What A Character May Mean To You Is Personal.

Okay this is weird but I was about to start working on a couple articles and I had an unnamed draft saved on my computer. I assumed since it was unnamed that it wouldn’t have any content, but below is what I found when I opened it. I don’t remember writing it at all, but it looks like I was talking about anime characters and how they mean so much to us? Just thought I’d go ahead and put it up since it’s a short read.

People can’t fathom how much an anime character may mean to you personally. There’s too many variables: Your mind, the way you think, the set and setting, your history, (what was your yesterday like?), different connotations for different words just because you are you.

For some reason these characters are more to you than just the labor of sketch artists, colorists, voice actors, and what not. That may be their physical make up, or the things it has taken to put them together, but at the end is it not picture of life?

What stands before you then is a living creature grown from an idea in the mind of someone. It worked its way through the mulling of other ideas and chit chat and nonsense like a horse pulling the plow through the mud. And it sat and froze until one day the sunshine of observation lit above it and from there did it grow and rise. and The sun thought that he had made the most beautiful thing,

Sunflowers as tall as Skyscrapers/

Depression Tastes Better With Anime

This is a little off the wall for me to write but it came to me tonight, and I have been dealing with some darkness and I believe I will just write and see where this goes.

You may know, if you are readers of the blog or my nakama, that I have struggled with addiction and depression in the past. The addiction I seemed to beat, but it looks like depression is a lingering beast in the jungles of my mind, for now at least.

Depression is not just having the emotion of sadness. It’s not that at all really, it’s something different entirely. It’s like the world has shrank down around you and you exist in this small, unhappy, lethargic place. It’s hard to eat, you can’t sleep sometimes and some days you sleep the entire day and the whole time you worry about the things you aren’t doing. You feel every minute of every day and it is hard…

I fought it for a long time before I would even call it by it’s name and recognize it as a mental health issue. Depression can make everything seem far away and can make you unable to get yourself out of bed. The smallest tasks, such as washing the dishes, or sometimes even just checking your phone become hard— its weird you just CANT SEEM TO DO IT.

I take medicine now for my depression and it helps a whole lot. I’m 95% of the time feeling like my normal self, just every once in awhile I have a day or two where I have to deal with the dark wolf in my heart.

There’s probably a lot of you out there who deal with this same thing, or worse. I know how it hurts and how you fall into the darkness and I know the uphill, grueling battle to pull yourself out, but please keep pushing on. Know that you are special to people and someone loves you, hell if nothing else I love you because we are fellow humans locked in these bodies and on this journey together. Take each day one step at a time. The past and future are maya, an illusion. You can touch them with your thoughts but other than that they aren’t real anymore. Focus on the now and do one thing at a time. You will feel like doing nothing, but force yourself to do the things you love, that’s how you make it back. If you like to hike, make yourself go out to the trails. If you like to cook, then make yourself turn on that oven. IF you’re like me and love anime, force yourself to turn on that tv and navigate to an anime, it’s not that hard. Just press play, sit back you don’t have to do anything else. Reach out and talk to someone if you need, it’s not a weakness, it’s exactly what our friends are for…

If you read this, please today ask your s/o or anyone in your life how they are doing. Not like a casual “How are you doing today?”, that we don’t even care about the answer to. Really ask them and really listen. Sometimes people are going through something and may really need to let it out 🙂

Eventually, I would love to use my blog as a platform to raise awareness and money for mental illness and addiction research. IF you are into it and would like to be involved that would be great. I think with all of us together maybe we could save some lives!

Subbed or Dubbed?

It’s the classic question when talking about anime with other fans. The narrative usually goes something like this:

“Hey did you watch [insert anime here]?”.

“Yeah, it was pretty good, but the main character got on my nerves so I didn’t finish it”.

“Oh did you watch subbed or dubbed?”.

“I watched the dub”.

“Oh dude, you should have watched the sub, it’s way better.”

But does it really make THAT much of a difference? I’ve been doing some research and asking some folks, and I believe that yes it can actually make a good bit of difference. Not in every instance, but there are a couple ways that the choice of watching an anime subbed or dubbed can effect the viewers experience.

Let’s start with the more mechanical aspects of the choice. When watching a subbed anime, for one you can’t really do other things while watching it. So that’s no cooking, no cleaning, you can’t really play on your phone, it makes it even a little harder to speak with others as you watch. You have to keep your eyes focused on the tv, or you may miss a line of sometimes crucial information. How many times have you been watching, looked away for a second, and realized you just missed a bombshell being dropped, so you have to rewind a little bit?

Some people can’t stand to read while they watch the show, I’ve heard many people say they can’t comfortably focus on both at once. There’s also those people who don’t care much for reading in general, or who are are not very fast readers, so the sub wouldn’t be the first choice for them.

Now for me personally, I watch all of my shows with subtitles. I’m a fast reader, and it’s easy for me to miss something a character might say, especially if it’s a quiet moment of the show, or if there’s a lot going on around me at the time.

Now onto some of the deeper aspects of transferring one language to another. You’ve heard of the phrase “lost in translation” and believe me it rings true. When translating from one language to another, you have to count in the fact that some words do not totally translate correctly, there are even some words specific to a language that hardly translate at all!

Let’s take a look at a few. Here are some words that have no true English equivalent. What happens when one of these words is translated? Oftentimes you may get a word or expression that comes close to the original intention, but a little is lost in the translation, and a native speaker might have gotten a slightly different or enhanced effect.

  • Yugen (Japanese)- “A profound and mysterious view of beauty in the universe and at the sad beauty of human suffering.” This is a very important aspect in Japanese culture, and one that English speakers can grasp, but it is not as deeply ingrained in our culture.
  • Fisseleg (German)- “Being flustered to the point of incompetence” it is oftentimes translated as “jittery” but that wouldn’t be fully correct because the cause of the feeling comes from another persons nagging.
  • Tsundoku (Japanese)- “Leaving a new book unread after purchasing it and allowing it to pile up with other books on a shelf.” Sad 😦
  • Uffda (Swedish)- A Swedish exclamation that is made when someone else is in pain. It’s is like a mix between “ouch for you” and “I’m sorry you hurt yourself”. I found this very interesting because I remember times when seeing some else hurt themselves and me saying “ouch” but it seemed out of place in a way haha.
  • Pochemuchka (Russian)- “A person who asks too many questions”

And this is just a tiny list of some of the words that just don’t translate right. Now we also have to take in another fact. While translating for and anime or movie, the translators have to also do a decent job at keeping mouth movements to the same sounds. Otherwise we end up with characters talking with their mouth closed, or mouths running while nothing is said! It all seems very complicated to me, but also very interesting.

Lastly, and naturally, the dub and the sub have different voice actors. So we have different actors, saying different words, with sometimes different meanings? Yes, I would say watching something subbed or dubbed could create differing experiences. And there’s always the case when you just can’t stand a certain voice in your show. I hear it a bunch with English speaking Dragonball Z fans talk about Goku’s Japanese voice. It just doesn’t fit the Goku they were raised to know. For me, Naruto’s English voice practically makes me unable to watch the show!

But put all of these together and let me share a personal story of how I noticed a big change when watching a subbed versus a dubbed show. “Future Diary” is one of my favorite’s and I watched it originally subbed. Later, when I wanted to re watch it, I thought I would try the English dub. I enjoyed it, but I noticed something peculiar. Yuno was a totally different character to me in the English dub versus the sub.

Both Yuno’s were crazy of course, but the Japanese Yuno, something about the way her voice actor handled her role, seemed to me more like a split personality, crazy young girl. At time’s she seemed completely innocent and at other times a maniac. The English Yuno seemed a little more confident to the point of sometimes seeming full of herself. She seemed able to be popular and work with others more socially, and then she would have crazy moments. Something about the gap in between those two personalities in both versions was different and for me that changed the experience of the show.

As far as personal opinion, I will mostly watch anime subbed, but Funimation most often I’ve noticed does a great job on their dubs. Cowboy Bebop is one show that I will always watch dubbed because I feel the voice actors fit perfectly. I guess it’s just a matter of opinion in some cases!

Anyways, I would like to explore some of this further. Please let me know what you think of this article in the comments, and if you have input or a personal story to share leave it below or email it to me at animesavedmylifeblog@gmail.com

Thank You!

I’m Excited

I’m sitting here in a Books-a-million, I came today to get some time to myself, drink some coffee, and work a little on the blog. When I entered, I did my usual browsing of the store, I try to take a peak at the philosophy books to see if anything catches my eye, look over some of the nature and gardening books. Recently, I’ve also been looking for books on Africa and Uganda. I have made a friend there who is a dear brother to me now, and I plan on going to be with him next year, so I’m learning all about that (sadly I could not find any books about Uganda here today).

Eventually, my search leads me to the Manga section. I enjoy just taking in the breathtaking amount of content that’s offered to me, I like the colors and the fonts that pop out to me. I picked some out here and there, I looked at the final volume of Bleach, and checked out a little of Luffy’s fight with Katakuri. I picked up some of the Jun ji Ito horror collections, they feel so cool and heavy in my hands and the paper smells so good. It reminds me of time’s reading them on the bus on the way to school.

I got really excited looking at all of them, because I remembered how much is still out there that I haven’t even touched yet. There are hundreds of classics and each one is someone’s favorite story and it may have helped them through tough times, and I want to read all of that and know all of those feelings and I want people to tell me how these stories and characters MADE THEM FEEL DEEP INSIDE. I’m addicted to it and I need to find out, so please leave me comments and or email me and tell me personal things about anime and manga and your involvement in this amazing community, I really want to know you all and pick your brain.

And I’m so very excited, because this blog is just the beginning.

Do We Accept “Weeb”?

From Dictionary.com- “Weeaboo is a mostly derogatory slang term for a Western person who is obsessed with Japanese culture, especially anime, often regarding it as superior to all other cultures.

From Urbandictionary.com- “”Weeaboo- a person who retains an unhealthy obsession with Japanese culture, typically ignoring or even shunning their own racial and cultural identity.

Googling “weeb” or “weeaboos” on image search will mostly bring up a ton of stupid memes…

I really could not think of a caption for this picture sorry everyone…

We hear the word “weeaboo” and “weeb” thrown around a bunch these days. But where does it come from? What does it actually mean? And most importantly, how is it used and perceived by us in the anime community?

Some research will show that the term “weeaboo” originated with a webcomic called “The Perry Bible Fellowship” and it replaced the former term “wapanese” that was used for Westerners interested in Japanese culture. Some definitions still hold “weeaboo” to mean “one who wishes or wants to be Japanese and discard their own race and culture” but I believe this is a little bit of a stretch on the term.

Still, the word arose with the rise of anime popularity in the US, around the time of the airing of classics such as Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball Z, and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. At that time, anime was considered to be completely within the realm of “nerdiness” and weeb (I’m done on using quotation marks for it) was mainly used as a derogatory slang word.

It conjures up images of the classic “anime freak” – often male and overweight, usually unemployed, and probably still living with parents. This unique creature has little to no social skills, no sex life, perhaps no friends or bonds, collects gundams, has a hot hentai pillowcase, and binge watches anime on VHS. Sadly, this stigma still lingers somewhat around the word…

I hate posting pictures like this…

…But then things began to change. “Nerdiness” became cool and the popularity of anime began to skyrocket. (A similar occurrence was witnessed in the Magic the Gathering, Dungeon and Dragons, and videogame communities). It is hard to pinpoint if the acceptance of “nerd culture” gave way to anime’s popularity surge or vice versa, but as culture changed, so did the usage of the term weeb.

Now weeb is used often jokingly by members of the anime fan base to refer to each other and even themselves! (ex. I just watched 100 episodes of Bleach, I’m such a weeb). But what I really want to try and gauge is this- Are we, the fan base, accepting of this term for ourselves? Has it ever been applied negatively to you? Does the word bother you? Do you prefer another word? Otaku?

For me personally, I wear the name like a badge of honor. Even if it is used to hurt sometimes, we can carry the name proudly and make it our own. We should be delighted in our eclectic community! In our wonderful group are people of every color, males, females, transgenders, different religions, furries, and so much more. And we are all united together through our love of the same medium and under the banner of Weebs.

Thank you for reading! Please leave comments below and tell me what you think about the article and how you feel about the word Weeb!

Why I Don’t Write Reviews

If you are a frequent visitor of the blog, you know that reviews aren’t really the main focus here. Although I do sometimes write my “Kind Of” reviews, they will be few and far between and there are a handful of reasons for this. There are plenty of amazing blogs out there that do a wonderful job of reviewing anime and I like to leave that job in the hands of the more capable.

The first and main reason I do not write reviews is that Anime Saved My Life is an anime blog more about anime culture as a whole, the eclectic fan base, and the positive effects anime has had on our lives individually and as a group. While I do enjoy writing about anime that I enjoyed, I prefer to write those kind of articles when I just really want to get the word out about an amazing show. I leave out a rating format of any kind, and tend to mainly go over the best parts of the show. Honestly, it’s more of a plea from me to you to watch whatever I’m rambling about.

The next reason I don’t review is actually a little selfish, almost embarrassing to say but I’ll put it out there. I work full time (Usually 50 hours) during the week, am raising twin boys that are right at two and a half years old, and kind of have a social life on the weekends. My anime viewing time is already a little sparse, I have to squeeze in some episodes when I can. Writing reviews would force me to watch anime I otherwise wouldn’t care to watch (or maybe not want to watch at that moment) and it would cut into my time that I use to work on anime that’s already on my watch list and anime I’m really digging. I just can’t bring myself to cut off Hunter X Hunter to watch some slice of life I’m just not into (nothing against slice of life though).

The final reason I stray away from writing review articles goes a little bit deeper. How many time have you went and seen a movie that critics hated, and thoroughly enjoyed it? How many times have you been going off about your favorite anime only to be told that it sucks? (I actually get this a decent amount being a One Piece fanatic). What I’m getting at here is that with any form of art, people seem to have different opinions and different likes and dislikes. What one might absolutely enjoy, another may hate. Therefore, when trying to review something, even when doing your best to be objective, we always put our personal spin on how everything played out, and that just might not be the same experience another had. I’m fairly certain this phenomenon exists even more within the anime community.

Any anime you see that has went through all of the work to draw, color, voice, promote, etc. can’t really have been god awful right? I mean the really horrible stuff would never make it through the pitch, nevertheless the long process to becoming finished product. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are an eclectic group as a fan base, we all have our own likes and dislikes, and we might perceive a show differently than another.

All of that aside, the thought of trying to make a decent rating system (1-5, 1-10, etc) and abide by it makes my head spin, so I’ll just stray away from that.

You’ll see me write some “Kind Of” reviews here and there i’m sure, but these are the reasons you won’t see it too much on the blog. But keep coming back for more articles you can’t find anywhere else! Next week i’m going to look at the word “weeb”, its origin, and how it has evolved today! Please subscribe to our email group and follow us on FB and like always comments and criticisms are encouraged!

How One Piece Saved My Life

I would like to share with you my personal anime story. It is a story that pulled me out of depression and addiction and eventually inspired me to create this blog.

It begins near the end of the Fall of 2017. My twins had just turned a year old. I was trying to find and keep a good job, learning how to raise children, dealing with sleepless nights, and struggling to make ends meet. A dark cloud of depression loomed over me and my life.

One day a friend of mine offered me a couple pain pills to help me feel a little better. They did seem to help at the time, they gave me a warm, content feeling and worked to alleviate the stress and depression I was going through. For once in a long time I felt like doing something other than laying in my bed all day…

For a couple weeks I continued taking a few pills here and there with my friend. Before long I had a hookup and was buying my own. Then all of the sudden, no one had them anymore. I asked around and they were not to be found. I had grown a little used to them, so I wondered- What was I to do?

Around that time I learned that a close family member of mine had recently been prescribed Oxycodone for back pain at work. I slipped deeper into a darkness. First, I asked for a couple to help with muscle pain, headaches, etc. Then I surprised myself by going to their house and taking a few when they weren’t around. That’s how the slippery slope began. I took more and more. I went in when no one was home to get some. I got more and more addicted and as I did my tolerance built. Soon I was taking around ten a day, then closer to fifteen.

The days when I could not get them I did nothing except lay in bed and think of the drugs. I schemed horrible ways to get more. I would cry and tell myself, “No more, you can’t be stealing from family, taking something they need.” and then I would find myself taking the pills again, sometimes it felt as if some other force was driving me (The force of addiction I believe, not to take any blame off myself, it was my choice that led me to this point).

I kept it all a dark secret inside of myself. My friends, family, even my wife did not suspect anything for a long time. The pills wore on my relationships, my sleep and eating schedules, my performance at work- yet I only thought of getting more. I was not the same person anymore. I hated myself..

So where does anime come in? Around the same time these events were coming to a crest, another friend of mine was at my house and brought up that he had recently been watching the anime One Piece with some friends. My experience with One Piece was perhaps reading one chapter of the manga in Jump and seeing an episode or two of the 4Kids dub. Needless to say, I did not have any interest in the show, I always thought it was a little stupid, over the top, I didn’t understand how some people could be so into it..

So one day I put One Piece on while my friend was over, mainly to humor him. I made it through the first couple episodes and it started getting a little more interesting. About that time, my family members came to me and cornered me about the missing medicine. I had taken such a large amount (probably forty or so in a span of a couple days). they knew it was me taking them, and they were concerned about me. I tried lying at first until eventually breaking down, yes it was me, I can’t stop taking them, I don’t want to be addicted like this, I don’t know what to do.

I quit cold turkey, I had to get straight for my family and friends and myself. The next couple weeks of withdrawals were hellish realms. I would lay in my bed and feel like crawling out of my skin. I couldn’t sleep or eat, I stared at the clock and watched time slowly slipped past. After the first few days, I was able to at least go into the living room, but I still felt like doing nothing. I thought I would drive myself insane. So I put on One Piece. I just kind of stared at the tv while it was on. I slowly became absorbed in it. The withdrawals were fading away and I had found something I loved to do that wasn’t drugs. I watched the Arlong Park Arc and I was hooked. One Piece was amazing.

I continued to watch One Piece every day. My withdrawals subsided and I started to feel like myself again. Luffy taught me the value of friends during hard times and to never ever get up. I used him as a role model to make it through the bad times and to stay clean. I watched other animes, getting into the whole culture and establishing myself a new hobby that eventually led to the creation of my blog.

Over the year I watched as much One Piece as I could. 866 episodes in 8 months and I caught up with the current airings. That is how One Piece and Anime saved my life, brought me out of a deep darkness, and why I will always be grateful towards anime.

Now I want this blog to share my story, hopefully I can inspire others who are going through hard times. I know some of you must have similar stories that can also help inspire. I would love to hear them. Comment below or email me at animesavedmylifeblog@gmail.com