Impressions and revisitations: why first impressions are very fickle
Every time there is a new season, bloggers come out with their first impressions of shows that have caught their attention. I often shy away from these kinds of posts because no two individual tastes are alike. Even the most similar individuals have some peculiarity and idiosyncrasy to them. I would rather test the waters of the season myself. I do not, however, live in a vacuum. There are some people whose opinions I trust to recommend a good show.
If one relies on his own gut and instincts, however, it is certain that there will be some overlooked shows. Had we only time, we can watch everything (even the worst anime series), read everything, and do everything. It is truth, however, that our time is limited: there must be a choice; we must choose. These choices reflect our natural attitudes or biases which according to Husserl is inherent to every single human being. We heavily rely on our first impressions and our biases in choosing to either watch or drop a show.
I am reminded of follies these biases cause, however, when I think about my past experiences, one of which made me recently recognize the failures of predilections.
When I was in first year, I qualified for the advanced classes in literature, and our teacher assigned us to read A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. It would suffice to say that while I was very fond of both the teacher and the subject I absolutely abhorred the book. First, I was uninitiated (then) to the modernist literary technique of streams-of-consciousness; and as a consequence I plodded through the novel with much difficulty. Since I had to read the novel (as I had to write a paper on it), I speedily read through it (and did not understand much, of course).
I enrolled in another literature subject for our summer classes, and I was lucky to get the same teacher from my freshman literature class. We are very amiable with one another (as often people who share the same passion are), but he once again required me to read the novel. (Most of my classmates had not read it yet, but I had to read it again). This time I was armed with both knowledge and insight, however, and having surpassed The Sound and the Fury five times prepared me to read the novel with much understanding and brio: I knew what Dedalusâ€™s epiphany was, and I was able to admire his vow of silence, exile, and cunning (at the top of the page is the quote which was one of the more beautiful parts of the novel). But while I read quicker and with more understanding as compared to my first venture, I still recognize the difficulty of the streams-of-consciousness technique. Frankly, I would still avoid his later works, especially Finnegans Wake (oh god, the horror).
Grounding this literary experience (reflective of Joyceâ€™s epiphany, indeed) in anime, I once saw Cowboy Bebop when I was twelve years old (it was relatively new at that time) in local television. It was heavily cut and edited. Of course it was exceedingly difficult to understand the story given the non-linear plot of the series. Cowboy Bebop has been one of the few notable series akin to a jigsaw puzzle â€“ the viewer has to arrange the events and make sense out of them from the jumble of the series.
The one ill-fated love of Spike
What happens when pieces are taken from the jigsaw puzzle? The puzzle simply becomes much harder to understand and comprehend, because one canâ€™t still see the complete picture even after assembling what he has. I believe this was the reason why I despised the series. About two years after that first viewing, my parents connected to the Internet, and thence I was able to download the more popular anime series (among them was Cowboy Bebop). With the complete picture at hand, I had a totally antipodean reaction: from that time on I loved Cowboy Bebop, and although that has waned with the growing number of series I have had been watching it still belongs at the very least in my top three anime of all time. I am a sucker for unrequited love, and the love between Julia and Spike which transcended even death itself was lachrymose to me. Amid a background of violence and squalor, their love expressed itself. To ask oneself if one still lived because his love had died â€“ is that not the essence of tragedy?
Time heals wounds. Wisdom often takes time. When one is bored of all the new shows because they are like rehashes to shows that one has already seen, why not revisit the old ones? Time allows people to gain knowledge, understanding, and insight; these three allow changes in perspectives and beliefs. Openness is often the catalyst for imagination and invention. As long as one is open to the infinite possibilities of this world, anything is possible.
P.S. I took a long time reading Joyce’s simplest novel. I have no plans as yet to read Ulysses or Finnegans Wake. Academics may achieve their intellectual masturbation through his works, but I’m just mostly bored. Maybe I’ll get it someday. And yes, that is the reason why I haven’t posted anything in a while.