Teens, Fandoms, and Parenting

Parenting teens is a minefield at times. The amount of content from the entertainment industry, and it’s resulting fandoms, is immense. Mind boggling really. But…I think this has been the case in most of modern history. Each successive generation looks at that their children and what they like as teens and thinks: “What the hell? It wasn’t like that when I was younger.”

It wasn’t. But that fact shouldn’t paralyze you.

I had some thoughts about this. It comes from my own experiences as a parent and from my former life when I worked with teens. Take the following words as a point of view, not a parenting guide. Everyone has to figure stuff out on what works best for them for themselves and their family.

I am a nerdy dad. I like a wide variety of music. I watch anime, sci-fi/ fantasy, and am mildly literate in the world of internet memes. Having two teen boys, I do okay. I can connect with them on things that they happen to like.

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 But is it that simple?

Yes and no.

It’s not enough to have off beat interests. It also means being interested in your teen’s world.

Teen years are one of increasing independence. Their peer group becomes a lot more important. They try on new personalities. Develop their own interests.

As a parent this is both cool to see and potentially frightening and sad. That kid who was once super dependent on you, now is less so. They don’t think the stuff you like is that cool anymore. They like stuff that is weird that their friends introduced them to. You have lost influence. In losing that, it also feel like you lose connection to them. That’s hard.

So what do parents do sometimes? They try to reconnect with their kids. Show them things that you think are cool. Criticize the things that they like also happens.

This works and doesn’t to varying degrees.

In order to bond with your teens, what has kid of worked for me, is joining.

“Joining” is a term that I picked up from my Family Therapy background. It means just that. You “join”, or ally, yourself with another person.

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 So how do you do this with your teen?

What do they like? Do they watch anime? Vampire Diaries? Steven Universe? Do they play Undertale? Overwatch? Listen to some band you have never heard of?

Find ways to ask them about it. Not in an over bearing way.

Watch an episode of their favorite show with them. If the show isn’t something you would typically like, is there an element you do like about it? Why do they like it? Why is it cool to them.

Sometimes the answers will surprise you. I never would have given much thought to Steven Universe if I hadn’t listened to my boys talk about the messages around inclusion that the show has. That’s cool! And it’s cool that they value this!

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 What about the music they listen to? Let them play you the music they like. Find the elements that you can appreciate about it and tell them. I don’t like every song that my boys like, and they know this. But I also don’t tell them that what they like sucks…when you do that you shut down communication. Find out what they like and why.

Having an interest in what is important to your teen goes a long way.

Having said this, here is the crux: It has to be a genuine interest. You can’t just be feigning interest to push your point of view. They can sense that.

Does this mean you need to like or validate all things? Absolutely not.

But by joining with your kids to see why they are fans of what they are fans of helps open dialog.

I’m never going to validate things that are openly racist, homophobic, sexist, or abusive and my boys know this. I will have that discussion with them.

Which brings us to fandoms…

It is where people go from liking a thing, to the online (sometimes obsessive) fan expressions of devotion to what ever that thing may be.

Fandoms can run the spectrum from being positive or innocuous to creepy and/or abusive.

Be aware of this as a parent. If you are able, talk to your teen about it. If you have a concern: express it. This doesn’t mean trying to ban them from being a fan or viewing fan material online, but do talk honestly about your concerns. Teens should be given the tools to know to draw appropriate boundaries between themselves, what they like, and unhealthy expressions of what they like. There are people in fandoms that create creepy content (why does there need to be MLP porn?) and people who get abusive online about their fandom. Have conversations about this.

This is an incoherent post, I know.

But it had some thoughts IU wanted to express.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

Feel free to comment.

 

 

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Sometimes a Basic Show Can Be Enjoyable

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Fuuka

On paper this show isn’t what I’d deem as remarkable. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.

Fuuka was a pretty straight forward show. It all felt pretty familiar. Boy meets unique girl. They have experiences together. Feeling grow. There is a barrier to overcome. Boy and girl come together. Oh yeah, and there is a band that follows a similar course (because said boy and girl are in the band).

Arguably, one could say a lot of shows follow this pattern. They wouldn’t be wrong. Fuuka just seemed rather obvious in it’s presentation and that stood out to me.

Despite this, I still enjoyed the show.

The animation was decent.

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It had pretty good music (which one would hope seeing it was about a band).

As I understand, the story in the anime diverges a bunch from the manga (not too surprising). So, maybe this was why the story was not as compelling as it could have been…Who knows?

 I still enjoyed it and didn’t feel like it was a waste of time despite my misgivings about the formulaic feel of the story. Sometimes that is okay.

 Watch it. Don’t expect anything earth-shattering. Just a pleasant little show about teens, unrequited love, love, and a band.

Attention Parents: Aside from a brief: “you’re a pervert for trying to look at my panties” scene in the beginning, the show is mostly harmless. No real violence to speak of, not fan service-y, low to no cursing. A pretty safe watch.

Until next time: Happy Viewing!

30 Day Anime Challenge- Day 1

Very First Anime You Watched

Clannad

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But this is not entirely true…Let me explain.

I was a fan of animation throughout a lot of my life and in the 90s I did watch a very scant amount of anime but never got into it because it was always at the rental store and was super hit or miss. So I got discouraged throwing money at titles I didn’t like and gave up.

 Fast forward 15 or so years. I now have children. They are starting to get into anime themselves. Dragonball, Naruto and the like. I still didn’t watch it with them.

 It wasn’t until I got a Kindle Fire that I had more own little way to watch shows for myself (after years of watching what the kids watched). I was browsing through my Amazon Prime video app that I came across Clannad.

 I thought: “Why not?”

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It caught my attention.

But it was strange. It was slowly paced. The storytelling was different to what I was used to. It grabbed me in a quiet controlled way. It made me cry.

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I started to watch it with my boys. By the time we finished Clannad- After Story we were all sobbing emotional wrecks. It is something I shared with my boys and something I continue to share with them to this day: anime.

 Clannad was my gateway into becoming an anime fan and holds a special place in my heart. I have watched, and enjoyed, both the subbed and dubbed versions. Have met a few of the English voice actors for the show and last year got to see a panel by Key (the animation studio responsible for the VN and show).

 I recently just purchased the Visual Novel on Steam: more feels, more fun.

I usually re-watch it once a year.

 Still to this day I still get a bit emotional listening to the music from the show.

 

 So I consider this my first anime.

Watch it if you haven’t. It’s a treat.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

I Don’t Have a Lot to Say, Except…

WATCH THIS!!!

IT’S AWESOME!!!

And it will only take 6 minutes of your time.
This a music video/ short film. It is for the song “Shelter” by Porter Robinson and Madeon. They collaborated with A-1 Pictures to make this animated music video.
My older son showed it to me the other day, and I love it!

Enjoy!

The video short is also being featured on Crunchyroll.

My Son the Youtaite

Some followers of this blog may know that my son is active in the Youtaite community here in the U.S. and has his own You Tube channel.

What is a Youtaite?

“The word “Youtaite” is a fusion of the words “Youtube”, referring to the website, and “Utaite”, which is a term used to call cover singers and is used particularly in Nico Nico Douga. Youtaites are people who upload song covers, usually Vocaloid songs, Japanese songs and/or songs translated from Japanese, on Youtube.”-youtaites.wikia.com/

His most recent upload was his (T.V. size) English version of the “Yuri on Ice” ED: “You Only Live Once”.

I think he did a good job, thus this post. He said it was auto-tuned a lot, but still likes the end product and so do I.

Enjoy!

 

I will get to posting more again soon.

Pokemon Symphony? Yes, Please!

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As a fan of anime we can never neglect the gateway drug of anime for many future otaku: Pokemon.

My boys have been Pokemon fans forever. From the cards (they collected, but never played), the video games, and the anime: Pokemon has been a huge part of their lives, and as a consequence, of mine as well.

I have seen a lot of the various shows (I like the earlier ones best) and played the games a little as well (I am not much of a gamer. I lack the patience).

Pokemon Go, however, has kept me very busy this summer (often helping me neglect doing blog posts). It has been fun and got me out and about, walking and enjoying the summer weather in Wisconsin.

One day something came up on my Facebook feed: Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions.

What this is: It is the music of the Pokemon video games that has been orchestrated. It is then performed by a live orchestra with video screens showing the piece/ period of the video game they are performing. The production works with local symphony orchestras to put on the production.

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I took my two boys, one of their friends, and their cousin to this last night.

It was great. The interpretation of the music from the game to symphony was great and loved by all of us.

If this comes by you, give it a look. It is well worth the experience.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

 

*images used in this post are not owned by the blog*

 

 

Music You Need

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Mega Ran

Aka: Random, Random Beats, Raheem Jarbo.

I first came across Mega Ran’s music after attending Anime Midwest in 2015. My younger son and I wandered in to his show on accident and was really blown away at his live performance.

After the con I looked into his music and have been a fan ever since.

He is a Hip Hop artist who is associated with the nerdcore genre. His music covers a broad range of topics, but is often about his obvious love of video games.

Check out a few of his videos below.

 

 

Please go and support Ran!

http://megaranmusic.com/

I am looking forward to seeing him again this fall on tour!

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Myself and Mega Ran at Anime Midwest 2016.

 

 

Another Year Older

Today is my birthday. This is not to get well wishes, but to provide context.

My older, the “Youtaite”, recorded another song for my birthday.

Last year he had done the T.V. size version of Bakemonogatari’s ED: “Kimino Shiranai Monogatari” by Supercell ( Nagi Yanagi).

This year he did the full song.

He knows it’s one of my favorites.

It’s pretty great.

 

I then showed him why I loved it so much.

 

 

Go watch Bakemonogatari.

Thank you son.