Remember the Moment When You Really Fell Hard for Something?


In the manga Memories of Emanon (story by Kajio Shinji, illustrations by Tsuruta Kenji), the protagonist and narrator begins by remembering (or flashing back to) the moment he met Emanon on a ferry, a strange, seemingly wandering and rootless woman – the kind us men tell ourselves not to fall in love with, but we fall in love with her anyway. He tells us the events that characterized 1967, including the status of the space race (Apollo Project), and the things that he concerned himself with (failed love).

Do you remember when your first experience of a work of anime or manga that told you this was something special, that it was something as good or better than anything you’ve seen or read before in all other media? I’m not talking about the shows or comics you consumed as a kid, because you wouldn’t have seen or read much by that time. I’m talking about that thing that made you want to talk about it for days; that thing that made you proud that you understood how special it is, and perhaps a bit sad that others may have a tough time understanding it, or why you like it so much; how liking it made you different from other people.

Yeah, that piece among your favorites.

For me, it happened rather late. It was Cowboy Bebop and only in 2004 (I had a profound experience with Neon Genesis Evangelion a year earlier, but I still didn’t make up my mind about it). A good friend of mine had encouraged me to watch it for some time, but I only came around when I took one song from the movie OST (‘Gotta Knock a Little Harder’) along  with me on a grueling 1,000km road trip that I figured I was a fool for ignoring this show all this time. In 2004 I was 27, and working the presidential campaign of (now outgoing President) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, traveling from town to town to pay for the expenses of the campaign sorties. I was in the thick of her controversial victory.

At the time I had begun to date the woman who would become my wife.

I was in love, with a woman and life itself that I could appreciate the humor in the long dark trip that Cowboy Bebop took me with. The Summer Olympics were held in Athens that year, and in the USA, George W. Bush was re-elected as President after a controversial election as well.

Tell me about your moment.


Why am I suddenly interested in this? It’s because of Memories of Emanon. A single volume manga that in less than 200 pages showed me the possibility of storytelling, and how wonderful it is to behold a beautiful young woman while you are a young man yourself. That night on the ferry reminded me of Richard Linklater’s film Before Sunrise, a one night love story that made me fantasize of French girls and backpacking through Vienna as a teenager.

There is something wonderful about an improbable love, perhaps how the affair feels like an affront to fate itself makes it fuller with meaning.

But this is where the similarities end. Memories of Emanon is a delightfully simple but engaging piece of science fiction as well. It also explores the destiny of living beings, as well as the sheer immensity of the past. I won’t go into further detail because the discovery of these things is a big part of the delight in this story.

It is 2010, I am a new father and at a crossroads in my career. The son of former president (the late) Corazon Aquino is now the President of our republic while the son of Ferdinand Marcos is in the Senate (and Imelda Marcos herself back in congress; YES HER). The financial fabric of the world is unraveling before my very eyes. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are making tennis history by breaking records seemingly in every tournament they play in. This is part of how I will remember the Memories of Emanon.

Tell me how you remember your own moments.

Further Reading

I came by this manga through the helpful recommendations of Hige, who now has a manga exclusive site: Manga Desu.
Find it here.
An extensive post on specific anime moments that become definitive experiences (Executive Otaku 11/13/2009).

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in fanboy, first impressions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Remember the Moment When You Really Fell Hard for Something?

  1. Will of the wisps says:

    I can only say how much I loved Memories of Emanon, and how glad I am to see another share the same equisite feeling I had after reading this. At the same time, I hoped upon hope that someone would translate Wandering of Emanon. The artist has a knack for drawing so… human and so pretty…so captivating faces. Almost like reading YKK.

    As for your question, I remember when I first finished Manabi Straight. It was seven years into the turn of the century, I was graduating high school into a world with unknown job security. Bush was still the president, and the world never recovered from 9/11. Canadian soldiers were fighting in Afganistan, and the war in Iraq popped up on the evening news daily. Tiger Woods was still respected, and Michael Jackson was still suspected to be a child molester. The BackStreet Boys tried to make a come back and failed.

    Amongst all of this, was Manabi Straight’s ending. An ending about parting, about graduation and scattering to the corners of the earth. About leaving friends one knew for all of highschool, and going into unfamiliar territory of work, university, and life. (It reminded me of an AMV I saw just this morning about SYD and using the train as a symbolism of parting. Incidentally, it also reminded me of Bunkagu Shoujo the movie and Voices of the Distant Star, both beautiful movies in their own right.) What it gave me was hope. Hope that one day I will come back to my high school friends and they, too, would welcome me back as the crew in Manabi Straight did, although our life’s journey seperates us.

    Now, as I approach graduation again and a new beginning in graduate school, I can recall these feelings again. At the same time, these feelings differ now. I would like to think I am more mature now, and I know we will remain distant friends at best once I leave my undergraduate friends. Never the less, Manabi Straight still stir up a hidden desire in me for reunion after parting. In Bungaku Shoujo’s terms, perhaps the galactic train that I will take goes to a different station than their’s, I can still meet them occasionally on the train stations. Sort of like how the man and Emanon’s path crossed again, at, interestingly enough, a train station.

    • I can remember the whole experience of finishing Manabi Straight as well – because a few hours after finishing it, I had a *massive* mental breakdown. I was going into 11th grade at the time (lol), and I was at the time planning to do very well that year. I signed up for advanced classes and was planning to really dedicate myself to school, which I hadn’t been doing in a long time.

      However, I spent that entire summer terrified of the year to come as much as I was excited about it. There was one voice in my head telling me that I was making the right choice in preparing myself for college, and another voice was telling me that I was fucking up, that I didn’t care about school or college, and that this would destroy me.

      The moment in the Manabi ending that got to me was when Manabi herself declares that she plans to become a freeter. This was a character who’d inspired me beyond belief throughout the show, and then chosen what at the time looked like the most respectable career path imaginable – a path that wasn’t afraid of unsureness and living hard. It was a life I really yearned for, and the images of Manabi riding on her scooter to work in the ending theme have been eternally seared into my eyes.

      The night that I watched it, I cried and cried and cried uncontrollably, shaking like a leaf, more terrified than I’d ever been. I started sending messages to my older, college-student friends online begging them to tell me if I was doing the right thing, or just to tell me anything, anything to comfort me through my terror. I wanted to be a freeter so. bad. but I was so scared.

      How did this all turn out? I went into the 11th grade with those advanced classes, instantly tanked into becoming a depressed hikkikomori, almost got myself expelled from school for writing a paper that implied I might kill myself over my English class (lol), dropped to basic class, and then watched ef a tale of memories, got ultra-inspired to become a director, spent the rest of my year with low grades and my head in the clouds, always thinking I was going to drop out and pursue some magical directing career. I still basically wanted to be Manabi, but I never could. I still can’t. I’ve always been too scared. I still don’t know what’s going to happen.

      • Will of the wisps says:

        21st Century boy, you can still be Manabi, though. Manabi is not Manabi because she becaome a freeter. Manabi is Manabi because she became a freeter to follow her dreams rather than the convention. I think it is her conviction (enough to sprout doves and flyover scene to rival any shiny anime characters) is what draws us to her, and from your blog, you seem to have a lot of opinions.

        I am acutally envious of you — I have a lot of thoughts on anime (e.g. on train as a symbol of parting and dynamics of parting portrayed in anime) that I would like to get off my chest, but I am always scared to start a blog.

        • Will of the wisps says:

          Also, I am appalled that your school thought to expell you over a sign for suicidal ideation. All of my training in health care is setting off alarms about it being extremely unethical and unfair.

          • Well, the expelling part was because of something my guidance counselor (whose fucking retarded) mistook for a threat against my teacher lol.

            You’re right about Manabi – I still don’t really know what my dreams are. I hope I fulfill them one day.

        • If you’re scared to start a blog, why not write here for the mean time? I’ll get in touch with you using the email you used here to comment.

          • Will of the wisps says:

            My apologies, but please write to this address if possible. The one I used on previous posts is rather temporary.


    • Thank you for your generous share. It was love at first sight for me with this manga, the reasons for which needn’t be mentioned between us fans.

      2007 was an interesting year for me as well. I started a new job, a rather difficult one in hindsight filled with many setbacks that I was just about to face.

      But it was a great year too, as my wife and I were newlyweds tramping around Southeast Asia. I haven’t started playing tennis yet, but my wife and I marathoned The Prince of Tennis. My innocence of how tennis is really played allowed me to enjoy nearly 200 episodes of that silly show.

      But I also was introduced to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and my love for anime began a new chapter, leading to new highs.

      It’s too bad I haven’t seen the shows you’ve mentioned (besides Hoshi no Koe, but I will consider seeing them at some point.

  2. vucubcaquix says:

    I was a ridiculously angsty teen that was failing all of his classes at a premiere and very selective high school (five failing grades out of seven in one semester at one point), and for some reason FLCL spoke straight to all of my insecurities about what being mature meant and the idea of putting on airs of maturity and what that really means, and how ineffectual it really is to rage at absurdities you perceive in life. It’s left a pretty hard mark on my life, so much so that when I finally graduated from high school (a semester late) I asked for a vespa instead of a car. I’m still riding that same scooter, Stella, six years later.

    With age and a bit of perspective, I think I recognize that if I saw that same anime for the first time at some other point in my life (like for instance, now) it probably wouldn’t have the same impact since I believe the themes present within it wouldn’t be as relevant. I’m not nearly as bitter and angry and scared now as I was then, so for me that moment I fell hard for something also coincides with a moment in my life when I was most receptive to what that something had to say. Even if I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

    So after all that, I’m glad I saw it when I did, because I have FLCL to thank (blame?) for turning me into the anime fan that I am now.

    • With age and a bit of perspective, I think I recognize that if I saw that same anime for the first time at some other point in my life (like for instance, now) it probably wouldn’t have the same impact since I believe the themes present within it wouldn’t be as relevant.

      This is what I suspect (as do the good friends who recommend the show to me) is the reason I never could get into FLCL. I tried watching it at least four times in as many years and I actually finished it just last year.

      However, this reason doesn’t hold given how much I can connect strongly with other stories set in high school or college (Onani Master Kurosawa, Honey and Clover). I’ve only read such manga/seen such shows already in my 30s.

      • kadian1364 says:

        Your problem with FLCL has to be with its aesthetic style. To not understand is one thing, but rebooting a fairly short OVA 3 times before finishing indicates to me that you found it off-putting at some basic level. The anime’s off-the-wall, in-your-face animation and unique, boisterous soundtrack are part of why it’s considered a classic, but I can see where some people might find it all to be too much.

        If all explanations fail, then you could at least make a post about it!

        • I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now, since I’m surrounded with people who adore FLCL. I don’t think I have a problem with its style. It’s dripping with style and I appreciate the creativity, spunk, and inventiveness behind it. I have also been listening to the Pillows for some time now — I was loving the OST even before I finished the show.

          I just don’t connect with it really, and I don’t think my opinion on the matter is all that interesting. Maybe I should just watch it again.

  3. I can’t tell you anything that was happening in the out in the world when I watched any given anime. I’m just a boy – the world hasn’t had a chance to concern me yet, so I haven’t been paying attention to it. But I can tell you exactly what I was feeling at the time that I watched any anime – those tend to fall more into the Diary of an Anime Lived category, though. I can still tell some that weren’t connected to my personal life, even if shit was happening.

    … nothing juicy comes to mind, though, lol.

    • You’re just inattentive. I remember how it was when I watched Metallica in concert when I was 16. I felt my life was complete LOL. But at the time we as a country were still celebrating how we reclaimed Clark Air Base and the Subic Naval Base (your dad served in one of these bases IIRC) from the USA.

      We had just endured the last summer when we had regular power outtages. We were hopeful because our President was also a hero and a military man. I was an incoming senior in High School, and thought it was going to be the best year of my life.

      It wasn’t. It was stinking awful.

  4. Charles says:

    Before I read your example, I was thinking the same: Cowboy Bebop. I first watched it when a lot of us did, I guess, when it premiered on Adult Swim. Maybe someone commenting will have had that same moment at the exact same time!

    I hadn’t seen a WHOLE lot of anime at that time – a few movies, a couple of series. The buzz was building for Cowboy Bebop, and I had looked it up on the Internet, seeing what appeared to be unanimous acclaim. I was excited.

    The first episode took my breath away – I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. The fight scenes, the homage to El Mariachi, the beauty of the animation, the high-quality voice acting, Tank!, and the tenseness in wondering if Spike could take down the drugged-up antagonist. The ultimate demise of the two villains also got to me.

    However, what really told me that I was watching something AMAZING was the ED. Beautiful, melancholic and pretty, it also told me that this show was going to work on two levels: it had already shown me that it was something that was able to compete critically with any media I’d seen. But through the ending song, I could also tell there was going to be an amazing and deep heart to it.

    I couldn’t help but spew to my best friend and roommate about my find, although he’d been making fun of my “Tenchi” show for months now. “Cowboy Bebop” was the newest fodder added. But I didn’t care. I’d found something that was truly amazing.

    • The Cartoon Network in the Philippines didn’t show Adult Swim until around 2005-2006. I had discovered Bebop through a good friend, and via bootlegged DVDs. More accurately, via the compact discs of the OSTs he burned tracks for me.

      I had been watching anime since I was a very young kid (around 1980), but it wasn’t until this decade and because of the internet and the communities here that I became this kind of raving anime and manga fanatic.

      But yeah, Asteroid Blues is boss, though my favorite episode is and always will be Hard Luck Woman.

  5. 2DT says:

    Have you seen the sequel, Before Sunset? I feel like that film might be more relevant for the context that you’re writing this in, because we get older and life craps on us a little bit, and we think that we can’t rekindle the kind of passion that we used to have… and then suddenly, one day, we do.

    I’ll check out this title. Thanks.

    • Yes, I have seen it, and I do love it too. From twitter I know you’ve read the manga by now. Do you still think Sunset is the more appropriate example?

      I thought the encounter at the end of the story is poignantly different than how Sunset played out, so I thought the meeting that creates the memory would be more relevant (Before Sunrise).

      But yeah, that song she played for him, but not quite, but maybe, not really, let’s just say it is… it was a great ending for me.

      • 2DT says:

        You know, having read Emanon, I still stand by that assessment. Sure, Before Sunset ends with the possibility of the fling finally becoming something more, while Emanon ends with life going on, but being haunted by memory I think is what matters.

        Like this part:

        • Will wait until I’ve rewatched Sunset. I just watched Sunrise and I felt stronger about my comparison. But I’m glad I’m rewatching this, thanks for engaging me!

        • Having rewatched it, I see your point I think.

          What makes me hesitate now is how by under the auspices of the romanticism that they supposedly lost that night, they’re going to mess up their lives in the present.

          After all,

          He’s going to miss that plane.

  6. Ryan says:

    Gaaah… I’m going to have trouble responding properly, but I am going to read this within the next day or two and get a sense of what you’re talking about. Also, I think the Before Sunrise/Sunset is something pretty much everyone needs to either experience or watch… it’s like a challenge for the soul; the essence of letting go, maybe.

    God it’s so hard.

    • LOL I love both movies, though for me it was more of a fantasy rather than an actual memory. I had never done anything like the characters of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy did. But yeah who doesn’t want a love affair with a young French girl?

      But as I said to 2DT… that ending! What a song. That really did a number on me.

      Have fun with this manga.

  7. I can’t think of any off the top of my head for some reason, but I’ve definitely had moments like this where something I encounter defines me.
    Well, it’s not exactly the same, but recently I’ve been noticing how the Visual Novel ‘Umineko no Naku Koro ni’ has been influencing the way I think and perceive the world. If anyone’s interested, I did a blog about it the other day coincidentally,

    But yeah, apart from that, I’m sure there have been many moments in my angsty high school years that I would have encountered something in anime, and changed the direction of my life just a little bit. That profound moment when it feels like that story was made for you to read or watch…

    • I haven’t really finished a single VN, so I’ll have trouble relating to your example. I do think that you get what I’m saying here even if the content of your example is different: that is, I don’t think Cowboy Bebop changed my outlook in life in a profound way, only that it enriched my experience of life in a major way.

      But when you’re in that moment, it does feel great doesn’t it?

  8. Gorilla says:

    Planetes. I love the show and I think part of this love comes from the fact that I watched it right after my university entrance exams had ended and a long year of studying came to a fruitful end (the results weren’t out but I knew pretty much how well I had written).

    I also remeber watching 72 episodes of Hikaru no Go in two weeks, right after Chrismas, that year (last year in highschool) and god they kept me going that difficult year. After that I marathoned the first 3 seasons of Major and the subbed episodes of Eyeshield 21. Sports anime can get you really motivated, even if it is for studying. I loved all these series.

    Then I remember that Spring came, it was the time that students in the last year of high school start skipping school to study harder for the exams. That time the spring anime season was starting. Everybody was crazy about Frontier and I was watching it, too. I was studying for like ten hours a day and in my breaks I was reading posts about it on Random Curiosity and THAT. I loved the show but I finished it last September (finding We remember love and reading about Macross was one of the thing that motivated me to do it). I just stopped watching it during the summer and I forgot about it.

    The day before the first exam (it was writing an essay and general language skills) I had really nothing left to do to prepare for it better and I started reading Vinland Saga. I read all the chapters available. It’s still one of my favourite manga and I am still reading it, whenever a chapter comes out, even after 2 years. Funny thing is that day I also read the 19th volume of the HxH manga(another favourite of mine). That fucking last page gave me the chills. I was also very nervous because of the exam and It took me some time before getting able to finally sleep.

    • Thanks for the detailed share.

      What I noticed is that a lot of the memories that stick coincide with milestones in our lives. Your enjoying Planetes the way you did is a great example of this. Did Hachimaki’s trials to get into the Jupiter project resonate with your preparations for the university exams? If it did I can imagine it being an intense connection.

      Similarly I watched the show only this year but during a rather trying time in my professional life, and I identified with Dolf rather strongly.

      I’m not sure if I read it right… but you did finish watching Macross Frontier right? Blogging that show (well after its run) is the thing I did here in this blog that I love the most.

  9. Martin says:

    S’funny, but I was introduced to anime through NGE in 2003-4 as well…during the clusterfuck of all sorts of things in my final year of uni. A rough time that I wouldn’t want to repeat actually. After that it was a gradual process as I discovered Akira, Perfect Blue, FLCL and so on then it all mushroomed so the defining moments are periodic and hard to pinpoint exactly.

    A memorable one was the time I was introduced to Shinkai’s work – Voices of a Distant Star and Place Promised… were billed at the opposite ends of an Anime All-Nighter event at the Sci-fi London festival a few years back. I remember sitting on the Tube after a night of no sleep to get the train home; I was utterly floored by the artwork and raw sentimentality of the storytelling. My blog was in its earliest stages (concerned mostly with blogging Mushishi and Haruhi episodically at that point, iirc) but writing a post on that night probably put me on the course I am today.

    • I envy you greatly who get to watch anime in theaters, and such visually stunning works at that!

      I’ve no need to tell you about the beginnings of WRL because you’ve been with me since the start — something I’ll forever appreciate.

      I wasn’t introduced to anime in ’03 (I’ve been watching since 1980 LOL), but it was definitely the time I began to be as fascinated with it the way I am now.

  10. Pontifus says:

    The first time I watched Evangelion was pretty memorable. First entire anime TV series, first all-nighter marathon, etc. In fact, if I remember correctly, that was the night I acquired fansubs via file-sharing for the first time. Later I’d take an extended break from fandom (until I came across Rozen Maiden, of all things), but that night is probably where it started for me.

    But I’m thinking of the time that some friends and I watched the first half of Evangelion together.

    Here’s the scenario: girl A and guys B, C, and D are all hanging out, spending the night together. A is dating B. A and C once had a mutual crush; this will come back to haunt A, C, and D, eventually. D has fallen hard for A, and this is the very night during which A will begin to feel the same. A and B’s relationship happens not to be going too smoothly right now; in a few months, D will encourage A to break up with B. A will turn around and start dating D two days after that.

    I’m D. I’m 16.

    Now, seven and a half years later, it’s almost funny — almost, but we took ourselves so seriously then.

    I’ve never watched Eva TV again since that night. But that’s why, for me, Evangelion is the quintessential teenager show.

    • Wow…

      That’s incredible.

      It’s funny because I can somewhat relate, though in my case it’s a pretty straightforward triangle. Also, it wasn’t anime, it was Chrono Trigger. I was the “D” in the scenario (had there been a “C”).

      I should have mentioned this in the post. I actually watched the first 2 episodes of Eva back in the ’90s on VHS. I wouldn’t be able to watch the rest until almost a decade later!

  11. bonehimer says:

    Planetes was also the show for me, even more so now then ever. Living in America at a time when immigration is the big issue and myself coming from a third world country the El Tanika episode didn’t just hit close to home but outright broke my window.

    This past years and up to today I am living with constant frustration of not being able to control what my future will be, and I will remember Planetes as the only media, at least in animation, that speaks to me so directly.

  12. gaguri says:

    For me it’s titles like Now and then here and there, Lain, Angel’s Egg, FLCL. FLCL was like the most crazy and funnest thing I’ve ever watched (with beautiful poetry and emotions), and NTHT was like the most depressing thing there was (and still is). They all literally changed the way I look at cartoons, and made me go out and look for similar titles (and therefore being plunged into this hellish road of anime fan LOL). I use to rave about these titles every chance I get, now I don’t do that anymore for any title really. Although it still bothers me not as many people still have watched NTHT, but I know there are lots of good anime out there and people will watch what they want all in due time, no need to tell others to watch this and that.

    • I was able to watch a bit of NTHT on TV earlier in the decade, but given the difficulty of keeping up with “by appointment” programming, plus the english dubs, I wasn’t engaged at all with it.

      In due course, people will watch what is good. That is, if they are fans of animation.

      I spend a very big part of my hobby waving the banner of animated robot shows, and fully understand that people will watch in due course, because anime fans are really interested in good things. It’s just a matter of time, resources, and maturity in matters of taste.

  13. Canne says:

    I was going to say Cowboy Bebop when I found out that you also picked it out as well.
    With Cowboy bebop aside, Whisper of the Heart must be the one for me. The movie resonates with life, love and dream of my high school life and in certain aspects, represents all my missed opportunities I have been longing for 🙂

    • I get that you relate with it, but what of the moment when you “got it” about Whispers of the Heart. What was going on in your life then? What was going on in the world?

      • Canne says:

        I have been thinking about it and realized that I was first exposed to Whisper of the Heart around my final year in high school. I so wanted to be a writer, I wanted to study literature. I love reading novels and I read them obsessively. I even tried to write my own short stories and sent them to local science magazine which had a short sci-fi story column. I was like Shizuku writing her first novel but in the end I chose another path. To this day, Whisper of the Heart is my alternate reality, the dream never fulfilled.

        • :3

          I graduated from uni with a degree in literature (minor in philosophy) but I never became a professional writer despite having published a few poems in a couple of magazines (long ago before the turn of the millennium). Chin up, we’re still writing about things we enjoy. It can’t be that bad.

          I’m dead serious by the way. I do think blogging anime saved me. I hadn’t been writing for many years, at least anything that I actually enjoyed reading myself. But now I feel like I’m very much alive, even though it isn’t a “respectable” literary or academic pursuit.

  14. Shinmaru says:

    Hm, I was going to say Cowboy Bebop, but re-reading your post, I liked it in a different way than you are looking for . . . so, instead, I’ll say RahXephon.

    I first saw the show when I was in college and was really beginning to articulate who I was. I’d always felt some sort of disconnect between myself and my friends as a half-Mexican who never had any real sort of connection to the culture. (To their credit, my friends never excluded me or made me feel like an idiot because I wasn’t “Mexican enough”. They were great people.) This was before I had been exposed to multiracial literature, so Ayato was really the first character I saw who had a similar sort of conflict to me — part of two different worlds (human and Mulian) but not really a true member of either in his heart, and desperately trying to find somewhere to fit in.

    I fell really hard for the show after that, and it has been among my favorites ever since; to this day, I’ve felt as if I had a secret window into the series, because I’ve NEVER seen it discussed from the multiracial angle except when I wrote about it for Diary of an Anime Lived. I’m sure someone, somewhere has made the connection (the odds are just too great against me being the only person to notice this); I’ve just never seen it discussed online, for whatever reason, so I guess that made it feel more exclusive to me.

    To make this as corny and sappy as possible, as I’ve become more accepting of and comfortable with myself, I’ve realized that Ayato’s conflict is actually universal and not exclusive to people like me. Hell, I bet my friends — or anyone with strong ties to a “foreign” culture while living in another country — have felt that marginalization that Ayato feels, that tug between cultural identities. I don’t know if BONES completely intended it (the conflict isn’t quite as played up as other things in RahXephon), but I always thought RahXephon was one of the more sensitive series about race and culture in anime, especially the medium doesn’t always touch upon it in a thought-provoking way.

    • It’s a great angle to read the story from. The first anime that really did something like that is Nagahama Tadao’s Chodenji Machine Voltes V, a show my generation is really seriously incredibly nuts about.

      We didn’t read it as a multi-racial identity show, we read it as emancipation literature. However, the root conflict there has to do with racial purity among the aliens (Boazans/Boazanians), who distinguish between the elite “horned” class and those without horns. The Boazans invade the Earth, but non-horned Boazans went to Earth first, and intermarried in some cases. Most importantly they left the super robot.

      This show is remarkable for being one of the first, if not the firs robot show to take on such serious issues (racism, xenophobia, war based on such) which will eventually influence the likes of Gundam and Macross (and Ideon and Eva and RahXephon). It’s a break from the sillier but not necessarily inferior tradition of hot-blooded action in Mazinger and Getter.

      Thanks for the generous sharing.

  15. Marigold Ran says:

    I don’t know. Memorable manga/shows are: Berserk, Vagabond, and Shigurui because they are relatively recent. Good shows that I’ve watched in the past are Cowboy Bebop and the first Macross. Minmay was pretty. I do remember that. She was definitely prettier than that Space Cadet Woman, whatever her name was. But even back then I kind of suspected that Minmay probably had issues.

    Berserk is a lot of fun. It’s one of the series that I’ve marathoned. The Golden Age arc is memorable because of its buildup. It was like watching an apocalypse unfolding slowly before the eyes. Even during the happiest moments of the Golden Age arc, the reader knew something awful was going to happen and that it was only a matter of time.

    Now, Berserk is not as good as before, though Miura’s artwork remains magnificent. The problem is Guts is too happy right now. He’s happily berserk, when I’d rather have him psychotically berserk. Ah well. Alas.

    • I think I get why you don’t know, and it’s all good. A big part of memory is sentiment, and this post is evocative of such.

      Do look forward to a much too large post on Berserk. I’ve only caught up (or did most of my reading) very recently and found out that I wanted to say a whole lot of things about it.

      Guts became a reluctant, and perhaps unknowing, but most definitely, harem protagonist.

  16. Crusader says:

    I was one of the weird ones who wasn’t going through a personal crisis when watching Evangelion back in the late 1990s. I knew where I wanted to go I just had trouble getting where I wanted. Still if there was one thing that resonated with me it was G Gundam because it was the anti-thesis of Evangelion which every one seemed to love and get all high and mighty about at the time. Still K-On of all things resonated with me more during my post deployment time than anything else in a long time. LOGH was an experience but not all that relatable, Sora no Woto was how I wish things were though things are sometimes like that, but still G Gundam’s gospel of hot-blooded can do anything attitude spoke to me like nothing else in have seen in anime.

    There are plenty of shows I like but my life experiences have led me on a very different path than most making most of the shows I watch somewhat unrelatable.

    • I feel you re K-ON!!.

      Here’s something to think about in my case with Eva.

      I only saw G recently, but had I seen it years ago, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much because it would be too much like the super robot shows I grew up with and wouldn’t have had the same impact. Eva was evocative of all those shows I loved, and was remarkably different as well.

      But yes, G represents a younger, purer time for me, when hot-blooded screaming was the best way to show your courage in the opposition of evil.

    • Marigold Ran says:

      Nor do I have personal crisis either. I just go raving mad every once in a while.

      Being different is not necessarily a good thing.

  17. Suiman says:

    The article and comments reminded me of the start of Eureka 7 where Stoner proposed that our memories of various media (movies, music- I’ll add anime) does not stand alone but instead we associated them with our other memories. I have yet to finish Eureka 7 so I’m not sure how to contextualize his opening lines in relation with the whole story though I’ll expound anyways.

    These memories or experiences can go beyond association. Some anime have characters that we share “common fields of experience” (trials, conflict, relationships) resulting in empathy amid the presence of unreal and currently impossible elements like real magic, super powers and giant robots. As such, our appreciation and/or interpretation can closely be related with our past, current and/or lack of various experiences. (iirc, this was the case with your initial viewing of Eureka 7). One’s love or hate for an anime can possibly come from how closely grounded it is to one’s reality as opposed to being fantastical or a means of escape. Ideally, loving such grounded anime does not weaken your grasp of reality but strengthens it instead. It does not make you forget your real life dilemmas but reminds you of them. Such shows do not entice you to be locked within its fictional world but instead empowers you to be active in your real world.

    Sorry for being off tangent. I’ll follow up with my moment later.

    • I think I get you, and it’s an interesting point. It’s related to the activity of putting together a soundtrack of one’s life, or to be more specific… it’s the effect that the film Forrest Gump goes for. The music of the period makes for a strong hook to bring us back to that place and time, so to speak.

      I’ve read somewhere that the olfactory sense is even more powerful as a trigger of memory, but I’ve only experienced this kind of media in the Hong Kong Disneyland where a medley of various animated works was shown in a “4-D” theater.

      I look forward to your further sharing.

  18. adaywithoutme says:

    I want to state that I read this post, and enjoyed it, but I want to ruminate over the notion of falling hard for an anime, that special feeling of ‘this is like nothing else’… I have a few in mind, but I want to pinpoint the true one in the mix of my various favorites… I can say, however, that while I adore Outlaw Star, it definitely is NOT the special case, haha.

  19. Suiman says:

    I graduated from a Catholic high school way back in 2005. Unlike some of my fellow freshmen, I never experienced any culture shock during the start of college. Despite seeing conflicts between various political and social groups, I was too busy playing DOTA to actually care. My anime consumption was mainly composed of harem comedies-for the boobs, mecha-for the pew pew and NSFW- for the…. It was a very happy go lucky college life. During my junior years in 2007, a friend recommended Darker than Black saying that the action scenes were good and that Amber looked like C.C. It was an enjoyable yet forgettable experience.

    After two years, for reasons I cannot yet pin point, I became more involved and critical of my surroundings, inside and outside of the university. I started reading newspapers and watching the news seriously. I felt guilty that it was only then that I became aware of the numerous atrocities happening around the country. Bad news far outweighed the good ones. I started valuing my immersions with various people, from the Right and the Left, the elite and the impoverished.

    Teasers then appeared about DtB s2. Since I enjoyed s1 to some extent and found the new protagonist to be really hot (I picked some very bad fetishes along the way), I rewatched the first season via Animax. Watching without subtitles really helped me appreciate the visual aspects of the show. After the first two episodes, I was amazed and frustrated. I cannot believe that there was so much depth and content that I missed from the series outside Hei’s badass moves and Yin’s DFC. Hei did not help the people he met because he was a “good Samaritan” expected of a hero but because of his common field of experience with them. He was able to relate to them as I was able to relate with the show. Societal and personal oppression and “development through the enlargement of people’s choices” were some of its themes that captivated me. I fell in love with DtB.

    It ignited a spark within me. I needed other perspectives to broaden my insights. Unfortunately, my friends were into the shounen holy trinity and did not share my enthusiasm in discussing anime beyond “Who is stronger?” or “Who is sexier?” which I still sometimes participate in. Luckily, some blogs participated in a DtB rewatch. Reading their works showed similar and different analyses from mine. I was surprised with the depth and variety of interpretations these bloggers were able to derive not just from DtB but from other anime as well. This motivated me to expand my aniblog lurking, WRL among others. I started rewatching and interpreting anime such as Elfen Lied, NGE, TTGL and FSN. My love for DtB has changed the way I now view anime and led to the enrichment of my guiding philosophies.

    • I apologize for missing this comment and for the very late reply. Thank you for sharing this for it validates the work put in the blogs that I read and at times write for. Thank you very much.

  20. Oh! I just thought of a big one for me. ef – a tale of memories. That may have just provoked me to want to study and research the mind and memory as a career.

  21. Pingback: Suiman on Discovering Broader Perspectives on Anime Through Blogs « The Ghosts of Discussions

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  23. Robertjak says:

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