By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
I want to tell you all a little story about me. From my perspective as a former athlete.
From the look on my coach’s face, I knew the fall I was about to take would not end well. My mother, her friend, and an ice rink full of people heard a deafening thunk noise over the chatter of a bunch of children, the music, and two thick glass walls separating the ice from the attached cafe. I didn’t hear it though. I couldn’t heard anything for a few minutes as went from upright to on the ground with a bunch of coaches leaning over me, telling me not to move.
Ice skating had been my passion from age seven, up. I was a competitive figure skater with skill to back it up. Despite having started late for most children with dreams of the Olympic track, I was getting there and about to enter the “adult” competition ring, but that fall on the ice during group practice changed everything.
I struggled to recover and get back on the ice. I pushed myself so hard that I ended up falling more, and it became clear that my injury had ended my career. I couldn’t spin without feeling like I had just slammed my head onto the ice again. I couldn’t move quickly without feeling disoriented. It was devastating, and I felt lost and uncertain about my future because skating was all I had as an outlet and everything I had tied my hopes and dreams to.
So when I watched Episode 3 of Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, I really felt for Endo’s character as he described the pain he felt in having to leave the sport he loved over an injury that you can’t just recover from.
For Endo, he finds a new outlet in his friendship with Kobayashi, the Broadcasting Club, and in the game they are playing. He, essentially, found support and a new interest. It was the same for me; with time and support, I began to appreciate the things I could still do and explore other interests. My career in ice skating may have been cut short, but I learned that there is life beyond sports and that there are other ways to find fulfillment and purpose.
I got really into anime, and you all can see what that has led to via this blog, but it also led to me finding friends in the anime community. I ended up building an anime club at my high school, and that is where I met Casea (@coffeewithkrow) who is still my best friend today.
Anime and manga more than just cartoons or animation; they tell stories that resonate with people on a deeply emotional level. When we watch anime, we are not only entertained, but we sometimes connect with the characters and the world they inhabit—like I did with Endo in this moment and like I have with other great series in the past. Why and how this is, to me, is how anime can be so deeply personal with its themes and messages. Many anime and manga explore complex and profound topics such as love, loss, identity, existentialism, and other life challenges. These themes are not just abstract concepts but something that we can relate to as people and human beings. I think that is also what sets anime and manga apart from typical Western animation and comics.
As we connect with the characters and the world they inhabit, we can also learn more about ourselves and grow as individuals. I have certainly felt differently about an experience after seeing a character go through something similar and after seeing them find a way out, as I am sure many other fans have felt too.
So next time you watch an anime, pay attention to how it makes you feel and what personal connections you might be making. You may be surprised at how much media can impact your life, understanding, and growth… and if you are up to it, I hope you’ll share your story as fellow fans.
Note: All images in this post are from Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, Episode 3.