Friday, November 26, 2010

Anime and Beards

Real men grow beards and watch anime.  Suck it, traditional gender roles.

I often grow a full beard when it gets cold out, mostly to keep warm, but also because it is an awesome way to look much older/mature...and during No-Shave-November, it is a great way to spread Prostate Cancer awareness and assert your masculinity.  (Or something like that.)

Anyway, my room-mate last year, Andrew, was a Japanese major and facial hair enthusiast, and he turned my secret guilty pleasure of watching anime into a full blown addiction when he introduced me to "Keroro Gunso."  This is a Japanese anime about some frogs from space that want to take over the planet, but they really aren't that good at it.  This show is sort of like taking Loony Tunes and Invader Zim and throwing them into a demented blender.

Getting me started on "Keroro Gunso" was a sure-fire way to get me to embrace and celebrate my inner anime-nerd...but only behind closed doors!  Very similar to how alcoholics start out by drinking beers with their friends, I went from casually/socially watching anime to completely obsessing over it.

You heard me right, FROGS FROM SPACE, and yes, my beard does grow in red (aren't you the observant one, Holmes).

...I think it is some kind of genetic mutation that occurs when Irish and Cherokee mix together with bits and pieces of other western European DNA.  Hooray for genetics!

Watching anime isn't anything to be ashamed of really, but it does come with some negative connotations...mostly due to there being so many fantatics with fake cat ears on their heads.  [Why do they do this?  It just makes regular anime fans seem equally insane simply for holding a common interest.]

Back to my main point, dudes watching anime.

Andrew and I had a pretty set schedule.  After school I would go running and he would play playstation, and then we would watch anime until it was time for bed.  This would have been an ideal set up were it not for our suit-mate, Dan, mocking our child-like enthusiasm for cartoons in general.

Dan wasn't around too much, which gave Andrew and I license to nerd it up as much as we wanted.  We were like fat pigs at an all you can eat buffet thanks to the University of Iowa providing an insanely fast internet connection which allowed anime to stream perfectly no matter how shady the site was.

Of course we watched more than one series, and depending on what we were watching we might get a guest or two to join in on our secretly geeky yet totally awesome anime marathons.

Our habit was growing.  It was only a matter of time before word got out that we were watching obscene amounts of anime...and not even the manly stuff like "Gundam" or "Trigun."  We were totally digging the bubbly ultra-cute semi-cat-themed teen drama, "Azumanga Daioh," and could actively quote the show and find moments in life that reminded us of scenes from it.

Quite un-manly and nerdy indeed!  But, we really never gave a crap what other people thought about the things we like.  (We just didn't want to be pestered during what little time we did have to watch it.)

Our neighbor from New Jersey, Julia, would often join us in watching these shows.  It's fine for girls such as Julia to enjoy "Azumanga Daioh" because she is actually in the target audience.  But why the hell would two 22-year-old guys from Iowa love shows that feature kids dressed as penguins?  (Because they really are "super cute" and they usually have perverted jokes in them...Japan is messed up like that.)

Is it possible for straight young men in the midwest to enjoy "super cute" anime?  Dan would say no and most people would agree.  We should be watching UFC in the bars, challenging rivals to the fisticuffs while at football games and maybe even building log cabins by hand for the homeless (because that's what all guys should be doing all the time, every day, forever.)

I love martial arts, Andrew loves football and yet both of us turn into bubbly giggling children whenever some high pitched anime kid flashes a peace sign.  (One of the many recurring themes that makes no sense at all, but for some reason I just eat it all up.)

If women can wear men's clothes and play football, then I think it should be perfectly acceptable for guys to watch all the bubbly anime they want because some of it is actually really funny and well written.  This is akin to having Brett Favre watching "Hannah Montana" religiously. (That is, if "Hannah Montana" was well written and actually funny.)

Being unashamed of liking something, even if it is totally ridiculous, is as manly as it gets.  (Of course, growing a beard helps because beards make all situations better.)


Anonymous said...

Pussy. Lol.

Matt said...

Yay! My first troll! :D

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I got my English degree and mountain of student loan debt from the University of Iowa. I like boo berry cereal, martial arts, running and cats.
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