When Your Friends Make You Realize Your Fav Is Laughably Problematic

Remembering, once again, why you should never introduce your friends to your personal anime favorites.

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Aug 23 2017, 1:46pm

still frame courtesy of Funimation

My latest public humiliation began when a fit of nostalgia led me to buying the original Hellsing anime on DVD, and last night my friends and I decided to give it a shot.

What I remembered of Hellsing was a stylish series about a paramilitary team of vampire-slayers saving Britain from the undead while their chief waged political warfare against rival operations including the Vatican. Sort of the anime version of the too-short Ultraviolet.

What I didn't really remember until I was watching the show with grown women is that Hellsing features some embarrassingly sexualized character designs, especially an ingenue police officer, Seras, who becomes the vehicle for much of the series' exposition. My friends were getting increasingly skeptical of the show, but I promised that the premiere is really the worst offender in that regard.

Seconds later, I remembered that the second episode features two horny teen vampires slaughtering their way across England in a series of home invasions, then having sex in front of their freshly-created ghouls. Meanwhile, "police-girl" Seras is bad at her job and a continual disappointment to the men around her.

But if I had to guess, it was the vampire blowjob ten minutes into the episode that really lost the room.

Now there's still a lot about Hellsing that I like, but it was a brutal reminder of how much stuff I didn't even know to see or criticize when I was in my teens, and how selective my memory tends to be when it comes to the things I loved when I was younger. But nothing throws your own blind spots and selective memory about a favorite show or media like watching it years later with peers who have never seen it before.

It's a unique form of mild public embarrassment as you're forced—via your friends—to see something familiar and beloved with fresh eyes. Suddenly I'm not watching my version of Hellsing, where it's all high-minded bureaucratic politics and deep feelings repressed by obligation and duty—basically a Merchant and Ivory production but with automatic weapons and zombies. I'm watching the Hellsing that actually exists, the one with all the tactical thigh-highs and miniskirts and majestically phallic weapons.

All I can do is face my friends and admit that this is what I was into all those years ago. I was apparently the kind of person who loved shit like this. And since I'm still watching and still kind of enjoy Hellsing for all its flaws, maybe I still do.

Anyway, what's the biggest misfire you've had when sharing something with friends or family? What made you think it was a good idea? More importantly, what is the exact moment you realized you'd made a huge mistake?

Let me know in today's open thread!