Ask Sensei: They’re Back Edition

Well, the semester has started, the students are back on campus, and things are hopping here at the university. I hope those of you in school, regardless of your level, are also off to a good start. I have met all my students once, and I figure Shiraishi-kun must be out there somewhere, though he hasn’t yet made himself known.

Which reminds me, our own Jeskai Angel and others asked me not long ago on Twitter: Who is this Shiraishi-kun you periodically reference? Chalk it up to my weird sense of humor, but Shiraishi-kun is not a real person. Or rather, he sort of is, but not exactly. Shiraishi-kun is a symbol I made up to represent that one student (or sometimes more than one) whom you find in every class, who turns out to be a troublemaker. Of course you will see him in anime all the time: always falling asleep, never remembering his homework, asking the wrong question at the wrong time. I’m not proud of it, but just as students talk about their teachers and professors, teachers and professors also talk about their students. One of my colleagues would apply the 20-80 rule: 20% of the students cause 80% of the problems, and it might even be that 2% of the students cause 98% of the problems. But why blame them? Everyone takes his or her own route to growing up, and goodness knows we all have a lot to learn still.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Tyler is wondering: Do you have a favorite train wreck of an anime? Not necessarily a guilty pleasure but one you enjoy for its badness? While I certainly know what you mean, I can’t think of any show that I’ve watched to completion specifically because it was bad. There were certainly those which I watched in spite of them being bad, thinking, Surely this has to get better eventually? Shows such as Air Gear and Busou Renkin come to mind. I hope I’ve learned my lesson about that by now.

That being said, there are some anime series that are critically important in my development over the last decade, which I know full well are bad, or mediocre at best, that nonetheless had an impact on me. You can look up some of my essays from years ago to find out about them. Examples of such series that come to mind are the admittedly forgettable Onmyou Taisenki, and of course Saint Seiya, the title character of which I consider to be sort of my spirit animal. Shows such as these I cannot in good conscience recommend to others, as I cannot imagine them impacting anyone else like they did me — but who knows? Anime may be many things, but predictable isn’t one of them.

Sensei Ask You: What is on your current watchlist that keeps you looking forward to it every week? For me, I must admit it’s Dr. Stone. While I do love all the (pseudo) chemistry discussion on that show, it’s the plot and characters that have drawn me in. (Even if one of them looks like a giant leek.) It’s rare for me to buy into something so difficult to believe, but somehow it’s happened. From what I’m reading, Dr. Stone is making quite an impact on others in the western anime-watching world also.

R86

R86 is a chemistry professor, which is the sort of job that probably made you stop reading already. He teaches at Texas A&M University, also known to Austin dwellers as "Enemy Territory." In his spare time, he enjoys music (flute/saxophone/clarinet and MIDI/Vocaloid synthesis), gaming, and watching anime.

2 thoughts on “Ask Sensei: They’re Back Edition

  1. I would say Dr. Stone as well. Though I have barely watched any of the new series…..video games come before anime, just the way it is 🙂

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