Clearly one reason many of us are pulled into the world of anime is that it’s a medium with the freedom to tell stories about love and sex, with deeply dramatic stories about human relationships, where we can enjoy a little fan service if we want, or a lot, depending on our personal preferences. While a lot of fans doth protest too much about how sexy fan service is taking over anime, it’s important to remember that only a few highly visible shows each season, such as High School DxD or To Love-Ru, are entirely built around visual representation of ecchi; it’s far more common for a series to show a small amount in the first episode to get fans’ attention, then get moving with the story. As the re-boot of Space Battleship Yamato proved, a modern anime must engage its fanbase on every level, including generating doujinshi and sexy figures, or fail in the marketplace.
As important as the sexy side of anime is to the industry, I believe the freedom to tell stories that are violent is equally important, and many of us have been drawn into fandom by excellent fights scenes, battles that culminate with the hero vanquishing his hated villain, perhaps getting revenge for another character’s death. While dramatic on-screen deaths are an important part of good storytelling, I remember being enthralled at the scenes of mass destruction of the Earth by Zentredi cruisers in the original Macross (née Robotech). The whole planet, destroyed! And without some character saying “fortunately, I was able to evacuate all the cities first.” It was a bold and dramatic story that didn’t insult viewers intelligence. And this was the 1980s, a time when parents’ groups were pressuring animation studios to promote “family values,” when every jet shot down in GI Joe was required to show the pilot parachute to safety.
While many series have a certain level of violence, some — Higurashi When they Cry, Umineko and Elfin Lied — are almost totally defined by the high-stakes, high-violence stories they tell. Other shows, like Another, can make you scared to carry an umbrella while walking down stairs. So, what’s your favorite violent anime?
Great news! The J-List staff has posted the new J-List Box snack, seasonal and ecchi boxes to the site for preorder now! This month they’ve outdone themselves, with great collections of discounted Japanese snacks, drinks, rare seasonal items for spring, plus rare “naughty” items. Browse and buy now!