Intro To Japanese Awesomeness

So because I felt super special and awesome for being invited to write on this thing, I will. And what better way to start off my postings than with one of my largest obsessions? Anyone who knows me (or at least knows me well enough for me to admit my nerdiest interests) knows that I am thoroughly obsessed with pretty much anything Japanese. Why? Because for one, they have an entire country that was cut off from the world for two hundred years, which allowed them to create an entire belief system and culture free from outside influence. Well. Aside from what they managed to take from China before the Tokugawa shogunate closed off Japan to the world. We're talking about a culture completely different from our own. How awesome is that? Also, they have extremely beautiful shrines/temples.
And the Japanese sakura is possibly one of the most beautiful trees in existence. And even more awesome is that, unlike America, they aren't afraid of realistic endings. None of that "and they all lived happily ever after" junk that puts us all in a false sense of security. The Japanese love their drama, but as much as they love their drama, they also love to represent life.

Then again, when you initially watch or read anything Japanese, you'll find it hard to believe they're trying to describe real life, what with their gravity defying hair and ability to smash the ground to a pulp with one fist. But I'm talking emotions. I find I am far more emotionally satisfied when watching a Japanese film/show than an American one, simply because they don't always try to wrap up everything nicely. Then again, they DO have their own happy ending type stories, but I find it much easier to find the bittersweet endings in Japanese media than in our own. They aren't afraid to leave the endings messy, to make you WANT everything to be perfect. Which I find is much more successful in leaving an impression on me. Which is why Peter Pan still remains my favorite Disney movie.

And so, for a little taste of Japanese manga/anime, I introduce you to Rurouni Kenshin, possibly one of THE best ones out there.
This was the first anime I ever watched, and I've been hooked ever since. But the manga is just as good, if not better, than the anime, but I feel it is often overlooked because, let's face it--people like to watch shows more than read them more often than not. But the show leaves out a lot, as does any adaptation, and so I encourage anyone interested to actually take the time to read all 255 chapters of Rurouni Kenshin. If not, then at least watch the 99 episodes. This story is a great look into the end of the Bakumatsu and the beginning of the Meiji restoration--possibly one of the most fascinating historical periods, in my opinion. Samurai, feudal lords, underground conspiracies... it's great. It's also a wonderful look at humanity, redemption, and sacrifice. So take a look at it. I promise you won't be disappointed. Just remember--you always have to approach the Japanese with an open mind. :)

Rurouni Kenshin Manga


3 Response to "Intro To Japanese Awesomeness"

  1. Malallory Says:

    Droool... I knew a made a good choice with you, missy. Seriously people, the only reason I won't be writing about Kenshin is because Cate just beat me to it. It is SUCH an amazing story, and characters are so endearing.

  2. Cole Freakin' Thomas Says:

    I haven't read Kenshin, but I've only ever heard great things about it. I'm trying to buy every Case Closed and complete that series, but most Borders only have 1,2 and 38. Which... I think you miss a little bit in the middle there. I think my first real foray into anime was "Perfect Blue" though. Such a mind trip of a movie. But fantastic, nonetheless.

  3. Julie Christiansen Rosenhan Says:

    Arab movies and literature are a lot like Japanese literature I would say. The talk about real life situations, problems that people can really relate to, and then in the end they leave it as ambiguous as possible. It's a little frustrating to not have everything wrapped up perfectly, but I agree with you that it's more emotionally satisfying. Hollywood movies make it so there's only one possibility in the end, whereas Arab movies don't stick their characters to one ending, they leave it up to the watcher to decide what happens next in their life and so there are a million possibilities.

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