Before I start this one, I just like to make it clear that I’m not saying there aren’t tons of animes in these genres, I’m just saying I haven’t seen tons and I’d love to see more. So please, don’t hesitate to suggest titles I may have missed. Please don’t suggest romances, I don’t know why you guys absolutely decided that I must watch more….
Alright – now let’s get this preamble did! There’s a long standing tradition to subdivide anime, and really storytelling in general, into increasingly small categories…. Just joking guys – I don’t know how to do an intro.. Here are five things in a row:
5) Classic Horror
I know that there are some animes in this genre and I’ve seen most of them, I think…but the fact is, it’s unusual enough that I take notice whenever one comes out. The last few I’ve seen where in fact anthologies that often went the route of psychological thriller/mystery, rather that good old, don’t open that door, horror!
As I have repeatedly disclosed, I’m an abject coward, a milksop, namby-pamby yellow bellied scaredy cat, and yet I occasionally get a craving to not sleep for a month. Last Halloween I tried to gather up a bunch of these titles to mark the occasion. I ended up watching Hellsing (a gore filled action comedy), Mononoke (a beautiful collection of surreal traditional cautionary folktales), Flowers of Evil (an exploration of the baser instincts of the human psyche during puberty) and Shiki (a collage of fascinating moral thought experiments held together with a tense atmosphere and buckets of blood).
All of these were great animes, however to me there was a camp aspect that was missing. You know, jump scares and frivolity. Hellsing apart, all these shows where very thought provoking and introspective, the horror coming from the very real implication of the cruelties humans are capable of. Although they would certainly qualify as horror – I was looking for something more in the vein of Another (which had its own issues…)
4) Spy or Political Thriller
I loves me a good complicated spy story. With quadruple crosses and elaborate schemes. There are less and less of these stories in general, there’s a tendency to replace the more complicated but ultimately talkative narratives of this type with action-oriented James Bond stories. I loved the Constant Gardner and Tinker Tailor (ok not just LeCarré..)
I recently watched ACCA-13 that reminded me of Graham Greene and it hit me all at once, how much I missed those types of stories. As a stretch you could lump in Cohen Brothers types of plots as well. When I tried to find another similar anime, the only thing I could come up with is 91 days, which is an old school mafia movie but had a lot of power games and distribution of wealth.
3) Police/Courtroom procedurals
The craze is dying down a little, but a few years ago, it seemed like 90% of what was on American television was some form of procedural, and there are still quite a few on air. I always like how easy these shows are. They really require minimal investment from the viewer.
Like a slice of life, you can just jump in at any random episode and follow along pretty well and you will get a self-contained mystery to solve that when done right, can be quite interesting. The emotional engagement is minimal, you’ll probably forget about it quickly unless there’s a particularly fun twist, but in the moment, they are extremely easy to get absorbed in.
I think Beautiful Bones was an attempt at this, although hints of a more important overarching story line where starting to become visible at the end of the first season so I have a feeling that it will become more of a crime drama than a procedural, should it ever get another season that is.
2) Multi-generational or Family dramedy
Alright, I’ll be honest, I just want more Eccentric Family. I really enjoyed that show….
For obvious reasons, most anime tends to be youth centric. Characters are students with little to no interaction at all with the adults in their lives. When that particular mold is broken, it’s often replaced with a specific concept which for simplicity sake we will call “gritty”. What I mean is that either a bunch of kids are fighting, falling in love, doing cute or wacky things things or a bunch of young adults are doing those things but more seriously!
There’s not that many examples where the bonds between family members or friends of different generations and mindsets are explored. These relationships are often more interesting to me as they have a whole range of subtleties we take for granted. An overbearing sense of duty and family responsibility is often used as a theme in anime, but we rarely see what that pressure does to the mundane day to day interactions of these characters. How do they talk to each other about a movie they both enjoyed? Do they get each other birthday presents, how do they choose them…? Communicating through a generation gap brings about so many unique challenges. To me, those little moments are treasures to be cherished. They ring true and have an understated importance that could never be equaled by passionate outbursts or dramatic highs.
I wish more shows explored them.
1) The workplace sitcom
No not the workplace romantic comedy or the workplace cute girls. Actual jokes. Punchlines. To be honest “workplace” isn’t really what I want to say but “adult” comedy could have given people the wrong impression. I want a comedic slice of life with grown ups in it. I enjoy them quite a bit with kids in them. Now I just want one that tackles concerns and issues that you start running across once you’re out of school and have your own mortgage or rent to pay. Once you can’t just *not* sleep because you’re not 14 anymore.
I suspect there are a lot of these and I just haven’t found them for some reason. I really liked I can’t understand what my Husband is saying. Love is like a Cocktail was also similar in style, but I just didn’t find it that funny. In any case, both are short programs, is it because adults don’t have any attention spans? Shiny! also both are romantic… Sop not like either of those. Shiny!
There’s my wish list! Bring on the suggestions! Am I still going to
waste my time, better myself with ridiculous brilliant boy idol shows…probably…
And how about you, any genre you’ve been wanting to watch lately but can’t seem to find an anime that fits? Let me know, I might have a suggestion. Spoilers, It’s going to be Natsume and UtaPri.