I’m a little embarrassed. I sang the praises of the first episode of Inuyashiki, both online and in real life. But two episodes in, I dropped the series. Can I just go in my hole and hide now?
The thing is, Inuyashiki continues to be a show with high animation quality and one that I think is packed full of interesting content, the type of questions and ideas that we love to dig into on Beneath the Tangles. I’ve been reading Oishi’s episodic posts on the show, and it seems that the series is exactly what I thought it was, which I would personally characterize as enthralling. It’s worth the watch.
But still, I dropped it.
I’m not a fuddy duddy or someone who hates fun, but I’ve come to realize that there are series I really, really get into, which consume me heart and soul, that I sometimes simplyl have to drop. For every SHIROBAKO that grabs me and won’t let go in a good way, where I’m encouraged to be creative, disciplined, and content, there is an Inuyashiki, which consumes me in an entirely different manner, which causes me anguish rather than happiness.
And you know, I should have known. If I had been a good aniblogger and looked into the series before it started, I would have discovered that it was created by Hiroya Oku, who was also the mangaka behind Gantz, a series infamous for its graphic content. The thing about Gantz is that once upon a time, I was completely addicted to it. Much like Fullmetal Alchemist before it, I would read through the series during the workday, avoiding my duties and flying through the series relentlessly, while always worried that my monitor, whose screen was facing my office door, would reveal a naked girl or exploding alien to someone walking by. In fact, something like that did happen once with my manager (though that’s a story for another time).
What was so compelling about Gantz? I can’t say its a very good series. What it is, though, is compelling. Engaging. Enthralling. And primarily because, just as with Inuyashiki, it’s disturbing in all sorts of ways. The heavy content in that manga hooked me, and not only was I now wasting my work time reading it, I was also thinking of the series outside of work; I was even dreaming about Gantz! Literally, one of the few dreams I remember having had to do with that black ball of evil.
Worse yet, the series affected my mood. I kept feeding myself with troubling content, and I felt troubled. I felt depressed. I felt…off. Eventually, I stopped reading because I realized, way after the fact, that while some people could enjoy Gantz and not be particularly affected by it, I could not. Since that time, I’ve dropped other series that have made me feel similar, like Elfen Lied and The Walking Dead. Even Code Geass did a number on me, if in a different way.
And so it goes with Inuyashiki. So long. I barely knew ye. And it seems I left it just in time—if drowning toddlers weren’t enough (after that scene I immediately knew I was done with the show), episode four seems to have caused some pause with its sexual violence.
Because of my faith, I try (try!) to be careful with how I approach media. Again, I’m not about censorship and Veggietales all the time; I believe in the freedom I have to consume all sorts of different anime, weigh them against who I am in Christ and how I live for him, and make sound judgments as I mature in my faith. I find it interesting that things like senseless violence, disturbing content, and gore fill me with blahness more than sex and fanservice, which, believe me, is something I have and will probably always struggle with. And I wonder if more Christians would find the same, or something similar, if they focused less on sex in media and more on “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).
But faith aside, I’m proud to have become a more careful consumer of media, including anime. I’m glad that I’m engaging media on my own grounds, instead of on Hollywood’s (or New York’s…or Tokyo’s), and I know that has benefited me, helped me become a better person, even if that sometimes means saying no to cool anime about android grandfather superheroes and psychotic teenage supervillains.
Stream Inuyashiki on Anime Strike…if you dare.