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Kids Never Got Anime Right

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There I was, young as hell, in my basement with a handful of friends. It was a sleepover for a one of our birthdays; I can’t remember whom. We’d exhausted all the game options: spades, PlayStation, Pokemon card battles. Boredom began to bear down upon us, but nobody was quite ready to go to sleep.

“Well, I brought a movie we could watch. It’s an anime my brother told me about.” “What’s it called?” “Princess Mononoke.” A room full of preteen boys all glared sideways. He expected us to watch a movie about a princess? Yeah, right. “I saw the first couple of minutes. It’s not gay, guys. I promise.”

Eh. There was nothing else to do.

The demonic boar’s attack on the village in the first scene reeled us all in. The animation was gory and gritty and raw. The landscapes were imaginative. The characters were unique. It was just a joy to watch. By the end we were all satisfied by a movie well watched, but had you asked us what the movie was about, you would’ve got a harmonious symphony of “Uhhhhh”s from the whole brigade. Throughout the picture we had all fallen under that emotional blanket most kids feel when they watch a good anime. There’s no real word for it, the best way to describe it is the “I-Don’t-Know-What-The-Hell-Is-Going-On-But-This-Is-Awesome” feeling.

Coming up, this was pretty much an omnipresent sentiment watching every anime. Neon Genesis: Evangelion, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Big-O, Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star. Admittedly, when we talked excitedly about the shows and movies in lunchroom cafeterias and on the green seats of school buses we weren’t addressing the plots because as kids, we couldn’t really grasp the scope of them, let alone understand them. All we cared about was the action and the spaceships and the superpowers and the boobs, which is fair. We were only kids.

Now we (well, most of us) have grown up. We owe it to ourselves and to the anime series that were so much fun to us years ago to revisit them and learn what they were all about. Believe it or not, there was more to most of them than the aforementioned spaceships, superpowers, and boobs. Some of them had epic plots that were way over our nubile heads. Some of them were life changing. Shit, I only just realized that Akira was about the creation of the universe and I used to love that movie!

I urge everyone reading this to make a list of some anime series and movies that you remember loving as a kid, but not really comprehending. Go watch them again. Pay less attention to the action and more attention to the plot. Get something you’ve never gotten before out of something you used to love. It’ll be a fun couple of hours.

LifestyleReese Fuller