There are some anime I can see myself watching again, and again, and again. Vampire Knight, Naruto, Gungrave, and Initial D are a few them. Another is The Prince of Tennis.
I never imagined myself liking sports anime before I watched The Prince of Tennis. I mean, I don’t like sports very much, and I don’t remember a single live action sports movie that I enjoyed. But The Prince of Tennis showed me that sports anime can be entertaining enough to watch around one hundred and seventy episodes of it, and then still be longing for more.
Last night, as I did dishes and watched a few episodes of The Prince of Tennis for the third time, my younger cousin walked by. He struggles with reading and has no chance of reading most of the subtitles, but it piqued his interest anyway. He watched two episodes with me before I sent him to bed. And he loved it, even though he couldn’t understand a single Japanese word!
This excited me, of course. The last show I introduced to him, Initial D (dubbed), turned out to be a flop. Hulu has it listed as TV-PG, but with the swear words and relationships, it really should be listed TV-14. I’d completely forgotten about those, and after watching a few more episodes by myself, I decided not to show my cousin any more. I didn’t think he’d be interested in anything subtitled, so I didn’t bother to show him The Prince of Tennis or Hikaru no Go. Imagine my surprise and delight when he liked The Prince of Tennis! Maybe I’ll track down a manga for him next time he comes over – it might help him with his reading, too.
I imagine that my eagerness to share anime with him is similar to what Dad felt when he first watched The Lord of the Rings with me. When you come across something you love, you can’t help but want to share it with your loved ones. You hope they enjoy it as much as you do. It becomes common ground, something to share with each other. As my cousin grows older, I find this especially important. I want to build a lasting relationship with him, and that means doing more than tutoring him in math.
It hits me that I’m much more excited to share anime than to share Jesus. Why is that? Is it because it’s easier to share anime, or because I spend so much more time getting excited about anime than learning about Jesus? It’s something for me to chew on, to be sure. After all, as amazing as some anime is, the Gospel is a bit more important.
Image belongs to the creators of The Prince of Tennis.