Of Anime and What I Found There

File:Fruits Basket manga.jpg (Yes, I know it’s from the manga be quiet.)

I’ve written about anime,or Japanese animation, before but I feel I should go a little more into it.

Why? Well, unexpectedly, I’ve watched episodes of four different anime series in just the past few days.

How’d I manage that? Well, my friend, president of Calvin College’s anime club, decided to host a riff night, where we would riff on random episodes of an anime ala Mystery Science Theater 3000. So what’d we spoof?

Well, first up was an episode of the inexorable kids’ franchise Beyblade. Specifically Beyblade Metal Fusion. You may remember this a few years back as a fad where every kid bought a spinning top with ridiculous plastic and stickers on it and it was a big thing? Well, that’s still happening and the tie-in show is still around too. The episode we watched had some big island battle all the main kids were in as part of the tournament. The only thing we noticed is that…Beyblades seem to be responsible for natural disasters.

I mean,seriously, there were tornados coming out of these things, tidal waves, a quicksand whirlpool, it was nuts. Also, one of those things cut down a GODDAMN TREE. That’s messed up. Kids, stay away from tops.

Secondly, we watched an episode of the long–and I mean long–running series The Prince of Tennis on Hulu in the original Japanese. Focusing on Ryoma Echizen (Junko Minagawa), a 7th-grade tennis prodigy playing on a very exclusive Japanese boarding school tennis team as the only first year, the episode we watched saw Ryoma get tricked by his opponent into overtiring his arm, causing it to tighten up and resulting in his racket flying out of his hand, breaking against the net and rebounding to STAB HIM IN THE EYE!

Rather than crying or screaming in awful pain, Ryoma decides to suck it up, slap on a bandage and play the match. The episode ended on a cliffhanger, so we didn’t get to see how it played out.

But that was OK, because other than the aforementioned stabbing, the show is, to quote from an Anime News Network review of it, “Soul-sucking, jello-brained, insomnia-curing boring.” So yeah, not much to be said, but we made a lot of tennis jokes!

Finally, also on Hulu, we watched the first episode of the space opera show Glass Fleet which, as far as I can tell, is about the following: the French Revolution and gender-confused romance…IN SPACE! Also, it’s called Glass Fleet because there are spaceships…made of glass. Not kidding.

It was actually, despite our mock French accents and stereotype jokes, the most interesting show of the three and, since it’s all for free, I’m actually thinking about checking it out. It looks pretty, if nothing else. Though the Lord be with you if you try and figure out what the hell is up with everyone’s clothes.

Riff night aside, tonight, because I had never seen it and had seen literally half the girls in high school walk around reading the manga, I plowed through the first 10 or so episodes of Fruits Basket. A dramedy about Tohru Honda (Laura Bailey in English), an orphaned high schooler who discovers that Yuki (Eric Vale), one of the most popular boys in school, and several members of her family turn into animals of the Zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex or put under severe strain, winds up moving in with them and sets about learning all about them and all about life.

Yeah, it’s very girl-friendly in tone and presentation but the characters are interesting, the plot and scripts are compelling, the animation is rather clever and exciting and the cast is a standout, Bailey in particular for putting real emotion into what could easily have been a caricature. It’s a little touchy-feely but trust me, check it out. You won’t be disappointed. OK, that’s it for me. See you tomorrow!

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One comment on “Of Anime and What I Found There

  1. Derek Crabbe says:

    Lately I’ve been watching Aquarion, Tiger & Bunny and the first episode of Toriko. I also caught a random episode of D-Grayman.

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