It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an otaku in possession of a good anime collection must be in want of a waifu.
For once a person has reached the sublimity of possessing three harddrives full of Japanese cartoons, a bookshelf of dog-eared manga, and a rudimentary knowledge of Japanese via Rosetta Stone, the grotesque frailties of human partners can no longer inspire anything but disgust.
Anime is perfection. Perfection is anime. Therefore the perfect partner must be made of anime.
We love our waifus. We love no one else. We don’t know any girls. We don’t know any boys. We don’t know any charming diminutive terms for intersex people we could, conceivably, love. We live in houses made of full-length body pillows. We have no one else.
Our parents are dead.
Here are the most perfect waifus with which to file the gaping void in your gaping heart:
Gen Fukunaga, the King Kai of Anime (courtesy of thedaoofdragonball.com)
The Rise of Gen Fukunaga
Back in the early 1990s, anime was rarer in America than gold. Akira had made a certain cultural splash and Hiyao Miyazaki had a deal with Disney, but there was almost no anime on television. No internet distribution. No DVDs for sale in Walmart. No issues of Otaku USA at the Barnes and Noble. Even French Art Films had more cultural presence, more popularity, more ease of access than anime.
Then came Gen Fukunaga.
Growing up in the least kawaii place of all – West Lafayette, Indiana – the Japanese-American Fukunaga began his career as an engineer. He worked for IBM in Florida. He designed ATM machines in California. His uncle, meanwhile, was a producer for the popular Japanese cartoon Dragon Ball Z, which had been a major success in Japan for years. Although there was no real interest in bringing it to America, Fukunaga asked his uncle for the chance to try, and his uncle told him that, if he could raise the start-up costs, the uncle would make sure that Toei Animation gave Fukunaga the rights to distribute the show in North America. Convincing a friend’s family to sell their feed mill business and invest the proceeds in his Anime distribution scheme, Fukunaga founded what would become the greatest anime licenser the world has ever known: Funimation.(more…)
When the Great East Asian War ended in 1945, 20 million people were dead – 3 million of them Japanese. After weathering radiation, starvation, and sinking to the level of cannibalism, the survivors took what petty shelter they could find in a totally ruined nation. With no economy, little food, and most buildings burned to the ground, life would be hard for years to come. The children of this time, many of whom are still alive, lived on G.I. handouts and played in the ashes of schools. War orphans starved by the tens of thousands in abandoned subway stations, and those lucky enough to have parents watched mom and dad go hungry to feed them.
But the great wonder of mortality is that nothing lasts forever. No impression, no philosophy, no lesson of history can outlive the people who bear it; as they die, it disappears. Japan, as it marches into the new century, will inevitably exchange the true anguish of its past for more palatable and self-congratulating beliefs. Like all new beliefs, they will grow as the old beliefs die with those who honor them; like all nationalisms, they will contain an element of callous disregard for other nations and for inconvenient truths. (more…)