No, really. I did.
I just feel like talking about how much I love anime which are incredibly talky and which are often disparaged by general opinion for it. Or, rather, I want to dig into why I enjoy these sorts of shows so much. After all, why would one like the watch something in which people are just sitting there and talking? Isn’t that kind of boring? It kind of defeats the purpose of using the visual medium to an extent; the visual medium means that one can more effectively show, not tell, so watching a lot of tell flies directly in the face of the form.
And yet… damn. I love this stuff. My favorite episodes of Mouryou no Hako were quite honestly the two solid episodes where they sat in a room and talked about etymology and mythology. As I said in the title, I re-watched these episode thrice. And I thought they outclassed the concluding episodes, even though the big reveals obviously should’ve been, well, big. Which isn’t to say I didn’t find the final episodes enjoyable; I did, I just happened to find episodes six and seven to be the best.
Anyway, all of this was brought up in my mind once again as I finally picked up Senkou no Night Raid again and am having a hard time understanding why I put it on hold in the first place. Its really good! The first episode was a bit meh, but since I’ve found myself unable to stop watching. Despite having worked a full day yesterday and part of today, I’ve managed to watch nine episodes since yesterday evening.
A good deal of my enjoyment is derived from the fact that is isn’t non-stop action, and it isn’t as spy thriller-y as it appears on its surface to be. Its much more serious than that, as it strives to actually give us a fairly sober picture of Japan’s involvement in Manchukuo in the early 1930’s as opposed to giving us a fully pulpy outing which glosses over the unsavory facts of Japan’s said involvement. So! A lot of sitting around and talking, a bunch of explaining, and, yes, some action, but much more focus on the political back-and-forths which lead to everything that happened there and the fictional happenings in the show.
It seems it wasn’t exactly to most people’s tastes, as when I perused blogs that mentioned it prior to picking it up again most were fairly lukewarm about it or outright said they thought it was boring. Good thing I didn’t listen to all that.
But Mouryou no Hako is actually a better jumping-off point in trying to understand why I like these talk-y things. Mouryou no Hako, after all, was a novel before it was an anime (it was also a movie, but I digress) (why the fuck has no one subbed the movie yet?). And therein lies the entire thing: its from a book. And it was pretty faithful to the spirit of that book, to judge from those two episodes. I read Summer of the Ubume, the first book from that series, and it contained many, many passages in which the characters do exactly what they did in episodes six and seven of MnH. And I loved these passages, although they tended to be difficult to get through. And, in general, I love books. I read exhaustively. On Christmas day, I read an entire book. Since then, I’ve read or have been in the process of reading (I have a nasty habit of being in the middle of several at once) seven books. One summer, I read eighty-four books. They are the sirens which sing me to shipwreck.
So, of course I would like anime which more closely resemble this form. Granted, this is also indicative of the sorts of books I generally enjoy, as some books are all action and flash. I generally do not read these books; they just can’t really hold my attention. Of course, I do read a lot of crap in addition to ‘respectable’ fare, but they skew more toward erotica and, uh, religious apocalyptic fiction (like potato chips for me!), not so much the thriller stuff out there. But if I had to choose between reading something like The Brothers Karamazov or reading something like Captain’s Surrender, I’d opt for the Dostoevsky instead of the hot sailor-on-sailor action.
So, Madhouse? Stop it with those crappy Marvel adaptations, and give me another adaptation of a Natsuhiko Kyougoku book, ok? Or, actually, The Brothers of Karamazov would be amazing.