Hating Who You Used to Be

I have a few questions to ask of you the reader, and I would much appreciate it if you responded in the comment section below. If you want to remain somewhat anonymous, feel free to not put down your usual username, etc.

1. How much do you feel you’ve changed since you’ve become an anime and manga fan?

2. Do you resent who you used to be, and if so, how much?

3. Do you feel that the changes to your person, as well as your resentment (or lack thereof) significantly impact what anime or manga you watch? Alternately, have you stopped watching anime and reading manga as a result?

To start off, I’ll answer my own questions.

1. The main difference between who I am now and who I was when I first started getting into anime is that I am a much more confident person. I don’t radiate confidence, but I’m now much more apt to speak my mind. However, I don’t feel I’m significantly different from who I used to be, other than I’ve been exposed to more ways of thinking and education over the years.

2. I do not really resent my younger self, even though I feel like a much-improved version. While there are some things about myself which I regret, I can see how those things shaped me to be the person I am today.

3. One thing I’ve grown less tolerant of are mecha shows which try to get by almost entirely on their mecha designs, as I feel you can’t carry a show alone with that. However, when I see a character who is similar to how I was when I was younger, I do not hate that character any more than I hate myself.

Now, it’s your turn.

11 thoughts on “Hating Who You Used to Be

  1. Resentment of your younger fanself is something I see a lot amongst people who look down on negatively-described weeaboos. They’re especially hostile towards the childish antics of kids knowing that they used to be one themselves. It’s a shame I’ve never really understood since everyone tends to grow out of the rampant fantard stage.

    1) I know I’ve changed a lot since I got into anime — it’s impossible for there to be no different between a 10-year old fan and a 20-something-year old fan. Maturity is the main thing; taste may be another thing, though personally, I don’t feel as if my tastes have changed that dramatically.

    2) I don’t resent my younger self any more than I resent kids being kids. There are some things that are kind of embarrassing, sure, but no more than any other stupid thing I did as a kid.

    3) Like I said, I don’t think my tastes have changed all that much. I think I have a greater understanding of story and plot devices and am a little more critical of characters and their development (or lack thereof), but that hasn’t really impacted what series I decide to pick up.

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  2. 1. I wouldn’t directly attribute it to anime and manga, but I’ve become a little more confident in myself and what I can do and a little more comfortable in dealing with and adapting to new situations. I’m still a work in process though.

    2. Not really, as said from the last sentence of 1. It’s an improvement, but I feel like I still have work to do in areas in which I feel like things have gotten better, as well as things that have stayed the same from the start. But this isn’t going to change anytime soon, since life is a constant process. :P

    3. I don’t think there’s an impact in terms of what I decide to watch, but in terms of interacting with other fans, I feel more critical about why I like what I like, which can suck out the fun in interacting with the other fans much more so than watching anime. At the same time, I feel like if I needed to, I could take a break from anime/manga in general, but I couldn’t necessarily do that for the anime community.

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  3. 1. Since I became a fan at the age of 11 (14 years ago), there have been many changes in my life. Significant, huge, changes! I have become less critical of others when they don’t fit in with my way of living or my outlook (though there are still exceptions). All my key characteristics like optimism, assertiveness, independence, and creativity have just gotten more pronounced. I rather feel like I am much the same just distilled and molded into something more mature. As far as my fandom goes, where I lived at the time there were few into anime and manga and if they were I knew them. I was definitely over-confident about my “knowledge” of the medium. As time goes along I have learned so much both about the medium and Japanese culture that it isn’t an over-statement to say it has had a big influence on my life. I wouldn’t say I’m more open-minded because I have always gobbled up as much as I can. However, I think my ability to assess plot, characters, and quality has much increased. This is an ever evolving process and as a fan I can’t image it having an end until my death.

    2. No. You can’t wake up one day and know everything about something that has only just come into your line of view.

    3. No. My taste overall hasn’t changed much. I might not hold certain things on pedestals as I once did though. Having more understanding ultimately makes you look at things more critically and perhaps judge them more harshly. However, overall I can easily watch and appreciate shows that are just entertainment and then turn around a watch something plot heavy.

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  4. 1. I’m a bigger fan of anime now and more expressive in my ways. I have no shame then (though anime was merely a part of many other geek interests), and I’m even bolder now. When I was 27 (32 now), I had this huge wall scroll of Kenshin in my office (first time I had my own office to myself) and had super robot figurines all over my office. It helps to be older or having a higher rank, I must admit. People see my work first before they see my hobbies anyway.

    2. Not at all.

    3. N/A

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  5. 1- I also got a little more confident, and a lot less introverted. mind you I’m still ridiculously timid, but compared to how I was before it’s leaps of improvements.

    2- I will always see my past as a recollection of mistakes and what-ifs. I regret a lot of things before and after i got into anime, but I always try to ignore the regret and consider them learning experiences.

    3- Anime that can’t watch? repetitive or too-long anime like Dragon Ball or Sailor Moon. Those shows were awesome when I first watched them, but I could never watch them now.
    I still like watching the magical girls transformations ^^

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  6. So much self-loathing SDS. Not healthy. But maybe it’s just a phase for you.

    1. I grew older, but loving anime (oddly I don’t think I’m a manga fan, at least by what I consider as being a fan) doesn’t give a person power over time and space. Perhaps the only thing unique about being an older anime fan, in this time, in America, using the scope of things that I look at the world now, is that I see a lot of young people in all stages of life. If I was into something else, or lived somewhere else, or lived in a different era, it may not be the case.

    2. I have my regrets, but I don’t resent my past self. At least no more than my current self :)

    3. I think my tastes have changed, for various reasons. I’ve begun to be able to enjoy really otaku-y stuff, because I see all the in-jokes, I see the dialog between the creators and the fans, and it’s hard to not like that kind of interaction. But I don’t think my tastes have narrowed. I probably can enjoy a lot of mainstream anime if I give them a chance. I do have less free time now than I ever had before, so it’s all about cutting back.

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  7. 1) Since I got into anime in my tween years and am now in my early 20s, like a lot of responses before this one, the changes I feel are matters of growing up, maturing as an individual, and gaining wisdom through the experiences age affords, rather than anything directly related to a single passion such as anime/manga. Maybe I can attribute to anime a greater overall literate awareness, as well as more pure knowledge about animation industries and processes and Japanese culture, but those are minor changes in the grand scheme.

    2) Resent and hate are strong words. Are there things I regret about my younger self? Sure, but I can’t fault a teenager for being one.

    3) I used to be really into lengthier shounen-type fighting shows, heavy on action with simple but eventful plots. Now I’ve tempered those preferences and enjoy calm slice-of-life series, coming-of-age stories, and character-based dramas. Now I actively seek to widen my range of experiences rather than passively accept more of the same, and I trust my own opinion when listening to the popular perceptions of the crowd.

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  8. 1. Hmm. I’m more reclusive, more conservative and much more computer-literate. I’d only connect the last of those to my interest in anime and (to a lesser extent) manga.

    2. Perhaps, a little. I’d probably use words like ‘repudiate’ and ‘recant’. But back then I was definitely on the way to my present state, so I wouldn’t look back in too much anger at my former self.

    3. Not dramatically. Being a bit of a recluse means I have more time to waste spend on anime and manga, of course. If anything my choices have probably become less ambitious nowadays; I suppose I’m more comfortable with my taste for simple action stories, and I’m reconciled to the fact that I’ll likely never properly appreciate the ‘arthouse’ end of an imaginary spectrum.

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  9. 1. I’d say quite a bit. The big push for me was when I found this podcast with three very interesting hosts. It made me expand my horizons.

    2. Resentment sounds so strong to me. If anything I’m more like “Oh that younger me, so ignorant and naive.” You know.

    3. How I feel about what I want to watch and read is directly proportional to how I am now. It changed greatly over time. Instead of having to watch everything with a mindset of fast, now, keep up, I’m more patient and choose for substance over popularity.

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  10. Heh, I’ll bite.

    1. If religious experiences are to be counted, then yes. I found God in a visual novel. So sue me. While I have to say I still retain a good amount of my older characteristics (nihilism, a fair amount of antipathy against the world at large, etc), I’m slowly becoming a lot more appreciative of everything around me. Even crap animé.

    2. If I hated myself, then I’d be hating everyone else somewhat as well. One does not acknowledge the mistakes of one’s youth.

    3. In the past, I would never have touched certain genres. Now, I can safely say I can watch anything as long as it does not cross a certain threshold. Though in my case, that threshold is getting lower. (I LIKE STRIKE WITCHES, I AM A BAD MANS)

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  11. 1. I have been a casual anime fan for about 16 years and a serious hardcore anime fan for 10 years. So I would be a very odd person if I was exactly who I was when I stated watching anime and reading manga. ‘

    My attitude towards anime and manga has clearly changed. I used to be very superficially interested as I was in most of my nerdy hobbies. I think over the years as I have grown I have gained an interested in have a deeper and more scholarly interest in my hobbies.

    As for my growth as a person it has been all over the place. I think I am somewhat more outgoing and sociable than I used to be if that could be believed. I have also grown more paranoid and pessimistic as well. These things should be mutually exclusive by apparently they are not. Anime and manga like any of my other hobbies have been a bridge to interacting with some people and a barrier to others.

    2. Heck I resent who I am today let alone resent who I was in the past. I have always wished I were a more likable person. For some reason I find it hard to get anyone to warm to me. But may it’s that layer of paranoid and pessimism. I always resent that fact. Being a failure compared to most of my other friends does not help this one bit.

    3. I will say that my general nature draws me more to happy and optimistic series. I with a general dark worldview tend to like to balance it out with lighter fair. I assume that is why I enjoy Rumiko Takahashi work, Hayate no Gotoku, One Piece, and the such. I tend to enjoy comedies over dramas but I won’t say that my nature or the nature of my growth has stopped me from watching or reading anything. I will read and watch dark and broody pieces, light and fluffy pieces, and everything in between. If anything I merely think I have become more open to new genres. I will say that my years of anime & manga fandom mean that I can be a little more cynical about things but I am hardly the “everything stinks now but not like in the old days” guys.

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