Nothing says I love you like a sharpened zanpakutō. Meet Sode No Shirayuki or Sleeved White Snow; Rukia Kuchiki’s sword from the anime series Bleach. Yesterday, was my 6 year anniversary of dating my now-husband Will. This sword was his gift to me.
Something you probably wouldn’t guess, is that I have a deep appreciation for cartoons. I watched countless hours of them growing up. My love for Anime however, began with the show Noozles. In middle school, it was Speed Racer. I was in high school when Sailor Moon was broadcasted stateside and in college, I was introduced to the Miyazaki films Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Shortly there after, Will and I began seeing each other. Then, I was pregnant with Kylie. In the year following, Logan would make his appearance. That was a turning point for me. Cartoons were for children and I could no longer claim to be one. With that said, when you’re broke, sometimes the TV is all you’ve got. In our house, I had the TV and Will had his computer. We were separate but equal and hardly interacted outside of what was polite and necessary. I loved him. I just didn’t like him. He loved me but we had nothing in common.
Regardless of what had transpired each day, Will always ended up at the computer, with his headphones on watching Bleach. I hate him for it. It was subtitled and without being able to hear the things he was hearing, I was certain this was stupidest anime I had ever seen. The characters carried around these unreasonably large swords and there is a talking stuffed animal. It made no sense. We didn’t agree on much at that time, so roughly 300+ episodes in, he decided to give it a rest.
In 2008, the Miyazaki film Ponyo was released. I was so excited to share this movie with our kids. Sadly, they were too young at the time but the damage had been done. Will was now aware of my latent love for anime. He insisted I sit down with him and watch Blood+. I absolutely loved it. After that it was Soul Eye, some what ridiculous but bearable and Nickelodeon’s The Avatar; which I deemed a good show. We spent hours at time watching, sitting next to each other on the same couch.
I was beginning to get Will again. I hadn’t fallen in love with a man-child. He was a great dad and a devoted fiancee. He was a hardworking, trustworthy man who happened to love cartoons. We began watching Naruto and it was then that I finally acknowledged, this was our thing. If you take away the kids and the financial dependency, we had anime, good food and a genuine appreciation of one another. It was enough.
256 episodes into Naruto, we had caught up with the rest of the world and had to find something else. He brazenly suggested we watch Bleach. Bleach. I was almost irritated by the suggestion but at this point I was prepared to humor him. With a little back story, those giant swords and talking lion made a lot more sense. It has become one of my favorite animes of all time and we continue to spend hours watching, side by side on our couch.
So much has changed in the last 6 years but I am grateful for how much has remained the same. I love you Will. Happy Anniversary.