< Piro >
Monday - February 28, 2005
Have you ever got into a series because you decided that you that you were supposed to get into it? You know, the art appeals to you, the concept, you see some snippet of it somewhere and it's just the kind of thing that you tend to like... You know you are gonna be a fan of it before you even see it.
Sadly, this doesn't happen that often for me. There have only been a few shows that have really taken me down like that in recent years. Haibane Renmei, Kanon, Air... there haven't been that many. Years ago i remember patiently waiting for the mail to arrive with my weekly pak of six VHS tapes full of raw anime (all lovingly assembled by my friend Craig - hi Craig if you're still out there somewhere :P) Nothing was better than getting the next four episodes of shows like like Saint Tail, Nadesico, Escaflowne... back in the day, it was weeks before you could even see raw content, nevermind fansubs (which would be months out if you were lucky -- you damn kids got it so easy (shakes cane at you)) It was a lot of work (and money in postage and VHS tapes and finding places to put the tapes) but it was a lot of fun. Sure, most shows weren't really worth following but when you were hot on a show, it was great.
Of course, there are many times when a show that you think is gonna be t3h awesome kinda lets you down. Shingetsutan Tsukihime was kinda like that for me. I was really looking forward to it, and I did enjoy watching it, but in the end it left me feeling like it drove past me and i missed something. Love Hina was worse -- i was so looking forward to the anime, but for some reason I just didn't connect with it. I'm not saying it was bad, but i ended up not really looking forward to new episodes. It didn't work for me. I could mention others, but i don't want to raise anyone's ire (It's not anime but don't get me started on how i feel about the 2nd and 3rd LOtR movies :P)
Accidentally discovering a show that becomes a favorite can also be a lot of fun. I watched the first episode of FLCL without having a clue and it took a long time to find my brain again :) Another 'sleeper' for me was Scrapped Princess. OMG, i fell in love with that show. Sure, it ended kinda flat, but it was a great ride. Stellvia was another one like that, a show that totally exceeded my expectations.
Thankfully, there aren't that many of THOSE either, or you people would never get comics.
The brutal truth is that it's amazing how many shows i've watched an episode or two of but felt no need or desire to continue watching. I'd probably watch a lot more if i were bored and lots of time on my hands, but i can barely fit in watching stuff i show signs of having a chemical dependency (emotional dependency?) on as it is. There are times when i'm real busy that i'm glad that there is nothing i'm watching.
I've been talking, i guess, about 'favorite' shows. You know, the kind of shows that you list when people ask you what your "top ten" anime faves are, or the kind of shows you recommend to anime n00bs. These are the shows you build shrines for, you re-paper your walls with wallscrolls and burn incense for, and you sacrifice a percentage of your food budget for (not anymore for me of course... my conscience would have a talk with me if i did that these days ^^;;) There's another category of shows that you kinda never mention when talking about faves, or when waxing poetic about your latest-2D-character you would give your ever shrinking soul to. These are the shows that mean something to you, but only on a personal level, and aren't part of any 'obsession'. Shows that you just plain and simply enjoy. I call shows like this 'comfort anime'
A comfort anime, much like comfort food, isn't the greatest or the hottest or the best anime you've ever seen, but one that for some reason, you really connect with and simply watch and enjoy. You don't do the normal excessive fanboyish stuff you do with other shows. Often these shows are stumbled upon, by random chance and often out of boredom and i think they take up a warm place in my soul that i'd miss if they weren't there.
Mahoraba - Heartful Days is turning out to be that kind of show for me. I don't take it seriously, I'm not desperate to learn everything i can about it, i just... really enjoy it. I'm particularly amused by the fact that the show is not excessively Moe (like so many are these days) and that there is no blatant fan service (just enough to be cute, and so far all of it is implied in amusing subtle ways that appeal to me :P) Some of the characters are completely nuts, and Cortana thinks i like it because it reminds me of my life somehow (which is kinda scary). Regardless, it's a nice warm quiet corner i am happy to visit when i can.
I don't have a huge list of comfort shows. In fact, i can be almost as selective about these as i can about 'fave' shows. Another recent one for me that was pretty good was Narue no Sekai. Often they can be real non-shows that most people don't really consider worth watching. I loved YAT Anshin for some absurd reason. Hell Teacher Nuubei was another one that i still dig out the VHS tapes to watch sometimes (the bath house episode is a friggin riot). Kero Kero Chimu is total fluff and wonderful for it. Some shows are actually good and it puzzles me that more people aren't aware of them. Akazukin Cha Cha is some of the best brain deadening and tummy warming material ever made, yet where is it?
I guess that's why i hate 'what is your favorite anime' type questions. It's a question that can be answered so many ways and on so many levels that i don't think there really is a good answer. My favorite anime movie? Umi Ga Kikoeru. Is it REALLY my favorite? Sure, but so is Laputa, Castle in the Sky, and Patlabor Movie 2. It just depends on what corner of my mind i ask. :)
And I've just been talking about anime here. Put manga into the mix and my brain starts to hurt. It's amazing the selection of manga we have to read these days, but there are still these huge gaps -- Where is my Kimagure Orange Road manga? What about Akazukin Cha Cha? Hime-chan no Ribbon?? Comeon, get with the program, you publishing bastards! :P
Oh, speaking of publishing, just a side note, but Megatokyo Vol 3 did pretty good on it's first week out in the wild, according to Bookscan (Bookscan is a list that shows sales based on actual sales at bookstores around the country). It came in #3 on the list (out of 700 graphic novels listed) which is pretty cool. We were only beat by the new Fruits Basket book and DNAngel (but we beat out Ruronin Kenshin! woot!) I want to say a big huge thank you to everyone who bought a copy. It just proves that a title doesn't have to be Japanese or backed up by an anime or a big studio to do just fine. Our readers rock :)
Sorry for the rambling anime-ish rant. I should probably get some work done and not go digging for more Mahoraba. Actually, i should have Cortana snag the manga for me... Or maybe i should just read more Salad Days, because i'm all caught up on Rubbers 7...
aw crap, vol 3 is out now. damnit...