Stuck in the Middle: Casual Anime Fan Can't Find His People

Updated: Oct 6, 2019

Bradley Parker at Bakuretsu Con 2018

When 19-year-old Bradley Parker started college, he thought it would be a piece of cake to find friends who shared his moderate level of interest in anime and Japanese comics. What he didn’t expect was to be placed smack dab in the middle of two opposing groups who both thought he was a loser.

At the beginning of his freshman year, Bradley tried to become friends with his five other suitemates. “On the first night of school, someone with a fake bought a 12-pack of Pabst and we all just sort of hung out in my room and talked about the cute girls from orientation”, Bradley recalled. He was feeling like a classic cool college kid sharing some brews with the boys, but then things took a turn. “I remember I told the guys that I thought one of the girls looked hot like Nami from One Piece”, Bradley explained, “Everyone sort of got quiet and they looked really confused like they didn’t know who Nami was, so I got out One Piece Volume 7 and showed them”. As Bradley flipped through the Manga, his suitemates' expressions turned from confusion to disgust to anger. They began throwing their Pabst cans at Bradley calling him a freak in the eyes of God. They ripped Volume 7 from his hands and lit it on fire in their communal shower. From that day on, they shunned him, with the only acknowledgment of his existence being when they turned to spit in his face.

“After that night, I knew those guys weren’t really my people”, Bradley said, “so I wanted to look for others who shared my interest in anime”. He decided to check out his school's extra-curricular fair and found that there was an anime club. “They seemed really chill and cool and they told me I could come to their new-members party that weekend”. Bradley was starting to feel good again.

When the night of the party came, Bradley Parker put on a cool button-down shirt and his best pair of pants. He was ready to have a good time with new friends and casually chat about anime. “I got to the party and was greeted at the door by a man in full Sailor Moon cosplay clutching a waifu body pillow” Bradley recalls, “I could tell he was disappointed in my lack of costume but he let me inside anyway”. Things did not improve when Bradley got into the house. To his dismay, everyone was in full cosplay, and many of them were characters he did not recognize. Sitting comfortably next to each cosplayer was a waifu body pillow with big anime titties. Playing on the television was an obscure anime about a high school swim team. It was not dubbed in English and there weren’t even subtitles. “ I couldn't understand anything that was going on so I asked the guy with the remote if we could maybe watch Naruto next”. This was Bradley’s big mistake. “The guy with the remote paused the tv and glared at me. Then he shouted something in Japanese, and even though everyone at the party, including him, was white, they all seemed to understand and they all began glaring at me”. Before Bradley could even respond, a plastic katana blade struck him in the back of the head and everything went black.

“I woke up on the sidewalk in front of my dorm”. Bradley was fairly beat up and was wearing clothes that were not his own. “I quickly realized that they must have dressed me up as Naruto and kicked the shit out of me after I blacked out”. Broken and lonely, Bradley limped to his dorm, where he was greeted by his suitemate who spit in his face and called him a weeb.


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