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In the long time that I have spent watching and talking about anime, never had I actually shared those experiences with my parents. While they have been aware of my hobby for quite some time, I was never really keen on introducing it to them, as I kind of just assumed they would not get it.
Which, to be fair, is not always a wrong assumption to make. Anime is a very different space for storytelling, and as most anime fans know, it comes with its own weird niches that make a lot of it still pretty inaccessible, at least in a cultural sense, to older, western audiences even today.
Still, after a long, somewhat awkward period of my dad being interested in it and me not knowing what exactly to show him, it finally came to be that I sat down with him and we watched some anime. I picked “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” for a few reasons.
One, “FMAB” is probably one of the least niche filled anime there is in recent memory. While it for sure is an anime in every possible incarnation of that definition, it still lacks a lot of the strange, more common tropes that are associated with an average show. As such, it seemed like the perfect show to ease my dad into the medium.
Two, “FMAB” also has a lot more in common with modern American productions in terms of its structure and content. For example, at its core, “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” is a fairly long, fantasy military story that revolves around a lot of politics and different warring factions. When thought of in this way, it can be pretty easily compared to “Game of Thrones,” or even “The Walking Dead.”
I came into this viewing with a lot of knowledge. Before I watched it with my dad, I had already seen the show three or four times. However, I will say that “FMAB” is a show that definitely benefits from a few repeat watches and a varied perspective on politics and cultural issues, given that it is most of the show’s focus.
My dad, of course, was on the opposite side of the spectrum. Not only did he not have any experience with “FMAB,” he, again, has had almost no experience with anime. Admittedly this made me a little worried about whether or not he would actually enjoy it.
Another thing that made his viewing experience less than ideal was the time it took to finish the show. We started “FMAB” in the fall of last year and did not finish until last week, and while I cannot remember exactly when it was, it was long enough, that it made it harder to remember key details.
Still, it seemed like overall he enjoyed it. My dad has never been overly judgmental, and it felt like he came into the series with an open mind. One of the things he said he enjoyed most was the more overtly political aspects of the show. This surprised me a lot, as I knew my dad was aware of political discourse, but thought he was not much interested in it.
While watching anime by yourself can definitely be a lot of fun, there is something to be said about trying to show it to other people, especially those who are not as familiar with it, if at all.
Ok, so serious proposal. I do want to show my dad a lot more stuff, so I thought about doing regular posts or videos where, after we watch a few episodes, I do a kind of discussion video about the episodes we watched. If any of you are interested, I would appreciate you letting me know.
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