As a result of participating in my chat during Reader Appreciation Week, Robbin aka yuumegari, met the bare minimum requirement to get a chance to get Hi 5’ed by the chat host—that awesome dude being me. (Haha) After a week of intense pondering, she got singled out to have this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Although she is from the West Coast and stands eleven inches shorter than me, we did find several things in common. We both studied Japanese as a major in college and that we have a profound love for GO-related hobbies. Through my exchanges with her, I had the pleasure of getting to know her and giving her a Hi 5… if only she could reach.
Despite my assumption of how I would treat her should we actually meet, here is my interview with yuumegari in a civilized and orderly manner.
Hit the break and check out what she has to share!
1) Looking back to when you first started watching anime, what can you say was the defining moment that hooked you forever?
I used to be a pretty big manga reader. I used to binge on a lot of anime. To this day, I still make time to play the old RPGs that I never understood when I was younger, and working at a bookstore keeps me up to date with a lot of books that are coming out. There isn’t really one defining moment in each category, but the general reason why I’m sure I’ll never really be able to quit is because I’ve worked at my local anime convention for the past five years or so now.
I’m nowhere near as crazy (perhaps “dedicated” is a better word) as the fans that I see at these cons. In fact, I tell myself that I go because it makes me feel sane among the insane, whereas in the “normal” world I’d be considered as an outsider. Though it sounds conceited, it’s a silly notion, because at the end of the day, I will still find an anime I want to watch or a game I want to play. Working with the fans and some of the creators of the things I love for such a long time made me realize that I have embraced this GO side of mine, and I am happy that there will always be a new story to call home when I need it.
2) What important aspects do you look for when watching anime?
Without a fast internet connection, it’s impossible for me to catch up to any anime or manga that I want to dive into, so I have to be very picky when it comes to looking at new things. I find that I usually go by whatever my followers are reblogging, since I think their tastes are similar to mine. The first thing I look for is the art style. Is the manga more beautiful, or does it flow better when animation techniques are applied to it?
Second, I read into the plot. If the plot is engaging enough, I don’t need the art to be showy, because it would get in the way of the story. And lastly, I look for people to ship, because without a ship, I simply cannot set sail (this doesn’t apply if the story is good and doesn’t need relationships to make it work).
Lately, I like looking at provoking seinen manga like Monster, Akira, Mushishi, and Pluto (incidentally, these were all textbooks from one of my favorite college courses). My friends tend to get into shoujo manga; I really enjoyed Koukou Debut! Of course, I enjoy a good dose of smut here and there, like Hot Gimmick, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, and the like.
3) What is the downside to being a geek/otaku? Has it ever stopped you from continuing your GO ways, like a slump of sorts?
There are quite a few downsides to being a GO, especially as a Japanese major. All the professors will immediately give warnings before the beginning of each quarter: “Don’t expect this class to be anything like anime.” They will automatically assume that everyone in the class isn’t Japanese and wants to be Japanese, and will treat you with disregard. When I’m working at conventions, I typically don’t dress up because it gets in the way of work. If you’re at a convention, I suppose it’s assumed that you’re just about as devoted to the “otaku” culture like “everyone else” is; I think that’s a silly assumption, but it’s the truth.
I’m looked at differently because I’m not sporting the lolita dresses at conventions. I’m seen as a hopeless basketcase that wants to be Japanese in my classes, even though I am seriously interested in the history and literature. It has definitely been problematic for me in my academic life, but in the end, I think things turned out wonderfully. And I still go home to replay my old Final Fantasies, and I will still read manga recommendations, and I will still doodle in a typical anime style. What matters is my happiness, right? So I try not to let it get to me.
4) Let’s say you’re a writer or producer. If you were to make your own anime or manga, what would it be about, and how would you want to go about it in terms of direction, target audience, music, etc.?
One story that I would like to develop is a futuristic cyberpunk mystery of some sort. The general background would involve the surgical implantation of memory devices (resembling a tiny USB drive of some sort) in the human brain as soon as they are born. In this way, humans can access all aspects of life; the memory device records everything they sense and think and can be actively uploaded and downloaded to computers. Memories are no longer intangible things. The government loves this technology, which is to be expected. However, there is one person who is off the grid: a history professor who does not possess this chip.
I like to think that this would be a seinen manga, but I honestly don’t know how to draw out a volume from that. I have no idea how to write it, though I love the idea. I have gotten a suggestion from a fellow PopGO’er about a sort of black market where people trade and buy each others’ memories to become another person, which is fantastic. In any case, I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts about it!
5. Rapid-fire questions:
a. Who is your GO significant other?
b. Who would you borrow sugar from?
Sakura Kinomoto. Anyone from the Kinomoto family, actually.
c. Who would you ask to babysit the kids?
Alfred from Batman.
d. Whose Facebook invite do you not accept?
e. What is your dream GO job?
Working as a professor in Japan for the history or English department! Or here in the US for Japanese cultural studies.
f. What is the best part of Population GO?
Even without internet, I can get snippets of what I’m missing out on!
g. What anime character first comes to mind? (Be honest!)
Onodera Ritsu [from Sekaiichi Hatsukoi]! (Because that’s what I’m watching now.)
Thanks again to reader yuumegari! Give her a follow when you get the chance! :)