From Our Readers
January 23, 2014 6:00 am

When I was a little girl, the only thing I’ve ever wanted was to be a sailor soldier living in 1990s Tokyo and fighting against the Negaverse. Yes, I wanted to be a part of Sailor Moon’s elite team of strong teenage girls with extraordinary powers. I wanted to be an anime character.

Living in the suburbs of Long Island in a neighborhood isolated from other kids, I only had my imagination and a little sister to play with, so I ended up watching perhaps a little bit too much TV. Instead of having it rot my brain, it fueled my imagination. Every afternoon at 4 p.m., I took a break from doing my homework to watch my favorite show in the world on Toonami: Sailor Moon.

I plopped myself down on my parents’ bed and crushed one of their heavy pillows under my chin. I turned the TV on to Cartoon Network and watched these young girls fight against the negativity of their enemies as well as themselves. For 30 minutes a day, five days a week, I watched five girls about the same age as me battle some really nasty monsters. What I didn’t realize until recently, was that they also fought against societal pressure to be pretty and the same as everyone else.

This show shaped the way I saw the world at 14 years old. I wanted nothing more than to wake up on my 16th birthday and inherit these magical powers lying dormant within me since I was born. I wanted to find out that I had some magical destiny requiring me to become a midnight crusader against darkness and evil in my little town. To me, these sailor scouts were perfect. They were the average teenage girls, but with a twist. I wanted desperately to be one of these girls. I just wanted the chance to use my abilities for the good of the world. It would finally explain why I was so weird and different from all the other kids in my school.

Sixteen came and went and now at 29, I find myself watching more anime and remaining just as weird.

Anime’s changed a lot since I was younger. Now, characters have incredibly large boobs and short skirts. These teenage girls have their pale white panties peeking under their pleated micro-skirts when they accidentally trip and fall on their way to school. I couldn’t believe how much has changed since I was 14, and yet that drive and want to be an anime character remained with me. Perhaps this never changed, but for me it was a whole different experience. Yet, I’m still waiting to wake up at some milestone in my life with extraordinary powers. It’s not the big boobs or the micro-skirts that make me want to be an anime character. I want to be an anime character because I have a chance to show other girls and women in the world that there is strength in being a little bit different.

Recently, I watched a show called “Beyond the Boundary” which features a young girl who is outcasted not only by humans, but also by people similar to her. She was different, wore glasses, and still continued to fight for what she believed in. Her innate power to control her blood (which also burns like acid on anything it touches) made her incredibly isolated, but she didn’t care. She was fighting for what she believed in and if that meant being an outcast, so be it.

Even though she was an outcast, she was never alone. You would think at 29 I already understood these concepts of “being different” and “fighting for what you believe in,” but somehow these things got lost in my daily routine. Perhaps it’s because I don’t go out with a sword made of blood and fight against giant monsters from another dimension. My giant monsters are the pictures of photoshopped women and societal pressures to be perfect. My blood sword is my mind and strategy to fight against this negativity. In a way, anime reminds me that life isn’t always about following the routine. There will always be some obstacle getting in the way of finishing a day of work or school, but at the end of it you can always get a cup of tea or a glass of wine with your friends. Even after all the fights and constant battling against your own evils, you can smile and shove your face full of food. You can bicker with your girlfriends about how that one guy you have a crush on is totally not into you. You can always laugh and remember that you’ve still got so much life to live.

It’s kind of funny how subtly these concepts are injected into these stories. Perhaps they’re less prevalent when you’re a kid, but as an adult, you start to see where anime is getting at. Yes, there are the quirky story lines about perverted young guys. There will always be someone with large boobs and a short skirt, but what there will also always be strong friendships, warm hearts, and the feeling that you’ll never be alone even if you’re from a small suburban town in Long Island.

That’s why I want to be an anime character. I don’t want to be some big breasted, short skirted, perfect haired heroine who wields a katana and transforms into a sailor soldier. I want to stand up for what I believe in and refuse to follow along with what everyone else is doing because that’s what people figure to be trendy and cool. I want to fight to protect myself, to protect the future of my tiny universe, and to be able to make really ridiculous facial expressions. I’m not ashamed to watch these shows and I like the constant reminder of what is truly important to me.

I also want to be able to eat tons of food and have a cool animal friend that can talk to me, but you can’t always get what you want.

Simone is a 29-year-old lady practicing the delicate art of procrastination. When she’s not writing, Simone is traveling the world, reading up on tweets, and eating anything she can get her hands on. During the day, she works for a prominent website as a customer service representative. One day, she hopes to learn how to play guitar and become Internet famous because there isn’t anything more she’d hope for in her life. She lives and breathes in Brooklyn, NY. Follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

Featured Image via Shutterstock.

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