As many kids that were born in the nineties did, I watched Dragon Ball Z avidly. I would watch it in the living room, taking over the TV for however long they had it on for. When my dad was home I would end up watching it with me. I grew up as an only child, even though i have five siblings. I learned early on to entertain myself, and one of the ways I did so was by pretending to be inside Dragon Ball Z. I’d run around my house jumping on couches and beds pretending to be fighting the bad guys. I was the only girl in my family that liked Dragon Ball Z, so when my boy cousins would all play they made me the bad guy. I never took offense to that, even though now I see that they were acting like typical little boys who didn’t want to be seen playing with a girl.
I grew older, and Dragon Ball Z became nothing more then a cherished childhood memory. I was okay with not watching it any longer, I had grown away from it. When I was about eleven my grandmother died of Breast cancer. She had raised me like I was her own daughter, and in a way I really was.
My life kind of derailed from there. I devoured books like they were nothing. I lost myself in the hundreds of worlds each author had created. I didn’t want to deal with the grief of my grandmother dying, or the step mother I had gained in the process. It was easier to hide away from the real world then to deal with it.
It was an odd conversation within the girls locker room of my eighth grade year that sparked my curiosity about anime. A sixth grader who changed next to me had been wearing an interesting shirt. I was instantly attracted to the image on the shirt. I asked her what it was, and she simply answered “That’s L.” Now I had no idea at the time who L was, and so I asked. By the end of the conversation we were late for dressing out, and I had scrawled on my arm, “Death Note”.
Before this I had always associated anime with nerds who had no life. I watched all thirty seven episodes in one day. I was hooked, and my stereotype no longer existed within my mind. I wanted to watch more, not of just Death Note, but of everything. Inuyasha, Elfen Lied, Black Butler, Devil May Cry, Fruits Basket, and Bleach are only a few that I had begun to stumble upon. They were intriguing and addicting to watch and read.
It wasn’t until a fated conversation with my step cousins late one night on my kitchen counters did Dragon Ball Z finally make another appearance in my life. Just in time too, for my step mother had reached a new level of controlling. I had not watched the series in so long i could only recall bits and pieces. One that stays with me is when Buu walks out of the bakery and all the police men shoot at him, but the bullets simply get stuck in his belly before shooting back out at them. Hell I hadn’t watched it in so many years that I thought Vegeta and Goku were brothers.
I watched almost every episode of Dragon Ball Z on youtube, before I gathered all my money and bought the entire series. It cost me a small fortune, and it still is the best investment I have made so far. As pathetic as this might sound Dragon Ball Z became my salvation. It became my reason to wake up in the mornings.
I didn’t really have any friends, my dad was too busy trying to please his new wife, and my step mother tried to make me into a real life Cinderella. I didn’t see a reason why i should continue on living, but the shows that I watched became reason enough.
I was introduced to fan fiction not long after. I love writing, it was another escape. I had always had a wild imagination, and knowing I could write about my favorite shows, it was far too good to pass up. I wrote and I wrote, growing as a writer through my mistakes and triumphs.
It might seem a bit dramatic when I say anime saved my life, but in a sense it did. It got me to laugh on the days when all I wished for was darkness, made me cry tears of joy and sadness while my favorite characters went through their trials and tribulations. I met so many people that are now my great friends through anime.
I’m a senior now, and I’m happy more days then I’m not. I have wonderful friends and even my dad learned of how hurtful my step mother was. I know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the unlikely heroes I have. They may not be real in the sense of reality, but they are just as much the heroes to me that they are in the anime and manga they come from.