After Haikyu!! revitalized my interest in sports anime, I started seeking out other series. I scoured top ten lists, read manga, and looked at reviews to find my next hit of sweet, sweet, animated sportsting. The Eyeshield 21 manga was a hit for me, even years after reading it the first time. Yowamushi Pedal has been a surprise hit with both my wife and myself. But one series seemed to dominate every list I saw. I noticed an overwhelming fanbase as it topped most lists and garnered rave reviews.
That series was Kuroko’s Basketball… and I’m not a fan. I’ve only watched fourteen episodes, which is hardly enough for a full review. It has, however, provided me with some context as to what I love in a sports anime. Rather than ripping apart a series I am still trying to give a fair shake, this gives me an opportunity to run down the things I love in a sports anime—and why Kuroko’s Basketball made me aware of their absence.
As readers of this blog might know by now, I’m a fan of both anime and RPGs. While I’m not a hardcore player, I’ve spent many hours on MMORPGs in particular. Games like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV account for quite a few missing days of my life, and it’s all time I willingly gave.
When I saw a free-to-play action MMORPG with an anime aesthetic pop up on the PSN, I figured I’d download it and get a few hours of laughs out of it. “What’s the worst that could happen? I waste an hour on some character creation and an off-brand Dynasty Warriors battle system?”
That was not the worst that could happen. The worst that could happen is Onigiri—the worst game I have ever played.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve thought a lot about where I can find happiness. The sudden change in worldview was unbidden, but it ‘s made me reconsider my life in a way I hadn’t had to up to now. It’s caused a change in perspective in all facets of my life, for both good and ill. I’ll never again feel the same highs, certainly not in the same way. The world has lost some of its innocence and charm, the gray is a bit more pronounced, and the minute-to-minute joys of a day have all but evaporated. I struggle to reconnect with things I once loved, and results are mixed. Days go by where I feel like my old self, where I can happily write about a show I loved or my favorite games from the past. Conversely, there are days where I have to write to work through my mind. I have to try to give order to the storm, to piece back the ground after the quake.
Today is one of the latter. Writing, above many other things, has granted me clarity. I have found the important parts of the rest of my life, of course. My family will always be the most important part of my life. My focus at work has shifted to a greater passion for teaching, for culture, and for community outreach. But even my love of writing feeds into the core of what can make me happy moving forward. I don’t write in the hopes of it ever paying the bills. I don’t have any guarantee my words will ever be read by more than a handful of people, nor even that those that read them will care for them. However, they’re all written with the same purpose, the purpose that drives any passion I have left in my life. I want to make those around me happy.