My Secret Santa anime was Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. Apparently that translates into Traveler Yami, Hat, and Book. I picked it as something of a lesser evil, since my other choices were Spice and Wolf and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The alternatives seemed a bit too tame for my tastes, and their respective gimmicks (girls with animal ears and time travel) tend to irritate me more often than not, so I decided to go with… a dating sim/visual novel adaptation about dimension-hopping magical girl lesbians.
At this point in time I’d love to insert some sort of joke like “if we live in a world where dating sims are a lesser evil, bring on the end of the world.” But I can’t do that because this damn thing ended up being an awesome mess.
That said, the first half of the first episode nearly made me give up and go watch one of those other two things. It was everything I was fearing. It was 15 minutes of “I’m in love with this chick, but despite my seemingly awesome persona I’m really a coward, so I’m going to secretly mope and complain and have inner monologues about how I can’t admit my feelings. Also I’m a chick and I love a chick.” It was hitting every cliché ever. I was dreading 13 episodes of this girl wandering around various dimensional backgrounds, bemoaning her plight in front of a medieval castle one episode and a space ship the next. Because, you know, it makes it so much deeper to be a whiny brat in front of different backdrops. Because emotions are universal and shit. Blergh.
Then the girl the main character was lusting over blew up. Literally. She blew up in a sickly green explosion. And Tweety Bird after going on an epic bird seed bender appeared looking for the chick that just blew up. And once the show got back from its commercial break, we were on the train from Baccano. Except that train was now in Siberia and there were Russians and Japanese dudes conspiring against one another. And Tweety Bird and the initial chick are also there. And people starting beating each other up and killing each other while the main girl was just wandering around the train trying to find the chick who just blew up, because apparently she’s The Doctor from Dr. Who and regenerated in another dimension or something and now the main girl can also go to other dimensions because Tweety Bird can access the Akashic Records and…
The above paragraph was written in an intentionally confusing manner because that shift between the first half of the first episode and the second half was even more jarring and perplexing. And it was an awesome thing. The only reason why I didn’t make it one of my 12 moments this year is because I didn’t wanna give away half of the awesomeness of this show before I made this post.
So yeah, after this initial confusion the series settles into some semblance of a pattern. Here’s the deal:
From what I can tell, the girl who exploded and then regenerated is Eve. The Eve. She’s an extradimensional being who lives in a library that may as well be the Akashic Records. All of the books in this library lead to a different world with its own rules and shit. Eve gets bored every few millennium or so and decides to go dicking around in these dimensions, being born into that world and growing to the age of 16. Once she hits 16, or if she dies before that, she just pulls a Dr. Who and reforms elsewhere and goes about fucking around with another book-dimension. She also has a sister named Lilith. Again, the Lilith. Lilith is pissed that Eve ditches her, so she and her pet Tweety Bird go looking for Eve and run into the main chick. The main chick gained super powers when Eve exploded, so she’s pretty much like the Hulk in that regard. Hell, even the energy was green. Shame she didn’t become She-Hulk or something. That would have made this anime even more awesome.
So main chick, Lilith, and Tweety Bird team up to find Eve, since they all miss her and shit. They start book-hopping, having adventures in different worlds with different genres, and in most cases they have to deal with the mess Eve left in the wake of her dickery. Cavemen sacrifice virgins to a giant cat because Even did shit. A colony ship is having system problems because Eve didn’t fix them when she could have. Ninjas are trying to kill peeps because Eve had a kid and the ninjas want that kid or something. A dude becomes a Final Fantasy boss because he stabbed Eve when he was five years old because he lusted after her.
And that’s what makes this such a brilliant mess. All of this is probably meant to be some heartfelt story about how love can’t be bound by space and time, and that this girl is traveling through the multiverse to find the woman she loves. The catch is that the woman she loves is less a loving, maternal god and more an asshole Grecian god who doesn’t give a fuck what happens to us mere mortals so long as she gets some jollies out of it. Sure, she has genuine feelings for our neglected heroine, but it’s obvious that she’s pulled this “have you fall in love with me only to abandon you because hahaha I am immortal I have inside me blood of kings but yeah, kinda sorry about that, here let me kiss you before I make you forget I ever existed” shit before.
And that’s how this series ends. Main chick finally finds Eve. They have their little scene where they finally admit their feelings. Then Eve basically ditches the girl, makes her forget any of this ever happened, and then impregnated her with herself. The last we see of the main girl, she talks about how she knows what the name of her daughter will be and Eve proclaims that she’ll return to that world as the main girl’s daughter. Again, this is probably meant to be another “love conquers all” bit, but it comes off as Eve screwing around with this poor sap of a mortal while she fondles her sister on top of a pile of Akashic books.
Hell, if she plays both ways Eve would be the perfect bride for Baka from Level E. They would prank the universe so hard it’d cause another Big Bang.
So my Secret Santa anime ended up being pretty cool again. There were a few slow bits where people just stood around and talked about nothing, but fortunately those reprieves were brief. For the most part it was a fast-paced adventure with some weird shit going on in each world. The bit where the colony ship AI tricked the ship’s kids into thinking their dead, rotting parents were just “sick” was especially messed up, and it played off as an amusing dig on the traditional “wasting disease” you see.
And it had one of the best put-downs I’ve heard in an anime. In the first episode, Lilith calls Tweety Bird a ball of evil and cholesterol. That line sold me on the series.
Also: Here’s last year’s Secret Santa thingie: Kaiba