Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ah, for breath of fire

So as I said before I'm a fan of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzuyama. Now the show, even though it's chaotic chronology-wise (although as I pointed out in my review, there's a method to that madness), roughly fit a full story arc. However, there was enough left over and enough left open, and simply enough immensity of fun to invite a second season and so I am eagarly awaiting for that second season to come to translation.

I'm also interested in checking out some of the Haruhi extra features scattered all over the net due to the immense cultiveness of the Haruhi-fandom (which as this post shows I can only claim peripheral involvement in). So when I found on DC++, that there was a new item belonging to the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise on the file sharing hub (the item being called Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekisou, which I'm not going to even pretend to know), I jumped on it despite the 2GB download.

But then I found it was all Japanese. As I found out from a review of the product (found here), it is essentially a recording of a concert/fan convention centering on the voice actors for the series. Even though I generally shy away from such things my passion for Haruhi is enough that I might have watched it end to end... if it were in English. Here's where the line is drawn between me and hardcore anime fans. Hardcore anime fans will watch anime even if it's not in English. They will learn Japanese solely for the purpose of understanding Japanese. Heck some learn Japanese only from animes (giving them a action/sex-pun centered vocabulary, as Geniksen, a manga (which I have not read) and anime (which I have seen much of and which sould be findable on youTube) about Otaku (the truly hard-core anime/manga/cosplay/sci-fi-fantasy model building/etc. fans), scewers in one of it's characters). Basically they love the media so much, and the culture associated with it, that they're willing to sit through incomprehensible yammering just to get the taste of it.

I have to admire that devotion. Me, I dunno. I could see myself watching something in pure Japanese if it showed a plot point I missed before, but I'd have to fast forward it so I could watch it in as little time possible. Even if an anime was especially pretty, it would be hard for me to imagine just watching it with no dubs or subtitles. You loose so much nuance that way, and some anime I watch would be complete cliches without that nuance (probably His and Her Circumstances, which is why I haven't watched the Japanese episodes on the web, despite being desperate to watch the rest of the series, having only watched half (although given the reputation of the second half, that might be a good thing, but that's another story for another day)). But to wade through another language that is several thousand miles from anything you understand, just to get a little more about a story you love. That's beautiful.

For the most part, at least. There are those who obsess to the point of idol-worship. It's a terrible approach to what might be a fantastic piece of media but in the end is not the center of life. But that happens in most subcultures as well as mainstream culture (more commonly with the idol that seems to top the historical list, money!). I find myself often enchanted though by the straight-forward passion of true otaku. It's amazing how worked up they can get talking about a series, and how much effort they put into celebrating it. Me, I like a lot of anime, I love a few, but that passion... oh well. At least I can watch it as a friendly observer of the subculture. That seems to be my place for most subcultures, but it's not too bad of a place to be, even if it does get a little lonely at times, but once again that is a story for another day.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

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