He was a complicated man who wanted to be simple, and by "simple" he meant complicated, because everyone else around him had simple wants, and simple needs, and tunnel vision, and that only ever complicated things. Yes, he was a man of two minds about everything, which was great and fine, unless, of course, he had to make a decision.
Usually, that meant knowing nothing -- not specifically about anything, because in fact, he wanted to know everything; except the opinions of others. Those were what he wanted nothing of, because they could, probably, influence his decision unnecessarily, and make him act on information that was not his own. That was what others did -- the simple, the complicated, they let peer pressure unduly influence them, they let what others thought color the way they would think. And he was not a man like that, oh no, and he would not dare become that way, even fleetingly. And so strong was this influence in him that, when faced with a decision about something [or to do something], that he already knew of some general opinion about, and then he would go immediately against that inclination.
All of this was directly affecting the dilemma he was in. It was Halloween, and at the last minute and old friend had decided to stop by. He hadn't expected this, of course, and knew he had to come up with some activity for them to partake in, and for lack of a better idea [and indeed, knowing anyone else might torture themselves over coming up with a better idea], he had ambled down to his local video store, with the intent of securing them a horror film to partake in. This, coupled with a pizza and the bag of candy corn he'd acquired in case the trick-or-treaters who never came had come, would have been a fine, acceptable sort of night.
Two problems had arisen. The first was annoying, but entirely out of his hands. The short notice his friend had given him for their evening together was problematic, since, as it was Halloween, the video store was not surprisingly under stocked, no doubt because the majority of horror enthusiasts had made it out earlier on, content in the knowledge that they had their perfect October evening already planned out, well in advance. And he decided that really, to be one of these nonspontaneous persons was better, because everyone was always making these plans, and if things didn't work out they could get, well... complicated.
The other problem was what had been left over. There were two movies left in their plastic slip cases on the shelves, and choosing was going to be difficult. Oh, yes, he had ways he could compare them, the information, for instance, on their tapes [as he thought horror films were best watched on VHS, and had yet to hear anyone agree with him] was there in front of him, readily available. The titles, both innocuous, "The" something, that something being an object that was only vaguely threatening, coupled with the studios under which they were made. The running times for both were the same, and both had come out in the same year. There was, he thought, no way to arbitrarily select one over the other, and as he held them one in each hand, at eye level, he cursed that even their weight, and the color of their cases, were the same.
Which meant he would have to weigh them on their merits, an annoying conclusion he'd actually come to right away. The problem was, he'd seen neither, but heard much about both. And this had frozen him, completely disabled him from making any sort of decision.
The first was, of course, well thought of. Its director was popular, outspoken, and old-school -- he'd plied his craft making low-budget films with his friends, and had worked his way up from nothing. He was self-made, and his films could be enjoyed on many levels, specifically as pop corn films, for fun, but with symbolist undertones about life, society, and the evils inherent to man. This film was, for all intents and purposes, his magnum opus, and in all circles of theory was above reproach, so much so that even those who refused to demean themselves by partaking in horror held the film high, and classified it as one of those rare moments when a movie had managed to prevail upon the shortcomings of its genre. And to him, no such pretension could sound more stomach turning.
The other had a reputation as well -- one of complete and utter schlock. The acting was bad, the director was drunk, and the writing abysmal, and universally it was said that the budget was simply too low to save it, and too high for what the film had turned out as. It was derided regularly, and often listed as the worst of the craft, to the point that in trivia its title had become synonymous with "garbage." And this dissent, normally, would be enough for him to take up the film, and proclaim it as brilliant, if not for the regrettable fact that many "fans" had yet beat him to it, and raised the movie to cult status, proclaiming it so incompetent as to be hilarious, so awful that it actually strikes of genius. Some radical element even dared to call the film enjoyable in more than just the ironic sense, that somewhere in this disaster was a glimmer of intent, a commentary on film, and quality, and the genre itself. And in the face of this, he could not bring himself to that place where he might be, if all that was thought of it had been bad.
So he stood there, unsure and unmoving, both tapes sitting in his outstretched arms, like some balanced scale which would occasionally tip, but always level out. And over an hour had past, and the attendant had came by and told him the store would soon be closing, but still he could not choose. Even when he was nearly sure that his friend had arrived, even knowing that he was uncharacteristically late, he was compelled to stay, to weigh his options. He felt he needed the time, that he had to decide.
It was a simple decision, after all.
The First Japanese Comic Artist Published in English - This is a pretty neat writeup… Ash Brown has the story of Masaichi Mukaide’s translated work, credited as “the first Japanese comics to be translated into ...
1 hour ago