A Little Perspective From Tom Church

On Anime

Every so often, I’ll see a great episode of DBZ or something or other on TV that really takes me back to my childhood. I used to be such a big fan of the original Kanto Pokemon series, as well as Dragon Ball and even Yu-Gi-Oh, and some others. I remember how awesome it was to watch those kinds of shows, thinking for some reason that they all had certain attributes that set themselves apart from other shows, attributes that I couldn’t really identify as a kid.

I think now I understand a little bit better: those kinds of shows were animated and yet they had such gripping and intense plotlines. It seems that  American TV programs like Spongebob or Ed, Edd, and Eddy were invariably comedic shows–they were never very interesting. They didn’t have plotlines that spanned multiple episodes or anything. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Spongebob and Ed, Edd, and Eddy. I can quote those shows pretty much all day. But more recently, with the powers of Netflix and other obscure internet sources at my fingertips, I’ve also had the freedom to watch a bit more anime as well as other superbly awesome things.

I have a few go-to friends I can talk to about anime shows, what to watch and what most certainly not to watch. Most of the things I’ve watched have been recommended to me time and time again by these friends, and I don’t think I’ve ever been let down… except with Naruto, which I kind of grew to despise toward the end. I’ll still watch the occasional episode, I guess, but even that’s kind of a lie because I haven’t bothered in months. I invested a pretty little chunk of time in that show, and sadly the plot just kind of dissipated into a meaningless struggle against random dudes (at least in the filler). Apparently now he’s fighting the Akatsuki dudes, but since the Shippuden series has gone on for some 500+ episodes… well… IDGAF. If someone wants to tell me which episodes he fights the Akatsuki members in, maybe I’ll watch. I heard the battles are rad.

I’ll start with some of the childhood series I used to watch: you can NOT go wrong with starting Pokemon from the beginning. I’m sure many of you are familiar with it and love it like I do. It’s great. Also, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z were both intense and funny at times, and I loved them both too. I really liked certain characters in that show, and even though some of the main antagonists tended to suck, I still enjoyed it. Yu-Gi-Oh was okay, but it was probably the worst of the shows I watched. It was just kind of unappealing how the characters resolved their problems with card games that had little to no effect on the real world, I guess. Plus Pegasus, the main antagonist, was totally gay.

I watched Avatar: The Last Airbender off and on in my middle school years. We never got into it to the point of watching it religiously, but it was a great show and it was always one of our go-to programs if it was on TV. I finished it on Netflix years later, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I watch Legend of Korra now, whenever new episodes premiere, and am psyched for the new book coming out in April.

Another thing I watched on Netflix was Elfen Lied. It was short, so I thought “what’s the harm in watching a 13-episode show? No skin off my back if it sucks… right?” Actually, it was really insanely good. My brother watched it after me and flipped out too. It was really graphic, and not at all suitable for kids… but at the same time it was a really, really good dark drama. It reminded me a lot of the book A Clockwork Orange because it was so stupendously violent that it kind of scarred you–but at the same time it had a really interesting message–totally worth watching if you can handle it.

I also really enjoy Studio Ghibli movies. I watched Spirited Away as a kid, and remember being pretty scared of it. It was like nothing I’d ever seen–the plot was somewhat nonsensical, and everything was so random and fantastic that I was just kind of overwhelmed. Also, when the parents turned into massive pigs, I guess I kind of lost it. But now I’m older, I’ve rewatched it, and can say that I really do enjoy it. Recently Erin and I saw Grave of the Fireflies, and really liked it. At the same time, though, that movie is an incredible tragedy. I love it but it is the most tear-jerking, emotion-destroying thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper of the Heart, and others.

I watched Fullmetal Alchemist on Netflix because my brother suggested it to me. I really liked that one too, although there were a few slow points before the final climax. It was around fifty or sixty episodes and the characters in it were really inspiring and funny. It’s all about the magic of alchemy, and it’s set in a World War I setting. It’s one of the more creative shows I’ve seen. I also saw High School of the Dead. That show is wicked. It’s 13 episodes and crazy bloody.

Cowboy Bebop is one I finished not too long ago as well–I really enjoyed this one. It’s got the best main characters and the best, loosely-grounded plot ever. It’s 26 episodes long and follows three bounty hunters–Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine–in the future. They survive by catching criminals who travel through space, and then turning them in for cash rewards. The basis of the show seems a little corny, maybe–it did to me at first–but the show itself was so radical. Definitely up there in my list of favorites.

And then there are a few that I’ve just watched a couple of episodes of–I’m working on one on Netflix now called Fruits Basket, it’s alright. And I’ve seen a few episodes of One Piece before, it seemed funny and interesting. Watched a couple episodes of Fairy Tail but gave up because apparently they stopped English Dubbing the episodes not too far in. I can tolerate English Subtitles, but only up to a point… so I quit that one. It was moderately interesting.

And I think that about sums up all I’ve ever seen. If you have any others you’d like to recommend that I watch in my free time, please be my guest. They’re very addicting and they help me pass the time and relax. Or if you’d like to dispute any of the concise little reviews I’ve already offered, you can totally be my guest on that too. Do what you’d like!

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

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Comments on: "On Anime" (1)

  1. I suggest Baka and Test or Angelic layer, the later is not on netflix but it is on youtube, i think they are bith like 20 episodes long. They both revolve around battles. I also cried during Grave of the Fireflies….the marble part really got to me ): By the way two new studio ghibli movies are coming out this summer source here: http://www.tokyohive.com/2012/12/studio-ghibli-to-release-two-movies-simultaneously-in-2013/

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