Analyzing anime with Bob the boomer

Bob has no idea what anime is, but he’s about to find out

(Kristen Frier)

“Are you familiar with cartoons, Bob? No? Not even classic Warner Brothers stuff? You’ve heard of Mickey Mouse? That’s it?”

Wow. Explaining anime to you might be harder than I thought, Bob.

Well, maybe not. Anime is closer to real-life than the cartoon animals you’re familiar with. Most of the characters are human… or humanoid, at least. Except for the ones that aren’t. Like Ebichu, Bonobono, Beastars… Keroro Guns — you know what, don’t worry about those, Bob.

Anime stories are typically heavy on the action-drama, but with a little more action. And drama, actually.

An example? Well, let’s start with a movie that really made its mark here in the West: Akira. You might enjoy it. It’s not a kid’s movie, it’s an adult animation.

No, Bob. Not that kind of “adult”.

It’s a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk action movie about… well, it takes place in Neo-Tokyo — or “future Tokyo” — which is plagued with corruption, vigilantes, psychics, this giant hungry mass, and the singularity, and…. Actually, let’s start with something simpler.

Are you familiar with superheroes, Bob? Batman, or Superman? Oh? You’ve seen the new Spiderman films? Oh, you really liked the third one?

Of course, you did.

You watch a lot of CTV, Bob, you must be into politics. Well, Bob, “One-Punch Man” is the superhero genre plus politics. No, it’s a little different than Spiderman. There’s this superhero named Saitama, and he — what do you mean “what kind of a name is Saitama?” It’s a Japanese name. Anime is from Japan, Bob.

Anyway, Saitama’s so strong that he can defeat anything in one punch. Yes, that is where the name comes from.

Saitama’s bored of being a superhero because there’s no challenge and he’s too strong. And there’s all this political mumbo-jumbo about Saitama trying to become an “official” superhero with his android friend, Genos, who — you don’t know what an android is, Bob?

No, it’s not some newfangled term for “special friend”. It means he’s half-robot. Not Saitama… Genos. You know what, Bob? Even this might be too complicated. You like cops, right?

Of course, you do.

There’s this show about an officer, Kankichi Ryotsu, who works where there’s not much crime, but he’s always trying to get rich with zany schemes.

You’re a boomer, Bob, which means you love making money. You’d like this show. It’s called Kochira Kat— you know what? Let’s skip the name. It’s a little long for you. But the premise is simple. Cop. Money-making schemes. Antics ensue.

But it is anime, Bob. And here’s the thing about anime: it gets a little wacky sometimes. Like the episode with the giant soup or the mecha. Or the… Come to think of it, anime is nothing like real life, even the ones that are explicitly based on it

Look Bob, there’s no real explanation for anime. It’s diverse. It’s imaginative. I can see you’re a simple guy, Bob. Imagination isn’t always your thing. Do you want to just watch some golf?

Of course you do, Bob. Of course you do.