Cartoon Abuse

>> Monday, December 06, 2010

There's a new meme on Facebook urging people to change their profile picture to a childhood cartoon in hopes to fight child abuse. I saw a friend doing so and invited all his friends to do the same and I'm not too sure how it could possibly help but I did it anyway because it's fun to show others what had defined my childhood and this meme seemed to be a good excuse to do so.

A more realistic friend has posted an entry saying how naive people must be to think that by changing their profile picture, something so ingrained would somehow be magically affected or changed. His post include a link to a sarcastic blogpost at Gawker, while one of his friends wrote how she was abused when she was a kid and 1)She doesn't want to be reminded of that; 2)She finds the use of cartoon character trivialize something as serious as child abuse; and 3)If people really wants to help, they should donate to charity where people do actual work to prevent the abuse.

This sparks a huge discussion in the comments section with one side discrediting its effectiveness and how insensitive it is and the other side saying that it does at least sparks up awareness and conversation to a tabooed subject. I can see that the points made from both sides are valid but I don't see nothing wrong to have some naivete or changing the picture just for fun. Facebook is trivial anyway, it makes no sense to take anything on it too seriously.

Anyway, these are some of the cartoons that I grew up watching and loved:

Ikkyu-san (1975)

Ikkyu was the bastard child of a Japanese royalty who got sent to the temple to be a monk. Ikkyu was extremely smart and help people to solve their problems by sitting in a lotus position, licking his fingers and drawing circles on his bald head and meditate about the problem. He is the first one who taught me if you give a person a dollar and double everyday for a month, you'd be broke. It's quite the educational program for a kid.

The Smurfs (1981)

While I was living in Paris, I was alone a lot since my mom needs to work in order to support the both of us. I remember going to the giant supermarket a few blocks from our apartment and just sit in the middle of the aisle reading copies after copies of Smurfs. I also remember wearing PJs and going to school by myself but that's another story.

Inspector Gadget (1983)

Another companion of mine during my alone time. I think Inspector Gadget is the French version of Doraemon and near the end of each episode, I somehow always expect to find out how Dr. Claw actually looks like.

Ninja Hattori-kun (1981)

It's a cartoon about good ninjas versus bad ninjas. They introduce ninja tricks like they're magic and it was quite exciting for a 6 years old.

Gegege No Kitaro (1985)

It's a surprisingly dark cartoon for kids. The main character is a monster himself and his father is his own eyeball. Every week they go out to hunt down Japanese monsters that is harming people in one way or another, like ghost busters but Japanese. I was obsessed with this cartoon, in fact I'd still love to watch it all over again but it wasn't really published as a box set and even if it is, it probably won't have the English or Chinese subtitle, it'd be quite expensive and I doubt I'd love the quality of it.

I usually would use some characters of this cartoon as my iPod wallpaper because I thought the Sand Grandma character looks exactly like my own Grandma, which the boyfriend absolutely loathe because he thinks the cartoon grandma looks ugly and he just don't believe anyone could look that way. I don't find her ugly though. Haha.

Kimagure Orange Road (1987)

Another Japanese Anime that I love. It's about a love triangle with two bad girls and a guy with ESP. It's pretty much like a soap opera with high school teenagers. The girls belong to a school gang and they are trying to be good while a family of ESPer had just moved into town after being chased away for being special. The male character Kyosuke was forbidden to you his powers in public by his father for fear that their covers will get blown and they'll have to move again, but the main draw of this cartoon is the long haired Madoka who has a bunch of stylized fan art. She's like the most beautifully drawn female character of all time. Even as a gay man, I can't help but fall in love. Also the show has great upbeat music with her voice actress singing hypnotic songs. It was quite the memorable show for me.

Mr. Ajikko (1987)

Mr. Ajikko could be arguably the cartoon that has affected me the most. It is the show that inspired Iron Chef. This show is about a cooking genius holding up his family's diner after his dad had passed away. At the start of the show, his talent was quickly discovered by "The Chairman" who's daily work is to rate restaurants like the Zagats. The success of a chef hangs at his every word. Mr. Ajikko constantly have to get into cooking battles with random people to keep the diner survive or teach some moral lessons. It's a very creative and educational show that's worth watching. It's also over the top with light shining out of people's mouth and exaggerated exclamation of deliciousness. It taught me a few things about cooking.

Of course there are tons of other cartoons like Thunder Cats that helped shaped my childhood and it's impossible to list them all but he's a short list. What's yours?


I just got a very demanding job at a coffee shop that will require me to be there 60 hours a week, I might not have time or be too tired to blog. So excuse me if the postings are a bit sparse. I'm hoping to get an office job soon to be able to have a relatively normal life, wish me luck.

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