It’s hard not to like Yasuhiro Takeda, the hapless nuclear physics student who repeated his second year at university five times before giving up. His reason, the passion for sci-fi that led him to run conventions, sell model kits, and eventually become General Manager and Producer for the Gainax company. This textual autobiography takes him from his failed student days, through his time as fanboy and amateur actor, right through the tax evasion calamity that dogged Gainax in the wake of Evangelion.
In the movies, life is planned out for you. You meet someone special, you fall in love, and then you live happily ever after. But while you might be able to choose the love of your life, you don’t have so much luck with their family. And in Japan, there’s less likelihood that you’ll be sharing a love-nest for two than moving in with your new in-laws. In manga and live-action drama, the Cinderella story often does not begin until after the wedding, when our pretty young heroine gets the man of her dreams, only to find herself an unpaid slave to a vindictive mother-in-law. This is the ever-growing dramatic genre of “in-law appeasement,” likely to expand further as Japan’s population grows and house prices soar ever higher – and The Curse is one of its more famous examples.