The first time I saw anime was Inuyasha. I was 11 years old. I immediately knew it was different from anything else that I'd seen in the “cartoon” world. After watching it I went down an anime rabbit hole on the internet learning everything that I possibly could. I started reading manga then I realized there are actual shows about it.
I would spend HOURS on my big ol' early 2000s computer watching and reading manga. Then in my teenage years I was anti-social and didn't have many friends at school. I kept to myself during the day and I looked forward to the moment I could get home, turn on the TV and watch my favorite Anime shows.
I remember sharing manga with my best friends and family because they kept wondering what I was thinking about or watching late at night. My sister Reba got deep into fan fiction after seeing my love for anime. My best friend June, started listening to K-POP with me. Don't even get me started on when I found out the library carried all this stuff! Once I checked it out, it was MINES!
For years I have used anime as entertainment and a way to bond with those closest to me. Then I got to thinking, what if Anime and Manga could help other introverts get out of their comfort zone? What if Anime could be a door that opened their imagination, like it did for me? What if I could use it to bring different cultures and races together creating diversity?
Where I live, the individual cultures are closed off to outside races. I have a vision that we can bring all anime lovers together no matter their background or the color of their skin. Like sports teams come together and are fanatics about their favorite team. SweetOkie’s Anime cafe is a concept that excites me because it unites anime lovers of all kinds. Just like you would go to a restaurant and enjoy a meal, the Anime Cafe is a place where you can eat, drink, cosplay and share your love for Anime with people from all walks of life.
It brings real life cultural experiences to life that is creative and detailed. One thing I love the most about anime is the realness. The depicts the story of what people actually do in Japan in a detailed way. It has made a huge impact on me because it shows another way of life outside of my small world.
As a single mother I appreciate the fact that there is anime out there for kids. It allows me to spend quality time with my 3 sons because they love it as much as I do. We get to enjoy watching the shows, reading manga and even go to cosplay events together. Being able to dress up as your favorite anime character and going to a convention helps open their mind by seeing, “Hey, I am not alone”!
We invite you to be a part of our SweetOkie’s family. No matter where you are in the world, what you are experiencing in your life, or what you ate for breakfast, this is a place where we can come together and share our love for Anime and learn more about the creativity it offers.
Comment below the first Manga or Anime you ever watched or read!