Admittedly speaking, when I first read about tjhan’s description of myself, I was rather bemused. I mean, I consider myself rather in touch with my human side, i.e. When I see something really touching I will tear and sniff and wish for a shoulder to rest my head on, but emo? What is emo anyway? Being the arts and social science student that I am, I decided to delve into its definition(s).
As most of you would know, the net-word “emo” seemed to be an abbreviation of the root word emotional, and its use in describing a person would imply that he/she was prone to displays of extreme emotions for that short period of time. Any longer and the appropriate term would be either psychotic, or severely depressed. Therefore, if you have been acting like a raving lunatic for some time, or if you’ve somehow always end up crying, then I’d seriously recommend that you see a doctor. In any case, what leads such a person to such a state of mind? The key point in the word emotional, which many people acknowledge implicitly, is that it is triggered by a scene, or an event, that they can identify with, be it through personal experience or otherwise.
From here, we can now see how the net-word emo is derived from its root word, emotional, and how it is always linked, somehow to stories that are tearjerkers or touching, because of the ability of the story/show to elicit such strong emotions through watching/reading it.
I think it would be prudent here to distinguish between rabidness and emo. When I exploring the meaning of the word emo, I had asked many people on what they thought emo was, and what series they would classify as emo. One of the replies I got was “Naruto and Bleach la!” I mean, well, if you were to say that the characters in the show display extreme emotions because they are always shouting stuff that inspire themselves, I’m inclined to agree. However, don’t you think their actions border of rabidness, as do their fans? Which brings me to what really defines the term emo: It is not just about characters yelling and shouting and waving swords and in essence displaying extreme emotions, but rather how the thoughts/actions of a particular character(s) in that series is able to bring you to tears, and not just to display extreme emotions. I mean, after all, I could just watch like The Melancholy of Suzumiya Hahiru and go then go around raving “OMFG, THIS IS EYE-SCARRING ARGHGHGHGHGHGHGH!”, and the series would technically be classified as emo. Which is quite scary, if you think about it.
Of course, this is not to say that the word emo is fixed; after all, everyone’s emo trigger is different. Take for example tjhan and Ascaloth. While Ascaloth claims that Kanon moved him to tears, tjhan viewed it as a pussy show, and instead proclaimed sports series like Capeta to be really emo ones. I have neither watched Kanon, nor have I watched Capeta, but I’m pretty sure the themes and emphasis in the two series were rather different. As for me, what classifies as a emo series would have to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
a. It explores the realm of love, and themes that deal with the potentially contradictory features of love, and/or that of a pure, innocent first love rate particularly high on the list.
b. It explores the concept of life: The transience, the fragility, and how, ironically, it is the extreme ends of life that make it worthwhile and beautiful.
c. It explores school life and its associated themes of youth, friendship and romance, and how that leads to the formation of memories.
Just for reference, the top 10 emo stories for me are listed below. I think I’ll write more about them in another post, but here it is:
10. Air TV
9. Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien (君が望む永遠)
8. Saishuu Heiki Kanojo (最終兵器彼女)
7. Hanbun no Tsuki Ga Noboru Sora (半分の月がのぼる空)
6. Planetarian (Visual Novel)
5. Narcissu (Visual Novel)
4. Honey & Clover
3. Byousoku 5cm (秒速５センチメートル)
2. 1 Liter of Tears (1リットルの涙 )
1. Crying Out Love, In the Centre of the World (世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ )
I guess you’ve noticed by now that there are 4 non-anime titles, and the top 2 spots are actually occupied by non-anime titles. The top 3 titles, especially the top 2, cover all aspects of what I consider to be essential to an emo story; not to mention that all 3 really tug HARD at your heartstrings, regardless of your preference.
What about you? What would you consider as “emo”? Or rather, what makes you cry? Also, if you like, you could list down what you think are the top 10 “emo” titles, and see how it compares against other people.
*sniff* I think I need more tissues. *sob*