Friends, Foes, and Fun TV Viewing
The last week has been oddly eventful in both pleasant and unpleasant ways. On the good side of things, I got an unexpected email from a friend I thought had disappeared into the never-never a few years ago (Monkey and Hungry Hippo know who I'm talking about--our little blonde friend from ye olden college days). Anyway, it turns out she'd gone off to Italy to do a two year MBA program and had lost contact with most people while over there. Now she's back in the USA looking for jobs and trying to reconnect with everyone. We had a great phone conversation in which she regaled me with exciting tales of European hookups galore. I had nothing nearly as scintillating to share, but then again, I do live in the backwaters of Florida....
As for the unpleasant side of things, I shall be brief as I do not want to repel people with TMI, but basically I developed a rather painful bladder infection out of the blue. I know these are more common in women, but I've only had two in my whole life--one as a child and one while I was living abroad in Scotland about 6 years ago. I have no idea what caused it and I can only say I wish it was the result of a passionate bonk-fest, but alas no. Anyway, I spent most of the weekend living like a recluse in my apartment and drinking a gallon of cranberry juice. With little else to do, I spent most of my time catching up on Netflix and anime.
First up, I've started watching Supernatural. As Monkey and Hungry Hippo know, I was a long-time devout fan of the X-Files--well before it turned crappy anyway. I love quirky mystery stuff and Supernatural certainly delivers. It's got intrigue, freaky supernatural happenings, oh, and two hottie brothers for lovely eye candy. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki play Dean and Sam Winchester. From a young age they've been raised like warriors to fight supernatural baddies that the regular folks don't want to believe exist. They've been trained by their father, who is on an obsessive quest to find the entity that killed their mother when they were very young. Now grown up, Sam has tried to distance himself from the family "business" as it were, by going away to college and getting accepted to law school. He's living the "normal" life, complete with bouncy blonde girlfriend, until his brother Dean shows up unannounced one night to say that their father is missing. Sam reluctantly agrees to go along with his brother to search for their father. In the meantime, they get embroiled in a supernatural case their father mysteriously abandoned and when they resolve it they are no closer to finding their dad. Dean tries to convince Sam to rejoin the business and help him continue looking for their father, but Sam decides to part ways again and return to his normal life. However, when he gets home he finds his girlfriend plastered to the ceiling and dripping blood. Before he can help her, the ceiling bursts into a sea of flames and she's pulled into it...[cue creepy music] This is no coincidence of course, because the exact same thing happened to their mother about twenty years ago. With his girlfriend dead and his dreams shattered, Sam agrees to rejoin his brother and continue looking for their father who he hopes will have some answers for him. Thus begins the premise of this exciting series. So far I've only watched the first disc, but I'm looking forward to more!
Next up is another supernatural themed narrative, but anime style! Ghost Hunt is about a teenage girl, Mai, who ends up working as a part-time assistant for the mysterious Supernatural Psychic Research group. A private organization led by a seventeen year old boy Naru, SPR investigates paranormal phenomena. Along the way, Mai discovers that she has a small degree of psychic ability which she has always chalked up to an uncanny sense of intuition. As the narrative progresses, however, SPR begins relying on her abilities more often in the cases they cover. I'm only up to episode 17, but Naru is still something of a mystery character. He doesn't seem to go to school and he runs SPR. He clearly has special abilities but he keeps them hidden in most circumstances (although it's not clear why he wants to avoid attention--especially from the media). At the same time, he has a strange connection to Mai. Every time she has visionary dreams that portend something dangerous about the future he appears in the dream to watch with her and/or speak with her. Mai still isn't sure if he's just a figment of her imagination in the dreams or if he is actually in them with her. It's clear, however, that he has kept her working for him for a specific reason. I'm looking forward to finding out more as the plot develops.
Okay, my next guilty pleasure recently has been the anime Prince of Tennis or "TeniPuri" for the hardcore fans. Seriously, it's still something of a mystery to me why I like a sports anime. In general, I detest sports. I have no patience or interest in watching games or matches. I don't like to play many sports either. But for some reason, I love this show which is all about a boys' tennis team trying to make it to the Nationals. I think perhaps it's the yaoi fangirl in me that enjoys the homoerotic underpinnings of the narrative. There aren't any female characters of real consequence in the show. It pretty much revolves around the boys and their relationships with each other. They have to work together as a team, and of course in doubles pairs [snicker] for certain events. The so-called "prince" of tennis in this series is the main character Ryoma Echizen, son of famous former-pro tennis player Nanjiroh Echizen. He's the first freshman to make it to the regulars on the Seigaku tennis team and the older members quickly discern that he has a lot of untapped potential to become an even better player. As Seigaku goes through various tournaments, Ryoma grows as a player. The matches are fun to watch because there are all kinds of spiffy acrobatic moves (many of which I'm sure don't actually occur in real tennis) as well as special effects like flaming tennis balls, balls making holes through the mesh on tennis rackets, etc. It's really kind of silly upon greater reflection, yet it is vastly entertaining when watching it. (I'm sure Monkey is chortling right now, as she greatly enjoyed mocking my Dragonball Z obsession in college.) But anyway, this show is lots of fun and ranked as one of the all-time favorite anime in Japan. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when they make it to the Nationals!