The Tough Guide to Animeland
By now, all thinking people have read Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. There is, alas, no anime equivalent. This page represents my attempts to rectify that.
When reading this guide, it is important to remember that every rule may be overridden when the Plot requires it.
Bandages appear on your body spontaneously unless you are required to have a Meaningful Moment with whomever is bandaging you. Be prepared for long silences and plenty of ill-smothered embarrassment.
You may notice that your clothing clings to you more tightly than your own skin, poofs out to unsupportable heights and widths, has random splats of armor in utterly useless places, has cutouts in unfeasible places, covers less space than the average handkerchief below your waist and contains approximately twelve yards of fabric above your waist, or otherwise violates the rules of physics. If your show's costume designer is at all imaginative, your clothes will also have at least six layers and half an armload of danglies and ribbons. Do not worry. Your clothes will not ride up or down, bind, fall off, or otherwise fail to protect you. The Management hires only the best costume designers.
Food is either completely unimportant to your anime, in which case nurses will hook you up to IV's between takes, or of overwhelming, world-shaking importance, in which case every fourth scene will be a meal and at least one of the characters will spend most of her time cooking. With luck, she will be good at it. If she is good at it, be prepared for either delicately arranged bento boxes and twelve-dish dinners, or lavish alien feasts involving tentacles. If she is bad at it, run.
Horses are, as the Tough Guide to Fantasyland pointed out, actually a type of plant. They do not need to eat, sleep, rest, or mate, and they bolt only when the Plot requires it. They are, in short, the perfect transportation. Mercifully, you will not be required to soulbond with a horse (or any other type of animal) with nearly the same frequency as in Western fantasies. However, many horses are intelligent. If your horse is intelligent, you will be required to exchange meaningful looks with it, flee for cover right behind it, and, when your fellow tourists are being deeply silly, play cards with it to pass the time.
It is strongly suggested that you spend the first few episodes looking for your Romantic Interest. Finding your Romantic Interest will clarify the plot and may even get things rolling; it may even win you an ally, and if you're outstandingly lucky, you might get nookie out of the deal. (But see snowball in Hell, flying pigs.)
This may be difficult, since you will probably have a crowded field. Although it may seem obvious to winnow out all of the members of the opposite sex who are already spoken for, clearly uninterested, glaringly unsuitable, or simply repulsive, please remember that these are the characters most likely to become your Romantic Interest.
Love your school uniform. Your school unifom is your pillar of strength in an uncertain universe. If you are in a shoujo anime, your school uniform is the root of your powers and your claim to glory; you must never take it off unless you are changing into a fantastic costume for a Crucial Ceremony or unless you are about to take a bath, snog, or perform obligatory fanservice. If you have to wear a costume, put it on over your uniform. If you are in a shounen anime, you will get to change into civvies around episode 12, but you will still spend half of the show in your uniform. The good part is that you'll get to rip the nasty thing to shreds on a weekly basis.
One point to note is that uniforms heal. Unless a rip or tear is a Plot Point, it will be gone by the end of the next scene. Uniforms are also self-cleaning. Despite wearing your uniform 24-7 with no baths, lots of hard fighting, and sleeping on the ground, your uniform will always be as fresh and clean as if Okaasan just ironed it.
The Management does not wish to suggest that school uniforms are symbiotic organisms with psionic magic-granting powers, for fear of spooking you.
Tokyo is the place to be. It's the hottest, coolest, sexiest, smartest, most happening place on the planet. It's also the most likely to explode, be invaded, or be eaten by aliens. Wear running shoes at all times and keep a full tank of gas in your car/motorcycle/mecha.