Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Last night, I watched the rest of Key: The Metal Idol.

I won’t try to say whether it’s better or worse than other anime series, even in my opinion; it’s useless data. I will say that I’ve reached forward, grabbed this series, and hugged it close. This is a treasure.

The plot is incredibly tight, as tight as any plotting I’ve seen. Not only is everything explained — down to every memory, metaphor, and element of the backstory — there are still multiple possible interpretations of events (the explanations given may not be totally correct). And it is an extremly complicated story; as much as I thought I understood, there were forty years of backstory that I never saw coming.

And…blood and bloody ashes, this series hurts. And not in the “how can we hurt you most,” Evangelion sense. Every emotional high or low point is an integeral part of the story of Key. Nothing is ever wasted.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the music. While the score is forgettable and Miho’s rock songs are as ho-hum as those in most anime series, there are four songs in Key that are absolutely gorgeous. Two of these are the opening and ending credit songs, surprisingly. Worth tracking down and owning as mp3’s (the English versions were never released on CD or such).

Do I think Key: The Metal Idol is perfect? No. It’s a darker series than I personally like, and several of the character designs are poor IMO. Other than that, though…wow. After the final 90-minute episode, I spent two hours just pacing the floor of the den, hashing out the experience I’d just had. My mind couldn’t quite grok it, and I still can’t grok it all.

Anyway. Other things.

After a group lunch at the local mall, I ran over to Suncoast to see what they had in-stock. I had a good discussion with an anime fan (one of the “action” genus of otaku), where I recommended a few things, then I proceeded to buy a whole bunch of anime, namely Cowboy Bebop volume 6, a Tenchi Universe DVD, and a Tenchi in Tokyo DVD.

I like shopping at this particular Suncoast because everyone working there is a big anime fan. Some of them lay more on the Dragonball Z side than the serial experiments: lain side, but I can always rely on them for a good review.

And as a result, I don’t buy anime online much at all anymore. I prefer to pay much higher prices to get my anime immediately, with the knowledge that I can get a recommendation from the staff. That’s a powerful thing. Suncoast is making a significant amount of dough off of me, pretty much exclusively because of these particular employees.

So I guess the moral of the story is: How important are you to your customers?

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