12Days six: Watanuki’s Fiery Skies

Ever read xxxHolic? It’s old now, I suppose. I loved it when it was coming out, and owned nearly all of it. It turns out the reason the ending made no sense was simply because I’d missed a volume, oops. I decided to re-read it this year, in an attempt to sell it when I was finished. I have a few volumes left to go, but I did sell them, alas. I needed the space, and there’s a lot of xxxHolic.

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12 Days Five: Nyarko-san’s Time of Her Life

And now for something a bit different. This deck is called Arcane Bullshit, and it’s pretty weird. Occultists need senses of humor, or else we risk becoming the asshole at the party talking about chakras and Kundalini. Let’s not do that. So for today’s post I wanted to talk about Nyarko-San: The Crawling Chaos. So it seemed appropriate to dig this deck out. Continue reading “12 Days Five: Nyarko-san’s Time of Her Life”

12 Days three: Haruka’s Fiery Struggle

For day three let’s talk about Sailor Moon Crystal. The second series aired this year. It’s been a very long time since I watched an anime week to week, but I did with this one. The story arc covered by the second series was always one of my favorites. I loved Haruka, even in high school. So everything from the news of which arc they were covering to that crazy ED about Haruka and Michiru got me hyped up.

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12 Days Two: Handa-Sensei’s Return to the Earth

Let’s talk about Barakamon. I started it this year, though I haven’t quite finished it yet. As a guy who does amateur calligraphy and once studied Japanese, I’m all over a show like Barakamon. Wikipedia reminded me, just now, that the title itself refers to “an easy going guy,” which Handa-Sensei certainly is not. As our client, what can we tell him about himself?

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12 Days One: Hanekawa’s Sword Problem

It’s the first day of the annual 12 Days tradition. I’ve got a gimmick this year. I’m doing tarot readings for characters in anime. If you’ve got a tarot deck lying around somewhere, you should give things like this a try. I started doing it when I was watching The Last Temptation of Christ several years ago. It helped me understand the characters very well. Our first client is Hanekawa Tsubasa from Bakemonogatari. I rewatched this series this year. In this case, I taught the first two episodes. I’ll only do readings for shows I watched this year.

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1: Binbo Bamboo

What’s missing from our header image this time? If you’re having a really hard time answering that question, then you’re experiencing the phenomenon that underlies my revelatory moment this year. I watched Bamboo Blade with TheKittyMeister (I’d seen it before) and she helped me realize one of the reasons I like the show so much, something I’d never thought of myself. Something I’m in a much better position to notice now…

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6: Tear Adorably

We have all had fights that, afterwards, seem pretty stupid. You can probably think of some of yours right now. Did your face get kinda warm? Like you should open a window or something? Yeah.

Well. My partner and I once had a huge, screaming, crying, hours-long fight about Toradora.

This is not a joke. But it happened this year, so it’s certainly a moment.

See, remember when I said I have a problem watching anime with people now? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding. I did that thing I’m supposed to be way too mature and old and experienced and educated to do: I got mad someone didn’t like a show I did. So when people tell you to relax and calm down and let people like what they like, that’s great advice and absolutely what you should do. But it appears to be somewhat natural to want people to like stuff you like. Not everyone feels that way, but way more than one or two of us do. So it’s cool, relax. We all do that. Well, I do that, and I’m kind of paid for my skill not to do it.

I’m not going to get weird and talk all about our fight and personal stuff and what have you. Basically it was a fight instead of a discussion because I should have gotten a glass of water and come back in the room after a minute and said, “Hey, you know what?” I didn’t do that.

But basically it was misinterpreting behavior as meaning. Yeah, that thing we have to do all the time, but are bad at all the time.

So why is this a moment I want to remember? It certainly gives me something to avoid doing. I kind of did that recently, remembering this and not getting bent out of shape. That was nice.

But for anyone reading, the point is more that it revealed my deep attachment to a show I hadn’t watched for a while (it has a good Christmas story, too). It was a moment when I wanted to share something and got confused. Which is pretty much what the characters do all the damn time. So that’s insightful. Probably.

7: Ore Monogatari and Mourning My Dad

I mentioned a few days ago that my dad died recently. Well, this one’s sort of about that.

I started watching Ore Monogatari the day before yesterday (I’m writing early in the morning 12/19; I’m already up to episode 12). I was exercising and watching episodes (like you do), and damn if there isn’t an episode about Suna’s dad in the hospital.

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8: Buns, hun

I mentioned that TheKittyMeister and I sit around and watch anime sometimes now that we’re all married ‘n’ shit. Here’s another one of those. I totally made her watch Sailor Moon Crystal. See, I watched Sailor Moon in the days of yore, back on Toonami. That’s what I did when I got home from school (when band practice didn’t keep me at school late). I basically assumed she had also done this, but in fact she’d never seen it.

Well, what was I going to do? I wasn’t going to watch the original show, that’s trash (I kid; seriously, though, it’s too damn long). I hear the consensus when Crystal came out was that it wasn’t very good? For the first six episodes I was totally on board; Chibi-Usa arc started to show some of the cracks in the edifice this redux was trying to build, but still I liked it.

More importantly, TheKittyMeister managed to make sense of everything with minimal input from me, so clearly it kept track of things well enough (she hated Chibi-Usa too! It’s nice to keep bonding in a relationship).

It was a fun experience to “rewatch” something while watching something new. That’s the appeal of this stuff, I imagine. But more importantly, at this precise moment, is the conversations Kitty and I had. She spent time speculating all sorts of weird things about the show. I can’t remember any, I hope she’ll reply with some. See, anime is, for some reason, one of the things I have trouble sharing with her. It’s super-weird; we bonded a little when we were doing the awkward “hanging out while mutually wanting to date” thing over anime. She recognized Tenchi Muyo dvds from images on the case (yes I own the latest Tenchi OVA series in the metal case, don’t judge me). If I were to psychoanalyze myself, it might be partly because I tried to watch some anime with her and our friend, who was sort of present during the entire first act of our relationship (and was a groomsman at our wedding). I, uh, failed to gauge their interests and tried to show Haruhi Suzumiya to them. The friend got up and walked out.

I was in an anime club — I even contacted the president of the anime club at my new school when I left to start my MFA (who never wrote back actually). It’s not as though anime is the shameful thing I do in my room alone because no one understands, man. My mom watched Hellsing with me and liked it (she likes vampire stories)! So I am still getting over this weird thing, and Sailor Moon Crystal helped some.

And ok, I’m way too proud of myself for my title here. “Buns, hun.” It’s from “Baby Got Back,” it’s a reference to Usagi’s hairstyle, and it’s a reference to the rabbit imagery of the show. You like puns? Have some damn puns! Triple-layer heart stopper puns!