After hitting rock bottom in 2014, I really needed to catch a break. And fortunately I did at the end of the year. Against All Odds, I got a job working at my alma matter as an Admissions Representative. This is a fancy way of saying someone who tricks people into signing up for student loans.
It’s a gross job, and I’m not proud of it. But if there’s some solace to be found, I was so transparent about what people would be signing up for that I was put on probation and almost fired.
While the job was soul crushing, it did open a lot of doors for me. I able to afford to live alone for the first time in my adult life. I could also start taking more risks in my preferred field of work. Agreeing to a low paying sound job to get your name circulating in the local film community is a lot easier to do when you can use your paid time off to do it.
But most importantly, my new salary would allow me to purchase anime that I would never watch at a speed that was previously unattainable.
While undeniably exciting, this is a habit that I started to examine in 2015. Why did I keep buying so much physical media if I was never going to watch it? Nearly all of the anime I was watching at the time was through streaming services. In fact, I don’t think I’ve watched anime or otherwise on a physical disc in two years!
Part of why I kept buying so much anime was habit. It’s just something that I’d always done as a fan. Going to the store and browsing the anime section was an adventure when I was in high school. In 2004, Best Buy and Suncoast carried so much anime that it would take me hours to look at everything. And I was so fresh to the fandom that every title was new to me.
This left such impact on me that I still consider it the Golden Age of Anime.
Pride also factors into why I made so many irresponsible anime purchasing decisions. Coming from a time when anime was $30 for a four episode disc, a large anime collection was a sign of wealth. Similar to how a rapper will flaunt their gold chains, anime fans will show off their collections. But that stops meaning something when you can buy all of Kokoro Connect for $4.99.
Still not worth it, by the way.
Now it just shows that we’re all morons. We used to only buy the shows that were important to us. Now we buy stuff we don’t even care about because we remember how bad it used to. “How could I not buy the He is my Master Complete Collection? It’s only $5.14! In this economy you need to know how to recognize a bargain!”
There’s also the simple fact that opening a new anime box set is fun. Tearing off the shrink wrap and waging war against those stupid security stickers sends a rush of dopamine to the brain. And it should. Because those stickers are a pain in the ass and it feels good to make them suffer.
And here’s a thought: maybe we should stop calling them box sets in 2020. When an entire series can fit on two discs in a single case, it’s not exactly a box anymore.
The fallacy of my attachment to physical things began to show its head when I quit my office job and left town for a month to work on a feature film. Telling my boss that I was quitting right as she was about to fire me is still one of the greatest moments of my life.
And working on that film is still one of the most stressful moments of my life. But it helped me learn that I didn’t need things to be happy. Turns out, I didn’t miss my stuff as much as I thought I would.
And that doesn’t mean that I think we should buy things we love. But I used to have a shelf full of so much anime and manga that it almost collapsed under it’s own weight. It would be different if I was actively enjoying that media on a regular basis, but it just collected dust until I moved.
I wish I could say that I kept that energy moving forward, but decades of capitalistic programming can’t be overwritten so easily.
Wow! That’s a crazy target that I went on. Good thing I didn’t spend that much time watching anime or this entry would be interminable.
So did I actually watch anime this year?
I mentioned in my 2013 entry that I watched Attack on Titan a few years after it was released. This is when that happened. It took me a while to get internet when I moved to my new apartment, and it forced me to start watching things from my embarrassingly large collection of media.
I know. It’s one of the arguments against living a stream-only lifestyle. Can’t watch anything without the internet. But my current apartment is too small for me to have an anime watching insurance plan. I also still have all those episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho on hard drive somewhere, so blow me.
So without the internet for three weeks, and growing tired of watching Hot Tub Time Machine for the seventh time, I began making a dent in my anime library. This involved watching Dragon Ball Z season one for the first time, and buying even more anime because I didn’t want to make too much of a dent.
Speaking of DBZ, this when Dragon Ball Super was launched. It really bothers me that they couldn’t just let that story stay done. I know people are really enjoying it right now, but I thought we learned our lesson from GT? It’s okay for your favorite thing to have a conclusion.
Death Parade came out this year, but I wouldn’t watch it until 2018. I really enjoyed the series, but it tries too hard in the end and fails to do anything meaningful. The creator/director, Yuzuru Tachikawa, would go on to direct the critically acclaimed Mob Psycho 100 next year, and blow peoples minds in 2020 with the big reveal in Deca-Dence episode two.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon is something that will be forever known as “That show with the boob ribbon.”
Rin-ne will forever be known as something that failed to maintain the momentum of Inuyasha, proving that even a juggernaut like Rumiko Takashi will occasionally miss. The manga still ran for 40 volumes and sold over three million copies, which would be a success story for anyone else. But when you compare this to Takahashi’s back catalog, it might have been a better idea for her to retire early.
Not to be outdone by Takahashi, Yasuhiro Nightow failed to recapture the glory of his Trigun days with Blood Blockade Battlefront. The most notable thing about this show is that I struggle to say its name out loud. Fortunately for Japanese fans, Kekkai Sensen is much easier on the tongue.
In the Summer, there was a 24 episode show called Gate. The only reason I’m bringing it up is for the sake of a joke I’m about to make.
Speaking of gates…Prison School also aired in the Summer. There’s a certain gate-centric community that still won’t shut up about that time the Prison School dub made fun of them. I’ll let you research that story on your own.
I’m sure the same people that got mad about the Prison School dub are the same ones that watched K: Return of Kings thinking it was an anime adaptation of Roosh V’s blog.
I know that was a stupid joke, but I refuse to believe anyone has read this far expecting anything less of me.
Wrapping up the year, I think everyone would agree with me when I say that the highlight of 2015 was Crunchyroll’s Christmas Special hosted by Mike Toole. I don’t know who green-lit this bizarre gem of anti-comedy, but I’m glad they did.
And I especially love that they bought a bunch of early morning infomercial slots to get it aired on cable TV. I’m sure they confused at least one middle-aged dad that stumbled upon it on accident while drinking his morning coffee.
Alright so I didn’t do much in the way of anime this year either.
After college, I was fired from my first internship. An unpaid internship, to be specific. And I wasn’t fired because of my performance, I was fired because I chose a salary job with benefits over working for free in a studio. Nevertheless, this was still discouraging.
So I gave up for a while. My office job was paying enough that I didn’t really care about “making it” anymore. For the first time I wasn’t struggle to get by, and that was enough.
Then one day I came into work and found out that a coworker had ended their life over the weekend.
This was a huge kick in the ass that forced me to take inventory of what really mattered in my life. I’d spent enough time on autopilot, and decided it was time to focus all of my energy to starting a career in sound. Part of this involved making new friends and taking a nine month break from podcasting.
And I’m glad that I did, because otherwise I might not have been prepared for what would happen in 2016.