Seeing others express their feelings about anime that they can remember from their childhood so fondly and are able to re-watch and still passionately enjoy is something I feel sort of an outcast to. I don’t have that same vivid memory that comes with having any important attachment or life-changing experience to anime from my childhood as everyone else seems to. Which is something I bemoan and sort of envy when I hear others express this bridging connection between their past self and current self through this vivid nostalgia.
I wish I knew if there was any anime I watched that meant so much to me it changed my view of the world or taught me something that novel that got me thinking in how I approach things in life, but none really struck a chord with me on that level… at least not when I was a kid (or at least I don’t think any did). In my adolescence, there was quite a few anime that were influential to me in terms of philosophy and character connection, such as Code Geass. But I’m talking far back in memory here though, so let’s just set that aside for now.
And while I can take some comfort in knowing that I’m not completely devoid of these nostalgic feelings, I can’t say with complete confidence that I have as strong of a connection between anything I’ve watched as a kid and something someone else has watched that was life-affirming to them when they were young and impressionable, and it shaped them into who they are now in some way. That’s not to say that I can’t be passionate about any anime from my childhood to the same degree as they might be with the ones that were so important to them at the time (and likely still are). But the level of passion will never be the same without that evocative personal significance, which I feel I may be lacking.
As I’ve been watching Manabi Straight and listening to Digi’s Old-Ass Anime Cast on the same anime, the idea of missing out on a time where I could have watched these sort of shows and found them to be important echoed in me, reverberating this odd sense of longing and regret for not having done so as Digi and others have, able to look back at them with fond memories. There’s this feeling that I am watching these shows at the wrong time, as if it’s too late for me to project my impressionable mind onto them (like I might have, had I watched them as a kid), analytically view them as good, or draw any substance out of them at all (not particularly enjoyable watching them now).
They’re not necessarily bad, but sort of meandering between fun and boring, distinctive and samey, in often strange old-style anime ways. Maybe it’s the old aesthetic, the vertical black-bar resolution, and all the other ingredients of 90’s/early 2000’s anime that makes it feel like this is the wrong time for me to watch them to get anything out of them. Maybe they’re just dated shows, and I’m looking to deep into it. That could very well be it, but not in the sense that because it’s old, rather that it looks old, since I’ve watched older anime that look as if they came out tomorrow, like Kiki’s Delivery Service, which still managed to resonate with me in my late adolescence.
The same could be said for Digimon, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh. I have fond memories of watching them as a kid, but not what I would consider detailed accounts I could tell as stories that interconnected into something personally significant (unless you consider some asshole sleight of hand stealing my holographic Jinzo card that sort of moment, in which case, I am still upset about).
I could probably talk at length about each of these shows, but not to any degree on the same emotional wavelength as people like Digi can. That sort of connection simply isn’t reminiscent for me, if it exists at all. I see my past self distant like a far-off dream, so it would require a lot of focused thinking and being reminded by others (or maybe simply re-watching those shows) to evoke any (striking) memories attached to them.
I suppose I do have some semblance of nostalgia, and potentially similar feelings of personal attachment as others seem to have with anime from their childhood. I can gather from my vague recollection of times I spent trading Yu-Gi-Oh cards or being deeply upset for not getting to see a climatic episode in Digimon as it was airing (I did eventually see it; the episode where they defeat Ken, the Digimon Emperor… I enjoyed it).
So, maybe I do have that same attachment as I mentioned earlier, but it’s buried deep down and requires me to just try and remember those times as a kid, and all I really need to do is talk to with someone who can relate about them and help evoke those memories? Perhaps what was actually bothering me was not having a specific niche nostalgic anime to remember fondly (or maybe I do with Minami-ke?). I don’t know why I even wrote about this when I kind of solved my own problem there at the end. But there you go. Feel free to comment your thoughts, if you have any similar feelings or opinions even remotely related to the matter.