The realization that I'll be thirty in a few years backhanded me like it was lovingly giftwrapped from A Pimp Named Slickback himself.
A few weeks back, I posted the following on my Facebook page:
And what lessons are those? I'm glad you asked:
10: NO. Your life will not be figured out by the time you graduate high school.
Back when I was fifteen and dumb, I truly thought life be smooth sailing once high school finally ended; especially because at the time, I thought I had the one thing I would need to live a successful life:
At the time, 99% of the manga and anime I was reading and watching at the time painted the image that in order to consider yourself successful by the time high school graudation rolled around, all you needed to find love, save the world, overcome some kind of trauma, or do a combination of all three.
9: Figuring Out Life Can Take A Lifetime
For those of us who wish life would move a little faster, or those of us frustrated because what we want seems to be taking forever, I have some inconvenient news: Life. Takes. Time.
And I'm an air-sign; not presently having the freedom or resources to achieve what I want and when I want it is frustrating as fuck.
Instant gratification is something we all struggle with; we want it now, now, now, and if it's one thing anime and manga have taught me, its that things take time.
Think of your favorite shoujo/shounen heroes/characters who didn't achieve Honorary Badass Status until they were into their forties, fifties, and even eighties.
And speaking of our favorite and cherished heroes and characters:
8: Your Favorite Characters Are Total Assholes (Yes, Even The Purest ones)
Now, unless your favorite character is an asshole of Shou Tucker proportions, this one is a bit redundant.
(Also, if Shou Tucker is your favorite character, you're a terrible person and you should feel terrible.)
However, I'm talking specifically about our favorite characters who are revered worldwide and are painted in the colors of god herself for supposedly being good people.
Such as this asshole who let his wife and kid think he was dead for months on end, missed like 99% of that kid's puberty, and stuck around long to do the horizontal chacha with with ChiChi and have another kid he barely raised.
(Brr. I got a chill. Must be the wrath of all of fanboys rushing to the comments to defend this fool.)
Listen, its not like I didn't have to admit this of my own favorite characters I idolized. No one's perfect, but we need to stop acting like our favorite characters don't have some major flaws.
7) Growing Up, You Only Hated (some of) The Characters You Did Because You Could Relate to Them in Some Kind of Way no Matter how Fuckedup They Were and You Just Didn’t Want to Acknowledge It.
You always have something in common with the villain; that is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. If there was a character I loathed growing up, nine times out of ten I related to them in ways that made me too uncomfortable to acknowledge.
What's more is that I find myself empathizing with these so-called "antagonists" in ways that made me see them as human; moreso than the supposedly "good" characters I'm supposed to be cheering for.
(Except for Shou Tucker. No, really, fuck that guy.)
Moving on, my personal examples include:
Mitsuko Souma (Battle Royale)
Shiori ("Fuku-chan") Fukushima (Kimi Wa Petto/Tramps Like us)
And what I have in common with these ladies is a blog for an entirely different day, but one of the main reasons is a deep desire to be loved.
Which brings us to...
6) Some of Your Favorite Couples Are (probably) In (arguably) (un)Healthy Relationships and (probably) Should(n’t) Be the Model For The Type of Relationship You Want To Be In.
This one was a personal blow to me given I'm all about love and romance due to my unhealthy fixation with shoujo, josei, and other genres of manga which feature couples I've idolized over the years.
Unfortunately, I've also come to understand that some of my favorite 'ships are incredibly problematic as well.
This particular list includes (but is not limited to) :
Nana & Ren (Nana) (and the most tragic couple on this list, fite me).
(Disclaimer: Don't be fooled. This is one of The. Most. Fucked. Up. Series. In. Existence.)
Sasuke & Sakura (Naruto)
(Because if he tries to kill you multiple times over the course of all the years you've known him, he's clearly husbae material for sure. Yep.)
Akito & Shigure (Fruits Basket)
(I don't even know where to begin with these two.)
Reiner and Bertholdt (Attack On Titan)
Yuno & Yukiteru (Mirai Nikki)
(The amount of "Fuck No" in this picture is too damn high.)
Arima & Yukino (Kare Kano)
Asuma & Kirito (Sword Art Online)
Usagi & Mamoru (Sailor Moon)
(Famously known as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. PS: If I happen to go missing after this post, check my friends' list and everyone who is a fan of this pairing. It was one of them.)
And just to throw in some non-anime examples: Harley & Joker (for real, I hate this couple so venomously), and then there's Romeo & Juliet; they were fourteen. They knew each other for two or three damn days.
Get over it. (Same goes for you, Titanic fans.)
And just to be a good sport, here's a great example of a positive and healthy relationship:
I will literally fight anyone who tries to disagree with me on this one. On that note, it's relevant that Gomez and Mortica aren't relevant to this next one:
5) If He’s Dark, Brooding, and Mysterious, He’s A Fuckboi with “Aerith” Issues and No Matter How Long You Wait for Him, and No Matter How Awesome and Good For Him You May Be, And Even If You Give Him All The Great Sex In The World, He Will Never Come Around, And You Don’t Need That Negativity In Your Life, Sis.
"Okay, Jax, except they never slept together so it doesn't count...?"
Okay, random reader, except they totally slept together, it totally happened in Final Fantasy 7, and it's totally canon:
And speaking of sex...
4) Sex Is Completely Overrated
Mind you: I didn't say it was necessarily bad (Unless you're Gomez and Morticia who have literally the greatest sex life in the world), but I know my first time was sure as hell nowhere near as romantic, sweet, or enjoyable as I thought it was gonna be. Sex isn't always exploding stars (especially if you're a woman). And for some reason, in 99.9999% of manga and anime I read or watch that involves, orgasms are a dime a dozen.
Lololololol real life doesn't work like.
And if you're a man who has had atleast one orgasm with a partner, but still wanna debate me on how sex is always fantastic and how you're sure your partner always gets off because you're supposedly "the King" and all, guess what?
There's an whopping seventy-one to eighty percent chance she just doesn't want to hurt your fragile feelings, better known as "Faking It".
On that note:
(And go apologize to your partner while you're at it.)
3) Never Judge An Anime By It’s Opening (Or A Manga By It's Cover)
Some of the cutest darn anime openings…
Have the most Fucked. Up. Plots.
(Warning: Extremely graphic and disturbing content)
In reverse: some of the most horrifying anime can have shockingly happy (or at least satisfying) endings that you'd never see coming.
And the same rules apply for people as well; take that as you will, there are many interpretations of this one.
2) Life Doesn’t Always Have A Happy Ending
And the one manga that taught me this and was Ai Yawaza’s manga, “Nana”. Literally, all of my personal fears can be found in one series alone.
1) You’re human.
It's funny how fiction can reveal straight up fact.
One of my favorite quotes is “Writers use lies to tell the truth”. I really wanna sit with this one, especially those of us who find anime, manga, comics, video games, movies, tv-shows---anything, really, as a way of escapism from what was going on around us, or utilized it to help us cope in some manner.
Even in the most wildest of fiction, there is always a shard of truth to be found. You may not recognize it right away, but it’s there.
We look to some of our favorite series--fictional characters--as a means of getting away from reality, sure, and yet it’s just so interesting to me how some of those fictional characters and series can impact our lives for better or for worse.
We learn that excessive strength (or, often excessive ego) is often used to mask unfathomable weakness; and we learn that perceived weaknesses can foreshadow immeasurable strength.
From these fictional characters we invest ourselves in, we can often see the worst in ourselves, or we can see the best in ourselves. Regardless of whether that character is human, animal, supernatural extraterrestrial, whatever...there’s something in us that either makes us reject them or relate to them.
Our favorite characters; the characters we hate the most, we all share one thing in common--
None of us are perfect. Depending your perception that could either be really good or really bad.
But, hey. At least you're trying.