You Have an Undying Love For… What?!

In the past week or so, my cousin/roommate Funeral has gone on a massive Yuu Yuu Hakusho binge. Out of the blue, he decided that he wanted to finally complete the series and manga, and then proceeded to buy all four ‘seasons’ of the show and almost all of the books at once.

Damn pretty boys.

Now see, Yuu Yuu Hakusho was one of the first shows that Funeral and I became fans of when we got into anime back in 2001. We used to watch it on Cartoon Network all the time, and Funeral owned the two movies, however neither of us have seen any of it since, at the latest, 2004. Since then, both of us have developed tastes that are far different from those we had back then. Both of us have wondered how the hell we were able to enjoy some of the shows that we got into (Samurai Deeper Kyo, wtf?!), but there have still been a few things from back then that we’ve always loved (Cowboy Bebop, s-CRY-ed etc.) Still, Yuu Yuu Hakusho was hardly a choice I saw coming. Funeral is a film buff who has a deep love for anime, but his tastes tend to be more towards the mature shows, or at least the darker ones – he has a spot for light shows as well, but his true love is with anything either artsy or hilariously brutal. Of course, this meant I had to ask him, ‘really?!’ to which he replied “I’ve realized that I have an undying love for Yuu Yuu Hakusho.” And that got me thinking.

An ‘undying love’, huh? It got me thinking about things from my past. Things that I hadn’t watched in all these years, but had never actually come to dislike. Things that just sort of got left behind and were waiting to play catch-up. There are a lot of series from my early days as a fan that I knew I would still love, and have rewatched (or finished) in the past few years since I became a hardcore otaku. These include the aforementioned Cowboy Bebop and s-CRY-ed, as well as FLCL, Trigun (which I still haven’t finished rewatching, though I plan to this week), Hellsing, One Piece, and, of course, Neon Genesis Evangelion. But what about the shows that don’t seem so obviously up my alley? Is it really true that besides some particularly exceptional shows, my taste had completely changed since then?

I started thinking ‘what show do I have an ‘undying love’ for?’ What show have I always felt a lingering affection for over all these years? The first thing that seemed obvious was Rurouni Kenshin.

Kenshin was my favorite series for a good chunk of my early fandom, and there had never been a time that I came to dislike it as I did other old favorites such as Inuyasha and Naruto. Besides, the Tsuiokuhen OVA, while I don’t like to consider it quite the same thing, is still one of my favorites. However, my attempts to get back into Kenshin have failed several times. For one thing, the early episodes are really boring and uninteresting (I could skip to the Kyoto arc I guess, but that seems so cheap). For another, I cannot get used to Kenshin’s Japanese voice actress (I actually like his voice in the dub, but everyone else in the show sounds like shit, so that’s a bust too.) A while ago, I turned to the manga in hopes of getting into it that way, but after four volumes I found myself greatly disappointed. The manga felt like there was no heart in it. Watsuki’s notes in the back of chapters always suggested that he was making shit up on the spot and using whatever ideas his editor handed him, and this seemed to reflect on the pages. The characters were lifeless, like their stories and powers only existed for the story, and not to actually create an interesting character.

Disheartened by the manga to a point where I couldn’t continue, I thought again. There are a few shows from back then that I certainly think that I would still like. Yuu Yuu Hakusho is actually one of them, but along with the others, it’s not a series that I feel truly attached to. It’s not something I could say I had an ‘undying love’ for. I gave the phenomenon serious consideration, as this was not the first time I’d seen it. Inuyasha is a big one – I’ve met many people that have become aware of it’s flaws over the years and gotten angry at it for many things, but just can’t bring themselves to stop loving it because it has been such a big part of their lives. Maybe I’m even envious of them – it kind of hurts that series like Inuyasha and Naruto which were so very important to me at one time in my life are now shunned by me. But after a little soul-searching, I came up with what I think is the answer. I wasn’t sure about it at first, just because it was such an unlikely choice, and I wondered if my sheer desire to have a show like that may have swayed me, but I was ready to give it a shot. My ‘undying love’ is Yu-Gi-Oh!

You know, that show from all those Nico videos?

The reason that I never continued to consider Yu-Gi-Oh in the way that I did other shows from my past is simply that, even back then, I didn’t quite think of it as I did other anime. To quote the post on my history of favorites:

“My Yu-Gi-Oh obsession, though, was more like my Pokemon one, in that it wasn’t so much associated with being my ‘favorite anime’ as just being a really awesome franchise.”

I still don’t think of my love for Pokemon (which is also undying) as a love for an ‘anime’ because there is so much more to the franchise than that. However, in these years as I’ve gotten over the Yugioh card game, I have always had an affection for the anime itself. I don’t think it’s just nostalgia – I am not much one for nostalgia. I am not the type who will get jizzed to play a video game from my childhood if that video game honestly sucked. (Maybe it’s just because I’m young.) Either way, there is something about Yugioh that resonates with me. It has an important place in my heart. I think that my love for strategy games was probably largely born from watching those intense duels. And Seto Kaiba has never stopped being one of my favorite anime characters. As a funny aside, the first website that I ever joined was a Yugioh forum, and the cheesy Yugioh-related password that I used on that site is still my master password for most sites. And I still smile if I think of what it means.

But I would not be able to make the commitment to sitting through 224 episodes of Yugioh if I wasn’t sure that I could do it. Even if Yuu Yuu Hakusho seemed like a weird choice for Funeral, it made sense when I broke it down. Funeral has always had an immense love for demons (which is why he made it through all of Devilman with babblefish subs) as well as a love for super powers (he’s always loved super hero comics and the like). Given these factors and the fact that Yuu Yuu Hakusho was one of his starter anime which he never came to hate, it’s not so surprising that he could still enjoy it (though it is surprising that he’s watched 35 episodes in like 5 days, which is a total speed record for him.) Just because I have a lot of fond memories of Yugioh and never came to dislike it doesn’t mean that I could actually handle watching it again – I needed proof that it was possible.

That's not Kallen in the bottom right, but don't worry, we've all made that mistake.

And I got it in the form of Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s, the latest incarnation of the franchise which airs every morning on Cartoon Network while my little brother is getting up. I have no idea what the hell is going on in this show at any given time that I’ve seen it. The dub voices are godawful to an incredible degree, and the character designs are ridiculous. Plus, the card game hasn’t gotten much less deus-ex-machina driven than it ever was. And yet… somehow, when it’s on, I watch it. I sit down for the whole episode, giggling at the obnoxious voices and enjoying the fights. When I see it, there is still some function in my brain that goes ‘fuck yeah, Yugioh!’ and roots me in place. Considering this, I thought… if I can sit through this crap, surely I could easily have fun watching the original series in Japanese, right? And so, ready to take a chance and see how it goes, I somehow ended up with 42 gigs of Yugioh Duel Monsters.

So far, I’m ten episodes in, and it’s every bit as fun as it ever was to me. Kaiba is still a fucking badass, card games still rule, kickass monsters are still awesome (and now they have cooler names like ‘Black Magician’ and ‘Demon’), and Yugi makes a hell of a lot more sense when both of his ‘forms’ actually sound like the same guy lol. The best way to describe the experience is actually with the phrase Funeral used to describe his watching of Yuu Yuu Hakusho to me today: “It’s like… I don’t really know how to describe what I like about it… it’s not that there’s anything bad, but I couldn’t tell you why I like it so much – I just do.” Indeed I do.

So, how about you? Do you have any series that you unexpectedly have an undying love for? Tell me all about it!

By the way! I’m up for my third round in the Aniblog Tourney today! I promised Josh’s Anime Blog that I would beat him this round, so I’d be much obliged if you could give me a hand in doing so by heading over there and shooting me a vote! And while you’re at it, if you like my good friends at 2-D Teleidoscope and Ogiue Maniax, it would be really cool if you voted for them in each of their matches as well. The matches are close, so be sure to show your support before it’s too late!

33 thoughts on “You Have an Undying Love For… What?!

  1. Urotsukidōji…..WHICH YOU STILL HAVEN’T DEDICATED A BLOG POST TO EXCUSE ME CONRADIUM

    In all seriousness, probably Sugar Sugar Rune. And I’ll leave it at that

    • I take anywhere up to seven years to finish some of my alltime favorite anime. I hope it doesn’t take too long, but I make no promises lol

  2. I feel the same way about Pokemon. It’s an undying love. It’s accompanied me all the way from elementary school to high school. But I never really considered it as anime the same way I consider other anime. Maybe it’s because my experience with Pokemon is so westernized from dubs to English pokemon games to even Burger King toys.

    • Same here. I’ve never stopped loving Pokemon, but i have a hard time seeing it as an anime, though i did see the first 10 eps in Japanese and it was indeed awesome.

  3. Even though it’s stupid, full of filler and the fights drag on endlessly, I’ve always enjoyed Dragon Ball Z and doubt this will ever change. I’ve even been catching random dubbed episodes of Dragon Ball Kai on the Nicktoons network recently. It’s just dumb, ridiculous fun that I cannot help but enjoy.

    • Oddly enough, I never got into DBZ at all growing up, seeing as I didn’t like the big burly look of the characters, but I caught enough of it to know everything about it, and I found myself watching a few eps of Kai when it started (though like most things, I quickly lost track of it, lol)

  4. The ‘unexpectedly’ bit is a hard one… There are a few that I hold undying love for since when I watched it when I was young (Saint Seiya, Doraemon) but those are pretty predictable and I am not too surprised I still like them to this day. Maybe it is Fruits Basket. I have barely gotten into any Shoujo series but that is one that I love quite unreservedly. The lead is just so positive and cheery to a fault and the anime is populated by really awesome cast.

    • Saint Seiya is another show that Funeral is planning to finally finish after Yuu Yuu Hakusho, though he had shown a lot more interest in it generally over the years. Fruits Basket, I still need to watch that myself…

  5. You know what’s odd, is I did the exact same thing a few months ago. I decided that I was going to go back and watch the entire series (although I don’t care about the books), and I smashed through 17 episodes in about 2 days and then for some reason haven’t revisited the show, even though I was at a pretty interesting part and was really enjoying it. This post has reminded me to get back on the horse.

    • You were one of the people that I was sort of referring to when I mentioned undying love for Inuyasha, though I’m not sure how much you ever would have doubted that love anyway. As for Yugioh, cool to know I’m not the only one looking back on it.

  6. Robot Wars. Fuck anime, no cartoons will ever beat watching robots built by nerdy engineer students driving at each other and then breaking down when they drive into a wall

    • I remember watching a couple episodes of this when I was young, but I could never remember what channel it was on (the only channel I knew was Cartoon Network) so I watched very little of it. But you’ve resurfaced some fond memories~

  7. I guess it would be Dragon Ball for me. About 3 weeks ago I just felt like giving Dragon Ball Kai a try. I was kinda afraid that I wouldn’t like it anymore cuz you know I’m not the n00b I was back then and my tastes may’ve changed. But guess what? I loved it and the day I watched the 1st episode I had to marathon the rest of available episodes.

  8. Pokemon is probably my strongest undying love, with Cardcaptor Sakura, Evangelion, and Digimon close behind. Does undying love have to be older series, or can it be series you’ve watched just a few years ago but you’ve rewatched them many times and you still love them? If so, then I could add a few more…

    Unfortunately I missed out on Rurouni Kenshin and Yu Yu Hakusho because I didn’t get cable TV until 2005 >_>

    I think I watched every episode of Duel Monsters dubbed. I’m glad I did because now I’m thoroughly enjoying Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged XD I knew the dub was full of flaws, but for some reason it had its own charm. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of my favorite episodes in Japanese but I doubt I would have the patience to watch all 224 episodes again. I’ve never felt like watching any of the spin-off Yu-Gi-Oh! series though. I still like playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game though I don’t have many good cards and I can never find anyone to play with.

    • Well, what I’m really thinking of with this is shows that you are kind of surprised to find that you still like, as they aren’t really in-line with your tastes anymore. You’ve always struck me as never having to doubt any of the series you love :D

      Yugioh abridged was indeed one of the things that kept the show in my mind over the years, and as I watch the show I sometimes have to think back to the abridged versions of the eps lol.

  9. As part of my anime/video game/tokusatsu polygamy (and personality flaws), I can’t have an undying love. I mean, there’s still stuff I really, really want to finish. But putting stuff on a pedestal above other things I really, really like is a bit disrespectful.

    That said, I would kill a puppy if it would get more anime bloggers into regular tokusatsu watching. Kamen Rider W is so fucking good, as are Kamen Rider Den-O, Kamen Rider Kabuto (the composer for the incidental music is doing Metroid: Other M’s music!), Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, and Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger (protip: the ending was sung by good old Ichirou Mizuki). I really should write mini-primers/reviews on all of them on Hakasen.

    Now I just need to get those fabled Ultraman and Red Baron DVDs that I keep hearing Wal-Mart sells.

  10. Honestly, YYH is a pretty solid series. I read the entire manga last year after making friends with a group of YYH cosplayers. I think of it as Dragon Ball Z with plot. The characters actually grow over time, but at their heart they’re still just a bunch of badasses who want a good fight.

    I’d have to go with Digimon Tamers as the series I have an undying love for. I really don’t care about the flack it got for being “darker and edgier” than the first two seasons. I loved it as a kid, and nine years later I’ve been watching it subbed and still enjoy it.

    Also, on the note of confusing Aki and Kallen…

    • ROFLMAO that vid is fuckin great, saving that~

      As for YYH, I think I’ll probably watch it myself somewhere down the line, being as Funeral now has the DVDs, but such a thing is less surprising from me, being as I regularly read shounen manga and doesn’t afraid of anything lol

  11. My undying love for Pokemon has always been more about the games and the general franchise than it has the anime. I haven’t seen an episode of the anime in years and years and still have yet to see a movie past the third. I’m not against seeing more, it’s just not something I really feel like going out of my way to do. But the games? Shit, we’ll be thirty years from now with generation 13 and Pokemon Iron and Rust and I’ll still be buying them.

    I’m not really sure anything I have an undying love for is “unexpected” because I’m a huge nostalgiafag and naturally most of my earliest exposures are immune having my love deteriorating with age. So, Totoro, Sailor Moon, Tenchi, DBZ, Gundam Wing, etc, Toonami Glory Days~.

    • Haha! Iron and Rust, that would be hilarious~ I guess I probably got so into the anime because I was 7 years old when it came out, so I was completely the right audience. I watched, taped, and occasionally bought the episodes for most of the first season (well, up through Kanto league, and then I lost track of the show gradually). I’ve rewatched them so many times that I have them committed to memory, which is true for a lot of my old favorites, but Pokemon is the one that I could probably recite half an episode of, hehe. I’ve also seen most of the movies thanks to Cartoon Network. It helps too that I’ve got a brother a year younger than me who was always as into it as I was, and a twelve year old brother who literally grew up Pokemon, having been exposed to it at an early age. He mostly likes the newer stuff, which I admit that I am not too big on, but it’s great to see that the series I’ve been passionate about for over ten years is running through the family veins so to speak.

  12. Mine is ROD the TV, most definitely. The tricky thing, though, is that I can’t really tell you why. I guess I’ll have to do some soul-searching and make a post of my own. ;)

    Thanks for always having supported me in the Tourney. It was fun.

    • I’d be interested in seeing that, being as I love ROD the TV, but don’t find it surprising at all~

  13. Picking just one is hard, so rather than think to hard about this I’ll just put up the first series that always pops into my mind whenever I consider the question – Witch Hunter Robin. The more you think about questions like this though the harder it gets to choose just one.

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