How I Introduced My Little Sister to Anime

How I Introduced My Little Sister to Anime

Warning: The following article features spoilers for several anime, including Ranking of Kings and Jujutsu Kaisen.

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It can be tough for me to connect with people sometimes. I have to find an “in” if that makes sense. Being a geek before I even knew what one was made for an interesting childhood. I was weird and hyperactive, finding myself almost constantly bullied for being different.

It wasn’t until secondary school (high school in the US) that I began to find my people. Then my sister was born, and we would bond over stupid and silly cartoons. We’d go to cons together, her in tow as my camerawoman. Then, when she hit her 20s, I decided it was high time we kicked it up a notch. It was time to introduce her properly to anime.

Anime Is Built Different

Spy X Family's Greatest Weakness Is the Same as All Sitcoms: Stagnation. This image is part of an article about how I introduced my sister to anime.

Now my sister knew of anime – she had watched the vanilla stuff, the majority of Ghibli. To me, though, that is just dipping your toe in the pool. I knew that I couldn’t throw her in the deep end because she might drown. After all, anime can be quite overwhelming. The tropes and themes found within it can be radically different from those found in Western animation. So, I began with something universal: cuteness. I put on Spy x Family, and Shannon fell in love. The over-the-top shenanigans of Anya Forger shone a bright and hilarious light on Shannon, and she was addicted immediately. She’s so addicted that she will be attending a screening of Spy x Family: Code White during her Birthday weekend with her fiancé and my fiancée (I’m at a stag, and I’m quite annoyed).

What I found so exciting when I was watching Spy x Family with her was that she would ask me a ton of questions, spoilers be damned. She wanted to know, “Will Loid and Yor ever find out about each other?” and when I said no, she exclaimed, “Why!?” I explained to her because then the story would be over. In anime, this kind of storytelling is common, and the comedy of never finding out was what made it so brilliant.

To push this further, I then introduced her to Ranking of Kings. I myself knew the level of emotional devastation found within this particular story and wondered how she would cope. It turned out that I wasn’t prepared because, within 10 seconds of meeting young Bojji, my sister was in tears. She couldn’t handle the idea of a kind, deaf, and mute young man doing his best in a world that rejected him.

Add to this the nuanced and complex narrative and character archetypes that she’d gotten used to being flipped to subvert her expectations, and, well, ladies and gentlemen, my sister was in awe. Shannon was in love with this short king (pun intended), and as the story progressed and shocking revelation after shocking revelation occurred, she was emotionally drained. So, naturally, we’ve started watching Jujutsu Kaisen. I can’t wait to see how far Shannon can handle going through that particular looking glass.

Related: How to Watch Jujutsu Kaisen in Order

It’s About Connecting

What did I get out of all this? Honestly, I enjoy the experience of watching someone experience a story I hope they will connect with emotionally. The bonus here is that it’s with family. I introduced anime to my fiancée years ago, and this was similar and yet different at the same time. I live that same journey once again through each person I introduce to the stories I love. I’m sure (I hope) that many people have this kind of experience.

It’s a way to connect – it’s a way to show those you love that you respect their opinion and want them to be in your world. Every time that I share my interests with my friends and my family, I feel that much happier, and I hope they do, too.


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Author
Graham Day
Graham has been writing online for close to a decade. This includes writing about games, books, films and so much more. He loves stories of all kinds across every form of media. For the Escapist he tries to come up with his own unique angles on the stories we adore. He was born in Dublin, Ireland and has been an actor, an amateur animator, writer and artist. He also runs his own website based in Ireland.