"Oro?" This was a phrase that I had heard before but couldn't quite place. (Quickly -- where's it from? ^_^ Well, I'll give you a hint: you hear it a lot at CJAS gatherings. Still don't know?) Well, I admit, this was a tricky one. No, it wasn't Himura Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin. It was coming from the guy sitting a row behind me. It didn't dawn upon me until then that certain people really, really enjoyed the anime that CJAS showed. The guy behind me enjoyed it so much that he started picking up phrases from the showings and was probably walking back to his dorm or apartment with those phrases burned into his memory. This may be an extreme example, but one thing's true. Anime can change our lives, as in the case of the fellow who forevermore will be saying "Oro?" whenever he doesn't understand something. In most cases, it doesn't get that extreme, but it will definitely influence the average CJASer -- and for the better or for the worse is up for debate.
I, for one, came to CJAS with very little exposure to anime. Before CJAS, I think it may be safe to say that I was an anime neophyte. I knew nothing about anime except that it looked like cartoons. Sure, I had your typical Akira/Tenchi Muyo!/Sailor Moon background because of the stuff that bombards the American mass market these days. Every now and then I did get to see some good stuff, like subbed versions of Ghost in the Shell and the complete Record of Lodoss War OAVs. But for the most part, I was not involved in anime. Miraculously last year, when I came to Cornell and discovered during Orientation Week that there was a Cornell Japanese Animation Society, I finally learned what it meant to appreciate Japanese animation -- and I started to pick up certain "laws of nature" from the (exaggerated) personalities on the big screen. (After all, real people couldn't possibly behave the way that anime characters do... could they?) Here are a few (among others):
Of course, there are also the mannerisms. After seeing Nadesico for a bit, I can't help but notice that I'm giving the "peace" sign a lot more often. How did "baka" enter my conversational vocabulary so easily? Of course, I can't help but think "kawaii!" when I see something cute. ^_^ Hey, look at that! I even did the anime smile instead of the classic :). Certainly, perhaps one of the greatest benefits of watching anime is the sheer amount of Japanese vocabulary I've picked up. Considering that I don't speak Japanese and have never tried, this passive learning has to count for something, ne? It doesn't stop there. I've learned to grunt in response when someone speaks to me. Probably the biggest difference? I consider BGM (background music) to be a legitimate style of music. Yes, I've become quite the (anime) character. Other CJAS members will pick up different mannerisms (or none at all), but certainly, my attitude changed after seeing anime. It's all part of the transition to otaku-hood for me. Who knows? Maybe after going to enough showings, you'll know what I mean.