I’ve never been much of a horror fan.
Or at least I’ve deliberately refrained from delving into the genre very much. I have nothing whatsoever against anyone who does – like and let like, after all – but I just wasn’t very interested in it. I could appreciate the classic monsters, like Dracula and werewolves, but the scary stories themselves, where it seemed everybody dies, somehow those just didn’t appeal to me. And the blood-soaked slasher films which evolved from the classics have always absolutely repelled me.
Then I started working in the Tutu Warehouse of Doom.
That was what I called it. Not its real name, of course.
I worked as an order filler, going around the warehouse and putting together the orders for our online customers. Nothing wrong with that, but the exact merchandise we carried consisted of costume pieces for little girls. There were tutus, ribbons, fake flowers, fake jewels, fairy wands, fairy wings, fluffy things, colorful rompers, and more. I imagine a number of young girls were delighted, or at least their parents and teachers were, and the busy season certainly kept me hopping, but being constantly surrounded by all the frilly girly stuff was bound to have some sort of effect on me.
It was during my time there that my taste in entertainment, as if of its own volition, seemed to just sort of… slide… in the direction of horror.
A standout example would be my favorite horror anime, Shiki, but I believe there were such titles as Moon Phase, Black Blood Brothers, and Dance in the Vampire Bund, too. And it wasn’t just anime. I never got up the nerve to watch some of the horror titles my best friend repeatedly recommended, such as The Crow, but I quite suddenly found myself perusing a number of summaries on Wikipedia. Summaries which make me quite glad that I didn’t actually watch Jennifer’s Body, The House of the Devil, or The Hills Have Eyes. And make no mistake, it is for similar reasons which I immediately dropped Parasyte, Blood-C, and Terra Formars.
Some horror stories may have been welcomed in, but not even the endless ocean of tutus, flowers, and ribbons could make me eager to watch such horrific, unmitigated bloodbaths. Though Attack on Titan managed to sneak in somehow.
Why do I share all of this?
Because it’s been on my mind lately, how our personal tastes in entertainment can shift and change without us ever intending it. It happens slowly, usually, but it happens.
I did not like horror at all, with arguable exception to Buffy.
Then I worked at the Tutu Warehouse of Doom.
And my tastes changed on me.
It happens, though, doesn’t it?
I remember watching Power Rangers as a kid.
That was long enough ago that I’m talking about the original Power Rangers, with Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, the Machine Empire, and so forth. It drove my sisters nuts when I had control of the remote, and during our many arguments they assured me that I would grow out of it. I, of course, was determined to prove them wrong, to not grow out of liking and even adoring the Power Rangers. Because at that age – and in this age – whatever latest thing I was watching had to be the best thing ever! As if, even then, we weren’t allowed to like or dislike something just because. We had to tie ourselves up in it. Either we were right or we were somehow lacking, like the fans of boy bands, like Marvel and DC fans, like all manner of fandom gatekeepers, like sports fans with their teams, and like Republicans and Democrats.
There’s a whole aside we could go into about stubbornness, but the point is that I was stubborn. I stubbornly held on to my childish enjoyment of childish shows like Power Rangers, ThunderCats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. Boy, did I try to hold on. Even when I knew, and felt, that something was lacking. Even when things seemed to start feeling boring, or campy, or ridiculous, I held on.
Then, as happens with life, I was forced to grow up. Bit by bit, day by day, one ordeal after another, I left behind the child I had been and became an adult.
Now, although I still cherish the time and the memories and everything they taught me, I look back at childish cartoons and… well, I find them childish. Not necessarily in a “bad” way, just in a way where they are obviously geared towards a younger, more innocent and unknowing audience. Which will utterly drive an adult or teenager mad.
Now, when I talk about things that the entire family can enjoy together, I am, in fact, referring to things which both children and adults can enjoy together, if also in the slightly different ways which result from slightly different perspectives.
I enjoyed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Then I grew up.
Now, I don’t.
Super respect is owed, by the way, to the people who craft kids’ shows that somehow manage to strike some sort of balance which at least can avoid annoying the adults in the room, I say.
As I can look back, now, and see that things which have happened in my life have altered my tastes, altering what I enjoy and how, I have to wonder a bit about my present state.
I mean, most kids shows were ushered out of my interests simply because I grew up, and thus evolved what I demand from shows in general. But horror is now welcomed in, at least partially, because of my experience in the Tutu Warehouse of Doom. It was like something in my brain was seeking some sort of balance, some counterweight against that of ribbons and tutus, which can get quite heavy when you put enough of them together.
My tastes, what I need, want, and enjoy, changed in response to my experiences.
So what do my present tastes say about what I am needing in my life?
I’ve not reviewed many anime lately, but what do the last several anime I’ve reviewed, the ones which satisfied me enough to immediately write about, all have in common?
Skipping past Castlevania, which isn’t really anime and which I reviewed because it was Halloween time, my last five anime reviews are….
Do you notice anything?
None of them have a particular amount of stress involved.
They’re all about smiles, heart-warming laughter, feeling good, and living one’s own best life.
Now, these are not, by a very long stretch, the only anime I’ve watched in the last two years. But these are the ones that stirred up such feeling that I had to write about them at once. Then again, they’re also the ones that I’ve not been waiting around for successive seasons to finish up on. I say as I cast a slightly nasty eye towards the likes of Tsukimichi, Jobless Reincarnation, one about a reincarnated assassin, and others. But the point still stands.
Though I imagine I would have enjoyed these five anime anyway, I feel that I enjoyed them more now than I would have otherwise. My tastes have shifted on me yet again. And looking at them, it’s no great puzzle why.
I have lately felt all but consumed by a number of frustrations. I have been frustrated with myself, with the life I lead, with my many, many, many failures. I have been frustrated with the state of the world, how so much of it is going mad, to the detriment of good, honest, sane people. I am frustrated with my powerlessness, with my lot in life, and with dreams that I have never fulfilled.
Small wonder I seem to have gravitated with such strength towards stories that make me laugh and smile. Small wonder I can so fully appreciate anime which are basically about the simple act of living, without the weight of the world crushing in.
I liked such feel-good anime, and then I lived the last several years of my life, and now I love them.
I loved the Power Rangers, and then I grew up.
I hated horror, and then I worked at the Tutu Warehouse of Doom.
My tastes have changed. Because I have changed. Because of the many things which I have experienced in my life.
It’s a simple thing. Yet somehow it feels… profound?
I wonder how my life will change me and my tastes in the future.
Are they changing right now?