‘Ganbatte! The Ties That Bind Us’: A New Addition To The Anime Lit Genre

by Anna Lindwasser

Disclaimer: The following is a write-up about a charity anthology that the author of this article participated in.

Recently, I contributed a story to an Anime Lit anthology from Otaku Creator’s Community called Ganbatte! The Ties That Bind Us. Here’s the official write-up.

“Immerse yourself in a collection of anime-inspired stories from every genre. Experience the bittersweet memories of a tale’s end and the action-packed adventure of daring escapes and bitter betrayals. Explore the hunger inside you and the unwavering power of friendship through life’s trials. Rekindle your passion and reach out a hand to help those beside you——who says your favorite character always has to die? And when the journey is done and the curse is broken, wind down with friends, laugh, cry, and share a sip of your favorite bubble tea.

Filled with love and friendship, each tale explores the ties that bind us and the perseverance of the human spirit. Ganbatte! がんばって!Give it your all.

I love watching anime and I love writing about anime, but sometimes thinking and writing about other people’s worlds and characters isn’t enough. That’s why I also love writing fiction. I’ve been writing short stories and trying to get them published in literary magazines for the better part of the past decade, but it’s only recently that I was able to combine my love for creative writing with my love for anime.

After seeing an ad for the anthology in a Facebook group dedicated to anthology calls, I was intrigued. I’d never heard of Anime Lit before. The Otaku Creator’s Community website describes it like this.

“AnimeLit is a genre of writing where the story borrows from what’s popular in anime or manga, leaning into the tropes and cliches to evoke the sense that an anime playing in one’s head.
While similar to Japanese light novels (LN), AnimeLit is more descriptive and is stylistically different than most popular light novels (using dialog tags, and longer paragraphs), and is aimed at a young adult or new adult audience. AnimeLit also does not generally contain any illustrations and are longer than the 50,000 word average of light novels.

AnimeLit encompasses all sub-genres, but slice of life is often a strong theme, focusing on the breath between moments in order to spend time in a character’s daily life and to create an atmosphere and breath. Scenes that slow down the timeline, to add life-like details and not often found in other genres. (An example is in Princess Mononoke when Ashitaka swishes the cup out in the lake before filling it up to drink.)”

I vibed with this right away. I’d actually tried writing something for the MyAnimeList Light Novel contest, but I was never able to finish more than around 8k before the deadline, so I didn’t actually end up entering. But with some editing, that 8k could be a short story.
The story that I’d ultimately submit was called ‘Boy’s Gardening Club.’ Based on conversations with my sister about a hypothetical slice-of-life anime, it tells the story of a group of high school students who join what they think is a regular after-school club. They soon find out that they aren’t just there to tend to the flowers – they’re there to grant the wishes of ‘garden beings’ who are trying to decide whether or not they want to become human. The main characters are Machi, a lesbian who left the girl’s gardening club due to homophobia; Kai, who doesn’t want to be there because he’s allergic to flowers; Jack, Kai’s overenthusiastic best friend from America; Yoshitaka, who is obsessed with all things luxury; and Yukito, who is keeping a major secret. The story takes elements from the slice-of-life genre, the school club genre, and the fantasy genre.

I had a lot of fun writing it, but the best part of the whole thing was that I got to collaborate with my sister Katya. We came up with the characters and premise of ‘Boy’s Gardening Club’ together, so having her on board to do the art was great. I also loved interacting with the other participants. I ended up in a Discord group and a Facebook chat where we’d talk about the progression of the anthology but also anime and manga and about our lives. It ended up being a fun little community.

Besides that, our work is going to benefit charity.

“Profits from the sale of this anthology will be split between the Anime for Humanity charity who spread mental health awareness to anime fans and the Animator Dormitory who help support and fund underpaid animators in Japan.

*This anthology is not endorsed or affiliated by either charity, we are only fans who care about these causes and want to help show our support by helping other fans of anime and those who create it.”

That fact made me a lot more inclined to participate. There are so many anthologies out there that are for profit. That’s fine…as long as they share that profit with the writers and artists. Many don’t. Some even expect the creators to pay to participate. That’s just predatory. This wasn’t like that. While I’m not getting paid to be part of this anthology, I’m happy to have my art help others. 

So far, I’ve only read about three or four of the other stories – I was given advance copies of a few so I could write interview questions for the writers. But I really enjoyed the ones I read, especially The Wondering Warrior: Field of Eternity by Rachel Harris. This story featured an immortal character who makes a major impact on an ordinary girl and her community. I found myself wishing the story actually was an anime, and I suspect I’ll feel the same about the other stories once I finally get to read them. 

There’s a great line-up of talented authors and artists – and also they published something I wrote.

This includes:

Abigail Falanga, Andi L. Gregory, Angela R. Watts, Anna Lindwasser, Beka Gremikova, Emmarayn Redding, Erudessa Gentian, Hannah Carter, Heather Shore, Janice Verhoog, Josiah Dyck, Julisa Bask, Katya, Melanie Morgan, Melissa Wong, Noelle Nichols, Rachel Ann Michael Harris, Suzanne Verhoog, T.M. Root, Trey McIntosh, Wyn Estelle Owens, and Zimri A.Z. Zoran.

If you read all that and think that you’d rather be reading the actual anthology, you can find it here. Ebooks are available on Kindle, Kobo, Scribd, Indigo and Angus & Robertson. If you want a paperback copy, you can get one from Amazon.

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For more of my work, check me out at Ranker, at Medium, on Twitter @annalindwasser and @sinistealatte, and on my website annalindwasser.com. If you like my writing and want to support me further, you can donate to my Ko-Fi.

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