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Self-Indulgence 1: Ah! My Embarassment

October 30, 2009

Was doing some cleaning today and in the process I dragged out my anime VHS collection.

Damn, it’s hard to believe I shelled out over $150 to get the first season of Those Who Hunt Elves.

Looking at that modest little collection, I believe that if the current me traveled back in time and met the me who bought most of these tapes, the current me would mock the past me viciously. The past me would probably cry.

There’s some consistency in my current tastes and my past tastes. I still consider Cowboy Bebop, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2, and Revolutionary Girl Utena to be four of my top ten favorite anime series. They still hit those pleasure centers in the same ways they did back in the day. But then I look at something like Those Who Hunt Elves. If I watched it now, would I still like it? Will I still be amused by an actress, a muscle-bound idiot, and a gun-nut school girl running around and stripping elves to find map-shape birthmarks? I’ve been tempted to go and buy the new DVD collection, but I have my doubts that I’d enjoy it roughly ten years after I first watched it. Will I still find the series’ style amusing, or will I roll my eyes and loathe my past self for indulging in such crap? Based on prior visitations to old anime series I once enjoyed, I think it may be best to allow my nostalgia for the series to remain untouched.

I also have all five Ah!/Oh!/EEK! My Goddess OAV tapes in that pile. I bought the first three tapes sight-unseen. They were going for$15 a pop at Best Buy, and at the time I was of the “I’ll buy almost any anime so long as it’s cheap and doesn’t look totally crappy” mindset, so that’s all I knew when I bought the tapes. And I won’t deny it: I fell head over heals in love with the series almost immediately.

At the time, I was a freshman in college. And, wow, OMG, Keiichi is a freshman in college too! Totally awesome! I can relate to that! That’s how I felt as I watched the OAVs. This was some stuff that connected with my on some primordial level. Even to this day I can’t help but feel some odd affection for that lovable loser Keiichi. Essentially, Ah! My Goddess was the first anime where I really connected with the main character.

But the awesomeness didn’t end there. Not only was this guy someone I could relate with, but this guy managed to snag himself the “perfect” girl. Not only was Belldandy fairly attractive, but she was patient, kind, and all too willing to indulge Keiichi in his most-likely-uninteresting-to-her hobbies. For that 18-year-old college freshman who had a hard enough time making conversation with the girl from English class while waiting in line to get dinner, this was Fantasy Island to the nth power.

And that’s where my problem lies with Ah! My Goddess. I’m no longer that kid that fantasizes about meeting some ideal woman. I no longer see as much of myself in Keiichi. For a lack of better words, I’ve “grown out” of that phase. I may still be lousy when it comes to the courting game, but my perspective is far more grounded and far less idealistic. In fact, I’m embarrassed to a certain degree by that old, naive version of myself.

Yeah, I’d be willing to say that a good deal of my frustration with fandom has to do with the fact that my own experiences tell me that their tastes are little more than a phase, yet they want to act as if said phase is the end-all be-all. I’m sure I’ll look back on this post ten years from now and viciously mock these very words.

That said, let’s watch a music video that’s about katana-wielding school girls battling kewpie dolls over sex-ed standards.

These dudes are called Urbangarde. I’ll have to look into them, they look like my kind of group.


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