The story of Jonah is very disappointing. God tells Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh so that they might repent. Jonah refuses, goes the other way, gets swallowed and vomited by a fish, and eventually ends up preaching to Nineveh. The city repents and they turn to God. This great turn of events should make Jonah happy, but he continues to hold a grudge against Nineveh and can’t believe God shows the city grace.
I feel the same way about anime as Jonah did about Nineveh.
I’m a nerd but I have never been able to get into anime. Granted I’ve never really tried that hard, mostly because I have zero desire. Nerds always have some blind spots; we can’t be fans of every single nerdclination out there. For me, though, anime isn’t just a blind spot; it’s something that I intentionally avoid. And sometimes my avoidance gets a little ugly and turns into outright scorn and mockery.
Here are a few reasons why I have an aversion toward anime.
I dressed up for the midnight premiere of Episode II but that involved borrowing a shepherd’s robe from church and breaking out my toy lightsaber. Cosplay for anime fans goes way beyond the minimal effort I put forth to dress like a Jedi. Anime fans spend months and large sums of money in order to dress like their favorite character. Unfortunately the same amount of effort doesn’t go into getting a physique to match their favorite character.
If I wanted to cosplay as a Bible character I wouldn’t choose Samson. I don’t have the body for it and no one wants to see my running around in a loin cloth and a wig. I would have to choose someone like Jacob who sat inside all day or Eglon, the grotesquely obese king who Ehud assassinated. I know my physical limitations when it comes to dressing as a character. This is knowledge that a lot of anime fans don’t have. I’m a nerd but I don’t want to be associated with the spindly kid who paints himself green and draws muscles on himself with a Sharpie to be the Hulk. I’m a nerd but at least I have my pride.
I’ve never seen any but, from what friends have told me, some anime makes Sodom look like a convent. There are some deviant things that happen in anime, things that no one needs to see. I really like Star Wars but the most deviant part of that is when Leia kisses Luke. There’s a point where our nerdclinations begin to have a negative impact on our souls and, at that point, we need to move on and find something else.
Obviously not all anime is sexually deviant. Some anime probably have great stories that highlight the complexity of the human condition. But, even if you’re a fan of those deeper, less deviant anime, you still have to defend yourself against the assumptions of everyone else.
Anime Nerd: “I’m really into anime.”
Non-Nerd: “Eww. Really?”
Anime Nerd: “Not anything gross or weird. Just the normal stuff.”
Non-nerd: “Oh…OK. Whatever you say.”
That’s a conversation I don’t ever want to have. When I tell someone I like Star Trek they don’t assume that means I’m some kind of deviant. They just assume I lack social skills, have poor personal hygiene and have a dog named Spock. I can live with those assumptions; I’d have a hard time living with the anime assumptions.
I know anime fans are just like me: nerds trying to make their way through this world. They can probably look upon me and my nerdclinations with the same disdain I have for them and theirs. In the end, though, I don’t know if I can change. Jonah preached to Nineveh, saw them repent and still had a hard place in his heart for the city.
Thankfully God hasn’t called me to preach to the anime fans. If he does though, hopefully I’ll just go and do it instead of running away. It would make for a good story if I got swallowed by a great fish, but it would totally ruin sushi for me.
What nerdclinations do you have a hard time understanding?