Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hai(na)kyuu, utak-ku!

6:18 AM

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When you find a fandom, it's the stuff of romance novels. Your heart palpitates, your emotions are heightened, and the world seems better because of its existence.

For some, it seems a bit silly to be so passionate about something fictional. It's one thing to be in love with an actor playing a character, and it's another to be in love with ones that exist in an intangible universe.

Anime isn't everyone's cup of tea. Indeed, some question its status as an art form considering its notoriety for sexualizing 2D characters, completely illogical occurrences, and out-of-this-world physics. Not to mention its somewhat alarming tendency to convince people that such laws could be applied to reality i.e. those who think life is a shoujo manga, obnoxiously believing themselves to be Japanese just by indulging in its pop culture, if not wishing hentai proportions were real.

(Note: I've been both a perpetrator and a victim of this phenomenon which I dub "weeb vision")

Despite all that, there are those anime and manga that can speak to anyone through its universal message. Stories of real love, undying determination, overcoming struggles, and the thrill of life.

My passion for Japanese pop culture had experienced a decline upon entering college, since I had to focus on adjusting to many things. My love for art remained constant, but this minor lack of indulgence led to slow but steady depression of sorts.

Then recently, I was introduced to the anime Haikyuu!! by PaCho, our lovely managing editor, and it hit me right in the kokoro. It centers around a young man named Shoyou Hinata and his dream to become the next "Small Giant" in the Volleyball Nationals. Normally, I wouldn't be interested in such since I'm not into sports, but after marathoning all 25 intense episodes and subsequently catching up to the latest chapter, I realized I hadn't felt such intense feelings since my last devoted fandom, Hetalia.

We marathoned the entire series for 12 hours from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. A few days after, I found myself reading from chapter 70 (which is where the finale stopped) all the way to chapter 159. This spanned from around 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following day only because I was interrupted several times, then attempted to go to sleep but realized it was futile.

That night I silently screamed for the teams' heart-attack inducing saves, punctuated by the mangaka's choice of storyboarding, and moments of friendship and camaraderie had me cheering and jumping and kicking and tearing.

Now, I find myself experiencing a sense of fulfillment that I haven't felt in a long time. I now realize the void that I had, and feel it filled with an inexplicable warmth brought only by finding something you truly care about.

Many speak of the cliché of missing a piece of oneself and finding it in somebody else. For me and many others, it's finding it in something like a song, or a piece of art, or a story. Anime is strange, yes. Even I am consistently confused by the seemingly endless antics that it spouts, but I am equally amazed as well as entertained. I love it. I am in love with it.

This is my love, revived.

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Editor's Note: This article is the first in our Fan Life series, where we invite readers to send in 500-word essays about the things that blow them away. If you'd like to fangirl (or fanboy) over something that connects to the theme of the month, send it to thethingonline@gmail.com with the subject: THE FAN LIFE. Thanks! ♥





Article by Nikki S.
Art by Elle
Fan logo by Alexie
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Nikki is a girl that sometimes feels like a boy, and is also an all-around art enthusiast and a linguist that likes the mysterious sounds words make. She likes wearing round spectacles of any sort, playing with her makeup when she’s bored, and envisioning outfits for various kinds of occasions. She has a style diary here and maintains a twitter that experiences extreme lows and highs of activity. 

Elle is a 17-year-old aspiring doctor who somehow found herself at art school. She loves rap music and bunnies. She still hasn't grown out of her otaku stage (which started all the way back in elementary school, thank you very much).


Alexie is a multimedia student that lives in a fort of pillows surrounded by markers and human livers. Sometimes, she likes to draw portraits with poor traits, and other times, faces with feces. Unknown to most people, Alexie has developed the power of invisibility - but it only works when no one's looking.

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