As I was reading The Saint, the second Gaunt’s Ghosts omnibus by Dan Abnett, the author himself talks about the collection of books in the preface, saying that “these are the books where people start to die.” Important people, he means, as the series has always had a high bodycount every book, being a war story set in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium. And he follows up on his word.
I wasn’t mad, or bewildered. The death was a logical progression to things, even though the execution was quite clever. I didn’t begrudge the author for that, and welcomed how it would shake up the status quo. Maybe I had been forewarned and forearmed for it, but it was still a powerful event in the overall narrative. It was written well.
As a medium known for its stylized action and violence, anime has had its fair share of death. A lot of shows have made their name for their shocking deaths, of which can’t be ignored when discussing them. How many people have told their friends to watch a show up until a certain episode, where a major character dies shockingly? I know I have!
I’ll try to be brief, because it’s almost New Year here.
When people ask me, “what kind of music do you listen to?” I immediately shudder. It’s not a difficult question to answer, but my answer could be so off-the-wall that they’ll never talk to me again (this is a recurring irrational fear of mine). So depending on who they are, I give “safe” answers.
- I listen to the classics. (Then I give examples of pop/rock/jazz artists.)
- I listen to anything and everything! (Then they’ll follow up with “Who?”, and I die.)
- I listen to music from different countries (heavily implying Japan)
- I try to look for music that isn’t normally played on the radio. (no, I’m not a hipster)
All of these are true. My tastes are wide, and I find that I could latch myself to almost anything. But I don’t really go out of my way to look for new music. I look at my sizable music library and wonder if I really need more, then end up playing something like Steely Dan’s Aja album. Shut up, it’s brilliant!
Anime is fairly notorious for its treatment of women characters, and even women authors help perpetuate this. This has led some people to clamor for strong female characters in anime, but I’m afraid the term has become an oxymoron of sorts.
First of all, let’s dissect the term. Strong Female Character. Strong, female, character? There are three words–two adjectives that both modify the same noun. The character must be strong and female, a combination of the two. But in the first place we must have a character. I tend to think that not all characters are equal in make–some are types or caricatures, which are inferior. What makes a proper character, then?
Dropping anime is usually unpleasant. There’s always an element of sacrifice involved: be it bandwidth or money or a favor from a friend who lent you the discs. And of course, the constant one is time. Accept it or not, you’ve spent time with a show–it could be a minute, or ten episodes’ worth–and then you decide not to watch it anymore.
When I was starting to get into anime seriously, I encountered people who would discuss creators and studios. This was a big quantum leap for me, having framed anime in terms of “good” or “not good” only. Why are they talking about who made what? Why bother? I thought.
Maybe some of you are asking the same question. Why does it matter? What do we gain from doing so?
One of the most challenging things I must handle as an anime fan is when people ask me to recommend them anime. I take recommendations seriously, because I want others to enjoy what they watch–if they get a dud and hate it, I would hold myself liable. My knowledge as an anime fan isn’t just for myself; it’s also for the service of other anime fans. It’s challenging because anime is so vast and wide that one can’t just hope to throw out a couple of shows and expect them to be well-received.
So what I do is ask the person to narrow down their preferences. They give out a genre or two, or mention a specific show they like and would like to watch more of.
“Would you like to watch a classic?” I ask, giving a baseline, like “older than 2000″.
“Umm… I guess not. Something newer, maybe?” they answer.
This is where my heart breaks a little. But I give them what they want, and hope for the best.