Nostalgia and a Parlour Game

‘Give me,’ says Ghostlightning, ‘something you really want to see’. This exercise sounds amusing.

First, though, let’s question the rules. I have a hard time thinking of television I’d like to see, because I really want some careful, expensive animation, and a lot of televised anime rather lacks that.

I also distrust the excitement about newness and the rejection of nostalgia: as I’m sure GL knows, nostalgia felt in 2012 for, say, the seventies is at least as much a new, fresh event of 2012 as a desire for the new. Indeed, nostalgia is more current than neophily, because modern people always want new things, unthinkingly, while nostalgia entails an awareness of the present’s difference from the past, and of past’s distance. The nostalgic fan knows that they are in the-year-of-our-Lord 2012, which the neophile does not, or at least does not automatically.

At least, that’s what I imagine it feels like. As my fanhood dates to the noughties, I’m incapable of feeling nostalgia for anime.  Arcadia of My Youth and Mouretsu Pirates are equally new to me. I’m in my mid-twenties and so barely capable of feeling nostalgia for anything: I just haven’t been sentient for very long.

Anyhow, what would I like to see? Well, I have a soft spot for Britsploitation material. That’s why I was able to enjoy a surprisingly large amount of Earl and Fairy, why I like Hellsing more than I should and why I might watch the K-ON film despite never having dabbled in the franchise before. So I’d enjoy something set in the UK, and I’d probably enjoy its inaccuracies at least as much as its accuracies.

It must have some mecha element, that’s a given. I propose motorcycles that transform into exoskeletons, perhaps operated by an organisation which cynically uses a Big Society social enterprise as a front. Less glamourous than Harlington-Straker Film Studios, but it’ll have to do. Grudgingly, I’d accept a limited number of fights, not for the narrative reasons offered by GL in his hypothetical title, but to hoard money so that what action there is can look nice. So substantial amounts of time should be spent on detective work and quietly tense pavement-pounding. But the tone of the show should have an irreverent edge to it, not dissimilar to, though more tongue-in-cheek than, Darker Than Black‘s hardboiled episodes. Perhaps Yousuke Kuroda (in a good phase) and maybe Hiroyuki Kawasaki writing, though I’ve no sense for this sort of thing. tl;dr? Scryed in the Shellsing.

Or, if you don’t like that, how about a slow-burning anime about the Fermi paradox, with particular inspiration, though no outright adaption, from The Killing Star‘s take?

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7 responses to “Nostalgia and a Parlour Game

  1. Anime you can sip your Earl Grey to..mmm..

    Actually, I’d love to see an animated session of question time at the House of Commons. It’d be great to hear the Japanese voice actors take on that~

  2. Our reasons for the limited number of fights are actually very similar. The few set pieces “give license” for the production to kind of cut corners, but the big fights must be awesome, otherwise it’s unforgivable.

  3. Nice post–spot on.

    My fandom goes back to the late 1980s….which shows just how long I’ve been filling my eyes with this stuff.

    “I also distrust the excitement about newness and the rejection of nostalgia.” True, I also do the same–up to a point. I do try to see the new but refuse to kick the old to the curb.

  4. You should be distrustful of both newness and nostalgia. Neither have any awareness because most peoples recollections of the past are false, unless they have documented written history of their opinions during those times. Newness on the other hand is likewise colored by the novel but quickly sours. Both are examples of temporocentrism in that both look down on a certain time period. Neither I think is very constructive for a discerning anime fan.

  5. When you’re as hardboiled as darker than black characters, you know its going to be interesting.

    As for nostalgia, I would agree. I don’t feel that nostalgic about a huge lot of things and what I do feel nostalgic about, I tend to take with a pinch of salt. Its easy to accentuate and massage the collective awesomeness from something you saw as a child and even more so to turn what you might find now to be mediocre – otherwise into a legend. Hence why people rave on about the legend that was Beyblade and DBZ yet hardly seem to be able to explain why they loved it.

    As Taka above said, newness falls into the same trap. The idea of looking ahead into new new, true and shiny blue gives us pearl coloured lenses on our anime goggles which lend us to crediting a “new” anime as the next best thing when relative to your collective preferences, doesn’t quite hit that mark. This is seen countless times with new anime hype, things like Steins;Gate being hailed as the next best thing – I loved Steins;Gate but it is by no means a masterpiece.

  6. It’s odd how nostalgia can be shattered – I maintain that Ozma would have been, if it were released in ’84, a cult classic – the “lost Takahashi and Leiji collaboration” that everyone would want to see subs of, might have got an awful ADV or Manga dub, and /m/ would probably rave over it like it does Gundam X etc.

    As it was it was a couple of decades too late to be good, and the limitations of the 80s sci fi OVA showed through – the plot was so by the numbers as to be painful, the attempts at modernising Leiji’s style didn’t work and overall it was just weak.

  7. Hey animanachronism, you haven’t wrote a post for a long while. I was wondering why you haven’t? Anyways, hope to see you writing again!

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