I have been a nerd my entire life. But I have not always been a geek.
For those of you out there wondering what the difference is, I’ll give you a few basic examples:
As a nerd, I enjoy reading novels (all genres and lengths), writing stories, poetry, essays, etc., studying literature, listening to opera, and intellectual discussions.
As a geek, I enjoy watching Japanese anime, watching various movies and series, including Transformers, Doctor Who, Agents of Shield, The Avengers, etc., cosplay, listening to Japanese anime soundtracks (the lyrics are generally in Japanese – which I don’t speak), attending conventions, and buying toys.
I didn’t start to become a geek until I was in my 20’s. And even then, it was a slow process. Growing up, I enjoyed the typical 80’s and 90’s cartoons: XMen, Transformers, Jem, Captain Planet, Gummy Bears, Darkwing Duck, He-Man, Popples, TMNT. But the older I got, I sought these out less and less.
This changed after I was introduced to Samurai Jack.
I was already an adult by this point and had left everything but The Simpson’s behind. (Still watch them to this day – no matter how unfunny the episode may be. I miss the old days.) I can clearly remember sitting in my boyfriend’s grandfather’s basement. At exactly 7 o’clock, he said he had to watch this show on Cartoon Network.
I was instantly hooked.
The plotline was so simple, the graphics and dialogue plain, but the emotion this show garnered was unbelievable. All I wanted was for Jack to make it home. We all know what it’s like to want to go home, to return to the place where we rest our heads, and to want to protect those we love. That’s all Jack wanted. But Aku would never let him have it.
And neither would Cartoon Network. Even though it’s been over a decade since the show ended, I’m still peeved that he never went home. My heart goes out to this fictional character.
But that’s how you know a show is well-done.
After Samurai Jack, I was introduced to other shows: Dragon Ball Z, Ronin Warriors, Gundam, Inuyasha, Yu Yu Hakusho, Zatch Bell!, and Death Note, among others. Each one has earned a special place in my heart and impacted my life. I sometimes wonder if my then-boyfriend, now-husband, would have never introduced me to this world, how different my life would be.
And I’ve come to one conclusion: it would be less rich.
For that is the impact that the culture of fandom has on people. It enhances and unites. Brings people from all walks of life together, allowing them to form bonds. Teaches us life lessons, touches our hearts, and gives us an escape.
Although my descent into fandom started slowly, I am now a full-fledge geek, completely immersed in all things fandom and geekdom. I can spend hours online looking at freshly released figures and pre-orders (everything from Adventure Time to Play Arts to Gundam to Fairy Tale to Spawn to Marvel statues), or binge-watching a new Anime show that has just been released, or hours looking at cosplay costumes or hours researching upcoming conventions, because that means I get to read about each one, look at the outfits and classes and celebrities and dream of one day getting to attend more than just a couple a year.
I feel fortunate that I was introduced to anime when I was. I’ve watched it grow and develop. I’ve watched the culture surrounding it do the same. And because of this, I’ve been able to grow and develop with it. There have been a number of series that have invoked countless emotions: I’ve been infuriated and despondent, touched and moved, ecstatic and impressed.
But most of all, I’ve been enriched. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
The images below is from one of my all-time favorite animes: Code Geass. If you’ve never watched it, all I’ll say is that it satisfied both the geek and nerd in me (just like Death Note did).