Anime Therapy: A Real Eye Opener

If you want to take a deep look within yourself, I can certainly tell you how.  Recently, I set out to put together an anime production with myself as the main character.  It was to be a “just for fun” creation and “just for me”.

I wrote my storyline in true anime form without the restraints of a good vs. bad plot.  It leaned toward fantasy but had some real life connotations too as most of my stories do.  Writing the story was no big deal.  I have written plenty of fiction with my own story or character as a basis.

It was the anime illustrations that got me.  It was making my eyes huge and full of wonder and making myself sweat tear drops of blood when I was hurting on the inside and not just a few drops, but a bucket full.

It was uncomfortable when it came to really bringing emotions to life and that is when it really hit home just how much goes into the art of anime.  The characters are definitely brought to life.  They wear their hearts on their sleeves.

So, here’s a little self-analyzation exercise I put together based on the one I accidentally did on myself.  Put together some notes on your “time-line” which is, in short, a brief story of your life.  Note the highlights, not neglecting the negative impacts you have encountered.

Then, draw yourself in anime form.  You will need a separate drawing for each of the main events of your life.  For times you were feeling happy or powerful, large eyes and a pleasant smile are in order.  For worried times, you can mark your forehead with harsh marks and furrow your eyebrows as well.  Squinty eyes portray less than ideal situations and for times that you shut the world off, your eyes can relay that message too.  Make them dark and black or…even blank.

Don’t stop there.  If you are sad, illustrate the tears.  Scared?  Drops of sweat will tell the tale.  If you are in love, well, a nose bleed is the general way in which anime communicates that emotion. If you were physically hurt, be sure to exaggerate the injury like a basketball size bump or add a signature white cross bandage to the affected spot.  Feel free to create your own symbols too.

You can put your story into animation form or even into manga, or comic book style.  Or, you can just add the cartoons to your timeline if you please.  The main thing is that you give every important event in your life an anime creation.  Bring it to life and don’t hold back.

For me, it was a real experience to draw myself.  I felt a little naked as I drew my life in anime.  I guess I had never thought how creating anime could be so emotional to the artist as they birth the character.  Even to give a character a negative emotional status is emotional, maybe more so than giving them a pleasant or happy one.  And to make one blank…that takes a lot as well.

I learned so much from my personal creations that it did, indeed, take me by surprise.  If you want to really get in touch with your inner self, I assure you, an honest anime or manga of your own life will certainly reveal more than any trip to a psychologist.  So grab a pencil and paper, if you dare, and let it all out.  There’s nothing that will open your eyes and your heart like a little Anime therapy.