Off in a niche

Well, the idea of trying to use a Bluetooth keyboard with my little iPhone to type on didn’t last long. It’s annoyingly small, the keyboard will lose sync with the phone if I pause to think (how could anyone expect someone writing something to pause to think), and the app I was using is quite difficult to get sync via iTunes so I can actually get the file onto my desktop. iOS is for content consumption, alas; to create something you need Windows. (Or a Mac, I suppose, but why do that when I have a Windows box already?)

So I dug up an old Windows netbook I had stashed away and nearly forgotten about. I’ve taken it into work and I’ll keep it there, and use a little USB drive to move files back and forth. No, I can’t post things from my work machine directly; they have our work machines so locked down and so blocked from internet sites that it’s nearly useless to have an internet connection to them at all. Well, I’ll see how this system works out for me. And of course all the readers out there that don’t actually exist.

I’ve noticed of late another way in which I fail to comfortably fit into the mainstream. Even of anime viewing.

I don’t like most of the shows that the other American viewers like. I could care less about Attack on Titan. I don’t even know what the current season’s hit show is, or is supposed to be. I’m just not interested.

That’s not to say that because a show is popular I won’t like it. Heck, I like K-On, after all. But, I tend to more often find myself in the niche categories, watching the far less popular shows.

Which brings me to my point, I suppose: damn it, I liked Chu-bra!

I know that it was manifestly unpopular in Japan, or at least it sure didn’t sell on DVD/Blu-ray. I know that it was less popular even than that in the U.S. It appeared on the surface to just be another show that existed for showing panty shots of middle-schoolers.

So many people never look beneath the surface of things. Heck so many never even seem to realize that the surface is not all there is.

Chu-bra was not about the underwear, it was about Nayu, who was interested in the underwear — because they represented to her a connection with her family (most of whom were underwear designers), and symbolized protection of a girl’s body. And it was about the few people who got to know Nayu, and realized that she wasn’t seeing the underwear in an erotic way, but in a practical and fashion sense. It was about how seeing things from a different point of view can let you know a person who, otherwise, you’d never have had a connection with.

But to find that out, a viewer would have had to watch the show… and too many people saw just the surface, and thought “eh, another loli ecchi anime, ho hum, let’s watch something with explosions and robots instead”.

I like Nayu, because she’s a geek. An underwear geek, to be sure, but a geek. Someone interested in something unusual, and who is less than accepted because of that interest. Gee, I wonder how I can possibly empathize with that. Nah, that’s completely outside my own personal experience. (for those Mythical Readers who are not sure, yes, I am being incredibly sarcastic)

Another show that was vastly unpopular in Japan, and almost shunned by viewers in the U.S. (to the extent anyone can tell, at least) that I enjoyed is Astarotte no Omocha! A show about a world where the Princess of the nation, Astarotte, is a succubus who is 10 years old, and upon her quickly approaching puberty will require male semen to survive. But oh, she hates men… To avoid summarizing the whole thing, she ends up with a human from our world as her first harem member. Everything’s all set up for underage hentai goings-on, right?

Wrong. Doesn’t happen. Naoya (the human male) realizes that more than a semen-source, what Astarotte needs is someone who cares about her; she’s desperately lonely. The show ends up being about him gently supporting and caring about her, while she slowly learns to open up and make friends and all that stuff. There’s a teasing panty shot now and again, but for comic effect, not hentai — there is no hentai in the show at all. The whole show is cute and heartwarming… but almost no one found that out, because they could only see “10 year old succubus” and thought the show just had to be all about sex, and not about people.

So a good show doesn’t get watched, because the discernment required of the viewer is all too often missing. Even though many of the anime produced have as at least part of their theme the idea of the unusual person being of value once you get to know them… the idea doesn’t seem to get through to many anime viewers that many anime have value if you bother to watch them without stereotyping them first.

But that’s not the only way in which I find myself off in a very small niche. Even with more mainstream fare, like Tamako Market, I find myself wanting to know more about the side characters. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Tamako; she is sweet and nice, and I sure as hell like that. But Kanna was more interesting to me. A girl into carpentry; that’s interesting. I wanted to see more of her, and I liked the sound of her voice even. Perhaps it’s just a weakness for tomboys.

But then I tend to like the sidekick more than the main character. Not always, but quite often. I don’t know why; perhaps because they get less screen time and story time, they’re more mysterious and hence (to me) more interesting.

Or maybe I can identify with a sarcastic witty sidekick far more than I can with a leading character.

But self-psychoanalysis is so tedious; I shall spare the Mythical Reader any more of it, and fall silent again for a while.