Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Shigofumi 10: Otaku Power!!!

In Japan, it is illegal for a full grown man to bring a loli walking around in public.

So much for posting every 3 episodes... Now I'm posting 3 times a day?? (Well it's to make up for me disappearing for the next 4 days...)

But I couldn't resist posting about this episode of Shigofumi, it's just made of so much unexpected lulz. And it further proves that this series relies a lot on blatant use of shock factor - which really is it's strength. Like the bunch of housewives gossiping in the presence of an impressionable minor in this episode (the look on her face when they revealed the yaoi husband twist was priceless XD), Shigofumi wastes little of its storytelling with subtleties - and yet the subtleties are still there, just that the inevitably 'shocking' revelation takes precedence in the end.

Ninja cafe (de gozaru?) I'd so visit one =P

There're 2 major characters in this episode. The first one is a young Fumika. No, not, that Fumika with the talking staff, nor that Fumika who's lying in the bed waiting to get up the next episode... Urgh, this is getting confusing, can I just call them 1, 2 and The Third?

Then there's Takehiko, full grown self-proclaimed otaku who until recently was employed in a game company (as far as we know, he's not involved in making those kind of games), is still single at 32, and reeks enough of otaku to be arrested for loli-knapping while taking a relative's child out for a walk. After finding out that he's dying of cancer, he quits the company and resigns himself to whithering away at his mom's place and waiting for that epiphany on the greater meaning of his otaku life.

Yes, let's! (If Takehiko could get arrested while walking around with little Fumika out in public, just imagine what the police's reaction would be if they caught him taking her in nekomimi mode into a Ninja cafe...)

The story this episode is on the milder side, and doesn't hinge as much as the Shigofumi that comes with it (it comes in the end for closure's sake). Basically it's Takehiko hanging out with Fumika (III), doing reckless things as only someone who's dying soon thinks they're able to do. The 'underlying issue' if there was one would be how the Japanese society sees otaku or people who work in the otaku-related industry as inferior to the 'regular' office drones.

Honestly, the guy had a paying job that made him happy doing what he loved, but society being the narrow-minded housewife gossip-mongering fiend that it is seems to think that if it's not a 'regular' office job, he is therefore scum to the community? Geez... If the guy didn't have cancer and my drawing doesn't suck that bad, I'd absolutely love to be where he was at before he quit. It's absolutely a blessing to be able to do something you love for a decent living as a career, especially when it's something that's usually more hobby-related like anime and games. You may not be saving the world or making big bucks, but you're making yourself and a whole bunch of other people happy and as far from emo and suicidal as you can through your work, so be glad and screw what society thinks! Otakus 4TW!!!

Was I the only one thinking: "Sensei... Ninomiya-kun!!" ?

The way Takehiko's situation 'resolves' itself wasn't totally unexpected, and was rather blatantly cliche (What do these people need? Signs by the road telling them NOT to stand in the middle of the road??), but it's just Shigofumi's way of exercising its point as usual. And it works. No subtlety involved again as the guy realizes in his final moment of glory that he has made people happy with his work, and he does save Fumika from the killer truck so at least he gets to die a hero instead of a cancer-crippled bed patient. It fits well with the less nasty-emo turn of these past few episodes. As usual it fits well with the story, makes its point, still perfectly acceptable if not at all believable, and that's that.

How typical... Otaku scum of society when alive... 'Kind-hearted person' when dead. (Bloody hypocrites) Death really becomes some people...

A nice touch to the end during the funeral is Fumika (the postal worker) delivering Takehiko's Shigofumi to Fumika (young girl). It's not so much the content of the letter, but how Fumika 1 didn't use her usual "A Fumi from the world of the Shigo" to explain what a Shigofumi was to Fumika 3, instead relating it as a parting gift of sorts. It's a small sign that Fumika 1's been lightening up ever since the whole fiasco with her loopy dad got settled. Now, what will be in store for the Fumikas when Fumika 2 wakes up? Will I still need to refer to them by numbers then??

Anyways, to people who are pursuing lives or careers involving your likes and hobbies, whether they are otaku-related or not, remember to GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT and ignore any snooty comments housewives or society has for you (unless of course, what you do involves killing or loli-knapping :P). As long as you've got something to occupy you and keep you from contributing to the world's suicide rate, isn't that meaning enough for life as it is? =P

No comments: