Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Bookworms

As an avid bookworm myself I definitely appreciate seeing characters who read, who talk about books, and who generally respect stories and it is no surprise that some of my favourite characters ever are bookworms (though there are plenty of book reading characters who are neither here nor there really). Today I’m counting down my top 5 anime bookworms and why I enjoy them so much (though those who have been following the blog for awhile will already know who number one is sure to be).

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention: Sunako from Shiki and Makashima from Psycho Pass. Okay, I seriously want to add Makashima onto the list and I just can’t fit him so here’s a picture anyway.

Number 5: Jibril (No Game No Life)

jibril.png

Jibril loves knowledge. As a member of the Flugel race she craves it and after defeating the King of Imanity in a game she claimed the library as her own. There’s something really special about a character who is powerful enough to have more or less anything and she picks the library and while her reaction to a tablet full of books from a world she didn’t know may have been a bit over the top, you have to appreciate the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.

Number 4: Kaneki Ken (Tokyo Ghoul)

Kaneki.jpg

While I haven’t much liked much of Tokyo Ghoul since season one, it is undeniable that I quite liked Kaneki’s character way back when. The shy book loving boy who just wanted the pretty girl to notice him and discuss books with him was adorable and the tragedy that befell him suitably heart wrenching. If only they’d continued to evolve his character sensibly from that point I probably would still love Kaneki as a character. Still, any guy who thinks of a bookshop for a date is definitely going to get a spot on my list.

Number 3: Nagato Yuki (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)

Nagato.jpg

The only member of the literature club who then is forcibly joined into the SOS brigade, Nagato is very seldom seen without a book. She even passes message to Kyon about meeting by lending him a book (a failed strategy when he at first just forgets to read the book and it isn’t until the second night he gets the message). Still, she’s persistent. It is hard to figure out whether Nagato actually enjoys reading or whether it is just a habit, but she’s one bookworm you do not want to mess with, or apparently try to verse at any kind of computer strategy game.

Number 2: Chito (Girls’ Last Tour)

GLT11a

Chito’s genuine joy and love at finding a book and her genuine horror at Yuu’s callous destruction of a book, is something that really drew me to her character during Girls’ Last Tour’s run. There’s a lot to like about the quieter and more contemplative of the pair, and I definitely think that anyone who wants to save books even at the end of the world deserves to be mentioned on this list with love.

Number 1: Maka Albarn (Soul Eater)

Maka1

In fairness, I think Maka loves studying more than she actually likes books, and yet she’s a badass character who takes time to read, to learn, and to genuinely bury herself in words. Although, she isn’t above using a book as a weapon of mass destruction should the person near her annoy her enough. Honestly though, Maka and books are more or less inseparable in my mind and they are a part of what made her character so incredibly relatable and memorable to me all those years ago. I love Maka as a character and she well and truly deserves the number one spot on this list.

Maka Chop

So I’m dying to know who your favourite anime bookworm is. Be sure to let me know in the comments.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

Tuesday’s Top 5: Appearances of Cherry Blossoms in Anime

We are finally done reflecting on the anime of 2017 and now it is time to get into some new lists. To start us off, I am look at my 5 favourite uses of cherry blossoms in anime. These flowers are just adorable and are incredibly prolific so I am absolutely certain that you all have your own favourite scene from an anime so please feel free to share in the comments below. While I started off the list with some fairly standard pretty flowers, I think the ones that stick are a little out of the ordinary.

As an added note, for those that don’t know, the Cherry Blossom symbolises how fragile and yet beautiful life is (that’s an oversimplification but you get the point). It is a fantastic flower to show transitions in one’s life which is probably why so many anime start with them.

Please Note – Some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to every high school anime ever that starts with the main character walking under cherry blossoms to get to school.

Number 5: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card

Cardcaptor1b

I’d be lying if I didn’t point out that this was the moment I thought of writing this list. I probably could have picked some scenes out of the original Cardcaptor just as easily, but this scene of Sakura on her way to school was gorgeous. It perfectly captured the feel of the old Cardcaptor while showing us just how visually impressive this new series was going to be.

Number 4: Your Lie In April

Your Lie In April.png

No surprise at all given the symbolic meaning and the season that cherry blossoms feature heavily early on in this show. While it doesn’t have the same magical quality as the scene in Cardcaptor, these scenes are absolutely perfect in setting up the relationship between the two main characters and the inevitable ending in Your Lie in April. It might not be subtle symbolism, but is is affective.

Number 3: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Haruhi - director.jpg

What to do when you want to film and it isn’t the season for cherry blossoms? Just hope your director is also a god and you’ll be just fine. While the SOS brigade are shooting their movie, in addition to causing one of the group to shoot a lazer from her eye, creating white pigeons and a talking cat, Haruhi causes the cherry blossoms to bloom out of season. It is a bizarre series of events that are all undone when Kyon gets her to declare that the film is a work of fiction but it was an interesting use of cherry blossoms.

Number 2: Nurarihyon no Mago

Nurarihyon features one cherry blossom tree very prominently in the Nura Clan’s family compound. It gets used a lot throughout the series’ run time but we’ll see it often as Riko stares at it in his human form when he is thinking and when he is in his yokai form he sits on one of the branches in the tree looking down. Nura’s grandfather is also regularly seen near the tree. Additionally, there’s also a ‘secret’ technique used by the family that includes using saki and a sakura petal and ends with all the enemies incinerated.

Number 1: Bleach

Byakuya.gif

I came to the conclusion fairly early on that there is really no way to show just how impressive Byakuya’s bankai really is so if you have never watched Bleach you really should just for this attack. The first time we see it is when Ichigo pretty much goads Byakuya into releasing his bankai  and after the usual condescending remarks Byakuya literally lets go of his sword and in its place, after a very impressive entrance, we have thousands of blades scattered that Byakuya controls (and yes, they look just like cherry blossoms). What makes this technique particularly brilliant, other than looking gorgeous, is that it can be used for attack and defense and when he uses his hands he can increase the speed of the blades. Basically, anyone besides the protagonist is going down fast once Byakuya brings out this move.

Time for you to share your favourite appearance of cherry blossoms in an anime.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

 

Tuesday’s Top 5: Uses of Dream Sequences in Anime

Previously I looked at the best uses of phones in anime and this week I’ve decided to turn my attention to dream sequences. My criteria wasn’t that these were the best dreams but the best use of a dream sequence to serve either the character development or the plot. This is strictly my opinion so as always, I’d love to know what would be on your list.

Please Note – There are spoilers below.

Honourable mentions to Ouran High School Host Club and Card Captor Sakura.

Number 5: Madoka Magica

Madoka.jpg

Madoka Magica uses dreams in a similar fashion to a lot of magical girl stories. Our main protagonist starts by having a dream of fantastical and terrible events before waking in the mundane real world where she is decidely ordinary. However, what sets this particular story apart is the nature of the dream itself. Madoka is seeing alternate realities where she has lived through the events to their conclusion before Homura has rewound time start over to try to change the outcome. This makes the events of the dream fairly significant to understanding the eventual outcome of the story and gives it a bit more weight on rewatching than just a cool battle sequence to start events off.

Number 4: Another

Mei3

This one is as straight forward as it comes and yet very affective. Kouichi has started to get to know Mei and as a result has been ostracised by his friends (okay is being deliberately and entirely ignored). It makes sense that he is starting to have fantasies and dreams about the one person who is talking to him still. However, other than showing that the two are forging a bond, this dream sequence also gives the audience a space to take a breath. Another is continuously hitting its audience with a dark and gloomy atmosphere with each scene dripping in over the top seriousness, so this brief moment of respite, even though it is a dream, is welcome and also the calm before the horror that follows. All and all, it works well within the narrative.

Number 3: One Punch Man

OnePunch.gif

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest fan of One Punch Man but I did appreciate what they did in the dream sequence where we see Saitama energised and enthused in a way we rarely see him reality. What does a man who can defeat everything in One Punch actually want? Clearly, he wants a decent fight. Seeing his character quite literally come to life in the dream made the contrast with his everyday incredibly flat emotional state so incredibly clear and just made him a much better character because you could see he wasn’t bored and disinterested by choice. He genuinely wanted to feel alive. There just wasn’t anything left to challenge him.

Number 2: Sailor Moon

Moon Kingdom.jpg

Like Madoka, Sailor Moon also begins with a dream sequence where Serena dreams of the destruction of the Moon Kingdom as well as the guy she thinks she’s going to fall in love with. However, revealing their past lives isn’t the only thing dreams are used for throughout Sailor Moon. Villains attack characters through their dreams, the dead communicate with the living, future selves send dire warnings, and prophecies for the future all come through dreams. Then again, the entire show is about protecting the dreams of people so it makes sense that the idea of dreams is returned to again and again. Overall, remove the dreams from Sailor Moon and you wouldn’t have much of a show left.

Number 1: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

haruhi3

The climax of season 1 (broadcast order) sees Kyon and Haruhi stuck in a closed space she created where the two characters get to spend some quality time together and may or may not reveal some fairly interesting points about their developing relationship. However, what I like about the sequence is that after it is over Kyon wakes up from a dream but the next day at school Haruhi has her hair up in a pony tail (a direct reference to something Kyon had said in the ‘dream’). They never actually confirm whether this is a dream or an actual alternate reality that was created and nothing more actually needs to be said. Whether it was a dream or a reality, the impact on the characters has been clearly established without further explanations. Also, when you place this story in the appropriate place from a chronological point of view it makes Kyon’s actions and acceptance of some of Haruhi’s worse moments a bit more believable even if the guy is still a little bit of a doormat who really needs to tell her to stop a lot sooner.

So that is my list of top 5 uses of dream sequences. I’d love to know your favourite anime dream sequences so be sure to leave me a comment below.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Tuesday’s Top 5: Slice of Life Anime

Slice of Life isn’t exactly my favourite genre when it comes to anime. I find a lot of these stories fairly lacking in direction, slow paced, and just a little bit dull and yet every now and then I come across one that for some reason takes my fancy and then it becomes one of my favourite shows to binge on a sleepy afternoon. Now, when I started thinking about my top 5 favourite slice of life stories, I realised that over the years I’ve actually watched quite a few of these (and that isn’t counting the ones currently airing that I’m become quite attached to). To help narrow things down I kind of excluded those that are more romantic than slice of life or have a greater sense of direction with the plot. Unfortunately that took Natsume Yuujinchou out of the list but I’ll leave that as an hounourable mention.

As always, I’d love to know what would be on your list.

Please Note – There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mentions to Natsume Yuujinchou, ReLIFE and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun.

Number 5: Poco’s Udon World

No one is more surprised than me by how much I ended up enjoying this story. It is mostly directionless about a guy returning home after the death of his father and finding a kid in a pot when he goes to clean the house. Of course the kid is actually a tanuki but they end up having a father and child relationship while he tries to figure out what to do with his life.  It’s all very cute but never too cute and even though we’re really just watching their day to day there’s enough going on as they learn to live together and as they try to keep Poco’s secret that you never really get too bored. Not really sure about the Udon part of the title given while the place used to be an Udon shop that’s really a very minor point in this story.

Number 4: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

I know, a lot of people wouldn’t class this as a slice of life, but really while it crosses into about ten genres essentially we are watching a group of high school kids go about their day to day lives. Their day to day lives are made somewhat more exciting by an array of weirdness summoned usually unintentionally by Haruhi, but that’s really all there is at the end of the day. They film a movie, wander about the town, meet in the club room, get challenged to play a computer game, do part time jobs, and all manner of fairly meaningless activity as life kind of marches on around them. Admittedly, this one definitely has a more fantasy and science fiction feeling which is why it is so low on the list despite this being one of my favourite anime.

Number 3: Acchi Kocchi

Another anime I really love but don’t really know why. At some point I should actually get around to reviewing this one given how many times characters from it end up on one of these lists. Another group of five friends (and occasionally extra classmates) doing not much. This one is definitely more comedy focused though with each episode usually split into two parts where the kids get up to something and then we get a punch line and move on. They make chocolate for Valentine’s Day, have a snowball fight, an extreme game of tag, sell cakes, and pretty much just go about their days while the audience watches on hopefully amused. This is one I enjoy because it is high energy but ultimately pretty pointless so you don’t really need to take anything too seriously. Something that becomes fairly immediately apparent once you listen to the opening theme.

Number 2: My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu

This one almost got ruled out because it does have a potential romance in it, but given the nature of the main character it never really goes anywhere. I really enjoy this story mostly because of the snarky nature of Hachiman and as the main narrator of the story he is pretty fantastic. It keeps what should be relatively dull viewing pretty entertaining. Again we have high school students going to school, meeting in a club room, spending a lot of time reading and drinking tea, occasionally getting involved to plan a festival or something, and yet this story always manages to feel like it is progressing towards something even if it doesn’t quite get there. It ends up being a highly entertaining watch provided you don’t mind a heavy dose of social commentary with your slice of life.

Number 1: March Comes in Like a Lion

For all that March Comes in Like a Lion is taking a fairly serious look at depression and social anxiety, at the end of the day this story really just follows the characters as they go through the motions of living. There’s no villain to overcome or boss waiting with an end game. There’s no real sense that we’re heading toward anything. The only real sense of movement you get in this story is how Rei is progressing as a character as he tries to interact with the world. For all that the pace is at times extremely slow this story manages to find ways to keep you interested. The visuals are fantastic as are some of the metaphors constructed to show us the characters’ emotional states. There’s also some generally good choices with music, symbolism, and timing of dialogue. It all just comes together in a way that makes viewing immensely satisfying. The first season was fantastic and while the second season has only just started it doesn’t seem to have lost any of the feeling of the first. We’ll see whether it holds up by season’s end though.

So that is my list of Top 5 slice of life anime. I’d love to know what is on yours. I’m betting someone is going to say Flying Witch.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Tuesday’s Top 5: Boring Title Characters

My lists are always entirely my opinion and highly subjective (which is why I’m always happy for people to comment on who they would have added to the list). This week is no exception as I look at anime that are named after a character who then turns out to be the least interesting thing about the show (in my opinion at least). As always, feel free to add your own views in the comments.

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

Honourable mention this week goes to Astarotte from Astarotte no Omocha.

Number 5: Akame (Akame Ga Kill)

akame2

Other than the fact that she survives until the end, why is the show named after her? Okay, first episode she pulls a very cool and scary assassination entrance and looks completely amazing and then… well then we watch her hunt for food, wring her hands over her friends and generally not ever change her facial expression. Even when Akame is dealing with her sister being part of the team hunting them down she barely bats an eye and while stoic can be a good character trait Akame doesn’t have anything to really make her interesting. You can count the things we learn about her as a person (not things she’s done but what she’s actually like) on one hand and in honesty if they’d killed Akame off I wouldn’t have cared in the slightest.

Number 4: Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)

Haruhi.jpg

Haruhi suffers from an excess of personality but she’s still actually kind of boring. The characters around her are fascinating and the set up of the show is interesting, but Haruhi is just a bully who nobody ever slaps sense into. Frantically running from one thing to the next, Haruhi is bored with her own existence because she has nothing inside of her that defines her. She seeks external events to find a reason to exist and as such is always empty and that pretty much sums up who and what Haruhi is and its the driving force behind everything that happens in the show. So, Haruhi is an excellent plot point and as the force that gets Kyon moving and actually paying attention to anything (given he’s the narrator and kind of needs to pay attention) Haruhi works. As a character, she’s still number 4 on my list of most boring title characters.

Number 3: Nozaki (Gekkan Shojo Nozaki Kun)

Nozaki.png

I know I’ve said this on other people’s posts but my least favourite character in this comedy is Nozaki. He’s just so bland. And I know it is deliberate. He’s the observer of human nature. He internalizes things for use in his writing. But it means that everyone around him is vibrant and dynamic and he’s just this stagnant rock around which events revolve.

Number 2: Aria (Aria the Scarlet Ammo)

aria.jpg

Aria, how I wish you had a personality above and beyond the cliché angry girl with trust issues. I actually really liked the concept of the world crafted in this anime and some of the side characters are quite entertaining (if you can deal with fan service and violence), but mostly I just disliked Aria and kept wanting her to stop snarling and shrieking and insisting on having everything her way and then acting like it didn’t matter one bit to her. She was an irritating character and one we’ve seen before.

Number 1: Tatsuya Shiba (The Irregular at Magic High School)

Tatsuya Shiba.png

Here I’m cheating a bit because his name isn’t actually in the title but he is the irregular so I’m going with this. And while I actually really like Tatsuya and the anime, I couldn’t honestly say that he isn’t boring. Why? Because Tatsuya defines overpowered protagonist. Normally I don’t mind overpowered characters and as I said, I quite liked Tatsuya, but there is never even vague tension in this show because you know that Tatsuya will solve the problem. Even more so once you realise he can effectively undo life-threatening damage to himself or others (at a cost but not enough of a cost that it puts him out of commission or allows his enemies any chance to win). So other than taking tests for the school, Tatsuya is pretty much perfect at everything and while that makes him awesome it also makes him boring and that is why he took out the number one spot.

I will point out that when it comes to Tatsuya I’m a little bit up and down. One minute I think he’s incredibly dull the next I think he’s the most amazing person ever. Objectively I know he’s boring. Emotionally I can’t get enough of watching him in action.

That’s my list done. Who would you have put on yours?