After my dad’s brutal and heartbreaking departure, I started to binge watch TV with so much frequency. I was getting addicted to TV. My TV addiction couldn’t have come at a better or worst time (for my mum): During the 80s, especially the late 80s, Japanese animations were simply perfection. For me, it was a blessing, so many great shows and series in animation. Hands down, I was a massive manga fan, the Japanese mangas were just amazing; the drawing and colours caught my attention. You wonder how was I made aware of the Japanese mangas? Well in France, during the 80s, mangas were on the rise and such a hit with television audiences. I had access to most of the French channels which is why we watched it so frequently, dubbed in French. Some of my favourite Japanese mangas were: Sailor Moon, Ai Shite Knight, City Hunter, Saint Seiya (Kinghts of the Zodiac), Dragon Ball Z and the list definitely goes on.
It was also during the end of the 80s that the Simpsons were created. Needless to say I enjoyed the Simpsons.
At the beginning of the 90s, to my absolute delight, Tintin was created as a cartoon series. I read all the books and now I was able to see one of my favourite character on TV too.
I guess watching TV, enabled me to forget about my troubles even briefly: I was missing my dad daily, my weekly visit to the psychologist and of course my ongoing troubles at school. To my mum’s chagrin, I would watch TV on a daily basis instead of doing my homework. The only thing I did for homework was reading, which was becoming more of a passion than a hobby. I especially loved reading fairy tales. I realized no matter how hard I tried at school, I wasn’t able to succeed, so what was the point? I must admit I learned in my own time and in my own terms. Perhaps that was also the reason I didn’t fare well in school. Perhaps my stubbornness and strong character were the reason I didn’t get along with my classmates as much as I should have. These qualities of possessing a very strong character enabled me to identify myself with 2 important characters in my childhood: Ikki in Saint Seiya and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z.
Ikki, in Saint Seiya, at first appears as an antagonist, gradually he became a hero. He always seems angry, when in fact he was misunderstood because he has been through so much, which shaped his strong character. Despite being part of a group, he often goes on battles alone. Arguably he was the odd one out in Seiya’s circle and an outcast by choice. However, he always remains loyal until the end as well as fulfil the saints code to protect earth and Athena. Ikki always seems upset, but deep down he is very sensitive. He had to endured being adopted and a brutal training in Death Queen Island to become a saint.
Vegeta, on the other hand, is extremely arrogant, proud but (unlike me) hardworking. Just like Ikki, Vegeta at first appears as the antagonist but as the serie progressed, he became an antihero and finally a hero. His rivalry with Goku never changed nor stopped. Although he is part of a group, he also prefers his own company, therefore being an outsider by choice and close allies during battles . I love that contradiction to his character. I like that just like me, Vegeta is not very sociable. Ikki is the same in that matter. Vegeta always seems upset, like Ikki, but it is due to his seriousness. Just like Ikki, Vegeta always remains loyal and fights for justice. Of course, Ikki and Vegeta share many similarity but they are so different: Ikki is sensitive unlike Vegeta, although on rare occasions he displays his sensitivity. Vegeta’s anger comes from his arrogance as he feels he should be regarded as the best. Vegeta is also the son of King Vegeta of the Saiyan race. Being a prince by birth perhaps deepened Vegeta’s arrogance. Ikki’s anger comes from pain and protection for his younger brother Shun. Both animations (Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya) were popular and well known, but Vegeta’s character has been hailed as the most iconic character; not only in Dragon Ball Z, but also in manga and anime history. Now this fact will finally give Vegeta something to be arrogant about! The reason why those two characters struck a chord with me was because of their personalities which I felt so connected with. I always seemed upset, moody, stubborn, angry and of course, I had a very strong character. Needless to remind you I have always felt like an outsider. Just like with Ikki and Vegeta, I fought a lot, but they fought for better reasons than me obviously. Despite this strong character I still possess today, beneath it all, I was very sensitive.
Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya were my favourite mangas of all time due to identifying myself with such iconic characters. One feature that separated me from those characters, was the fact that when I like something, I would over like it. I would get carried away. It is good and bad at the same time. Another trait as well is that Ikki, Vegeta and myself have such complex character and full of contradictions. For my part, I hated school yet I loved reading (still do). I hated Switzerland yet I enjoyed the beauty Switzerland possesses. I was rough, strong but also very sensitive to comments about my colour and figure, especially coming from girls. Watching cartoons, especially the Japanese manga, enabled me to escape my reality into a world of fantasy. Those characters stayed true to their strong and contradictory personalities. At the time, Vegeta and Ikki reminded me that despite the hardships they faced, they kept going. Literally in the animation, their lives was a constant battle. It is visualized through their daily battles per episode. At times, they had to take on adversaries twice their size as well as superior. When all seemed impossible, they always found a way by fighting until the end.
Life in Switzerland for me was a constant battle, though it was hard, I kept going despite all the things I faced so far; sadly more was on the way. However, I had to face those battles heads on by adapting to my life in Switzerland, therefore accepting that Switzerland was my home even though I didn’t feel like it. Also, I was hoping that people would accept me for the way I was. Vegeta and Ikki finally were accepted for who they were. After all, our complex and strong personalities is what defines us.