I was walking along yesterday, headphones firmly in place as I attempted to avoid the puddles that have seemingly taken over my school’s campus. My ipod clicked along quietly, switching from song to song with little sense of genre or tone. But I didn’t really mind too much, it was acting more as background noise to my commute across the campus. But then, it happened.
SLASH came on. It’s from Digimon Tamers, which I was shocked to just realize is eight years old. But its age isn’t really relevant; the effect it had on me is. Because, instantly I went from being another person drifting along to a class, and I became someone who was dying to, in the middle of the quad, whip my cellphone out of my pocket, scream, “KAAADO SLASH!”, and pretend to swipe my student ID along its edge – like so. It took a hell of a lot of willpower to resist. Or, well, resist until I got into an empty elevator… the door slid shut, and I manically started humming SLASH while pretending that I was actually a ten year old with a tiny monster in a Japanese children’s cartoon.
I suppose what I’m trying to convey is that I realized something acutely at that moment – I really, really love children’s anime. I felt like I was in on some big secret when I was walking outside with my headphones delivering that music to me; this awesome secret that these children’s shows are really fucking awesome.
Truly, most anime is made for people under the age of eighteen, and, thus, is technically made for children. Yes, I am well-aware that there are titles intended for older sets, but the vast majority is meant for the eyeballs of the eight to eighteen crowd. But it is the shows that are made for the eight to fourteen set that really light my heart afire. There’s a reason Yumeiro Patisierre is currently my most-anticipated and enjoyed show. I feel giddy as the episode loads, a sense that only increases as the silly OP music begins to play.
Quite simply, I love children’s anime.
Yes, my favorite shows are things like Revolutionary Girl Utena or Mouryou no Hako. And, yes, I’m frankly overjoyed when I’m watching a show that has adult characters as the focus. But the surest show for me is, generally, something meant for ten year olds. Even the more average ones make me extremely happy to watch, which is something I cannot say for “mature” shows.
I am a bit hard-pressed to explain precisely why it is that I love children’s shows so thoroughly. I suspect, though, that it has to do with the sense of wonder one finds so often embedded in these shows – even retread concepts feel fresh frequently because they are portrayed as something that the viewer should find exciting. This kid just found out she has magical powers! Isn’t that really cool?!?! These shows so often implicitly encourage the viewer to imagine themself in the protagonist(s’)’s shoes that it takes a pretty piss poor show to fail entirely in this regard, that is, of making it all seem new and amazing.
I’ve seen dozens of these kinds of shows, yet I still find myself often getting caught up in the proceedings, eagerly awaiting new installments. Admittedly, my age shows somewhat – I find that shows that are too intensely paint-by-the-numbers in a monster-of-the-week-style tend to leave me cold these days (which is why, sadly, Pokemon simply cannot hold my interest any more, and the first season of Digimon similarly gives me fits of yawns; I am fervently hoping that this will not prove to be the case with Sailor Moon Sailor Stars when it finally finishes downloading). Otherwise, though, bring on the kiddy shows!
Even in the anime fandom, I feel as if I’m in on a secret as well, though, as it seems like many people would prefer to look down their noses at shows intended for younger audiences. Amusingly enough, the Naruto ninjas sprinting around madly at cons look askance at the Pretty Cure cosplayers (I promise that a few of them do exist). I’m sure that there are more fans out there who likewise delight in these shows, but they remain largely quiet, perhaps understandably so. But I can’t help but feel like I’m part of this group of people who know something really cool, even to the point of verging on smug at times.
Anyway, I’d talk further, but I have to get back to Digimon Tamers. I had a snow day today, so I’ve been dedicating myself to it (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the old shows I mentioned the other day – they just take a while to download), especially in light of my re-exposure to SLASH. Dammit, I wish I had been in a children’s anime!