Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach? A lump in your throat? That feeling when your heart pounds almost painfully when you’re around that special somebody? Those feelings are familiar to me from getting crushes on human beings. But in all my years of anime obsession, I never actually expected to feel that way about a cartoon character.
This is the most embarrassing of my Twelve Days, and certainly the most embarrassing blog post I’ve written all year. Here’s my confession: I have a crush on Toudou Jinpachi, a 2D teenager from a TV show, and it’s made me question everything I know about romance.
I discovered Yowamushi Pedal in the spring. The days were growing longer and lighter and every morning felt like the start of something new. It was the perfect time to fall in puppy love. Toudou, a loudmouthed, boastful, and vain character, immediately became my favorite. But then it became more than that. I’d blush when I’d think of him. I’d cover my eyes when he appeared on screen. I’d stammer when talking about him with fellow fans.
Suddenly, I understood what people meant when they’d say X character was their “waifu” and “husbando.” It wasn’t an ironic statement (most of the time), but a genuine expression of love for a character. Can a crush exist between a human being and a cartoon drawing? Maybe not, but our brains are really good at tricking us into believing it.
So for me, the weird-factor isn’t that I have a crush on a cartoon character. In my subculture that’s not too unusual. Fortunately, my friends are so used to me saying stuff like this that their reaction was more like, “Seriously? The other dudes are way cuter.”
What was surprising and a little concerning for me was having my first crush on somebody else after getting married. What I never realized before was that just because you get married doesn’t mean you only have eyes for one other person forever. Marriage (well, the way I do it) means you’re making a commitment to be only with this one other person forever. What’s great about me getting a crush on an inappropriate, not to mention impossible, target is that I can direct those positive feelings back into my marriage to make my husband feel more loved.
As to whether my husband gets crushes on 2D characters? Well, you’d have to ask him.
Screenshot via Yowamushi Pedal, episode 31.
This post is the fourth installment of The Twelve Days Of Anime, a blogging series in which anime fans write about shows that inspired or impressed on them this year. For all the posts in this series, visit my table of contents.