Resonating with Anime

Within the aniblog and aniTwitter community, a particular phrase (as well as variations of said phrase) can pop up from time to time.

“This anime series really resonated with me.”

“I resonated with this anime series.”

The key word here is “resonate,” which typically means “to produce or to be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound” (according to the Oxford Dictionary). But in the context of the widespread phrases mentioned earlier, to resonate is “to relate harmoniously or to be met with agreement.” As a result, these affirmative statements are just another way of saying, “I agree with this particular show” – at first glance.

But it is actually more than that. By claiming that I resonate with a particular anime series, I am indicating that I empathize with at least part of its contents. In other words, I am saying that I can relate to inherent themes, or characters’ mindsets, or specific situations.

If I were to use a more abstract analogy, then I would like for you to imagine all anime series as unique melodies. These defining notes are formed through the collective melding of a series’ elements such as plot progression, characterization, etc. And imagine that each individual also houses a unique melody that was shaped and formed by personal experience and other such factors.

Within the context of this example, to claim that aspects of a particular series resonate with me is to claim that the series strikes a harmonious chord (with me). In other words, I find parts of the series to be consistent with my own values and mindset, leading me to consider the series in question to hold higher value (behold the power of self-interest). And in regards to anime and discussions concerning anime, the stock phrase is often used to elevate the status of anime series through praise. I know I myself have done this before in previous posts.

Be that as it may, I am advising readers to keep a few things in mind regarding to resonance.

First of all, resonance is subjective – it has to do with YOUR personal feelings, experiences, or beliefs matching up with at least one aspect that is featured within an anime series. Your connection to the series, should it exist, is only guaranteed for YOURSELF. In other words, others may not resonate with said series. Think back to the melody analogy that I used earlier. Even if you think the series is agreeable and allows you to produce an accordant sound, others may disagree. They may think the series is just discordant noise and thus they do not resonant with said series. So do not become upset if a series you resonated with was considered lackluster by others. That is a direct consequence of individuality!

Secondly, the inherent nature of subjective feelings complicates discussion. As a result, the line of reasoning often stops at “I resonated with [blank]” or “I did not resonate with [blank].” I cannot conceive of a way for a discussion to progress from there excluding juvenile remarks regarding preferences (i.e. “your taste is shit.”). As a result, just saying that something resonated with you lacks substantial meaning on a logical level. Emotionally, however, such a statement opens the gates. For people who only accept cold hard facts, in other words, resonance may mean nothing. Just remember to be mindful of your audience. But don’t let their opinions stop you from being you. Resonate with any shows you like!

15 thoughts on “Resonating with Anime

  1. I may have mentioned it somewhere in the past, but I think younger generations that “resonate” with certain themes are actually “identifying” with them, at least on the level of the psychosocial development (see Erik Erikson). So what I get from what you’ve said is that people who flail the term but don’t back it up with any reasonable substance is, to me, what a young person would ascribe identifying themselves with something they see themselves as — in short, they’re forming an identity from what the show is supposedly trying to portray.

    And this is one of the reasons why some people can get a little zealous when it comes to defending something they feel strongly about or against. I believe that anyone who feels a little insecure with regard to criticisms against something they love identify too strongly with their media to the point that they feel that the criticism is attacking themselves, as an individual.

    That being said, anyone who “resonates” with a show’s themes without truly understanding why is (hopefully) in the process of examining why they resonate so. We all go through a certain phase of identity formation, but it’s only after we’ve truly examined our own personalities that we get a better idea as to why we resonate with certain themes and how this reflects on our lived experiences, as a whole. If it isn’t clear by the way I write my articles, I delve heavily on the impact of media (i.e. anime) on our lived experienced, but I won’t for the life of me claim that this is the only way for one to enjoy the media they consume. Surely, we can all “resonate” however which way we want — just leave others in peace when they have something different to say regarding the things you “resonate” with. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Even a writer as capable as myself have not been immune to using this word, but as I ultimately believe that it’s the sum of one’s arguments that make a point useful (or not), I have no particular concern for the choice of words one uses in their discussion – it boils down to how well one can explain their position. The why matters more than the what. A fine case in point would be Kimi no na wa: great pains were taken when I wrote this to ensure it’s clear where I stand on the movie and why this film might click for audiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a fair point. It seems that a natural progression from the stock phrase would be claiming that a medium holds universal appeal through relatability.

      I will have to read your article on Kiki no na wa after work. I remember seeing it on my WP TL when you first published it but circumstances have prevented me from being able to properly digest it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. So, basially it’s a prettier way of saying that an anime was meaningful to you. It’s a good word but as you said, it’s not a good argument for the general merit of a series.

    Liked by 2 people

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