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Jul 21, 2017 1:27 PM
Anime Relations: Clannad: After Story
As early as second grade I developed a love for reading. With my reading above my level and more than the average second grader, I was pretty admirable. I got praise and my pathway to accelerated classes was pretty much set in stone once I found that love. Yet, when I think about it now, it was more like a love for narrative. My love for narrative has endured the test of time, while my desire to read has declined ever since 6th grade.

When trying to find the root cause of this phenomenon, I found that 6th grade was also the year I began to drown my stress and sorrows by way of anime. It was also the year homework was kicked up a notch, eating away at my free time. It’s not that I lost all desire to see a story play out, it’s that I found a new, easier outlet in anime. With my thirst for narrative quenched, I was faced with a dilemma. I was still required to read.

I began to read different things, things than what would be uncomfortable for me. In 6th grade it was historical fiction and classics. In seventh grade, it was nonfiction. In eighth grade it was mysteries and again, classics. During this time, I perfected the art of procrastinating my reading.

We were given time in class to read throughout my school years. We were expected to use this time and to read at home in order to meet our Accelerated Reader goals each goal period. In the earlier grades, I read at a rather linear rate. However, when middle school hit, consistency was thrown out the window. I would use time in class to slowly read a book during the first part of the goal period and when it was crunch time, I’d use my fast reading speed to average a book a night just to be able to meet my AR goal. Thankfully, my comprehension wasn’t too disturbed as I still passed the tests. I remember telling my eighth grade English teacher about how I read The Color Purple over the course of two days. She was astonished as well as impressed. This made me feel as though I was special at the time. I felt like I had a talent that made me different from everyone else. But I know now that that was nothing to be proud of.

At this point in time, the emotion I feel is guilt. I know that all my teachers would support a linear reading model as supposed to an exponential one. I should be reading for quality, not for quantity. Still, I can’t help but attempt to justify myself.

The evidence for my argument lies in the definition of a narrative. Put simply, a narrative is a story. It doesn’t matter what medium it’s in. It doesn’t matter what language it’s in. It’s just a story. Japanese animation has progressively become my favorite medium see stories in. This is because of how much I’ve come to appreciate aesthetic in storytelling. I love seeing how beautiful things can look and how a single scene can hold a great amount of impact just by being directed in a certain way. I also think that when a story is worked on by many people, it holds more value than a book made by an author and maybe a few editors. The mere fact that there is an original creator, a director, many animators, many voice actors, and many more working on a single piece of art gives it such a different perspective. I feel so grateful that there is that kind of teamwork going on. And stories of Japanese origin also have that exotic feel to them which makes them all the more interesting. Stories from the same place I live in just pale in comparison. Besides, animation does accomplish the main task we assign to reading these days. Escapism.

When people want to write about how reading is important, they often come back to the ideology that reading is the best way to escape from life. They mention how you can feel attached to characters and how you can get absorbed in the plot to the point where you forget about reality. But in all truth, any narrative can do that. It’s so simple, yet for some reason, reading and animation are forever destined to be held on completely different levels.

Reading is seen as the intelligent person’s escapism while animation and movies are seen as the inferior alternative, if that. It really is strange that people just assume a book, by default, can teach you more about life than a piece of animation can when there are tantalizing coming-of-age anime such as Clannad: After Story out there.

But, coming back to my main point, the thing that the majority of readers value most can be found in any narrative. So it’s no wonder that a once great reader such as myself has moved on to a different way of storytelling. As I stated before, I do feel a great deal of shame because of my changing interests. That’s why I’ve decided to try and impress people by finding my love for written narrative once again. Slowly but surely, one day, reading will become more than a chore for me like it once was.



This is currently my favorite piece of writing I've ever written. It was originally an essay I wrote in November of 2016 in freshman year of high school. The prompt was simply "Write a narrative essay about your relationship with reading." I hold this work very close to my heart and I hope y'all found it to be an enjoyable read!
Posted by Eve778 | Jul 21, 2017 1:27 PM | Add a comment