Tags: mindless ranting

Medieval Lady

But are your interests really all that interesting?

So, this is the first time my sister has brought home A Boy. Not counting the Boy who she dated in High School, who really didn't come around all that often _either_, to my recollection.

This Christmas, however, her boyfriend-since-last-Spring and his seven-year-old son came down to visit.

He is very nice; his son is very nice, and very Seven (and very much a boy of age seven... which is weird, because the only other seven-year-old boy I have any experience with was/is in Germany, so I keep having an instinct to speak in German, since that is obviously the language of seven-year-old boys, disconcerting species that they are).

And, so, yes, they are very nice, and sister is obviously adored by both of them and adores them in turn, and they fit extremely well together, the three of them, and Boyfriend gets along with parents and is gainfully employed teacher and intelligent person and fantastic father and so on and so forth and so on. I am thrilled to bits for sister, and hope that this all continues to progress and work out and so on.

The thing is... Boyfriend is in charge of anime club at his school. Which is terrific. I am highly in favor of teachers being dedicated enough to be in charge of clubs, and highly in favor of anime clubs, and so on.

And the parents are actually asking some questions about anime, and about manga, of both him and of me. This is a very new development.

(I actually requested manga (specific ones) as part of presents for our crazy mall run the other day, and the conversation went something like this:

Mom: What do people want for Christmas?
Me: Umm... there are some manga... "Fruits Basket" from Volume 5 onwards, and "XXXHolic"
Mom and/or Dad: Huh? Ma-What?
Me: Manga. Japanese graphic novels. They are called manga.
Mom and/or Dad: We have no idea where such exotic items might be obtained, and why are you asking for things which clearly will not be located in a normal mall bookstore, or, if they WERE to carry such bizarre and unique things, it would clearly be a big hassle to find that particular corner of the bookstore.
Me: *sigh* Go into Waldenbooks. Look or ask for the manga section. They are alphabetical by title.

Because, really, as I'm sure many of you are aware, the manga section of your average bookstore is NOT SUBTLE.

Afterwards, both parents expressed vast surprise at the size of the manga sections. And Dad noted, with equal surprise, that many of the manga appeared to be stories which took multiple volumes.

Me: Yes. Traditionally, manga start out as serialized chapters in magazines in Japan. And then the ones that do well are collected and printed in volumes in book form. And then the ones that are popular as manga are turned into anime, and/or licensed and published in the US. And then doujinshi artists turn them into porn. )

In the past two days, both "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away" have been played on the DVD player, and Mom and Dad have caught at least part of them ("Oh, these are anime?" "Yes, these are anime."). And they have asked questions about what anime is, and what types of things can be anime ("Umm.. everything.. sports... samurai... giant robots... enchanted duck magical girls with ballet superpowers... science fiction... fantasy... high school drama..."), to both me and to Boyfriend-of-Sister.

So, I am caught between this weird sense of "Yay, Mom and Dad are FINALLY INTERESTED and not treating me like I'm a complete flake totally juvenile somebody with this weird hobby of watching kid's stuff and not growing up or being interested/distracted by things which are not at all mature, grown-up, whatever." (at least they didn't think I was watching and/or reading porn?) and this sense of "Wait... how come it took the demonstrated interest of MY SISTER'S NEW BOYFRIEND to get Mom and Dad to see this, after my being interested for several years, and in a big, significant, noticeable way?" It's really kind of annoying; I have watched "Spirited Away" here before, with parents around, and they have no memory of it. I've been reading manga at home, and talked about anime, and tried to explain that it wasn't kid's stuff, and it has made no difference. Because, you know, I am still in school. And Boyfriend is an actual professional job-having person. Which means that his opinions can be taken seriously, and if he has an interest, it must be a grown-up interest, whereas... well, I am stuck in perpetual student mode, and there is no mental difference for my folks between undergrad and advanced grad student, apparently. Student = student = not grown-up.

Gaaaah. Much love to parents, etc., very happy that there might now be Actual Conversations on the subject of anime/manga, etc., but it's still kind of annoying to have the not-being-taken-seriously being thrown into sharp relief in this fashion.