Jokingly, you type your name into the searchbar of Crunchyroll just to see what would come up. To your shock, you find an anime based on
your entire life so far. All of the episodes are exaggerated, action-packed retellings
of your childhood memories. There are nearly 17 seasons. You couldn’t believe it. The title was mostly
in Japanese, but sure enough, your name was sandwiched between the characters and hiragana,
decorated in big roman letters. It seemed like too strange of a coincidence, one that
would’ve drawn your immediate suspicion were it coming from a Russian torrenting site.
Click. Click. Play. You sat back and watched the opening credits roll. You liked the theme
music, it sounded like something out of your playlist. As the episode continued, you became
increasingly concerned. That was your name in the subtitles, and the names of you family and friends. The plot was eerily familiar: an awkward student working fast food to scrape
by. It was you. Everything from the flashbacks to the soundtrack
was you. This was your life they were showing, the people you knew, the places you went,
they even had the time when you were trampled during a high school track meet in there.
Was someone watching me? You thought. Were they writing down everything I I did? Wait.
Hold on. You scrubbed back 10 seconds in the video player. Even the stack of boxes in the
corner of your house was there in screen. Whoever was making this had copied every last
detail, down to the labeling and your crappy handwriting on the side of the box. I should
call a lawyer, you thought, but you didn’t. Instead you finished the episode, then another.
The resemblance to your life was absolutely uncanny. You became obsessed. Over the weekend
you must’ve watched the first 2 seasons. When the week began you went to work and class,
then back to your house to watch this sick retelling of your life. This was your routine
for several days. You forgot to eat sometimes. You sat there, day after day, watching your
existence played back in neon colors and low-res yellow subtitles; You felt the sting of breakups
again, embarrassment at the things you did, joy at the triumphs that you had managed and
the progress you had made. Eventually, You’ve caught up; You had just watched last month’s
school drama and that lame party you went to turned into plot points for an admittedly
lackluster season finale. You looked back at the show’s main page.
4.6 out of 5 stars. Nearly every video had 200 comments or more. Your binging was replaced
by scrolling through comments. You read almost every scrap of text that you could find. Most
of the comments were either jokes or observations, a lot of which echoed
your own thoughts on events, but some of them were different. Those were the ones that interested
you. “I know he’s our protag, but shit is he
a dick sometimes. Naomi keeps trying to do stuff with him and he blows her off like clockwork.” “Ugh, I’m sick of him making the same
mistakes over and over. He’s kind a wimp. He let’s everybody walk all over him then
has to fix everything himself. Also, he is even worse at picking up on hints than I am.
Amy is best girl!” You decided it was time for some Googling. It took some digging, but you found
forum posts, fan pages, blogs. Someone had even set up merch for the show. You bookmarked it.
But getting a body pillow of yourself or of a friend was a bad idea, unbookmarked.
The more you read the forums, the more you came to understand what people thought of
your life. You saw every mistake you had made laid out in detail and the solutions that
the internet had come up with for them. It all seemed so simple now, the things you had
been stressing over, the things you didn’t have the courage to do. You shut off your computer. You were done
watching and scrolling, at least for now. You grabbed your keys and then the doorknob.
You had no idea how that show came to exist or why it was popular at all, but you knew
one thing; You were going to make the next season worth watching.