Brandolon Barnett: How Anime Changed My Life
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People can strive to Excel in bad environments. And sometimes when you do that, it leads to excelling at the wrong things. But the energy and the work ethic, quote unquote, is there, it's just that it needs to be channeled in a more productive way. And I was the perfect example of that phenomenon. I, at some point joined a gang, I got sent to alternative school for weapons possession when I was in the eighth grade, I was just trying to fit in.
The first time I had just gotten sent to the alternative school and there was a guy in one of my classes and we kept going anime. Yeah. Just repeatedly. And I was like, dude, what are you talking about, man? Like, what is this? And he was like, no, you've got to check this. You got to check this out. So I went to blockbuster video and which I'm just shocked at how much that dates us, all, who, who remember going to blockbuster. But I went to blockbuster and I picked up and I was just randomly walking through and they had a little section on anime and I found, uh, this anime called Neon Genesis: Evangelion. And I brought it home. And I remember the first few seconds, like the, the, the music comes in and there, these giant robots and I was like, "Whoa, are those giant robots?" And I remember watching it and within the first five minutes, thinking like, well, if I'm doing what I've been doing, like running with these guys and doing things that my mother was trying to tell me not to do, then I will never have my own giant robot. I remember it very distinctly having that thought. It's probably one of the most, distinct moments of my life. And from then on, I changed.
I had never even heard of an AP class. Pretty soon I was a sophomore in high school and I signed up, I was the only personal color, outside of couple of others. There was a small cohort and what was shocking to me as I've been in high school two years, I'd never even heard of these classes. And so I was like, Oh, sure. I'll sign up. Because, you know, giant robot science, like cool. And that led to, uh, economics and debates. And it really just changed my life.
They had a Japanese language program at my high school. I was one of the first people in the Richardson school district, right outside of Dallas to actually be part of a busing program. So I was the first generation that was able to pick whichever school we wanted.
I started learning Japanese so I could watch anime without subtitles. I'm fluent now. Um, and all these years later, and I'm still watch anime religiously, but at the core of who I am, it is like what I've realized from all those experiences is that I'm all about possibilities and potential.
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