How I Love Anime
When I was the beautiful little ten-year-old girl of years past, I discovered an online community that would plague me for years to come, How exactly I found DeviantARthom is lost to me, but I remember falling in love with it quickly. I was that kind of kid. Unkempt greasy hair, wore the same outfit every day, and had a vast amount of seemingly obscure interests and nobody to talk about them with. Anime. God, did I love anime. I could barely hold a conversation with anyone that WASN‘T about animet Because of this, I obviously had no friends This all changed when I met DeviantART, an online community blessed (or plagued) with people just like me. When you get a bunch of socially awkward people together with one common interest, especially one like anime, the people aren’t going to obey proper English rulest.
They’re going to jump rope with them, stretch them and even add exaggerated mannerisms of the anime girls they idolizet There was also a lot of racist cultural appropriation and fetishization of east Asian people, Wanting to live in Japan or wanting a cute Japanese girlfriend was regular topics of discussion, as if Japanese girls would put up with someone like the speaker. I’m deeply ashamed of ever being part of this community, and although I’ve preserved my interest in the shows, I try not to mention it to strangers. Thinking back on it, the majority of this unique “language” was composed of broken Japanese, emojis, and overuse of the tilde (N) key, all italicized, Emojis were serious business, There were a few variantsi Someone new to the community might use traditional, sideways emojis like 🙂 and :3, while an older member would move on to flat emojis like OwO or UwU.
The true veterans, ones with a deep understanding of a community made up of young teenagers and immature young adults, would use emojis consisting of actual Japanese characters This would mean that the user would either have a bookmarked page with all of the emojis they needed, or they‘ve installed their own Japanese keyboard and they craft all of their emojis with love, “Premium” emojis would look something like this I](|:|[|w|:|)|:| or this (En “)EI, Notice how at least one of every example had a w-styled mouth, or a cat face. For whatever reason, cat-like faces and mannerisms would be a common theme in popular animes and by extension popular with the fans. Emoji’s were an expected part of the community Everyone used them, and you were considered weird if you didn’t embellish your comments with loosely identified cats.
Some of the more optional parts of the language really set where you were in society, I was never very high up, because by the time I could understand the language, I thought it was stupid and refused to participate in anything but emojis and tilde keysi What I‘m getting around to is the fake Japanese Newer people didn‘t use this, not because they weren’t allowed, but because they couldn’t understand it At most, people on the lower rings would use nya, the Japanese word for meow, and kawuii, the Japanese word for cute, People who had watched more anime and picked up more common phrases would use things like watashi wa meaning “I am” and gomenasai meaning “l’m sorry”, The last aspect of the language that I’ll go in depth about is purposely misspelled words. This part was kind of fun, but it’s not something I keep incorporating into my casual texts.
Purposely misspelling words so they would be pronounced similarly when read aloud could easily transform the tone of the text. For example, just saying “Hi” could signify coldness from one person to another It was unnecessarily “formal“ or “normal”i It was like a text you’d send your momﬁsomeone who wasn’t a member of the community. A properly capitalized “hi” could mean something like “we need to talk about something important”. A casual invitation into a conversation would be misspelled to be “Hai”. The amount of i’s you tack onto the end can be used to signify how close you are. For example, just saying “Hai. :3″ is awkward. You’re trying to make friends, but you’re not there with them yet, “Haiii~ o w o” is more intimate You might know this person in real life or you’ve become very important to each other. Other commonly misspelled words were enywayz, teh, and computah, When you combine all those aspects together, you get an ungodly mish-mosh of broken Japanese, cats, misspelled words, and tilde keys.
While a normal, well-adjusted member of society would say “I’m really curious, what are the specs ofyour computer?”, someone from my circle in DeviantART would say “Uwahh~ Gomenasaiiii… im really curious x3~ wut kinda computah do you has? 0 w 0”. When you talk like this on impulse online, it‘s very hard to make friends who don’t type the same way you do. Being a kid, I adopted this method of typing into my actual spoken speechr Kids want to mimic the things they like, that’s normal. That’s why you have kids running around quoting SpongeBob SquarePants, But it’s not normal for a kid to drop random Japanese words into sentences and expect other kids to understand or think that it’s cool, That’s how the language in this community affected me personally.
My own use of the language caused me to stay with the same dysfunctional and immature group of friends for years longer than I should have. I didn’t start making new friends until a few weeks ago, because everyone in my school remembered me as the girl who used to talk like that. Around my freshman year of high school, 1 became so ashamed of my friend group that I cut myself out completely. For the next 3 years, I had minimal contact with some more normal friends and I spent most of my time alone or with my now fiancé.
As such, I’m not completely sure exactly how friends are supposed to act with each other, and the way I act seems forced to me. I robbed myself of a lot of high school experiences because I decided to be loud and incorporate my community»specific language outside of the community, and it led with me having a reputation for being that kid, It’s not all bad. Although my experience with my community is mostly negative when I look back on it, I had a lot of fun there as a kid I drew art, made friends, and shared interests with people that I wouldn‘t have been able to do with people in my school. A lot of my interests from that period of my life has persisted up to today, Ijust try to be a lot quieter about it.
The community did lead me to find my fiance’, someone who‘s long hair I probably wouldn’t have been attracted to if I wasn’t so used to beautiful anime men with long hair and eyelashes, Last night, I was talking to a friend of mine that went through the same period as me. Although she grew out of it quicker than I did and was able to keep a group of real friends, I still kept in contact with her. Writing this essay lead to me to go look at my old account, now collecting dust. We laughed about that creepy kid that kept trying to scoop us out from underneath our then-boyfriends, and how immediately after she broke up with her boyfriend she started talking about her favorite cartoons. The conversation confused me. I still don’t know if I wish I never joined DeviantART, or if I consider it a precious memoryt I’ve contradicted myself a few times in this assignment, and fixing it to one narrative would destroy the idea that I’m not sure how to think about it anymore