You know, there’s something about walking inside a closing video store that really excites me. The idea of a whole store offering all it’s inventory for sale at ridiculously low prices can bring any movie buff to his or her knees. Even more exciting is when that store has anime DVD’s on sale…and those prices are slashed so low you can’t help but stockpile.
This was the situation I found myself in on Friday when I wondered into the Grand Cinema Station video store. To clarify, according to the cashiers, Grand Cinema Station isn’t really going out of business. It’s actually expanding to make more room for other things like weapons. It will still rent movies, just more up to date titles which means that the bulk of their collection, including the anime, is up for grabs. That’s all I needed to know. Over the course of six months, I scanned their shelves intently; first looking for DVD’s to complete existing collections like “Lucky Star”, “Mushi-Shi”, “Tenchi Universe” and “Chrono Crusade”, then looking for new complete series such as “Azumanga Daioh”, “Cromartie High School”, and “Legend of the Mystical Ninja” that I could rescue from the dusty shelves. All the DVDs were in perfect condition, in their original cases, and less than $100 total. But what really caught my eye was the old school VHS tapes up for grabs at $0.75 a pop. It’s really interesting when you think that, back in the day, THIS was how we got our anime fix. One magnetic VHS cassette tape which contained two or three grainy episodes. Wanted to collect the whole series? Be prepared to sacrifice cash and shelf space as these tapes weren’t the cheapest or the thinnest things around. For example, take a look at “Outlaw Star”. It took over 12 tapes to fit the entire series on VHS, and takes up at least a foot and a half of shelf space. Now take a look at my “Outlaw Star” collection below…six DVD’s [there are two per pack] and slimmer than two VHS tapes. Amazing how far technology has come, isn’t it? But, one thing that you have to give to the old school VHS tapes; even though they took up a lot of room on a shelf, some companies actually took effort in making the spines of the tapes look nice and actually made you want to collect them. I refer you to the “Dragon Ball Z” collection on the bottom row of the picture above…if you already haven’t noticed it. It honestly looks nice sitting on the shelf, like a work of art. I suppose it really is a good thing that “DBZ” goes on and on and on for episode after episode on end.
But, I digress. I’m currently watching the epic blood bath that is Episode 18 of “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, and should be finished with the entire series sometime early this week. As Misato in the episode preview so perfectly put it: “The tranquil days of the past are gone and ripped away with the camoflague that hid the true nature of the beast inside.” What was once your somewhat-typical “monster of the week” mecha series has transformed into a study of the human psyche that nobody save for Hideaki Anno or Sigmund Freud could possibly comprehend. The characters have begun to settle into their own personal hells and are now beginning their slow decent into madness, self-destruction and despair.
Geeze…can’t we just have another “Dance Like You Want to Win” episode??