Did you ever wake up early on a Saturday morning around 8 a.m. as a kid just to catch the latest episode of a cartoon or anime that you liked?
As college students, I assume we have all either done that as a child or found something else that gave us the same jolt of joy and excitement.
For me, it was those Saturday morning cartoons and anime that brought me not only a lot of joy and happiness but a sense of comfort as well.
Fortunately, my time spent watching shows wasn’t limited to Saturday mornings. My grandma didn’t place heavy restrictions on me and my brother when it came to TV time. I can’t say it did any harm. In fact, I think it did plenty of good.
Plus, it wasn’t like we were cooped up in the house 24/7. We loved going outside as kids.
Shows like “Code Lyoko”, “Avatar”, “Naruto”, “SpongeBob”, “Billy and Mandy”, “Ben 10”, “PowerPuff Girls”, “Sonic”, “Atomic Betty”, “One Piece”, “Fruits Basket”, “Totally Spies!”, “Danny Phantom”, “Pokémon” and many more did, of course, entertain me, but their influence on me went far beyond that.
They made me feel an abundance of emotions ranging from happy to sad— they spirited me away to an otherworldly reality full of limitless possibilities that helped me cope with losses in my family and my mental illnesses.
They allowed me to build a bond with my brother that is as strong as steel, along with an endless supply of inside references to shows we watched.
The shows I watched reminded me of the bright side of life and helped me understand the dark side as well.
They guided me to a community full of people who are unapologetically themselves and continue to be a limitless supply of support for me when I need it. Honestly, they just made me feel a lot less alone. A little bit heavy I know, but it’s the truth.
The shows I grew up on even helped me a few years back when I was in the hospital for an entire summer. It, of course, didn’t cure what I was recovering from, but it did alleviate some of the stress I was feeling and distracted myself from it all even if it was only a measly 30 minutes.
“The nostalgia that I feel when I walk back down memory lane is overwhelming but in the best way possible.”
It’s as if I’m wearing Monkey D. Luffy’s straw hat that was given to him by Shanks after Luffy promised to give it back once he became the Pirate King.
Or the necklace of the First Hokage that Tsunade gave Naruto after he won a bet with her, which entailed he could master the Rasengan in a week, and in giving him the necklace, placing her faith in the title of the Hokage and the necklace one more time.
If you watched the show now you would know that it was a pretty good bet to make.
I’m happy I was able to grow up alongside the many characters I’ve come to love from these imagined worlds, which were created with love and passion.
Despite not being a kid anymore, the love I have for cartoons and anime and the enjoyment they’ve given me hasn’t dwindled one bit. Sure, I can’t watch as much as I used to because of my newfound responsibilities, but just because I watch less doesn’t mean my love for it has diminished.
At the end of the day, watching shows like “Soul Eater”, “Steven Universe” or “Samurai Champloo” make me happy and bring me closer to my family as well as my friends. It’s what I like to do.