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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer 2013 Anime First Impressions, Part 2:

Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi:  This series clearly has a lot of potential, but it's also a very complicated fantasy setting, very different from the world we live in, which means I don't understand anything that's going on in front of me.  This isn't the fault of the presentation, it was simply due to time constraints.  Two or three episodes would have had to air at once to even introduce the world to the viewer in a legible fashion.  Once I understand all of the hanging questions this first episode presented to me, I'll be able to give a much more solid verdict than the ground I stand upon right now.  The world seems to be overrun with zombies, or maybe not, or maybe the world soon will be, or who knows what is going on.  In any case the art and music is good and the characters are unique and distinct from any other series I've seen.  Everything looks good except the plot, which is currently a mess.  However, the plot might be good too, there's just no telling yet.  Definitely a must watch next week as well.

Genei Kakeru Taiyo:  This show is the exact opposite of Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi.  Instead of just being a complicated story that is hard to understand but is trying its best to convey the truth to the viewers, this show is deliberately mysterious, deceptive, and random.  I can't explain anything that happened in this episode and they actually wanted it to be this way.  This is an anime equivalent to modern art, where they just splash some paint on a white canvas and call it a masterpiece then call it a day.  In other words, this story is total crap.  People show up out of the blue, then disappear again without explanation.  People die, and it's like no one even knows they lived.  People turn into monsters for no reason.  There's a random transvestite hanging out with the rest of this girl's friends for no reason being creepy and acting like he belongs when he clearly doesn't.  The screen occasionally freezes or flickers just for fun.  The girl has an alter ego that decides to fight for her, stripping all decision making from the grasp of rational thought and just delving into insanity.  It's avant garde crap at its worst.  This show could compete with Free for sheer worthlessness.

Love Lab:  The third series whose premise is a group of cute girls doing cute things together.  However, unlike the first two, this show is genuinely bad.  The initial premise of the series is extremely stupid.  Two girls who chose to attend an all-girls school want romance with boys to brighten up their daily lives.  So, why did they attend an all-girls school?  Apparently because they're hopelessly retarded.  Which is pretty much proven over and over over the course of the episode.  Another reason they're retarded is that if they simply asked a boy to go out with them they could easily have landed a boyfriend or a dozen, because any guy is fine with going out with a cute high school girl.  So why exactly do they have to practice in order to figure out how to win a boy's affection?  It simply doesn't work that way.  Biologically, any pretty girl has already secured as much male attention as she'll ever need.  It's boys who have to win girl's feelings, girls can just sit around under a parasol and boys will appear like maggots squirming all around her.  The last thing girls need to study is how to attract men, mainly they just want to find ways to avoid creepy men they'd never be attracted to but keep harassing and stalking them anyway all day every day.  These girls need to read a wonderful article about a girl who takes a train to and from work and all the lovely male attention she receives while doing nothing but reading a book and flashing a fake wedding ring in the hopes of avoiding their sexual harassment:

I debated whether or not to share this story. And then I debated whether or not to put it on Tumblr…but I decided it was important. Because in my own way, I can (unfortunately) point out exactly what is wrong with men when they don't realize how hard it is to be a woman. How we do not have equal opportunities and freedoms in everyday life. How most men, even good caring men, have no clue what we go through on a daily basis just trying to live our lives.

So here goes.

I often ride the Metro when I commute from North Hollywood to Long Beach in order to save money. I bring a book, pointedly wear a ring on my ring finger to imply I'm married (I'm not) and keep to myself.

Without fail, I am aggressively approached by men on at least half of these commutes. The most common approach is to walk up to where I am sitting with body language that practically screams LEAVE ME ALONE and sit down next to me or as close to me as possible, when the train is not crowded and there are many empty rows. Sometimes an overly friendly arm is draped over the railing behind me, or they attempt to lean in close to talk to me as if we are old friends. Without fail, the man or boy in question will lean to close and ask me

What are you reading?

Is that a good book?

What's that book about?

This serves the double purpose of getting my attention and trapping me in a conversation. If I stop reading the book I enjoy to talk to you, random stranger, you hit on me or just stay way too close to me. If I tell you to leave me alone, you get mad at me. Because I somehow, as a woman, owe you conversation.
Tonight when I boarded the train in Long Beach at 10:30pm, it started up right away. I was not on the train more than three minutes before three boys who looked eighteen sat in the row behind me and leaned over the seats into my personal space, close enough to breathe on me. The one with his arm draped over onto the back of my seat asked me — surprise — "what are you reading?" I went through my usual routine. I told them loudly and firmly that I wanted to be left alone to read my book. They got angry. I was told "Why are you going to be like that? I just wanted to talk!" His friends start laughing at me and they don't move, telling me come on! and why are you gonna be like that? until I tell them to leave me the fuck alone, stand up, and move to the front of the car near the three other people on the train, a couple and a business man in a suit. They spend the next two stops shouting at me from the back of the car, alternating between trying to sound flirtatious and making fun of me, shouting "I bet she's reading Stephanie Meyer! I bet she's reading Twilight or some shit! You reading Twilight or some shit?"
They exit the train at the next stop, and I'm relieved. The train is going out of service at the next station, so we all exit to board a new train to Los Angeles. As we board, the business man steps aside to let me go through the door first and asks me if those guys were bothering me. I say yes, that it happens all the time, and he tells he'll beat them up for me if they come back. He is a nice person who talks to me like I'm a human being instead of a walking pair of tits, and I make a mental note: This is how a real man talks to a woman on a train.

The business man and the couple exit our new Blue Line train an exit or so later, and I think my night is ending on a good note. A seemingly normal man enters the train with his bicycle. At this point I am three rows from the front of the car, another man was sitting near the back of the car, and the rest of the car is empty. Bicycle Man walks halfway down the row, and settles into the seat directly opposite me. Perfect, I think. Twice in one night.

It's not the first time I've been bothered multiple times. As such, I'm still amped from the teenagers on the first train. So when this man leans across the aisle into my personal space and asks me, yes, what are you reading, I assertively but calmly tell him to please leave me alone, I am reading. The man stands up, moving to the front and muttering angrily over his shoulder that it isn't his fault I'm pretty.

Yes. Exactly that. I am the bad person in this situation because somehow this is all my fault. I started this by being attractive. I am making a mental note to bitch about this to my friends later. I go so far as to write it down so I know I'm remembering it properly.
It is at this exact moment I realize Bicycle Man is not taking it well. The seemingly annoying but normal man a moment before is now talking to himself, becoming agitated. In my years of being bothered by total strangers, I have learned how to hold a book and seem to be reading while taking in everything around me. He is glaring at me, and says out loud in an angry baby talk voice "PLEASELEAVEMEALONEI'MREADING. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALOOOONE."

Then he's up out of his seat and things go from bad to worse. He begins pacing back and forth in front of his bike, alternating between screaming something about his mother being dead and calling me a slut, a hoe, a bitch. I am frozen in place. There is one other person in the car, and I'm not sure if trying to change seats will draw more attention to me or less. I trust my instincts and show no fear, doing my best to appear to be calmly reading my book, never once looking up to acknowledge the abuse he's hurling at me. There are four stops left until we reach the main downtown station where there are lights and security officers. Those four stops are virtually abandoned, and I have no guarantee that leaving to wait for another train won't motivate him to leave the train as well, leaving us potentially alone at a metro station platform just outside of Compton. I'm frozen in place, trying to plan what I'm going to do if he decides to take all this rage directly to me. I'm ready to kick him, scream, make enough noise that he panics and flees.

At this point he's punching the walls and doors of the train, screaming at me. He stares me full in the face and screams
This went on for two stops. No one came to see what was happening. The man in the last row was as frozen as I was. I'm not angry he didn't come to my defense. He was smaller, older, and frailer-looking than I was. Again, I was worried if I got up, I would be turning my back on him to walk down the aisle. In the state he was in, I had no guarantee it wouldn't get physical, and I had more physical strength with my back to the window and feet in kicking position where I was. If he had chosen to assault me, I would only be making it easier for him by standing up and putting myself directly in his path. On and on, over and over, he screamed at me, screamed at his dead mother, screamed at me again.

The moment we reached the downtown station, I was out the door and down the stairs. I still had to catch a connecting train to North Hollywood, and made sure there was no sign of Bicycle Man before I entered the car. That's when I finally starting shaking, and almost threw up. By the time I exited the Red Line and reached my car I could barely breathe and my heart was pounding out of my chest. Even now, in my own home, my hands are still shaking and for some reason the stress has made my back muscles feel cold and numb. From all the tension, I can only assume. I can't eat anything, I still feel like I'm going to vomit, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't cried so much, so hard I still have the headache.

So when people (men) want to talk about "legitimate" forms of assault, tell girls they should be nice to strangers and give men the benefit of a doubt, tell them to consider it a compliment, tell them to ignore the bad behavior of men, I want them to be forced to feel, for even one minute, what it feels like to have so much verbal hatred and physical intimidation thrown at them for nothing more than being female and not wanting to share.

I just wanted to read my book.
It's not my fault I'm pretty.

This is the world real girls live in.  And here they are practicing how to bump into guys, drop their tissues in front of guys, etc, as though you need to do anything in particular to secure yourself a guy.  By all means date the nearest mad cyclist, but don't insult women by pretending they're desperate for boys when really their entire goal in life is to just be left alone.  Male strangers are not something to get excited about or daydream over -- they are scary monsters who generally insult you with lewd gestures or words, sexually harass you all over your body, pin you against walls, spit in your face, or just straight out rape you at random.  Any decent guy would never approach a girl stranger in the first place, because it's impolite to detain a girl against her will, so the entire premise of Love Lab falls apart immediately.  No girl ever wants a romantic chance meeting.  They want someone they know is safe and decent that they've been around for a long time in a non-romantic setting to show them romantic attention, or some boy who has been vouched for through mutual friends, or a boy who at least has a good online resume who follows proper channels to meet you in a pre-arranged manner.  A boy you meet off the street is just a threat, nothing good can ever come of it, and writing an anime about how great it would be for girls to meet random boys they bump into off the street is just ridiculous.

Honestly, it should be a crime for a boy to approach a girl he doesn't know and try to hit on her.  It causes so much fear and discomfort for girls that they may as well have assaulted them.  If a boy tried something like that in the past the girl's brother or father would have immediately intervened, placed themselves between the outrageously acting male and the victimized female, and told the man to move along.  If he didn't they would have demanded a duel as satisfaction for insulting their sister's honor and the man would lay dying in a pool of his own blood by the end of the day.  Those were the good old days.  Pretending that women like men to hit on them who they don't know and trust is just encouraging bad behavior that would have been criminal in the past and should be criminal today.  It may as well have been an anime about how much girls enjoy being raped.  No thank you.

In sum, only 1 out of these 3 series can hold water, but due to how much I hate Love Lab, in the interest of brevity, this review section will have to stop here.  Still to come:  Kiniro Mosaic, Fantasista Doll, Uchouten Kazoku, Blood Lad, Watamote, Silver Spoon, Hyperdimension Neptune, Kimi no Iru Machi, and Gatchaman Crowds.

1 comment:

Ian said...

Women's entire goal is just to be left alone? Perhaps your goal is to be left alone, but you can't generalize and say all women share your view. There isn't a single decent guy who would approach a girl stranger in the first place? Humans are inquisitive by nature and are social animals, so there is nothing wrong in wanting to interact with another person. What if the other guy that approaches is a good person and has a genuine interest in what your reading? Who genuinely wants to make a friend? I never heard of something as crazy as having to go through proper channels to meet people. I pity you, since some guys left some bad impression on you and you didnt have the strength to grow from it and instead out of insecurity create these rules to govern your life.