Dad Gets Serious For a Moment

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I started blogging about anime for several reasons. Because I like it, gave me something to do, community, and to be a resource for other parents who might look at a show and ask: “What is that show about that my kid is watching?” But that is not what inspired me.

I got inspired after attending Anime Midwest last July. It was there that I felt like I really got it.The community. I watched my , then 10 year old, son ask 20 year old Fairytale cosplayers a for their pictures and the cosplayers were always happy to oblige and were really cool to him.  I spoke to other attendees about their favorite shows. My older son made friends with a few other kids his age which he hung out with throughout the con.

And then there was Greg Ayres’s panel: “Why Your Fandom Sucks”. I had missed his previous one: “It Gets Better”, so myself and both of my boys made sure to attend this one. The stories Greg told were funny, if not downright disturbing at times. But more than that, there was a message: You enjoy what you enjoy, others enjoy what they enjoy. Celebrate that and don’t be a jerk. Pretty simple message. It was the idea of keeping the  anime fan community as a supportive place, that appealed to me.

Many who have read my blog may have guessed that my older son is gay. He is out and has the support of his friends and family. I wish more kids had this. As someone who trained as a family therapist (I haven’t practiced in over 10 years) and worked with teens I see the need for kids to have a place just to be okay with themselves as important.

The internet, while being a great place to bring people together, can also be treacherous for many teens. The anonymity of the internet allows for greater abuse. People feel great power behind a keyboard. They can say whatever they feel  like, no matter how hurtful or cruel. As an adult in my 40s I can see people who abuse others online for what they are: weak, afraid, bullies,trying to make  others feel bad because they don’t feel good about themselves.

Please. Please if you are having a hard time in life: don’t listen to the negative voices of the net. Talk to a parent. Talk to a friend. If you can’t do that: find a resource online or in your community to help you. Because while there are horrible people online and in real life, there are wonderful and supportive people as well and those are the voices you should seek out.

Keep your fandom clear of bullies. Enjoy what you enjoy. Love who you love. Life is too short and precious to take hateful voices to your heart.

Some resources

ReachOut.comUSA

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

It Gets Better Project

Now off of my soapbox….Carry on and watch more anime!

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If you have other resources to help others please feel free to add them in the comments. I just ask that they are secular in nature, open to helping everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual/ romantic orientation.

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Spring 2015 Season Watch List

A new season is upon us and after sampling a few shows this is what I’ll be checking out this season.

In no particular order:

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Food Wars: A cooking show where an aspiring middle school cook gets accepted to an elite culinary academy for high school. Looks to be fun to watch, but on the ecchi side. I won’t be letting the 11 year old watch this one.

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Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?: Adventuring, dungeons, warriors, girls, gods…Will it be good? Not sure yet, but has potential. Also somewhat on the ecchi side. Another I won’t let the 11 year old watch.

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My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu Too: I loved the first season of this, hopefully the second will be as good. I am fine with the animation studio change thus far.

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Kinmoza: English exchange students in Japan. A cute show. Pretty harmless. I think my son has watched at least half of the first season of this already.

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Nisekoi: Raku, Chitoge, Onadera,and Tachibana are back! 2nd season of this harem comedy by Shaft. I really enjoyed the first season and have read a bunch of the manga. We’ll see how much they cover in this season and how much filler they ditch.

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Plastic Memories: This looks like an interesting offering about a world where androids (or something like that) have synthetic souls that only have a life span of 9 years before they deteriorate. The show centers around the squad that is going to retrieve the androids at the end of their life span. It has got a good premise. Hopefully it will be a good show.

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Punchline: A guy wakes up after a terrorist attack that happened on a bus back in his apartment building to find that another spirit is occupying his body and he can’t return to it. Now he has to find a book with a ritual to get himself back to his body. But there is a twist. In the building where the book is lives several girls. Fine…Right? No, this is anime. Here’s the twist: If he happens to see a girl’s panties, or gets excited, he has such an extreme reaction that he attracts an asteroid to the planet that destroys the earth. This happens…he turns back time and keeps trying to get his body back. Well obviously I won’t let the younger one watch this. I am not sure if I’ll continue or not.

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Re-Kan! : A girl who can see and befriends ghosts. The others around her can’t see them for the most part, but accept her for the most part, except for one classmate who refuses to believe in spirits. It is a goofy comedy. The jury is still out about how appropriate it is….there is a perverted cat.

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Sound! Euphonium: About a girl who played in the brass band in middle school who decides to join the band club in high school. It looks like a harmless school anime. My largest worry would be whether it will be able to maintain my interest.

Well, That’s it for now. What are you watching?

Non-Anime Related Post: New Nightwish Album

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The new Nightwish album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, is out. The Finnish symphonic metal band has put out this new album, the first with their new vocalist, Floor Jansen. It draws on science and the natural world for several of the lyrical themes on the album. It is worth a listen.

I particularly like the following tracks:

Shudder Before the Beautiful (With spoken introduction by biologist Richard Dawkins)

Edema Ruh (inspired by author Patrick Rothfuss novels)

My Walden

Alpenglow

Elan (the first single)

Give them a listen:

Happy Easter!

The Show That Made Me Want to Work on My Japanese Cooking

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Gourmet Girl Graffiti

Well, Shaft has done it again. Put out another show that I truly enjoyed and loved the art. Was this one of my favorites, no, but I liked it a fair amount.

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The show follows RyoMachiko, a middle school girl who has been living alone since her grandmother died. Ryo was inspired to learn to cook by her relationship with her grandmother and has gotten quite good, but has felt something was missing. The missing piece falls into place when her cousin,  Kirin Morino, comes to stay with her on weekends to attend cram school  in Tokyo. Company, and the act of sharing a meal is what makes food come alive for Ryo.

The show’s premise is summed up pretty well here.

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And so it goes. Kirin comes on the weekends. Ryo makes food. Food is enjoyed. Girls become close friends. It is a quiet and simple show that focuses on the importance of connection in one’s daily lives.

But wait there’s more….Is food erotic and sensual? Shaft thought so.

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Can food be a sensual experience? I would say so!

Attention Parents: There is no nudity, violence, cursing, or traditional fan service in this show. There is suggestiveness without a doubt.

My 11 year old keeps asking me if it is okay for him to watch. I know most of the imagery would go over his head, but I still keep imagining the following scenarios: “Dad? What are these funny feelings I’m having while I eat hot pot?” “Why does omurice make me tingle?”

Oh…perhaps I worry too much. Or perhaps I’m a little nuts.

Watch, if you like  low key shows about food and friendship. It is really well done and worth a viewing.

Itadakimasu!

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