Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No good? Anime resurrection vitality!

So I want to put this post up on Facebook, but its a weird subject and I'm not sure if it would scare people too much. So instead I'm going to put it on here first, the thing nobody reads because I never post on it.

The subject of the post is an anime genre near and dear to my heart: Harem. This anime genre is the sympathetic man's ultimate fantasy: An average, but kind and well intentioned guy is inexplicably (Aside from the course of back story events revealed later and some convenient plot devices) surrounded by a variety of attractive ladies looking to be his one true love. The truly great thing about this genre is that, while naughty things may flit across the minds of the guy (Depending on the show) he would never do any of them because of his general nervousness around women and the fact that he doesn't or can't like any of the girls more than the other because either 1. He's fairly clueless, possibly to an unrealistic level. 2. He's too conscientious and realizes that if he chose one he would crush another. The ladies are representative of every possible type of love interest: Quiet, abrasive, studious, good at cooking, scandalously young, energetic, childhood friend, etc. etc. The possibilities are endless! Usually the show will have one girl who is the obvious choice for the main character, but sometimes its two (Tenchi Muyo anyone?) or in this most recent case 3! By most recent case I am referring to "Shuffle!" a show I've recently been watching on Hulu. Having just gotten through episode 7, its finally past the stage of introducing all of our vital young heroes potential prospects and presenting a case for why the three primary girls are so incredibly ideal while introducing two potential interests on the side whom both present themselves as unrealistic ventures, but deep down, you the viewer know that you could write a wonderful side story about their happy future.

Now, you the reader may be asking, "Okay, so I get the surrounded by women part. But what makes this better than some perverted/ridiculous reality show?" Ah, but I have not mentioned the most important aspects of these stories: Back story and "Our hero the problem solver". The first important aspect is that our hero has some past connection with the girl. Most commonly the hero encountered her at some point in childhood and made a very strong impression by playing with her when other people wouldn't, or by comforting her at a critical point in time. The variety is nearly endless especially since the supernatural or psychosis is often involved. This plays into "Our hero, the problem solver" Men want to rescue the woman they love from a problem, so the reason these shows are so popular with men (Thats right, romance for men) is that our hero is presented with a near endless supply of situations to either make a girl feel better or help her out a jam culminating in an episode in which he handles some deeply rooted problem finding its origins in the past. Now, this isn't always how things progress, for example the series Rumbling Hearts was a very difficult series in which the fellow is torn between a girl he loved and feels responsibility to love, and the woman he loves now. Solving a problem for one girl almost always hurt the other girl so it was an interesting turn in the formula, or maybe I just tend to watch too many of these shows from the same company?

Now you might be saying "Why is this guy interested in these girls at all? Aren't they a huge bother with all their problems?" Perhaps, but usually at least one of them takes care of him in some fashion by cooking for him or giving him a place to live, and really how cold would a guy have to be to turn down the sweet girls when they're so appreciative for his assistance? Plus, like I said, they're all interested in him, so they're all ponying for position in their own way, either by attempting to cook for him (In older shows, a classic plot point would be both girls try to cook for him, and both of them suck.) or some other kindness. The best part is they're adorably innocent, so none of them, except for the one whose characteristic it is to be aggressive, make any sort of perverse suggestions. Ah..... Its such a wonderful fantasy world. There are really so many facets to it.

Now you're probably worrying "Hey, you don't live with some warped sense of reality do you?" Ha ha, no no, I realized that the romantic situations that occur in these shows are utter fantasy many moons ago. That doesn't mean they don't have some good pointers though! Plus they're almost always entertaining, especially the ones from Kadokawa! (Shuffle, Air, Clannad, and my favorite Kanon). And, what was it my Philosophy professor talked on once, something like an emotional purging or something? Given my generally stoic nature I'm better able to release strong emotions into these scenarios due to the fact that interesting stuff very rarely occurs in my own life. If I released strong emotions into my everyday life, that could get messy! Oh, and I forgot to mention the whole Moe thing (pronounced Mo-ae) which is kind of a heavily nuanced thing. It literally means something like "To burn" and its basically some character that you support very passionately, generally based on some characteristic such as personality or attire. When they fall down you cry "Get up!" when they're downtrodden you cry "Don't give up!" and you cheer for their happiness! This is the purest aspect of Moe as I understand it.

Ah, now some of the ladies might be saying "Hmmm, I don't know about this ideal fantasy woman thing...." Oh ho, you think there aren't similar programs for women? Perhaps not so abundant, but I assure you they exist, and, at least in America, the women are far worse than the men. (Little known fact, females could very possibly outnumber males in the anime fan community) And don't try to BS me that women don't fantasize about the ideal man, I've met too many Jane Austen fans.

So, now this little writing is through. Will I post it on Facebook? Maybe, maybe not, I'll probably let it sit here for a while and see what happens. Maybe I'll come back and edit some thing, add some pictures. (Sure would help if I had my own frakking computer....)