Friday, January 24, 2014

Ikkoku Was There For My Miserable Unemployed Life: A Maison Ikkoku Post

Personal post for me this time around (and I mean really personal). I don't usually do stuff like this because I feel my personal life should be separated from my entertainment life, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

A little less than a year ago, I was busy submitting job applications everywhere, desperate to move out of my parents' house and not have to rely on them for everything. Well, not exactly in that time frame, as I've been submitting job applications since my first or second years of college. But you know how finding employment can be like. You have to get that application accepted, you have to wait a long time, the interview process, etc. To this day, I'm still getting notifications for applications I submitted months ago that my submission was turned down. And of course, there's the fact that you can't be picky and shit.

It's especially tough for a guy like me because I didn't have much stand-outs in college. I participated in archery for a while, but that was about it. I never was part of a lab group, I never was in a club that really accomplished much of anything, my volunteer hours were shit, and I wasn't exactly the most ambitious guy ever. It got to the point that the only reason I went to graduate school was to increase my chances of getting a job, and eventually I found a low-paying part-time one through the campus recruitment network. But obviously, I couldn't live on that forever.

More than a year later, when my grad school period was about to end and I was desperate to find a good career position so I wouldn't have to depend on my family (and they're nice, so it makes me feel even more guilty when I have to rely on them), I started watching Ikkoku whilst submitting a bunch of job applications desperately and enjoyed it immensely to the fact that I gave it a "10on my MAL around six or seven episodes in, but I never really connected with it or anything because I'm a dateless dork. That is, until I was a few episodes into the second half of the show.

For those who don't know (and those who don't want to know, avoid for fear of spoilers), the third season of the show involves Godai's (edit: the main character of the show in case you didn't know) search for a job now that his college life is almost up. His secondary love interest, Kozue, leaves him because she found a job somewhere and wanted to focus more on her career, and in exchange, he gets a new secondary love interest in the form of a psychotic high school girl named Ibuki Yagami when he takes a position as a student teacher for two weeks (don't ask how this came to be. Let's just say Ibuki is more delusional than anyone who still believes Obama's promises). Insane stalker aside, and of course the fact that he has a woman to impress whilst I had just my parents, Godai's life was mirroring mine.

Let me tell you right now in case you guys have never applied for a job before: searching for employment sucks. There are so many outside factors getting in the way from other competitors to connections to just plain bad luck. And of course, there's the fact that you get a degree in something, only for it to not really apply to the position you actually get. As such, I didn't really want a reminder of that in my cartoons, but unfortunately Ikkoku gave it to me. Seeing Godai go from job interview to job interview, using his relationship with Ibuki so that her father could hire him, and all that stuff, was about as hard hitting to me as it is to the average neet watching WELCOME TO THE NHK. This particularly got bad when Godai got a job at a company division that go shut down the next few days after he was hired. Way to rub it in that life sucks.

And yet, instead of pushing me away, Ikkoku appealed to me all the more. Part of the reason is because I loved the characters so much. Part of the reason is because it always kept the same humorous tone so that it'd be painful in the right ways ala the first season of HONEY AND CLOVER (not the second season. The second season of HONEY AND CLOVER sucks balls). But the main reason was that it inspired me to search harder. By watching Godai fail repeatedly, only for him to pull himself up, I realized the lovable idiot was putting more effort into becoming an adult than I was. And considering how shit he is at being mature, that's saying a lot. Not really sure if I could refuse the "pity fuck" job offer he got when the company he was originally going to work for went under because pride doesn't mean much when you're living in the streets, but I respected the dude all the way.

So yeah, driven by Godai's resolve, I worked harder at finding a job before college was up. I still made mistakes. In the end, the current job I have now is something I applied to on a whim rather than real effort. But that doesn't change the fact that at that particular time, Ikkoku was there to go "I feel you dude". It's not my favorite anime because of a shitty stretch of episodes near the end and the fact that UTENA and BEBOP are just that good, but it's definitely the one I relate to the most.

Urge to rewatch this show, rising. This thing should really get re-released sometime so I can actually own it. RANMA recently has. Ikkoku and LUM should join on the bandwagon. We can ignore INUYASHA though.
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