Friday’s Feature: The Value Of Rewatches

I’m no stranger to rewatching shows. Even when I was a little kid, I would play VHS’s literally to death. I’d watch my favourite shows and movies time after time, getting to the end of the video and instantly hitting rewind and beginning all over again. Once DVD’s became a thing there were many titles banned from being played in the house usually when I could identify the film from the five seconds of sound. I will admit I’ve watched some films to death to the point where even I won’t watch them anymore and I’ve done the same with more than a handful of books where I start reading them and realise I can literally recall the entire story in vivid detail to the point where I’m not even paying attention to the words anymore.

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This is in stark contrast to some other people I know. A certain relative of mine used to be a great source of novels, mostly because he would read science fiction but he only ever read a book once. Then he would give the book away and knowing I loved to read I received quite a number of these books to add to my own collection. When I asked him if he would want the book back he asked me, “Whatever for?” He genuinely could not understand the point of reading something a second time, let alone a third, tenth or fiftieth time. Whereas for me, the point of trying something new is to see whether it belongs in the permanent collection or not and my greatest lament is that I don’t have enough time to bask in the books, movies and anime that comprise my ongoing collection and explore new media, and actually live a life that involves real human interactions and work.

That said, if you were to ask me what I get from a rewatch or reread my answer would vary depending on what I had recently returned to. It seems to come down to a few basic things.

01. The Rewatch To Understand

Darker Than Black

In the case of something like the original Steins;Gate, Darker than Black, or Evangelion, the rewatch is usually needed to try to get the plot clear in my mind. While I didn’t not get it the first time (way too many negatives there), it is more that a lot of the enjoyment isn’t there the first time because you are spending so much time reasoning and puzzling rather than actually absorbing. It also means you miss substantial amounts of character work, visuals, music, etc because the plot is all encompassing. Repeated rewatches, taking a break and coming back to it, watching in chunks or binge watching, all bring something new out of the experience. Even after the plot is clear, there’s so many other questions and aspects that you can turn your attention to that it never feels like the anime has gotten old.

02. The Rewatch To Relax

Akagami no Shirayuki

There’s a great feeling that comes from crashing into the couch cushions and hitting play on a DVD that I’ve seen a thousand times before. One that I know won’t tax my brain, isn’t going to ask more of me than I can give, and at the time has the exact tone I am looking for. You can’t get this from a series you’ve never seen as you never know what to fully expect and part of your brain stays on alert. Whereas, I know exactly what I’m in for when I press play on Snow White with the Red Hair, Ouran High School Host Club, or even Inu x Boku SS which are all some of my favourite binge and sleep anime that I put on when I just want to crash out.

03. The Rewatch To Share

Yuri on Ice Episode 4

Of course when you come across a great title you want to share. you want someone else to watch it with and to laugh and cry and discuss each moment with it. One of the best things that happened the first time I watched Yuri on Ice was that just after it finished airing I visited a friend and told her she needed to see it. Two days later we’d finished a binge watch of the series and the two of us where happily humming history maker in her kitchen together. There’s something about watching a show with someone else that really elevates the enjoyment of it, plus you have someone to talk about it with once it is done so this is perhaps the most satisfying of all rewatches.

And then we have the new one.

04. The Rewatch to Analyse

Yuri on Ice Episode 6

I’ve never really done this before, but recently I started yet another Yuri on Ice rewatch with the express purpose of reviewing each episode in far more detail than I had before. It’s a new style of watching I’ve never tried and I’m loving it. Admittedly, a lot of the enjoyment is coming from the subject matter, but it is making me want to give other much loved shows a similar treatment. What I have noticed is that it is taking a very long time to get through a single episode and it isn’t a single watch of the episode I am doing. The other thing that makes this different from any other rewatch is I am only watching a single episode at a time. This viewing is not being binged.

While I do get that some people are happy enough to watch something once and move on, I am as well for shows that are enjoyable enough but don’t grab me. However, the whole point for me is finding those shows and stories that I will never get tired of and want to watch and read again and again.

What is your stance on rewatching anime?


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Karandi James

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Another Harem? For Me?

Ya Boy Jack over on the Aniwriter nominated me for this quite awhile ago and I’ve been meaning to respond but just never quite got there. In case you wanted to see my original harem, check out the post here.

Like last time I’m slightly modifying the tag. Instead of different types, I’ve decided this time to go with an all yokai harem just because.

The Rules:

1. Link back to the original post on Anime Q and A so they can check out everyone’s picks!

2. Use the ‘Build A Harem’ logo somewhere in the post.

3. Make sure to mention the person who nominated you too!

4. Pick 5 Anime Characters (any show & any gender) that would be in your ideal harem if you were the main character of a harem anime, explain a little bit as to why they are your picks (if you want).

5. Make sure each character you pick falls into some of the following harem character types: Childhood friend, tom boy/girl, genki girl/boy, loli/shota, trap, tsundere, yandere, kuudere, dandere, etc. (If there’s a character you’ve picked that doesn’t specifically fall into one of these types or falls into multiple types that’s fine too!)

6. Nominate 5 people to participate in this tag!


Who is in Karandi’s harem?

01. Nidaime (The Eccentric Family 2)

You have to admit, for a tengu, he has style. Also arrogance and a tendency to look down on others. As well as a slightly explosive temper when pushed too far. Still, Nidaime was a large part of the reason I really loved season 2 of The Eccentric Family as his was a character I just had so much fum watching. Now, as to him being in my harem I’m pretty sure I know what he would say to such a suggestion.

02. Byakuya (Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi)

I know Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi isn’t finished and it is also decidedly average as an anime, but I really like Byakuya as a character. The one who keeps the accounts in order he comes across as harsh, but it is hard not to love a guy who feeds the adorable fox spirits. Not to mention, he’s far more level headed and focused than a lot of the cast so he brings an element of sense to things even if his words are harsh. Wish he was on screen more often. I’m thinking Byakuya can keep the rest of the harem in check for me.

03. Kubinashi (Nurarihyon no Mago)

For a yokai who usually seems pretty laid back and aloof, Kubinashi has a pretty dark past and is prone to rage and losing himself. That said, when he flips the switch he becomes pretty unstoppable. However even his normal self remains relatively detached. Though he is part of the Nura clan and one of several yokai who regular guard Rikuo, Kubinashi only really has ties with a handful of the clan members and barely tolerates the others. As such, I see Kubinashi being the guy in the harem who just drops by every now and then when I was alone and otherwise wouldn’t be seen. The few times he interacts with the other members of the harem would usually be tense, and I’m betting no one else likes him at all.

04. Soushi Miketsukami (Inu X Boku SS)

Every harem needs a stalker like character in it. Miketsukami is the mostly harmless kind (mostly) who will simply collect a million pictures of you as well as save and preserve any text or note you send his way. Also, his child form is totally adorable. That said, his over protective nature would probably drive me crazy fairly soon, but he makes a great cup of tea and given he’s incredibly socially awkward I think we’d get along. Then again, I can also see him getting into some conflict with anyone else who was a part of the harem.

05. Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss)

Okay, I might have a thing for foxes (or at least good looking guys with ears), but Tomoe was someone I kind of developed a crush on from the minute I met him. Hot tempered, he hates humans, and he’s stubborn, but he does his work with care and pride and he’s really powerful. That and, those he does consider worth his time he’s incredibly considerate of. Besides, I always felt bad for Tomoe being abandoned at the shrine for so long by himself, so it kind of makes sense he doesn’t exactly welcome Nanami with open arms. I do think throwing Tomoe into my harem though is going to be a fairly explosive addition and I’m just waiting to see what happens when Tomoe and Miketsukami go toe to toe with who can be more stubborn about anything.


Nominations:

I am pretty sure everyone has done this tag already but here we go:

And anyone else who hasn’t been tagged who would like to have a go.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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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

SAO - Uniforms.jpg

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

My Hero Academia - Uniforms.jpg

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

Code Geass - Uniforms.jpg

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

Vampire Knight - Uniforms.jpg

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

Inu x Boku - Uniform.jpg

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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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)

Hikaru.gif

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)

Natsu.jpg

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

Aokuchinashi.jpg

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

Jormungand2

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

Kagerou.gif

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

Miyo.jpg

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

Akito.jpg

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.