(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,