I’ve wanted to join Oi, Hayaku even before I had my own anime blog. When there was a call for multiple authors, I immediately submitted my application. Part of the requirements was for me to submit the essay below, the essay was to answer the questions:
1. What is your favorite anime, and which anime character do you see yourself as?
2. What role do you see yourself playing in Oi, Hayaku?
Riex engineered these requirements so as to prepare the best introductory post for a new writer. Here’s mine.
Super Dimension Fortress Macross
I first saw this show when I was around 7 or 8, then read the Robotech books in college, then saw the Robotech series twice or 7 times, before seeing the original SDF-Macross early this year c/o fansubs. I mention this because I’ve seen myself as different characters in this series throughout my life as a fan. I have the distinction of being one of the active bloggers who are lifelong fans of the franchise, for at least 24 of its 25 years of its existence.
When I was a boy up until after college I held on to seeing myself as Ichijou Hikaru. One of the awesome things about him is that he completely identified himself and his destiny to flying. Flying is awesome! He was an ace, but not THE ace. It was Max, whose talent Hikaru acknowledged even as early as when Max flew in the Vermilion team as his subordinate. This actually prepared me in life to have great relationships with people who have more talent than I have. In high school and parts of college I had a number of garage bands where I played guitar and sang. It was no big deal that the other guy who played guitar smoked me, or that the drummer sang better and wrote better music, even though in high school the very image of a guitar and a rockstar wannabe was associated with me. We played better and rocked harder and without drama and I can look back and remember love fondly.
A few years ago, I started identifying more with Roy Fokker. I was older and now had friends who were younger than I am and were/are still finding their feet in life, in business and careers, or in common pursuits. I’m there to support them and It’s a role I’m quite happy with as Roy was for Hikaru. I’m not as cool and suave as Roy; in person I’m more like Basara who’s a real loud guy. But I identify with Roy because of the similar roles we play in the lives of our friends. And like him I won’t take kindly to the Lin Kaifun’s who pick on them. The fact that Roy had a stable relationship with Claudia LaSalle also really works for me, as I look forward to celebrating my 2nd anniversary of wedded bliss to the most awesome wife in the galaxy, the love of my life.
But I feel limited by this Identity these days. Blogging anime is my new hobby (it’s the new flying) and it’s a powerful and vibrant thing, and I feel awkward and thrilled and nosebleed-y that I’m a part of its world now. To me, it’s culture. It was like seeing miclones kiss for the first time when I started reading awesome exchanges over the different blogs’ comments sections. Reading a blog post sing wonderful praise about a show that I like, was music to my ears. I didn’t realize it until now, but who I am is Breetai, the Zentraedi commander who fought Macross long and hard but is distinguished by his acceptance of culture and the subsequent alliance with the humans.
I can discuss military anime with anyone; only I’d remain an entrenched Macross fan who didn’t care much for Gundam and wouldn’t be as interested in seeing the new and the different. Participating in the anime blog community transformed me. It was like when I first flew on a plane and saw the tops of clouds, lightning bolts dancing in the far distance. I tried hard to pretend I was Hikaru, though I can’t quite imagine him enjoying flying on coach. Blogging to me is like singing in flight. Zooming through space making people listen to my song gave me such release, such freedom. Like Breetai, I’m new to this culture, but I will give all I’ve got in building it and finding its new frontiers.
Oi, Hayaku! is the Super Dimension Fortress-2 Megaroad 01. While the SDF-1 Macross was a battleship, the Megaroad 01 was the first colonization ship. It really was the first attempt of the joint human and Zentraedi races to explore space, find a new home, and spread culture (which was why Minmei was on board). We Remember Love is my home, but it is decidedly a blog that celebrates the past. Oi, Hayaku! looks to create the new, to make the future. I want in on that. I didn’t really want to build my own blog at first because I thought it was too much work. I wanted to join OH! as soon as it was launched, but I had nothing to offer and nobody knew me.
But with the support of friends and many of OH!’s writers I made one. In 6 weeks We Remember Love became a place where blog-readers and commentators can come to feel good about their anime hobby, and to drink the Macross Kool-aid from a tap that never runs dry. What I bring to the table for OH! is posting on the studies of character. I often bring abstract ideas to my posts, but they are also very confessional. Distinct from the posts I’ve done and will continue to do for We Remember Love, I will bring characters to life, in front of me – as if we sat down together and smoked a pack or two. And I’m there with them – as Po Bronson was when he’d share about the different people who sought their calling in his book ”What should I do with my life?”. It will be about me too, though never as much as it would be about the subject; who, could be any character at all (I would normally stay away from leads, and characters that I would obviously like). Breetai will always have new eyes (one mechanized) to see these characters, and it’ll be a refreshing voice for OH!’s readers to listen to.
In that same book, Bronson shared about his time in San Francisco where he and other creative friends would rent an apartment and call it the “Writer’s Grotto”. This was their workplace. They were people who risked their careers to become creators. They were there to work, not to escape from work. There Bronson learned specific writing skills just by being around those who had them. This is the possibility of OH! for me as well, and I also come bearing gifts; of the likeness that is best discovered naturally and in due course, and not through the promises of an application essay.
So pick me, Oi, Hayaku! There’s space for Breetai on your ship.
…So they did, here I am and I couldn’t be happier.