Ninety-two percent of the lessons I have learned in life have practically all stemmed from my lifetime hobbies of manga, anime and video games.
Unfortunately and fortunately, I discovered it at the very early age of twelve, and it became less of an “escape” to dive into when things in reality were going to hell in a fast car, and more affiliated with the reason of why I used to adamantly believe I’d have life figured out (while subsequently finding the love of my life) by the time high school graduation rolled around.
Reading and watching tons of manga and anime really will warp your perception of love, life and everything else in between when it’s all you’ve ever known, and I grew up a hardcore romantic, starved for love and Senpai to catch me whenever I trip and fall over dense air.
The problem didn’t dissipate with age, but it did bring me to understand that as life goes on, there are lessons and characters from anime, manga, and video games that I’ve always been able to relate to. It’s very interesting to go back and read and watch some of these series as an adult.
Case in point, my very first manga was Hot Gimmick.
Inexplicably one of the top selling shoujo manga worldwide, Hot Gimmick is written and illustrated by Miki Aihara (Aihara Miki). It follows the story of the hapless heroine, Hatsumi, a sweet and well-meaning 16-year-old girl who has the worst (love) life in history.
Her childhood best friend/first love, Azusa (redhead, left), moves away as a kid, comes back a famous model, plays on Hatsumi’s long-standing crush on him, and then attempts to seek revenge on her father by orchestrating the nearly successful gang rape of Hatsumi.
Her childhood tormentor-turned-adulthood-tormentor-turned (inexplicably)-love-of-her-life, Ryoki (blonde, glasses, center) (the physical embodiment of “Affluenza” if there ever was one) blackmails Hatsumi into being his “goodbye virginity practice toy” slave and of course at the end of the series, they’re engaged.
The only one who seems to have it most together is her brilliant, hardworking, older, college-aged, adopted brother, Shinogu (right, brown hair), who has always been deeply in love with (the initially unaware) Hatsumi.
Did I mention every, last guy is impossibly attractive, and that this manga is supposed to be a romantic comedy?
(Just throwing that out there.)
The point I’m making is that through the eyes of a twelve-year-old me, Hatsumi, bumbling, but still good-natured, did what she could with the lot in life she was given. Sure, Ryoki is an abusive, rape-minded, spoiled little rich kid brat, but he did kind of have a shitty upbringing, and was only acting out of loneliness. He’ll get better about it once he and Hatsumi are married.
Through the eyes of the twenty-seven year old me (actually, early twenties, given I didn’t read the canon, Alternate Ending spinoff until my early twenties, and agree way more with that ending than the original), and as someone who has survived a very violent and abusive relationship, nothing infuriates me more than Hatsumi’s decision to stay with Ryoki, shitty upbringing or not.
However, because I’m twenty-seven, I can’t exactly pretend as though I don’t understand her unwillingness to leave, even if I don’t agree with it (hence why I was glad when Hot Gimmick S was released, and see that as the true ending).
It’s very interesting to go back and watch/read these series now that I’m an adult. Without the rose-tinted delusions of puberty, love, and romance to obscure my thinking, I’ve come to see certain series in ways I never could.
And what used to be my escape has now become a vital part of my therapy; helping me cope through several of the most difficult periods of my life.
In conjunction with my #SlayingTheSilenceSeptember project with The Tempest and Nerdy But Flirty, I will be discussing the topics aspects of depression, sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, suicide, mental wellness and unwellness (amongst many other topics), by way of revisiting some of my favorite anime, manga, and how the series itself shaped the type of thinking I had both as a child and as an adult.
Up First (next): Hot Gimmick.
Androgynous AltModel (and Pokemon Master) Jacqueline-Elizabeth (AKA Kurosune of the SuicideGirls, and Cosplay Deviants) was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, developed a lifelong love of reading and writing at ages two and three, and started playing video games when she was six.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, California, Jacqueline scored her first writing gig as Nerdy But Flirty (run by gaming legend SarahTheRebel and later passed down to Kelsey’s Marquet), and later recruited by the Jace Hall Show (now TwinGalaxiesLive!) as also not only their first black writer, but their first female one as well.
Her interests include writing, reading manga, gaming, watching anime, cosplaying, increasing her number of tattoos, and rainy days in bed journaling.