THE WEIRD, WONDERFUL WORLD OF 90’S ARCADE ANIME

For the final week of live tweeting we were taken into the colourful world of Japanese anime Hi Score Girl (2018-present).

Based on a manga series of the same name, Hi Score Girl follows the misadventures of a couple of kids living in the 90’s who are passionate about arcade games.

Anime is something I have always had in the back of my mind as something I would enjoy watching. The bright graphics and interesting story lines are quite intriguing. I think this interest began in my high school Japanese classes, where we would watch popular anime films such as Spirited Away (2001) and Ponyo (2008).

Autoethnographic Research

After watching a few episodes of Hi Score Girl, something became quite apparent to me. The authority figures in the show are all portrayed as crazy/evil. Observe below Haruo’s mother and school teacher.

Image Source: The Anime Rambler and Behind the Voice Actors

I then made the observation that the reason for the “older” characters in the series to be portrayed in this manner is because the audience of the series may be aimed at children, or at least teenagers.

The characters themselves in the series are middle school age, which may also be another indication as to who the series is aimed at.

Image Source: Netflix

In my personal experience, authoritarian/parental figures are portrayed as quite mediocre in Western film culture, especially if the movie is about the children themselves. However, this overbearing, almost scary portrayal of older characters may very well be a result of the typical anime exaggeration. Anime is highly stylised and imaginative, giving audiences a chance to experience “a darker and more layered world where good or evil is hard to determine and most characters come in subtle shades of grey” (Bestor et al. 2013).

The ways in which I personally experience and take meaning from anime may be very different to how someone else experiences and discerns meaning. Messages within forms of media can be dissected in a variety of ways by different cultures, depending on how they see the world. For myself, I feel as though I have been able to watch Hi Score Girl from a very objective place. I believe this is because it is first and foremost a cartoon, which gives it an unrealistic quality. This may also be because I feel I have somewhat grown out of cartoons, and my peak for anime watching has well and truly passed.

Nonetheless, I will not let this act as a deterrent into my new mission to begin watching anime more frequently. Especially if it is as enthusiastic as Hi Score Girl is.

If you want to watch it for yourself, check out the Netflix link below.

https://www.netflix.com/au/title/80997338

Reference list:

Bestor, V, Yamagata, A & Bestor, T 2013, ‘Routledge Handbook Of Japanese Culture And Society’ Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Cheers,

V

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