No anime in 2014, no life


In 2014 I was hit with a depression harder than I had ever felt. I was drinking more. Sleeping more. I stopped caring about everything. The passion that I felt for my studies was no longer strong enough to distract me from what was happening in my head.

I began skipping class and putting minimal effort into my homework assignments. Graduating with a perfect report card no longer mattered to me. My behavior didn’t go unnoticed. Teachers that once praised me, started calling me out in front of the class. And things only got worse when I graduated and couldn’t find a job.

Despite everything going wrong, there was still a light of hope that got me through even the worst of days — anime.

Just kidding. It was alcohol and porn.

With an introduction as dark as that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I didn’t really watch a lot this year. I was too busy being unable to keep up with my bills and finding the motivation to eat.

Was Space Dandy as good as everyone thought it would be? I know it ran on Adult Swim, but I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that watched it.

Something I did watch was Super Sonico. Because sometimes when you’re sad, the only thing that can cheer you up is a large breasted anime character designed to sell headphones.

The highlight of the Winter season — and probably the year — was the Chunibyo sequel. This is an anime where there’s an episode dedicated to competitive napping. The antithesis of this energy would be found in Wake Up, Girls.

Something that surprised me, was that they made more Mushishi. Something that shouldn’t surprise you, is that I didn’t watch it.

I have a weird history with Mushishi. When I was 18, I would frequent websites that offered anime via direct download. This was very important to me because I didn’t understand how torrenting worked. For many years this was how I watched most of my anime outside of what was on TV.

Some sites would encode dubbed episodes at a laughably low bitrate. This was perfect for me because I preferred dubs and had dial-up internet. I watched all of Yu Yu Hakusho and Chobits this way.

I found Mushishi on a site like this. It didn’t have a dub at the time, so they raised the bitrate just enough so the burnt-in subtitles would be readable. The site only had two other titles — Night Head Genesis and Fate/Stay Night. I downloaded, but never watched Fate/Stay Night. Considering that they’re still making entries in that series, I think I made right call.

The point that I’m getting at is that it was surprising to see a sequel to an obscure show about a ghost bug doctor ten years later. But I shouldn’t be too surprised because this is the same season that gave us a sequel to The Kindaichi Case Files, a show from the 90s.

They also made more Dragon Ball Z Kai, something that still perplexes me. I know DBZ is a titan of a franchise, but has any other series received a remix treatment like this? And wasn’t the whole point of Kai that it was supposed to end after the Cell Games because that was Toriyama’s original vision?

Eh. What do I know? My favorite part of DBZ was The Great Saiyaman arc.

Knights of Sidonia was the first anime to become a Netflix Original, paving the way for more important things like Grappler Baki. We’ll talk about that more in 2018.
It appears that I have nothing to say about the Summer season, so let’s just pretend it didn’t happen.

In the Fall, we got Terra Formars. The only thing I know about Terra Formars is that some people said it was racist. I don’t know if this is true or not because I didn’t want to watch a show about space cockroaches. I was already plagued by Miss Misery, the last thing I needed was to have nightmares about sentient bug people.

I guess Parasyte also came out. That was kind of weird considering when the manga was written. Even the reissue was ten years ago at this point. I’m sure it was good. I think it ran on Toonami. I don’t know. This is another manga I forgot I was reading because of the long release schedule.

That’s kind of it.

2014 was not a good year for me. But it was also the best year for me. I graduated from college with honors. I moved back to the Minneapolis after spending 15 years rotting away in various suburbs. And most importantly, this was the year that I discovered my love for working on film sets.

The first movie I ever worked on was shot over five day at a local bar during closing hours. I was still going to school full-time, so this meant that I didn’t get to sleep very much. When I got this job I thought it was because someone saw my potential and was taking a chance on me.

The reality is that they didn’t want to do a week of overnights for a crappy rate and I was the only person dumb enough to say yes.

Should I have been upset for being taken advantage of? Maybe. But I didn’t care because for the first time I was going to be able to pay my rent with money I earned working in my field.

It would be almost two years before I would be able to do this again.

Going to an art school is terrifying. It’s fun while you’re there because you’re surrounded by creativity, but when you graduate you’re faced with the harsh reality that turning your passion into a career is not going to be a good time. People smarter and more talented than me struggle to do it. Many of my colleagues simply gave up and got jobs at Guitar Center.

Unless you have prior connections, it almost always comes down to luck. But luck isn’t just randomly getting a break. Luck is the combination of being in the right place, at the right time, and being ready.

2014 is when I learned to be ready.

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In another world without anime in 2017

Being an anime fan is a strange thing sometimes. There are things about the fandom that you don’t often find in other communities. One of those things is the guilt we feel for not watching anime hard enough. We might still rewatch our favorite shows and attend conventions, but we’ll find ourselves in group settings with other fans afraid to admit that we haven’t kept up with the latest trends.

And you thought there is never anime in 2016

The second half of 2015 brought on many positive changes. But I didn’t make it out of the darkness unscathed. Years of jumping financial hurdles, clinical depression, and more than one existential crisis left a blackness under my eyes that persists to this day. Things weren’t perfect, but they were the best they had ever been.

Is it wrong to try to pick up anime in 2015?

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.
Gary Piano
Fake Anime Fan. Professional Audio Boy. Founder of GONZO.MOE.


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