01 June 2001
I'm sure every Gundam Wing fan, or any other anime fan for that matter, has run across this horrible experience one way or another. It's the most dreadful, harmful, and damaging thing that could ever be done to a Japanese animation fanatic like me. However, this unforgiving act has been done to me for the last time. I was told, by my mother, that the shows I watch contain fictional characters, and that I needed to stop analyzing the "cartoon."
I'm sure that what I just said sounded absolutely ridiculous. But I'll explain myself. My name is Karen (duh), I'm 21 years old, and a junior at the University of Texas in San Antonio. (Go Roadrunners!) My hobbies include watching/writing about GW, and having the skill of being a complete and total asshole down to an art form. I am in love with Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, and my newest obsession, Rurouni Kenshin. I have either taped almost all of these episodes or have the DVD's. I have been involved with DBZ since I was 16, and with Gundam Wing since the first day it aired.
I'm use to criticism from my family. I'd rather be in front of the computer with a pack of smokes and a beer than out in a dirty club somewhere socializing and getting into yet another bar fight. I enjoy surrounding myself in bizarre and unrealistic universes in my writing and reading other authors' universes as well. What I don't appreciate is being told that what I like to do is stupid and that I need to grow up, especially when what I like to write and what other authors write about is nothing different from what professional authors are doing.
And how's that you ask?
The other day my younger brother and I were discussing (rather heatedly) whether or not the main character of another anime we were watching should've broken his oath to never kill again in order to execute his enemy. My mother was in the kitchen and we were in the living room, so she heard us going back and forth. She finally stepped into the room and told us, "I don't know why you two are arguing about this and why you write about this stuff. It's all just a cartoon. The characters aren't real."
Any other time I would've ignored her and kept on doing what I was doing. I started to do just that. But a thought uncurled itself from the back of my mind and before I could stop myself, I ran into the kitchen after her and slammed my iced-tea on the table. I explained to her that yes, my brother and I would stop analyzing the "cartoon." Not only that, every English and Literature department in every school should be closed down, every lit teacher should be lined up in front of their houses and shot in the head, and all libraries and book stores should be burned to the ground.
Of course, that got her attention very quickly.
She proceeded to ask me what the hell was my problem this time. I asked her if she has ever read A Tale of Two Cities. She told me that yes, she had. For those of you who might not know, this book is a classic in literature. I also asked if she read Silas Marner, Jane Eyre, The Crucible, War And Peace, Anna Karenina, MacBeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. I got the same answer each time. Now, these novels do have some characteristics from the real persons that lived in the time when they were written, and some (especially in Russian literature) also poke fun at the structure of the social classes. But for the most part, the characters in these novels are fictional. Fictional. These novels are being taught to damn near every child in every grammar and high school in the United States. These books have been analyzed by some of the most brilliant scholars and literary geniuses the world has to offer. All of this because of a well written book with likeable and abominable fictional characters.
To me, I don't see the difference between GW characters and other characters in these novels. They're all made up. The characters' actions and dialogue do and can relate to a specific time in history, and also make a point. I understand that completely, but GW does the same thing in my opinion. It doesn't really relate to a specific time in history (that I know of) but it does make a valuable point about the possible sacrifices in war and the trials to keep peace. I think that that is a better theme than a lot of other garbage that's out there nowadays.
I just don't understand why it's considered childish of me to watch a "cartoon" as she puts it, but it's okay to read a book. It's basically the same thing except one has to be read where the other is visual. It all comes down to the same goal: entertainment. Books are picked apart and analyzed by the characters, more than likely fictional characters, and I do the same thing with my anime. If anime lovers should stop analyzing their anime, then I think all books should be destroyed and one person or group of persons should tell us what to do and what to think.
The reason I am comparing anime to books is because that is typically the alternative to television. What do your parents say (or used to say) when they wanted you to stop watching television? Read a book. If you break it down, either one, whether it's the beloved Gundam Wing or any other novel topic that peaks your interest, both will provoke some type of creative reaction out of you, or at least get you to analyze a different perspective. Is it so bad that a "cartoon" can do this just as well as a book can?
Surprisingly, the argument didn't last long because I wanted to get back to my show, but for once she didn't have anything to say back. I don't know if it was because I had a valid point or because she didn't want to hear my mouth anymore. But this is just a little rant of mine that I decided to put up because I know I'm not the only one that has been bothered by this. I just think that sometimes, the way we think or the way people think in general is kind of double talk or two faced, and it's time that shit stopped. For example, I don't see the point of collecting stamps. They aren't being used, and all they're doing is taking up space. But just because I feel that way does not give me the right to criticize someone who does collects stamps. They may see and know a value and understanding to it that I'm not even aware of. Same with GW. There is a point and a value underneath it that can't be understood by just watching one episode or listening to a conversation from the kitchen. It has to be thought about and picked apart, just like you would do a book, before the significance can be fully understood.
There Mom. Analyze that.