I Never Wanted to Like Anime….

I’m a nerd. Truly and proudly.

But one thing I was never into (mostly because, growing up, my mom said it would “melt my brain”) was anime.

And, even as an adult, I didn’t want to like anime. I mean, I was already into comic books (which is vast and bottomless of ocean of reading/watching material), Harry Potter, Disney, Doctor Who… not to mention any fantasy/sci-fi novel I could get my hands on. Who had time to also be into anime?

Not me. Or so I thought.

My husband has always been a big anime fan. I’d watched an episode or two with him while we were dating, but none of it really grabbed my attention.

Until one night, he wanted to watch the My Hero Academia movie. I figured it wouldn’t be my thing, but what did that matter? I’d be happy to spend time with my hubby and see him enjoying it.

“You might like it,” he told me. “It has superheroes in it.”

Sure, I thought, but cuddled next to him as the movie started.

Long story short… by the climax, I was sitting on the edge of the couch, clutching a pillow, staring wide-eyed at the screen and wondering how All Might and Deku were going to save the day.

After that, came a downright devouring of My Hero Academia, and then some branching out into Assassination Classroom, Pokemon, Fairy Tail, and, most recently Persona5. (I guess you could say that MHA was my gateway anime.)

So what is my point in all of this? Well, for starters…. anime is awesome! (All those wasted years….)

But mainly, my takeaway is this: You never know until you try. Looking back, I realize now that there are a lot of things that I didn’t think I’d like (some that I was even adamantly against), but they actually turned out to be the best possible choices.

When I was a senior in high school, the last college I wanted to go attend was the one only one town away. I wanted to spread my wings and redefine myself far, far from home. But my parents convinced me to give the “closer to home” option a fair try. And, after one college visit… I fell in love with the campus. My closest friends are still the ones I made there (shout-out to my “nephew” who just turned 1!)

Way before that, in the third grade, I resolutely decided I didn’t like Harry Potter. It was popular, so 8-year old me figured it must, therefore, be overrated. I remember my teacher even reading Sorcerer’s Stone out loud to the class, but I stubbornly refused to listen, spending the time doodling instead. Of course, when the movie came out and there was nothing else playing, I did end up relenting. And, well… I eventually became the friend with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything HP and was even one of the thousands who dressed up in character for the midnight release of seventh book.

And now… anime.

Who would have thought that’d I’d find motivation in “Go Beyond! Plus Ultra!”? (MHA) Or that I’d find some oddly inspirational words from a yellow octopus with a smiley face head? (Assassination Classroom).

In short, you can’t judge something without experiencing it yourself. Without giving it an honest try. Without really trying to understand the appeal it might have.

That doesn’t mean you’re going to like everything. Even though I’ve tried it more than once, I don’t think I’ll ever develop a taste for sushi.

But the experience of trying something new? Of stepping outside your comfort zone and saying, “I want to better understand this” and taking a leap?

That is priceless. (Even with sushi. The date night my husband and I went to a local Japanese restaurant and tried different styles of sushi is one of my favorite memories.)

So leave your expectations behind. Try something that you’d never imagined trying. Go on an adventure. Expand your horizons and, in the process, maybe grow a little, too. In short: Challenge yourself and do even more than you thought possible.

Or, as they’d say at UA High: “Go Beyond! Plus Ultra!”

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