Special: sliding down the slippery slope of 'weird'

Happy new year!!!

Looking back on almost 2 years of listening to drama CDs, I have to conclude that I've listened to some pretty weird stuff. But what is 'weird'? How do you define 'weird'?? And was my starting point on what is 'weird' or not average to begin with???

And thus this journey into my own mind started.

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. This is a trip into the mind of the author of this blog. Please fasten your seat belt and do not walk while the seat belt sign is turned on. During the flight the crew will not supply you with drinks or snacks, so we suggest that you grab them yourself before we lift off. We wish you a pleasant flight.
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In the beginning
While thinking about what I define as weird or not I realized that my personal view on weird or not wasn't exactly normal any more when I began listening to drama CD's. It probably started sliding down the slippery slope the moment I started watching anime to begin with.

Not the first few shows, of course. Like most people I first watched anime dubbed in my own language (Dutch) and only the stuff that was on tv. Pokemon, Sailormoon, Digimon, Yu-gi-oh, the standard list. I probably already made a little side step into weird because I also watched a lot of stuff in German, but what can I say. RTL II simply had more interesting shows (mainly Detective Conan). In the eyes of many, just watching anime is already weird, so I disqualified for being normal right there.

I don't really remember what the first show that I watched in Japanese was, but it happened when a whole new world opened up to me: the internet. But the thing is, when you start downloading stuff on internet you start to look around on internet and you find a whole lot of other stuff. Stuff you sometimes wished you didn't see. And thus I discovered that something called hentai existed.

At the time I was far too young to be interested in it, and it mainly was weird. Animated porn, why would you even make that? let alone watch it. And people even turn 'normal' shows into hentai! Why would they do that to my favorite characters?! But, as with most things, at some point you just accept that it exists. I wasn't interested in it but I knew it existed, and at some point you are no longer shocked by it. The fact that it exists sort of became natural to me; and we slide further down the slippery slope.

And then the next discovery: Yaoi. Eeeeeewwww. Again: Why would people make/watch/read it? Why would they turn characters in 'normal' shows gay?? Why would anyone be interested in that sort of thing?! When I first discovered Yaoi existed I was completely weirded out. So much in fact, that if I happened to stumble upon it by chance Immediately closed the browser window. Even if there was no-one else at home. Around the same time I discovered that Yuri exists, but that was something aimed at men so I didn't need to understand it. Yeah.

But, like with hentai, at some point you simply accept that it exists (although I didn't know exactly how large the BL fanbase actually is!). And this time, curiosity took over and I actually tried to read some of it. (I managed to get through my first BL manga with a lot of giggling and blushing). A whole lot later I even tried to watch some. Eventually I concluded that it is just another genre to me. One that I'm not really interested in, but it exists, and there is nothing shocking about it anymore.

Yup. There is nothing weird about animated male pornography aimed at women anymore. I even read/watched some. I am definitely sliding down the slope now.

Random fact, the first time I saw any hentai was actually years after I first saw yaoi. But all the same I concluded that I'm not really interested in it

And then there was Otome
Somewhere in the back of my head I knew dating sims existed. And of course I thought they were weird. Especially if they were also H-games. Why would anyone play a game in which you could date an imaginary character, let alone have sex with her? It was weird. The artwork was often nice, but it was definitely something to stay away from.

And then I discovered that otome games (dating sims aimed at women, red.) existed. It would still take years before I would actually play one though. The first otome game I played was Kiniro no Corda (La Corda D'oro, as the anime is known) which was fun because it wasn't just a visual novel but had actual gameplay. After that came Tokimemo 1 and 2 (and later after it was released, 3), and after that I started playing more otome games.

So I discovered that something I thought was weird was actually quite fun! I even tried a few Hgames, but like with everything H, I decided that it wasn't that interesting. I still regularly play otome games and love that they are now released on psp more and more often because that is easy to import.

But that takes us to heaving read and watched hentai and yaoi, and regularly playing otome games (but no more H games). This is normal to me now, but how normal is it really? hmmmmm....

And then, drama CD's.
Audio drama's were nothing weird. I'm sure many of you also had tapes or CD's or whatever in which your favourite fairy tales were told or enacted. (that makes me realize, I had those on tape! actual cassette tapes! I almost feel old).*cough* anyway. The first drama CD I listened to was Are you Alice? and after that I started to look for other things.

And between listening to these 'normal' drama CD's, Starry Sky was the first time that I listened to a drama CD in which a character talks directly to the listener. In this case they were on a date with you. I have to admit, the first time I didn't manage to finish listening to it because I kept giggling like an idiot. A CD in which someone talks directly to you, goes on a date with you! that was weird!

But as you can guess. After a while I tried again and became used to it. Things like Starry Sky or Kareshi Recipe became normal. And then I started to stray further. Oshigoto Danshi, Brother Android, Karekoe, Enren Danshi, all kinds of different settings in which a character or boyfriend talks directly to you, and none of it was weird.

On the other hand, Kannou Mukashi Banashi was released: my first experience with the Dummy Head Mic. Kannou Mukashi Banashi stood fairly at the beginning of the Dummy Head boom, and more and more works that use it were released: Kannou Jikan, Shuukan Soine, Mousou Este and the list goes on. While I still see Kannou Jikan as bordering on weird (ever since they went over the top with the ero) the others seem perfectly normal to me.

When this becomes to new standard you start to listen to other things. DAISUKE!, Yandere Heaven, Kareshi Igai, Ot.To.Na Gentei, and there is a whole list of yet to be released things that I plan to listen to. Despite these things becoming my new standard even I was surprised at Ai aru Batou, and I still haven't had the courage to listen to it, but I just know that I will. Someday.

But just think about it, in Yandere Heaven you are the victim of two obsessively possessive suitors. In vol 3 both characters are actually blood related. You can't really call that a normal setting. Kareshi Igai has cheating on your boyfriend as main theme, that isn't exactly what you call normal either. And in Diabolik Lovers, one of the latest additions to the drama CD world, sadistic vampires try to drink your blood. But these things have become my new standard. I'm not shocked, not even surprised that these things exist any more. (Ok, Diabolik Lovers did scare me).

But even when it comes to other types of drama CD's: Momogrape their Men's Only series? Normal. Yaoi drama CD's? I don't listen to them, but perfectly normal. A drama CD featuring anthropomorphic ramen/pasta/food/pets/dialects? Why not? 

Listing all of this really makes me realize... I've come a long way in what I consider 'normal'. I thought I became more lenient with what normal was after I started listening to drama CD's, but this shows I was already sliding down the slippery slope of weird on high speed even before that.

Yaoi, Otome games, all kinds of weird drama CD's.... I think.... we'll have to conclude, that I am definitely not normal any more. So what I consider normal, or at least not shocking, is actually  far from it?!

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Thank you for joining us on this flight. If you have any questions the crew will be happy to answer them. If you wish to share your flight experience with us (commentssss!) you are more than welcome. We wish you a pleasant day, a wonderful new year, and hope to see you again soon.
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  1. Reading this journey of 'normal' makes me too wonder about my level of 'normal' oAo I even don't know what to define 'weird' now ^^;; Japan makes wonder to us I have to say.

  2. Japan is just so goddamn crazy when I slipped into the whole business starting this year. (I got into the entire anime/manga business in kindergarden, so that probably prepared me somewhat.) Like Hitsuji de Oyasumi series. I mean, seriously counting sheep? ~~~

    And yet, oncer you get into it and once you have found your preferred seiyuu, NOTHING CAN BE TOOO WEIRD, you'd still want to try out and see what Japan is capable of making...or that is how I approach this xD

    Ah, too bad RTL II is crappy now, but back then it truly was the reason I got into anime~ Now I wish I had Animax....

  3. Happy New Year to you too!

    I enjoyed reading this very much because it is very similar to my own "journey" which accelerated into very high speed this past year.

    I think it was ~4-5 years ago that I first learned about the world of drama CDs when someone who knew that I liked seiyuu told me about a BLCD. I swear, at that time, I didn't even know WHAT "BL" meant and I had to google it! XD I was so shocked, I couldn't even finish listening to it the first night I tried it. I also eventually accepted their existence, decided I wasn't interested, and didn't pursue it for a few years.

    However, for some reason, last year I tried exploring again and discovered a bunch of different varieties of drama CDs. Again there were many things I never knew about such as the story CDs like Alice?, the date/simulation CDs where they speak directly to you, dummy head mics, and just recently yandere (which is another word I didn't even understand and had to google).

    Everything always shocked me and I thought some things were strange at first, but now seem rather "normal." Perhaps not in the average "normal" sense, but I'm just not shocked anymore. Gosh, yes, I think that my standards for normal have changed tremendously this past year.

  4. Setting aside what is normal and what is not, I have come to fangirl not only the CD's but the seiyuu's as well. I'm 25 and started VERY late, as in just this year. It all started when I downloaded Shukan Soine app on my iPhone having NO IDEA AT ALL what it was. Then I DL'd all Shukan Soine, then Diabolik Lovers (all dummy head, I'm so ero). But lately I realize I'm into funny CD's---warai series, Ishho ni Gohan, etc.

    I just have this weird attachment to characters, you know?
    Like every seiyuu in Shukan Soine, the CD they do after that, will always feel like I'm listening to the Soine character. Like Shinnosuke will always be Tomoya, and Kaji will always be Ayato, things like that. Do you ever feel the same?

    1. Hello!!
      I think many people (or most?) become fan of certain seiyuu, just like being a fan of certain actors. There are a couple of seiyuu I really like, and whenever I see that they are in the cast of a certain CD it instantly makes me excited for it.

      I definitely feel the same about certain Seiyuu. Sakurai will always be Alice (from Are you Alice?) for me for example. As a matter of fact, all of the seiyuu in that series are somewhat locked in their role for me, I feel weird when someone else voices a character with the same name as well.

      I have more problems shaking the image of a character when I've seen them for a longer time in an anime or game (although lately more in games, because I hardly watch any anime any more). This also the reason I actively avoid looking at pictures of seiyuu btw, once I know how someone looks it just becomes hard to shake the image of the actual seiyuu xD

      And what is late? I wasn't in this from that young either, and enjoying something is ore important than how long you have been a fan of it (^-~)