Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Being a Man-child (and why I'm okay with it)

So, here's the thing.  I'm almost 23 years old, and I watch shows like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider.  I am well aware that these are kid's shows over in Japan, but I still watch them and I still love them.  I've been giving this quite a bit of thought.  Why do I love these shows so much?  Is it okay for a grown man to watch these silly things?

The result of awesome and hilarious trolling from Kamen Rider V3

Sometimes when I watch tokusatsu shows, I actually find myself getting really excited.  I'm talking things like, "Holy crap, Liveman is going recruit two new members and combine Live Boxer with Live Robo to form Super Live Robo!!"

Like many adults my age, I was a kid when the original Power Rangers first came on television, and I got sucked into it.  The style and concept was so different and interesting at the time.  I was attracted to anime that was showing at that time for similar reasons (Ronin Warriors, Vampire Hunter D).  It was just so damned cool.

Ronin Warriors.  Was cool.

Of course, after reaching a certain age (probably around 10 or 11), I stopped watching Power Rangers, and most boys I knew around that age didn't mention it anymore.  It wasn't cool anymore.  We were above that kid stuff.  I was too busy playing Pokemon, anyway.  Funny enough, Pokemon would also seemingly fall out of popularity by the time high school came around.  I can only recall one or two people that were openly into it, and they were the brunt of jokes.

However, during my senior year of high school and my subsequent years in college, nearly everybody I knew admitted to watching Power Rangers.  They even recalled their favorite rangers (Mine was the Green Ranger).  On a side note, everybody started admitting to playing Pokemon, too.

You know you thought he was cool

It seems that as we grew up, we started wanting to become more adult and started to discard all of the childish things we once liked.  However, when many of us became adults, loaded down with work and responsibilities, we wished to reclaim pieces of our childhood, things we would never fully experience again.  Things we liked as kids that were considered lame in middle school and high school became awesome again.  I'm pretty sure if I had asked any random person in college if they watched Power Rangers as a kid, they'd have said, "Hell yeah, that shit was awesome!"

I discovered Super Sentai as the origins of PR during my early college years when I saw a picture from Himitsu Sentai Goranger.  Imagine my surprise to find out that this series of Japanese shows that have been running for over 30 years contained the show on which PR was loosely based.

Himitsu Sentai Goranger.  Awesome.

It all started to make sense.  Of course the Japanese were behind it.  Everything they touch seems to be cooler to me.  Long story short, I started to slowly get into Sentai.  I started watching Liveman earlier this year, and I am loving it.  It's kind of dark sometimes, but it's still obviously a kid's show.

I recently recalled how my roommates in college started getting into shonen shows, like Naruto and Bleach.  I don't particularly have a taste for the newer shonen stuff, but I am beginning to understand why some people I know are still into it, years after watching DBZ on Toonami.  

I began to realize that many of us are entertained by this kind of stuff for different reasons than when we were kids.  I personally love the nostalgia, and I frequently find myself chuckling at the pointless explosions and the crazy action, but at the same time I'm actually kind of into the story and the drama.  The style is just plain fun.  Even with the older shows, where the fighting is noticeably deliberate and punches and kicks obviously don't connect, I find myself loving how over-the-top everything is.  I laugh and then go..."This is awesome."

Does this make me a man-child?  Probably.  Is this okay?  Sure, when it's appropriate.

There's really nothing wrong with fun and entertainment, no matter how childish it is and no matter how old you are.  I have a friend that's 23 years old and has a well-paying job, and she still goes out and does stuff like play hide and seek, with other adults no less.  Our childhoods may be long gone, but they are still very much a part of who we are.  We shouldn't discard childish things just because we are adults.  We should rather embrace them and give our inner-children some time to play every once in a while.

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