Guys, I have a story to tell you. It’s about me more than anime so you might not be as interested. Consider this your warning.
I have mentioned many times on this blog that I do not have a large circle of anime-loving friends in real life. I have one but we don’t see each other that often. Besides, I think it would be mean of me to unload all my otaku enthusiasm on a single person. That’s why I’m so happy to have you guys as well!
However, something happened lately.
There have always been a few anime lovers at my work. Mostly lovely ladies. And although I was aware of their love for anime, we don’t work together directly so we never really got a chance to chat idly about our hobbies. And ever since the pandemic and working from home, I hardly see the co-workers I do work with directly, let alone those that just happen to work at my office. It’s a pretty big office. There are a lot of people I’ve never talked to at all.
So I never got a chance to develop any sort of workplace anime buddies. And with my heavy workload and unreasonably introverted personality, I was pretty sure that things would stay that way.
Most of you have figured out that I was wrong in thinking that. It would be a pretty lame story if I just said, now they all moved away so we will definitely never get a chance to talk…
A little while ago, one of these lovely ladies was looking for places where she could find a specific older manga she had decided to collect. And as introverted as I may be, when that question came to my attention, I was of course thrilled to share whatever knowledge I had on the subject. I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to talk about manga, especially one I happen to really like.
It was a short, fun, bubbly conversation that made me just a bit happier for the rest of the afternoon. And that was it.
Until! A bit after that, a completely different lovely young lady who knew of my love for anime decided to ask me if I knew anything about upcoming seasons of anime. I did and I also directed her to AniChart which she was very happy to discover. Now she can look up all the anime she’s curious about whenever the mood strikes her.
The first and second ladies are anime buddies at work so eventually, I got to be in a few more conversations here and there. Which culminated in me being invited to join them in cosplaying at a con a year from now.
I have an ambivalent relationship with cosplaying. I really like gathering up pieces of a costume and seeing them all come together. I love dressing up and getting my makeup just right. I’m a little less enchanted by wearing what are not always the most comfortable costumes for entire days in overcrowded convention halls and in the sweltering summer heat. And although I don’t exactly mind having my picture taken, I do find that an entire day of strangers coming to talk to me can be a bit exhausting.
However, I have never had the chance to cosplay as a group before. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited about it. I might even try to rope a few more people into joining us. I do know someone who is very good a sewing…
My point with this little story, other than it’s kind of cute and I wanted to share it, is this. It’s never too late to make anime friends. Or really friends in general but let’s keep to the theme of this blog.
I don’t hide my love for anime but I don’t advertise it overtly either. Most people who know me better than just in passing do know that I enjoy Japanese animation a lot and several of my colleagues (and bosses) know about this blog. You would think that I would be a bit more careful about what I write on here, but I like t think that there’s no way they are reading every single post. At least, I hope!
For the most part, they tell me their kids love One Piece. It’s great, I’m everyone’s cool aunt or something.
It never occurred to me that my hobby would help me connect to people more or less my own age. Have I mentioned they are lovely people?
Even though the times are a changing, I still sometimes remember when loving anime as an adult was seen as odd. And that’s a polite way of putting it. And there is still this sort of exclusionary attitude that exists in our community. Not everyone of course. But you do still run across people that have a sort of us vs them mindset pretty frequently and it can fool you into thinking that people aren’t interested in talking about anime with you and that maybe you shouldn’t just share your thoughts on it with everyone.
So I wanted to share a story where the opposite was true. Just staying generally open about anime has provided me with a really fun opportunity and there are a lot of anime fans out there who aren’t on all the forums or getting into online arguments and would love to meet more people to have a chill little fan moment with.
If you already have tons of anime buddies then I am happy for you. I hope you keep getting more. And if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll find some soon! Or eventually… Took me a few years.