I have realized that I left a bit of a gap in my previous postings, that related my various eras of anime watching. I never got around to explaining what it was that brought me back around to my current state of, once again, watching anime in a more or less avid manner.
Not that anyone other than myself will care, naturally, but as these are written for myself rather than the Mythical Reader, and as I am still at a loss as to why I do some of the things I do, I will fill the gap. So to speak.
What provoked me to return to my anime watching ways?
It wasn’t an anime.
It was… oh, lord, I don’t wanna say it…
It was My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
I know. As trained, in spite of your purely Mythical status, you are jumping to the conclusion that I am one of those beings called “bronies”. Yet again, you are wrong.
Let me sum up… no, there is too much, so I will explain.
On a tech-oriented web board that I used to visit, a while back (two years, methinks?) there began to be an occasional reference to the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show via the medium of funny pictures. This of course was part of the vast swath of such that invaded most areas of the net around that time. Bearing the curse of curiosity, seeing some of the macros/funny pictures (which were quite funny) made me track down and watch the first few episodes of the show. Which were pretty good. I think it was the scene where Twilight Sparkle, about to go off on a lecture, discovered she was standing next to a box that happened to contain soap, and so climbed on top of it to deliver her speech, that sucked me in. Those bits of humor, clearly aimed at the adults watching (presumably with their kids), were so very well done. Reminded me in a way of the sarcastic narrator from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons; it never got in the way of the kids enjoying the show, but added a different layer for the adults.
So, I caught up with the first season, and liked it, and nosed around a bit in the fan base that was growing up around it, and…
Okay, look. I’m old. I’ve been in groups of people arranged around so many different topics — not just science fiction or animation, but computers and the internet itself and some really weird shit, too — that it’s become almost boringly repetitive for me how the evolution of these groups go. Everyone finds something they like, they find others who like it too, they get together in groups (either online or off) to enjoy whatever it is together, there’s a period of hope and wonderfulness and great energy, and then it all goes to hell.
So when the brony thing started, and I found them towards the beginning of their formation, I kind of knew where this thing was headed. Still, maybe this time will be different! Maybe this time everything will work out!
It’s a bitch being a pessimistic romantic.
Anyway, I hung around the brony groups for a while. well, lurked there is a better way to put it. Enjoyed the continuing funny pictures. Even posted a few on that tech webboard I visited (until a general purge of the place happened, naturally). Enjoyed season two. Discovered the deviantart site through them, which is a cool place for all kinds of art.
Then, by the time season three came around, the wheels were starting to come off. Many a “brony” discovered that they were not full of love and tolerance after all, and discovered instead that there were plenty of others in the “fandom” that they actually despised. The schisms started. The fighting grew. The sex pictures exploded in number. The..
Okay wait. I’m going to step aside and talk about that one. The number of drawn pictures of the ponies of MLP in various — hell, in all conceivable — sexual situations are, well, nuts. I mean, it’s a little scary. Don’t get me wrong; fan creation of sexual stuff related to whatever they’re a fan of is a long tradition in fandoms. But geez, thousands of pictures each day. Each. Day. Of ponies with ponies and ponies with humans and ponies with other animals and ponies AS the humans they would be if they were human, with ponies and with humans and…
Makes me want to invest in companies that manufacture personal lubricant products.
Seriously, I’m in no damn position to judge anybody, but… damn. And seeing the furries, who were around long before MLP started, fighting with the pony fanciers, and vice versa, I mean… I really need a “roll eyes” smiley here, I suppose.
Oh, where was I? Okay, aside over; schisms, fighting, sex pictures. And all the “love and tolerance”, which was bullshit from the get-go, finally went by the wayside.
Now through all this, even though I watched the show and perused the fan sites, I never ever thought of myself as a brony. Because I just wasn’t that into it. I mean, not that into it. Yes, great show, wonderful characters, yes, but nothing to build a life around. Which is what so many of the bronies seemed to be trying to do.
This is not a new thing. The Trekkies who go everywhere in their Star Fleet uniforms. The D&D folks out larping. Same behavior, different generation and/or different fan nucleus. The desire to join a group with your like-minded brethren.
I’m just not much of a joiner. I’m more the mildly amused disaffected loner type. So no brony-dom for me.
But, as I watched the inevitable break up of this community that I was essentially standing outside of and watching, besides thinking to myself “yep, saw that comin'”, I also started remembering all that other animation I used to watch. Namely, anime.
Because while MLP is one of the best examples of animation art in the “Western cartoons aimed mostly at kids” genre, its still got a very basic animation style. It’s a damn damn good cartoon.. but it’s still a cartoon.
And while there are animes with truly excretable art, as a whole the anime genre tries to take the actual art of it to a different level. Some animes achieve so fantastic a degree of artistic expression that it is actually beautiful.
MLP, for all the great episodes (some of them) and fantastic characters (go, Applejack!), doesn’t achieve artistic beauty. As I categorize it, anyway.
Some of the fan works inspired by MLP damn well do achieve artistic beauty. Plenty of that to be found on deviantart. Go browse.
But I went back to anime because the art, the actual stuff on the screen, matters to me. And MLP doesn’t appeal to me in that fashion, and the other ways that it appealed to me have grown very stale.
Plus they put wings on Twilight Sparkle. Dumb asses.
So, MLP got me back to watching anime. Just in time to find K-On as it was ending, and desperately play catch up on that.
I know I say I write these things to bring out my thoughts into a coherent expression for my own self-reflection, but there’s nothing coherent about this posting. I’d beat it into some semblance of shape, but no; I’ll leave it as an example of precisely why I need to do this kind of thing to get some coherence. And as an example of why I admit to madness. Although any Reader of this time is purely Mythical, perhaps these insane rantings will amuse some far distant archeologist who is desperately searching historical archives for a graduate study thesis, and this will keep him from picking this collection of mindless drivel. I mean, maybe Socrates was really quite insane, but Plato made him look intelligent via highly selective editing. How would we know? I may be an infrequent poster, but at least you get the full measure of my madness.