More musings of “An Occasional Okatu”

I thought it might be a good time to come back in my role as ‘Occasional Okatu’ with a few anime I really enjoyed watching. Fair warning: at least one of them is not something you’ll want your young children to watch, but for an adult, they all offer something worth the time spent watching them.

First off, the one that you might consider keeping from your kids, “Goblin Slayer”. This anime stirred up something of a firestorm be featuring a rape in the first episode. It is quite disturbing, and some have accused the producers of having it in the first episode to ‘generate buzz’ for the show. Having watch the entire first season (thirteen episode, the last of which became available through the site I prefer just today), I must disagree. The premise of the story is simple, even a bit hackneyed: adventurers battle monsters with magic and their martial skills. Of all the monsters, the ones regarded as the least-important are goblins. The first episode opens with a group of newly-minted adventurers decide to test their skills against a group of what they consider ‘lowly’ goblins. Things do not go as they planned, the group is overwhelmed with all but one member dying violent deaths. That individual, a young priestess, is saved by a man known as Goblin Slayer, because they are the only monsters he fights. From him, she learns that goblins are not minor monsters, and that the only way to fight them is to be as ruthless as they are.

Looking back over the episodes, I think that having that extremely violent scene serves as a wake-up call. Where most adventure fantasies tend to gloss over what really happens in combat, it reminds the viewer that war, and fighting in general, are ugly experiences. There’s more to the story, but I won’t reveal it so as not to spoil the experience for anyone who chooses to watch. Suffice it to say that the characters must face more violence before the first season wraps up.

The second anime is “So Many Colors in the Future What a Wonderful World” (Japanese: “Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara; Iroduku: The World in Colors”). The premise of this anime is a future world where magic still works, even if only slightly. The protagonist is a high school girl who has exhibited strong magical tendencies, but can only see the world in black-and-white. She lives with her grandmother, a powerful witch, who one day casts a spell to send her back in time. Why she does this she doesn’t explain, but her granddaughter finds she’s in the past, at the time when her grandmother was her age. As she tries to adapt to her new environment, she meets a boy. He in an aspiring illustrator, and what is amazing to her, when looks at his drawings, she can see the color in them, and even in the world around her.

On its surface, there are a lot of elements of the old ‘boy-meets-girl’ story line in this anime. But what lies beneath that surface material is something very different. Again, not to reveal too much of the plot, the young woman comes to realize that the reason she cant see color in the world has nothing to do with anything physically wrong with her. Again, I think it worth watching.

The third and final anime is “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” (Japanese: “Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai”). If the title sounds odd, it’s meaning becomes clear in the first episode. A high school boy walks into the library where he is stunned to see an attractive young woman dressed in like a Playboy Bunny. Then he realizes that not one of the other people in the library acts like they can see her. He finds out she was a child star, made famous by a series of modeling gigs, and later, by becoming an actress in Japanese TV and movies. But she became disenchanted with that life and retired in hopes of living a few years as a normal teenager. It was then, when she was no longer in magazines and on TV, that she discovered that no one but this one boy seemed to see her. The cause is something referred to as “Puberty syndrome”, and the boy has experienced it in a different form in his own life. They form a bond, and as the story progresses, encounter other who are experiencing this mysterious syndrome.

This has been dismissed as a bad example of the ‘harem’ genre of anime, because most of the other people they encounter who are effected by Puberty syndrome are girls. But it’s not, not really. At its heart, this anime looks at how our efforts to fit in, to live up to others expectations of us, can change us in ways we don’t even realize. It’s worth a watch, in my humble opinion.

If you’re interested, Crunchyroll has both “Goblin Slayer” (https://www.crunchyroll.com/goblin-slayer) and “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Senpai” (https://www.crunchyroll.com/rascal-does-not-dream-of-bunny-girl-senpai) available. Unfortunately, “So Many Colors in the Future What a Wonderful World” is a bit harder to find, but if you can find it, I think you’ll enjoy watching it.

That’s all for now, and thanks for reading

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On ‘senior moments’

In a few weeks, I will turn 63. I know I am not as physically fit as I was twenty years ago, but until recently, the number of ‘senior moments’ I encountered were few. Then, yesterday happened….

I had made an appointment to get the tires on my car replaced, and as there was no way for me to get a ride home, I decided to wait at the store while the work was done. At an estimated hour, this wasn’t going to be a fast operation, so I made sure to take my music player and a book with me. (Yes, that’s right, a real book, not an ‘ebook’ on a tablet or my smart phone.) Drove to the store, dropped the key off at the desk, pulled up something decent to listen to, and picked up where I’d left off in Patrick O’Brian’s excellent “H.M.S. Surprise”. As ways to pass the time, not bad at all.

The work ended up taking a little over the hour estimate, but on the up side, they charged me a few dollars less than the original estimate, so I had no real complaints. Paid up, and drove off to a nearby town to run an errand, and also to ‘wring’ the new tires out to see how they performed. No problems on the drive, errand accomplished, and back home in time for a (slightly) late lunch.

About now, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with ‘senior moments’. That started after lunch, when I decided to finish the chapter I’d been in the middle of….and couldn’t find my book. I knew I’d been reading it, I also knew I’d picked it up when I left the tire store because I had a distinct memory of it lying in the passenger’s seat as I drove to my errand. Then, there was this drop-off, and I couldn’t remember what I’d done to it when I got home. A quick walk out to the care revealed that I hadn’t left it there. Search through the house, all the usual places I lay a book I’m reading down….nothing.

Now frustration sets in, and knowing that is the worst state of mind to be in when attempting logical thought, I decided to get some other work done. Most of that work involved editing a short story about a young man experiencing the end of our civilization, and the strange world that replaces it (more when I finish it). A couple of hour later, the frustration has faded some, but I still have no clue what I might have done with the missing book. Supper preparations call, and I attend to them, plus the dirty dishes that result.

All of it gets done, and the book remains stubbornly missing, so I do what I should have at the beginning: I try to remember the sequence of events that occurred when I got home from my errand. That’s when it popped into my mind that I’d picked up a couple of bags of items, and rather than make a couple of trips and from the car, I’d dropped the items I’d had in the passenger’s seat into one of the bags….a bag I hadn’t emptied when I got home. After what these days is called a ‘face-palm moment’, I go to the bag in question and recover my missing book.

How I could have forgotten something so elementary is a question I will not ask, but for someone who prides himself on having an excellent memory, it was a sobering, humbling moment. I hope I do not experience another such incident soon, but something tells me that is a wish I will not have granted.