Anime House is a Letter of Love

Real Dreamers Change the World or RDCworld1 is a YouTube channel that produces a lot of sketch comedy around video games, anime, and basketball among a few other things. Their sketches are filled with obvious love for the material they are parodying. It often has the feel of friends working together to create something they care about, more than some sterile professional product being sold to you from a studio just to make money.

They’re a perfect example of how production value does not matter nor does it determine quality of content. RDC has some of the best quality of content on YouTube and they don’t need to spend millions of dollars on the most polished special effects. The videos they produce always feel like signatures of their art and style. They could easily look more Hollywood or rely on green screens, but that wouldn’t make their videos better.

Many of the Sketches are just two or three minutes long, exploring just one idea. And rarely have I engaged with such short content, that left me that satisfied. It almost always felt like they had something to say and said it with as much time as it took.

I think by far the best quality is their writing. The ideas they think about and lampoon are just always so creative and clever. The way they explore the absurdity of the rules in anime is just fantastic. My all time favorite video is “How People Who Use Poison Be in Anime”. I absolutely lost my shit with that one laughing. They have other videos exploring the idea of how blind anime characters are often significantly more powerful and taking that to its logical conclusion. They also have videos exploring the racial representation in things like video game selection or how scary movies don’t work if the protagonists are black or bringing some of the elements of anime or video games into the hood aesthetic.

As I talked about before, I’m a white bitch who grew up around potatoes and wheat. So, to me, it’s honestly really great to see so much media I’ve interacted with and grew up with through a lens of BIPOC creators and representation. As I write this, there is currently a big media shitstorm over The Little Mermaid being black. It feels manufactured and I think most people don’t care. But I feel neutrality on the issue isn’t great either. I think it’s exciting and fantastic that little black girls can see themselves in that role.

As a queer woman, I know what it’s like to never see representation of myself in media. And I know a lot of anime spaces are predominately white and more than occasionally toxic and racist. I know it’s hard to find black anime characters, especially as leads or main characters. So I love that Real Dreamers Change the World creates this space that is largely black. That it has black representation of so many iconic anime characters for millions of people to engage with. And so many of these characters are absolutely perfect.

This is one of the most perfect Spikes.

This episode starts with Tank, Cowboy Bebop’s opening music. Iconic and immediately recognized by any anime fan. Inuyasha is trying to sleep, hates it, and tells Spike to turn it down. Spike offers to play Inuyasha’s opening, lets it hit for a few cords, and says basically “nah, that’s weak.”

From there, we shift to a scene with Ichigo, Naruto, Sasuke, Yusuke, and Vegeta hanging out, where Goku comes in and wants to fight someone. Yusuke calls him out for always wanting to start something, before Goku almost gets Naruto to fight him. And I have to say their Yusuke in this series is magic. The character is captured perfectly and brought to life and I’m convinced in every scene they’re in that it’s actually Yusuke. And fuck do I miss Yusuke.

Yusuke: I’m not hating, but why is everyone but me so fucking stupid?

After that big dick energy exchange, Goku and Vegeta end up fighting, where Vegeta gets rekt. He walks in bashed up and tells nobody to say anything. Yusuke offers that they all knew that was going to happen, no surprise, and makes fun of Vegeta for always getting his ass beat in the show.

The premise of the series is it’s a reality tv show with Anime main characters. While every character has the powerset they had in the Anime they were featured in, those Animes were considered basically live-action films in which they were actors. So, Goku acted on the show Dragon Ball Z, but also is actually insanely powerful. Get it? great.

A later scene features Goku, Ichigo, Naruto, and Vegeta instructing Deku on how to have an impactful scene. The metanarrative joke here is that Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto were all major sellers both within anime and manga, topping the charts. Deku from My Hero Academia being the newcomer and them trying to teach the boy how to slap.

I’m not going to break down every scene in the show step by step, but I wanted to show how these scenes were structured, because the characters within them feel very realistic to their motives. Naruto and Goku both are trying to help Deku and be encouraging, while Vegeta thinks its a waste of time and Ichigo kind of doesn’t care. These characters and their interactions work on a narrative, metanarrative, and kayfabe narrative level.

So, there is the narrative that is just what we’re watching. These characters help Deku within the context of the reality tv show. There is the metanarrative that it’s broadly about the manga/anime industry in general and a critique of younger and older anime. There is the kayfabe narrative existing with the established characters from their franchises, where we understand Goku would be helpful and encouraging because he is Goku. This could also be considered a fan fiction narrative or written within that kind of framework, but I feel kayfabe is more accurate given the situation.

This all adds together to be meaningful commentary on anime, a scene establishing the rules of the show, and for us to understand how these characters are interacting with each other.

The other major scene involves Light, L, Goku, and Spike going to drive through. Light devises a plan to forget his wallet at home so he wouldn’t have to pay. L, knew Light would do this, so grabs his wallet and foils Light’s plan. It’s such a nonsense scene and that’s why it plays so hilariously. That L and Light would be so fucking petty to each other is perfect. And the seriousness at which Light wants to kill L because of this is just a great juxtaposition to the otherwise trivial and mundane situation that will eventually spiral into the overarching plot of the series.

Love his energy and demeanor here.

The episode introduces The Villains House and the conflict of Light. He goes over there due to his nature as Hero/Villain of his own series.

So much Pain, the world will know it!

I don’t want to just do a screenshot of every costume or anything, so I’ll save them for when they’re relevant, but their acting for Hunter x Hunter’s Clown Hisoka and Naruto’s Orochimaru was really fun. The actor who plays Hisoka, Desmond Johnson is especially great in the role. Like almost every character he plays in the RDC universe tends to be stoic, serious, and badass. He plays it very well and is often a good counter to Mark Phillips (Yusuke/Light) in their other videos. In this role he’s super soft, effeminate, and straight up leering’ish, which is a word I’m inventing for Hisoka. And it’s perfect for the character and his presence in the scenes is just remarkable and palpable. So, it’s just a great role to show the actors range. I honestly want to see more of that, because he’s great in that role.

His customer is a white shirt and a wig and it just works.

This episode features Yusuke getting One Punch Man’s help to finally beat Goku, but Vegeta intervenes and gets his ass handed to him instead. We see Afro Samurai defend his headband after a discussion of best anime swordsmen. Then a scene of Spike complaining about all the narration in Hunter X Hunter, with a legit touching scene of Gong asking if his dad is a deadbeat (he is).

The plot continues when Light is checking through the mail and discovers L’s full name and with that he can finally kill him with his Death Note.

This episode really pops with an extended exploration of the house and the characters within it interacting in organic ways to the beats of Disappear by Affiong Harris. It’s a real killer opening and we get Light killing L, with Spike immediately suspicious due to the nature of the show Death Note. He actually breaks his composure and grabs Light by the shirt and accuses him as such. And it’s this great genre savvy reflection.

We get Yusuke trying to educate the new anime, specifically Black Clover, about how shit they are. Demon Slayer walks in, trending on twitter, saying he’s better than everyone. Calls Yusuke out saying, ‘dude I’m a Demon Slayer.’ And one has to understand Yusuke is a demon to get that joke. That’s like 100+ episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho lore, but I’m here for it. Yusuke warns them all and says they gotta be careful, because Tokyo Ghoul fell off after one season. Then the scene shifts over to Sword Art Online and two other anime I don’t even recognize getting the boot out of Anime House.

Next we see Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender crashing the house, but being kicked out because he’s not an anime, he’s a cartoon. The plot moves into arranged sparring matches between the Villain and Protagonists. There are some decent fights there, including a perfect to form fight between Hisoka and Deku. Then the episode ends with Near from Death Note inviting the villains over to resurrect Light.

Then cuts to credits with this fun scene with Goku and what will be the Outro for the rest of the episodes.

What I really love about this series is these characters aren’t being played out in boring, predictable ways. Yusuke is his character in every scene, but evolved into his character within his legacy of anime. For so many people Yu Yu Hakusho was the moment they really connected with anime as a genre. The Dark Tournament sequence is still considered the best tournament of any anime. And while Bleach, Naruto, Dragonball Z and several others have important places and do important things, they really owe themselves to anime like Yu Yu Hakusho. Bleach actually completely ripped off an entire arc at one point.

When Yusuke is telling these newer Anime to do better, it is because they represent his legacy. Why even be made if you’re not going to live up to the challenge and bar set by the legends.

And beyond this we get a fun basketball scene with the Anime House going up against the basketball anime. Where Afro Samurai just has this perfect, “I’m done with this shit” look.

Lights storyline continues with his plight to rekill L, taking a detour to kill the villains in the villain house in retribution for Orochimaru turning against him. The rules of Death Note in this universe stipulate you need two names to kill someone, making Orochimaru immune. This is actually highly debatable, but you probably don’t want my thousand word analysis. Ha ha.

We also get a cute interaction with Baruto trying to join in with the other Anime characters. But they don’t respect him at all and tell him all the best parts of his show are just Naruto anyways. But he snitches to his dad and they have to take him. And this is just a fun commentary on how Baruto is living from the fame of its successor.

We see Yusuke being a smartass and calling Vegeta on his shit. And we see Vegeta looking at YouTube videos of himself getting upset at haters. Next we see Goku, Yusuke, and Jotaro leaving a theater — where some young men get some pictures with Jotaro to Yusuke’s chagrin. Another commentary on how even though we have these legends, including dragon ball, the younger generation is growing up with something different. There are also later jokes about how beloved JoJo and how it doesn’t get any hate.

A lot of the commentary and interaction between anime in these series has more to do with anime culture than anything else. The identity of these shows exists in relation and contrast to each other.

The episode closes off with Vegeta wanting to go to Villain house after getting tired of losing all of the time. L confronts Light about the Death Note and shows him a conditional death that would trigger when L died. And this is extremely interesting, because they only did one conditional death in the anime. This suggests that you could theoretically create trigger conditions and timebombs for individuals when those conditions are met. This means Kira could’ve written down the name of every police officer or president or whatever, so when he died, the world would collapse. And used that to hold everyone hostage, instead of teaching everyone how to swim. (I’m upset at myself for making that reference. It’s so insanely obscure it might as well be a good weapon drop in an MMO).

This episode continues the general framework of Yusuke yelling at new anime, criticizing God of High School, and throwing Shinji Adventures out of the house. We get a general anime blob of random characters that nobody recognizes to highlight a lot of the cheaply made, quickly produced, animated trash that’s put out to make some money.

If Yu Yu Hagoshu represents a 2 liter of cola, the decades of anime were taking swigs of that and refilling it back to the top with water. What’s left and what’s new is just diluted trash. Obviously not every anime. The criticism wasn’t strictly on new anime, but on the poorly produced and cheap products that were ruining Yusuke’s legacy.

Cartoon House decides to come by to prove they’re worthy of being considered anime and Robin fights Spike. We get a beautiful homage to the sequence from the Cowboy Bebop Movie where Spike fought a lady with a mop. These are just little story details existing within the Kayfabe of the characters’ histories that you just have to know. It’s just a whatever sequence if you don’t know their history and they aren’t spelling it out for you. The premise of this show is that you love anime. That’s who and what the show is for and Spike.

Iconic

Spike is played by Ben Skinner, who also does Aizen, and a few other characters like Ryuk. I don’t know how he does it, but he just looks perfect in every character. He just has the right energy and vibe. His body language is probably the strongest of the cast and he’s often playing characters who do carry themselves less with words and more with presence.

The show in general likes to take a shit on Deku, which I’m all about. And is not especially friendly with Inuyasha — but I feel like these are the general feelings of my generation. The kids and young adults growing up with anime on Toonami.

Yusuke and Tanjiro are seen playing a video game together, with Yusuke complaining about not being in games. Tanjiro tells him that isn’t true, he has a PlayStation 2 game. And it’s honestly just this fun scene of them having respect and still playing boundaries. And it also kind of feels like character growth with Yusuke accepting Demon Slayer as something worth some hesitant respect.

I love the roll at the end, which just features the characters walking together through the cityscape. I loved just this sequence and music. And I’m sorry, but I’m just completely in love with the Vibe of Spike.

The reason Anime House really hit for me wasn’t any one part. There are building stories of Vegeta and Light that drive most of the plot. In between that are little fun sketches with the characters that are often world building, character analysis, or just fun little explorations of these characters in spaces together.

And you can’t look at any two minutes of Anime house and say look at the best thing ever made. That isn’t what’s happening here. This entire sequence is a loving homage to these works and mediums. It feels like they’re breathing new life for just a moment for us to visit them. There isn’t new Cowboy Bebop, there isn’t New Yusuke, but here we are.

Except Faye, there is…or was new Cowboy Bebop. So, owned. Rekt. And that’s a point I want to make. The live action series of Cowboy Bebop was not a loving homage entirely. Some of the show was, some of it worked, and some of it understood what the original work of art really was.

The slice of life episodes of the live action Cowboy Bebop show were actually pretty good. The reason the show sucked, the reason it got canceled, in my opinion, had to do with the crime boss game of thrones style Draco Malfoy Vicious. We spent approximately a third of the show’s run time dealing with a weak, whiny, and entitled twilight pasty white villain. Why did that exist? What point was there for that character to exist like that? Vicious and Juliet were not loving homages, they were trite and pointless insertions of market testing. They were the rot that took the show down with them. You know, in my humble opinion. Cough.

What Anime House does for me, more than anything else, is it brings me back. It isn’t just nostalgia, it’s creative and transformative too. It’s just fun. Like the biggest emotional hit or notes in this show is just how fun this is to watch.

Anime House Six brings with it something almost no other episode has had before: women. Can you believe it? So, we’re going to get some relationship jokes and fan service, right?

We have a fun scene where Sasuke is talking to someone, presumably about hooking up with a woman. Naruto warns him Sakura is coming, so he just tosses his phone over the fence. Never says a word to Sakura, until she leaves. And honestly, them becoming a couple made no fucking sense. I don’t know if Baruto explores that or anything, but this scene speaks to me. Later on in the store, they talk about how Sasuke spends more time with Naruto than her. And this checks, those boys did share their first kiss with each other.

As predicted, they have a long segment dealing with fanservice in general, with a lot of the ladies lined up and some expectations for what they should do.

It’s kind of interesting, because most of these characters don’t have fan service in their respective shows. I haven’t seen One Piece, because the 1000 episode barrier feels like I’d turn to dust long before getting anywhere, but I’m a bit of an expert on Cowboy Bebop. Also my name is Faye. And the Faye on Cowboy Bebop is an extremely interesting character and one I would argue is not based on fan service for the sake of sex appeal to male gaze.

You could say she was sexy, but she dressed for herself. Her expression was her own empowerment. She always had agency and the shots on her weren’t sexualized. The camera never gave the viewer the impression of consent, where she was your girl. The Camera was clear that she was a fighter, a gunslinger, a bounty hunter, and a thousand of other things inside every shot.

After the women here refuse to strip, the next scene is the camera guy just getting close-up shots of breasts, before Yusuke kicks him out of the house saying his show didn’t have fan service like that. He then presumably kills him. Just straight up kills him and I like that message. It’s just a very strong knock it off with the fan service.

Fan service is so weird to me. If people are into it, great, I don’t get it. Like, I find women attractive, but anime fan service feels so far removed from any real erotica or substance that it feels fake and unsexy. It’s just often contextualless breasts or underwear or suggestive angles that ultimately goes nowhere.

I don’t know who actually likes it at this point? And I’m not even arguing it objectifies women (it does), I’m arguing it doesn’t even do what it’s intended to do. It’s suppose to sell sex, but I’m never less attracted to women then when it’s half a minute of them bouncing with gratuitous shots in some random anime. Or here is an upskirt shot and you can see her underwear!? Wow!? Zero fucks. There is porn online. Either actually make the sexualization relevant to the plot, do something actually erotic, or get out of here with it. These few second childish teases are literally a waste of everyone’s time.

Anyways, in the previous Anime House they had Shinji from Shinji’s Adventures. Yusuke said that Shinji made that up on the spot. In this episode we have Shinji back, showing the trailer for season 2. Then a crisis actor comes up to him to sign an autograph. And here is the thing. I looked up if Shinji’s Adventures was a real anime or not and here is what I got.

It took me about five minutes to confirm that it was in fact a fake show. There are currently a ton of reddit posts pretending like it is real. I can’t describe how great this feels, being completely tricked by a joke that became its own fucking ARG. The scene ends with a talking head of Yusuke who is just looking at the Camera for a minute with disappointment. Saying volumes with nothing.

The plot eventually becomes that Light is attempting to use the Dragon Balls to wish for the villains to be the main characters of their show. The challenge is each Dragon Ball is guarded by the strongest heroes. Some Malarkey happens and the Villains separate each hero out in the hopes of killing them and taking their Dragon balls.

Demon Slayer is the first to fall, to Aizen, in a fight that reads exactly how Aizen would win. The scene afterwards is absolutely perfect. He’s just walking away without really stopping. He isn’t gloating or laughing. He does exactly what needs doing and leaves. Perfect to form, perfect to character.

They have some fun fights for the remainder of the show and in a twist ending give Light the victory he never had in his own show. The wish for all of the Villains comes true.

It’s an interesting ending given how often villains lose within anime, often for plot reasons. Aizen was written into being an unkillable god, that Ichigo just did some push-ups with his daddy and figured it out in the end.

Despite Madara’s power and effectively being the plot for the end of Naruto, he just got replaced by Tobi, who then got final formed into the goddess of chakra. I’m not super clear on the events, I read it as they came out.

I always preferred a version of Death Note that ended around episode 26. A version where Light actually did win, so I stop watching after L takes…an L. To me Death Note wasn’t the murder book, it was the cat and mouse chemistry of two super geniuses in what really seems to be a coded gay love story ending in tragedy. I could write five hundred words about this on just the final day L had in that anime, but the point is the Villains win and that’s kind of cool narratively.

I’ve called out a few people who worked within RCDWorld1 in this essay, but not all of them. And just want to clarify that everyone on this project slapped. The main and extended cast all brought life to this. I also think there were a dozen little moments I didn’t want to just describe in exact details, but loved. The moment where Ichigo is mixing his music for his new opening is so fantastic and the call back at the very end is perfect.

I just didn’t want to do an entire recap on everything that happened, because what’s the point of that? Really, if what I did write got you interested, go watch it. It’s fantastic, fun, entertaining and worth your time.

I’ve written recently about a lot of things I’m critical about and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the things I’m not. The things that I just love and that I’m so glad creative people got together to make. Real Dreamers Change the World or RDCWorld1 brings so much love and talent to anime, to video games, and just to everything they do. I always love when they have a new video posted. And while I don’t get the basketball videos for the most part, I usually get enough that they’re still funny.

Basically after enjoying their content these last few years, it was time for me to write my own letter. Thank you, RDCWorld1!

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Faye Seidler

I write essays on literature, pop culture, and video games. I mostly deconstruct and do comparative analysis on many topics in both a serious and goofy way.