Anime And Visual Novels As Enablers Of Escapism (And How They Have Affected My Life)

(This one got a bit personal, I hope you’ll read regardless)

I’ll be real for a second. I have used Anime increasingly as a way to replace social interaction. I personally probably have a slightly different reason as to why than most but that doesn’t change the fact that I do it. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

This is a complex issue for me so I’d like to try and get my thoughts about it down on “paper”. At the same time I want to show how easily one could fall into this escapist trap and, depending on ones reasons for doing so, how that could be extremely harmful.

How It Relates To Me Personally

So why would I actually want indulge my escapist tendencies like this? Well that’s very much to do with personal philosophy. My Mother’s side of the family has always been a bit anti-social to begin with so that’s definitely part of it. But I personally have long seen mass social interaction, and romantic endeavors in particular, as a waste of my time.

The way I was raised, in a largely atheist family with a mother who encouraged a bit of narcissism as a way to prevent me having her self-confidence issues, has left me with a very one track mind. I want to make art. I want to be famous. I have to be famous for making art.

So one might be able to see why I value my time so much. But unfortunately I am only human. Such is the hypocritical nature of my own feelings, sometimes I absolutely feel like I have to have some social interaction. Like going out and trying to find a girl might make me happy. Based on past experiences I know how fleeting these feelings are and if I were to actually find someone I’m interested in they could derail my life. I am a very single minded person. If I find a girl I like they will comprise most of my thoughts.

So instead of actually indulging these potentially destructive impulses, I’ll throw on a harem show or if those feelings are incredibly persistent I’ll play through a visual novel. Why would I bother getting into such a long and potentially complicated relationship (or at least attempted relationship) when I could do one of these two things? The girls are all beautiful, they all love me and I can be fairly sure that my ultimate goal of getting with them is a sure thing. And if it’s not I can just try again. Most importantly though I’ll only ever sink maybe 10-15 hours most into a visual novel and 4 hours into a harem series. It sates my needs and doesn’t take too long.

Until recently I was very content with this, especially considering I do keep in regular contact with a few close friends. So why am I concerned about it now?

The Return Of Plan B

No not my plan b but the artist of the same name. And also not the Spanish language duo called plan b either. I’m sure most of my audience save for one or two will have heard of this guy but Plan B is a British rapper/soul singer and he’s one of my favorite artists of all time. When I got into his music back in 2014 he hadn’t put out an album in 2 years. This is pretty normal for any artist so I waited patiently for an album announcement. It did not come. 3 long years I waited. I knew the possibility was slim. He’d had a kid and suggested in an interview he was going to walk away from music to focus on being a father.

Then this past month he came back. After 5 years of almost total media silence, he returned with a new single and an enlightening interview with the BBC. He explained his absence in this interview saying that by the time he released his 3rd studio album in 2012 he felt that he had been a celebrity for so long that he hadn’t had a chance to live. He said he didn’t feel comfortable writing music about life when he was so out of touch with it. He wanted to go away get some life experience and then come back with music he felt was up to his standards. And his new single is amazing.

So this is what got me thinking about this topic. By simulating life in this manner do I risk any art I ever create of being too out of touch with reality to be relateable? Ideologically I’m already in a minority so alienating myself further may be too much. Is this even a problem? I don’t know. This is a serious question I don’t have an answer to yet.

The problem is the hypocrisy of my mindset. I don’t care for many people’s opinions but I need those people to like what I do to achieve my goal.

So for me it’s a question but for others…

This Could Be A Real Problem

So my problem is not that I can’t engage in social interactions it’s a general disinterest. But what about people who use these same products to simulate social interaction that they really want? People that really want to make friends but just don’t know how. These products could be like a drug to them. It gives them a simulated feeling of socializing but it doesn’t help them gain social skills because these games are usually fairly far from reality (that’s sort of the point).

It’s a viscous cycle, the more these people play these games the harder socializing becomes relative to the easy interactions of a pre-scripted game world. In a world where social interaction is already being warped by the internet games and anime like those I’ve described enable a potentially awful lifestyle for certain people.

I don’t think I’m even really the right person to comment on this but I do think it’s a serious question, not even just in Japan anymore as Japanese media has become so popular out west.

Anyway I think that’s the gist of it. Let me know what you think. Should I be worried for myself? Is this a problem? Why did kids love the taste of cinnamon toast crunch?

If you have a comment or a question about anything here please leave it down below.

Thanks for reading,

Psychime.

 

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6 Comments

  1. I feel like the title of this post should be spruced up. Something like “Visual Media as Enablers of Escapism and Why It’s Haunted Me Personally” or whatever. There wasn’t enough there to warrant just that short title alone, as you put a lot of “me” into this post that makes the title somewhat misleading.

    I’ll have to check out Plan B sometime. Somewhat odd that that’s the thing I got out of this post, but it was an intriguing read. Your one-track mindset rung really true for me, especially when I was your age, and only quadrupled when you compared it to having a girl be the only thing on your mind if they steal your interest. Been there, dude. Been there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking about changing the title to be more reflective of the personal nature of the post, just couldn’t come up with something and I already had it done so impatience got the better of me.

      And the guys amazing, two number one albums in the UK but never charted Stateside which always confused me. Try this song if you feel like one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQjh9H-ymK4

      Like

  2. Let me share something too, I believe in many things that are “unrealistic”. Like the Fae, dreams and stories.
    And, yes, I’m fifteen.
    And yes, I don’t mind if I’m called ‘Weird’

    Escapism, as a break from the world is a wonderful thing, but if that is solely the reality then people would call it a problem.
    I wouldn’t.
    Then again, I believe and accept a lot of things that cant be true. That “shouldn’t” be true.
    According to me, as long as you feel happy doing what you are doing without making others unhappy, it’s acceptable.
    It’s okay to live in a fantasy even if only its because the real world sucks.
    Honestly, I think that its only a problem when people want to get back to the real world but can’t.
    But if you’re using escapism because you couldn’t care less about others or because you chose to, it’s perfectly fine.
    Anti-sociality is not exclusion. It is something that some like and choose for themselves.
    If everyone likes a dish, but I choose not to eat it, it doesn’t mean I have a problem. If I enjoy something that isn’t true even when I know it, I don’t have a problem. It means I am different and hell, I’ll BE different. Different is what works.

    Not to insult your model or anything, but songs and art are created when you see, look, understand and interpret.
    It isn’t so much WHAT you see than HOW and WHY you see what you see.For me, art is something that I can feel. Your passion will shine out in anything you do.
    A story, a song, a scenery, a poem, they are art that everyone like and appreciate.

    Broken words that yet somehow fit, colours that mix but do not as well, notes of music that do not sing, but move the soul; they are art. Whether or not someone appreciates them.

    I apologize if anything I said offends you in anyway, it wasn’t my intention. I got a bit carried away there, haha. This is a topic that I feel strongly about (as you can tell)
    I don’t mind if you disagree with me, I would very much like to hear another view of this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t worry about offending me, you didn’t say anything offensive anyway so it doesn’t matter.

      I understand what you’re saying, in relation to the creation of art at least. It is true that what one creates can be art whether or not someone is able to appreciates it. For example if I write a novel in a language only I can read, it can still be art but would only be capable of being understood by me.

      The problem for me is that I require justification. I wish that I could make stuff for myself and just be happy that it’s good but my views on mortality make it that I feel a need to seek justification from others to validate my worth beyond my own lifespan.

      The issue is I want to make stuff true to me but I also require justification from others. So if I become unrelatable to others my art will in effect be worthless even if it’s great to me. But if I were to try and be sociable and more relateable would that be a betrayal of the real me? It’s that dilemma that Plan B’s comments inspired in me, he was able to reach me with his art so his opinion holds weight in my eyes.

      All I can offer you in response is a very confusing and personal answer.
      Thank you for sharing your feelings about this topic, it helps me to think about my opinions when I have differing ones to respond to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh, I understand what you are saying…..
        Perhaps there will always be someone who will be there to justify your art.
        I mean, everyone has different tastes right?
        But honestly I don’t know what else I can say to that….

        Liked by 1 person

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