|"Ghost in the Shell"|
When I think back to my entry into undergraduate college, I have the “do as I say, not as I do” moments as others do when we reminisce about days we had a drink or ten. My roommate and I decided on our first day of college, we wouldn’t drink beer. No worries. A nice looking guy greeting us at a party cured that little bout of insanity that evening, as “the one that makes sure everyone here has a beer.” I realized that beer is an acquired taste. Once you’re used to it, and in the right company, it works. These days, I still like beer, but left the kegs in the past where they belong.
What does beer have to do with Japanese animation (Anime)? To me, it’s an acquired taste. I didn’t grow up watching it, or reading mangas, so my late introduction to this fascinating industry has me still in the process of getting used to it. When I think animation, I’m into Bugs Bunny as a kid or the ever-offending SouthPark as an adult. But animation is all that Anime has in common with in any cartoon I’ve seen.
I appreciate Japanese culture with my past experience in martial arts, and with Anime it’s more of what they do well: More with less, simple drawing, simple dialogue, and complex concept. While “Akira” is considered a classic, it’s a bit over-the-top for me, but the latter shows I’ve enjoyed, like “Ghost in the Shell,” and “Hell Girl.”
Boring is not an issue with Anime to me. The stories tend to be intense, with fatalistic undertones. If someone goes down, it happens Anime-style, and that’s a style you won’t forget. Strong female characters often take lead roles, so that’s an extra treat for me.
In the art, my husband, a long-time Anime fanatic, tells me the protagonists have round eyes, the antagonists have slanted or slit eyes, and the ones “in between” have a straight line along the top of their eyes. It takes a moment to adjust, but yes, one can often see the good and bad by the art of the eyes.
Amine is not without violence. I saw one that said something about “scarlet tears” followed by the slash of a sword across another’s eyes. Yikes! I haven’t thought of that! Hey, that’s intensity.
The hardest adjustment to Anime for me is the music. For simple art, deep, conceptual stories, violence, it ends with some kind of la-la that never seems to match the scene. But I remind myself; this isn’t another film with John Williams writing the score. Anime is different, so the music is meant to be different. Can I embrace something creative and different?
Of course I can! At this time I’m still acquiring a taste, but enjoy it so far.