Offshore Anime

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“Some things are just impossible.” – Finding Motivation in One Off

3 Comments

I wouldn’t be surprised if One Off slipped under most people’s radar this summer. It isn’t revolutionary in any sense of the word, but it does provide a rather heartwarming tale of small girl trying to enter the wide world. Just about everybody has been in this position at one time or another so it offers a chance to reflect on our own experiences. The quality production values and energetic cast only help One Off tell its simple but relatable story.

A journey of a thousand miles beings with a single step.

– Chinese Proverb (Laozi)

As I’m sure anybody will tell you, the first step of any journey is often the hardest. What motivates us to take this step? Does it come purely from within ourselves, or does our world and the people in it push us towards greater things? I might want to claim all the credit for myself, but I can’t disregard the help I’ve received along the way.

Psychological theory splits motivation into two separate but equally important categories: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is felt when we complete an activity in order to receive a tangible benefit such as money. Intrinsic motivation is felt when we complete an activity because we find it interesting or enjoyable.

Extrinsic motivation is often considered less effective and sometime even detrimental to motivation so I’m going to shift my focus to intrinsic motivation for the rest of this post. Take note that intrinsic motivation is exclusively reactive in nature. You can’t decide if you enjoy something until you actually give it a try so my question is: where does this initial “spark” come from? I find it hard to believe that we only get interested in things because of tangible benefits so I’m going to talk about another possibility.

In One Off, our protagonist, Haruno feels trapped in her rural town. All she wants is to live in the city and see the world, but this remains nothing but a dream for her. There isn’t anything directly holding her back, but when asked for a reason why she hasn’t ventured out of her town, the only response she can muster is, “Some things are just impossible.” Her entire life perspective is turned upside down when she meets Cynthia B. Rodgers, the spontaneous biker girl from the land down under.

At first, Haruno cautiously approaches Cynthia but she soon begins to see her as a role model, somebody she wishes she could be more like. Haruno sees her enjoying her life of travel and excitement, and she seeks that same thrill. I wouldn’t consider it extrinsic motivation because Haruno isn’t expecting a tangible benefit, but it doesn’t fall under intrinsic motivation either.

Thinking back on it, nearly every activity I’ve ever participated in had me emulating some role model. Whether it be sailing, reading or even writing this blog, they all began with seeking the same enjoyment I saw a peer experiencing. Those role models provided the initial push, after which intrinsic motivation took over.

What do you guys think? What kind of role models have you had in your life? Oh, and if you get the chance, check out One Off. It’s a decent slice of life anime and is only four episodes long.

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3 thoughts on ““Some things are just impossible.” – Finding Motivation in One Off

  1. I think it’s possible to attribute success or decisions in life towards more abstract and ideological reasonings, but a role model certainly makes it easier to explain what might be, to the beholder, a motivation inexplicable to oneself. Inspiration is derived mainly from the interactions you have with other people, after all.

    Consider One Off added to my To Watch list, by the way.

    • What do you think those abstract and ideological reasons are? Do you consider them natural or socially constructed? In retrospect, I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on societal and cultural reasons as opposed to natural human tendencies, but this might have been a crucial error. In the absence of a role model, maybe we just weigh the pros and cons and take the risk where we think there will be a reasonable reward. Even this requires some amount of prior knowledge though.

      Here’s a question that is particularly relevant to both of us: what made you start your blog? I was looking for an outlet for my ideas. I doubt I would have chosen this route had it not been for the several bloggers I followed. I’ve modeled my site and my posts off of a fusion of their styles (with my own twist, of course).

      • Other bloggers are obviously clear influences on my decision to start blogging. That’s undeniable. I’d hazard a guess and say that every blogger has a role model they emulate, whether intentionally or unconsciously.

        Since ideologies are shaped by experiences, with my experiences being mostly suburban, I’d say that my abstract motivation is more grounded in social interaction as opposed to what feels natural. For example, I want to believe that my reason also had to do with a lack of correspondence in other outlets. My family certainly doesn’t share my enthusiasm for anime, and neither do most of my high school friends. Despite the sentiments I make in my own intro post, it was easy enough finding people in college who like anime. Hell, I’m Vice-President of the campus anime club, and it even strives to be “almost” as current as the anisphere when it comes to what’s being watched. And yet, even through all the friendships, discussions, and escapades I’ve had thanks to exposing myself to the club, there was a certain amount of depth that I still sought out on the internet. I had my opinions about anime, and I do share them with other people, but I wanted something more. The club is, when I come down to it, a weekly thing. My friends there have their share of responsibilities to handle, too. I had several ways to satisfy my anime fandom, but it wasn’t being reciprocated quite as well as I expected. After a certain point, commenting on blogs just wasn’t enough. I was looking for, like you, an outlet for my ideas.

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