Passion, love, interest, attachment, regardless of how you put it, it’s something that I’ve had a bit of an obsession with over this last year. Everywhere I went, in everything I read, and with everyone I spoke to, this idea always came to mind in one form or another. This kind of thing feels almost fundamental to us; its abundance or absence can easily dictate how we choose to live our lives, and this is especially the case, I find, in the communities that I’ve associated myself so closely to. It’s something that I really love to see and something I’ve struggled to find for myself this year.
So a couple days ago, I finally got to experience Aqours’ first live (a Love Live concert, for the uninitiated) in a theatre filled with hundreds of crazy and awesome fans. Being able to see the performance in such a high energy environment made the whole thing way more enjoyable. People were out of their seats screaming, crying, and singing along to the songs that we’ve all probably listened to a million times. Yup, everybody wore their passion on them like a badge for everyone to see (sometimes literally).
…And then there was me. Sitting quietly like a dead fish in a sea of coelacanths.
This post isn’t like what I normally post. It’s only tangentially related to anime and I can’t guarantee its quality (not like I could for my other work), but I wanted to try something new. Hope you like it.
I’m not entirely sure how people come to like what they do. When I think back to when and how exactly I started to like the things I like, I usually draw a blank. I vaguely remember enjoying certain interactions with people or events that occurred that may have resulted in my enjoyment of a thing, but I can never be certain. At some point, after liking something for long enough, it becomes part of my daily life and also a part of myself. This summer really solidified my feelings towards a certain multi-media franchise. I don’t know how it happened but I somehow managed to find myself in what I often lovingly refer to as ‘idol hell’. This year, Love Live has taken up a big portion of my interest and time – something that I would have never thought I would say back in 2015. As to how, I’m not quite sure, but I do know where it started.
I spent a good portion of my early high school years watching anime alone. The prospect of group watching never came under my consideration for a number of reasons. Most of my friends at the time had long since stopped watching anime and moved towards gaming as their primary form of entertainment. And because of this, I felt that even mentioning anime was a social faux pas. But even more than this, I think that I preferred watching things alone because it helped me stay immersed in the worlds and stories that I was so engrossed in. Eventually though, my interest in anime waned and I moved to join my friends in gaming for a while.
Miraculously in the years that followed high school, anime became pretty popular and the people I was close to at the start of university started getting interested in watching. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited. I got back into anime in a big way and watched a sizable number of shows every season from then onward, spreading the word of interesting shows to whoever I felt close enough to.
Fast forward to this year and almost everyone that I consider to be a close friend is watching anime seasonally. This was also the year that I watched a whole lot of shows as a group.
Now, when it comes to group watching, your millage may vary with the people that you choose to watch with. With my group of friends, they liked to take shots or joke around at the more ridiculous parts of anime. For those that hadn’t watched too much from the medium, a lot of things seemed weird or out of place or ridiculous. And of course they made fun of it.
…Sometimes to the detriment of the experience.
But other times things went surprisingly well. Some shows kept us all immersed and on the edge of our seats as we watched together. There was one moment that we had this year that I’ll never forget. I somehow managed to get a couple of my friends to watch Love Live! Sunshine!! – The successor series to the beloved Love Live! School Idol Project. We all enjoyed the gags and silly idol things and liked the series for its comedy. The drama elements of the show never felt out of place to us, but many of us didn’t pay too much attention to them.
That is, until episode nine. The sub plot for the third years had come to a boil during this episode and in after the glorious emotional climax, the show immediately led into the girls’ first performance as a group of nine. The performance was the best that the series as a whole had to offer and left all of us speechless. Those moments of silence and subsequent freaking out that happened after the screen went dark would be something that I’ll remember for a while.
So if you ever have a chance to watch something with the people you care about, give it a try. You might be surprised at how things go.