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A 12-Step Guide To Getting Addicted To Anime As An Adult

OTAKU AWAKENINGGG!

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1. Darkness

Maybe you watched Dragonball Z as a kid and forgot about it as you grew older. Maybe you associate anime solely with Pokémon (and think Pokémon was originally an anime — poor child). Either way, you are lost. There is a void in your life, an itch in your chest where your heart should be. But fret not, all will be set right in due time.

2. Curiosity

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You meet a human adult who likes anime. You are confused. "I like anime," they tell you. "Bwaaaaa?!" you respond. Prior to this meeting, you associated anime with bright colors, exaggerated movements, and juvenile storylines (basically Pokémon — poor child). But now after encountering an anime-loving adult you are confused, but you are also intrigued.

3. Deliverance

Your curiosity has been piqued, and now your body is ready to be Delivered From the Darkness. Deliverance comes in many forms — a roommate, a significant other, boredom, Netflix's extensive "Recommended for You" list. Once your Master presents themselves, you bow your head and thank them for Delivering you to salvation. They nod curtly and pass you their DVD copy of Wolf's Rain.

5. Resistance

No, you think to yourself as you tug awkwardly at your shirt collar. These are cartoons. I'm…a grown-up! Ah, but alas, you have already been introduced to the gloriously complex web that is anime, a beautiful tapestry of sparkles, gore, and delicious animated food. It is much too late to turn back.

6. Acceptance

You've come to terms with the fact that anime is good, so you proceed without guilt. Next thing you know, it's 4 in the morning and you've polished off all 26 episodes of Wolf's Rain. Your eye twitches, your lip quivers, and suddenly you realize you're in the midst of an...

7. OTAKU AWAKENING

HOW MANY YEARS OF MY LIFE HAVE I SQUELCHED AWAY, WATCHING LESSER TV SHOWS?! you think to yourself. THAT WAS INCREDIBLE. THAT WAS MIND-BLOWING. THAT WAS… you hand reaches out and you delicately touch the screen in front of you. That was anime, you nod as tears well up in your eyes. That was anime.

8. Immersion

You buy sketchpads and fill them up with chibi drawings. You learn Romaji through YouTube so you can read onscreen text without relying on subs. You frequent online message boards arguing about how subs are better than dubs. A spiky blue wig shows up in your closet. You don't know how it gets there, but you wear it on your yearly pilgrimages to Otakan anyway.

9. Hikikomori Retreat

No one knows where you are. You don't know where you are. This part of your life will always be a blur to you. Also, you have many missed calls from your mother.

10. Emergence

You shield your eyes from the daylight as you crawl from out of your hovel. How long has it been? Days? Weeks? Years, perhaps? Your neighbor waves at you. They look concerned. You look down at your food-stained shirt and you understand why. You blink for a few minutes, and then you head back inside to try to gather up the fractured shards of your former life.

11. Mission Trip

You've dedicated your newfound abilities to converting the less fortunate and turning them toward the light. You don Miroku-like robes and solemnly proceed to enlighten the needy, specifically your immediate friend group if they aren't anime fans already.

Spoiler: If your friends aren't anime fans, there is a 93% chance they will just tune you out. They might also stare at your robes and call your mother out of concern.

12. Balance

After much time, and an unprecedented display of willpower, you finally get to the point where you plow through only one series a week. You relearn how to hold a conversation without mentioning shōjo or shounen, and stepping outside of your house becomes a regular, if not daily, occurrence. Your otaku soul is now in balance with your duties as a functioning adult. Oh, and you finally call your mother.

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