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Not So Humble Opinion: November 12, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

Considering how we’ve all been concerned with pretty serious business for the last couple of weeks, I thought I’d do something on the lighter side this time and discuss anime, or Japanese animation. My experience has been that most people over the age of 25 are only dimly aware of what anime is and would actually like to know more about what their children/grandchildren/etc. are into. Hey, if I had a nickel for every time someone said, “Oh, you watch anime? I don’t know what that is, but my kids are crazy about it!” I might even have an entire dollar.

However, instead of trying to provide any sort of Anime 101-style overview, a questionable endeavor at best, I thought I would provide some information on some of the weekly shows that happen to be airing on Japanese television right now. Keep in mind this isn’t any sort of favorites list, this is only shows that are currently airing in Japan that I happen to be watching. From this sampling, you may start to get an idea of why so many people find these cartoons uniquely appealing; original Japanese titles, if applicable, are in parentheses.

Polar Bear Café (Shirokuma Café): Just like it sounds, PBC is about a business-savvy polar bear who owns a café and the daily lives of his customers, most of whom are also zoo animals. Regular customers Penguin and Panda sip café mocha while they try to arrange a romance between a shy zookeeper and the waitress, a human named Sasako. Meanwhile, a childhood friend of Polar Bear named Grizzly owns a nearby bar, where predators like lions and tigers come and reminisce about the days when they used to hunt with impunity, before they had kids and mortgages to worry about. Recently, a boy band made up entirely of porcupines made its debut. Surreal and charming in the extreme, the slice-of-life approach of the series always somehow keeps it grounded.

Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai): In 2025, after dreaming of becoming an astronaut for his entire life, Japanese astronaut Hibito Nanba sets off for the moon on a NASA mission. His older brother also dreamed of being an astronaut, but abandoned his dream as unrealistic and became an engineer instead. However, after a sudden layoff, 32-year-old Mutta wonders: Is it too late for him to become an astronaut too? And if Hibito beats him into space, can he perhaps reclaim his big brother pride by being the first to go to Mars? More reminiscent of Apollo 13 than Star Trek, Space Brothers presents the kind of optimistic vision for the future that we don’t see much of these days; it’s as refreshing as it is frequently hilarious. Notable for being one of the few anime that takes place largely in America (although everyone inexplicably speaks Japanese anyway.)

Sword Art Online: One of the three, count ‘em, three shows airing this season about becoming trapped in a videogame. Though wildly popular, SAO is controversial among fans because while it provokes interesting questions about the role of increasingly immersive digital worlds and their capacity to replace real life interaction, it’s marred by wildly inconsistent writing. Still, warts and all, it has some very nice animation and is usually worth a watch.

Girls Und Panzer: A story about a group of upper-class young ladies who learn to pilot WWII-era tanks, because as everyone knows, “Tankery” is the pursuit of a true lady. Epic tank battles against other girls’ schools are held in the streets, and if a local business happens to be destroyed by an errant blast, no worries; insurance covers it! This title took everyone by surprise, because it was expected to be a lazy show that focused on cute girls to pander to male viewers (something all too frequent in anime) yet it’s somehow more entertaining than it has any right to be. Watch out for the bright pink tank.

Hidamari Sketch: A group of high school girls live across the street from their school at the Hidamari Apartments, a complex known for attracting eccentric students from the art department. A cute slice of life show that’s about 20 percent more entertaining if you are, or have ever been, an art student. May cause you to spontaneously go out and buy sketchbooks and chocolate danishes.

I’m out of space and I haven’t even mentioned My Little Monster, Say I Love You or Robotics;Notes—oh well. Needless to say, I don’t watch much American television these days. I just don’t have the time.

News

Ever since the Garden City School District passed a $36.8 million School Investment Bond back in 2009, the upgrades throughout the district have been quite substantial. And while most of it has gone towards infrastructure, external visible improvements have rightfully been a source of pride for the board, which has taken to conducting tours at the different schools preceding the monthly public meetings that are normally held at Garden City High School. On the night of the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 14  at the Homestead Building, the school board, administration and Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen went on a guided tour of the building by Homestead Principal Dr. Suzanne Viscovich.

Feirsen described the tour as a new tradition started last year where administration travels around each of the district’s school buildings in the Fall to observe its current offerings and recent upgrades.

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 1



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com