Despite me getting annoyed by the end of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (mainly just execution problems, and that might be another story), there are still plenty of moments that made me feel glad that I actually took time to watch the series. One specific moment came during episode 7, one of the episodes that many I read on the internet regard as one of the show’s best. In that moment Yuuto confronts Haruka’s father for denouncing her hobby without knowing anything about it. Noting that the love and passion that Haruka has for things like anime, manga and their corresponding culture are comparable to the feelings that other people have for their own hobbies, Yuuto points out how strange it is that (in this case) Akiba-kei are shunned by everyone else despite those similarities. “Isn’t that just too weird?” he asks, and while that question is never answered (part of my annoyance :P), it did raise up something that comes to my mind every once in a while.
The use of the scapegoat is one of the things that bugs me in anime. I can’t stand how in a lot of shows anything that goes wrong or is undesirable tends to be blamed on a specific person or subset of people. The concept is useful to set up a character as comic relief, someone who triumphs over the odds, someone who you feel pity for their predicaments, and so on. But as Yuuto points out, the rationale behind it doesn’t make complete sense, where the idea seems to be catharsis for everyone else by placing unnecessary burden or suffering on a few. The feelings behind it and the feelings I believe that I’m supposed to get from it don’t sit well for me, and I feel like they’re not supposed to. But it’s interesting to see how much is there in anime and in anime culture.
A quick and dirty example that comes to my mind is Youhei Sunohara from CLANNAD. In his case, it’s played for laughs, and to be frank, he deserves plenty of the blame and pain that he gets throughout the course of an episode, and it does work to great effect when it occurs because of Tomoya manipulating him, or him feeling the wrath of Tomoyo or Kyou. But it quickly loses its effectiveness when I feel like all troubles are relegated solely to him. In the case of the baseball game in episode one of After Story, when he was piled on by Misae, Tomoyo and Kyou whenever he failed at batting as if all of the teams troubles where his fault, I was pissed. I admit I have some fondness for the underdogs, and the situation is supposed to be funny, but I just wish that the punishment fit the problem, especially because there were some problems with other members of the team as well, as epic as they were (Yoshino is GAR). There’s also the feeling that I’m doing something wrong if I find enjoyment Sunohara’s trouble overkill that nags me. Yes, I do worry too much about these sort of things (Why so serious? Indeed). 😛
This sort of thing, while not to the extent done in anime (cause, you know, it’s not real), is still prevalent in the anime culture as well. Like the flack that groups of people get such as “Narutards”, people under 17 at conventions, fans of moe/just cute stuff, fansubbers, elitists, Crunchyroll (that’s probably until just recently, considering what they’re doing now), ANN, animebloggers, etc. There can be blame to go around, but often times it feels like there’s more blame created than there actually is (drama can do that), flinging from one group to another, as even the more “besieged” groups tend to do it to each other and the groups that besiege them. Like in anime, it can be funny to see as well, since people can take themselves and others too seriously at times. But again, I feel wrong and hypocritical to do so, especially since I’ve assigned blame unfairly myself (hell, I know I still do it ;_;) and have felt like I’ve been unfairly blamed by others as well.
It isn’t that we all share the fault, since I feel that’s a moot point (probably because I feel we all do anyway), nor is it a matter in terms of who deserves the most compared to others. But by finding a scapegoat handy, I feel like we end up avoiding and missing too much of the issue at hand by forcing in onto someone else (and you can say I’m doing it again here :D). And I also believe that we just end up dividing and conquering each other unnecessarily in the process, but I’m not saying we should all kiss and make up either (competition is good for the soul… when it’s arbitrarily fair :P). I don’t usually see people stop and pull a Yuuto (one of his better moments to me), and indeed, it might be beneficial not to wonder about why things are they way they are (you can’t handle the truth, the truth is too complicated, and all of that), yet I figure doing it useful in some capacity. The thought there is my belief that at least thinking things through some more can help things out. There’s no expectation of people suddenly seeing the light or anything like that, but I do have hope that people can look at things differently. Hell, they might even see things from the other side; I mean, Sunohara (or Charlie Brown) can’t always be a loser, can he?