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Before I get into this one though, Hartxenon reminded me that I forgot a fall anime last week, one I really enjoy. Let me do that first.

Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai

Or, in English, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute. It is a good story. We have a normal and extremely likable high school male main character. He comes to find out that his sister is an otaku, not just an otaku, mind you, but an otaku with a little sister fetish. She collects imouto-themed galge, hugging pillows, dvds, you name it. Anyways, she has hidden her obsession for years, as it would hinder her hip and trendy lifestyle. As such, shes become a tsundere… and he has to help her… out of brotherly love.

I’m really enjoying it. The conversations between nerds of differing fandoms are amazingly accurate. They have two made up anime they keep coming back to and if you have ever been in an anime club or had anime friends of differing tastes, the conversations between her and KURONEKO are hilarious. Add in a few well placed side characters and you have yourself a decent show.

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Now, with that out of the way… Lets move on.

Iron Man and Heroman feel like two sides of the same coin to me.  On one hand we have the realistic and gritty Iron Man. On the other, we have the light and refreshing Heroman. Both are shows about a man who fights injustice with the aid of a robot. Both are animes based on characters designed by comic great Stan Lee. They are some sort of robotic-powered yinyang.

The really interesting thing, though, is so far… I think Heroman is actually the darker of the two. Seriously! It is something I’ve noticed when showing anime to my mother. It isn’t that she doesn’t like anime in which horrible, terrible, soul wrenching, depressing things happen… it is that she doesn’t like anime in which terrible, horrible, soul wrenching things happen in the present tense! I mean, the main character of Heroman is an orphan whose parents died tragically, his best friend is an ex-football player whose leg got wrecked tragically, his romantic interest lost all the love and warmth in her family when the aliens invaded… As long as the tragic event in question is either A: Part of someone’s backstory or B: An important event that makes them learn to treasure friendship, love, hope or other comedic elements, you can get away with almost any level of tragedy. I mean, it seems like the only thing that keeps some of these characters going is hope for tomorrow and Collins-sensei’s sweet ass!

Mmmmm… oh yeah.

Now, setting sensei aside, what we are really looking at here is a sense of the genres. Iron Man, as I said last week, feels like one of the 90s great animated series. The dead seriousness of the ending music kinda reminds me of the old X-Men animated series song somehow. What we have here is a story about a super hero. Every week he saves someone, stops some evil, fights some robot. There are plot threads that get woven in and may not rear their head for episodes to come, but each episode is just that, an episode. The episodes are on different days and, while presented in chronological order, are taken outside of the context of greater time. Episode 4 could take place on a tuesday, episode 5 could take place anywhere from a day to a week thereafter. It doesn’t matter for the purposes of the greater plot.

Heroman, on the other hand, plays like a Shonen anime. We have our power-up sequences, we have our named super-moves. We have the blatantly puppy-crushingly evil enemy with a dislikable name… The fact that Joey Jones is a super hero is just the form of his traditional main-characterness. If he weren’t a super hero, I’m certain he would be the grandson of a prince from space and inherit a legendary lightsaber… or be the son of the thousand master and inherit a legendary staff… instead he is the son of a coal miner and he inherits an obscure hardhat. Time for Joey Jones is a “to be continued” sort of affair. Important things are happening and they need to play out over the course of several episodes… in the beginning. Much like the original Tenchi Muyo! All the important stuff happens fairly quickly in the show… the rest is really just us getting to better know the characters.

Both of them are superhero animes, no doubt about it. Both of them are to my taste and I enjoyed them both… but there is something deeper here. I can’t quite put it into words, but there is a difference in mentality between the two. I mean… there is something here in the nature of comedy and tragedy. Superhero comics, for the most part, are about a balance between the two. Bad things happen, superheros fix it. Superheros do good in the world, they get punished for it. If you lean in one direction or the other, the balances goes off.  Folks notice. One way you can try to get away with going farther in one direction is to also weight yourself heavily in the other direction.

Heroman is just a lot more tragic than Iron Man. I mean the net weight of human suffering is just that much heavier! It compensates by adding on the the comedy side. Life goes on. There is love and laughter and life to balance out the pain. The real difference between the two, I suppose, is how far they are willing to go into human extremes. Heroman has a wider range and, while that isn’t necessarily a GOOD thing, it does allow for some amazingly dark things to fly by under a greater veil of light and happiness.

It reminds me of one of the darkest animes I’ve ever seen… Kaleidostar.


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2 Comments

  1. Kaleidostar was dark?

    Also, Collin-sensei’s sweet ass. ^_^

    • I was thinking about it… every character in Kaleidostar has some sort of dark tragic past. Orphans, The Abandoned, The Unloved, The Broken, Those Who Have Lost. The net weight of human suffering in that show is AMAZING for a feel-good comedy about acrobats. The thing is, they cover it with sugar and smiles… and so at some point you forget.


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