Stream Police: It's (Not) What You Think
Well, here we are, and if you can't tell by the giant logo above this block of text or the different author's name, I am not Kultured Shocked's Editor-in-Chief Chris Stachiw, nor am I looking at a stream service that has been covered on this site in the past, with that said, I am senior editor Zachary Wickwire and welcome to my world. So, I know anime has been a topic on Stream Police in the past, but today I am specifically looking at Crunchyroll to give you guys something different.
While I know anime is a love it or hate it medium here in the West, I can assure you that not everything in anime is about overly endowed women being accosted by tentacles nor is it always about muscular men (and aliens) beating the hell out of each other. The purpose of today's Stream Police is to show you all that anime can be more than what you've seen on Toonami or on that websites that you remove from your browser so that your significant other doesn't find it, but in fact, some can be emotional or insightful. Today I'm going to look at some of my recent favorites from Crunchyroll's online catalog in an effort to show anime in a different light.
Usagi Drop, also known as Bunny Drop here in the west, is the story of thirty year old Daikichi Kawachi, who, upon returning home for his grandfather's funeral, meets Rin, his deceased grandfather's six year old daughter. After learning that Rin is his grandfather's illegitimate child, and that no one in the family wants to take her in, he hesitantly agrees to take the girl in to keep her from winding up in a foster home. This sets the show's plot in motion as we see Daikichi become a father to this orphaned little girl, which results in its fair share of touching and even tear-inducing moments, as the pair bond and become a family.
Genshiken: Second Generation
While this is technically the third series in the Genshiken franchise, Second Generation takes a similar, yet entirely different, look at geek culture. In Second Generation, our story revolves around Genshiken after its senior members have all graduated college, leaving the club with only a handful of members remaining. New club president Chika Ogiue decides to run a membership drive, which brings in several new members, including Hato Kenjiro, but Hato has a secret that changes the entire direction of the show once its revealed. This changes the show from a comedy about nerd culture into a story that is more about characters just wanting to be accepted than a ground of friends being nerds.
Known as Working!! in Japan, Wagnaria!! is a series about a group of high school kids that work in a restaurant, and while that doesn't sound the most exciting, each of these kids has an interesting quirk. Our male lead, Souta, is obsessed with cute things and wants nothing to do with most other people, and especially women, Inami has androphobia, Popura is a short girl with a height complex, Yachiyo carries a sword every where she goes, Souma meddles in everyone's affairs, the manager, Yachiyo, does nothing but eat all day, and the stoic Satou. While this may sound like something completely random, and it is, the characters have some hilarious interactions, thanks in large part to their personalities, but the show really shines thanks to great writing and excellent character development across its three seasons.
Servant x Service
This series centers around Lucy, a young woman fresh out of college who just got a job as a humble civil servant, but as this can't be a standard story, Lucy's reason for becoming a civil servant wasn't because she wanted a job, but instead because she wanted to get revenge on someone. When Lucy was born she was given a ridiculously long name by her parents, and because of this she was picked on in school and swore she would get revenge against the person who approved her birth certificate. Like some of the other shows I've highlighted, Servant x Service ends up being about acceptance and making the best of the situation you're in. It's a workplace comedy, much like Wagnaria!!, and it has great characters and solid, comedic writing.
Madoka Magica is a bit of an oddity on this list, and at first glance one might simply pass it off as the latest magical girl fare, akin to titles like Cardcaptor Sakura or Sailor Moon, but Madoka Magica is so much more. Summerizing the story here is even doing the show a disservice, as it's twisted visuals, fantastic music, and incredibly writing are something that needs to be experience to truly understand. The show may look happy and girly at first, but it quickly becomes very dark and much like certain popular American TV, there are no sacred characters in this show, so go in forewarned. Madoka Magica is one of the darkest magical girl shows I've seen and its also one of the best for that very reason.