As part of a random conversation with another adult not part of my immediate family (I live a sheltered life), today I did two things that some might think do not reflect well on my maturity level.
1. I admitted that I watch Cartoon Network. Like, constantly.
2. I ratted out my wife and revealed how big a fan SHE is of Cartoon Network.
Because who doesn’t love Adventure Time? Or Regular Show? Or any of a number of other great things that are happening in animation nowadays?
Which led to me telling the story of how my wife got the habit…
See, before she met me, my wife had little to no interest in cartoons, especially not anime, and next to no interest in science fiction or fantasy. But it would come up in conversation in those early days of our marriage, because MSH (My Sweet Honey) had no idea how much I was into that stuff. It was kind of my thing. And she just sort of shook her head and rolled with it because she is awesome and she loves me.
So one day, I was watching Toonami, something I did regularly after work, and I caught the first episode of Gundam Wing. Watching it now, I shake my head and laugh a little, but at the time, I thought to myself “This! This will show MSH what it is I see in this stuff!”
And the weird thing is… it totally worked. It became a family ritual – the two of us watching Cartoon Network every night (Toonami Uncut? Unleashed?) to catch the next episode of Gundam Wing. And when the 50 episode run ended… well, we went looking for more.
Fast forward to today – anime heavily influences my own writing. In fact, on a certain level, it’s pretty obvious to see it. Especially when you look at something like Battlehymn. Giant robots… princesses… lots of drama… And my wife is still a big fan – she’s been watching Naruto since it started lo these many years ago. (Which, now that I think of it, was also a family tradition, back before it was licensed in the states, and we’d watch the fan subs by dragging the couch over in front of the computer, popping some corn, and reading the subtitles to our daughter, who was about three at the time. She turns 14 in a week.) And the kiddo is a big fan as well – she occasionally gets on the computer and binges on a whole bunch of Bleach episodes. Or Hunter X Hunter.
I think animation has lost a lot of the stigma it once had for adults. With Pixar and Miyazaki putting out incredible, beautiful, interesting work, it’s no longer necessary to have a kid to go see an animated movie. It’s pure imagination (cue Gene Wilder music…), and it’s great writing fuel for me personally.
Adventure Time has also been a fantastic resource for giving my daughter an idea of what her D&D paladin should act like. (If you ever need to explain it or if you are curious, go watch a particular episode in Season 1 – The Enchiridion, link goes to the Amazon streaming version…)
And to my friend, to whom I gave that story today, I think I might have to apologize for one other thing. Handing you Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings”. Book one of who knows how many and who knows how long it will take to write. Sorry about that. It’s still one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory.