I’m serious. You remember those days right? Nearly every anime coming out featured at least one character sporting an eye patch (oddly, pirates never really factored in). Even Fullmetal Alchemist’s newest movie succumbed. And, yes, I do indeed blame CLAMP for this trend. Many of their characters fell into that category, such as Fay in Tsubasa Chronicles. Other manga teams picked it up as well, as evident in Peach Pit’s Rozen Maiden series. This trend was pretty strong throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, even filtering down into the harem genres where some girl, who probably lost her memories, also sported an eye patch for seemingly no reason whatsoever. And, yes, that is a bitterness you hear in my tone. At least with a lot of the male versions they were hiding a blank eye, a terrible wound or laser guns. The female version didn’t even try half the time.
But, anyway, this brings me back to the point. Fads. Anime seems to have its fair share of them. After FMA was a hit, there was an increase in alchemy making an appearance in shows and games from Japan. Then there’s always been a fascination with angels and demons, though the amount varies. And seeing a picture of Irvine from Zoids Chaotic Century (ps – his covered eye is apparently fine. He used his eye patch for extra cameras and as a recording device. Gotta get me one of those) makes me wonder about today’s shows. What trends are showing up these days? I’d call out “amnesia,” but let’s be honest with ourselves. That card has been played by nearly every show in existence. It’s like some kind of holy grail for an anime production company. I can just see some younger company pitching an idea to investors and being asked if they’ve done a show yet involving a memory-less character, the answer being a make or break for the entire deal.
So what is today’s trend? If I had to guess, I’d throw out “insanity.” There’s been quite the increase in physiological thriller/horror anime coming across the Pacific in the last couple years. Even traditionally “innocent” genres have gotten puled into the mix, as is the case with Madoka Magica. It makes me wonder why. Maybe it’s simply an age thing. Many fans who grew up on Sailor Moon are now far older and exiting college. For them, traditional shows are seeming slow, perhaps. Tastes often shift with age and there’s likely been a serge in demand for more mature shows (I’m ignoring porn because the high demand for that is nothing new).
Of course, it could also have to do with people’s ideas of society. Like how unpredictable it is and such. But I’d rather avoid speculating on that. Especially as I’m sure there are a few other trends, probably smaller details, that are going down these days and I can’t seem to put my finger on them.
What do you think? What’s today’s “eye patch?”