A few months ago, I decided to get my first ‘large’ tattoo. I already have 3 small ones, all pretty basic or ‘safe’ for explaining to people.

I have a yinyang behind my ear, except the circles are heart shaped. I was 14.

The second is now the ‘white girl calling card’, an infinity sign with a word in it. My mom and sister got matching ones. I do want to state I got this before it became the bat-symbol for Abercrombie shoppers.

My third small tattoo is my name, in Kana. More specifically in katakana. For those who don’t know, kana is the simplified written language in japan, split into the more boxy hiragana, which is used for foreign words, and katakana, the prettier, smoother symbols used for native words.

Now I knew that in getting this, but I went with the wrong alphabet anyways because it looked prettier. My names not Japanese. Its not even Greek. So, whatever.

Explaining the kana tattoo to my mom was a joy.

“are you sure it doesn’t say penis?”

Yes mom. It spells my name phonetically. It cannot be read as penis. *facepalm*

Explaining these tattoos to people are easy. For the most part the kana one is hidden, but the one on my wrist, the infinity sign, is a family tattoo. When you tell people it matches your other family members, they smile, they are interested. They, to some degree, want to understand it.

Now I decided to get a larger tattoo. I sucked it up, decided I wasn’t saving my skin for anything, and went for it. I’ve always thought the people with sleeves of tattoos looked so badass and cool, id want a friend who had those, who were confident enough to get sleeves.

$350 later, I walked out with an anime tattoo.


The tattoo is of Allen Walkers curse mark. In the series D.Gray-Man this curse mark was given as a type of protection, both enabling him to see the souls of the Akuma, and also prevent him himself from becoming an Akuma. Its one of the more recognizable symbols of the series,

D.Gray-Man as a series is very important to me. It houses some of my favorite characters and voice actors, a list of accomplishments of mine, it serves as a starting point for my fall into otaku-dom, and overall I love this series. So, the symbol is a no brainer.

But try explaining that to anyone.

You can say ‘oh its just a cool thing I saw online’ and people would be curious.

You could say it was a previous family symbol from good ole Ireland or something, and they would be impressed by the familial commitment.

But say its from an anime, and you get the look, the eyebrow raises, the tactile retreat. Most don’t ask for further explanation, when there are more than enough follow up questions possible. I’ve never gotten a ‘why’ question though.

“Its from an anime” seems to be an answer that shuts the other person down.

My tattoo gets noticed quite frequently. I work in a restaurant, I wear short sleeves, and the tail end of my tattoo pokes out. Its also bright red, so I’ve gotten ‘omg are you bleeding’ alooot.

I think the funniest reaction to it was ‘I could never get one like that. It has an upside-down star’

My younger sister has gotten a few tattoos of her own, including a skull, a map, and a wreath. They all mean something to her, about her interests, her experiences, her identity. So why is the anime tattoo so weird? Its not a Luffy tattoo extended down my forearm so my hand becomes his, its not explicitly anime, there are no nipples or explicit material. But people seem to regret asking 9 times out of 10.


Do I regret it though? Not in the slightest. If being judged for being an otaku bugged me, I wouldn’t have my new Hinata keychain on my phone, or my Yuri on ice lanyard around my neck.

But in that moment, you see someone take that step back and that smile drop a bit, and it gets you for a second. Just that second of ‘they regret talking to me’ and the scramble to justify it.

But then its like. This tattoo isn’t for them. This wasn’t meant for others to appreciate. This was for me to love, and I do.

At this point I don’t even try and explain the meaning to people. I used to feel the need to justify it. when I first got it, id try and prove the significance of this symbol, to make them understand. It never worked, so now I don’t explain it, beyond the most basic of explanations. It’s a cursed scar mark on the protagonist’.

Im not going to let people take my happiness away when it comes to my tattoo.

But whoo boy am I excited for thanksgiving with my family! I can’t wait to get the ‘you know its permanent right’ speech.


So, this is just my experience since getting an anime tattoo. Does anyone else have any stories? Any pictures!