Month: January 2009

Lesson One: There is no happily ever after and everyone dies

This may seem like an extremely depressing lesson to start with. However, I picked it because this is really the foundation of anime. The first anime movie I ever saw was Vampire Hunter D and the first series I was crazy enough about to follow religiously was “Cowboy Bebop.” I think what initially appealed to me so much about anime was that you never really knew how it would end. It was now a very real possibility that the bad guy would win and the good guy would die or Earth would be blown up or any other variety of possibilities.

I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree with me and point out dozens of anime that end happily. I’m glad those shows are out there-it would be horrible to be depressed all the time. And at this point, I like a happily ever after now and then to keep me on my toes; unhappy endings have become so cliche that if my brother finishes a series before I do, I jokingly ask, “How does it end? Let me guess-everyone dies.”

I was agonizing over the best example of this when my brother said, “Ran.” And he is absolutely right. Now, I know you’re saying, “But Ran isn’t even anime.” No, it sure isn’t. But it is the singularly most depressing thing I’ve ever seen. Shakespeare + Kurosawa = absolute hopelessness and devastation.

So there you have it: there is no happily ever after and everyone dies.

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Is anyone out there? I hope not.

The more anime I watch, the more I realize that art imitates life and life imitates anime.  Every time I have a personal conflict, I find an answer in anime.  Sometimes I find answers I’m not even looking for, which is a little creepy.  I suppose it’s only fair to warn you of two things: 1) since I’ll be using anime to illustrate my point, there will be spoilers-consider this your blanket “spoiler alert”; 2) I’m including manga and Japanese films in this group as well.  So no, it isn’t just about anime.  To wrap things up…I don’t read Japanese, I don’t watch fansubs, and I know there are many purists out there who get livid over an inaccurate translation or voice actors or whatever.  I’m just taking it for what it is so it does no good to get upset about it here.