Hey guys, it’s been a while! So the reason for my absence is… I started uni! Woo! But rather than my absence being due to being in the state of perpetual inebriation that is associated with uni life (though I am ever so slightly tipsy as I write this- who’s going to turn down free Jaegerbombs, even though they’re kind of icky, right?) it is more due to the fact that I forgot my laptop charger at home! I know, pretty dumb of me, huh? But in my defence, it doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, you’re always going to forgot something vital during a big move! And then, of course, there’s the fact I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep for 4 nights now- some bloody wanker keeps pulling my dorm’s fire alarm in the middle of the night (I’ve had 1 in the morning, twice, 3 in the morning and 7 now) thinking it’s proper funny, so yeah… The ol’ noggin’ tends not to function particularly well without its precious zzzs!
Anyway… I hope to be back in action relatively soon once I’ve settled in, had a decent night’s sleep and the new season of anime has started, bringing with it a whole new plethora of things to discuss…
But to help fill up the space of time between now and then, have a list of five anime that encapsulate uni life, though I should mention, some of them are not actually set inside a university… *shrug*
Welcome to the NHK
OK, so granted this isn’t set inside a university, as such, but I still felt this deserved inclusion on the list given Satou and Yamazaki represent a good portion of the students I’ve encountered so far, including myself. The two represent the guys who don’t fit in, the guys who don’t get invited to parties, ‘cause, well, they’re a little weird… I mean, I’m pretty sure the only reason I’ve gotten into the parties I have so far is ‘cause I’ve doggedly badgered (Yes I did just use those two words together) people into inviting me! But that’s why the pair are so endearing- and the show so enjoyable- despite their colourful hobbies- everyone who’s experienced uni, or any level of education can probably relate to their being social lepers on some level, and if that’s not the case, answer me this: why are you sat inside reading this instead of socialising with your many, many non-virtual friends, you charmer, you!!
Honey and Clover
For me Honey and Clover encapsulates the confusion associated with not quite knowing what to do with your life… Sure, you’ve enrolled on this fancy, schmany degree, but do you really know what you want to do after you’ve blown a good £27,000 minimum to pay for it? I know I don’t, not really, and neither did the cast of H&C who spent many an episode agonising about where their art was going to take them, most notably Yuuta who first had to traverse all of Japan on a push bike before realising his dream. Yet the show chose a comforting approach to resolving its characters’ uncertainties: the right path for you will open up given time and perseverance. Sure, it’s perhaps an idealistic message given so many uni students, at least in my country, remain unemployed looong after completing their degree, but it inspires hope nevertheless!
So perhaps it would be a bit difficult to make a literal comparison between this show’s depiction of university life and university life in reality given I’m pretty sure not many students are forced to undergo an infinite time loop or survive in some bizarre tatami-based world until discovering a great truth about themselves, but I suppose you could at least say that even without the time loops uni is an experience which teaches us a lot about ourselves- I mean, only yesterday I discovered grape is not all that bad in a sandwich! OK, so that may not be as profound as Watashi’s realisation that he’d been shutting himself off from the world’s possibilities by failing to connect with those around him, but give me time! At any rate it’s possible to draw comparisons between how freakin’ weird and trippy uni life in this show and in real life can be!
Not just because it highlights just how weird campus life can be and is, but because it throws together the strangest mix of people who, for some miraculous reason, click, as is the case in real universities. I mean, you’ve got a drunkard, two perverted losers, a bossy-boots, an even bigger bossy-boots, a cross-dresser, oh and a sweet, naïve kid who can see microbes! A strange group. But they all became, not only the people they each went to to have a good time, but each other’s support network in replacement of their family. Perhaps this peculiar phenomenon occurs because of the new, strange environment you find yourself in, or the newer, stranger tasks your professors set you (I’m doing lie detection Thursday)? Why else would you throw caution to the wind and latch yourself onto the nearest group of people regardless of their questionable sanity?
You may be wondering why I’m choosing NANA over its sister show Paradise Kiss when, unlike ParaKiss, NANA doesn’t actually focus on uni students. But NANA just had to be on this list- it tackles a huge number of the problems young adults face, problems of a range of severity such as not knowing what direction to take your life (a topic also broached by Honey and Clover), to surviving off positively meagre amounts of money, portrayals of wild parties, to portrayals of damaging, destructive relationships- NANA really covers everything student life is all about. You may think that all sounds a bit heavy, and you wouldn’t be wrong- the show’s undeniably miserable in tone, yet there were still those heart-warming moments when the two Nana’s friendship helped them overcome these problems- and that’s what uni’s really about (besides getting a la-di-da degree, that is) making friends who’ll help you through the inevitably tough times ahead.