The first stage to overcoming an addiction is admitting to it.
So here it goes…
I’m an anime addict.
There, I said it! I just enjoy anime so much more than regular, live action TV shows. Anime can just be so much more dramatic and get away with things Western companies would never dare to do. That said, there are some series which push creative license a little, however, they are no less fun. So today I present to you 3 series that have made me cringe time and time over, but still had me gripped the whole way through:
- Attack on Titan
Yes, yes, I know this is one of those mainstream titles that gets a bit of a hard wrap, but it gained mainstream popularity for a reason. The show is set in a world where humanity is forced to live within walled cities to avoid be eaten by Titans (disproportionate giants who feed on humans for the sake of enjoyment). After their home is destroyed, Eren Yeager and adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman become determined to join the military, to fight back the Titans in vengeance. This show is not forgiving on the gore side of things; right from the get go, there is a scene of someone being picked up by a Titan and then being bitten clean in two.
Combine these gargantuan creatures with humans swinging around on “3D manoeuvre gear” trying to kill the creatures, and you end up with humans being swatted around like flies, before (in most cases) being crushed and eaten.
Action aside, there is still a lot to love here. The characters show progression as they struggle to survive in a world tormented by Titans, making it more tragic when you are forced to watch someone you have grown with horrifically get eaten. It’s definitely not always easy to watch, but that’s some of its charm.
- Psycho Pass
Another relatively new series, Psycho Pass is a gritty crime series set in a dystopic Japanese future. The human orientated justice system has been entirely replaced by the Sibyl System, where sensors around the city continuously monitor the public’s Psycho-Pass, a measure of their mental state, personality and likelihood of committing a crime. If any of these measures come back “cloudy”, the Public Safety Bureau are alerted, so as to intervene before anything goes awry. These futuristic police all carry, and rely on, their Dominator; a weapon that when pointed at a person, takes their Psycho-Pass and depending on their probability to commit a crime, will either administer a non-lethal charge, or destroy the accused on the spot.
This is where the cringe begins to occur: watching someone explode is pretty disturbing. What is more, the antagonist of the series, Shogo Makishima, pushes his victims to commit equally troubling acts of violence against other innocent civilians. One arc even focused on Makishima finding a high school girl and convincing her to mutilate victims to make surrealistic art. Overall, an interesting watch, but I found that the series lost pace about halfway through the first season. That’s not to say the ending isn’t worthwhile, but the first half was filled with many interesting new characters and crimes, whilst the second half was more focused on Makishima alone.
- Highschool of the Dead
Where do I even start with Highschool of the dead? The show is really like any other zombie based series: a group of survivors fight their way to survival, being pitted against zombies and other desperate survivors. But where the Walking Dead plays the zombie cliche seriously, Highschool of the Dead is anything but. If it wasn’t for the fact that there are two main male characters in the group, I’d almost go as far to say that this show was a blatant attempt by producers to create the ultimate harem that would appeal to EVERY male stereotype: a love of guns, breasts and senseless violence.
Unlike like the previous series I have mentioned, the cringe factor here doesn’t come from the gore alone, but the pure amount of fanservice. There is a LOT of fanservice. Every female lead is well endowed, and from watching this show, it seems someone in management thought they would need to assert this fact as much as possible. Out of everything, there were two scenes which had stand out cringe value: one where a solid half an episode was dedicated to all the girls taking a bath together (essentially just an excuse to show them rubbing each other’s breasts), and the other is this:
This show is rubbish: the plot is rubbish, the characters are rubbish, and the amount of breast shown is rubbish. But you know what? That’s sort of what makes this show fun. If you don’t go into this show expecting a serious and moving portrayal of how desperate situations can affect a group of teenagers, then you may get a little enjoyment out of it. If anything, this show reminds you how much better other shows are, and really makes you glad that not every anime series is purely fixated on excessive boobs and violence.
So there’s my list. There were a couple of honourable mentions I didn’t include, but are definitely up there (Clannad and Elfen Lied come to mind). Maybe I’ll dedicate another post to them later on. If you agree or think I’ve missed something in my list, hit up the comments.