Has this ever happened to you? You buy a videogame that has a radical, totally Western box like so…
But then get it home, pop it in your home videogame entertainment system, and are shocked to discover something that looks like this…
Yes, it happens to the best of us. Sudden Anime Disorder can come from any piece of media, and should you not know the symptoms of SAD, before long you’ll be running to school with a piece of toast in your mouth. And you graduated two decades ago! Such is the overwhelming impact of SAD.
Now I know you’re already as concerned as can possibly be, and are likely asking “how can I identify when a videogame might afflict me with SAD?” Well, Goggle Bob says read on, and I’ll show you!
Your first big tipoff is the classic transformation sequence. This happens to heroes all the time in anime productions, and seems to be the only way these characters can change clothes. Note that if the nonsense word “henshin” is uttered, then immediately evacuate, as you’ve already reached peak anime.
While the preoccupation has waned in recent years, many classic animes feature a good number of Bears Out of Nowhere. These BOONs are not meant to be particularly deadly, and are ultimately meant to be comedic. This is what happens to any culture that treats its most fearsome beasts as less “scary” and more “rolly polly”. In some bases, BOONs are known to drive, and, seriously, how can that be?
People that live in anime worlds have terrible eyesight. And who can blame them! Everyone has the same face with slightly different eyes and hair color, so there really isn’t much of a need for anime denizens to distinguish fine details. So it is not unusual for anime villains to employ terrible disguises, sometimes with obvious seams or palpable size disparities. Unless you’re playing some manner of furry convention based fighter (and not just a furry fighter), please reject all media where you can see a character’s zipper. All of it.
If you see a sumi-e painting as a background, that’s an anime.
Karaoke is very popular in the anime universe. This makes sense, as it is an excuse for fictional characters to show how they’re just like you, and sing songs that you like to sing (or at least songs they’d like you to purchase from iTunes). However, Karaoke, like many things in anime, is completely imaginary. Yes, you might see some people singing Karaoke in a bar, but have you ever actually gotten up to sing Karaoke yourself? No, of course not, because there are like sixty people on the signup sheet, and Randy keeps calling up that one woman with the low-cut blouse over and over again because the crowd won’t shut up every time she sings a damn Britney Spears song. Karaoke is clearly fake, anime is annoying, and Randy will never know that I keyed his van.
The preferred food of anime is rice, which is always served in a perfect little scoop straight from a rice cooker. Real life rice is more likely to become the bed of your mother’s pineapple surprise casserole (the surprise is that chicken was on sale), and is never found in perfect little scoops. In the real world, that honor is reserved for mashed potatoes.
Anime is obsessed with panties, and, thus, finding any and all excuses to cause a young woman’s skirt to fly up in any which way. If you find that your female protagonist is encountering a strangely high number of subway grates, unusually large birds with enormous flapping wings, or the simple gigantic fan, then you’re probably looking at an anime. Or The Seven Year Itch.
Gatcha Crane with big, expressive eyes? Unless you’re in Dr. Wily’s fortress, that’s an anime.
This may come as a shock to many of you, but Transformers do originate from anime. Okay, technically Transformers were just an imported toy line from Japan, and then its initial forays into animation were 100% American made (to sell those toys), but after a solid couple of years of exploiting our greatest national resource (Frank Welker), Transformers returned home, and it’s been an anime ever since. Don’t believe me? Well let me tell you about the time a group of Transformers could powerup with the help of teenage girl kisses. It happened, and it was anime as hell. Nowadays, if you see a robot transform into a car, it’s best to be assume you’re looking at an anime, just to be safe.
Anime has a tendency to feature “interpretations” of flora and fauna. Has anyone ever seen a monkey that looked anything like the anime caricature of the creature? Has anyone ever encountered bamboo that doubled as deadly spikes? No, that is the exclusive domain as anime, and should be treated as such.
Anyone that has spent any time in a large city knows that public transportation is a grueling nightmare from which there is no escape. Would you like to ride on the bus that does not smell like puke? Ha ha, trick question, that option hasn’t existed since 1979. And subways or no better, as your average subway pole contains more noxious diseases than the inside of the mouth of a cobra that was just frenching a tarantula. Kendo Rage features a subway that is clean, devoid of excess of people, and only hosts a small collection of ghosts and monkeys. Conversely, a real, not-anime subway car is positively bursting with an abundance of simians and spirits.
If you ever find that your protagonist has shrunk, gained six extra legs, and suddenly has eyes that are nearly bigger than her head, that’s an anime. Bonus points if ghosts wearing those burial head thingys are involved.
Likely related to the panties issue, anime is obsessed with teenage girls in bloomers. If they’re playing volleyball for no apparent reason, then all the better, I suppose. This is a problem that is to be derided, and should not at any point be conflated with the American obsession with teenage girls in cheerleading uniforms. That is good and wholesome and as American as apple pie.
One woman that transforms into a “battle form” could be indicative of anything, but once you’ve got two people donning magical outfits to fight, then you’ve got a full blown magical girl anime going on. Other clear indicators may include talking cats, insane plots involving tiered business plans that are somehow meant to obtain one random crystal, and (as we see here) an overabundance of roses. This newly introduced magical girl plays tennis for some reason, but don’t be fooled! Tennis is anime as hell! It has its own prince!
And if we have learned anything, it’s that we should not trust anything learned from anime. Look away, dear readers, look away. And try not to be SAD.
FGC #299 Kendo Rage
- System: Super Nintendo, the system of the epoch of stealth anime.
- Number of players: Anime should only be enjoyed by one player.
- Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: From a pure gameplay perspective, Kendo Rage is one of those “action platformers” that doesn’t quite know whether or not its heroine should possess a long range or short range attack, and thus completely random enemies become vaguely impossible. Those dive bombing monkeys are monsters. Similarly, the final boss has an attack pattern (even worse on hard) that basically requires the fireball special, which is not guaranteed for the battle. Other than that obvious flaw, Kendo Rage is just kind of generically amusing.
- Localized Fun: So, obviously, this game is so anime that a Gundam vs. Eva debate broke out during the end credits, but, aside from the American box art, it seems the localization actually embraced the whacky anime plot of a girl using the magical powers of kendo to fight her way to school on time. I’m not sure what the original script looks like (I doubt it contains a Bob), but both Kendo Rage and Makeruna! Makendō are “funny” videogames, and that was a rarity back in the 90’s. Actually, it’s still a rarity today. When was the last time we got a AAA game that was amusing? Crashing your flying car into a building in Final Fantasy 15 doesn’t count.
- Favorite Boss: Moe, Curly, and… Bubbles the fish. Wait, did this aquatic trio somehow predict a third of The Powerpuff Girls?
- Did you know? In Japan, this game got a fighting game sequel and a JRPG sequel. And an anime series. But you get an anime series in Japan if you so much as sneeze, so that doesn’t really mean much.
- Would I play again? Kendo Rage is an interesting novelty, but there are way too many good action games on the SNES to ever bother with it again. Did you ever hear about Mega Man X? It’s pretty great.
What’s next? A special LIVE presentation of the 300th FGC entry… but of course it was LIVE! back in July of 2017, and it can’t be one particular day forever. But what is FGC #300? Just flip forward to find out. Please look forward to it!