No, Not the Zabi Maru, Anything But That
My friends are all Bleach freaks.
Not only that, they love every anime on the face of the planet- at least, every one that's made it onto the internet and thus poisoned North American culture.
I realize how judgemental all of this sounds, not only of my friends but of Japan. Honestly, I hold nothing against the Japanese themselves. Maybe in the beginning, Anime had dignity. Maybe some of it still does. I mean, our culture has produced stupid, pointless, time-wasting shows beyond number, and we've subscribed to them, yes. Here's the thing, okay? Every second we're at school but not actually "at attention" (and sometimes when we really should be) the talk is Bleach this, Vampire Night that, Dragonball Z (yes, really) so-and-so, Death Note such-and-such. They are all so deeply immersed in the latest events of their Anime worlds that I feel expressly shut out. It's gotten rather tricky for me to join a conversation. They aren't really interested in much that I have to say.
I just can't bear how seriously they take it. Admittedly, I haven't seen a great deal of any of the shows; about fifteen of Bleach at a sleepover and only one or two episodes, if that, of others. To me, nevertheless, they are divisable into two categories. The Just Plain Stupid Anime and the Grim Evil Darkness Anime. If anyone comes up with better titles for the categories, please comment and let me know. An example of the first category would be Dragonball Z. The plot seems fairly complicated, with numerous planets and three or four series within the Dragonball theme. Technical details notwithstanding. Watch this show for five minutes and I dare you not to spit out the corpses of recently deceased brain cells. I have scoffed at this show since I first heard of it and glimpsed a few seconds of it on television. "How can people actually watch that?" I'd think. Well, now I have proof of how basically intelligent humans - teenagers- can get sucked in. For cripes' sake, we're seventeen, aren't we supposed to be just a little more discerning in what we choose to do in our valuable spare time?
The side of anime that unnerves me, though, is the Grim Evil Darkness type. Enter Death Note. They thought I might enjoy this one, a while back. So, trying to be openminded, I watched a bit. In the very first episode, it shows a creepy world of "gods", one of whom accidentaly-on-purpose drops the Death Note notebook onto Earth. A young man picks it up and soon discovers (through encounters with the god, and experimentation) that it gives him the instant power to kill anyone, if he writes their name in the book. So he starts out by popping off some dangers to society, you know, just the nasty dudes holding little kids for ransom. But then he becomes possessed by this sort of ethnic cleansing mania and goes on a power trip... and, well, kills more people. A lot more. Those he doesn't like. "He's a rival. She's got better university marks than me. They stole my lunch money in first grade." You get the idea. He's in a pretty scary mindset by the end- and that's just episode one. Quick plot progression, I'll say that for it. But it seems to me, like too many elements of Western society (i.e., a horrifying number of musical genres), this sort of anime is glorifying all the darkness humanity is capable of. Making it fascinating, making it okay. It's not a tool for recognizing our potential and learning to stay with the "good guys". It's saying, "Hey, look boys and girls, he's a murderer. Isn't that exciting?" I don't know if there's any kind of moral anything, later on. Not from what my friends have told me.
And, if they read this, they'd probably speak to me even less than they do now. But I'm not ob