The writers in this post are all of drinking age in their respective countries.
Recently I watched a show that was so horrible I needed the assistance of both alcohol as well as dozens of twitter contacts and friends to get through the marathon. I immediately realized that there’s something awesome here. Anime can be viewed while inebriated, and you don’t have to be alone when scores of people who have seen the shows keep tabs with you as you post your reactions.
But what drinks go with what shows? I went around and asked a bunch of anime fans and bloggers who also enjoy the occasional drink. See what we all came up with, and then tell us what you would drink with what shows. We may just try it some time.
Cranberry Scotch Whiskey
School Days, for whatever novel merit it has, is an insufferable show to sit through. The insufferable aspect involves the asinine behavior of the characters — behaving in no way that deserves happiness in life, and yet seemingly rewarded by the narrative by getting lots of sex. Now, I think that sex is an empty, hollow reward in the context of the show — this is part of the novel merit of it. However, even I am conditioned to value sexual activity (in high school) as reward or success.
Hence, the watching the show does feel like a descent into hell, where the morons inherit the earth. Scotch Whiskey is my favorite drink, and I think I want to reserve its dignified spirit by drinking it in celebration of something of strong merit. I let it suffer the indignity of being mixed with sweet cranberry juice because this is actually a lesser insult: under no circumstances should good Scotch be imbibed watching an awful show like this. I suffer and Johnnie Walker suffers with me.
Different Delicious Beers
Unlike the typical shounen sports series, Giant Killing is very much a working-class piece of work. The action in the series goes far beyond what happens on the field and gets into social context of the club as well. East Tokyo United is cash-strapped club unable to afford players from outside Japan as they struggle to stay in the top division of the league, and even have to resort to bringing one of their former star players back to manage the club. Off the field, the club is very much the talk of the community with hardcore fans (The Skulls) joined by returning or casual fans as interest builds in the team.
With that in mind, selecting something like a Vodka Red Bull wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, so I went with a selection of beers depending on the situation. For the real hardcore supporter I would go with Sapporo as it fits in with part of the story (preseason training takes place in the north of Japan before it returns to Tokyo). As the club’s playmaker Luigi “Gino” Yoshida is popular with casual and female fans, so I’d recommend something like Birra Moretti for the Italian influence. Other suggestions which would fit in for more conventional fans are Newcastle Brown Ale, Budweiser (if you feel like not standing out in any way possible) or any other beer you would typically find at a pub.
Sengoku Basara is definitely an anime oozing with manliness in it’s dialogue, and of course, its explosive, action-packed, over-the-top battles. There isn’t exactly any plot or character development, but then again it’s really a show you’d watch mainly for the action.
As such, a manly drink would really get your blood pumping while watching a show like Sengoku Basara. And when you say a manly drink, the Boilermaker is one of the first things I can think of. While it’s simply beer and whiskey (or any hard drink), it can get someone drunk pretty quickly. Not that it really matters, since you don’t really need to be sober to enjoy the hot-blooded manly action that this show really is all about. I’d say it’s actually better if you watch it drunk.
Making it is not really difficult, and there are different ways to enjoy this beer cocktail. All you need are a glass of beer with a shot of whiskey, tequila, vodka, or any hard drink. You also have the choice to drink the shot first then chase it with the beer, or mix em’ together and drink.
Crude and mindless’ is an understatement to just how intellectually deficient Dead Leaves can be. The characters have penises for heads, they curse and fart randomly, and one guy kills hundreds of people for no reason and laughs…for no reason. Yet its animation boasts just so much vigour, sometimes proving difficult for us to keep up with its frantic movements and dazzling colours. Considering alcohol’s knack of gearing down our mental faculties while relaxing our bodily flows, ideally you want to get drunk as fast as you can before watching Dead Leaves.
In Korea we have a cocktail of draft beer and soju (distilled barley spirit) called somaek, more commonly known as ‘the bomb’. While not exactly a strong drink, it is the fastest road to getting wasted. Alcohol percentage is at where our body absorbs alcohol at the quickest rate (accelerated further by carbonate compounds from mixture), which must be swallowed in one shot. You can almost visualise flashy explosions of Dead Leaves inside your poor stomach. This ‘bomb’ can reduce the most sophisticated viewer to a fumbling drunkard in minutes but what other state would you rather be in when watching something like Dead Leaves?
Eve no Jikan
Eve no Jikan is one of those rare science fiction anime that deal with the softer side of the future. In the near-future, as the growing presence of robots prompts humans to lobby against them, there exists a clandestine cafe that removes the distinction between humans and robots. Who is human? Who is robotic? How can a robot willfully disobey a law designed to protect humans, to protect a human?
Unlike the grand scale that most well-known sci-fi anime suggest, Eve no Jikan is a humble show with only its coquettish presentation to boast (is he? or isn’t he?). It doesn’t seek to overpower the viewer with loftiness, but instead charm with the tender conceit that even robots can be more human than ourselves.
Hence, Irish coffee. You can enjoy the atmosphere of the cafe in the comfort of your own home, with a bit of Irish cream mixed in your black coffee. It’s a good drink for contemplating the riddles of the show, and for meditating on the mysteries of Sammy’s ponytail. And once you finish your cup, you can ask yourself:
Are you enjoying the time of Eve?
Those crazy Genshiken kids drink a lot of beer. But Emperor J did beer already, and, anyway, I think I have a more appropriate drink in mind.
Consider the Rum and Coke (or the Cuba Libre, if you prefer). It’s an odd sort of drink with several distinct “edges:” it’s sweet, bitter, and a little sour (assuming you take it with lime, as you should); it combines the stimulant properties of caffeine with the depressant nature of ethanol; and, once you’ve mixed everything together, there’s still a bit of kick left in what carbonation remains. What’s more, it’s fairly cheap to make, assuming you’re content with Captain Morgan or somesuch plebeian rum; it won’t flatten you in five minutes, but you can probably afford to drink until it does. We’re talking about a concoction that resembles life itself, and, appropriately enough, I associate the Rum and Coke with healthy melancholy or wistfulness, an appreciation for the meaning and transience of worldly things.
Should you choose to overthink things as I do, the mild-mannered Cuba Libre becomes an appropriate accompaniment to a number of franchises. Honey and Clover comes to mind, as does Solanin, though, for the latter, you might want to go two parts rum, one part Coke. But, somehow, when pondering my contribution to this most alcoholic of collaborative efforts, I thought first of Genshiken.
It’s more a visceral choice than anything. But maybe it’s because Genshiken is suffused from the start with a sense of ending. Something’s always ending for someone: Sasahara’s reclusive sort of otakudom ends, and the same might be said of Ogiue; the first president’s tenure ends, as do Madarame and Sasahara’s presidencies; certain parties dispose of their bodily innocence, while others allow latent relationships to die unacknowledged; people graduate, end old ways of life in favor of new. And of course the end of childhood, however long that may take, remains a central theme throughout. These endings are never unequivocally sad; they merely underscore the incontrovertible fact that everything ends eventually, and suggest that there’s as much good in these endings as bad.
Thence Rum and Coke. But only if you drink it as much to remember as to forget.
To me, booze and cartoons go hand in hand. In fact, when I started brewing, I even named my beers after robot anime: L.C.Ale Fluid and Wit Base so far. Sometimes it’s a good Scotch, neat, or Kentucky bourbon with a couple rocks.
However, a fine ale or malt is fit for a beautiful work of animation, made with loving care over time and gracefully constructed from time-tested recipes. Some works are less… how should I say this?
Have you ever had a Long Island Iced Tea?
Surely this alcoholic abomination was invented by someone who couldn’t decide what he wanted, so he went ahead and put everything in a highball glass — and when I say everything I mean vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, and tequila — and stirred it with a splash of Coke. This is a blunt instrument of beverages. It’s a drink that will never make you look like Yang Wenli, but it sure as hell will get you hammered.
Now, the other defining characteristic of a Long Island is that it doesn’t taste like there’s as much booze in it as there really is. It’s a very interesting concoction that way: it will make you drunk as a skunk before you even know it.
Brief example. While playing a show on tour, a bandmate of mine convinced a bartender to give him $1 Long Islands instead of the typical agreed-upon free Shitty Beer In Cans. Long story short, we were kicked out of the bar unpaid after he clubbed someone over the head with a No Parking sign.
Compare this to anime.
Combine a few ingredients from the bottom shelf of the bar: Mecha. Espionage. Medieval fantasy. Bumbling romance. School life. Screwball comedy. BL undertones. Death Note-style human chess games. Pizza. A splash of Coke. Wow. it will definitely get a motherfucker drunk, although it should be undrinkable — but lo and behold, it tastes great!
Sure, I’ll get too rowdy for those cultured types, and no one will mistake me for a connoisseur, but they can shove their boundaries of good taste up their asses. I’m having fun watching Code Geass!
So there you have it party people! What would you drink with the shows you watch? Tell us all about it :3