This is what happens when you watch too much Shingu.
The scene: A dark, dank sub-basement of a top secret psychiatric hospital, five miles beneath the surface of the Earth, a facility reserved for the most damaged, disturbed minds in the country.
Doctor: Thank you for volunteering to work with me on this project, nurse. I should warn you that what you’re about to experience is not for the faint of heart.
Nurse: That’s all right. I’m here to help.
Doctor: This case is one of the most disturbing I’ve ever come across. The patient was found a week ago lying in a fetal position in front of his TV and DVD player, covered in his own sweat and drool. We had him transported here, for his own safety and for the safety of society.
Nurse: Who is he? Or, more accurately, who was he, doctor? And what drove him to this state?
Doctor: It’s simple: He’s a DVD critic. He’s watched all five volumes of Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars and now he’s lost his mind.
Nurse: Oh, dear God, no!
Doctor: It’s true.
Nurse: All five volumes? I thought it was just an urban legend that no one can make it through the entire series.
Doctor: He did. And now, this seemingly-harmless anime has left his mind in a state of permanent stupor. Apparently, Shingu is about an eighth grader named Hajime, who is a member of his school’s student council. He’s learned that most of classmates and several adults in his hometown are actually aliens living in secret on the Earth. Most of Hajime’s friends have some sort of superhuman power. This includes Nayuta, a snarky and aloof girl, holds the power of the Shingu, the key to protecting the Earth from evil. There’s a long and complicated back story about these aliens, with a number of other characters and subplots to keep track of.
Nurse: That doesn’t sound too bad…
Doctor: It gets worse. Based on what we’ve been able to decipher from the patient’s notes, the series’ creators spent far too much time on the student council meetings, and not enough on the alien invasions and space battles.
Nurse: Not everyone likes science fiction, though. A demure yet totally hot nurse like me normally prefers romantic comedies starring Mark Ruffalo.
Doctor: Er…yes, but according to the notes, these student council scenes lack any humor or drama, and they tend to stall the story instead of moving it forward. For example, in this final volume, two massive alien battleships appear in the sky over the city. The population is in panic and classes are cancelled, but all the kids show up at school anyway, where they hold an impromptu student council meeting to prepare for their upcoming cultural festival.
Nurse: Why, that doesn’t make any sense at all.
Doctor: Now you begin to understand the logical conundrums that drove our patient to his current state.
Nurse: How very tragic.
Doctor: And there’s more. It seems the ending of Shingu introduces even more characters at the last minute, including a menacing new villain, Mugen.
Nurse: But even a soft-spoken yet incredibly hot nurse such as myself knows that you’re never supposed to introduce a major character out of nowhere during the final moments of your story.
Doctor: You’re quite right. And, there’s more. Although the patient’s notes became more scribbled and vague by this point, we have determined that the ending of Shingu falls into a pattern similar to other anime endings. It throws a constant stream of odd, pseudo-philosophic ramblings at viewers, practically ignoring what went on before. For example, when one character asks about the purpose of the people of Earth, another answers by saying, “They’re the twist, the knob, the handle of a faucet, and the Earth is the water basin.”
Nurse: Gah! Make it stop!
Doctor: You see now why the patient must be locked away here. The only thing keeping brain death from setting in is the DVD’s excellent picture and audio quality. Aside from some standard extras like character bios and production notes, the patient has maintained some basic mental functions thanks to the included 12-page booklet, featuring interviews with the creators and a look at Japanese customs for those not familiar with anime.
Nurse: Is there any hope at all for the patient’s recovery?
Doctor: He’s watched so much Shingu that he’s completely burned out on bad anime. We’ll need to start him on a steady diet of good anime in order to reaffirm him that there is still hope for humanity, and for his own soul.
Nurse: I’ll go rent Spirited Away and Cowboy Bebop Remix 1 right away, doctor.