Pointless Debate #17: A Typical Year

Genre conventions play a key role in deciding what is or isn’t controversial.

As the protagonist in Ladies versus Butlers!, Hino Akiharu is far from the most genre-defining character. He essentially goes around and gets into various sexual misadventures with the variety of girls who also happen to be both have feelings for him, and represent simply character types to attract the interest of a wider part of the niche audience that watches harem anime. Akiharu is really just a typical main character in a typical harem anime. Perhaps that was typical of 2010.

So I bring to you the story of the year in anime presented here in three acts. First is the story of one man and the variety of fates that come about as the result of one seemingly insignificant decision. The second is the story of a group of friends and the creation of memories that can be passed down to others. Finally, the story of two characters pushing boundaries in the hardest way possible.

 

In some cases the same action can be seen as required, in others it’s a bold change of pace.

Act One: The Gears of Fate

Tatami Galaxy is a story that essentially revolves around the choice of a nameless protagonist in his first day at university. The club he chooses to join provides him with the opportunity to gain prestige as well as the heart of the most beautiful woman at the school. Inevitably, he gets sucked into plots around the same group of people that sees those goals remain unfulfilled. The final arc sees him trapped in a series of parallel worlds which reveal what his life would have been like with each of his potential choices through the appearance of his room in each world.

The lesson of the series for me was one of overestimating the importance of one decision. The choice of club seemed like a bigger deal than it was given the disappointment that followed, however, the exploration of the worlds revealed that it he would always have the same “worst” friend and a relationship that with Akashi that would never progress as he was. He was basically the same person regardless of which club he chose. It was a simple reminder to embrace the present rather than dwell on the past.

Yet, in other cases it can be seen as an unforgivable act that is completely unnecessary.

Act Two: Legacy

Kyoto Animation produced a 2nd season of K-On! which made it’s premier in the spring. The club’s senior members make their way through their final acts of high school. The girls do all they can together; perform in front of the school a few times, go to a music festival and catering to fans old and new. With the end approaching, the four seniors elect for forge a path together beyond high school, but at the same time hoping to leave Azusa something behind.

The legacy portion of the series is something I really appreciated with this series. The personal concert for Azusa was fine, but the seniors really made sure she would have the motivation she needed to continue leading the club even if she was the only member. Fortunately, she had some friends in Ui and Jun to be with her regardless. Also through Sawako, we get to see how long an impression can be left on others, while also inspiring future generations.

Ultimately, the impression of the act truly depends on the viewer more than any label like genre.

Act Three: Breaking the Rules

For most of the last 3 months of the year, much was made of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. The bizarre contrast of heaven being a chaotic paradise of debauchery while hell was a place of rules and order. In reality, the two sides weren’t fundamentally all that much different from each other.

On the one hand, there were Panty and Stocking, well known for their passion to sex and sweets respectively, are somewhat controlled by the devout Garterbelt who hid a darker side that was used for comedic purposes. On the other, Scanty and Kneesocks, who were passionate about order, but had to hide their true demonic appearance from the public, while their master Corset engaged in many of the same activities as Garterbelt, only more sinister. What ultimately brought these two sides together was the penis of a social outcast.

It all seems rather horribly crude. Two extreme views of what society should be united by sexual purity is a rather interesting view of the modern world. That those caught in the middle seem to matter little in the chaos that ensues during their clashes is also worth noting. Nothing good ever seems to come to those in the middle of an ideological fight.

I instantly caught the reference here, but no one else in the group watch seemed to.

Special Thanks

No piece of music here though I will take suggestions for what should go here, so as to stick to the theme of this post.

So a real special thanks to those who read and commented on this blog over the course of the last 12 months. Also thanks to ghostlightning for his constant encouragement and insights into Lakers fandom, Shinmaru for providing me greater perspective on Giant Killing when I wasn’t always intensely focused on tactics and man management of a fictional football club, the people behind the Aniblog tournament (Scamp, RP and my qualifying round opponent and far superior blogger Mefloraine), Hanners for being the only one who said anything about watching Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid with me and also discovering my Facebook profile, the crew at THAT Anime Blog for not saying anything about THAT post, Vucub Caquix for his ability to keep conversations alive and the people on Twitter and the Standing Committee… for putting up with me, plus anyone else I forgot to mention.

12 thoughts on “Pointless Debate #17: A Typical Year”

    1. That’s really what I was trying to go for with that second thread in the post. It was actually more reflecting on different reactions to something that occurs all the time.

  1. I’m still sore that I didn’t get to watch that 5-0 Barca vs Real game.

    I still don’t feel like I’ve processed The Tatami Galaxy in my head – I definitely need to watch it again when it gets released on DVD over here in 2011, as it has a whole bunch of depth that I haven’t really explored or taken in; ergo, it’s interesting to see your take on it, but I think you have a pretty good handle on it.

    1. Seems like there are as many takes on Tatami Galaxy as there are people who watched it. I think there are people out there who thought I probably read it wrongly. Anyway, there’s always the return match at the Bernabeu, hopefully scheduling works out for that one.

  2. Happy New Year! I’ve not seen any of them, so I can’t comment, but your comments were interesting.

    1. Thanks for the comments, I tried to pull series that people thought were representative of the year that I had actually seen. So no FMA:B in here.

  3. I’m not sure I follow the story completely… but here is what I got out of it:

    All three acts, while never dismissing consequences and the value of the future, glorify the present-hedonistic sensibility.

    Yes, even Tatami Galaxy, whose lead never really enjoyed a single moment in the present, and instead was perpetually regretting paying for inflated prices for prognostication. Everything he did was for some purpose, and obsessively so… as a contrast to his nemesis who was always enjoying himself whatever he did, without regrets.

    In K-On!1, they got their legacy anyway despite negligence, and overall irresponsibility. They had their cake and ate it too. This is the fantasy of the series. It all works out in the end, even retards can get into exclusive colleges… so don’t worry, let them eat cake.

    If anything, it’s Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt with its obsession with portraying its leads as the most hedonistic of all anime characters for all time, that actually is ruthless with consequences given the downer, cliffhanger end (for whatever the fuck that’s worth). Even so, I don’t think any of us can take that as a cautionary tale of enjoying life too much.

    1. There’s no real connection between the stories actually. Just take it as another experiment in writing style as I try to figure out where I messed up in that Index post. PSG has lots of interpretations and I don’t necessarily take it as a cautionary tale of excess, rather as the damage caused by extreme attitudes.

  4. I don’t really have anything to add, but I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your post. Of slight relation, I did just FINALLY finish off The Tatami Galaxy. Beautiful ending.

  5. Great point on K-On!! ^ ^
    It’s neat to think that the legacy is kept alive, not only with Azusa, but perhaps also with the audience. Even if the crew has graduated, I’m still super excited about the upcoming movie.

    1. I do worry a little about it being to easy to call new series the next K-On! now, but that’s probably another argument altogether. I’m not sure what to expect out of the movie to be honest.

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