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Now On My Screen: Leaving Comfort Zones

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I love the anime that I watch: the action/adventure, the sci-fi, the high fantasy; stuff that I and others like myself would enjoy. I tend to shy away from “Slice of Life” anime, unless it is a minor theme in an anime that contains my favorite major themes. I don’t find that type of anime bad, after all everyone has their own tastes and anime is one of the best media that caters to all tastes; if you’re willing to put up with the art style, you’ll find what you’re looking for story and character wise.

For me, it’s easy to describe what I’m looking for in Anime: a setting that is otherworldly or contains otherworld elements, protagonists that are usually underdogs who define themselves or powerful beings that understand the meaning of their abilities and use them for the greater good, a good balance between action and drama, fun side characters that define themselves apart from the protagonist, and of course an antagonist that you love to hate or you hate to love.

From there it’s just minor details, like are there giant robots? Sure I’ll watch it. Are there otherworldly races like Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs fighting for an ancient artifact of power? I’ll give that an episode to see if it grabs me. Magic and Technology working together in harmony to defeat a greater threat from beyond the stars and dimensions? Why not, I’ll give it a try.

Or a series where teens kick alien robot ass with a cool robot.

A Slice of Life anime about a protagonist, their family, and high school friends? Who are trying to make it through daily life and figure out themselves as people? Uh…will there be giant robots thrown in there or am I just – No? Okay then, I’ll pass.  To be fair, the anime version of Slice of Life is different from its live action sibling, regardless if its Western or Eastern. Hell Western style animated Slice of Life shows are just as uninteresting to me, although I do fondly remember “Hey Arnold!” when I was a kid growing up in the Nineties.

I admit though, I’ve found one exception to my tastes and that was “Ouran High School”. However Ouran was something that took the theme of Slice of Life and put it in a setting that was not normal for the genre: rich kids in a high society private high school. Also the protagonist Haruhi was a down to earth girl who was able to handle herself in the wacky machinations of her fellow club members.

A female character also done right in my opinion.

So after I helped get the house ready for eleven guests, helped cooked the meal that would serve them with my mother and a friend, and after everything was put away, gifts unwrapped, parties attended, much merriment had by myself and those close to me; I decided to catch up on my anime and decide if I want to watch more than the two series that I had now: Fairy Tail and One Piece. Akame ga Kill had ended a while earlier in December and I haven’t been that motivated to watch Sword Art Online’s latest season at all this year. I’ve been re-watching GunXSword for a future column about my love for “Mecha” anime but I felt that it didn’t count since I knew how the series ended and it was for work anyway. Low and behold, after finishing the latest episode of Fairy Tail, Crunchy Roll showed me a list of shows that were popular and one of them caught my eye: “I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying”. Okay, I thought to myself, that sounds like a comedy worth looking into. I turned it on and finished the whole series in about an hour.

I loved every minute of it to be honest and I wished that it didn’t end on thirteen episodes. “I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying” is about an Otaku named Haijime, yes he is labeled as an Otaku this is not me misusing the term, and his wife Kaoru, a woman that has no interest in anything that he likes. They’re married and together not through some crazy misunderstandings like her being a male order bride or the cliché of “Her Biological Clock is Ticking!” but they’re together out of genuine love for each other. Each episode is about three minutes but the story and characters are genuine. Kaoru is a normal hard working woman with a good circle of friends, while Haijime is the stereotypical shut in Otaku who has internet friends but is an introvert. They’re polar opposites but it is fun to watch them as a couple. Haijime constantly spews out references and uses all kinds of terms that go over Kaoru’s head, while Kaoru herself acts as a normal person would which makes Haijime react more introverted.

Like any good husband would….wait, what?!

However it’s clear that the two of them didn’t “settle” for the other, the two of them even bring up that suspicion that maybe they did because Kaoru is a workaholic that was content in her ways while Haijime was a normal guy that also would have lived alone because of his own interests. Honestly both of them show how a relationship between a nerd and a normal person does well: both accept each other for everything that they are, faults and all. One episode even showed Haijime trying to change himself into a more responsible adult but Kaoru reacts negatively towards it because he was being less of the man she fell for, the Otaku that makes obscure quotes, the man that enjoys Moe Genre characters, and blogs for a living on his computer. Even though Kaoru thought that Haijime maturing himself wasn’t necessarily wrong, she didn’t want to lose what made him unique for her.

The series is definitely worth checking out in my opinion, only thirteen episodes at three minutes a shot but I believe if you’re someone like me who doesn’t take to Slice of Life anime, you might find yourself enjoying this. There isn’t any “will they, won’t they” drama, no love triangles, it’s just an anime about two people who love each other living a simple life that they’re content with.

Oh and get ready for something awesome coming soon, from us here at [Badly Production]! I can’t wait to work with my follow writers.