ojamajo doremi

you've probably seen the old iceberg meme template: things start out innocuous enough up above the water level and in the shallows, gradually becoming more bizarre and esoteric as you dive your way down to the depths. the parts above water are usually well-known and familiar to the general public, the shallow portions are the "entry level", domain of those who are dipping their toes in (and beyond which many will not stray), and finally, the depths are the "exit level", only accessible or even comprehensible not just to those who have been submerged for years, but who also possess the reckless desire to keep pursuing the increasingly obscure and leaving everyone else behind.

why is the deepest level called the "exit level"? i didn't come up with it, but it seems to be an appropriate name – those who go that deep have left the water behind, and their former peers with it. in many iceberg memes, the deepest level is in fact called “Ascended”, and this reveals where they have gone. they have not continued to sink down, burrowing into the ocean floor: no, rather they have risen, into the air, above the iceberg. the extreme entry level and the extreme exit level are in fact one and the same!

this seemingly contradictory position is where we find ojamajo doremi. as a show targeted at kids, who are themselves in the entry level of life, it's clearly in the extreme entry level. yet at the same time, to your average weeb, it lies in the extreme exit level. it might as well be radioactive to many of them. the fact that it's a children's show of course contributes, as that means there will be no complex eroticismfan service, but they are also slaves to trends and popularity, of which doremi currently enjoys neither. it's around 20 years old at this point, and despite the fact that it was extremely popular in japan, it never really caught on in america, so very few even know of it, let alone are nostalgic for it.

if doremi had been popular, however, i may never have watched it. as a born contrarian and thus ardent esotericist, when i get into something, it's almost inevitable that i will eventually end up in the depths if i stick with it long enough. a gift and a curse, perhaps, as you gain all sorts of hidden, occultic knowledge, but at the same time, you end up apart and alienated even from those who are interested in that same subject, the "community" for it. this can be extremely frustrating, so in vain i have tried to fit in before by curtailing my tastewhich i have characterized in the past as "refined", "impeccable", "unimpeachable", "exquisite", "irreproachable" &c and you may dispute me on those counts, but at the very least grant me that it is different, to no avail. instead, i've come to learn that the only option is to accept it, nay, revel in it, and so that's part of the reason i'm here writing to the Void, the mark of the true writer according to a paraphrased quotation attributed to Bolaño that i saw somewhere online oncemy eccentricity is probably a good thing for writing as well, as i recall reading an article once titled along the lines of "if you're going to try and be a writer, for God's sake be weird". i don't remember much of the actual content of the article or the reasoning, but it probably has something to do with some other advice i read online once. not attributed to anyone in particular, it said that if you're weird, it's better to lean into it than pretend to be normal, as you'll inevitably fail at pretending to be normal for subtle reasons that only normal people will be able to distinguish. there are already plenty of normal people anyways, so if you have the innate ability to be interesting, why not take advantage of it? .

so, trawling the 'Net for many years, i became intrigued by the whispers, the occasional mentions of doremi that I saw. it acquired mythic status as a sort of monumental hidden gem (maybe partially due to its episode count), one that stayed far below the radar appearing as an unassuming japanese children's show from the not-quite-yet old enough to be cool early Noughties, but that in fact contained such careful writing and emotional depth so as to drive men to tears, or even insanity. it would have been difficult to contrive better bait for me, so one day, i sought it out, and dedicated a not-insignificant portion of my hard drive to storing it. it was a while before i actually took a crack at it, though, as i have an odd hesitancy before starting a new series. it's kind of like social anxiety, almost, but for being introduced to new fictional characters. eventually, i decided that i would sit down and try to watch something simple without subtitles for japanese listening practice, and being a children's show, doremi seemed to be the perfect candidate.

watching doremi without subtitles ended up lasting all of one or two episodes. i was immediately captivated by the energetic yet charming animation, and surprisingly for a children's show, the whole episode went by without losing my interest for a moment. in fact, it was almost like time had sped up. i immediately decided that i could not bear to miss a single plot point. i went back and rewatched the episodes i had seen with subtitles right away, an interval between watches which was practically unheard of for me. but something about doremi made it eminently watchable to me, not boring despite watching the same episodes over basically back-to-back. maybe all the legends were true...

now here I am, a couple years (and couple hundred episodes) later: former leading doremi studies scholar, shelves stacked with doremi merch rare and not-so-rare, joining the ancient anonymous doremi evangelists myself...

ok now finally say something about the show instead of yourself