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We told you about the anime Princess Robot Bubblegum in GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, and Conrad was kind enough to record the entire thing so that we could take a moment to enjoy and discuss the piece. Clocking in at around 11 minutes, the show does what GTA has been known for in its more recent iterations: lampooning culture.
Except, in the case of Princess Robot Bubblegum, it’s about fifteen years late. I really shouldn’t mind, and it’s not like this bothers me on the scale of Modern Warfare 2, but it’s still ticked me off just a bit. Follow me after the jump so I can rant a bit.
I know, you’re asking: “Who cares?” So, when people talk about videogames as “that stupid Mario stuff that’s just for kids,” you’re totally with them, right? Well, I see you guys defending videogames here as an art form and serious business day in and day out, so why not give me a moment to do the same with anime.
My real problem is that a lot of the tropes they’re lampooning are really old. It’s akin to judging today’s games by Super Mario Bros. Now that the anime industry is at a level where they post serious numbers — FUNimation was one of the best performing divisions of Navarre, a Fortune 500 company that owned Circuit City — poor translations, shitty dubs, and shows with next-to-no production budget are few and far between.
I shouldn’t expect Grand Theft Auto to be the most highbrow of pieces, especially something entitled The Ballad of Gay Tony, but it’s necessary to point out that this really isn’t what anime is like anymore. Some of you poke your head in over at Japanator from time to time, and you have an idea just how awesome anime can be at times. We tell you about some good stuff.
To give you readers here at Destructoid a quick glance at some of what’s gone on in the anime industry in the past several years, things have changed a bit. Those giant robot shows? They’ve gotten a hell of a lot more awesome and manly. There are stories that explore new artistic ways of telling stories and romances that will grip your heart and not let go.
Shows with little girls? Yeah, they’re still around, but they can be used to explore some emotionally deep topics, such as giving people a second life at the cost of their humanity.
My point is this: there are a lot of good things in anime out there. It’s not all tits and tentacles. It’s all good and fine if you poke fun at anime once in a while in general pop culture, but when these negative stereotypes are all that gets played? Then it becomes problematic, because then it just reinforces the idea that anime is nothing but tentacles and bad storylines.
Rockstar, I’m not saying you’re a bad company for this, but you’re really not helping my cause here. It’d be great if you could show anime in a positive light once in a while. I’m just sayin’.