“Would you consider joining our team?”
I have to admit, when I saw those words appear on my screen a few months ago, I was beyond stunned. Me? You want ME to join up with Beneath the Tangles?!
Me? A guy who updates his own blog once a year AT BEST?!
Me? A guy who wrote a scathing series of articles about a VERY controversial subject resulting in some PRODIGIOUSLY cutting reviews and commentary leaving me mentally MIA for a whole month?!
ME? A guy who has been known to turn into an Angry Black Man on a wide variety of subjects including politics?!
You seriously want me, a mid-thirty’s black man from Louisiana who just so happens to have spent the last 25 years of his life consuming and loving anime to come write for Beneath the Tangles?
Knowing all this, you want me?
“Well…alright then. You got me. I probably can’t give you much, but you’ll get the best of what I got.”
And with that…here I am.
Hi. I’m Joshua. You can call me Josh. Or Cajun Samurai. Whichever you prefer. Heck, I’m not picky. I’ve been called so many things in the course of my life. Heck, the last few MONTHS I’ve been called some REAL colorful things. Heck, once when I was engaged in a heated political debate (as I tend to do), I was once called a lizard. I wore that name with pride for a while. Lizards are cool. Steve Irwin, God rest his soul, taught me that. In any case, for simplicity sake, I’m Josh. I’m sure most of you got to know me really well in my introduction on Twitter when I spammed your timelines with anime likes and dislikes. If you think THAT was a lot of info, you should see what I post on my own Twitter account. I’m the self-crowned prince of reaction pictures and live-tweeting.
As I mentioned above, I’m a Louisiana native. And before you ask, no, I don’t live in New Orleans. Honestly, I don’t really go to New Orleans that often unless it’s for my yearly trek to MechaCon…and even then, after next year, MechaCon will be going bye-bye, so my trips to NOLA will probably be even more infrequent. Unless I can score some Saints tickets. Cam Jordan, if you’re reading this, I know you’re an anime fan. Hook a brother up.
Once upon a time, I once had a pretty okay blog called The Cajun Samurai. It was just a place where I could get some reviews done and write up some small articles. At the time I started it, I was working a desk job that allowed me plenty of free time to write until my heart was content. But then, things happened, and I got laid off from my cushy job of seven years, and I had to go back out into the real world and do some real work. From a major airline to a major shipping company, to a local automotive parts company to a major lab testing company, I’ve been blessed to see so many different things and have so many different experiences, but sadly, my time to work on my blog was truncated severely and my poor blog was dang near neglected.
I did, however, find time in late January to write up a series of posts about a…particular hot topic that shook the anime community in 2019. I won’t get into it here, but suffice it to say, it was a MAJOR project for me, and a couple of my more…heated posts…caught some REAL undesired attention…which put me in a mental place that I did NOT want to be in. I found myself second guessing a lot of what I did, and I spent the entirety of February wondering if I was actually right in what I wrote. Did I go too far? Did I take it to a level that it didn’t need to go to? Did I compromise my own spiritual beliefs? All this went through my head and it was just so overwhelming. Suffice it to say, when I look back at February 2020, it won’t be the best of times. However, here we are in August, and, in the words of Elton John, “I’m still standing.” However, I can honestly say I didn’t get through it alone, not by a long shot.
Faith was something that I leaned on every step of the way. If it wasn’t but for the love and sweet mercy of the Lord, I would’ve driven myself completely insane. There was SO MUCH prayer going on during that time, and sometimes it was a struggle to get by on an hourly basis, to say nothing of a daily basis. In fact, I fully believe it was God working through TWWK that provided so much support to me both spiritually and emotionally; I can’t even put it into words how much I relied on his support and strength and just knowing that someone else out there was pulling for me, praying for me…it’s a beautiful feeling. I know I’ve probably driven him crazy with my many messages during that time, especially since he has his own family and life, but honestly, I doubt I would’ve been able to get through this without him and some of my other friends online. Also, knowing that the Beneath the Tangles crew were praying for me touched my heart so much. I owe them so much.
Then, one day, TWWK asked me that infamous question about coming over to write and do some Twitter posts. At first, I admit I was hesitant; I was almost ready to turn him down because of all the issues that I went through over my blog posts. I would never…EVER want to expose anyone to drama that involves myself and another person or group of people, and I felt that the target on my back, however faded and off center, would be a target on anyone I was affiliated with. But then I remembered a bit of scripture that pretty much smacked me across the face like Mrs. Kamiya slapped Tai across the face in that one episode of Digimon:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. – Joshua 1:9
“Be not afraid”.
“Be NOT afraid”.
Those words rung in my head loud as a bell. And it was for ME specifically. For this particular bit of scripture to be found in the book of JOSHUA…the book I am named after that tells the story of a man who had nothing but his faith to step out on…it was like a spiritual “Hey, Listen!” Sometimes, you have to step out on the strength of your faith and see where it leads you. It’s one thing to say that you believe in God and you trust in God, but at some point in your lives, be it making a small decision like joining a christian anime blog, or a large decision like getting married or starting that new business, you have to take that leap OF faith ON your faith.
Many times I’ve found myself on that cliff about to take that leap of faith and many times I thought “Dang it, is this the right thing to do? Did I do everything right? Maybe I should rethink this…” but then I say “You know what, God? You brought me to this point. You said You would not put more on me than I can bear. You picked me up each time I fell. You know the outcome of this. What do I have to be afraid of? I trust YOU. Lets do this.”
And so…here I am. For as long as you’ll have me, I humbly offer my services to you, dear reader. It is my hope and prayer that God blesses me with the writing acumen that will entertain you, challenge your thinking, and maybe make your day just a little bit better.
With that out the way, borrowing an idea from TWWK, I offer up my (CURRENT) top 30 anime of all time as a way to introduce myself anime-wise. Keep in mind, this list is always changing. In fact, up to the time of posting, this list has probably gone through about 20 changes. Why? Because just like the autumnal wind, my tastes and interests in anime ebb and flow. Today’s hotness will probably be tomorrow’s “meh”-ness. But as it stands right now, this is it. Yes, there’s some old stuff, yes there’s some new stuff…there may even be a few titles that will surprise you. Hopefully this list, and any subsequent posts, will give you some kind of idea of what kind of anime I like, and by extension, maybe what kind of person I am.
30. Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches
29. Hitorijime My Hero
28. Silver Spoon
27. Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop) – PLEASE DON’T READ THE MANGA. PLEASE…
26. Lucky Star
25. Daily Lives of High School Boys
24. Hunter X Hunter
21. My Love Story
20. Azumanga Daioh
19. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
18. Persona 4: The Animation
17. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
15. Nerima Daikon Brothers
14. Digimon Tamers
13. FLCL (Original)
12. Neon Genesis Evangelion
11. Ghost Stories (English Dub)
10. Aria: The Animation
9. Nagi no Asukara
8. Assassination Classroom
6. Mysterious Girlfriend X
4. Aria: The Origination
3. Aria: The Natural
2. Cowboy Bebop
1. Digimon Adventure (1999)
Admittedly, I’m not a HUGE fan of countdown lists because I always feel I’m forgetting something and I’m never FULLY satisfied with my choices, but I think this is a pretty comprehensive list! Of course, I’ll probably lay awake in bed tonight scrolling through Crunchyroll and think “OH CRAP! I FORGOT XYZ SHOW!!” and then kick myself for not including it, but hey, for the time being, this list is pretty much THE list. Just know that, quite literally, this list was updated and picked over all the way up to the day it was published!
And I think I’ve taken enough of your time! Funny how this post went from just being an introduction to a testimony to an anime countdown, huh? As a southerner, we tend to digress quite often. I ask that you please put up with my many digressions as I start this new God-given path I set out on with my new friends. Ya’ll have a good one and, as we say down here in Louisiana: Laissez le bon temps rouler! (let the good times roll!)