Anime Crackhead

My newest weird search term!

anime drug user

This one makes me so proud! I don’t know how I got that one, but I’d like to thank the academy and my dealer.

anime drug user

Wait. What? No. That wasn’t quite right

Ahem. I’d like to thank the academy and yo mama.

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Pom Poko: Review(ish) of a Fucked Up Animovie

The Geek Squad

I’ve recently been welcomed into the geek fold at work. They don’t know it (yet), but I refer to them as the Geek Squad (shut up, BestBuy, this isn’t about you). I’ve always known they were geeks – I mean, come on. Boys are usually pretty obvious about such things. But they (well, most of them) didn’t know it about me.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had to work closely with a couple of them on a new project. The geekiness seeped out, and I found my people. Half a dozen or so dudes who say “fuck” a lot, trade anime and books and play video games together. Some of them are married, while others still live at home. I’m totally picturing a basement full of gadgets, anime and porn, maybe a D&D table, with mom or grandma scornfully delivering PB&J, laundry and classifieds every few hours.

Anatomy of a (Stephanie) Geek

For the record, I’m only about half-geek. Something like: Half anime/comics/gamer geek. Three-quarters introverted, dark corner dwelling book nerd. Four-fifths anti-establishment, pot-smoking smartass. (Just trust my math on this, okay? I’m smart.) Some of the guys are more overtly geeky, while some of them look like total heads but talk a very geeky game.

Herman the Hipster Slings Porn in the Parking Lot

A week or so ago, Herman the Hipster (seriously, no idea that one was a geek) received a boon. One of his recently married friends was ordered by his not-so-geeky wife to get rid of his anime collection. My argument, upon hearing this, was how in the fuck did she not know she was marrying a geek? Didn’t she know what she was getting? Didn’t he take her for a test drive in his replica batmobile? And how in the fuck did he not know he was marrying a controlling bitch? If he’s as geeky as his (formerly) outlandishly massive collection of anime indicates, then he was probably grateful to be getting any booty at all. (I somehow doubt he’ll remain grateful for long.)

So that was how Herman the Hipster happened upon three trunkfuls of anime. And I don’t mean a pocket-sized Prius trunk. I mean the back of a Toyota Forerunner. We’re talking individual films, box sets of entire anime seasons, leather-bound collector’s editions of super rare ones, and one super secret super pervy porny hentai box set at the bottom of a big bin.

Herman the Hipster decided to sell off his friend’s (former) collection at cut rates to any interested coworkers, then sell the rest on ebay at the going prices. So cigarillo-smoking, assumed-to-be-pothead Pookie informed me of the deals goin’ down in the parking lot. (Doesn’t everyone know a Pothead Pookie? This is at least the second one I’ve known.)

Apparently, like three of the lonelier geeks got into a serious bid-war for the hentai box set. I suppose they found the artwork enticing: picture a naked anime chick with a rack the size of the wheels on a monster truck. She’s floating in space – hovering, I imagine, directly over the bed of a sexually frustrated geekboy – covered in what I can only hope is icing. All of the icing in the world, after the cupcake factory exploded. On her tits.

Pookie Prophesies in the Parking Lot

But that all happened once I was out of the way…they couldn’t exactly let the chick see them locked in a bid-war for porntoons. While I was out there with Herman the Hipster, Pookie the Pothead and Manbun Merv, Herman shows us the ones he’s set aside for himself. One of which was Pom Poko.

Heisei.Tanuki.Gassen.Pom.Poko.full.69629
Looks like a harmless little anime, doesn’t it? Looks can be deceiving, my friends.
Pookie looked to be in the throes of traumatic flashbacks.

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: Dude, what the fuck are you keeping that for? Burn it!
Herman the Hipster: What? It sounds cute. I’m gonna show it to my daughter.

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: What the fuck is the matter with you?! You can’t show that to your kid!
Herman the Hipster: Haha what? Why not?

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: Dude. You show that shit to your kid, and she’ll be traumatized for life. I’m telling you. It’s about these…these…these fucking fucked up fucking squirrels, man!

Manbun Merv: *chuckles* What’s wrong with squirrels?

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: OH MY GOD. DO NOT SHOW THIS SHIT TO YOUR KIDS. It’s…it’s about these squirrels, man…

Stephanie the Smartass She-Geek: Those look like raccoons to me, Pookie.
Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: Oh my god, woman! That’s not the point! These fucked up little animals..they try to save their homeland, right? And they use their motherfucking nutsacks to do it!

Everyone dissolves into laughter. Pretty sure I snorted and doubled over.

Stephanie the She-Geek: That sounds like the best thing ever!
Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: That’s because you don’t understand! Herman, you can not show this shit to your kid. I’m telling you, they use their nutsacks to fight the humans.

At this point, we all take turns quizzing him about the nature of these nutsacks. We’re all under the impression that he means…like a sack of nuts. Peanuts or something that they’ve gathered. Cuz Pookie keeps referring to them as squirrels.

Stephanie the She-Geek: But it’s Studio Ghibli!
Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: It’s Studio FUCKED UP is what it is!
Stephanie the She-Geek: You’re just being a perv!
Manbun Merv: Pookie man, that’s kinda fucked up.

Herman the Hipster: Okay, okay, how about this. Stephanie, you take it home and watch it. Then bring it back to me and let me know if you think Pookie is just retarded. I really think my kids would like it.

Pookie the Parking Lot Prophet: I see how y’all are, man. Fine! That’s fine! All I can say is good luck, Stephanie. You’re gonna regret watching that fucked up shit.

Stephanie Regrets Watching that Fucked Up Shit

Dudes, Pookie was totally right. I was absolutely convinced that he was reading into it with a dirty mind. I do it, too. I mean, hell, a bunch of animals using their sacks of nuts to fight? I’d have had dirty thoughts about it, too. So I was totally convinced that Pookie was just being a perv, and the movie would be completely innocent.

But Pookie was right. Those little raccoons. They weren’t using sacks of peanuts. They were using their fucking testicles!

The basic premise of the movie is that humans have encroached upon the raccoons’ territory, to the point where they’re running out of places to live. So the raccoons devise a scheme to push the humans back and make them stop development. A pretty common theme for kid flicks. But these raccoons’ scheme involved teaching the youth the ancient skill of shape-shifting.

That’s right. And do you know one of the things that the little male raccoons liked to shapeshift?

Their nutsacks.

Pom Poko Nads
Just look at their little nuts! All up in your face!
Umbrellas, parachutes, carpets. Or murdering humans by stretching their nuts out over big chasms then pulling back when a vehicle drives upon it. I shit you not, y’all. Take a look:

pompoko

pompoko2

pompoko 8

Pookie was right. I couldn’t even finish it. Not because of the nuts. That was super fucking bizarre and funny in a fucked up kinda way. But because it was boring. I just couldn’t get into the story at all.

I returned the DVD to Herman with a sticky that said, “2 out of 2 geeks agree: do NOT show this to your kids!” Unless he wants his daughter asking Santa for a pair of nuts so she can fight the man, too!

I did some digging afterward, wondering what was up with these testicularly gifted critters and found out that they’re modeled after the Tanuki: a Japanese raccoon-dog of lore, with pendulous nads and shape-shifting abilities.

tanuki

I love learning about different cultures, but this was quite a surprise. I believe I could have gone my whole life without knowing about the…gifted tanuki.

So uhm. Yeah. Note to self: Listen to Pookie.

Take it or Leave it: Steins;Gate (Episodes 1 through 3)

steinsgate-full-1097371

This anime with the weirdly punctuated name (Steins;Gate – REALLY?!) is supposed to be my jam. I’ve had it downloaded for a while, but I was busy finishing up FMAB (Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood…much better punctuation in that one). Barring a few exceptions, I’m super late to anime and only seriously got into it within the last five years.

This semi-wannabe-kinda sorta review thingy should be taken with this in consideration: I just came off of FMAB. And, quite frankly (hi again, Frank), I don’t think anything can or will ever top it. Naturally, after coming off of something of such epic magnitude, the first thing to follow is going to be a huge, flaccid disappointment. (Yes, I meant to say flaccid.) (Yes I know what flaccid means.) (Okay, I’ll stop saying flaccid.) (Prude.)

So. Steins;Gate.

The Premise

“After discovering time travel, a university student and his colleagues must use their knowledge of it to stop an evil organization and their diabolical plans.” (Premise brought to you by a direct copy/paste from IMDb. Because I’m lazy. But I’m no plagiarist – I cite my sources. Hmph.)

Here’s another direct copy/paste – this time from user j4x: “Okabe Rintarou, an university student who refers to himself as Crazy Mad Scientist Hououin Kyouma and his lab’s members work on a microwave device that can transfer messages to the past. Without getting captured, they should get it working in order to beat the evil organization, SERN and stop their evil plans.”

Sounds right up my alley, alright. So I understand the recommendation. Anime? Check. Sci-fi? Check. Time travel? Check. Conspiracy theories? Check. Mental disturbances? Check. Social anxiety? Check. Good vs. Evil? Check. Geeky/pervy techy sidekick? Check. Smart women? Check. I mean, really. There are so many things for me to like about this.

But I’ve had problems with it, and I’m only three episodes in.

Problems I’ve had with it, only three episodes inMayuri_full_profile

Mayuri Shiina is a major character. As the lifelong friend and financier/snack supplier of the main character, Mayuri is around a lot. She works at some cafe where she dresses like a kitty cat and prances and meows for customers. Look, I get it. A lot of pre-teen or even teenaged geeks really dig watching adult anime girls dress and act like helpless little girls in short skirts and tiny little voices. And oh my god does Mayushii have a tiny little voice. It drives me batshit. The character is sweet, unassuming, just darling. Fine. But does she have to sound like an infant? Grump grump grump. Steins;Gate does have at least one strong female character that I’ve met thus far. But Mayuri gets under my skin. I think FMAB spoiled me to strong chicks in anime. To be fair, they haven’t fan serviced her yet. Yet.

Let’s not even talk about the pink-haired coworker of Mayuri. She’s up there in the promo pic. So far, I’ve only seen her in her work costume. With kitten ears and making her hands into paws. So she can act like a cat. And meow. I may have just vomited typing that. Not yet. But close.

There are also these scenes where the mad scientist is hanging out in hacker chat rooms trying to solve his mysteries. (Are they mysteries, or is he crazy? That’s a major plot point, and that is somewhat intriguing. But I’m also pretty sure the answer to that is obvious.) Okabe/Hououin goes into these underground hacker/conspiracy chat rooms, and you (the viewer) are looking at the screen and inundated with lines and lines of chat room text. It’s overwhelming, and I get superanxious trying to read all of it. How are you to know which pieces to pay attention to and which to discard as extraneous information? ARGH! I should have taken a screenshot so you can see what I mean. But I didn’t, and I’m at work. So. Yeah. I kept pausing over and over and over again so that I wouldn’t miss a single line of text. I’m sure most of it was extraneous and irrelevant, but I couldn’t help myself. Text was there! Demanding to be read!

I just haven’t been grabbed. It hasn’t captivated me yet. Is it because of the annoying little things I’m picking apart? Or do I have time to pick it apart and notice annoying little things because it hasn’t captivated me yet?

Things I do Like Thus FarDaru_profile

Itaru, better known as Daru, is the hacker of the top secret future lab. UGH. And I just got a fucking spoiler when I looked for a picture of him to include here. And now I’m pissed! Hmph. Don’t google the show unless you want spoilers. Anyway! Daru is the stereotypical otaku guy. Fat, lazy, geeky, whip-smart with all things techy/computer. And he’s a pervert. It’s funny watching him call Okabe out on his eccentricities and delusions. And it’s funnier still when he tries to make the girls say things like, “his banana is floppy.” I like Daru. Daru makes me laugh, and that’s super important.

I love how weird and eccentric and over-the top Okabe is. His labcoat. His maniacal laughter. The way he speaks into his phone…while it’s switched off. How convinced he is of his delusions. And how real I really think they are.

The time travel. The conspiracy theories. The phone microwave time machine thingy. The gel bananas. The floppy gel bananas. The mean (but not really) super. The time jumps and multiple timelines. Love it.

To Continue or Cut My Losses

Only three episodes in, now is the time to quit if I’m not diggin’ it. I mean, I’ve only put in an hour of my life thus far. And that’s not too bad at all, especially when there isn’t much else demanding my time. But there are things I hate about it…cut and run.

On the other hand, not everyone can be royalty. I mean. It’s unfair to hold all anime up to FMAB or Ghibli standards (puhleeze). It would be akin to choosing your favorite artist or musician and saying that all else is garbage because it’s not such and such artist or musician. We aren’t going to fall head-over-heels for everything. It’s acceptable to just like something, right? But it’s also probably not a good idea to leave a RHCP concert and expect me to swoon over Yanni five minutes later. I mean, let’s get real. For fucks sake.

Yeah. I’m gonna give it more time. It’s not like I’m hating it. So I’ll watch a few more episodes and reassess.

See? That wasn’t so difficult, now, was it? Now to figure out dinner. Decisions suck. Grump grump grump.

Salvaging Saturday: Anime & You

ShaoMayMiniPandaI don’t have heaps to say right now. My head still isn’t right. But it’s super important to me to say: THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone who messaged me. Everyone who read and related or just heard. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and didn’t message. Seriously, thanks. Y’all got me out of bed – or at least awake and functioning – today. Those little “plings” of support, alerting me to each new like or message. At first I resisted even reading them. And then I realize that means that I was resisting feeling better. So I called myself out and read your warm messages. And let you pull me out of my funk, far enough out that I’ve fed myself and played with the cats and am watching anime and letting myself smile and relax a bit. Thank you.

And thanks anime. I mean, seriously. Check out that spirited little mini-panda. Who could resist smiling at that?

I’m going to shower and scrounge up food. Maybe I’ll even get out and go to the grocery store. What?! Thanks, y’all.