Well bollocks. I’ve done it again. Okay, 34 minutes, a full bladder and the need to get a post done before midnight. Of course, I could extend the deadline to 1 am and write an actual review of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but that’s more a big-ticket item that should get its own proper article written about it.
You know what that means. It’s filler time, baby.
The first anime I watched was Evangelion, and as such, I’d like it to be the first one I review. I don’t know how I can manage to put how alarmingly alienating an experience it was into words. It’s like watching a show in a genre you’ve never heard of or seen before. And I know that sounds easy, but you don’t realize how much media you’ve consumed. If you’ve seen Scott Pilgrim, then you know if you have passing familiarity with sitcoms, movies, rom-coms, video games, different types of video games–if you’ve read the books, you can recognize even more. When I first laid eyes on Eva, all I could think was “What the ████ am I watching?”
Gigantic superpowered robots? Fighting faceless creatures from beyond the depths of hell, with no purpose but to destroy? And for the first few episodes, it was funny too. From its reputation, I kept expecting to walk around a corner and find someone lying in a pool of their own blood, but I never did. It was just weird. Then, around midway, the comedy had been entirely phased out. To say I missed a few facts is a lie. I missed more than a few. I’m subsequently re-watching the entire series before I review it, which is why I hesitate to just bang one out from what I remember in under an hour. I mean, seriously, you realize the kind of idiotic mistakes I’d make doing that?
The only reason I’m really writing this filler article is because I feel I have a few obligations in my life. Empty the dishwasher, do three training programs on Brain Age, solve some sudoku, write 1000 words for my blog. And the truth is, ever since I started this blog and wound down in momentum, I’ve been slacking off the write 1000 words requirement. But I like that 1000 word requirement. It keeps me reading. It keeps me writing. It keeps me focused on something from the day to day and I feel like that’s the ticket to constructing a better life for myself.
Anyway, the second anime I watched was Haruhi, but that really deserves its own, entire article. Probably 2500 words when I get around to it, but don’t hold me to that.
The first series I saw on my own, having found it on my own and having it appeal to me alone was NaruTaru. Shadow Star, as it’s known Stateside is a series from god knows when adapted from a Mohiro Kitoh manga. If you are familiar with the name Mohiro Kitoh, you should know that I wasn’t. NaruTaru is an amazing study in contradictions. At once, I have to tell people about its stunning beauty and its shocking horror. The main character is one of the most sympathetic protagonists written in any medium. This is a plucky young girl who finds a special little creature with superpowers, gives it a cute name and tries to make the lives of everyone she encounters better. Most times, she succeeds by merely being there and smiling.
At the same time, she’s surrounded by the most sadistic, cruel and mean kids ever to grace the face of the Earth. This is for two reasons. One, it’s based on a manga by Mohiro Kitoh and two, it feels truer to have our Shiina (the hero) fight for the happiness of her friends against ever escalating odds. You’re never sure that she’ll win, you’re never sure that anyone will live and you’re always sure that death and despair are looming in the air–but Shiina never gives up hope. It is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a series that also includes horrible, needless death and cruelty.
Again, it’s the first anime I picked out by myself, based on the tropes page. The page image was what sold me, actually. It might be different now, but when I first saw it, it was just a face and a caption. The sweet cuddly face of Hoshimaru, Shiina’s pet dragon star, and the caption “The face of unspeakable evil”. From there I read that it was Pokemon put through the Eva/Watchmen filter. That isn’t quite true. What it is ends up being a lot closer to if Kick-Ass the movie hero were transplanted into Kick-Ass the comic. For all of you who haven’t read and seen Kick-Ass, start consuming better media.
I think the next one I picked out all by my lonesome was He Is My Master, a series that’s much less bad than it sounds from the title. I always toy with the notion of referring to it solely by its Japanese title–means the same thing but at least no one wonders what type of TV you watch and what kind of person it makes you. Again, it’s in a genre I had no idea existed prior to having seen it: the maid series. In Japan, there is apparently an entire niche of culture devoted to maids and maid fetishes and fetishy maids and funny maids and crossdressing ladymanlady maids and anything to do with maids. This is not only weird, but also, I found, fascinating. Not wanting to watch an entire series and not have it be good, I chose the series that had the most participation from an anime studio I liked, GAINAX.
Of course, being totally unaware that GAINAX, in addition to being the mindwarping angst studio are also the fetish and jiggly boob studio, I started on a journey far more fetishy than the one I would have liked to take. That being said, the series is one of the funniest I’ve ever seen, American, Canadian, Japanese, you name it. It has an extremely high gag/minute rating and is totally self-aware that it’s fetishy fun. It’s like the old, Jimmy Kimmel/Adam Corolla version of The Man Show. I haven’t finished it yet, but from what I’ve seen, I like it a lot.