing contentiousness and tribalism in public discourse. I want to participate in and facilitate meaningful discussions.
Thank you, readers, for your support and encouragement since 2006 and moving forward.
Oh wow, we are almost the same age! (I knew this from a long time ago but then I forgot about that.) We are definitely no real millenials because we still remember a time where we went to a place on time to meet friends because we didn’t have a cell phone to call and ask where they are. :D
(My oldest VCR anime experience was that Neon Genesis Evangelion ran on some channel in the middle of the night, so I recorded the episodes and there was always porn afterwards, which was a huge shock to my teenage self.)
I’m surprised you (and many others) are still around! It’s way more than I expected actually, and I am surprised you never mentioned Random Curiosity and Star Crossed Anime Blog in your list, some of the biggest still running anime blogs out there.
I’m sure you will find ways to make anime and blogging interesting for yourself. I actually think it will most likely come naturally when a really, really great show appears. (I still remember the huge impact Haruhi had on anime blogging back in the day.)
I guess I did overlook Star Crossed & Random Curiosity when assembling that list of older anime blogs… I do remember reading both back in the day. It looks like Star Crossed has multiple writers now!
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Let us take a larger perspective in all of this. Why do movie critics hang on for so long? How many years did Judith Crist, Rex Reed, Roger Ebert ply their trade? What do WE get from doing this?
Yes, there have been times that I wanted to throw in the towel, when I see the same treacle retroweled over and over. But once in a while, I come across something stunning and exhilarating.
I often tell people of my 40-year trek with anime. I remember seeing “Astro Boy” on NBC back in 1964. My dealings with “Speed Racer” and, later on “Star Blazers”. I even watched raws of anime in the ’80s with some college buddies.
I stayed with it, as I felt there was still something there, but perhaps it was me that had the concerns. As it later turned out, it was both of us.
I stay, as i see myself as a guide to the Great Wilderness of Anime. There’s a lot out there and life is too short to watch bad shows. I still get a thrill about conventions and the seasonal line-up of latest animes get to me.
Anything you do has to come from within. I cannot help you. The best I can do is point a direction, but it must come from you to have any merit.
I always hope you will find what you seek, and if that means you must leave, then it must be so. Just be the best that you can be for yourself and the rest falls into place.
Same age. I feel like seasonal offerings always give me something cool to watch, but yeah I can’t relate to young fans and their enthusiasm for yet another school life slice of life romance comedy TV series.
Fandom is definitely in a better place than it used to be, if not only for the small contingent of fans who are striving to build on top of what previous generations of fans and anime schollars had done before them.
And I can relate about wanting to produce meaningful discussions. That’s why I hardly write anything these days, lol.
As a certified Gen-Xer let me confirm that you are a millennial. Recording “late night” anime on US TV broadcasts, even if you used VHS? Yeah, that privilege was a turn-of-the-century thing and like most turn-of-the-century things, it’s a Millennial thing.
Personally this anime habit always meant that I interacted with a lot of teens and twentysomethings in the decades since I walked this path. Those interactions often reminds me of my own journey and how I was much more interested in introspection when I was in my 20s. It’s not so much harder to do it later, but it becomes more of a challenge. Maybe it’s because I got gradually more scared to look closely at my motivations and my position in life. Maybe it is out of a sense of weariness. I don’t know, and I suspect it varies from person to person.
Today though, my struggle is trying to balance everything in my life with work, and somehow trying to get the habit in there. The problem is just a balance has only two spots.