Time flies: The time chameleon’s favourite food


A 5-year anniversary retrospective

[CW: Mental health, Covid-19]

Act 1: Beginnings

It’s been some 7 years since I started watching anime. For about two years after that, I spent a large part of my free time discussing anime on Reddit. I’m really glad that many of the people I met and made friends with back then are still my friends. Our lives have changed a great deal since then. We don’t talk as much as we used to, even less so when it comes to anime, and while I am a little bit sad about that, the fact that we’re still friends is very important to me.

In 2015, catalysed by the release of an anime called Rolling Girls (which holds a very special place in my heart), I joined (read: was roped into joining) what was then known as Aniskype, a community that today lives on on Discord, and started being more active on Twitter, where most of my friends from Reddit had also moved to. I have some fantastic memories from the chat room, particularly the group watches of the Gundam 0079 movies, Macross: Do You Remember Love, and The Room. Over time, however, I started gravitating more and more toward Twitter, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

Gotta love spaghetti!

Around the same time, exactly 5 years ago in fact, I started blogging. I still consider that post one of my best ones in terms of both idea and execution. It is, when I think about it, somewhat of a great coincidence that April Fool’s, my birthday, also happens to be the approximate average starting date of the Spring anime season. Because that allowed me to use this “great” first blog post as a springboard from which to dive into seasonal blogging about anime. I continued this seasonal blogging for 3 years, skipping, if I recall correctly, only 2 seasons during that time. I also wrote, over the next couple of years, short posts about almost every single anime I’d watched, as well as some random posts more or less unrelated to anime, and the odd review.

My blog hasn’t been active for almost 2 years now, though, because real life obligations, hopes, dreams and pursuits eventually started becoming more and more relevant to my life.

Act 2: The not-so-halcyon days

In the Spring of 2015, I did very little except blog and hang out on Twitter. The preceding Fall, I’d taken a break from university due to burnout, so having something to do, even if it was “just for entertainment”, felt great. However, due to legal reasons, I did have to deal with my mental health issues officially as well, so in May 2015 I met with a psychiatrist to have my depression and social anxiety diagnosed, and I’m glad I did. Medication and 3 years of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy, not the… other thing) helped me a lot. I mean, the fact that the legal issues went away also helped, but I think my interaction with psychiatric professionals was the key ingredient.

What followed that first appointment in 2015 was several years of trying to find my place in the world. I got very into photography, so much so that I actually ended up buying a camera and a bunch of lenses. In retrospect, photography was probably not the most affordable hobby for an unemployed student with mental health issues. But, it all turned out okay in the end, in part because my mom paid for the cost of my healthcare. I will always be grateful to her for that. Eventually I also had the opportunity to do some photo commissions (for friends and family mostly), earning me a bit of extra pocket money, which helped ease me back into regular daily life.

IDK I’m just going through my random anime pics folder.

By which I mean that in 2016, I went back to university in order to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Physics. That went really well, because I managed to graduate in August 2017. My thesis was titled (what follows is a translation from Swedish) “Studying the cosmic Dark Ages and the Epoch of Reionisation through observation of the hydrogen 21cm line”, a subject matter that I’d been interested in for years. I think it’s because I felt like there was something special about a transition that has such a tangible associated wavelength. The magic kind of disappeared during the writing of the thesis, so I didn’t feel a strong need to continue studying the topic in any more detail. And I never did, aside from when there’s tangential contact with the stuff I’m currently studying.

Anyway, on the topic of transitions, in July 2017 I came out as trans on Twitter, and to my therapist. I haven’t talked about it much here on my blog, in part because of the fact that my past blog posts to some extent serve as glimpses my past, and so mentioning this in a blog post is sort of cognitively dissonant with my reluctance to rediscover who I used to be. However, this is an important part of my life, and an integral part of the reason why I am where I am today, so if I am to talk about the present, my gender identity will inevitably have to come up.

Act 3: Present day, present time

For the purposes of this post, “the present” begins around late 2017-early 2018 and ends probably whenever this hell pandemic ends. I don’t mean that in a gloomy way, I’m considering the possibility that the end of the pandemic could be a time for new beginnings. I am fortunate enough to be able to think that way, because my life situation is one where I have some degree of financial stability and can work well from home. But wait, how did a poor and unemployed student with mental health issues get here? Well…

Coming out as trans ended up being very cathartic for me. At first it didn’t really help with the depression and anxiety, it just gave me new things to worry about, but I soon saw light at the end of the tunnel. I noticed that I’d finally found something that I think I’d been searching for my entire life. I started having hopes and dreams. I found motivation to do things that felt important to me. I settled on a new name (that I actually feel strongly about), Emilia. I gained confidence in myself and my abilities. On the other hand, I also started seeing the not-so-glamorous side of belonging to a gender minority. It’s sort of funny, because people who I didn’t tell obviously kept treating me in exactly the same way as before, but the jump from finding that normal and noticing that I’m being constantly misgendered was surprisingly sudden. What was not so funny was the apathetic dysphoria and new source of social anxiety. It sucked not really being able to make new friends in class, because I didn’t want to introduce myself by my cover identity, but I also wasn’t comfortable with being out in real life.

Anyway, the increased confidence persevered, and soon after I’d started my Master’s studies in Fall 2017, I was offered a summer job as a research assistant in the Space Physics lab. In the past I would have hesitated and probably declined, but this time I jumped on the opportunity and accepted. I started in April 2018, and have been working as a research assistant ever since. As long as I eventually finish my Master’s degree, I’m planning on continuing as a PhD student in the same lab. I really love my job. I’m good at it, and I think it’s super interesting. I get to write a lot of code and make nice-looking figures and diagrams. I like my coworkers. They’re all good people, though not perfect (who is?), and I like having coffee room discussions with them. I make enough money to afford a student apartment and the associated costs of living.

I’m doing pretty good right now!

In January 2019 I got an offer for a student apartment. Just like with the summer job offer, I jumped on the opportunity. I picked up the keys on February 4th. On February 5th, I had my first appointment with a nurse at the gender clinic (I’d gotten a referral from my psychatrist in September 2018). As you can probably imagine, that was a pretty stressful time in my life. But I made it through it. I moved in on March 6th 2019, and have been living alone ever since. And I love it. It turns out I’m well-suited for independent living, even though I have pretty low energy levels and don’t have much confidence in being able to perform chores when needed. But I’ve managed pretty well. And I’ve also made some good progress on getting my gender affirmed. I’m actually almost done with the process. At the time of writing this, I think I have only 2 appointments left. Let’s hope I’m satisfied with the verdict. On that topic…

Act 4: Futurama

No, not the TV show. What will the future hold? I don’t know. In the past I may have obsessed and worried over this to the point of severe executive dysfunction, but now I really only worry about one thing: How to move forward with my gender identity. I know I’m transfeminine, but I don’t really feel comfortable with describing myself in any more specific terms. I do know what I want out of the healthcare services in terms of hormones and procedures, but I haven’t quite decided how I want to present and introduce myself to other people yet. It’s a dilemma that I can’t quite figure out a satisfactory solution to. My future is still shrouded in mystery.

Unfortunately, it appears that so is the entire world’s future. The university is closed for the foreseeable future, so I both work and study from home. Many parts of society have halted partially or completely. Travel isn’t possible, not even domestically, though it’s not like I was planning on travelling anyway. Staying at home is encouraged. As I’ve said, I’ll probably be fine when it comes to being able to support myself financially, but that’s not true for everyone. The world is going to be a different place after this is over. Many people will be out of a job. I hope we can make large enough changes to society to allow as many people as possible to recover, both financially and mentally.

I will try not to despair!

In contrast to these confusing and difficult topics, the future of my social media presence is signficantly more clear. I will continue not blogging regularly, and I will continue talking to my friends on Twitter. Do I miss blogging? Yes, particularly the seasonal anime blogging, but I really don’t have the time or energy for it. Well, who knows now that I’m home all day, but in general, I’m probably not going to do it.

But I do really enjoy occasionally putting a lot of effort into small things, usually humorous in nature, like photoshops or bad puns. If you recall the title of this post, you can see that this falls into the latter category. Essentially, my thought process went as follows:

  1. “Hmm, maybe I should do a 5-year anniversary post.”
  2. “Oh that is an extremely lame pun in the title, I gotta write this now.”
  3. “Gotta make the act titles weird as well.”
  4. *The actual writing process*

I spent like 6 hours on writing this post. At the time of writing this paragraph, it’s past 1 AM on my birthday. I’ve already received many congratulations, for which I’m immensely happy. However, I do have to get up relatively early tomorrow morning, so I have already missed out on a decent chunk of sleep. So, was it really worth it to stay up this long to write a post that I decided to do essentially on a whim?


From GX to XV: A Symphogear Rollercoaster

Some spoilers for the first episodes of XV ahead

For many members of its audience, the 3rd season of Symphogear, GX, was a turning point for the series, and not in an upward direction. Its storylines were mainly based on the same drama as Season 1 and G, and it introduced some characters and elements that were, in my opinion, offensive and irredeemable (unless explicitly condemned by the show, but that didn’t happen). I was also disappointed by the fact that the original Autoscorers, who I was a big fan of, didn’t survive GX. I’m making it sound like GX was 100% terrible, but it wasn’t. I mostly had a fun time watching it, and it had a lot of entertaining action.

I don’t remember many details from GX, but I do remember Garie.
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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 13

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii

There seems to be a growing interest lately in anime about adults (otaku or not) who go to work in the days and deepen their interpersonal relationships at night, which is a fairly mundane genre when you think about it. But it’s a very interesting one compared to the more usual genres of school romance and fantasy.

Spring 2018 Wotakoi

I love the characters already.

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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 12

Wakaokami wa Shougakusei

So this is apparently based on a children’s book, which I knew when I picked the show up but forgot before I actually started watching it. This is an understandable explanation for why the show was unfortunately not licensed. Which might also be explained by the fact that the episodes are only 12 minutes long (though it’s not like that’s stopped a bunch of other shows in the past from being licensed).

Spring 2018 Wakaokami

The environments were pretty cool-looking at times.

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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 11

Captain Tsubasa

This actually started airing a week and a half ago, but unfortunately it hasn’t been licensed yet, so I had to rely on the work of a dedicated fan for the subtitles (thank you, whoever you are). And that’s why I watched the show so late, and why I’m only writing about it now. Normally I might have skipped it entirely due to the lack of licensing, but I was too curious about finally getting to see what the legendary Captain Tsubasa is about, so here we are.

Spring 2018 Captain Tsubasa

This is the point at which I remembered this is a David Production show.

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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 10

This is going to be a rapid-fire edition of a first impressions post, because I fell behind and now I have to write about more than two shows. Or maybe I end up writing more about some shows, and less about others. I haven’t decided yet. But anyway, here we go.

Juushinki Pandora

I picked this up because I saw that it was a mecha show originally created by Shoji Kawamori, and because it was animated by Satelight. Unfortunately, though, not all shows can be winners, even if they’re created by people with prestigious portfolios. That’s what happened here. I had problems concentrating on the entire episode, but it felt like one of those dime-a-dozen mecha shows that pop up every now and then (almost every season actually). It felt uninspired, and uninspiring. I didn’t really care about anything that happened. So I don’t see any reason to continue it either.

Spring 2018 Juushinki Pandora

Cool robot lizard.

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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 9

Cutie Honey Universe

The first episode of Cutie Honey Universe succeeded at making me feel like I was watching a series with a lot of history behind it. It didn’t directly reference any past anime, but it also made no effort to introduce Honey or any of the other characters. Well, part of this is probably because this is a series by Go Nagai, meaning its storytelling style has some oddities and unique flavours to it (a very in media res opening, for instance).

Spring 2018 Cutie Honey Universe

Yup, it’s a Go Nagai show.

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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 8

Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan

I tried watching this show so I could write about it, but I couldn’t really focus on it, and I barely remember anything that happened in the first episode. Granted, I didn’t try very hard, but still, I think this is enough to tell me that this is not my kind of show, and that I should probably not bother watching it.

Spring 2018 Nilad

They look cool, at least.

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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 7


The premise of the first episode of Hinamatsuri had plenty of potential as a precursor for problematic content: A presumed alien (with telekinetic powers) who looks like a very young girl crashes into the apartment of an adult male gangster. And he basically ends up becoming her guardian, buying her clothes and toys and food that she likes. Even though the first episode didn’t go anywhere super creepy with it, I’m still sort of wary about possible developments in future episodes.

Spring 2018 Hinamatsuri


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Spring 2018 First Impressions: Part 6

Mahou Shoujo Site

[CW: Bullying, domestic abuse, torture, suicide]

I’m not automatically opposed to dark or even edgy magical girl shows. I say let creators write that stuff if they want to, because sometimes the results can be interesting and cool, but I also think that in a genre like this where the themes are usually about the struggles of young girls to find their place in life, there should be an essence of humanity in the writing as well.

Spring 2018 Mahou Shoujo Site

This is probably the least discomforting screenshot I took from the episode.

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