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.
The Tough Guide to Animeland
When reading this guide, it is important to remember that every rule
may be overridden when the Plot requires it.
Bandages: These 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.
Clothing: 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: 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.
Romantic Interest: 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.
School Uniform: 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.
Other Tough Guides
Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy
Tough Guide to Harry Potter