Some of the challenges for the 30 Day Anime Challenge go against how I feel about anime and entertainment in general. Such is the truth for the fourth installment of it where we’re supposed to talk about anime you’re ashamed to enjoy. Considering the wide swath of anime that I watch and the sheer amount of hentai that I watch, the only thing I feel that’s close to that at the time is maybe disturbed or scared. Ashamed? About watching shows? I never got into that. After all, it was back in the ’80s that I ended up keeping up with my interests that are all now mega-popular but were widely derided by fellow classmates in high school. Anime was just one component of that. But I was a known comic book fan, Transformers, Star Wars, and so forth. How could I feel ashamed about anime when I never felt ashamed about that?
So for this challenge, I decided to look at a couple of shows that I’ve been told I should feel ashamed for liking. I don’t feel ashamed, but hey, plenty of people have tried to shame me about it.
Rising of the Shield Hero
This series may be one that people will think is too popular to be ashamed about but there was a lot of controversy about it in its early episodes and that’s still out there – even as we await a second and third season of the show. The series works a traditional transported to another world theme for our main character but in the first few episodes he buys one of the lead characters from slavery and essentially keeps her that way for awhile and we also get the really controversial false rape accusation leveled against the lead as part of a plot to discredit him toward the larger story. Neither are good things but both are rare when it comes to anime storytelling and it opened up some new avenues for things to flow. Some of the initial anger over these elements had a lot of people just trying to shut the show down to varying degrees but these were the elements that interested me – not because I want slavery to exist or false rape claims to be made – but because in a fantasy world like this they were part of a larger world design being examined and showed how our leading character had to adapt to local customs in order to survive until he could make the changes he wanted to, understanding how things work rather than just barging in and making it all about his way. These are not easy topics for a lot of people so tempers flared but storytelling should be able to explore most topics in general.
Tenchi in Tokyo
Screw you guys, I love this show! Take a hugely popular franchise that had plenty of OVAs and a fun series prior to it called Tenchi Universe and then go in a completely different direction. While there are many things that are true to originals in terms of how the characters act, Tenchi in Tokyo commits the cardinal sin of introducing yet another girl that’s interested in Tenchi. I mean, doesn’t he have enough already even with just Ayeka and Ryoko fighting over him? The difference with Sakuya is that even though she does have her secrets, she’s a more grounded girl in the real world for him and the two get to actually progress a relationship. The problem was, it wasn’t a relationship the fans wanted to see and the show changed many things with how the characters are designed in terms of their back stories and connections. The show also went very different with the way it worked with the situations, spending more time on surreal things and a whole lot of slapstick comedy. It tickled me pink and I loved that it essentially gave the finger to the die-hard Tenchi fans who just wanted their particular favorite to win. This series gave me a favorite that wasn’t around before.
Fencer of Minerva
This series straddled the line for the young Central Park Media studio as it was released as a standard title even though it was close enough to be an adult title and it’s largely considered a hentai release, even though it’s pretty softcore overall. What it is, though, is a series that’s about the master/slave relationships that happen in a quasi-fantasy setting. The series borrows heavily from the Gor novels with what it does and those elements are things that really put off a lot of people and have them attempt to shame others over it because it’s not something they’re entirely comfortable with. Dom/sub relationships aren’t in the norm of mainstream society of course, but you never know what goes on behind locked doors. And between consenting adults, it’s all the more fun. But it’s understandable to me why people react as they do with the idea that some women like to be roughed up and beaten in this manner and they can view it as making it acceptable. That’s a scary thing for many, even when it’s entirely consensual. Fencer of Minerva provided a show that at that time was rarely seen in hentai as well and something that was even rarer to be brought over until years later when that side of the business found a big pile of money with depraved hentai. By contrast, Fencer of Minerva seems positively quaint.