It’s been awhile since the last blog carnival, which beyond their promotional character (read: circlejerking if you prefer) they also help us get to know more about each other.
Some weeks ago our friends on facebook started making top10 influential lists; it started with metal band albums and spread to video games to manga and anime. So we thought why not? Diary of an Anime Lived focused on anime that echo our real lives; ‘The impact they had on us’ seeks to pinpoint the anime or even manga titles that aren’t just a mirror of us or even our favorites but to highlight these stories that changed the way we viewed the world.
List and talk about 5-10 anime/manga that have influenced your way of thinking and your actions. Let me know if you are interested and I can create a page where every post is collected. Our entries follow.
Foxy Lady Ayame
Sailor Moon: The gateway anime for my generation. Very few anime fans haven’t watched it or heard of it. Toei has recently readapted it following more closely the original manga and airs every first and second Thursday of a month. It’s scheduled to reach the Black Moon arc. Still it can’t really rival the old anime series in many aspects (audial, facial expressions, room for character development) and I really didn’t expect to miss it that much granted my dislike for the main heroine. It affected despite everything several aspects of mine, from my fashion preferences (my love for mini skirts) to my infatuation with romance to the understanding and acceptance of lgbt individuals. I also learnt lots about astronomy, mythology and I improved my English throught it, too!
La Corda D’ Oro: The first reverse harem I ever watched and one of the best out there; though it’s been awhile since I last saw it and my nostalgia glasses might make it more than it is. It brought me together with Cindy Claudia and we wrote together a fanfic (which you probably don’t want to read). It was the one and only time I was signed up in an English-speaking forum and my initiation into fandomhood before I ever knew what fandom is. It granted me my first online friend and was a source of creativity. Also, Yunoki was the first character with family issues I could relate with.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Ikuhara’s first and most known title. Symbolic, bizarre and deep with wacky bits. I could see myself in a lot of characters and that was quite painful. It made me strive to be my own prince and was my introduction to feminism. It changed my mind on what to expect from friends as it addressed the illusion of eternal friendship through Touga’s and Saionji’s relationship. Additionally, it stressed the need to start detaching myself from the parents I tried so many years to please very hard, while keeping myself a victim of circumstances, much like Anthy. Moreover it was the reason I and Neko-chi got to know each other. We literally started talking feminism and gay rights thanks to this series.
Ikoku Irokoi Romantan: This was my very first yaoi. A short while after I got to know Neko-chi I was encouraged to try out a yaoi title. I don’t exactly remember how I came across the title but the memory of the first yaoi sex scene is engraved (with nosebleed) in my brain. The voice in my head was saying “it’s gross”, my vagina said “it’s hot”. That enlightening phrase about pleasure knowing no gender really was like breaching the door of prudency and prejudice for me.
Rurouni Kenshin OVAs: I’ve never been keen on politics. Lately I read at least here and there about what’s happening around the world; I keep the tabs mostly for anything lgbtq and feminism related. Trust & Betrayal was a turning point in taking interest in politics. It made me think about political systems, ie. feudalism and how similar its structures are with capitalism (it sounds kind of conflating but that’s what I thought back then); something I hadn’t done before up to that point. Reflection was great food for thought, too, but more about human nature, how we keep hurting each other, revenge and the contrast between glory and a sad death in sickness. It was really shocking to me to see Kenshin, the infamous Battousei, not able to stand on his feet.
Kaiba: This was my first sci-fi. Usually this is a genre that despite toying with many great ideas doesn’t easily draw me in. But Kaiba proved to me that I should reconsider and made me more open to similar titles. It is an underappreciated and relatively unknown anime by the avant-garde director, Masaaki Yuasa, which is simulatneously a great love poem and a story about memory, body modification and responsibilities. What is exceptional about Kaiba is its design that challenged my aesthetic preferences. I’m very detail-oriented like your next art nouveau person, so I had been avoiding the series for a long time. It taught me though to be more lax when judging books by their covers.
X/1999: CLAMP’s masterpiece in my book; even though it’s unfinished *fangirl crying and pulling hair in a corner*. I’ve reviewed the series in the past and I highly recommend that you check it. Although I’m still quite the scaredy cat, X helped me battle my fears of graphic violence depicted on paper (severed heads, limbs and guts splattered everywhere, anyone?). It also taught me to look behind people’s motivations for the course of actions they take. I was really touched and fascinated by the backstories of all the cast. I started not seeing everything so much in black & white even in disturbing cases like Seishirou’s.
Tsumi ni Nureta Futari: I doubt many know this title. Its scanlation is also left unfinished, which is really sad after following this for so long. This is one of the oldest and most decent incest you’ll ever get to read -probably. Yes, it might drip melodrama, but I prefer it than being the gross -for my tastes- happy-go-lucky story about the cute imouto. This series challenged my ideas about incest but most important is the fact that I separated for the first time the concept of sex with the one of romance (spoiler: there’s a scene where the heroine has sex with a friend while fantasizing of her brother).
Maiden Rose: Another manga on hiatus… I have no idea how three out of four manga on this list share this fate in one way or the other. Maiden Rose is hardcore sex (warning for rape and a torn anus) with BDSM psychological elements. The readers of this blog might know that I’m not fond of non-consensual sex most of the times, but this title went against what I knew about my tastes. I not only enjoyed it to the point of feeling guilty I also obsessed about it to the point of having it on my mind even during teaching hours (yes, I know, shame on me). It’s a manga-landmark for me because it introduced me to BDSM and made me face the complexity of human sexuality, shredding any unnecessary guilt that comes from consuming ‘politically incorrect’ fiction.
Koe no Katachi: Obviously this is the newest addition. I’ve been bullied and in spite of my single-mindedness towards bullies Koe no Katachi managed to endear me to the bullies’ narrative and their own trials. I couldn’t have believed before that I could have that much mercy and care for people who very consciously found violence fun. For that I can’t thank this manga enough. It’s a masterpiece and everyone should read it.
Devilman Lady : Though it has the same title as Go Nagai’s manga, the anime version of Devilman Lady was written by various writers and so ended up having an entirely original script. Also, the characters’ personalities are different than those in the manga. Most of the 26 episodes are short stories helping the main plot build up. There are many logical fallacies and cliches from chapter to chapter, so one might wonder what makes this series great and why I chose it as the most influential in my life thus far.
There are two reasons for this: first, the gloomy feeling that exists throughout the series, which fits exactly to what I am usually looking for in a story. Those of you who have watched and enjoyed similar titles like Casshern Sins and Vampire Princess Miyu will understand what I am talking about. Devilman Lady is the epitome of dispair for the sake of dispair. If you enjoy consuming negativity, this is the show for you. Secondly, this series was my first connection to the Go Nagai universe, which totally changed the way I look at anime.
Devilman (The Birth, The Demon Bird) : After watching Devilman Lady, I had to opportunity to check the 1970s Devilman series, which was a more morbid version of western superhero shows. The TV series was good but nothing life-changing. Out of curiosity, I decided to red Nagai’s manga -and there I found everything I sought for. Memorable characters, perversion, ecchi, horror, blood, epic struggles and even more epic eyebrows, killer sideburns, and an amazing plot. The OVAs are excellent adaptations of the first manga’s first two volumes. I have written about it in the past but Devilman is the definition of what I want to do, the standard I want reach. It’s a legend and it will stay that way for years to come.
Ai no Kusabi: The first yaoi I ever watched was also my first S/M related show. A great introduction to adult anime, Ai no Kusabi may look like a gay porn film with a sci-fi background but it is more than that. There is an incredible soundtrack accompanying a story that is both interesting and hot. The very setting of a society separated between slaves and Masters makes this a special case, because domination and submission often go beyond the personal -sometimes for good, others not so much. Ai no Kusabi introduced me to these concepts and I will forever be grateful to it for this.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Most people would mention Utena as an influential anime for its queerness and poetic storytelling. Personally, the reason why I have Utena in my heart is that thanks to this show I met Foxy Lady. In a way, I see our efforts to liberate ourselves similar to those of Utena and Anthy. We are both queer, surrounded by unique, odd people. Both of us have to fight not only with life’s difficulties but also with ourselves. Revolutionary Girl Utena gives us hope that, one way or another, we’ll find our way home.
Sensitive Pornograph: Sensitive Pornograph belongs to the yaoi genre. There is a story -kind of. The animation is great, from the movements to the expressions. What makes this a special anime is Bunny -the uke in the second part of the OVAs. He is a role model for every aspiring uke out there. I salute you, Bunny, for showing us the path to ukeness.