Meditations on realism via the GTO anime and live action shows
Once upon a time, back in the days of anime clubs in Toronto, there was a particular anime club that made a lot of interesting and odd programming choices. One of them was that they started showing the Great Teacher Onizuka anime series, but then partway through decided that it was too close to the manga so they switched to showing the live action version instead. This gave us an interesting compare and contrast between the two, since both series covered essentially the same story but somewhat differently.
What I found especially interesting (and what has stuck with me ever since) is some of the changes made in the live action version, which I have always assumed were done to make it feel more realistic (in general I remember the live action version as less crazy than the anime, although still periodically crazy). Two changes have especially stuck in my memory.
The first change is that the live action reduces Onizuka's living quarters significantly. In the anime (and the manga) he winds up basically living on the roof of the school in a relatively cool pad full of cool stuff. In the live action series he has your basic tiny cramped mini-apartment that is essentially devoid of coolness, which I assume is what someone in his circumstances could rent and have in real life.
(The next bit involves a spoiler and some dark stuff, and I'm operating from a decade-old and imperfect memory.)
The second change requires some background explanation. Onizuka is sweet on Fuyutsuki, one of the other teachers at his high school, but she is also pursued and creepily stalked by another teacher, Teshigawara, who eventually descends to attempted date rape. In the anime this attempted date rape doesn't get very far; Fuyutsuki is never in any real danger and the situation is rapidly defused. In the live action series things are significantly darker. Teshigawara successfully drugs Fuyutsuki and comes much closer to success before she is able to break free.
Now, bearing in mind the problem of interpretation, it has always struck me as interesting that the producers of the live action show appear to have felt the need to make Fuyutsuki's situation significantly worse in order to make it feel more realistic. I can easily believe that the live action version is more true to life, but it seems an odd thing for a drama to actually admit (especially one that was otherwise relatively cheerful, goofy, and upbeat).
What we've become used to
[...] -- 2 thoughts: 1) IS THAT ALL?!! 2) Do not watch Juuden-chan
Author is quite correct in one sense; by the standards of a long-term anime watcher, one who has long since become acclimatized to juvenilia and fanservice, the one bad moment in Sora no Woto is almost nothing. Even if one dislikes crassness, it's easily ignored.
(I myself am one of these jaded people; I have been known to completely forget that certain anime series had some fanservice until I was gently reminded of it by someone who has a 10 year old son and so is sensitized to that sort of thing.)
But I think he's wrong in another sense. By the standards of a normal person, someone who is not a jaded long-term anime watcher, this may well be not such a little thing. And even among people who watch a lot of anime, tastes can differ substantially; to put it one way, there are still plenty of anime to watch if you don't like fanservice.
(Frankly, if you look at fanservice anime with the eyes of an outsider there is a lot that is kind of disgusting about it. Juuden-chan is an especially good extreme example of this in one direction, as is High School DxD in another.)
Or to put it briefly, we've become used to a lot of things that would shock outsiders. I have no particular editorial opinions on whether this is good or bad, but I want to note that it undeniably exists. What is routine for us is not routine for everyone, and we've become comfortable with things that outsiders would find startling and probably at least somewhat disgusting.
I'm conscious of all of this partly because I talk to people who are not jaded long-term anime watchers and even give them anime recommendations from time to time. This gives me a useful filter to look at anime with; I ask myself if I could encourage them to watch a particular series or if I would have to add a bunch of qualifications and cautions.
If you are a jaded anime fan, willing to ignore a moment of crassness, I feel that Sora no Woto is a great series (assuming you like its genre in general). But if you are not, that moment of crassness might ruin the series. And when I wrote my commentary I was conscious of that, especially because the series is something that I really would like to be able to recommend to everyone.
My bike gloves for cold rain (as of winter 2012)
As a minor update to my previous entry on gloves, I have since gotten some neoprene paddling gloves for biking in cold rain (as I planned at the time). Specifically I got the MEC Humboldt 2mm gloves. They have been a complete success in this role.
Initially I thought that the gloves would be too cold (since they seem to be only partially neoprene with some thinner, more cloth-like lining at the sides of the fingers) but in actual use they've turned out to be more than warm enough for my commute riding. If anything they're a little bit too warm when it's warmer (for example, if it's 10 C and raining). They do get wet in the rain but they stay warm; if anything, they sometimes feel warmer when wet than when dry.
(Note that I don't go on extended rides when it's cold and raining.)
(The other MEC gloves I looked at turned out to have been replaced by the Humboldt gloves, which will undoubtedly be replaced by another version at some time. The 3mm Humboldt was substantially more awkward and less comfortable than the 2mm version when I tried it on, and given how warm the 2mm Humboldt is I suspect the 3mm would be significant overkill for me.)