Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Anime Characters With Pink Hair

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a colour list and I actually struggled a bit with 5 males I liked with pink hair. The female list which will come out next week was definitely easier to come up with. That said, there are some interesting characters on the list below and as always I’d love to know who your picks would be for male anime characters with pink hair. I kind of went for characters that are important to their story and really rock the pink hair colour.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Number 5: Hikaru (Ouran High School Host Club)

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Okay, right from the start I am cheating here because Hikaru does not normally have pink hair. Yet, for one episode of Ouran High School Host Club, after a fight between the twins seemingly triggered by an innocuous comment by Haruhi, the twins dye their hair blue and pink. I have to admit, I kind of liked the look and kind of wished they’d kept it going for the rest of the season.

Number 4: Zange Natsum (Inu X Boku SS)

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There’s something super-cute and simultaneously super-creepy about Zange. He see’s far too much and isn’t above manipulating others for his own entertainment. That said, he certainly marches to the beat of his own drummer and provides some of the best scenes in Inu x Boku SS so despite his more questionable tendencies he became one of my favourite characters.

Number 3: Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter)

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I still haven’t decided if I like Hisoka as a character or not. He’s incredibly creepy but he adds a lot to the story and he has some great moments. Plus, you have to admit he’s got a style all of his own and I really couldn’t imagine him with any other hair colour other than pink. He’s certainly earned himself a spot on this list even if I feel like running the other direction.

Number 2: Alice Color (Sunday Without God)

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Alice Color only shows up in the final arc of Sunday Without God (though is in the OP from the beginning) and while he’s a fairly stoic character he is also very cool. Driven and determined to free his town from its endless loop, even when he believes that he’s going to die to do it, his story is one of the best in Sunday Without God.

Number 1: Natsu (Fairy Tail)

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Okay, if it was a question of my favourite character in Fairy Tail, Natsu wouldn’t get much of a look in. Despite some pretty cool dragon themed powers and a fiery personality, I don’t really enjoy Natsu’s antics in much of the early parts of the story (definitely prefer Gray). That said, when looking at distinct pink haired anime guys, Natsu immediately jumped to mind. While I think a lot of the other characters are more interesting, Natsu is definitely a bundle of energy, his interactions with Lucy are adorable, and when he gets going in a fight you know its going to be big. Plus, he has a talking flying cat for a friend so you really can’t beat that.

That’s my list this week, be sure to check back next week when I list my top 5 anime females with pink hair.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Yokai

Continuing on from last week where I looked at my top 5 favourite female yokai, this week we have my top 5 male yokai. I must admit, my first draft had a lot fox yokai on the list and even the revised version hasn’t really fixed that issue. Apparently I like foxes. Anyway, as always, I’d love to know who you would include on your list so please leave a comment below.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Kappa from Nurarihyon.

Number 5: Yahiko from The Morose Mononokean

Okay, I nearly chose Fuzzy from this list but ultimately had to go with Yahiko. Seriously, this fox is so cute and his desire to play hide and seek is adorable (okay, potentially deadly but still pretty cute). Admittedly, the fact that Yahiko was introduced as a potential big bad and then quickly degenerated into the little brother type character that just wants all the attention is probably the reason Yahiko isn’t further up the list.

Number 4: Kuro from Blue Exorcist

Yeah, I know technically they want to say Kuro is a demon but I’m still including him as a yokai. There really isn’t much to explain with this choice. Kuro is my favourite character from Blue Exorcist. Fiercely loyal and yet definitely a cat, Kuro manages to steal pretty much every scene he is in.

Number 3: Yasaburo from The Eccentric Family

Our fast talking, trouble seeking tanuki, Yasaburo had to be on the list. He’s just such a great character even before you consider the fact that he is a shape changing tanuki. As the third of four brothers he is pretty content to drift through life looking for things to make his days ‘interesting’. Despite that, he’s pretty loyal to his family when it matters and most of the time he cleans up the mess he makes (mostly). I absolutely adore spending time with Yasaburo.

Number 2: Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss

Now, how could I overlook Tomoe, the fox who serves as a land god’s familiar. He is rude, occasionally foul mouthed, and extremely short tempered, but also incredibly loyal and ultimately a fairly lonely character seeking acceptance. Not to mention incredibly powerful and needs to be given how often his human-turned-god master Nanami gets herself into trouble.

Number 1: Miketsukami from Inu x Boku

So what beats a fox familiar, well a 9 Tailed Fox secret service member who uses a sword apparently. Told you there were a lot of foxes on this list. Seriously, the guy is adorable both in his normal suit and when he transforms into a yokai. If it wasn’t for his creepy stalkerish tendencies (I guess he calls that loyalty) he’s be nearly perfect. About the only thing he lacks is the ability to actually have a normal human interaction and eventually he might learn to get around that.

There is my list of my favourite male yokai characters. I’d love to know who you would have included.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Yokai

Seems like October is an appropriate time to bring out lists on yokai and similar topics so my Top 5 today is focussing on female yokai characters. I started with quite an enormous list of characters and narrowing it down was difficult but eventually I picked my 5 favourite female characters that also happen to be yokai. Next week I’ll turn my attention to the male yokai but until then, I hope you enjoy the list today and I’d love to know some of your favourite female yokai characters so please leave me a comment.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Zashiki-Warashi from xxxHolic.

Number 5: Aokuchinashi from Natsume Yuujinchou

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For a one episode character, I have to admit, I kind of love her. First she tries asking for help, then she threatens to curse Natsume, and ultimately her conversation with him helps him to understand more about himself and his grandmother. I’m really glad she met Natsume and I absolutely love her episode. We’re never really sure exactly what kind of yokai she is (though apparently she’s a minor god) but that’s a minor issue.

Number 4: Kejourou from Nurarihyon no Mago

Of all the members of Rikuo’s inner circle, Kejourou probably gets the least attention and the least development, but I absolutely love her. Her calm and cool demeanor occasionally being thrown off for a petty tantrum, and her incredible contributions to many of the major fights make her one of my favourite characters ever (not to mention her really amazing outfits). There’s just something very cool about her and I really feel she needs a lot more appreciation. Again, we never find out exactly what kind of yokai she is but her hair is amazing both in appearance and as a weapon.

Number 3: Yuki-Onna from Nurarihyon no Mago

Yuki-Onna is obviously a snow woman and so pretty much freezes things, particularly when she is annoyed. She’s completely devoted to Rikuo but that doesn’t stop her freezing him from time to time. Still, for all her ditsy silliness in the day to day, when it comes to a major battle, Rikuo knows that Yuki-Onna has his back and is dependable. She gets one of the coolest moments of the final fight of the first season, and really, there’s just something about her hair that makes her pretty awesome.

Number 2: Karuta Roromiya from Inu X Boku SS

The spacey, pink-haired, food-obsessed body guard who also turns into a giant skeleton thing. She had to have a place on this list. I kind of love that even in her human form she is pretty amazing the few times she is spurred into action, though to be honest, mostly she just wants to eat good food and be left alone. Though, don’t ever mess with Watanuki or you will definitely have Roromiya’s less nice form to deal with.

Number 1: Hinoe from Natsume’s Yuujinchou

Another yokai that I don’t know what kind she is supposed to be, other than a compulsive smoker and drinker, Hinoe has become a reoccurring character in Natsume and one I deeply love. For all her occasional cattiness and her sillier moments when she is letting loose, she is often an advisor and a voice of reason and regularly she provides Natsume with what he needs. Plus, for all her aloof attitude as she looks down from where-ever she has currently perched smoke in hand, when Natsume is in trouble she has come running more than once.

And there you have it, my list of top 5 female yokai. Who would you have included on yours?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters Who Are a Bit Strange

Alright, anime characters by their very nature are usually a bit strange. They are after all living in the anime universe and not the real world. That said, there are some characters that take being a bit peculiar to all new levels of strange. Sometimes there’s a really good reason for their actions (childhood trauma, etc), and other times they just like doing what they do. So today’s top 5, I’m focussing on my favourite top 5 strange characters. This list is kind of similar to my list on characters who weren’t all there but on that list I went more with characters who were a bit spacey and oblivious rather than characters who clearly have direction its just weird what direction they’ve chosen.

Please Note: There are some plot spoilers below if you read the descriptions.

Honourable mentions this week go to Oculus from Death Parade and Misaki Mei from Another.

Number 5: Koko Hekmatyar from Jormangand

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Koko is an arms dealer. She’s tough and almost impossible to phase even if you point a gun directly at her face. That said, she’s also more than a little bit odd. She’s got a strange moral code and at times her decisions about who to deal with and who to walk away from seems fairly arbitrary. Also, after spending a lot of her childhood on battlefields she has picked up one very strange habit after she was told by one of her body guards she should always be smiling. All and all, Koko is a character I love, but the girl is strange.

Number 4: Kagerou Shoukin from Inu X Boku

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This guy sees everything in the world through the classification of either being an S (sadist) or an M (masochist) and he goes to great lengths to explain his reasons and logic to those around him even when they tell him they don’t care. Even a Lazy Susan in a Chinese restaurant doesn’t escape classification. Kagerou is one seriously annoying character, but he does have style and you certainly can’t accuse him of not being true to who he is.

Number 3: Miyo Takano from Higurashi

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Miyo’s strangeness is really entirely understandable given the horrific experiences she had at the orphanage as a child, but that doesn’t excuse her decision to kill an innocent child and then massacre an entire village just to prove that her adopted father’s research was actually right all along. You do have to admire her dedication to the long term plan and she’s certainly tried to account for all the loose ends. If not for time looping and the power of friendship, she’d have definitely succeeded and she did many, many times before she was finally defeated.

Number 2: Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket

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Alright, if you just watch the anime, Akito is just a bully and a nutjob. Violent temper tantrums, control issues, and outright torture of younger family members litter the scenes Akito appear in. There’s some attempt to justify this extreme personality in the manga, though while it helps you to see why Akito is so crazy it doesn’t really justify Akito’s actions given for the most part this is a case of misplaced anger. A tragic figure through and through, there’s something compelling about Akito so that even when you hate what Akito is doing, you can’t really look away.

Number 1: Ladd Russo and Claire Stanfield from Baccano

I couldn’t really split these two. In a show full of strange and extreme characters with strange and extreme personalities, these two still managed to distinguish themselves as being severely unhinged and yet fantastic fun to watch. Their show down on top of the train was one of the highlights of an anime I loved through and through. They are also oddly similar though Claire is clearly the more refined. Neither is squeamish or has an issue with blood and they both wholly believe in their abilities and that their actions and justified. They also severely lack empathy for pretty much anyone else except their chosen lady. All and all, these two guys are awesome to watch on screen but I would never, ever want to meet anyone like them.

Over to you: Who is your favourite strange anime character?


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Friday’s Feature: On Romance in Anime

As we get ready for Valentine’s Day (or get ready to be totally indifferent to anything that might resemble a public declaration of affection) I thought it was a good time to focus on romance and how it is portrayed in anime. This week I’m looking at the warm and fluffy side of romance. Next week, I’m going to look at some of the less pleasant portrayals of romance.

One of my first top 5 lists was a list of my favourite romantic anime. I’m going to draw on a lot of examples from these anime in my discussion this week. So what are the common features of these sweet and romantic anime?

01. For the most part they are focussed on the female in the relationship. While some shows (particularly a few in recent years) have portrayed romance from a male’s point of view (or at least a male character’s point of view) to majority of romance focussed anime follow the girl. This isn’t really surprising given the target audience for most romance anime are girls and as a general rule the romantic genre appeals more to a female audience. And while there are a lot of self-insert girls out there with limited personality besides a love of cooking and cleaning, because romance is such a prolific genre what we find are an array of female leads. From the super shy and fairly stereotypical right through to the oblivious and aggressive.

But that’s what makes romance so great is that if one doesn’t work for you there are plenty of other characters and romances to follow.

02. This one isn’t in every anime but it is a common feature. The love interest starts out being kind of a jerk and the girl doesn’t like him very much. Then something happens and suddenly she sees him in a new light. This is actually pretty standard in all romances really (and a staple of romantic comedies) and it probably exists because otherwise you have to introduce external tension and conflict early on before the characters have really been established. By creating tension between the two you can focus more or less entirely on the characters without boring the audience to death with their adoring stares.

I’m not the biggest fan of this particular cliché because I’ve never understood why the girl continues to interact with someone who is that much of a jerk, but I do understand from a narrative point of view why it works. Besides, Tomoe may have been nasty to Nanami but he still ends up being one of my favourite male leads in a romance.

03. The epiphany moment. Despite being in a romance, the characters tend to be unusually dense about their emotions and the state of their relationship. Either one or both of the characters needs to realise they are actually in love or that the other one actually likes them or something. Usually this is accompanied by sparkles, tears, or sometimes a punch because why not. However it is the reveal moment for the character that the audience have been waiting for forever because the character is usually the last to realise it. But hey, at least most of us don’t believe we have arrhythmia because our heart starts beating fast at the sight of the guy.

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04. There’s almost always a rival. Again, this is one of those necessary staples in order to inject some sort of tension or conflict into a story that is basically two people staring into each other’s eyes ad nauseum and rivals can add quite a bit of personality to the story. Probably my favourite rival ever is Kurumi from Kimi ni Todoke. That’s mostly because she pretty much demonstrates every charactersitic a rival might have rather than just being one type. It’s kind of interesting to watch her character transition.

While I don’t like her manipulative efforts early on (and we aren’t supposed to) you have to admit, Kurumi is a hard worker and ultimately she wasn’t really a nasty person so much as someone who was very driven by her goals. What makes her truly exceptional is that when she finally does confess and get turned down, she accepts this with reasonable grace and uses it as a chance to grow a bit as a person. A little bit. She still stirs the pot occasionally but mostly she moves on.

05. In anime romance tends to only get to the confession and dating stage, again there are exceptions. The vast majority finish the final episode on the confession, the first date, or a kiss and that is as much as we are getting of that story. Then again, given how red most of the characters get just trying to say the name of the person they are in love with I guess we can’t expect much more from them and it really isn’t needed given its the emotion of the relationship that has been conveyed.

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There’s probably a cultural reason for this trend and it isn’t as if the romance is any worse for the lack of physical displays of affection, however it is interesting watching teenage characters get flustered over eye contact or brushing their finger tips.

Well, that does it from me today. What are your favourite parts of romantic anime or what is your favourite romantic anime?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters that are not all there.

Okay, anime is full of zany, quirky characters but every now and then we come across a character who you just have to wonder what is going on inside their head (if anything). There characters can be fun and amusing or they can be completely annoying but they usually leave a fairly lasting impression. For the most part I’ve tried to avoid genuinely insane characters (or characters that have a mental illness where it is being treated seriously) or master mind villains because they fall into a category all of their own.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions Sylphy (Amagi Brilliant Park), Isaac and Miria (Baccano), Cassandra (Black Blood Brothers), Barry the Chopper (Full Metal Alchemist), Seo (Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun) and Hajime (Hamatora).

Number 5: The Colourless King from K

While at first he seems like the mastermind behind the violence between the Kings and it feels like he might have fallen into the villain category, once we get more time with the Colourless King it becomes clear that this is a very unhinged character. What we don’t ever find out is whether or not they were unhinged prior to taking on the personalities of all the people he had taken over or whether he had slowly become that way. Whichever way, this character (brief though their appearance is) definitely manages to steal the show with their multiple personality monologue. That said, this character while unhinged is still very effective at working through their plan and very nearly succeeded at achieving their goals.

Number 4: Schokolade from Jormungand

Sometimes I don’t know if she is effective and actually smarter than she looks or if she is just a food and money obsessed ditz. In a show about arms dealers and government organisations, Schokolade is decidedly a small time character working under other people (or being bribed by them). While it is clear she is being used, it is also clear that she seems to be enjoying herself and usually come out of the situation with what she wants. I have no idea how this character survived through this story though.

Number 3: Karuta Roromiya from Inu X Boku SS

Karuta is another food obsessed girl and she is one spacey character. It is difficult to know what she is thinking but as Watanuki points out, she always knows what she is doing even if the rest of us don’t get it. Besides, how can we hate someone who helps small animals, likes to eat, and can transform into a giant skeleton if push comes to shove?

Number 2: Ladd Russo from Baccano

While he is definitely a villain he isn’t a crazy evil genius. Ladd is just… obsessed with violence? An egomaniac? Completely disconnected from reality? It’s hard to know but a character who chooses to wear white in order to show the blood better definitely deserves a mention as someone who isn’t all there. And Ladd is such an upbeat murderer. That said, other than hunting the thrill of violence and death, his motives remain totally in the dark as does any reason for his warped personality. I wasn’t even a little upset when he was beaten and had to abandon the train though his survival was a little regrettable.

Number 1: Grell Sutcliff from Black Butler

There’s not a lot you can really say about Grell except that he knows exactly who he is and he isn’t about to change. This is one flamboyant character who enjoys a good fight as much as a good flirt (though in Sebastian’s case Grell would love to go beyond flirting). Grell’s favourite colour is red and he personifies the fiery and diverse nature of this colour from passion through to violence. That said, we know next to nothing about Grell’s real feelings beneath the antics and we know next to nothing about how Grell came to be how he is. This character marches to the beat of their own drum and it works.

So that’s the list this week. Who would you have put on yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inu X Boku SS Series Review

Overview:

Inu X Boku tells the story of Ririchiyo, a girl who knows that she has a problem dealing with other people, moving into an apartment complex for the super rich. Every tenant has a member of the secret service as a bodyguard. Turns out, the tenants are more than just rich, and Ririchiyo’s agent is more than she bargained for given she didn’t want one in the first place.

Review:

Yes, it’s another story about an emotionally closed off, super smart girl with a bad attitude being pursued by a very needy and super good looking guy who is absolutely incapable of being discouraged. Okay, that doesn’t sound all that typical and yet the first episode of this series really feels like it isn’t treading any ground we haven’t seen before.  That said, as long as you don’t instantly hate Ririchiyo, there’s actually a lot to like about this anime.

Also note that there is a reasonable age difference in the romantic pairing and some genuinely creepy stalker type moments as well as a character who is obsessed with defining the world through the eyes of S&M. If that didn’t put you off keep reading.

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I’m actually going to point out the obvious about the story. There isn’t really an overall plot. Ririchiyo moves into the complex and the story follows her daily interactions with the other inhabitants and we watch her slowly learn how to deal with them in some way. There’s also the overall romance between Ririchiyo and Miketsukami which sways back and forth throughout but there’s no overall drive behind anything really.  I should also mention that all of the main characters are possessed by a yokai (or are a throwback to one or the like) and can channel them to use their power.

Without a plot, things are definitely slow moving. Individual episodes set up minor challenges (such as Ririchiyo trying to invite Miketsukami to have coffee with her) but these don’t amount to much more than amusing or thought provoking vignettes and while we learn more about the characters through them, they aren’t exactly creating a sense of urgency.

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For me to like an anime with so little direct plot is kind of odd but I credit my overall enjoyment to the characters themselves (cliché archetypes though they might be).

Ririchiyo is a character I identify well with. She knows that she says really harsh things to others or that she comes across as harsh but she doesn’t know how to stop herself and so she makes the decision to close herself off. However, that isn’t a way one can get any better at interactions. Throughout the series she takes some major steps toward being able to interact with others, though she still hesitates and dithers. Probably the moment that annoyed me the most about her was when she first started having feelings for Miketsukami and thought that her heart racing was caused by arrhythmia. For someone so smart that was really, really dumb. I do however like her awkward overtures of friendship to the others who live in the complex and her occasionally awkward exclamations when she makes a breakthrough in her quest for self-awareness.

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Miketsukami on the other hand is an odd character. I like him as a character because he has a tragic past (which is explored well in the second half of the series), his motivation is always crystal clear and it makes sense, and all of his actions can in some way be linked to that motivation. That said, if he were a person, he would be way too creepy. His overtly clingy nature and stalker like tendencies (did you not see that wall of photos in his room) make the relationship between Ririchiyo and Miketsukami a little less than sweet. His interactions with Ririchiyo are entertaining and at times touching and I particularly like the ending where they finally realise they both suck at communicating and that they pretty much need to start over. He’s also pretty awesome in his yokai form.

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Now if you are after a cute relationship, Watanuki and Karuta just might do it for you. Karuta seems like a complete air-head obsessed with food but as Watanuki points out, she just sees the world differently. Time and again we see evidence that Karuta is actually very aware of what is going on and she deals with it in her own unique fashion. Watanuki on the other hand is a self-declared delinquent and initially is really irritating but once he calms down a little he becomes quite the sweet boy in love. These two characters are adorable to watch and their friendship/romance develops in the background as this show progresses.

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There are plenty of other characters bouncing around but my least favourite would be Kagerou, Ririchiyo’s supposed fiance. Every scene he is in he is being obnoxious. His presence does lend some needed tension and he does push some emotionally buttons that need to be hit to get any kind of plot progression but he is a really unlikable character and his departures are always greatly appreciated (and not just by the characters in the show).

Other than the characters, the other thing I found quite enjoyable was the closing credits. Each character essentially got their own song throughout the season and these added quite a bit to our knowledge of the characters and consolidated their general view of the world. Karuta’s is especially amusing and even Kagerou’s is very fitting for his character. I also really enjoy the opening theme and feel it kind of captures the feeling of the anime.

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So, not a perfect anime but, as I said at the start, if you like the characters and aren’t put off by them, you will probably find this an enjoyable watch. Thinking about it, it’s probably the fact that it’s basically a romance with a vaguely supernatural air that ultimately sold it to me, even if the romance is a little bit creepy.

As a bonus, if you would like to see a Twilight trailer parody featuring the cast of Inu X Boku, I found this shared by Nicole Parker. I found it amusing.

Tuesday’s Top 5: Powers With Practical Application

I know that these powers aren’t going to be the flashiest, but I’m listing powers that would be immediately convenient and practical in the everyday life of someone. So not a power to save the world or fight the bad guy. Powers that just make everyday life that little bit simpler and easy to deal with.

What powers would you have added?

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions this week go to computer hacking (Captain Earth – and I know it’s not really a power but she does claim to be a magical girl) and a shout out to Orihime in Bleach because her power is pretty handy even if they keep changing their minds about what her power actually is.

Number 5:  Silencer (Hitsugi no Chaika)

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I’m going to be honest. This power isn’t so much one with a practical application as one that would just make life easier to deal with. No more noise because we are going to silence it. In the anime they use this power to cover the sound of smashing through jail bars, but just think how useful it would be during meetings and boring lunch dates.

Number 4: Luna PenTransformation (Sailor Moon)

something unexpected came up? No problem. Whip out your luna pen and transform into whatever you need to be to deal with the current situation. I always felt Serena under-utilised the abilities of this pen given how useful it could have been in certain situations. She does use it to sneak into invite only parties and to give herself a boost of courage when infiltrating a school or a bus, but really. There are so many more moments when a quick transformation would have helped. But even those moments when you just wore the wrong shoes could be overcome in an instant.

Number 3: Speed Reading (Fairy Tail)

Maybe this one is just a personal preference. But I read a lot in my job (and for pleasure) and I read very quickly, and even then I still feel that if I could just read faster and take information in quicker I could enjoy more stories and I could get more work done. Levy (and Lucy) use special glasses to help them read faster and I just felt so incredibly envious of them.

Number 2: All Seeing (Inu X Boku)

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Okay, this one could probably end up being used for creepy purposes but I thought it was kind of cool. Zange claims to be able to see everything about everyone, but it seems like his power is a little more limited than that. Still, his insight into others and his seeming ability to figure out where and when things will happen and to manipulate events to make things happen is pretty impressive and would be highly useful in everyday life. Although, if everyone had this ability I assume that each person’s vision would cancel out the others so we’d probably end up no further along than we are now.

Number 1: Teleportation (A Certain Scientific Railgun)

This was the obvious choice. As annoying as Shirai is as a character, her power is incredibly amazing and has so many practical applications. She teleports herself and objects through space (though she is limited by weight and distance). Still, how amazing would that be and how many ways could you use that in a single day. Although, if we are concerned about the growing obesity epidemic than maybe it isn’t the greatest idea to give us a means to completely avoid moving within short distances. I still think it would one of the coolest powers and one that I could see a use for every day.

What do you think of the list? And what power would you have added? Let me know in the comments below.