As A Black Woman, I Can Admit Anime Has Changed My Life

Reflections on the interdependence of culture, anime, and race.

It's Ericajean
ZORA
Published in
4 min readAug 28, 2023

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an anime lends
a shine and a beat of life
to my soft, Black heart

Over on Substack, I completed a 20-minute podcast on how and why I got into anime and explained why this medium is life-changing and significant for me as a Black woman.

Looking over the chapter of my life before anime, everything appears in technicolor. There is life and vitality and yes, there is love, pain, and all of that in between, but vastly different from my life now.

Anime has become a huge part of my life and has shaped it in so many ways: I schedule my evenings around anime, I have anime coloring books, have met friends who love anime and manga, and am even considering going to Comic-Con one day (once I get up the nerve!)

It has even influenced podcasts I create and fan fiction(some fanfiction is way too explicit to share here, sorry!)

It began with a gentle nudge in the right direction

Before getting into anime, I was already into mostly Disney animations and watching reality television. Romance novels were a big part of my reality back then too, but in 2006 a young woman who was part of the reading lab I worked in, approached me and asked if I watched InuYasha.

I told her nope.

“Okay, well here are some DVDs. I’ve included Boondocks too. You’ll be addicted!”

She said gleefully. I was 26 years old and trying to get through the day, but her energy was electrifying. Does anime watching do that to a person? I wondered…

I was scared. I didn’t watch the DVDs and she was nice enough to suggest I keep them as long as I want. However, one day I finally played Escaflowne and was wowed by the stunning artwork. The characters were drawn beautifully as two-dimensional art whereas the American animations I watched, were more “bubbly” or rounded out.

They are the fantasy I prefer

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