General Musings on Anime


For my 10th entry in my “12 moments in anime 2009” I’m choosing the philandering ways of Touya from the White Album series.

 

       In the harem themed anime of the past such as Ranma ½ and Tenchi Muyo the guy at the center of the harem had many redeeming qualities that would lead the girls surrounding him to want his DNA. The harem leads from the past weren’t pathic punching bags for all the tsundere chicks in his harem like Keitaro was from Love Hina, and I could no more picture either Tenchi or Ranma getting slapped around by all the women in their lives as I could ever picture myself putting up with any of my former girlfriends/lovers slapping me around to show me that they love me.

 

      So, what the hell happened to the harem genre and their males leads over the intervening years? Well, my personal theory is that in the past, anime in general was targeted and viewed by a larger general audience, and those shows made back their production costs, and then some, by being popular enough to actually make money off of commercial advertising. So, as television audiences and anime audience’s numbers began to slip the production companies had to reley on sales of VHS tapes and later DVD sales to make a profit. 

      This situation led to these types of anime being targeted towards the hardcore buyers of DVDs and away from trying to attract a large diverse audience. So, where we once had male leads of harem type anime where female viewers liked them and male viewers looked up to and aspired to be like them we’re now left with male leads who are avatars for lonely/sexually impotent male viewers who spend more money on anime then getting laid.

 

        Even in a harem anime such as Bakemonogatari where the male lead, Koyomi, is a pretty tough hard core guy and surrounded by attractive females who are available, he’s sexually impotent. Koyomi gropes Mayoi and both enjoys himself and loathes himself for the act but can go no further, he leers at Nadeko who’s attracted to him and available but does nothing, and even when he finally gets Hitagi as a girlfriend he practically had to get dragged kicking and screaming to their first date, she did all the work. Then we have other harem type anime such as Kiss X Sis, Kanokon, and Kiss on my Deity where the male leads practically have pussy shoved in their faces everyday and they’re so pitiful and impotent it’s no wonder why Japan has a negative/zero population growth problem judging by how these males react to women.

Loser #1

Loser #2

Loser #3

 

       So, all this ranting brings be to Touya from White Album, the hero of this post. While Touya may be many negative things such as; a very bad boyfriend to Yuki, a man-whore, a liar, an unreliable person, and a piece of shit, he’s certainly not impotent. When Touya gets that loving feeling he’s not contented with a little panty shot, he wants what’s underneath that thin piece of cotton, and he knows where his sausage belongs. Out of the six main girls in Touya’s harem he’s filled the love canal of three of the six girls (Yayoi, Misaki, and Haruka), and made out with two of the remaining three (Rina and Yuki).

Hit Yayoi many times.

Hit Misaki and left it.

Hit Haruka and left it.

Kissed Rina and wanted to hit it.

Yuki, the girlfriend, kissed her and been trying to hit it the whole series.

       So, in the spirit of the awards season Touya wins the erect penis award for knowing how a man should react to readily available lonely women. Yes, Touya’s shining example should be a guiding light to all males involved in harem situations: Yes, Keitaro you should have slammed every chick before settling on Nauru; Yes, Keita you should bang both Riko and Ako before picking one; Yes, Kouta you should have deflower both Chizuru and Nozomu; Yes, Yuuri you should really taste Mashiro and all the other girls around you; and Yes, Koyomi you should have acted first by picking a girl and doing something; you’re all losers compared to Touya.

All male harem leads please read the following advice.

         For my second post in the “12 moments in anime 2009” series I’m not so much picking out a moment, but choosing a characterization that I think is spot on. So, I’m choosing Mirai’s expression of teen angst and alienation from episode one of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.  

         Watching Mirai go through her full range of emotions in episode one of TM 8.0 brought back memories, and not all of them good, from that same period in my life. In TM 8.0, Mirai is a middle school student in the 13-14 year old age range, she’s in that terrible transitional period when you’re no longer a kid but not really considered to be walking the path towards young adulthood either.  I remember how this period of life sucked because when I fell back in kid mode I realised how adults looked down on us, but when I tried to act more mature that really didn’t work either.

         So, I could really understand Mirai’s frustration and anger when she asks herself “why does everything make me so angry?”. In hindsight, I realise my frustration and Mirai’s frustration was not caused because the world was out to get us, but because we didn’t understand ourselves and our roles in the world.

        I know that everyone can relate to how Mirai’s frustration grew to the point where she wished the would break. I know that more than once in my younger days I had shouted in frustration and anger at my brother or my sister, and even at my parents that I hated them, or I wished I had another family. The only difference between my outbursts and Mirai’s wish that the world would break is that I always had time to cool down and make things “right” where Mirai’s world really did break, and now she has to live with those thoughts for the rest of her life. 

Today is like every other day that came before. Boring, unchanging, the same as every other, except, today you glance skyward.

You have to look once, twice, three times, are your eyes lying to you.

No, your eyes aren’t lying to you, it’s a girl you see falling from the sky.

Now, comes the most important decision of your young life, stand there like you’ve done on every other day of your boring existence and let life pass you by, or reach out for change, the future, the unknown. You decide to reach out.

As she’s almost in your arms, you wonder is it a girl, or an angel, or both, or something else?

As she settles in your arms, you’re amazed at how light this beautiful creature is. Is she a girl, or is she a fallen angel? Who knows.

As you slowly pull this fallen angel towards you, you can hear the slow intake of her breath, and feel the warm pulse of life flowing through her body, hold on tight because your life will never be the same again!

      When I got home from work today, I checked in on some of my favorite anime blogs, and I got the best laugh I’ve had in the last week or so watching a Meme being born. This Meme saw its birth occur in 21stcenturydigitalboy’s anime blog inside the comment section of this post courtesy of Ghostlightning, the owner of the anime blog, We Remember Love.  When I first read the whole comment section I laughed so hard I almost spit soda all over my notebook. So, if you need a good laugh, check it out.

This one’s for you Digitalboy, and Ghostlightning. You must click on image to view at full size.

Really get into the bones of it Motivator

the Bakemonogatari Harem

      About every year or so, a harem type anime series , or at least a anime series that is loaded with girls comes along that makes me wish that I was about the main character’s age and had my choice of those girls. Examples of anime from the past where I would have wanted to have my choice of the girls are; Love Hina, Kanon, Clannad, KimiKiss, Ai Yori Aoshi, Shuffle, Azumanga Daioh, Da Capo, Lucky Star, and now my newest favorite Bakemonogatari.

      I think that the reason why I like these kind of series is that in my younger days, me and my friends were kind of like those harem leads; a little clueless and confused about the fairer sex. But, unlike those Japanese male harem leads we were horny dogs, and any fairly nice looking girl was a target of opportunity, almost nothing was off limits. I think that this phase lasted up until about age 20 when I finally realized that was more to an relationship than getting a girl to jump in the sack with me. But, these harem type anime make me long of those good old days, and what makes these series interesting is that the girls are ready for the taking if the lead would just get off his ass and go for it.

     So, this brings me to Bakemonogatari, I find the cast of girls surrounding Koyomi to be quite an interesting bunch and tasty bunch. Now, I’ll go down and describe each girls in detail, and at the end, I’ll make my choice.

The girls of Bakemonogatari.

Karen and Tsukihi Araragi

Karen and Tsukihi Araragi (Koyami’s younger sisters)

Pluses: Well, they’re both young and cute, and they live in the same house as you making them highly available.

Minuses: If you even consider them you must be crazy, they’re your sisters for god sakes.

Conclusion: While his sisters are really cute, they’re totally off limits for you. I think that the best thing to happen would be if Koyomi had some males friends that found his sisters attractive then maybe they’d stop riding his ass if they got a little loving.

Senjougahara Hitagi

Hitagi Senjōgahara (the star of the fascination movement)

Pluses: She’s very attractive, and she one of the very few tsundere girls to even admit to having that trait, she’s straight forward, and hell, she’s even undressed in front of you. She’s told you that she loves you, and she’s agreed to be your GF.

Minuses: I don’t know, but something just bothers me about her, while I find her an extremely interesting girl, she still has major issues.

Conclusion: While I wouldn’t mind hitting that, I’d always have to keep one eye open in case she snaps.

Nadeko Sengohu

Nadeko Sengoku (friend of your sisters)

Pluses: Nadeko is young and cute, you see her quite often because she’s your younger sisters’ friend, and she’s clearly crushing on you.

Minuses: Nadeko is about three or four years younger than you, and she’s a friend of your younger sisters. If you dated Nadeko you would be accused of robbing the cradle, and your sisters might think that you’re an asshole.

Conclusion: Nadeko is clearly attracted to you, and you’ve know her for a longtime, so this could be a high risk/reward relationship.

Hanekawa Tsubasa

Tsubasa Hanekawa (Koyomi’s long time friend)

Pluses: Tsubasa is very attractive,  intelligent, quiet and thoughtful, and she’s your long time friend. You also know that Tsubasa struggles with her inner nature to be a completely good girl, and that deep down inside she wants to be a little wild.

Minuses: Tsubasa has a terrible family life, and you know that she’s the subject of occasional physical abuse and maybe even worse things.

Conclusion: For all her problems Tsubasa is literally the girl next door type, and even better she harbors a hidden wild side. This is almost the perfect situation; with you, Tsubasa could unleash her hidden wild child and let off all her hidden desires to your benefit making for some rewarding study sessions.

Suragu Kanbaru

Suruga Kanbaru (you stole her crush)

Pluses: Suruga is very athletic, strong, and attractive.

Minuses: Suruga is a raging lesbian who’s attracted to your GF.

Conclusion: Are you crazy, leave this one alone because she tried to kill you once before.

Shinobu Oshino

Shinobu Oshino (the loli vampire)

Pluses: She was once a smoking hot vampire, and now, well……..she’s quite a loli.

Minuses:  Shinobu’s a almost totally catatonic loli vampire, and she’s not good for much interaction.

Conclusion: While it’s only a small step to take from sharing your blood with her to sharing other personal fluids I don’t see this relationship being very rewarding.

Mayoi Hachikuji

 Mayoi Hachikuji (the lost snail)

Pluses: Mayoi, literally is the true eternal loli, while you get older she stays the same.

Minuses: Well, first of all, she’s dead, and secondly while never getting older might be a plus, it would be kind of weird having a ghost loli as a GF as you got older.

Conclusion: While having a ghost loli for a GF might be fun and safe since I don’t think that statutory rape laws apply to dead girls that no one else can see, I think having Mayoi appear and disappear would be quite annoying. Plus, don’t piss her off, because she’s got one hell of a bite, ouch!

The winner of my Bakemonogatari harem prize goes to……………………….

My winner is Nadeko

      While it was a tough choice picking what girl I would want if I was Koyomi, it came down to a three way race between Nadeko, Tsubasa, and Hitagi with me choosing Nadeko as my winner.

      One of the biggest deciding factors came down to the simple fact that out of all the girls Nadeko seemed to be the most normal of the whole bunch, and that her supernatural problem was a result of other peoples problems with her, and not her having a major personal/family issue.

        Another factor in this decision was one of the emotional age/maturity level between Nadeko and Koyomi (and boys and girls in general). So, while Koyomi is several years older than Nadeko he’s really at about the same maturity level as she’s currently at. Koyomi’s a virgin boy who’s clearly attracted to Nadeko, and she’s a virgin girl who clearly is attracted to him, so I thinks it’s a perfect match. All they have to do is keep their relationship on the QT for a year or so, and then after another year or two when Koyomi’s a college junior and Nadeko’s a high school senior all people will say is that they make a cute couple and wonder if they’ll be invited to the wedding in a year or so.

      Plus, if I was Koyomi’s age, I wouldn’t mind it a bit to come home to find  Nadeko waiting for me dressed as below, Sweet!

Welcome home Koyomi

Reviewing anime and emotional connection.       

         Generally when I review a anime series I take several things into account like; is the story new or original, is the animation of good quality, is the soundtrack appropriate, are there good plot twists that keep me interested in the show on a episode to episode basis, is the world the creators are constructing believable in some way, is their some overall message the story is trying to convey to me, and many other factors. But, to me the most important aspect of any series is one of emotional impact; when I suspend my disbelief and float away from my 40+ year old self who’s worked since the age of sixteen and spent 23 years in the military and slip  into the main characters’ shoes do their actions, reactions, and emotional experiences to their  current situations feel right and true. Or, in other words, can I actually put myself inside the characters’ heads so to speak, and actually experience all the sadness, pain, loss, joy, excitement, and love along with them?

       While TM 8.0 had its weak points the true power of this series lay in the emotional impact it had on me, I laughed, I cried, and I road along with Mirai on her bittersweet emotional  roller-coaster like journey to emotional maturity, and by the end, I felt drained, but better for having taken the journey.

mari-mirai-and-yuuki

TM 8.0 characters and story.  

        Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a basically the story of three characters sharing a journey through a Tokyo devastated by a major earthquake with its streets filled with the presence of death and loss. When Mirai, Yuuki, and Mari began their journey together their first priority was one of survival and gradually their end goal became one of wanting to return home and reunite with their families. While TM 8.0 featured three main characters the true focus of the series was Mirai’s painful journey to emotional maturity.

why does everything make me angry

normal-teenaged-feelings1They look down on us because we're kids

Mirai–  Basically, TM 8.0 is told and experienced from the perspective of Mirai; she is your typical 12-14 year old girl, she’s at the point in her life where she’s trying to come to grips with her identity, she’s not a little girl any longer in physical terms but neither is she a young woman  in emotional terms. Mirai feels frustrated because she knows she’s not a child any longer but she thinks that she’s still looked at as being a child, so in affect she thinks the world sucks and nobody understands her, she’s a typical normal young teen aged girl. Mirai’s interactions with her mother, father, and brother reflect this stage of her life, Mirai looks and acts with her family like everything is a burden to her she only thinks and reacts to situations on a how it will affect her basis, and while Mirai might understand that her actions might be causing waves within her family she really doesn’t care. In TM 8.0 Mirai represents the self, but a self that is disconnected with those around her and her responsibilities to family, friends, and the greater society around her.

Yuuki wants a happy family again

Yuuki- is Mirai’s younger brother, and he’s your typical energetic and lively young boy, Yuuki rushes forward with enthusiasm to the objects of his interest. What Yuuki wants more than anything in the world is for his family to return to what it was like a few years ago, to a time before Mirai’s teen angst started causing problems in the family, and a return to a time when his mother and father weren’t so busy with work that things like family day trips were more common, Yuuki wants a return to innocence. In TM 8.0 Yuuki represents innocence, but not just is own, he also represents Mirai’s innocence.

Mari seeing Yuuki and Mirai for the first time

Mari- The third member along for the journey is Mari, she’s in her late twenties to early thirties, and Mari serves as mother and guardian to both Yuuki and Mirai. Mari works as a delivery bike driver and she is a widow that supports her elderly mother and her young daughter Hina. In TM 8.0 Mari represents what us adults might aspire to be in that situation by protecting and guarding the weak, and Mari serves as role model for how Mirai might want to behave.

the world should break and it did

Tokyo being destroyed

         The story begins with Mirai unwillingly taking her brother Yuuki to a robot convention on their mother’s birthday, the two of them spend time inside the convention center, and then Yuuki wishes to buy a birthday gift for their mother, so they go shopping. After buying the gift, Mirai waits for Yuuki outside while he uses the restroom and goes to buy Mirai a drink. While Mirai is outside she looks at her text messages and asks herself why everything makes her so angry, and in a moment of childish spite she texts that she wishes the world would break, and it does.

        At that moment, a very destructive earthquake strikes the Tokyo area and lays waste to the city. Once Mirai realizes her brother is still inside the building she rushes inside to find him and she meets up with Mari who helps locate and rescue Yuuki from the building. From that point on, Mari becomes a guardian and mother figure to both Yuuki and Mirai helping them get off the island safely.

       The three of them continue their journey home together Mirai, Yuuki, and Mari become travelling companions on a journey of survival where they experienced devastation, loss, and suffering but they also learned a lot about themselves. While on this journey the greatest personal growth was experienced by Mirai, before the earthquake she was pretty self-centered and oblivious to her roles to her friends, to her brother, to her parents, and to the greater society. But, as the group travels through the devastated landscape Mirai began to notice the sufferings of others, courage in the face of loss, and normal citizens doing their best to help others and she found herself lacking. What makes the turn of events even more heart rending is that at the moment Mirai vows to be a better sister, a better daughter, and help when she can, her world is turned upside down by the loss of her brother, when Yuuki died so died Mirai’s innocence.

       Yuuki’s death had such a profound affect on Mirai’s mind that for a period of a couple of days she managed to block out his death and replace those facts with a hallucination of Yuuki still being alive with her leading him home. While I had at first been very cold to this plot twist I went back and re-watched episodes 8-11 back to back and now take a much gentler approach to those episodes. I now feel that the “ghost/hallucination” Yuuki of 8-10 was Mirai’s mind giving her the strength through her memories of Yuuki’s best qualities to carry onwards when she really wanted to curl up in a ball and just cry. At several points after Yuuki’s death his voice through Mirai gave hope and strength to others when there should have been none, that was the voice of innocence and youth speaking.

Mirai I love you

       When Mirai’s mind finally reached the point where it could no longer suppress the true memory of Yuuki’s death her hallucination of Yuuki comes right out and tells her he died, her world came truly crashing down around her. At that point, Mirai’s depression had reached a level where she no longer wished to return home without Yuuki, and the “true” Yuuki returns one last time to help his sister complete their promise to return home together. I feel that the final Yuuki was truly his ghost/spirit, because this time Yuuki cast no shadow while the hallucination Yuuki from Mirai mind did, and this Yuuki was much more somber and had the feel of a person on one last mission. When Mirai and Yuuki finally make it home Yuuki thanks Mirai and begins to vanish, and when Mirai tells him not to leave he says he’ll always live in her heart and that he loves her.

       I found the final half of episode 11 to be extremely emotional and Mirai’s reunion with her mother and father held tremendous impact and their grieving touched me. I also really loved how Mari helped show Mirai that their can be a future after loss, their joint emotional catharsis felt true and right because Mirai was finally able to share her pain with some who experienced the trauma of their joint journey. 

Of Yuuki and his backpack. (Parts are from a earlier post)

        With Yuuki death his backpack and the bridge take on tremendous symbolic importance, Mari offers to carry it but Mirai declines saying that it’s her brother’s, so she’ll carry it. So, the pack takes on the meaning that Mirai now has to live her life by paying off the obligation she owns to her dead brother’s spirit for the love she received from him and sometimes didn’t repay in kind. In Asian and Japanese culture family roles and obligations are of extreme importance, in affect, Mirai must live her life as good person  honoring the memory of her brother. Also, under the principles of Confucianism names have importance; Mirai’s name can mean the future, and Yuuki’s name can mean strength, or courage but it can also mean tender hope or gentle hope. So, when Mirai crosses that bridge she must begin a new phase of her life and move forward towards the future with tender/gentle hope as a better daughter, a better friend, and a person connected to the world around her.

       Now this is major speculation on my part, I also think that the backpack might also include Yuuki’s remains, with the high rate of deaths normal Japanese/Buddhist funeral procedures were probably suspended and Yuuki was probably cremated right away so Mirai was telling the truth when she told Yuuki that she would get them home.

hang in there and lets go

       While I was wrong about the Yuuki’s remains being in the backpack I was right about the backpack representing Yuuki’s spirit. The pack really did contain Yuuki’s hopes and dreams, his dreams of a happy birthday for his mother, his wish for the four of them to be a happy family, and his hopes of having a better relationship with his sister. When Mari returned the backpack to Mirai she now understands her loss fully and has now crossed the bridge to emotional maturity and she now knows what she must do to be a better person. Mirai now has the strength of her younger brother to guide her forward towards a better more hopeful future.

Thank you Yuuki

   Overall, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was a very powerful and emotionally moving experience, and I felt that all the main characters were realistic and believable. This series had a story to tell and it did so in a mostly straight forward way with a few little twists thrown in here and there to keep the viewers slightly off balance. TM 8.0 is a great example of anime storytelling of the highest level, and it easily is one of the best series of the year.   

the wedding kiss

Well, I think that every male anime blogger needs to consider making a mai waifu list at some time during his blogging career. So, after reading Ghostlighting’s waifu post, and also reading Digitalboy’s waifu post  I’ve decided to do one of my very own.

#10.  Maetel from Galaxy Express 999

Maetel

Maetel, is the embodiment of the mysterious woman that you see as a young teen boy and know that if you get close to her you would learn all of life’s secrets from.

9. Madame Gina from Porco Rosso

gina_m

Madame Gina, is sexy, independent, talented, and a self-assured woman. She more than woman enough to keep any man interested and happy.

8 Tsukino Usagi from Sailor Moon

sailor-moon-fan-fiction

While Usagi might be a bit of an airhead, she’s one of the most loving, caring, sweet, and kind hearted girls ever to grace our TV screens, so she’d make a perfect waifu.

7 Candice White from Candy Candy

sweetcandycover1

Candy, what can I say other than she was one of my first crushes from way back in the late 70’s when I was a young teenage boy. Candy is sweetness and innocence embodied, she would make a great waifu and mother.

6  Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop

faye_valentine

Faye Valentine is wild,  and at times crazy, but she is almost the dictionary definition of sex appeal.

5. Suzuki Sora from Mahō Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora

sora-riding-her-bike1

Sora is fresh and pure like a warm summer breeze, and where ever she goes she brings a smile to every one face. While Sora likes to experience new and different things she tends to like the simple thing in life and takes pleasure in making others happy.

4 Yui Hirasawa from K-On!

yui-and-her-k-on-cake

While Yui might be slow on the uptake and a bit naive, there’s just something about her personality that calms my nerves so I wouldn’t mind waking up next to her for the rest of my life.

3 Kagami Hiiragi from Lucky Star

kagami-in-thought

What can I say other than Kagami is one tsundere girl that gets me going with her sarcastic comments and down to earth personality, I think that having her as a waifu would mean never having a dull moment in your household.

2 Princess Nausicaa from Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa

nau_nausicaa075

Nausicaa, is the ultimate example of duality in a women, while she capable of unleashing terrible wrath on her enemies, she also displays a compassion towards all creatures and fights for no other reason than to protect those weaker than her.

1. Nagisa Furukawa from Clannad

nagisa-holding-ushio

Nagisa is my ideal of the perfect waifu and mother, she’s made of pure kindness and caring, Nagisa places more value on her family than she does on her own health and life. I feel that if I had a waifu like Nagisa, “all would be right with the world”. 

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