The past couple of weeks have been interesting, for a number of reasons. For starters I want to state that it has been good to read posts from everybody again, I have missed you all the last few years. I did not lurk after leaving the old forum so I have been truly "gone" up to this point but it was not because I didn't want to hear from you all.

I have a pretty good idea of the reason why everybody thinks I left, and without actually going into details or digging up ancient history that should be left to lie I will just say that those assumptions are probably wrong. That incident was, in a small way, a catalyst that helped me make a decision I had been trying to make for a long time up to that point, but it had little influence on the decision itself.

There were two reasons why I actually did leave. The first had to do with resolving a disconnect between the level of friendship and community that I wanted from the forums and what it was actually capable of giving. I had unrealistic expectations about how personal friendships could be in a disconnected communication medium like this, and this was nobody's fault but my own. It left me more and more frustrated, more and more negative, and that was unfair to the people who still read what I wrote so I decided I needed to step away until I could reset my behavior back to something that would work better for myself and the forum.

The problem is, after actually leaving, I discovered a second reason for having left. The reason I spent 3 years away instead of 3 months. To put it bluntly, I enjoyed watching anime more after I stopped discussing it with other people. A lot more. I'm not going to go on at length about the state of fandom in this post, I think most of us have some concerns about how negative and repetitive the feelings towards the hobby have become in recent years. For me personally, though, removing myself from the discussion entirely fundamentally changed how I watch anime as a fan and it was a change I really needed.

To give an example, I have checked out the majority of this fall's series premieres now. Well over a dozen. I liked every single show I watched, found something to enjoy in every single show I took in. With the exception of Little Busters, which is a special exception due to my extremely personal attachment to the source material, I watched all of these shows without any thoughts of criticism or disappointment coming to mind. I didn't do this as a conscious act, it simply has become the way I take in a show, and this is a profoundly good thing for which I'm very grateful.

When I left the community three years ago, I was fed up with anime. Most shows irritated me with their lack of originality, pandering and reliance upon fetishes to sell to hardcore enthusiasts, and characters which had become increasingly generic. Today, I think all of these problems still exist, only they aren't bothering me anymore. The reason is because I removed myself from the discussions of a community that constantly talks about and dwells on these negatives, which can and will amplify those feelings exponentially the longer a person is exposed to them. As I read through everybody else's fall show impressions I was constantly surprised at all the negative things everybody had to say about various series premieres. Stuff that had flown right over me without bugging me at all. Negative feelings are very self-sustaining, the only way to stop them from ruining your enjoyment of things is to shut off the source from which they feed.

Which leaves me in a dilemma. I like the people here, I always have. I never stopped considering many of you friends. But, the reason I still enjoy anime and the reason it is such a large part of my life today rather than fading away due to exasperation and disappointment is because I stepped away from a community that seems to focus mostly on the bad and not the good of this hobby. While my mind is by no means made up, I have tested the waters enough the last couple of weeks to get the feeling that my posting will probably be pretty limited going forward. That is by no means a final decision, but anime is a major source of joy in my life and jeopardizing my enjoyment of it is not something I'm willing to do after being able to re-discover the innocence and passion I used to have for this hobby when I first got into it more than 15 years ago.

So, to all my friends here, hello again. I've missed you. I hope to stay but if I happen to slip out the back door one of these days at least this post will have explained why.