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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