October 2011


I have this ridiculous idea. I may not have been watching anime, but I’ve been catching up on The Big Bang Theory up to the end of its fourth season. There’s a new season, I know, but it’s still currently running and unfinished at the time of this writing. I couldn’t help myself from comparing that serial comedy with Honey and Clover, especially in light of the later seasons. It wasn’t obvious during the earlier seasons, as there was only Penny, but it showed its similarity to H&C when Bernadette, Amy, and Priya appeared. I said similarity because there is no actual competition among the characters in both series. They know who they love, and they love as best as they could, but don’t actively compete with their friends for the hearts of the people they’re interested in. Just as Penny spites Priya, she bears down on her emotions and respectfully gives Leonard and Priya their space after Leonard and her talked about it, Yamada whines about Rika but doesn’t actively go against her because she also recognizes the capabilities of Rika.

People have complained about the tone of TBBT to have become more serious, but I actually praise it. Instead of mere scientific laughfests from caricatures the viewer is increasingly made to appreciate the humanity of the characters that make up the show. While the comedy remains the focus, the emotions that underlie and that seethe beneath the terse sentences and the unsaid expressions make the show more colorful for me. It’s actually the jarring transitions that make me more endeared to series like this and H&C. Though it’s stomach-crampingly funny at one point, it immediately becomes a trigger for tears when beneath the laughs lie the emotions that the characters feel.

A great way to illustrate this is the awkward presence of Penny at the time when Leonard, Priya, and the rest of their friends were having dinner at Leonard’s apartment. There was witty banter throughout the occasion, but it was enlightening to see how Penny reacted to the aptness of the relationship between Leonard and Priya: both of them were highly intelligent and capable of holding a conversation. They were even able to recall a humorous scene in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.  The aftermath, of course, is that Penny broke down into tears after Leonard and Priya were gone.  (season 4, episode 16)

It is this surprising and jarring transition that makes the comedy all the more funny and the sadness all the more grave, because it is unexpected and yet apropos for the occasion. I think I’ll get back to this later on: my point is that it is the background of comedy that illuminates and gives gravitas to the serious occurrences in the show, especially because the seriousness is unexpected. The seriousness jumps out at the viewer, and erodes the foundation of emotional stability because it precisely is jarring. Compared to series which are consistently sad, or just really fun-fests the series that are bittersweet are for me the ones that are more memorable because of this surprise element. The tears are jerked out of you.

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Let me be totally frank: I have not watched anime ever since the fourth episode of Blood-C, and probably won’t do so until near the end of this month, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I am not running away or eschewing anime, mind you, but I am trying to enjoy what amounts to my last academic year of medical school before I go into the wards as an errand boy or bitch. If I’m lucky, I’ll just be an errand boy; if not, I’ll be a bitch and bitched that certain day. It was with this thought that I am hoping that my faithful readers (you) could forgive my temporary absence and intermittent updates because I’m really trying to seize the last year of formal schooling and enjoy it to the best of my abilities. I will probably never return to formal school after this year, and I don’t want to live my life being regretful.

We have, of course, been quite busy the past month: there were tons of examinations, but two weeks ago was the final medicine week of our lives. I simply had to enjoy it. While I failed being the three-peat champion in chess, I was able to contribute a bit to our basketball team and win the championship for the third straight time. I was also able to enjoy being the champion and winner to what is tantamount to being the last quiz bee of my life, and until now I still feel really good about it, because I was the one who was able to answer the difficult questions that widened the gap between us and our opponents. I also competed in big-ball volleyball, and sang for the first time in front of a crowd. While my grades may be teetering between mediocre and average, I have been trying my utmost to enjoy real life, and have been quite successful to an extent.

I am not happy that I have seemingly abandoned my blog, but it has been a week or so since animeblogger.net was down, and it’s really been a while since I have wanted to update. Rest assured that I will never stop being a fan of anime, and will always support anime as a medium just as creative as television series and movies. I do think that my temporary absence from the blogosphere rendered me lost in the plethora of discussion of new anime and individual episodes, but I’ll come back stronger, if not in a few months, then in a year from now (God willing).

I have no regrets, however: it is really endearing and cathartic to win the final quiz bee competition in your life, and to do so in your final academic year of medical school. I have competed in the past years and have been on a gradual rise, only to take it all in my final year, and for that I am extremely grateful. I’m still around, don’t worry. Cheers!