Russell A. Mebane - African American Science Fiction Writer
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Anime is not just for kids

Well, my pitch for cracked.com didn't go over well.  They said that the list wasn't specific enough.  They're probably right.  There are a lot of VERY mature animes out there.  Maybe I could do one on why "The Princess & the Frog" was offensive to Black people.  I can come up with at least 3 entries on that one.  Well, since it won't be on Cracked, here it is for my own fans to see.


   6 Reasons Anime Is Not Just for Kids   Whenever people find out that I watch anime, they assume that I’m a 30-something adult desperately trying to cling to his childhood.  Animes are cartoons from Japan that appear to be mostly about giant robots and schoolgirls in miniskirts.  It’s also been previously mentioned that animes are usually directed at kids, but these aren’t the shows I watch.  These are the shows that, while they’re not porn (that’s called “hentai”), they’re definitely not for kids either.   These are hard-hitting shows with plots, themes, symbolism, blood, gore, and sex.  What’s more, these are the English-dubbed versions that usually take that stuff out.  I’m talking bleak, bloody shows like…    

6.               
Claymore  This is a show set in a medieval wasteland where the world lives in fear of demons called Yoma.  The Yoma eat human flesh naturally, and when you think you’ve got a demon gnawing on your grandma, you call a Claymore.  The Claymores are a bunch of female demon-slayers that also happen to have a little demon blood themselves.  The more they tap into their demon side, the stronger they get.  The stronger a Claymore gets, the more they turn into a Yoma.  Sounds cool, right?  

The Serious Part
  A Claymore turning into a flesh-eating demon is a metaphor for succumbing to grief.  Every Claymore on the show that ends up turning into a demon does so because they are grieving over the loss of a loved one, the very gruesome, blood-soaked loss of a loved one.    The entire first season tells the story of one Claymore seeking revenge against one particular Yoma.  Unfortunately, this Yoma is so strong that the Claymore must turn into a Yoma herself in order to beat it.  Only when the Claymore has learned to deal with her grief and forgive the Yoma does she turn back to normal.   

Why It’s Not for Kids…
  Did I mention that the Yoma eat people?  Yeah…  They show it:  arms being gnawed on, tearing at flesh, crunching bone, etc.  It’s graphic.  Then there are the swordfights.  What kind of swords do they use?  Why claymores, of course!  Big, ol’ nasty broadswords swinging and hacking limbs off.  Woo hoo!  It’s a great show!   Oh, and a little girl gets raped off camera.  Uh, no…not for kids.                 

5.         Gunslinger Girl
  Before you even think it, the show is not about girls in school uniforms assassinating people.  It’s a show about CYBORG girls in school uniforms assassinating people.  Yes, girls plural.  They’re all victims of horrific accidents, but the Italian government has rebuilt them, better, stronger, and faster.  Yes, I’m deadly serious.  The show takes place in a future where Italy has enough money to make cyborg girls.  Wacky, right?   

The Serious Part
  The show explores non-sexual male-female relationships.  Each girl is paired with a guy and the guy is supposed to train the girl to be an assassin. There are six girls and each relationship is completely non-sexual.  One pair acts like a brother and sister.  Another acts like father and daughter.  Another acts like abuser and abused.  Yeah, the show gets that deep.  The writers were trying to show that these relationships can still persist even in the absence of sex.   

Why It’s Not for Kids…
  These little girls kill at least one person every episode.  They’re assassins.  They’re not proud of what they do, but it’s the only life they have left.  This brings us to the bleakness.  These girls have the most horrible lives ever.  If you can watch this show without feeling sorry for those girls, then you have no soul.  The oldest girl is only 13.  They don’t go to school and they don’t have any friends.  Their parents don’t even know they’re alive.  All they have is each other.  The series finale is one of the girls dying in a hospital bed while watching fireworks go off outside.  Do not let your kids watch this show unless you want them to lose faith in humanity.    Oh, and don’t watch season 2.  They throw that “no sex” thing right out the window.               

4.         Fullmetal Alchemist ( & FMA Brotherhood)
  Don’t give me that look.  Yes, Fullmetal Alchemist is on this list.  Yes, you can watch the show on Cartoon Network, but, remember, it’s only on Adult Swim.  As in no kids in the pool.  It’s for adults.  Yes, it’s fun, and I’ve seen no end of cosplayers dressed as Lt. Hawkeye, but it doesn’t change the fact that this show is not for children.    I say this show and not “these” shows because the shows have essentially the same story.  Brotherhood is just longer with more action and a happy ending.    For the uninitiated, Fullmetal Alchemist is a show about two kids named Ed and Al Elric.  They both practice alchemy and are looking for a philosopher’s stone to help them with some things that they’ve lost.  More on that later.  

The Serious Part
  One of the main themes of both shows is that there is no “equivalent exchange”.  Basically, the show says bad things can happen to good people and not everyone gets what they want.  

Why It’s Not for Kids…
  Remember when I mentioned that Ed & Al had lost some things?  Well, those things they lost were Al’s body and Ed’s arm and leg.  They did it while trying to bring their dead mother back to life with alchemy.  Yes, that scene had lots of blood in it.  Oh, Al’s soul is bonded to that suit of armor.  Ed used the blood from his severed arm to do it, so yeah, it’s a gory show.  Is it gorier than an episode of CSI?  Yes, definitely yes.  I love it, but I will not let my daughter watch it until she’s at least a teenager.                 

3.         Paranoia Agent
  Now you’ve probably also seen this show on Adult Swim.  If you have, you probably remember how weird it was.  Again, Adult Swim is not for kids.  What’s the show about?  Oh, some kid that beats people with a gold metal bat every episode.   The Serious Part  The show is a cautionary tale of how one little lie can destroy a city, especially if that city is Tokyo.  The kid with the bat is one girl’s lie that other people hear about.  The more people hear about the kid, the stronger the kid becomes.  Near the end, he becomes a maelstrom of blackness and death that sweeps through the city.  Only when the girl tells the truth and takes responsibility for her actions is the city saved.   

Why It’s Not for Kids…
  Well, it does have a kid that beats someone with a metal bat in every episode.  That’s reproducible behavior.  There’s some blood, yes, but let’s be real: the show’s weird.  It’s weird by anime standards.  The show is like Vanilla Sky with candy corn sprinkles wrapped around anything Tim Burton’s made.  In fact, don’t even worry about your kids watching the show.  Worry about you watching the show.  I like the show, sure, but that’s only because I’ve come to accept my own creepiness.                 

2.         Aquarion
  Alright, no more Adult Swim shows.  It’s nothing but real-deal-Holyfield, oh-crap-what-am-I-watching shows from now on.  The premise for this one sounds simple enough: a team of people pilot ships to form a giant robot and save the world.  The robot’s name is Aquarion.  Simple…   The Serious Part  The main theme of the show is that people need to come together and love each other.  Forgiveness, love, acceptance, blah, blah-blah, blah-blah, etc.  

Why It’s Not for Kids…
  The pilots achieve orgasm every time they form Aquarion.  Watch the clip. Skip to 1:17.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssftz10SXZQ  

You may have also noticed the girl around 1:30 who seems disappointed that her brother is merging with another female.  Yeah, she wants to have sex with her brother.  Then there’s the lesbian who makes things explode whenever she’s around her true love.  A child is tortured to death.  An angel rips off its own wings.  You can watch a good bit of the series on YouTube, but, ummm, NSFW.  Enjoy!                

1.         Elfen Lied
  Hmm…  Let’s see.  What to say about Elfen Lied…  Strange?  Yes.  Adult?  Very.  Powerful?  Could be.  The show is a cross between Three’s Company and Beauty and the Beast, only with a little more sex and A LOT more violence.  What did I tell you?  This is a real-deal-Holyfield, oh-crap-what-am-I-watching, balls-to-the-wall show.  It’s not for kids, wussies, or anime noobs.  If you’re new to watching anime, pick another show.  Go on, shoo!  Get away from Elfen Lied.  It is not for you.  Adult Swim loved the premise, but knew it could never be aired on television.  Remember, it’s not porn.  It’s just hardcore.   

The Serious Part
  The show is about the pitfalls of discrimination and genocide.  The show could be placed in the harem category of anime where a bunch of women come to live with one guy in the same house and try to sex him.  However, this show turns that entire idea completely on its head.  The women that come to this man’s house are traumatic victims of a cruel, uncaring world and it is only through unconditional love (not sex) that he is able to help them deal with their very big problems.   

Why It’s Not for Kids…
  Well, the show is about love, but I’m guessing the writers knew they had to dress the story up with a little sex and violence.  Here’s a little taste.  That’s right.  The very first image you see on the show is a bleeding severed arm.  This is soon followed by an exploding head.  Yes, that clip is from YouTube, but that’s only because the poster edited out the nudity.  Yes, it is an English-dubbed anime.  No, it is not censored.  Also, if you let your kid watch this show, YOU ARE A BAD PARENT.  Yes, it is a very powerful and well done show, and it should NEVER, ever be watched by children.  With all this being said, anime is not just for kids.  If you STILL don’t believe me:   Blassreiter Gun X Sword Gungrave M.D. Geist Speedgrapher Basilisk Rin

65 Comments to Anime is not just for kids:

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Kalvin on Monday, February 22, 2016 11:06 AM
its a funny post to me, though anime is impotent, small children should take part in many outdoor games. now a days anime is not educative or informative, so they should avoid it and pass their time in a open field on the fresh air.
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Russell A Mebane on Saturday, April 21, 2018 5:44 PM
I am pro-life, but...umm...the article was about mature anime shows, and not just the women in them.


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