Over the last few years LBGT+ anime have come to the mainstream in a way not explored before and I’m not going to list them all as they all have their own merits and angles that show the diversity of the subject (story) they are covering.
With higher profile anime that feeds the LGBT+ corner it’s nice to know that the writers such as Kunihiko Ikuhara are looking at how we feel rather than what we represent. Wow that’s a big thing to say about sarazanmai, however I myself feel strongly that this is just as important if not more so than its overall representation. Other anime and manga have looked at the characters presence as a lever to create links which isn’t bad in itself but loses an individual’s (viewers/readers) own feelings in the process.
While the message of an anime is key to some stories do we all relate to the expression or do we fool ourselves with its cuteness or character build/design. What happens in previous anime is we fall in love with the character (rather than imagining how we would respond) and get caught up in the story. To feel something you first have to absorb an emotion or stimulus to get a response, but how do we do this?
For myself when I was 14 I found this very hard to do and it’s interesting to see how today the story focuses on connections to others and how although things have changed over time with technology, do we still cower away from the fear of how others would react?
The anime I’m talking about today is Sarazanmai and the reason is quite simple, it reaches my feelings rather than my overriding wish for the world to understand who I am. When I was young I had no literature to back up my feelings and conflicting emotions that I could not express due to social acceptance. In the times we now live we don’t hang on to the same reference points as the transience of our cluttered lives filled with stimulus that is often disconnected. What I took from the show (and my limited understanding of its reference points) is that while we have a virtual connection to potentially everyone our own real life experience is often limited to our external persona rather than what we want to release.
This anime is simple (and otterly amazing) to the extent it highlights and puts a spotlight on the interactions between the three main characters and what they feel. With their own secrets that they come to the story with its clear that they relate to each other on a level that has its own dimension. The extra scenes that reveal the boys secrets are linked together in a repeating dream like world where they band together to extract shirikodama from a ghosts anus. What we get is more insight into the story in this section. Many viewers at this point may be wondering why the shirikodama is so closely linked with desire and how it relates to our essence as humans. What does it represent to an individual? Each episode delivers this extracting with the viewer acknowledging an emotion of their own at the end of each episode.
Before I even read any articles or reviews I could understand with clarity what the writer wanted to express but what would you say if you had the chance? Would it be desire, love, or a deeper connection that surpasses all of these?
Kappa served on three dishes of hope.
Kazuki, Toi, and Enta are on the face of it three boys who have their own desires and wishes searching for a way to express them to those they care about. Life and desire are woven together through a visual montage of sounds, neo traditional imagery and colour throughout each story to the point that the characters just have to go with their best efforts to assimilate and process the information. The lack of an adult perspective in this anime keeps it fun and gets successfully gets across the boys understanding of what’s happening around them without any hang-ups on how we label and put people into boxes. (although again the boxes might have more than one meaning).
Now we have got the obvious out of the way we can now look at the totally addictive comedy in the story because it can’t be overlooked at how its cleverly inserted not only to keep pace but to emphasise how different people can be. This is added through almost absurd and weird dance (パラパラ ?) and songs mixed into the story. If I was any good at dancing then I might give the dirty otter cop dance a go however that’s not going to happen unless someone teaches me the moves first.
With the revealing of the boys secrets an interjection of comedy is released. It not only surprises you but is almost impolitely and rudely fashioned to the point you cant help but laugh (and in my case crying).
Wring out the desire.
Is desire just an interpretation of how we acknowledge the existence of relationships as a transient fluidity and connections just a common medium on the scale of social normality that links us together in the bigger world? The common wordplay in the anime shows how things can have double meanings and deeper connotations that are sometimes misinterpreted on their face value. If you look closely at the words from the music lyrics and transcripts you can see how closely everything is related yet almost bizarrely fixed together at the same time.
Is this an attempt at the values mainstream society gives to what we teach as we grow up and the often shallow lies that permeate through anything that is seen as sexual or loving? And what are we doing with the desire are we discarding it or are we collecting its essence to solidify its meaning? Mistranslation, misinterpretation, falsification are all tools that exclude us from the bigger circle and makes it harder to find where we feel most safe and suppress what we truly are as humans.
Don’t kick the people you care about.
Throughout the episodes there is a persistent theme of however tennuas the link you don’t treat those you care about badly. This is evident in each of the boys sub story background episodes and without realising it the viewer acknowledges this themselves. The way the writer reveals personal secrets from each of the characters without condemnation is refreshing way to look at how we accept our own wishes. Having my own thoughts on emotional development and how it changes people in a negative way and experiencing this firsthand gives me hope that we may stumble upon a way of learning that spreads acceptance instead. Equality is something that has to be practiced to be received and should not be expected by default just because you identify differently. By accepting your own differences and wishes you can then sympathize with other people’s desires without the usual negative (adult) reaction.
On a personal note I kick those I love every day in how I react and I’m not proud of that as I suppose I have changed because of the adult perspective that has often been forced upon me. Wow but you say “that sounds so melodramatic” and yes it is that’s just how I feel when someone’s best kitchen crockery gets broken by the world.