This issue of references keeps popping up in my head everytime I watch Pani Poni Dash.
For those of you who do not know what PPD is (You guys still exist?), it is an anime based off a manga that has so many references in it you need a separate PDF file for reference. It’s like needing a gamefaq to watch anime. Most of the references are so obscure or hidden that it takes superhuman otaku effort to find them all, much less even know what they are referencing. I always read the PDF file first before watching the show, so I’ll get the reference straightaway and not have to waste time rewatching.
Keroro loves Gunpla.
While PPD is probably the king of references, there are plenty of other anime that sneak in quite a fair bit. Haruhi episode 7 has the FMP references, with that esper guy shouting out "Fumoffu!" and "Second Raid!" while Yuki uses a Lambda drive. Even serious anime like Last Exile has it, during the Bird Race, the announcer calls out, "Ao no Roku Gou!" (Blue No. 6), which is actually Blue Submarine 6, another of GONZO’s works. Comic Party has references to To Heart. School Rumble has references (SR’s could be parodies though) to Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Equilibrium, Japanese Wrestling, Initial D etc. Of course, Keroro Gunsou and Gundam.
Yet another Blue Submarine 6 reference in PPD.
So are references in anime any good at all?
Let’s just do a vote.
- Yes, I love them. I love hunting them down.
- I’m glad when I catch them. Otherwise I don’t give a shit!
- No, they are a complete otaku waste of time.
Think about the following before you cast your precious vote.
- Do I get all the references in anime?
- Do I feel geninuely upset that I missed a few?
- Are references actually funny?
- Or are they a mere distraction?
- Who do they serve, the viewers or the staff?
- Do I even actually bother about the references?
- Do I feel all warm and fuzzy when something I like is referenced?
- Do I read the PDF file (or any other guides) before or after the show?
- Are they pointless waste of effort that could’ve been spent on making the show better?
Personally, I feel really peeved when I miss a reference in an anime. It’s like playing RPG games, I want to get a master game. With the large amount of anime in history and the present, it’s pretty much impossible to know most of them so I don’t get all the references in anime. Some references used in the right places are funny. I feel the staff get a bigger kick out of references than viewers really. I feel warm and fuzzy when I get a reference right. And hot and hairy when it’s something I like. I read the PDF file before the show.
The biggest problem with references is that it slows down subbing and a lot of the jokes are lost if improperly subbed. The fate of Keroro and PPD are testament to this. If subbers do not research and post notes, viewers will not get it and the show will lose some of its appeal, if it’s based heavily on that. But doing research takes a lot of time and effort and many a subber have given up on this unrewarding task.