This week, Nishi-kun tackles: The Problems of Consuming Shoujo Anime.
Gomen ne... I could've sworn I uploaded this on Monday... Guess it didn't go through ^_^;;
(Note that this article will probably make either no sense to anyone younger than 13 or to females who have a strong love of cute. After all, to a certain extent, they are the target audience of this stuff. This column is clearly biased toward the male shoujo watchers in the audience, who may know what I'm talking about (and, of course, the female anime fans who like stuff OTHER than the shoujo stuff - they'll probably get a bit of what I mean as well ^_^;;)).
So you've decided to sit down on the couch in front of the tv and watch a marathon of a random shoujo show. For the sake of argument, we'll just pick a random shoujo show.
So you've decided to sit down on the couch in front of the tv and watch a marathon of Card Captor Sakura. Suddenly, after hearing Tomoyo comment on how cute Sakura looks, you feel a sudden shake You think it's an earthquake to start. Then, another shake. You suddenly realize it's not an earthquake, as none of the frames on the wall are shaking. And then, you realize: the shaking's coming from you. You realize that something must be deadly wrong. You fear that you're suffering something bad, like a heart attack, or some kind of diabetic seizure.
No, you're not having a diabetes attack. Well, at least, you're not having a regular diabetic seizure. ^_^;;
You're suffering from sugar shock of a different sort. You're suffering from sugar shock from watching too much shoujo anime. The only heart attack you're having is a "pink sugar heart attack" (sorry to borrow the expression from Sailor Moon, but it worked well here).
It is the one potential problem that comes from watching shoujo anime and not being used to it. For guys who are used to the machismo attitude of the real world we live in (I'm being particular to the US here), jumping in and watching fuzzy, fluffy, cute whats-its run around with girls dressed in outrageously cute outfits do anything is, well, odd. So odd, as a matter of fact, that to the uninitiated, it should be quite scary or dejecting.
Of course, to the few who have the potential to overcome (by that, I mean the people who have the true potential to become otaku, and not just fanboys who only watch anime for the sake of hoping to see an ecchi scene every 3 minutes), the material might be strangely comforting. Sure, the material is often incredibly sappy, dealing with love in often petty, infatuated forms, or cute fuzzy mascots running around, giving magical powers to just about any girl who looks cute in a sailor fuku. Yet, somehow, there comes the feeling that, as bad as some parts of the material are, that it is still an overwhelmingly worthy show to watch.
Hell, most shoujo shows actually do have some merit. Usually, the good shoujo shows show off a lot of character development and, on occasion, a bit of a decent plot. Sure, there isn't too much violence to deal with usually (at least, not violence of the bloody, slashy sort ^_^;;). But shoujo shows are still good to watch even without them (even though most fans of the violent stuff won't believe me ^_^;;).
So then, how does one overcome the sugar shock that comes from being unaccustomed to the plots that regularly go with such anime? Easy: don't watch the hardcore stuff until you see something more transitory first. ^_^ Shows with shoujo elements aren't all necessarily shoujo shows. There are several shows also that would be classified as shoujo, but has elements that would appeal to a shounen audience as well. Shows like Escaflowne (which is arguable as having both major shoujo and shounen elements) and Comic Party (which is probably technically shounen, since the game is a girl-get game - however, there are at least some shoujo elements in the show, not the least of which is the unresolved relationship between Kazuki & Mizuki) are easier to take first. Then, move on to shows with heavier shoujo elements, like Fushigi Yuugi and Sailor Moon (both much more mainstream, both clearly shoujo, both with appealing factors to both genders). Then, finally, if you feel ready to take on the hardcore center of shoujo anime (including its most potent member - mahou shoujo anime), then go nuts and take on shows like Card Captor Sakura (not Cardcaptors), Ojamajo Doremi (if you feel really insane, of course), Tonde Buurin (hey, how can I say no to a cute pig ^_^;;), or Akazukin Chacha (or cute witches).
Also, don't be surprised if you still feel shaky after watching episodes of some of these shows. Many of them still put me in a sugar shock trance. Soon enough, I will, after I do some more work on it, get a rating system to help otaku out there figure out how "shoujo" a shoujo show really is. It's still in the calculation phases, but I'm working on it ^_^.
Until next week, ja!
Monday, February 25th, 2002 - 3:12 PM PST.
Next week's likely topic: Funny realizations while watching anime.