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Inspirational Reads

What Are You Watching???

May 12, 2010

When I was first married to my wife, I would come home from the lab, eat dinner, lay around the apartment for a little bit, and then end up going back into the lab for a couple of hours. Such was the life of a graduate student.

Sometimes, when I would get home at night, I would turn on the television and try to relax a little bit. The flickering light from the idiot box would help me to forget all the images of electrons realigning themselves to form new bonds, the course of reaction mechanisms, and the shape and distance from the nucleus of various electron orbitals. In short, it was a way to escape chemistry for a bit.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures was to watch anime, usually Inu-Yasha, because that was what was on Cartoon Network at about the same time that I came home from the lab the second time. Sometimes I would be particularly restless and I'd stay up until Cowboy Bepop came on.

"What are you watching?" my wife would ask from the bedroom, walking down the hall to the living room. "Anime," I'd respond, somewhat listlessly. My wife, since she was tired, would simply roll her eyes and ask "Why do you want to watch that. It's not even English, it's just dubbed."

"I like it," I would respond, returning my attention to people dicing one another with swords and grunting/roaring/growling. "It helps me unwind."

Fast forward a couple of years, and now we've moved to North By God Carolina. When I would come home from work (this time, around 5-ish), I would turn on Cartoon Network, and there would be Rurouni Kenshin, which was even more awesome, because I didn't have to wait up for it, but there was still plenty of sword fighting. They even had swords catching on fire thanks to all the human fat that was caught up in the tiny folds of the blade. Awesome.

Which reminds me...I never got to see how that series ended. I should check that out...

Anyway, I came home one day to find my wife watching...gasp!...Tenchi Universe, which is a show that I never got into, but I could see we were making some strides here. She would also watch this cartoon called Hamtaro with my daughter.

Things finally started changing when my wife was sick in the hospital with pneumonia the winter after the boy was born. She apparently woke up in the middle of the night, couldn't sleep, and flipped through the channels, settling on Cartoon Network which was showing a Hayao Miyazaki movie (I think it was Pom Poko). This was the point where she became more than just "interested" in Japanese animation, be it via a movie or a series.

And now?

Now, my wife is fucking obsessed. After her friend died last fall, she got hooked on watching this show called Bleach, because he had been such a fan. And when my wife gets hooked on something, she doesn't do it half-assed, let me assure you. She has watched the entire Bleach series. She waits up on Tuesday nights so that she can download and watch the newest Bleach releases subtitled in English. She reads the Bleach manga once it has been released and translated into English.

We're not so good at reading Japanese, but we can recognize some of the symbols for least up through 13. All thanks to Bleach.

But, it doesn't stop there.

She got the kids hooked on it, too. Which is odd, because bleach comes with a 14+ rating. They're not allowed to watch iCarly, but Bleach is fine. *holds hands up* She's set the rules, and I follow along. The kids have become completely obsessed, too, mostly because this is a little more grown up than, say, Spongebob or Handy Manny. I think that's why they like it.

We have CDs of Bleach music. And mp3 files of Bleach music. We have family Bleach night. We have plans for Bleach-themed Halloween costumes (I'm going to be Kisuke Urahara/Mr. Hat and Clogs).

Icing on the Bleach cake (which we've already had, by the way)? We have a kitteh with a Bleach-inspired name.

Since one of the kittens has half an orange face (she's a calico), my wife named her "Pichigo" (pronounced Peach-ee-go), because of the peach coloring, and in honor of the main character from Bleach, Ichigo Kurosaki. My daughter came home yesterday with a list of names she and her friends had brain-stormed for the kittens, including the name "Rukia", named for (arguably) the main female lead in the show, Rukia Kuchiki. She also came up with the name "Grape", which I'm still a little confused about. At least Rukia has a source.

And...I give pause because I refuse to turn this into a kitteh blog, but I wanted to update people who thought I would be drowning the kittens or grilling them for dinner or something. There were only two kittens in the box. We didn't see the mother any more, so we've taken them in and we're now...hand-feeding the kittens. They have a happy little home in a basket in our bedroom for now, and we're going to adopt Pichigo as our own. My wife's friend is pretty sure she'll take the other one, so the kittens have found good homes.

I just hope they like watching Bleach.


Jidai said...

You know having kids addicted to Bleach isn't that bad when you consider that in Japan the show is meant for 9 year olds. Actually most of the anime adults are into were made for 9 year olds in Japan, which explains why they think American's are weird.

Just be glad they aren't watching B Gata H Kei. Look it up...

MJenks said...

Is that something I can look up at work?

I'm not sure what we're going to do when Yoruichi does the big reveal. Just gloss over the fact that she's a naughty little kitty?

kate said...

I love hearing all of the random ways that people end up picking names for their pets...Grape is pretty funny, though, you have to admit :)

I want to get another dog just so that I can name it something from the Back to the Future series...I'm thinking Biff.

Jidai said...

Just don't delve too far. The wiki page should be fine. It's actally a very funny show.

MJenks said...

@ Kate: Grape is funny, but not something I want to name a cat.

@ Jidai: Wait..."Pichigo" doesn't mean something like "horse porn" in Japanese, does it? I know "Ichigo" means something like "first guardian". I just want to make sure that I've not accidentally given my cat some horrible name.

Also...just to be safe, I think I'll check out B Gata H Kei at home...I'm sure the filters over in IT were already humming earlier today when I went looking for pictures of Rangiku.

Jidai said...

"Ichigo" means Strawberry in Japanese, but it's spelled differently in the Japanese lettering. The way they spelled it in the lettering is "to protect", but it's also a rather childish pun on him, cause of the strawberry definition. In fact the names of him and his sisters are all puns on fruit. Rather bad ones if you ask me.

As far as I know Pichigo doesn't mean anything. At most it's a nickname for Ichigo or just a simple misinterpretation.

MJenks said...

Ah, okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Are all of their names puns? Just curious. I thought Orihime meant something like "Princess". Of course, being that I'm just hearing the names and not recognizing the letters/characters used to spell the names means I'm missing a layer of meaning.

And, while I have you on the line...does "Momo" mean anything? Since that name keeps popping up with various anime that I watch.

MJenks said...

And since you're the closest thing I know to an expert, is there anything else you'd recommend for my wife to watch? She's still watching Bleach when it comes out every week, and she watched all of Full Metal Alchemist (not Brotherhood). And then she's also watched Fruits Basket and Ouran High School Host Club. And she didn't really like the first episode of Death Note.

So...any recommendations?

Jidai said...

Not all of them are puns, some just downright tell you what they mean. You could probably find a good list online somewhere. Also if you examine Ichigo's father's name, depending on how far in the series you are, you pretty much know the twist.

Then again, some have no meaning at all beyond just names. All Japanese names generally mean something, but in terms of plot, not all.

"Momo" means peach. It's also a cute name for a little girl.

For your wife, if you want something that is essentially what Bleach was based on, Yu Yu Hakusho is nice.

If you want something more serious and to understand Japan a little more, maybe NHK ni Youkoso. Though it's funny, it's a very dark anime in its core.

Paranoia Agent is a personal favorite if you want something a little more artsy.

Adam L. said...

How poetic, I was just this morning looking for spoilers for this week's Bleach manga... I actually got into and subsequently stopped watching the anime because there was so much filler that needed to be included in order to prevent the show from overtaking the manga.

As for other stuff, I really think that the new(ish) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is really good! I watched the previous series without realizing that the manga was different, and now I'm up-to-date on the manga (which is almost done, I think).

Finally, do you realize how TERRIBLE these shows are when dubbed into English? My wife just laughs at me when I'm watching them. They just sound more dignified in Japanese, if only because it's a foreign language.


MJenks said...

@ Jidai: I'm only up through the part where Yoruichi is training Ichigo to be able to call on his Zanpakuto for bankai. So...yeah.

And, thanks for the recommendations. I'll pass them along to her.

@ Adam L: Is your wife Japanese? I had no idea.

And, I know what you're talking about. My wife has mentioned the whole Zanpakuto escaping their inner worlds story arcs that was filler so that they could keep pace with the manga.

As for the Japanese thing...I can't understand Japanese, and I like being able to see the whole screen when they are conversing, so I go with the English dub. I realize that this loses a lot in the translation...I mean, I am teaching myself Latin, so I understand the notion of "layers of meaning". So, your wife can just laugh at me, too, I guess.

Jidai said...

Ashley and I both speak Japanese fluently, so we don't watch with subtitles. Mainly cause we spend a third of our year in Japan.

Though we did when she was still learning.

MJenks said...

Yeah, see, if anime was written in Latin, my wife and I would be golden.

Pearl said...

Ah! MJenks, savior of kittehs!

I used to work for a company that distributed anime something or other. I have one limited series cell of something, something about a moon or half-moon or some damn thing. I should look for it. The salesman gave it to me and made me promise not to tell anyone. (Here I am, 20 years later, blabbing about it. ha ha I can't be trusted.)


Sara said...

My fiancee LOVES anime, and I make fun of him all the time for it.

Although, there is one anime show that I used to watch constantly. It was about a little kid detective or something. Know what I'm talking about?

It was awesome. Especially when I was stoned.

Eric said...

I know almost virtually nothing about Anime, but I met a lady once who could draw her own characters with cartoon like efficiency.

Roo said...

I've read two out of your 400+ blog posts and I'm hooked.
Figures I'd come in on the one about anime.

Although, there is one anime show that I used to watch constantly. It was about a little kid detective or something. Know what I'm talking about?
That would be Detective Conan, and it's amazing.

I'm glad your wife has already found the glory that is Fullmetal Alchemist. It deserves it. /Obsessed for 4+ years/

Recommendations. Hm. Yu Yu Hakusho, as mentioned above, is absolutely amazing. One of the English dubs that I can stand.
If she hasn't watched them already, go for all the Miyazaki movies. Because they're fantastic and on crack.
I know it was on Nickelodeon, but there's always Avatar the Last Airbender. (Not the M. Night Shymalan crap.)

So, now that I've rambled, enjoy your anime nights. I'm glad you've shared this joy with your children. Bleach is more appropriate than iCarly any day xD
Thank you for giving me another blog to waste time on <3(And Latin is an honorable past time. -respect-)

MJenks said...

@ Pearl: I won't tell that you told. Was it Sailor Moon? That's the first thing that pops to mind when you say "Moon something".

@ Eric: I am always envious of people who can draw their characters that quickly (and probably that well). I'm very methodical in my drawing, which is why I've never really gotten around to doing some of the webcomic ideas I've had in the past.

@ Roo: Rest assured, my new, monotreme friend, that we've seen all the Miyazaki movies (except Porco Rosso, and I haven't seen Whisper of the Heart yet). We own all but three of them, I think.

And we watched all but the very last episode of The Last Airbender--which they never freaking replayed, thanks Nickelodeon. *mutters* And my wife is getting through Green Green (I think she's still getting through it) before we move into Yu Yu Hakusho.

But, dang. Thanks for all the recommendations!