8man, our loveable loner
(Warning this post is about to get a bit personal but it just goes to show how complex our relationship with the media that we consume and how reflective it is to our own self no matter how much we think of it thus emphasizing the bridge between fiction and reality itself. But just a bit of a heads up)
The idea for this post came out after i read The Fault in Our Star. I haven’t finish it, but it was quite enjoyable read so far, Hazel was surprising a quite clever protagonist. It was when i hit the second chapter i think, where it all started. The scenario was that Gus, Hazels new “friend” started to ask her what’s her favorite book was. Hazel struggle a bit to answer this. Her favorite book was Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten (both the book and the author isn’t real btw), however she’s confused to answer. She felt that there are books out there that you just have to share to the rest of the world to see, but at the same time there are book that just so close and personal, so “got” to you to the point where you can’t share it to anyone else because it became part of who you are and you just want to keep it close to yourself. To share with anyone else means betrayal of your own self, like sharing your body or your brain. Hazel felt Imperial Affliction was that kind of book to her (which of course she decided to share anyway).
After reading that sentences by her, i was wondering if there’s any work that has similar effect to me. I asked myself if there is a series that make me feel the same way Hazel do toward Imperial Affliction .
And i just realize that series just aired last year.
Okay in case you haven’t guessed it already from the title, it’s Oregairu.
Ah, Oregairu you smart romcom you. From your depiction of teenagers POV, isolation, social dynamics, the way you examined common highschool romcom trope etc. There’s just so much to talk about on how great you are, to the point i am not even sure writing skill is capable of doing it. But most importantly, you gave us one of the most well written cynical teenager in anime ever.
While my current highschool life isn’t as Oregairu portrayed it to be, Hachiman is definitely someone i deeply relate to. His loneliness, self depreciation to point of loathing, doubt about whether he can have genuine friendship and love from others, everything. In fact i’ve been experiencing almost everything that he’s been going through in his life. Bullied, isolated, rejected, so i know how hard and harsh it is those experience are. In fact, i can almost say that he’s me, that is if i am more smarter or proficient on languages or even self aware (but at the very least i have friends now so that’s a plus)
Oregairu is just such a rare gem in anime because i absolutely enjoy seeing how Hachiman view the world, how he interact with others, how he develop as a character and i sincerely hope that the series will give him the resolution and development he needs. But i guess we can only find out when season two start.
Anyway i can ramble on how great Oregairu and Hachiman, but that’s not what i am writing this for. I am writing this to tell you how is my feeling toward Oregairu relate to what Hazel said on TFiOS.
Anyway, after watching Oregairu, like a fan i am, i decided to search couple of review on this series (you know to feel good about myself and such). After seeing couple of review from variety of people, i am definitely happy that people got same positive reception as i do. Back then, i thought that this series was reasonably obscure among anime fan to the point where, it was safe to say that Oregairu is “my” series. And i don’t mind even if the light novel apparently won the “This Light Novel is Amazing” popularity contest.
But back then i am also pretty much a newbie when it comes to anime, so i have no idea how much exactly “popular” this series is. And so as i went to forums and blogs once again, lets just say that, i saw horror.
There i watch as people lauding and praising the series, cheering and fanboying for Hachiman, quoting him, and referrring him as their favorite character. It was then i began to have weird/hurting sensation in my heart (i am not having heart attack mind you). It was an odd sensation to me, because i though i would love the series being recognized and love by many people. In fact i though i would like it even more if that were the case.
But i began to realize the horrible truth is that i don’t like Oregairu being popular, i don’t like how many other people love this series as much as i do and i just want to keep this series for myself because it is that personal and close the series is for me. It became somewhat part of who i am and what makes me the way i am now. When so many people liking it, it destroys the illusion that i “own” Oregairu and as the result i felt betrayed and hurt. For a while, i began to hate this series to the point where i felt relieve seeing a somewhat a negative reception for Oregairu. Yep, i am that screwed up.
Of course, i came to terms with it now and gradually began to liking this series again. After all, it was stupid thinking that you can keep a work or an art to yourself. Just like how art creation isn’t something that the author control for himself, this series was created for people, for viewer and for consumers to enjoy, to “own”, to discuss with, to talk and to think about. Heck, the reason i starting to notice this series to begin with was because people talking about it.
Though i still have somewhat “hate” feeling toward it in general, i do feel better now. I guess i am still at the stage where i still identify myself with the media i consume. But hey, baby step.
So let me ask you dear reader, is there any series that make you feel the same way that i do toward Oregairu?