Time traveling with anime! Or, perhaps it’s actually remembering love…
This post is the seventh of my entries into 2016’s rendition of the 12 Days of Anime aniblogger project. For more about the project, read appropriant’s introductory post. For a spreadsheet containing the work of all the bloggers participating, go here. For my previous 12 Days posts, go here.
I spent a fair bit of my anime-watching time during the last year making an effort to watch more older shows. Aside from the fact that keeping up with airing anime can be a rather tiring affair, I also think it’s rather important that, as an anime fan, I make an effort to engage a bit with the stuff that makes up the history of this little industry I like so much. Knowing my own tastes are rather omnivorous and easily accepting of new things (“it’s always better to have more love”), it’s more about just making sure I give older anime a chance—because I’m bound to find something I’ll like.
One of those older shows I watched was Martian Successor Nadesico, and in thinking about it as a show and what it means, it strikes me as a rather appropriate representative for an older generation of anime because of how much it is itself a sort of musing on time. After all, Nadesico is filled with homages to shows past (and, in some ways, future), some of which I recognized and many others I didn’t. And while I think the show stands really well on its own terms, it’s also neat to consider how in the act of remembering its predecessors Nadesico and I find ourselves busied about a common goal.
We’re oft inclined to think of time as some kind of grand expanse, and indeed it is, but the segment of it that we experience ourselves is but a tiny fraction of it. A small thing. An anime within that, even smaller. A single anime’s fond remembrances of its ancestors? Not even a blip on the wide map of time. And yet that insubstantial half-gasp is something valuable despite its temporality. I’m not given to any sentiment so frivolous as “if you remember me, I’ll always be with you!” but these spots of existence mark out our lives in ways that only creatures as temporal as human beings can understand.
I got too fancy with my language.
All I really mean to say is that Martian Successor Nadesico is engaged in the self-indulgent activity of remember the small snippets of time that are the shows it references, parodies, and lovingly follows. I hesitate to call it a foolish or meaningless act, and yet it many ways it is. The only value it contains is that which comes inherently with the simplicity of fondness and love for something. It is ultimately a very small thing to throw a Macross reference into the middle of a discussion between bureaucrats, and yet that little act speaks of volumes of love. So it is with the motivations that compelled me to reach back and experience Nadesico. I only wanted to know a bit more, to see a bit more, to understand a bit more. And through the show’s little recollections of those things it loved, I came to love them a little more too. Across time. It was the passage of time that made this possible.