Top 5 Series That Have Forever Ruined How I Interact With Girls

Being a blogger, it’s almost expected in clear “racist against bloggers” fashion that I’d be expected to avoid the holiday that is Valentine’s Day, or at the least bash it to death with a Mario-style mallet. On the contrary, while my feelings for Singles Awareness Day are neither here nor there, I felt like the “holiday” at the least was opportunity for me to make another List entry. So here we go, in typical blogger fashion, I shall be blaming my “one is the loneliest number”-ness on my top 5 series that have forever ruined how I interact with girls.

5. Disney Movies

Yeah, I’m starting things a little vague here and figured I’d get into particulars later on. Unlike most children (wow, if that didn’t sound like something spoken in a rehab clinic…) I didn’t grow up on your standard Disney movies. My sister’s a good five years older than me, so I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that my entire life, I’ve always had the option to pop in any ol’ Disney movie from our collection into the VHS player. And yet when I think back on the movies I remember watching, two of the five or so I remember come to mind that apply to my list: 101 Dalmatians and Robin Hood. With your typical American female growing up on the prince charming delusions brought to you by the folks at Disney, it makes one wonder just what exactly they’ve done to equally jade young impressionable boys throughout the world through their animated musicals featuring anthropomorphic animals in the main leads.

Robin Hood basically worked as a male version of a Disney Princess story, telling it from the perspective of the male lead instead, with the two leads pretty much destined to end up together. 101 Dalmatians takes a different approach, not really being classified as a guy meets girl story, even though that’s what gets the movie started.

Opening scene of the movie, male Dalmatian Pongo leads human owner Roger to the park so he may conveniently bump into female Dalmatian Perdita and her human owner Anita. After some bits of dog-dragging-owner-here-and-there scenes, the two couples finally meet, in what has become one of the most overused movie methods for guy meeting girl: falling into a lake together. The two couples laugh off the incident and are next seen getting married. From my perspective, there are two things Disney is trying to tell me here: 1) Pongo going for a dog of the same breed suggests that interracial (“interbreedal?”) relationships are out of the question and 2) Marriage is as easy as one comedic yet heartwarming instance of guy meeting girl—no questions asked.

5. The Adventures of Pete and Pete


In Nickelodeon’s heyday, live-action shows actually meant something more than a money-grab via some kind of soundtrack tie-in (though ironically enough, this was the only live-action Nick show to have a soundtrack). Pete and Pete told the story of two red-headed brother, both of who go by the name of “Pete.” While the younger Pete has offbeat adventures, the older Pete tends to either go along with them or have his own side-story, usually involving a “flavor of the week” girlfriend.

Oddities of the show aside, I thought it strange for some series to carry along a strict continuity between episodes, while other didn’t. In the case with P&P, characters remained consistent, but their relationships with each other were certainly not set in stone. In particular, the relationship with platonic female friend Ellen was covered multiple times throughout the series’ three season run. However, as was mentioned by the creators in the first season DVD release, older Pete and Ellen tended to fall in and out of love as the episode’s story called for it. So as offbeat and well-written as the series was, it was that same offbeat-edness that made my own awkward years growing up that much more awkward.

4. Boy Meets World

Nothing even has to be said about this series, but for those reading this probably born past 1995, BMW was your classic coming of age story told in a sitcom-style format, spanning from main lead Corey Matthew’s years in the 6th grade to his college years. While the series was able to go strong for the bulk of its 7 season run, you wouldn’t be able to tell that from its first season alone. The show started off humbly enough with standard stories from the 6th grade told in classic sitcom fashion with appointed bullies, jocks, nerds and the like. It wasn’t until its second season that writers found something to milk with the relationship that was Corey and female lead Topanga. The complete polar opposite of older Pete and Ellen, Corey and Topanga’s relationship practically made the series for a majority of viewers to the point that writers must have been pressured to maintain their relationship its entire run. This resulted in the Corey and Topanga power couple: a force so ridiculously unstoppable that any characters that even made an attempt to mess with their relationship were quickly done away with. Nobody past, present, or future will ever have the same relationship-might that was Corey and Topanga, so why even bother?

3. Doug


While it never got as big as Rugrats or Ren & Stimpy, Doug has a right to stand tall with its fellow Classic Nicktoons for making a respectable name of itself (at least until Disney acquired rights to it) even though its main lead was a dull as an eraser head. Sure, the series had a handful of notable episodes, but at the end of the day, you just spent 30 minutes watching the trials and tribulations of a pre-pubescent boy with nothing all that interesting about him, but just happens to have substantial enough people surrounding him that you were fooled into thinking such.

Of the handful of notable things about title character Doug, one most people would remember was that he constantly wrote in his journal about his everyday mundane life—including his super secret crush on Patti Mayonnaise—you know, the one that he would constantly bring up, no matter what the situation. You know those overly chatty guys that can’t help but brag about having a girlfriend? Now imagine that except he doesn’t even have anything to brag about, leaving nothing but long rants about longing and the like from an 11 year old. I only hate the kid more when I realize I’ve gone through such a stage myself.

2. Bakemonogatari (Ghostory)


Okay, heading into more obscure turf now. Released in 2009, Bakemonogatari, based on the light novels of the same name, would be considered a harem-genre anime if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so self aware of the fact that it takes on certain aspects of said genre and taking it in a slightly more dignified manner… well dignified in that you only get an average of one panty-shot per episode.

The story revolves around a recently-turned-vampire-then-turned-normal-again human, Araragi, who finds that a number of females around him have developed what he refers to as “oddities,” usually based on a type of old-school ghost curse. Every female in question always seems to be around our lead character at the most convenient of times that at one point the character himself asks if the sudden obtainment of a babe magnet was from his previous encounter with a vampire. It’s that kind of self-aware writing that makes the series for me… though also kills my perception of reality when I look up and am at an odds as to what to think when I realize I’m the sole guy in a study room full of girls.

1. FLCL

“You wanna throw everything away and come with me?”


Okay, so my previous entries might have hinted at this. Like many have said before, this series calls for multiple viewings to even begin to understand what it’s about, but once you begin to piece things together and realize that it’s the basic story of guy meets girl at its core, it makes all those viewings worth it.

Comprised of only six episodes, the series revolves around 12 year old Naota, who’s become incredibly bored of his town and everything that happens in it… until a certain inciting incident in the form of female Haruko literally slams him in the face with something to talk about. Through the short series, you’re led to question Haruko’s true intentions with Naota and whether or not Naota’s decisions are actually right or not. In the end, you’re still unsure as to who would be classified as the series’ heroes and villains, but that’s what makes things that much more interesting and relatable. Of course, leave it to the most bonkers series out there to make the most sense when applied elsewhere.

DVD Purchasing 101: FLCL

It’s no secret that next to manga, the second thing you’re likely to find on my shelves is DVDs.

While some may find it hard to wrap their minds around, DVDs have come a long way in the time they’ve been dominating the markets, and in some cases are even considered something more along the lines of a collectible rather than something merely for home video release purposes.

That said, the actual process of DVD-purchasing has become that much more difficult. With releases and re-releases for certain series only inevitable, consumers must become well aware of the current changes during the release process, from release date, to box art, to everything else between, before, and after. But that’s what makes it fun.

Let’s take for instance the release of FLCL. For those not in the know, FLCL (or Fooly Cooly if you want to be fancy) is a 6 episode original video animation essentially telling a coming-of-age story in the most indirect and confusing way possible. Because of such, the series received quite the amount of talk back when it originally aired and has become something of a cult hit in the mere 11 years it’s been in existence.

Initially released to DVD in the states in 2003 with a complete series set released in 2007, the releases soon became out of print—understandably so, considering how the anime industry is especially suffering thanks to the internet granting access to torrents and the like for free. This is where things get interesting for DVD enthusiasts.

For a series as popular as FLCL, it was only a matter of time for another company to pick up the license for the series with a re-release soon following. And with the price of the out-of-print copies being sold with three-digit price tags, you can guarantee that I wasn’t the only one playing the waiting game.

With North American anime distributors dropping like flies, I think everyone was anticipating Funimation, one of the few surviving companies English-speaking countries could refer to for their anime needs was basically expected to pick up FLCL sooner or later. The especially eager fans would park it in front of their computers, continually refreshing their amazon.com searches for the show, hoping a new listing would pop up eventually. And as expected, January 6, 2010, Funimation announced that they’ve “acquired home entertainment and digital rights to the six OVA sci-fi comedy anime series “FLCL” from Production I.G.” Now all that was left was a release date.

For a while, the announcement was the only clue that a new release of the series would be coming. Well… that and a splash page with a stock image from the series and some text declaring a release in 2010. Something of a rule of thumb when it comes to home video releases, though: release dates are never set in stone. As days turned to weeks and eventually months, December 2010 came and there were no listings on any online retail sites for the new release at all. The optimistic like to think release date delays are to ensure that the release itself is the best it can be—crammed to the brim with special features and the like; the pessimists like to think it’s nothing more than a marketing strategy, building up more hype and anticipation for when the series eventually does get a release. Either way, the waiting game continues.

Oddly enough, with only a handful of solid information actually provided for the release, I always find it interesting how fans get so hyped over the series’ release regardless. As such, I can only imagine just how extra-hyped people get when the inevitable happens and the surge of release information arrives. Funimation is no stranger to this and as of the seventh of this month, a trailer for FLCL was uploaded to their YouTube channel, making way for that much more discussion building up to its release next month, picking at practically every aspect of the trailer if only to kill time before actually picking up the release once it’s out.

One thing I’ve always found annoying when it came to re-release trailers is the sort of backwards hype given to the series. While it was true that Evangelion added to FLCL’s original hype back in the day, I always find it strange when companies tack on their more recent projects when “reverse-hyping” their old projects. The same thing happened when Toy Story 1 and 2 were coming back to theaters, with Pixar hyping it up by bringing up their later titles like Monster’s Inc. and Finding Nemo. As good as those titles were, I always feel like I’m being lied to when newer things are being used to hype older things. Something tells me there’s room for a Justin Bieber / Kurt Cobain stab in here, but I’d rather not.

Next up when putting the “anal” in “overanalyzing trailers” is the audience clearly being pandered to. While some trailers are able to directly take from the series it’s hyping, without taking any kind of new direction to it (I guess you can consider the series itself already pandering to a certain audience, but I won’t go into that) there are other instances where I can’t help but think I’m being pandered to in the most negative way possible. Taking out any of the footage from the series itself, the trailer is made up of bold text put to neon colors literally flashing in and out of the screen. And while neon colors may have meant something else ten years ago, I can’t help but think Funimation is hyping the series as something for, ugh… hipsters. Sure, the level of pandering isn’t as bad as say the online trailers for Toy Story 3 with their auto-tuned version of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” but that doesn’t mean I’ve gagged slightly less after the trailer’s finished.

But what most people will get out of these kinds of trailers is without a doubt the release’s cover art. Sure, you may already be sold on the product itself, but wouldn’t you actually like to see what you’re gonna be putting on your shelf? Here’s where a couple kinks in the whole “home release process” come into place, though. Even with something as solid as a release trailer, things like cover art are far from finalized. Heck, not even a full week since the trailer’s been released, signs of new box art have already popped up on amazon.com’s listings, which bring me to my next point.

With online retailer listings also come your basic release specs. Although your basic info on special features, run time and the like are also not necessarily set in stone, that doesn’t stop fans from picking at every bit of new information they can find. Is the aspect ratio maintained from before? Is it actually worth getting a Blu-Ray release for a series never animated for such? Does the run time include special features along with the episodes? Such are the basic questions that must be asked for a proper purchase to be made.

One tidbit of info that nearly all consumers out there who don’t wipe their fanny with $100 bills will consider is the price for the release itself. As a general rule of thumb, the maximum I’d expect a release to be will come out to about $2 per episode in the release, and even then that’s pretty pricey. But when it comes to something like an OVA, FLCL in this case only totaling at 6 episodes total, would it really be worth hocking over more than $12 for a re-release? Some factors besides individual episode cost I consider are: box art, special features, and (most importantly!) personal enjoyment of the series… also known as its replay value. Personally, for something as enjoyable and out-there as FLCL, I’m willing to pay something around the lines of $20. And, of course, amazon.com being the demi-god it is has slashed the price of the DVD from its $40 retail to the predicted $20. Sweetness.

But wait, there’s more! Before I’m actually willing to put down the pre-order price for this thing, the most important thing I’ve got to do now is compare it to its previous release. The chances of me actually getting my mitts on the original 2007 American release are less than likely, but regardless, comparisons must be made. So far, specs indicate the new release will only contain one disc for all 6 episodes (reasonable), while the old release had four discs, two episodes for the first three discs, and a handful of bonus features on the final one (a bit excessive, especially considering the special features are nothing but music from the show and a bit of dub-bloopers as far as google research has told me). Second up would have to be comparing the packaging: it should be safe to assume that like most of Funimation’s recent releases, FLCL will be in a standard DVD package, with a slipcover for the case at the most. Meanwhile, the 2007 release went over the top, with the discs in a digipack (+10 presentability, -10 shelf space) which may or may not be a pro depending on your sense of packaging taste.

So that’s pretty much it. After the pros and cons have been done, a purchase is made, I thoroughly watch every bit of whatever I just got before putting it on the shelf and the process repeats itself. This probably explains why I’m severely lacking in textbook money right now.

Fooly Cooly

Back in my freshman year of high school, I remember one of the first (if not the first) titles the anime club showed was FLCL. I entered the room, tip-toeing through backpacks to an empty desk to eat my lunch as the club president in front of the teacher’s computer monitor started up the episode. I ate my sandwich as what I would later learn to be the third episode of the series, “Marquis de Carabas” started up. Quick action scenes featuring guitars and a TV-headed robot flashed on the screen all while narrated by some kid no older than me at that time. While the episode played out, I could overhear the president and his friend talking about the series, discussing how it’s a play on childhood, blah-blah-blah, and how he had some of the CDs from the series, willing to burn some copies for anyone that wanted one. As the beep for the following class sounded off, I packed my things and left, thinking something along the lines of “this has got to be the crappiest artsiest anime title I’ve ever seen.”

Revisiting the series five years later, I will admit that my opinions have varied somewhat from those of my past-self. For one, “Marquis de Carabas” has got to be one of my all-time favorite episodes of the series and in general.

Having just marathoned through The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzuumiya last summer, I wondered just what other titles I missed out on and figured FLCL should be first up on the list. Similar to Haruhi, explaining the general plot of the series is difficult as all heck in that it’s one of those series that doesn’t exactly focus on the plot itself, but rather all the subtexty crap going on in the background. So, I’ll just say that it’s a definite watch as long as you’re fully aware of what to expect (er, I guess “not expect”).

Getting into the series rather late, I was pretty disappointed to have not thrived in all the cultural impact stuffages going on with the show, ranging from Lord Canti figures to the show’s band, The Pillows, holding a concert in the states. Every couple of months after finally watching the series, I’d look through amazon and eBay to see rip-offs of the series on DVR, with legit out-of-print copies going for way more than six episodes should cost, sad that the show so many people before me has yet to get a re-release in the states… until now.


Be excited.

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