Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime School Uniforms

I’m thinking most of you have never had the misfortune of going to a school in Queensland and wearing what are arguably some of the worst school uniforms in existence. Mostly because most schools go for cheap and affordable with easy substitutions and rather than actually looking in any way respectable, most uniforms end up looking like everyone just decided to throw the same black or maroon shorts on and a polo shirt and off they went (yes there are some schools, particularly private ones, that do in fact have decent uniforms, but they are not the majority). Which probably explains why I became fascinated by school uniforms in anime because they always look totally adorable and like something I would have loved to wear day in day out (maybe if I’d actually been asked to I’d feel differently).

So the end of this long preamble is that here is my list of top 5 anime school uniforms that I would personally have wanted to wear. With that said, I’d love to know which uniforms have caught your eye in anime.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention: Another

Number 5: Sword Art Online

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Seriously, look at how cute those uniforms are. Firstly there’s the colour scheme with the fairly dark and plain colour with white accents and gold buttons and emblem. It is fantastic. Not too flashy, but quite flattering to most people. I also love the blue cross pattern on the collar giving it just that little bit extra and the red ties/bows just finish off the look. I know you can’t see it in the image, but Asuna pairs hers with white stockings and black shoes and to be honest looks fabulous. I would have loved this kind of uniform at school.

Number 4: My Hero Academia

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Once again I like the reasonably plain grey colour with the green trims and gold buttons. It has the look of a uniform without being too plain and the colour is reasonably suitable for most people. The red tie again makes a nice contrast and I like that Uraraka gets to wear a tie as well and not a bow or ribbon as many female uniforms do. My Hero Academia looks pretty classy with this uniform, but we tend to spend more time watching the kids in their sports uniforms rather than this one.

Number 3: Code Geass

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Okay, if I’m practical and brutally honest, I probably wouldn’t wear this uniform given the short skirt length for the girls, but still, look at how adorable that is. The yellow and green contrast really nicely, the belt gives it some great shaping, and all and all it just looks really adorable. The male uniform is definitely the nicer of the two, though that’s probably just my preference for both the colour and the fact that they are wearing long pants.

Number 2: Vampire Knight – Day Class

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Super, super, super cute. While I didn’t love Vampire Knight as a show (certainly enjoyed it and enjoy making fun of it), the uniforms at Cross Academy are to die for (or at least the day class is). The super cute black blazer with white accents, the red bow, the knee socks, everything about this uniform is adorable and there are so many little details to it. A friend of mine cosplayed as Yuki at one point and ordered a costume and the sheer amount of detail on that uniform is just crazy. Absolutely love it and would love it to be a real uniform.

Number 1: Inu X Boku SS

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While I know for an absolute fact I could never wear this uniform, both because of the short skirt and because I just lack the shape to really pull it off, I totally fell in love with this look when watching the anime. I really relate to Ririchiyo’s character and this uniform is kind of superb. It’s like if there was a fantasy version of me going to a fantasy school, this would be the uniform I’d want that version of me to get to wear. The colour scheme, those shoes, the style, it is absolutely divine and I love it.

Okay, now that I’ve admitted I have no actual taste, what uniforms out there have you fallen in love with?


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Karandi James

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Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King Episode 3: Here Comes the Exposition Dump

After refusing explanations for two straight episodes we get to the end of a fight sequence and new random character will take them to a church to find out what is going on. Enter jargon, unconfirmed motive, and yet more poor characterisation.

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Can I just ask who named the things in this show? We’ve got a heroic lineage and agents of chaos. I wonder who we are supposed to think are in the right. Then again, the heroic lineage characters are all pretty clueless and are now being directed by a church that essentially has admitted it plans on destroying the world in forty years (because that will create a new world of hope of course) so I’m kind of left with no one in this story that I actually want to succeed. There’s still a thin hope that the protagonists will strike out on their own denying both the church and the chaos guys, but from listening to the various exposition dumps it seems like everything that has happened is pretty irreversible so we may as well just accept Tokyo is done.

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All and all, the plot of this show is either a mess or incredibly simple (I guess we’ll see which way it goes) and the characters haven’t done a thing to distinguish themselves as anything other than cardboard cut outs that might have one defining trait  (report guy likes to make comments about journalism and truth, Chihiro likes to get lost in his own head and freak out). It isn’t good by any means but it might just be bad enough to be kind of entertaining provided you aren’t picky about things. That said, I’m fairly certainly this is not going to be a show I’ll be talking much about.

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Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 2: Whatever It Takes

Attack on Titan - Season 3 - Episode 2 - Levi

This episode is breathtaking to watch for a number of reasons, though I’m still left wondering if this is the direction I ever wanted this show to go when I recall what was fun about season 1.

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Attack on Titan picks up this week exactly where it left off with Levi being confronted by Kenny (who I guess we’ll get more back story on at some point but they are pretty heavy handed already with making it clear Kenny knew Levi when he was kid) and the ensuing fight. Now, this is a fantastic fight sequence. It throws you right back to the very beginning when you saw the ODM Gear in action for the first time and this is one fast paced chase sequence with aerial combat thrown in. It also knows when to take a pause and a breath, like when Levi got cornered in the bar. It’s just a well thought out sequence that gets the audience excited, show-cases the animation that this anime is known for, and also gives us a clear new enemy and problem for our group of main characters to deal with.

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Does that warrant 11 minutes of an episode? Maybe not, but I will admit I didn’t really care the episode was half over and all that had happened was the end of a fight left over from last week. It was fun to watch and seeing Levi in action was thrilling (even if realistically there’s at least six occasions where he should be dead because people just don’t move like that).

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There’s also some attempt at dealing with the emotions of the kids as they come to terms with having to fight people. They trained to fight titans. Some of them even mocked combat training against humans back in season one because they didn’t see a point when they would be fighting titans. Now the Scouts are the clear target of the Military Police and this puts them on the back foot because they aren’t used to dealing with human enemies. Armin and Jean provide a wondrous look into the turmoil they are all feeling while Levi actually provides a voice of reason rather than comfort.

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A disappointment on the character front would be Mikasa. As usual, other than her obsession with Eren, she has very little to do in this episode. While she does provide some comfort to Armin after the dust has settled, Levi was forced to hold her back to prevent her from throwing herself after Eren despite losing any chance of victory.

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Of course, there’s no way to talk about this episode without looking at the torture that occurs. Levi and Hange torture the enemy for information. They don’t just threaten it, they don’t play act like they will torture, there’s no hidden element here. They just straight up torture to get what they want. And while they might not be thrilled about it, there’s little hesitation in their actions. It definitely feeds in to the question about who the real monsters are in this show, which at least thematically came about in season one, but at the same time might be a bridge too far for some of the more squeamish viewers. There’s a big difference between watching characters fight and get eaten by monsters and watching humans torture other humans.

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Then I just have my own mixed feelings about this as a direction for Attack on Titan. While this might indeed be interesting and the intrigue of heirs and politics could certainly make this season watchable, I kind of wonder where the monster slaying, screaming in defiance characters went and why it all needed to get this complicated.

Still, if this episode is a taste of things to come, there’s certainly going to be some fun to be found in watching Attack on Titan this season.

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Devils’ Line Series Review: Get Ready For Dark – And I Am Talking About The Colour Palette Not The Story

An anime that started with a fairly poor first episode and pretty much never got any better, Devils’ Line was one of my bigger disappointments to come out of the Spring 2018 season.

Review:

I would really like to start this review with an overview of the story, but unfortunately, I’m not sure there really is one. There’s a few different ideas, but none of them ever develop or end up being resolved. And that’s part of the problem with Devils’ Line as a whole, though it certainly isn’t the only issue sucking the life out of this series.

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Firstly we have Taira Tsukasa, who is one of those super pure girls who has never fallen in love. Then her friend from school tries to attack her and it turns out he’s a vampire and she’s rescued by another vampire who turns out to work for the police hunting down devils (and don’t ask why vampires are called devils in this story, they just are). All of that seems fine but then Tsukasa is apparently in love with the rescue vampire, Anzai, and the two of them are in a relationship.

If you are wondering what happened in between the rescue and the falling in love, other than Anzai forcibly sticking his tongue down Tsukasa’s throat, I’m going to say not much. The story just expects that audience to believe these two are now in love.

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Seriously in love. Like they’ll throw themselves into life-threatening danger on more than one occasion for the other person. Even though vampires and humans can’t actually be involved in a relationship and there is government discussion around a law to allow humans and vampires to have sex only is supervised by a doctor (what?).

I’ll get to the other plot lines that trail about in this mess in a minute, but I want to take a moment to look at Tsukasa’s character, because she is perhaps the stupidest thing about this entire series, and there are some stupid things happening in this series.

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The girl meets a guy once who after saving her, by injuring her mind you, gets so out of control because she’s bleeding that he forces himself on her, shoving his tongue into her mouth, and has to sedate himself to calm down. She’s then just totally fixated on him. Letting him into her house, chasing him around the city and into danger… A sniper takes a shot at him while he is in her house and she gets cut by broken glass leaving a permanent scar on her face, and the only comment she makes regarding that several episodes later is that it hurts less than not being with Anzai. I actually can’t recall a single decision or comment that came out of Tsukasa’s mouth that wasn’t either asinine or stupid, and as she’s a character a lot of the action is built around her presence really hinders the story.

Though probably not as much as the fact that everyone seems to fall in love with her. her vampire friend who initially attacked her. Anzai as the saviour. Her lecturer at school who attempts to rape her. The girl is a dishrag and there is nothing about her that is interesting and yet every single person she meets seems to like her and either want to have sex with her or protect her, or both.

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But as much fun as the vampire/human relationship issues are, and they do permeate the entire story, even at fairly odd moments when you would think the cast would have better things to do than worry about whether Anzai and Tsukasa can sleep together, the story also seems to want to explore how vampires (devils) fit into modern society and how the general public responds to them. We get mass protests, terrorist groups, calls for segregation, and it all seems like this should go somewhere. There’s even a vast conspiracy within the organisation Anzai works for where there are double agents all pressing their own agenda.

This could have been a fairly gripping story really. And yet it plays out in the background with only a few episodes where it is the focus. Then we get to the end of the season and this story line just kind of stops. We don’t know what legislation actually gets passed or what happens to the conspirators or anything else. The story just turns its focus back to Anzai and Tsukasa’s relationship.

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There’s also some subplot about the institution where Anzai grew up and his parents. An escapee vampire from their joins the group midway through the series. Nothing ever eventuates from this plot point.

While I was harsh to Tsukasa earlier, I should probably point out that there isn’t a single decently developed character in the entire series. Not one character is actually interesting or well explored. At the end of the season you would be hard pressed to remember more than a handful of names and when you think about why some of the characters existed at all you will draw a blank. They contribute nothing overall to a story that goes nowhere.

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Then we have the visuals. Right from episode one it was pretty clear that this anime was not exactly a gorgeous feast for the eyes. Murky imagery, poor contrasts in the colours, and some really bad choices with animation to make the vampires seem fast (animation choices that seemed to disappear a few episodes in) all worked to make this series a pretty ugly thing to watch.

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This isn’t the worst thing ever but what really hurts is that we could have had a decent relationship between Anzai and Tsukasa and an exploration of the trouble they had in building an inter-species relationship. Or we could have had a compelling police drama where there were conspiracies to marginalise devils in society. The issue is, this show couldn’t handle doing both and the end result is an unsatisfying mess.

What did you think of Devils’ Line?

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Cells at Work Episode 4: Everyone Has Their Own Job

This anime is definitely aiming to educate about the body but we’re also getting a heavy dose of moralising in there as well with the poor picked on cell getting her moment to shine later in the episode. Still, it is hard to argue that this wasn’t entertaining.

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I find Cells at Work a bit of an oddity, a fun oddity mind you, but the structure of the episodes, the copious explanations, and even the not so subtle don’t talk behind other people’s back message that comes through in episode 4, all speak of this show being directed at children. And then we have the White Blood Cell cutting himself free of a germ in a spray of blood in a scene that is right up there with when Eren got swallowed by a titan in Attack on Titan lost his arm. Okay, it’s a bit more cartoon like but it is still pretty intense for something that for the most part seems aimed at a younger audience.

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Although, while I’m thinking about my childhood, the initial view of the parasite this week kind of reminded me of a scene straight out of the Never Ending Story and that did scare me as a child so maybe this is just the right kind of balance to provide a fairly fun yet emotional journey.

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That said, I don’t think food-poisoning has ever been so much fun and I really had a great time watching the cells dash about and try to overcome the enemy. I’m not so sure about the umbrella guy who seemed to only exist to spout bad poetry, but overall the episode was great fun. Looking forward to the next offering from this one.

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Angels of Death Episode 4: This Is The End

That minor nagging voice from last week telling me this might get better has now been dragged out and beaten to death by common sense. Angels of Death is boring which is the most irredeemable thing something made for entertainment can ever be.

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I love psychological horror. I love bad horror. Cheesy dialogue. Cliche set ups. Standard horror settings. Angels of Death has all the ingredients to engage me as a viewer regardless of whether it did it well or in a terrible King’s Game kind of way. And yet since about midway through the first episode I’ve been kind of bored and just waiting and hoping that somehow this would improve.

Episode 4 is no exception and I’m pretty sure I knew four minutes in that I wasn’t continuing beyond this episode. Yet another floor boss is introduced and we get the usual tongue licking the lips to show she’s unbalanced (though later we’ll also get the mismatched eye thing too) and then maniacal ear-grating laughter. This by itself isn’t the end of a show but lets look at every character other than Rachel so far.

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We meet Zack in episode one and he kills bird and laughs maniacally. Great, he’s crazy, better run. We meet the Doctor who pins Rachel down and throws his head back and laughs crazily before getting skewered on Zack’s scythe. We then meet Eddie. Now in Eddie’s defence, he was more of a giggler than a laugher but the point remains that other than giggling and ranting about his love for Rachel from the shadows, we once again have an extremely shallow characterisation that somehow is supposed to be thrilling.

Maybe I’m just missing something but all I feel while watching Rachel stare blankly at walls before commenting that there is something there or nothing is bored. All I feel when I see Zack getting electrocuted in a chair he idiotically sat on is exasperated. And all I feel when the show ends on a cliffhanger with Rachel potentially about to be done in by poison gas is weary.

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For me, watching anime is fun and engaging. In that sense, I think I’d rather go back and watch Record of Grancrest War than even one more episode of this (not that I intend to do that).

However, next week I’ve decided to finally start a formal rewatch of Yuri on Ice, as opposed to just binge watching it whenever I’m feeling a bit down, and I’m going to review the episodes again, hopefully a little more objectively than I did the first time (though honestly, given Yuri and Victor are smiling at me from the wall next to my computer, I somehow doubt it). Anyway, if you want to join me, I’ll be covering episodes 1 and 2 next week instead of watching anymore of Angels of Death.

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In Case You Missed It

This week has been super busy but really fun. I want to thank Negative Primes once again for being July’s guest post writer, and hopefully someone will be interested in visiting my blog in August (let me know via Twitter DM if you would like to). I also had my OWLS post this week and of course it was week 3 of the Summer Anime season which means some tough decisions to be made.

Hopefully everyone else had a productive and fun week. Below are some of the great posts I came across during the week. There were definitely other great posts that I haven’t linked to so if you’d like to give a shout out to a post feel free.

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Kawaii Paper Pandas reviews Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. I haven’t seen the film and I don’t have any ability to see it at this point but I enjoyed reading this review, though it did kind of make me feel that this probably isn’t a movie I’m going to get super into it. For those contemplating watching it, this is a great post to check out.

Satired of Anime delivers some great made up anime news on a regular basis and this offering this week was hilarious (and yet I actually wish it was true). Not going to actually give you the name of the post because these posts are short and they are more fun just to read. If you watch a lot of anime though you should definitely appreciate the content on their blog.

And Irina does it again touching on one of my favourite anime this week with Another as she looks at the role of Reiko. Admittedly, if you are worried in the slightest about spoilers for this anime, do not read this post. However, for those who have watched Another, or those who don’t care about spoilers, it’s a great read so go check it out.

Takuto’s Anime Cafe has a great entry as part of the OWLS tour on mentors and focuses on Heine from the Royal Tutor. It’s a touching post that looks at some of the more serious and important character moments in a show that was kind of fun to watch and Heine is a fantastic character so I loved this post giving him and his influence some attention.

Remy Fool asks how their readers feel about honorifics in translations. This is another one of those contentious conversations, though not as bad as subs or dubs. If you want to join in the conversation hop on over, read the post and the comments and add your views.

Modus Veritas has a review of Yuri on Ice. Okay, I love all things Yuri on Ice related, but this post is actually a fairly level review that looks calmly at some of the strengths and weaknesses of the series (so less fan-girling and more actual reviewing going on). If you wanted a Yuri on Ice post without all the hyperbole, this one is probably going to be a great read.

The Baron Heist has a write up on Perfect Blue. And yes, despite the reputation of this title, I still haven’t ever watched it, though I kind of feel like I have given how much analysis there is about it. That said, this is another look at this film and what it does. The post is clearly laid out, easy to read, and once again reminded me that I should at some point actually watch this.

Pick of the Week

Jon Spencer has a fairly satirical advice post on How To Properly Review GGO. Now he does put some disclaimers and explanations at the end for those who haven’t quite picked up on the tone of the post, but I absolutely loved reading this (mostly because I could see that most of the points he was making have shown up in some of the most read and viewed reviews of GGO). If you want a bit of a laugh, whether you liked GGO, like SAO, or dislike both, this is a fun post to read. It certainly made my Thursday better.

My Stuff

And that was my week, in case you missed it.


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100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 4: Not All Dreams Are Good Ones

100 Sleeping Princes Episode 4

Despite the Disney like fairy tale narrative being spun here, episode 4 kind of shows us the darker side of the dream land with pirates, mermaids, death at sea, and a past that seems determined to resurface.

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No surprise that I started getting a little concerned as soon as I realised they were about to get on a ship because it seemed very likely our nameless heroine would get swept overboard at some point. Fortunately this anime has so far shown that danger is fairly swiftly overcome so I wasn’t too worried about an actual drowning. The closest we really get to it this episode is a reference to the flowers around the ship being there in memory of those who have died at sea. It’s about as tame as a fairy tale can get while still claiming a slightly darker edge.

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Kihel’s story continues to develop and while the whole amnesia with flashes of memory thing has been done to death, in the context of this show it kind of works. What works less well is that fact that other than Avi, none of the other Princes appear to actually be trapped inside rings so I’m not entirely sure why the Princess is needed at all here or why that was a thing in the first place. The rings were super important for all of one episode and now they aren’t even mentioned. It kind of breaks the overall world building going on here.

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That said the Princes we meet this week are an interesting group, whether human or not. Plus we ended on a fairly dramatic cliff-hanger once again so we’ll get to spend more time with them next week and hopefully have a bit of fun.

They have gone to a lot of effort to not name the heroine though. At one point she was asked point blank who she was and before she could speak Navi jumped in and said she was the Princess of wherever. After that, all the characters she met just happily called her Princess and seemed to forget even caring what her name was. Despite the fact that almost all the other characters are Princes of somewhere but still have a name. It’s a little bit weird, though kind of shows the source loud and clear.

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OWLS Blog Tour: The Small Words That Make All The Difference

It’s another OWLS post and this time I am exploring the theme of Mentors. OWLS  are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. OWLS emphasise the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being. Each month, OWLS will look at a specific theme. If you want to know more, please do click on the logo in the side bar. And if you missed any of the great posts in July, the links to all the contributors this month are below.

The theme for July: Mentors

Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.

The Small Words That Make All The Difference

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Previously I’ve made a very definitive statement about mentors in stories: Mentors die. There are very clear reasons why they do in so many stories and particularly in action or fantasy stories, this is the assigned role of the mentor archetype. Train the next generation, pass on your wisdom, die tragically both inspiring your protege, teaching one final lesson, and also ensuring the audience doesn’t wonder why you aren’t actually the hero of the story. But these stories are very far removed from the everyday lives most of us live and so while these mentors are brilliant and memorable for their wondrous moments before their candle gets blown out, they aren’t exactly the kind of people we’re going to walk down the street and run into.

More importantly, for most of us there isn’t one single person with a single view of the world who is going to help us through everything and set us on our path. For the vast majority of us, it is the culmination of many small words and actions that slowly turn our path and shape who we are or who we want to be. While we may not always recognise the input of these people, on reflection there are probably many people we have to thank for making it through a particularly trying time in our lives.

So rather than choosing to focus on any one of those shows that I have loved over the years with classic mentors such as Star Wars, I’m choosing in this post to focus on a character who I really connected with when watching the series and I’m looking at the characters who have had an impact on his life for the better.

Of course that means I’m going for another March Comes in Like a Lion Post.

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For me there are several characters who have acted as a mentor and adviser to Rei over the first two seasons of March Comes in Like a Lion. They aren’t the only characters who have had an input, but they are all characters that he has turned to for advice or has drawn on their words at critical junctures. As a result, I haven’t included Hina in the list despite her being awesome. She’s definitely a catalyst for change, but she doesn’t really fulfil the role of mentor. Due to the length of the post I’ve focused on just a couple of characters and their performance as a mentor.

Akari:

Akari Kawamoto is the oldest of the three sisters who kind of take Rei under their wing at the beginning of the show and really do act as Rei’s bridge back to the world. As the oldest, Akari is the voice of calm and reason, the one who nurses Rei when he is unwell, and she is the one who slowly drags him back into the world and won’t accept excuses. She’s a gentle but persistent presence and someone who exerts a natural warmth that Rei is drawn to. He finds himself unable to refuse her when she asks him to join them for dinner and seemingly against his own desires he is drawn more and more into the family by her.

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However, Akari as a mentor is flawed because she is also very young and in over her head. With two young sisters to raise and care for she’s forced to act older than her years and put on a front, but there is a fantastic moment in the second season when it crumbles. At this stage we see how far Rei has come in his emotional journey when he surpasses his mentor and returns to her some of the emotional strength she has given him and he works to allay her fears.

It is very safe to say that without Akari, Rei would never have been able to consider the situation as clearly, would never have had the empathy or emotional understanding to comprehend it, and certainly wouldn’t have had the words to comfort another. Far from the fantastic mentors who beat their knowledge into their students with showy and dramatic performances, Akari is a character who works quietly and consistently from the sidelines. She watches over Rei and lends a gentle guiding hand when needed, acts more forcefully only when necessary, and ultimately waits for him to come to her though she leaves the door wide open and the space she has created for him is warm and inviting.

Akari is the kind of mentor we all wish we had in our lives because even when we stuff everything up, she would be there for us and would probably give us a hug or a warm meal and let us cry until we had let it all out.

Shimada:

I could hardly write about mentors in March Comes in Like a Lion without touching on Shimada. We first come across him when Rei is facing him in a match. Rei has put very little thought into his match against Shimada because his eyes are focused on the next competition, and this is something that ultimately costs Rei deeply and shames him horrendously. However, it is this defeat that opens the door for Rei to learn and to grow as a Shogi player. Where Akari is the warmth of human connections, Shimada is the one who will allow Rei to develop as a professional.

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That said, like Akari, Shimada is a flawed mentor in that his own relationship with Shogi isn’t exactly a smooth ride. Plagued by health ailments due to the stress of his life, having never one a title match, feeling the pressure (not deliberate but well-meaning) of those who have supported him, Shimada has had a difficult road to walk and he’s still very much fighting every single day. Despite that, Shimada has not lost his focus or his goal and continues to quietly work towards it.

There’s probably a reason both Akari and Shimada are quiet and fairly unassuming mentors. With Rei’s mental state, someone more forceful or erratic would certainly just cause Rei to shut down and not engage. It is their quiet and persistent approach, the waiting for Rei to open to them, that allows these two characters to be successful in their interactions with him.

Through Shimada, Rei joins the Shogi workshop which opens him up to discussions with others about Shogi. We no longer see him practising and studying in solitude with Shogi being the thing Rei hides behind to avoid others or interactions. Instead, it becomes something that forces him into professional and spirited conversations and interactions with others. This really marks a turning point for Rei and one that is really pushed through Shimada’s arc where Rei accompanies him to his match and helps him through a fairly gruelling defeat.

Again, we see Rei stepping up and using what he has been shown by his mentor to ultimately assist the mentor. It is a really important step for Rei as a character as he dislikes owing others and so a mentorship that was strictly one-way would only leave him guilt ridden. These small moments where he is able to give back actually allow the relationship to continue and to grow.

Hayashida:

The last character I’m going to touch on is Rei’s teacher at the high school, Hayashida. Unlike Akari and Shimada, Hayashida is an intrusive and brash character. He forces himself into the solitude of Rei’s lunch breaks, he pushes conversation, he drags Rei through what he must do not to have to repeat a year at school, and organises for Rei to join a school club. He is well meaning but the kind of person who initially exhausts Rei.

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However, through his persistence and his earnest desire to be there for his student, Hayashida slowly chips away at the walls Rei has build around himself. In large part this is because of the other characters, such as the Kawamoto sisters, who have already breached a lot of Rei’s automatic defences, but by the second season, Hayashida is someone Rei trusts to listen when he wants to talk about Hina’s predicament.

While it would have been easy to write Hayashida’s character off as the comic relief, or the brash friend who no one cares about, what we see is that he takes his role of teacher very seriously and he has very carefully forcefully kept the door to communication with Rei open without barging through it and causing Rei to run. That careful balancing act in season 1 of being there without crossing too many lines pays off when Rei is finally needing someone and ready to open up as Hayashida is already there for him and made that very clear.

Small Moments, Small Words, Big Difference

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All three of these characters have made a world of difference to Rei and the future that awaits him. If even one of these people hadn’t been in his life, the journey he is on would have been infinitely more thorny and difficult. They aren’t walking his path for him, they don’t hand him all the answers on a silver platter, but they are most definitely a large part of the reason he is managing to find his way.

Thanks for reading this far and remember, there are probably people in your life you have offered you those small words just when you needed them. Remember to say thank-you.

Thank you those who read my blog and offer your kind words of support. You have no idea how much you have helped me over the past two years and motivated me to keep going. Thank you. 

The Schedule for July:

If you’ve missed any posts on the tour or want to know who is up next, the schedule is below. Be sure to check out some of the great bloggers and their posts this month.

3: Matthew Castillo (Matt-in-the-Hat)

4: Lita (Lita Anime Corner)

7: Shay (Anime Reviewer Girl)

8: Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog)

10: Lyn (Just Something About LynLyn)

12: Dale (That Baka Blog)

13: Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

14: Jack (The Aniwriter)

15: Marth (Marth’s Anime Blog)

16: Miandro (Miandro’s Side)

17: Naja B. (Nice Job Breaking It, Hero)

18: Shoka (Shokamoka’s Blog of Wonders)

19: Mel (Mel in Anime Land)

20: Z (Let’s Talk Anime)

21: Dylan (DynamicDylan)

22: Marina (Anime B&B)

23: Gloria (The Nerdy Girl News)

24: Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

25: Zel (Archi-Anime)

26: Carla (PopCultureLiterary)

27: Mistress of Yaoi (Yaoi Playground)


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 16

The higher they rise the harder the fall I guess. In the grand scheme of things I’m guessing this episode wasn’t actually that bad and yet as both Kapodaco and I will lament, it doesn’t have any of the spark that made My Hero Academia appealing in the first place.

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Kapodaco:

Last week there was some disagreement between Karandi and I about the importance of stakes within the episode that either perturbed or held stable our confidence with the events moving forward. This week I have a feeling that our mindsets will be a little more in sync.

To start with the point, this episode was rather weak. Do you see what I did there? I got to the point very quickly. This episode did not. While the stakes were visibly set by the tone of the episode, on a more practical level, not much really happened in this episode. The first three minutes consisted of the OP and a recap of the last episode. The next four minutes consisted of a lot of talking and introduction of new characters from other schools. Then for the rest of the episode, it inconsistently displayed actual plot and random flashbacks. If one were to dissect this episode specifically for new content integral to the pursuit of progressing the events that are occuring, one would end up with only a little.

The heroes of U.A. are now separated, save Midoriya, Ochaco, and that tape dude, whose name escapes me. Midoriya has had one hit to his “weak points,” meaning he only has two left before he’s knocked out. (Calling it now: he’ll get hit again next episode and will live life on the edge until the exam ends.) Todoroki’s solo act may come back to haunt him. That one crazy dude who pounded his head into the dirt eliminated 120 people to pass the exam. That’s all that really happens in twenty minutes. How is this so? Because this episode sure loves to TALK.

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This ended up being one of the rare times when I began to realize I was watching Shounen. For those unaware, Shounen is one of my least favorite anime genres usually, due to the overused tropes attributed to the genre that wear thin on me very quickly. One of those tropes consist of filler dialogue, which only serves to delay progress and further ruminate the bad (and occasionally good) situations the character(s) is currently facing. This is the red flag for this episode: there is a lot of filler dialogue. Midoriya overthinking every action and explaining the stakes with each movement, characters from other schools saying the same thing over and over again/stating the obvious, the exam announcer continually telling people to hurry up (it’s always funnier the fifth time), and so on. And as if the writer is mocking us, it’s announced later on that 54 of the 100 people who are allowed to pass have already passed! We have seen one instance of a character passing! Can we, y’know, see more of that, please?

There’s even some sexual tension in this episode provided by a new character whom tape dude refers to as “The molester.” A female student from another school who revels in physical contact and intimate speech (for whatever reason) who’s responsible for Midoriya’s first “strike” or what-have-you. She also falls victim to filler dialogue (“I really wanted to talk to you more~ <3” ), as well as providing sexual fan service because… why not, I guess? Give credit to where it’s due, though: Midoriya could’ve reacted with a blushing face and an adolescent freak-out, but he held firm knowing the danger of her actions. Kudos. Even so, it felt a little out of place and self-indulgent. We’ll have to see if it has any significance in the future.

So when My Hero Academia, which has been pretty good about steering clear of tired Shounen tropes for a long while, begins to incorporate tired Shounen tropes into its episodes, color me concerned. All I can hope for now is that they’ll make the pacing a little better by, uh, doing something more in twenty minutes that could be done in five. Karandi was correct to be concerned last week, though perhaps not for this very reason.

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Karandi:

I hate it that I was right. This is more or less what I thought the sports tournament was going to turn into and it is the kind of thing I hate most about the shounen genre. As Kapodaco pointed out, we could more or less eliminate all but maybe five minutes of this episode in the future and it wouldn’t appreciably change anything. We literally learned nothing new about the main cast, the introductions to other characters aren’t going to stick even if they are by some miracle relevant in later arcs, and the fights themselves were not spectacular enough to make up for the deficit in character and plot.

By the half-way point of this episode I was feeling just a little bit bored, and that boredom turned a little into annoyance by the commentator. I don’t know if the writer actually thought it was funny to have the commentator bored by the action. However, when I’m already bored and a character who is in the show is watching the action and is pointing out that they just want it all over and done with, all that does is make me wonder why they didn’t just skip over something that is clearly dull to be a part of.

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Realistically we could have just skipped this sequence. Had the opening confrontation and then skip to the announcement of those who passed the test. I mean, there is a tiny possibility that they’ll pull some actual character growth out of this but it is going to have to be something pretty special to make me feel that this was anything other than fluff to fill pages and an excuse to introduce all new super powers.

For me this episode is probably the low point of this series so far and I’m really hoping it isn’t a sign of the direction this franchise is going. My Hero Academia won me over back in season one despite the fact that I was pretty determined not to like it but now here we are and I’m watching an episode that is devoid of any of the thematic or character moments that would make me sit up and take notice.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 17.