Like every other child who grew up in the late 90s and early 00s with their attention split between videogames and anime, the announcement of Arc System Works’ Dragon Ball FighterZ filled me with an exhilaration hard to describe to anyone beyond that particular milieu but instantly familiar to my peers.
“Why bats, Sir?” I was fifteen when Batman Begins came out in the summer of 2005. I remember leaning forward in my seat when Michael Caine’s Alfred asked Bruce Wayne this question. Yes, why bats? Growing up in the pop culture shadow of the Dark Knight, I’d never questioned his choice in costume. Batman was all about bats because his name was Batman. Right? On the screen, Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne lifted his eyes from the batarang he was soldering. “Bats frighten me,” he replies. The words sent a shiver through me. Batman was afraid of bats. Batman was afraid.
Maybe not me personally since, as a member of the press, one must keep an arm’s length in these situations–or maybe I’m just no Don Juan–but however you look at it, Sakura-con spared no expense finding ways to marry off the masses of single anime fans at their convention. The first night hosted a panel called “How to Talk to Girls,” which included some examples of what not to say from popular anime. Later that night there were waltzing lessons and a grand masquerade ball at which people actually danced. I might have expected something more like that one dance-less
Just before PAX, we took a look at Kino no Tabi and its place among the few anime that could be deemed feminist. We concluded with the promise of violence–a promise I fully intend to keep as this week we take a look at Kanabe Mamoru’s Elfen Lied, a brilliantly violent series based on the manga by Okamoto Lynn that is either the most profound or most offensive feminist statement in anime. A bit of plot summary can be found in my Elfen entry on underappreciated anime. For our purposes here, we’ll dive right in.