Love Thy Nerd
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Anime Imitates Life: Encouragement from Fairy Tail and My Hero Academia

Fairy Tail wasn’t my first ongoing anime series, but it’s the one that has most deeply impacted my life. I tend to gravitate towards series with a lot of humor and exciting fights, and that on the surface seem to have little depth. My brother said Fairy Tail is all those things, but that it surprises you with how deep the story goes. He was right. The humor and over-the-top fights immediately drew me in from the first episode, but it was the emotional story and loving character relationships that made me stay.

Lucy Heartfilia is a seventeen-year-old girl with a dream to join the infamous Fairy Tail guild, a group of wizards with varying magical abilities who use their skills to help people. She hoped that by doing so, she would find her purpose in life. In the first episode, Lucy looks for the guild when she is hypnotized by a charismatic, charming wizard calling himself Salamander. He lures young girls in to  kidnap them, as we find out a little later, and Lucy happens to be one of his victims. Just as she is about to fall completely under his spell, she is saved by Natsu Dragneel and his flying cat friend, Happy. They happen to be looking for Salamander, thinking that he is the fire dragon Igneel. As a thanks for saving her, Lucy buys Natsu and Happy a meal and they promise to repay her, and later do by introducing her to their guild: Fairy Tail. The rest of the series becomes an exciting and hilarious ride.

I immediately connected with Lucy’s desire to fulfill her dream of joining Fairy Tail and finding her purpose. I grew to love Natsu’s vibrant personality and incredible strength as well as his and Happy’s hilarious relationship. When I started watching Fairy Tail, I was 22 years old and at a point in my life where I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what God’s plan was for my life. I had dreams, but I didn’t know where they fit into His will for me or even which dreams to pursue. I knew that He was calling me to be apart of the nerd community in some way, but I didn’t know how I would go about that. Like Lucy, I had a dream but wasn’t sure how to get there.

Shortly after I started watching Fairy Tail, God revealed to me His plan for me at that moment in my life when I stumbled upon the group that is now Love Thy Nerd. I felt just like Lucy did the moment Natsu introduced her to Fairy Tail: full of joy and excitement. Also like Lucy, I wouldn’t discover what my purpose was in that group until a little bit later.

What I love most about Fairy Tail is the relationships the members of the Fairy Tail guild have with each other. They don’t all get along all the time and they go through hard times every so often, but they love each other and face their troubles together as a family. It’s a perfect metaphor of what being a family, and especially a part of God’s family, should look like. Their heart and love of others reminds me of my church family.

I thank God for bringing Fairy Tail and now My Hero Academia into my life, and helping me understand and reinforce how to find strength to pursue my purpose…

The final season of Fairy Tail is currently airing, and it brings tears to my eyes that their journey is coming to an end. But all good things must end eventually. I will always remember the laughs, fun adventures, and even tears the adventures of Team Natsu have brought me. I identified with Lucy right away and it helped me through a confusing time of my life. I am forever grateful to Fairy Tail and it’s creator, Hiro Mashima, for that. I was even blessed enough to meet Mashima-san at New York Comic-Con in 2017 while I was on a missions trip with Gamechurch. Definitely a dream come true.

Since starting Fairy Tail and being caught up on all of the episodes of the final season, I discovered another ongoing series that I started last year that has become near and dear to my heart: My Hero Academia. It has similar themes of exciting journeys and the importance of friendships that drew me into Fairy Tail, but this time, I connect with Izuku Midoriya’s (Deku) big heart, determination and underdog status.

I started My Hero Academia during a time when I decided to pursue my dreams of acting and singing and feeling intimidated by those who have more experience and talent, and am still lacking at this moment. But Izuku’s determination and his mentor All Might’s belief in him inspired me to pursue my dreams. All Might tells Izuku that he can become a hero, and proceeds to give him the powers of his quirk. I see that as God telling me I am worthy and giving me the strength to pursue the dreams I know He has given me.

It’s funny how both Fairy Tail and My Hero Academia have showed up at certain points in my life, and how I can relate to the characters and situations that they’re going through. But I believe everything happens for a reason, and I believe you can learn lessons and even find the strength to find your purpose through shows like Fairy Tail and My Hero Academia. For me, as I prayed about what God’s plans for my life were, I learned the lessons He was trying to teach me through these shows.

God eventually revealed His purpose for my life while I was with Gamechurch by going on missions trips to different conventions all over the nation and loving on nerds and telling them that Jesus loves them. That continues with Love Thy Nerd as I prepare to go on an outreach trip with them to Phoenix Fan Fusion. They helped me find my purpose within the community, which has helped in turn to step outside of my comfort zone and pursue my other dreams. It’s just like what Fairy Tail has done for Lucy, and what All Might has done for Deku.

My Hero Academia has filled the Fairy Tail-shaped hole in my heart. Watching Izuku go from a normal, quirk-less kid to a powerful hero all while still maintaining his kind and caring disposition is inspiring. Of course I love his fellow classmates, their humor and the incredible battles they fight, but Izuku’s journey is my favorite—I have learned so much from him already, and look forward to watching his journey to become the greatest hero in the world.

As strange as it sounds, I thank God for bringing Fairy Tail and now My Hero Academia into my life, and helping me understand and reinforce how to find strength to pursue my purpose, the importance of having loving and encouraging people around me, and most importantly, to never give up.

As I prepare to say goodbye to Fairy Tail, I promise that, although our paths diverge, I will always live my life to the fullest. Treat everyday like it’s my last no matter what. And never forget the friends I made and loved in Fairy Tail. I will treasure them for as long as I live.

Brittany is a nerd about many things—Jesus, video games, anime, Star Wars, and also fashion and makeup. She is pursuing her God-given dreams of acting and singing while serving the nerd community anyway she can.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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