The Japanese Dilemma

Amazon is currently running several sales throughout its digital comics storefront based on the Halloween season. One of the sales is a bunch of spooky manga. I ended up buying the first several volumes of many of the series. Gleipnir was one of the selections on sale. With four volumes available, I bought and read them all in the last couple days. It has brought up a dilemma I face periodically. When it comes to manga and anime, I love the massively diverse offering of content coming out of Japan. You would be hard pressed to find anywhere else with a range of material that can go from a series about tennis to a series about monster collecting to a series about cooking. But then, I start running into the common elements that turn me off from the material.

Gleipnir is a prime example. The concept revolves around a kid who can transform into a bear mascot. One day it just happens, and he is unaware of how or why. Soon he teams up with a girl who is looking for her sister, who can also transform into a monster. They learn that the mascot can be unzipped and worn, allowing her to control him from the inside. The team quickly learn that the transformations are coming from an alien who crash landed on Earth and is looking for his companions who are all imprinted on coins. It is a bizarre concept with lots of potential. But the potential is ruined by the creepy amount of fan service and the abrupt pacing. I run into the same thing when trying to watch anime. Many times I have to walk away from a show without finishing.

It is not all like that. I have read plenty of Hunter x Hunter and enjoyed it. Anime series like Your Lie in April, Kids on the Slope, Parasyte -Maxim-, and Baccano! were all excellent. It is just hard for me to find the series that I will enjoy. I cannot trust popular opinion. I recently tried watching Cowboy Bebop, and could not finish. The music was awesome, but the pacing and depiction of women in the series were too much to get past. I have had the same reaction to other popular series. I am stuck wanting to immerse myself in more anime and manga to find the true gems, but I also have to deal with all the disappointments. It is a dilemma that I will probably be dealing with for years to come.