The Park Bench Talk


Just a quick, non image heavy post before I get back to the loads of work I have this weekend.

Recently, I’ve picked up on reading anime blogs (I’ve been reading those two a lot, lately) and have consistently noticed the desire to have, what I will call, ‘the park bench talk’. Basically, the idea is to have a deep discussion involving themes, characters and plot for anime, with someone on a so-called ‘park bench’. As I sat in In-n-Out (California residents will know what I mean), eating a tasty burger and discussing with my friend, James, why I felt that a good plot and characterization was far more important than ‘deep’ meanings and that Higurashi is good because it sticks the landing with the basics of such things, I suddenly felt very conscious of the gift I was enjoying.

It wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized how lonely a lot of anime fans are out there. I had always taken for granted these discussions that I had with him and figured that everyone had that one friend they could talk to about it. I mean, my roommate occasionally discussed anime with me on a deeper level. A few of my friends did too. But, James—he and I sought to reach a much heavier understanding through the story telling of these quirky little shows. Then again, this is also a guy who listens to soundtracks from video games and breaks down every component of the symphony with me. I guess I just got really lucky in finding him.

Just today, we were discussing how death scenes are often handled—the difference between shocking, sudden deaths (especially of important characters), and the somewhat drawn out deaths. I added that my favorite where the ones where the characters are quiet. I think there’s something serene in accepting death. He brought up something:

Him: There’s this one part—wait, how far are you in Gunslinger Girl?
Me: Not very far. Been a bit busy.
Him: Well, then I won’t spoil it for you.

It made me tingle with excitement and sadness at the same time. I wondered if I had really just been lucky in finding him, or if there are people out there willing to take anime seriously and on a discussion level and are not that uncommon, but are just very hard to find. I didn’t even know James liked anime until I saw Elfen Lied on his bookshelf, and this is after having known him for a month. Does that mean that we’re not as lonely as we think? Is the ‘park bench talk’ not that far from reality?

Who knows? But, staying quiet about it won’t get you answers.

~ by sniffits on November 6, 2009.

4 Responses to “The Park Bench Talk”

  1. Can’t say I personally know anyone who is keen on discussing anime in a more in depth manner, but then again, it’s not something I’m predisposed to do either.

    • It’s more like discussing anything, really. What do you think will happen next? Why? One of the big things he and I agree on is that depth in anything is often mishandled and bullshit, but it’s still nice to know that someone out there is willing to talk about it face to face.

  2. I think it goes back to the old issue of fan elitism. We keep our mouths shut in real life because we neither want to attract or be associated with “those” fans, the noisy awkward kind. Never mind that we’re probably plenty awkward ourselves, and we just sound eloquent because we have time to type whatever we want. Ah, online life.

    • I was thinking the same thing. It feels like you only get one of two answers when you admit you like anime. 1) that naruto stuff? or 2) I LOVE NARUTO OMG. I’ve just been blessed in finding relatively moderate fans who are willing to discuss stuff with me. Internet does make it easier to meet people with similar interest, but I can’t help but get the feeling that people hide the hobby out of fear of persecution. It’s a shame. Anime used to be known as “that weird stuff from Japan.” Hell, I remember it being called Japanime. I guess with localization comes some other issues. Thanks for reading!

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