Last week I wrote about three free first episodes of animated shows available on iTunes. I mentioned that My Little Pony seemed to be patterned after Japanese anime, and that the show wasn’t my cup of tea. Some of you suggested that I missed the mark on that show, that it contained wit that adult males would appreciate, and that the animation was top notch.
Well, I watched it again. My opinion hasn’t changed. My Little Pony is not for me.
The problem is that while My Little Pony is not anime, it’s close enough in style that it turns me off. In general, I’m not a fan of Asian anime. I can’t take the big shimmery eyes, the cutesy sidekicks, the exaggerated expressions, the randomly place poignant pauses, or the odd fascination with large breasted schoolgirls dressed in extremely short plaid skirts. I just can’t get into it, and I’ve tried.
Now, before you fanboys and girls (my daughter among you) attempt to storm my heavily fortified compound situated in the wind swept plains of Southern Montana, hellbent on pummeling some sense into me, or at least forcing me to watch every episode of Sailor Moon, let me point out that I said that, in general, I’m not an anime fan. While Afro-Samurai may not share all the trappings of typical anime (No plaid skirted schoolgirls. Dang!), I own and have watched every episode. Twice. I’ve also enjoyed Appleseed and Vexille. And while it gives me the creeps, I’ll watch Akira and Robot Carnival whenever I’m in the mood.
I consider these shows to be the best of what anime has to offer. The stories have depth (or alleges to have it), the animation isn’t cutesy, and while there is the occasional eye-shimmer, it’s not a random occurrence.
True, all the shows I mentioned are over-the-top violent, and very serious, and even sexy, in a Jessica Rabbit kind of way, but that’s the kind of stuff I like. It reminds me of the the Chop-Suey kung-fu movies I use to watch growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, and even some of the more recent live action Asian movies, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Slice ‘em, Dice ‘em, hack ‘em, and slash ‘em and let God sort them out. And let’s not beat around the bush doing it. That’s my motto.
I know that many don’t share my animated movie preferences, and that’s OK by me. “Live and let live,” is also my motto (unless you’re a bad guy, then eat cold steel). For those of you hankering for a heavy dose of Asian anime on the cheap, well, you’ve come to the right place because my other motto is, “Free is for me!”
Remember Aeon Flux? Not the silly movie starring Charlize Theron, but the very strange animated series about a dysfunctional Utopia. The show pushed the borders of what the censors would allow of TV. It also pushed the borders of what any sane person would watch without some sort of mind altering chemical enhancement.
It was Aeon Flux that made me notice Adult Swim, a cable network of sorts that replaces the more juvenile Cartoon Network late at night, supposedly when kids are in bed. Adult Swim hosts all sorts of odd, adult oriented animation, some of it is Asian anime, but all of it kept censors gainfully employed.
Aeon Flux is old hat these days. If you tune into Adult Swim now you’re likely to find shows like Robot Chicken, the critically acclaimed The Boondocks, and the very strange Aqua Teen Hunger Force. And you’ll find a heaping helping of anime.
If you’re a fan and you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the planets have aligned in your favor because there is now an Adult Swim app. The app is free and many of the episodes are free to view. If you’ve gone to the Adult Swim website and was a little put off by the busyness of the site then you’ll love this app. Looking for an episode of Assy McGee? Easy. Need a fix of Space Ghost Coast to Coast? Start tapping that vein. Have a hankering for Fullmetal Alchemist? The Adult Swim (or for the cooler among you, [AS]) app can feed your need. And all of this over-18 goodness is yours for free!
You got to grab it.
Think of Crunchyroll as an anime warehouse where you can find pretty much anything our talented and somewhat demented Asian friends have produced. There’s like a gazillion shows available in all their big shimmery-eyed glory. And if that wasn’t enough you can also find a respectable list of Asian live action drama. All watchable for free.
Well, I guess nothing is totally free in life, and Crunchyroll proves it. Whenever you fire up a show you are asked if you would mind paying for the full version which gets to access to the latest episodes. And there are the occasional ads. But, hey, you get to watch your favorite Asian shows for (almost) free. So deal with it or pay up.
And if that wasn’t enough anime for you, I’ve got one last trick up my sleeve.
I will admit that, after watching a few episodes of Hell Girl, I’ve come to appreciate anime a bit more. But only a bit. Who knows, maybe curiosity will goad me into watching other shows, and the next thing you know, I’m an anime fiend. It could happen with Anime Network.
There are new shows and staff pick to browse through, and each show is lested with the number of episodes and a synopsis of the series. In all it’s an anime lover’s dream.
Check out Anime Network and sate your craving for big shimmery eyes.
OK, that’s a wrap. More free anime related stuff below with direct links.