While fighting off the temptation to express my opinion on Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (short version: A good first episode without 20 seconds that makes it troubling if not ruining it entirely), I remembered that I was invited in to write something on Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II. There’s actually a little bit of back story before I get into this post for real.
Back in July, as a result of a stupid wager on the Aniblog Tourney I ended up at Otakon. I went to a panel on sexism in anime, actually this one to be exact. Uncomfortably, I had made some purchases prior to this that made me feel like a terrible person for having attended this panel. Actually that’s the same feeling I’ve been having for most of the time since Kaibutsu-kun aired, but I digress slightly. The title character of Horizon came up as an example of an archetype of a character that is empty and can only be satisfied by the male protagonist who is there to allow the viewer to self-insert to gain a level of control over that character. Of course, that may be reading it entirely wrong, but that’s just going from memory.
Surprisingly, the chat on Horizon continued later that night at the local Hard Rock Cafe between repeated rounds of very large alcoholic beverages. The_Patches continued to talk about the show after having watched the 2nd episode and written on it. He made a very compelling case that there was something inherently interesting about Horizon’s concept. That trying to recover history by trying to re-enact it could be a fun experience stuck with me.
As I further delve off topic from the episode, I have to think that this is an interesting time that humanity is living through. Most of my adult life has been taken up with a terrorist attack, global military action in response that continues to this day, a couple Presidential elections here in America and financial dealings that have resulted in my general feeling that this current era is probably what the 1970s felt like.
In a better world, would people want to relive the current era? I think the prospect of going back to the 17th century seems a lot more appealing than going back to the Great Depression for instance. I generally have an opinion that the earlier period seems more appealing because of advances in the study of history and technology in general. There just isn’t as much source material from 16th century, so it’s easier for certain narratives to dominate. The English beating Spain’s Great Armada makes a great story. The underdog wins because conditions allowed it to happen. It’s an enlightening story out of a time filled with religious persecution.
I think children in the 1970s probably dreamed of designing stuff like this, now not so much.
Modern history, on the other hand, captures all that is terrible with the world. You can’t help but think that Humanity Has Declined as technology has allowed history to be measure in minutes. New documentation of an event is released in the morning, and by the time dinner comes around it’s already been packaged and re-packaged again for consumption for certain constituencies; some more fervent than others. From where I’m sitting, it can feel like I’m experiencing a different version of modern history than the one that’s been created for me by the media. It all just feels like a work of fiction.
So to go revisit earlier in this post, those events of global terrorism and the recession haven’t had a direct measurable impact on me (the latter more than the former obviously), but I have to keep those ideas in mind constantly. My very nature and the fact I studied history makes two minor opinions, but the only impact I can have is by marking a sheet of paper in a certain spot to elect someone to represent me at various levels of government. That somehow my 1/3 millionth of an electorate to determine 5/269ths of the voting pool for this nation’s highest office is important. The reality is that I matter as much to the history of the present day as a random subsistence farmer did in the mid-17th century.
So to wrap up the introduction to this post succinctly. The 17th century sound fun because of all of the stories that have been filtered through time. Modern history sucks because we know everything about what’s happening, but it allows me to watch Horizon. So on to the episode.