Every year, I go through great lengths to let those I share a community with on the website of Kitsu that I appreciate them. This is for a number of reasons, but primarily as a way of showing gratitude for all the memories and wonderful care they have given to me. I experienced tremendous loss several years ago, and some of the most generous and empathetic users on the then site Hummingbird were the ones who helped me shoulder that burden. It promoted love, kindness, and a level of support that I will never forget. Since then, I’ve been doing posts celebrating these people each September for the past fives years. This brings me to today, and I’ve run into a wall. I don’t want to repeat myself and lessen the impact they’ve had upon me. So, this year I’ve decided to do a series of posts centered around an idea. This idea is simple as well. Each post I will show some appreciation for an anime or manga that means something special to me because of the relationship I share with a person. It’s a way to bridge the gap between anime and users and appreciate both simultaneously. To start off the month, I asked a large number of community members to share some of their own experiences with anime/manga and how it was impacted by the people around them as well. This blog post will be the board of their feelings and memories. For my posts you can follow along right HERE throughout the month of September.
If you have your own anime journey that was impacted by a friend or family, please comment below. I’d love to read through and reply to each and every one of them personally. This post is a compilation of blurbs gathered from people I’m lucky enough to know and be friends with. These are their stories!
My best friend got me into Dragon Ball, and then Dragon Ball Z as a kid. We’d spend hours pretending to be saiyans, throwing invisible ki blast at each other from across the yard. The internet was still in its infancy, and geocities fan sites presented new super saiyan forms as if they were true concept art. I remember how excited we were for those. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the DBZ AMV’s. We’d download those on line wire and watch them together. DBZ was a fundamental part of my childhood, and a grounding point for a friendship that has mostly grown apart over the years.
For me, that would be RWBY. I was following that show way back when the prologue trailers were being released and started watching the series weekly when it first started but I quickly lost interest. Fast forward 6 years to 2019, I decided to give it another shot and ended up liking it quite a bit. The first season itself had a really low budget and it’s really obvious but it had a certain charm to it. After that, I convinced a friend of mine to try it out too. She was about one volume (season) behind me and we’d chat about it as she went through it too. Eventually, I caught up to the series, and she not long after me and we both realized it was something really special. The two of us related to two characters, in particular, Blake and Yang and we saw bits of each other in both of them. We talked a ton about how we interpreted various things and we really bonded over that show and those characters in particular constantly writing about them and sharing art shipping the two and such. We were good friends going into the series but after that, we were practically siblings and we even called each other sisters after that. What was striking was that I was in an abusive relationship at the time and one of the characters, Blake, was in a similar situation with a partner who acted scarily similar to mine at the time. Eventually, she’s able to finally get out of that for good with the help of Yang and this friend of mine helped me do the exact same thing. We continued to bond over the series and the bumblebee has been a symbol of our bond since (Blake and Yang are represented by black and yellow respectively). Today, I’m married to that friend and I would not be the person I am today without her and we might not have grown so close if it weren’t for her deciding to watch RWBY with me and giving me so many more reasons to love it. And that’s the story of how my wife and I started dating and how RWBY became my favorite anime
After thinking hard, the biggest impact someone else has had on an anime in my life and therefore, my interpretation of said anime would have to be Kitsu user Energetic_Nova and the series Neon Genesis Evangelion. I had just finished watching the series on my own slightly before I joined Kitsu. I had loved it dearly but was left unable to interpret it. That is until I met Nova on Kitsu. Many know her as the Evangelion #1 fan on there. Through my many talks about the series with her over the past 2-3 years I’ve been a Kitsu member, I’ve grown such an appreciation and deep love for the series and especially its’ main character Shinji through her. Hearing her thoughts, what the show meant to her, and just general discussion has pushed the series to become such a deep part of my life, and that is mostly thanks to her. I also decided to read the manga (and now I own all of it) thanks to her. I think if I had not met her, I wouldn’t have had the series and it’s characters to lean on in my times of crisis the last few years. I find solace in Evangelion thanks to her. It truly means a lot.
My personal nomination would be Jojo’s Bizarre adventure. I remember a while back when I was first starting anime and experimenting with watching anime seasonally, I was put off by Jojo’s artstyle and the elitist mentality that surrounds it. It was during a time when I was stressed from university work and just wanted a good looking show that would allow me to escape from reality. I was not about to start a show with this much polarizing criticism. Fast forward to just last year, when Jojo’s 4th entry to the series, Golden Wind, was airing, and I was told the show was perceived much much better, both visually and storywise. I always keep track of shows that get high appraisal from the general community and it really began to conflict with my past convictions. Coupled with all the funny memes and the seemingly dying down of the elitist mentality around the show, I decided that this would be a great time to start the series. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the show in general. The dramatic expressions, the incredibly flamboyant displays and sounds, and the extremely unique artstyle immediately attracted me and made me want to continue on. The sound effects, music, and exaggerated style of the show just speak to me and what I like about anime. Today, albeit a slow process, I have finally started Golden Wind, and it is by far my favorite Jojo season. I will continue to watch and anticipate future entries to this magnificent series.
I think for me the best example is Interviews With Monster Girls, or Demi-chan wa Kataritai. It was one of the first anime I watched on my introduction to the anime world back in 2018, introduced to me by my old schoolfriend Ryan. Over a series of sessions, I watched it with Ryan and two of my other old schoolfriends, Tom and Russell. I love the show in its own right: it’s well-written off the back of some lovely source materials, I adore the characters (in particular, the cute genki-ness of Hikari) and it’s got some really fascinating messages around how our differences make us who we are, how we react and live next to the differences we see in others. But when watching it with my schoolfriends, more than anything, it gave me a real strong sense of nostalgia for our times together back at school. The hanging out, the general tomfoolery, the feeling as if there was never a care in the world. I like to think, for a brief moment in this busy world we live in, it gave them all the same nostalgic feeling too.
Kait and Kenshin – When a love from the lawless wasteland that was 2003, and a love for a new and budding friendship that started in some form of 2015 collide, you don’t immediately connect the dots as to what changes in your perspectives and views between that timespan. But for me, one thing certainly did. While I used to watch Rurouni Kenshin and love it as a kid Because “Impressionable ten year old” and “Fighting cartoon,” it wasn’t until several years later and the influence of a girl named Kait, a girl that would go on to become, and still is, one of my closest friends, that it would grow to mean so much more. At anime cons, you meet people. Maybe share Facebook info to tag in cosplay photos after the weekends over and your hangover is cured. But .. sometimes those friendships last. Randomly, over two years after we met at the con, and living over three hours from one another, we began texting. And…never really stopped. And the topic that started it all was anime. Then, she showed me her love for Rurouni Kenshin. A childhood favorite of mine, but a full work of perfect art for her. And in 2019, we decided to see each other for the first time in almost 5 years, by getting together to watch the live action Kenshin films. Seeing an internet friend in person is always kind scary. You worry you won’t feel the same in person like you do behind a screen. And that fear was put to bed for me less than an hour into being around her. Watching those films. Talking about RK and using that as a springboard for other topics? To the point, we very well may be cosplaying together as characters from the show if the virus ever decided to go the way of JFK? My appreciation for Rurouni Kenshin has changed completely from the age of 10 to 26. And it’s all because of one random Trunks cosplayer that years later I can call a best friend.
I could come up with several answers the question, as there are several if not dozens of titles that I would have never watched if not for a recommendation. Kaiji and Initial D are two such examples, where Kaiji was recommended to me by multiple friends and Initial D is a show that I’ve watched with one of my best friends after we discovered the beauty of Eurobeat. However, to accurately pinpoint the best and most influential pick, I would have to go way back in November 2014, when I have decided to give anime a “second chance”. Previous to that year, I had completed Naruto and Shaman King, pretty much the only two anime I can recall seeing as a kid. In my mind, I was 100% convinced that there is no possible way that anime can be more interesting than Naruto, as I was biased due to my peers I was associating myself with in Middle-school and eventually High-school. Eventually, our classroom teacher in High-school rearranged our seats, and I got sited with an otaku who ended up becoming one of my best buds. This bud of mine is the one who gave me a push to watch anime, and to start with BLEACH. This is where anime really took off for me, as BLEACH demonstrated that an anime can have an interesting plot, great character development and AMAZING OSTs. BLEACH is definitely not a masterpiece, but for me personally, this anime is the reason I am here now, having watched 600+ shows and counting up. I would have never reached this point without my friend and BLEACH, as there are high chances that if he recommended me Death Note or SAO or AOT instead, I would have probably dropped the idea that I could get into anime. Nothing against those shows, they are good in their own rights. However, from the perspective of an outsider who does not believe anime is worth anything, it’s easy to gauge the importance of BLEACH and how it managed to completely reverse that thought-process.
The anime I choose is Shirobako. My boyfriend Simon helped me to appreciate this anime more than I think I would have if I hadn’t watched it with him. He is very passionate about it because it’s basically an insight into the kind of thing he does for a living (not exact but pretty dang close). He explained a lot more about the anime and the makings to me that gave me a better understanding. When you hear someone talk about a subject with such passion you can’t help but appreciate that subject so much more.
An anime I appreciate because of someone else is Yu Yu Hakusho! I watched it with my bro @Doaks (I know, I know, really obscure user. I’m sure none of you know him.) You see when I was about 11 years old and my bro 17, we ventured into the land of anime together. Well, he’d already been familiar with some of the biggies from back in the day on Toonami, and all I’d really seen was Pokemon, Yugioh, and Totoro without knowing they were anime. Our oldest bro borrowed a season at a time of DBZ from a friend of his and Doaks started a rewatch of this childhood show and I decided to watch for the first time! Our bro just didn’t borrow the DVDs fast enough for us though, so we had to resort to another childhood fave, Yu Yu Hakusho! Now this was back in the olden days of 2009 so there weren’t really these newfangled streaming services and we were too poor to buy DVDs. But Doaks happened to find this awesome site where someone uploaded all the dubbed Yu Yu episodes in high quality! That’s literally all the site was if I remember right haha. (I’m sure it’s long gone now, RIP) So we began our journey of watching Yu Yu on our old box desktop computer, in our uncomfortable wooden dining room chairs. Sometimes we’d even watch hours at a time! Our early anime days were quite the bonding experience as my bro got to re-experience childhood faves of his and I got to see these shows for the first time. I think it’s why even now today, shonen like Yu Yu Hakusho and DBZ are some of my favorite shows. Yu Yu was also my first finished anime, so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart and remind me of that first summer of anime before I began the dreaded middle school. Thanks for showing me your old fave shonens, bro! Things would’ve turned out pretty different for us if we didn’t venture into weebdom, and eventually end up on HB/Kitsu.
I first watched Walkure Romanze in September of 2019 together with my brother. It was at a low point in both of our lives. He had recently been informed that the promotion and associated full-time employment that had been verbally promised after his time-limited contract ran out was not gonna happen. Not gonna go into more detail than that; suffice it to say he got screwed over royally and ended up unemployed. On my end I was having an incredibly rough recovery after surgery for a life-threatening condition, with associated trips to the ER, family doctor, dietist, physiotherapist, and a slew of other healthcare professionals multiple days every week. I was on the verge of breaking, both mentally and physically. Neither of us were at our finest. That’s were Walkure Romanze comes in. A show about teenage girls jousting in full, hilariously ugly CG plate armor while riding some of the ugliest horses I’ve seen in anime. That’s not all though, cause it religiously adheres to tropes that were tired 10 years before it came out. The main character keeps running face first into boobs, walking in on one of the girls changing, or falling and accidentally pulling someone’s panties down. Ridiculous fanservice is a constant presence in Walkure Romanze. Even one of the fucking horses get in on the “lol anime”-action and helps undress one of the female characters. The show has neither pretensions nor a sense of shame. We spent half of it on the floor laughing our asses off. It was exactly the type of trashy show we needed. We still talk about it often. Watching it together was one of the only positive things in either of our lives back then.
When it comes to an anime that I appreciate because of someone else the first that pops up would be the series “Nana” due to Ren. There are many reasons why I appreciate this series, but I guess what I really loved was being able to talk to Ren afterwards about the series due to how much many of its themes and flawed characters resonated with me and due to me relating to that series so heavily, I felt like it allowed me to understand Ren as a person even more than what I had thought to believe. It was like a gateway for the both of us to show how flawed each of us can be because we were able to connect the dots between characters to ourselves and just seeing her love and appreciation towards the series allowed me to see just how special of a gem it is. The discussions we had felt very honest and I was really happy it wasn’t so much on an academic side but more so we just spoke based off feeling, and I don’t know Ren is a big reason I finally watched Nana and I love it a lot.
Back when the manga series Gotoubun no Hanyome was still ongoing and the anime adaptation had only just finished, an acquaintance of mine who goes by the name Sabre convinced me to start reading it. It had been a long time since I’d read manga, let alone because of someone else. I immediately fell in love with the series and the discussions I had with Sabre about it continuously gave me an even deeper appreciation for it. Over time, being able to keep talking about the series with him became a driving force to why I kept reading. I owe it to Sabre that a period of my life was defined by my love for the series, and since then we have grown much closer as friends.
I came to watch Tari Tari through my good friend ThomVD, and his passion for this series certainly bled through to me. I watched it after a certain period in our Discord server where we had a channel dedicated to some of our favorite shows, and Tari Tari felt like it almost revitalized that sentiment in our hearts and quickly became one of my finer memories with both the Studio PA Works, as well as my friend Thommy. Even though the show itself may not be amazing itself, the pure joy of some of its assets, like the fabulous humor, beautiful visuals and intriguing characters made me fall in love with it. It is an emotional rollercoaster and one I probably wouldn’t have come to experience without Thom. After watching Tari Tari I have come to appreciate a lot of things a lot more, not only PA Works themselves, but also to enjoy life, keeping in touch with your friends and being grateful for the things you have, and especially those you can share. Once again I would like to thank ThomVD for giving me the chance to experience this show with him and wish you all the best for the future! And be grateful to your friends, they make life so much more vivid =)
There’s been a few anime that I’ve watched in person with friends or family. I seem to always get a luke warm responses, though, which makes my memory of “In This Corner of the World” just a bit sweeter as it was probably the most well received anime I’ve watched with my parents. Usually, after watching an anime movie with me, they’ll say it was entertaining enough and that would be that. But after this WWII, slice of life / drama movie, all three of us talked about it for days. They liked the story, they mentioned getting used to the animation, and even caught on to the fact that a Christmas song was playing in the background in the beginning when I had missed it. They even said they wouldn’t mind a rewatch to catch how the two main characters had met earlier than anyone knew; which is huge, they never want to rewatch. We didn’t just about the movie either, it got all of us thinking about one of my grandfathers too. Talking about him stationed in Japan after the war, and what souvenirs and memories he had brought back. It was a lovely time with my parents, a little bittersweet, and overall a gratifying experience.
One such anime that I absofreakinglutely love is Aria, which was introduced to me by my boyfriend. Aria is a show that my partner has always admired and spoke of high values. We watched it together and discussed about the episode afterwards. Well having watched it with my partner already made it special to me ,but the show itself was a bigger treat than I expected. Aria has variety of fleshed out and inspiring characters, serene world building and ost that soothes your soul. Funny enough we started watching Aria as friends and by the time we completed watching 3 seasons, we were a couple.
While I was studying in another city, I got a really good friend that was a big movie buff. We’d occasionally watch some movies together and have long chats about anything really, often of the philosophical kind. As he was a movie buff, he wasn’t against me showing him some anime and before he moved away I managed to show him the first season of K-On along with the movie. However, there were two anime I got an increased appreciation for because of him. Angel’s Egg was one of the first we watched together and he’s Christian, so it was quite interesting to hear his thoughts on it. In his opinion it didn’t have a Christian message but rather Christian themes. We also watched a bunch of Ghibli movies like Ponyo, Grave of Fireflies, Marnie, Howl’s, and more. Most importantly was Only Yesterday, a movie I didn’t particularly find all that interesting, but that was highly elevated by watching it together with him. Each time they talked about the past in the movie, we’d end up reminising about our own past. He told me about a near-death experience when he was riding a car with his brother on a highway and he lost control of the car and crashed. However, he was super lucky and the car flew over the guard rail, landing completely flat on the ground and he came out unscratched. It was quite the miracle according to him. If things went a tiny bit differently he’d be dead in that accident. I’d never have heard of these stories if it wasn’t for this movie. It elevated an anime I’d give a 6 all the way up to an 8. The viewing circumstances can definitely affect a score just as much as the content itself imo.
Well the show I would choose is something like Inuyashiki. I watched it while it aired with my boyfriend, and after the first episode we didn’t think much of it but were inclined to continue it. It was the second episode that had won us over. My boyfriend had read a few chapters of Gantz, which has the same mangaka as Inuyashiki. In the episode, the main antagonist has a line where he tells a character that “Gantz sucks” and “Nami is the best One Piece character” lolol, and my boyfriend and I were tickled by that sort of meta humor. So we were always looking forward to the next episode, week after week, until we finally finished the show. By the end, we became endeared to the kind-hearted main character and even that edgy antagonist. That enjoyable experience was built upon watching the show with someone else. I think sharing laughter and jokes is the best way for someone to connect with any sort of story, which is what happened with me and Inuyashiki. Had I watched it by myself, I can’t say I would love it as much as I do now. My boyfriend and I often jest how Inuyashiki is the “perfect 8/10” and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
I started watching Kemono no Souja Erin after having it on my watchlist for a long time and getting it recommended by several friends. I mentioned I was gonna watch it in a discord server and a certain girl said that she also wanted to watch it, so we decided to watch it at the same time. We watched around 8 episodes a day for a week and were discussing what happened constantly. We were both super into the anime and sharing this wonderful journey together made us a lot closer to each other. It went from being regular friends and not talking too much, to us being solid friends. It was also the start for us watching more anime together and eventually falling in love with each other. So all in all, Kemono no Souja Erin has a special place in my heart, partially thanks to sharing the adventure with a person who is now very special to me.
Honestly, there is actually a lot of anime out there that I appreciate because of somebody else, and so, the decision initially wasn’t easy. Then it hit me though – that one of these anime in the selection is a lot more important to me on a personal level, so I figured – hey, why not go with this one? And it really is a super personal one, but I also don’t mind talking about it – because hey, maybe somebody thinks this is interesting as well, heh. The bottom line is, I’m trans. And there is one person who helped me discover that, back in 2015. We’ve known each other for a while by that point, and I don’t know if she had a hunch or just wanted to tease me, but one day she kind of got me into a situation where I realized it on my own. A day afterwards, she pitched one particular anime to me, because she figured that with the insight I got the day before (she told me the day before I should imagine myself as a schoolgirl in a yuri relationship, since I love yuri a ton), I might appreciate it. That one turned out to be Yuru Yuri, which while not actually having dedicated yuri (most of it is subtext without ever actually explicitly following through) was still something I really needed at that point. I pretty much devoured all the episodes that were out at the time in about two or three days (and S3 started airing then) because I had way too much fun, and… well, not only did one character turn out to be my favorite character of all time in the process, but also turned into kind of a role model (you know, the kind of person I’d like to be). If it wasn’t for that friend… well, I probably would have stumbled across that anime too, but much later. Because she pointed me towards it at the right time though, it had a pretty formative effect on me – shaped my current taste to a pretty good degree. And honestly? For that I’m really grateful.
So the anime I chose for your challenge and one that has now a special place in my heart is Symphogear which I watched with my GF. I once had seen a review of the show calling it at best a generic mess and it left me feeling not wanting to see it. So fast forward to my GF, she had become a huge fan of the show and by this point she wanted us to watch it together. Now we had seen some anime together already with Wotakoi and After the Rain and it was on YouTube at the time because of the mobile game was coming out (RIP Symphogear XD Unlimited English) so I agreed and holy shit we loved it and found a watch where we would talk about the episode we just saw for hours and hours. She made me realize that I was too harsh on my thoughts and doubts and we still talk about it now and will in the future. It helped us grow and bond over an anime and I can never thank Symphogear enough for that.
I’ve had people recommend anime to me many times, and sometimes I’ve really appreciated those recommendations, but I never really strongly associated those anime with the people recommending them. Until TehRei. TehRei’s rec of Gakkou Gurashi wasn’t by itself any different than the many other recommendations I’ve received in my life; what made his recommendation so remarkable was that I was able to discuss the anime with him – at length – and I think this increased my enjoyment and more significantly, the impact this experience had on my memory. Rei engaged me with every goofy, philosophical, sociological thought I came up with, giving a thoughtful retort and bringing points that expanded my paradigm in ways I hadn’t expected. I don’t know how legitimate this entry is considering this all happened virtually – you can still find these (lengthy) conversations on Kitsu, if you like – but I’ve never had an experience like this regarding anime in my real life. I’ve shared some of my favorite anime with those I loved, discussed anime with co-workers, but nothing really came close to this experience as far as deeply examining the effect an anime had on me or others and the thoughts it brought to mind. I am very grateful for that opportunity, and I’ve since been able to do similar things with other anime and other people, but that experience with Gakkou Gurashi will stick in my mind forever.
And that is all I got, and we got, and they got, and so forth for now! If you want to post your own stories below, I’d love to read them and comment back to you! Either way, just keep loving anime with your friends, family, and all those in between! Happy September Everyone, and here’s to appreciating those we are ever so lucky to know and be close to.
Reminder: I’ll be posting my own types of these stories all throughout the month on my Kitsu. Feel free to comment and drop in on those if you would like.