Jon Del Arroz on Passive Anime Protagonists

On his blog, author Jon Del Arroz has some interesting comments on the passive, weak male protagonists who often star in anime high school rom-coms. Excuse me while I quote him at length:

I had an interesting discussion with a friend last night as we were digging far too deeply into anime. Almost every anime show (especially those set in a high school environment, which is the majority of them), have male protagonists that are your classic gamma male archetype. They are socially awkward, especially around women. When encountered with women they go into a crazed frenzy, female worship, nosebleeds, slapstick failings. We’re supposed to root for them to get the girl in spite of their failures. And sometimes we do, but we can’t help but wince every time they enter the scene with their female counterparts, who are usually far more composed and cooler than they are. Continue reading “Jon Del Arroz on Passive Anime Protagonists”

Grape-kun Is with Harambe Now

Waifus out for Grape-kun.

Okay, I admit I’d never heard of Grape-kun before yesterday, but all of a sudden, my social media timelines were full of him.

The handy website Know Your Meme breaks down the facts. Grape-kun was an elderly Humboldt penguin in the Tobu Zoo in Japan. For a while, the zoo had placed cardboard cutouts of characters from the manga and anime series Kemono Friends in the pens of various animals as an advertising gimmick. I’ve never seen Kemono Friends, but it is apparently yet another of the innumerable manga/anime about random objects anthropomorphized as little girls; in this case, the random objects are animals. The anime series is on Crunchyroll.

Anyway, the zoo placed an image of a character named Hululu, an anthropomorphized penguin, in the pen of Grape-kun. Thereafter, people noticed the penguin frequently staring at the image.

He’s probably wondering what happened to Hululu’s pants.

Naturally, people leapt to conclusions, and Goboiano reported on April 27 with the headline, “Japan Puts Anime in Zoo and Penguin Adopts a Waifu.”

Grape-kun died yesterday, October 12th. The zoo reported that the cut-out of Hululu was with Grape-kun through his final moments.

Four months ago, this comic showed up on the Internet. I’ve been unable to figure out if this is from the manga version of Kemono Friends, or if this is someone’s fan art, but either way, it is now relevant:

Rest in peace, Grape-kun.

Let the Hate Roll On

Anybody else ever notice how Cardcaptor Sakura is always flipping us off? It’s almost as if Clamp is trying to tell us something …

Oh well. I guess it’s no worse than that guy in Sailor Moon who’s always flipping us off.

Anyway, today was to be our last entry in the Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. However, real life caught up with me today and I didn’t get the post completed, so the hate will have to continue into overtime.

That means you get more hate for the same price.

The final post, the final hate, is still to come. Expect it when you least expect it.

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, eight!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Seven!

Let us continue with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. Today’s post again necessarily contains spoilers.

Number 3: The Creeptastic Mid-story Plot Twist.

“Subaru Nakajima can kiss my butt!” (Yeah, I know. I’m running out of good comparisons here.)

Midway through the story, right at the end of the sixth volume of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga, is a little revelation exposited across two pages. These two pages had a strong effect on me when I read the comic, so I was surprised to see that these details were deleted from the anime—which then had to wedge in references to them later, awkwardly, to explain certain things. Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, eight!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, seven!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Six!

We continue yet again with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. Today’s post, like yesterday’s, contains some spoilers.

Here we go:

Number 5: Toya Kinomoto.

Toya is Sakura’s big brother. He’s in high school. He works lots of part-time jobs. Sakura squabbles with him like a little sister. Like all magical girls, she has trouble getting up on time in the morning, so she has to dress quickly and wolfs down her breakfast; he makes fun of her for stomping around in the morning, and he calls her a “kaiju.” She dreams of a day when she’ll be as “tall as a telephone pole” and able to “squish him flat.”

Sakura argues with her brother.

Although he teases her, he’s quite protective. He insists that nobody gets to make fun of Sakura except him.

I appreciate these little details. This is the one relationship in the story that actually feels … human. Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, seven!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, six!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Five!

We continue now with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura.

Today’s entry in our ongoing series is a relatively short one, but it necessarily contains spoilers. Spoilers begin after the break.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, six!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, five!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Four!

We now continue with the Days of Hate begun on Monday. I sent my old and decrepit computer in for maintenance, and it’s no longer overheating on me, so I think they managed to get my issues fixed … but now all my image files have been renamed for some reason, so I can’t find my screenshots …

Well, anyway, we’re back with more of Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura.

Number 7: Freakin’ Tomoyo.

Seriously. Freakin’ Tomoyo.

I had an argument with myself over where to place Tomoyo on this list. Tomoyo is a psychotic little freak who belongs in a nut house, but after some consideration, I concluded that some of the things I want to talk about might not make sense if I don’t discuss her ahead of time. Besides that, I realized I don’t really hate Tomoyo herself; I just hate what Clamp did to her.

Freak.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, five!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, four!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Three!

Two days ago, we kicked off the Ten Days of Hate with a discussion of Cardcaptor Sakura, the hugely popular magical girl franchise. Then we followed that up with further hate.

Now we continue with more of Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura:

Number 8: Lame Magic.

Supposedly, Clow Reed, the creator of the Clow Cards, was the bestest wizard ever, and he supposedly encapsulated more-or-less all of his magic in the cards that Sakura steadily collects across the series. But there’s a problem—

The cards are hella lame.

Looks like Sakura isn’t the only one collecting a lot of crap.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, four!)”

‘Shugo Chara!’

Surprisingly sophisticated but unfortunately creepy.

Shugo Chara!, written and illustrated by Peach-Pit. Translated by Satsuki Yamashita. 12 vols. Kodansha Comics (New York): 2013 (2006). Rated T (ages 13+).

Shugo Chara!Shugo Chara! Doki, and Shugo Chara! Party!, directed by Kinji Yasuta. Satelight and TV Tokyo, 2007-2010. 127 episodes of 25 minutes (approx. 53 hours). Not rated. Available on Crunchyroll.

The Background

In the midst of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Kunihiko Ikuhara’s magnum opus, there are a number of screwball gag episodes dedicated to the side character Nanami, a spoiled rich girl who laughs inappropriately, a requisite character in shoujo anime. In one of the most fascinating of these gag episodes, Nanami awakens one morning to find an Easter egg in her bed. Convinced that she must have laid it, she first tries, from embarrassment, to hide its existence, but on account of some misunderstood conversations, she eventually comes to the conclusion that egg-laying is normal for girls. In keeping with the coming-of-age theme of magical girl shows in general and Utena in particular, the egg becomes over the course of the episode a multivalent symbol by turns representing puberty, menstruation, childbirth, and child-rearing.

This one-off episode apparently became the inspiration for another whole magical girl franchise, Shugo Chara!, by Banri Sendo and Shibuko Ebara, the two-woman manga-ka team known collectively as Peach-Pit. They got their start with works aimed primarily at a male audience: the little-known harem comedy Prism Palette, the raunchy magical girlfriend series DearS (which is sort of like Chobits with more bondage), and an action series called Zombie-Loan. In the U.S., probably their most famous title is Rozen Maiden, an unusually classy harem series that’s something like a cross between Pinocchio and Highlander with a veneer of Gothic horror. It’s spawned Internet memes and a modest cult following.

The History

Shugo Chara! was Peach-Pit’s 2006 foray into shoujo manga, appearing in Nakayoshi, a magazine aimed primarily at girls aged nine to fifteen. This same magazine has hosted such titles as Sailor Moon, Sugar Sugar Rune, Saint Tail, and various adaptations of the Pretty Cure franchise. So it’s a magical girl powerhouse. Continue reading “‘Shugo Chara!’”

‘Made in Abyss’ Gets TV Anime

This escaped my attention back in January, but the web comic Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi is slated to get a TV anime adaptation, directed by Masayuki Kojima and animated by Kinema Citrus.

I stumbled upon Made in Abyss back in December, when I raved about the artwork.

And though it escaped my attention at the time, it was only a few days later that Crunchyroll reported news of an impending anime adaptation. I take this as further proof that I really live in a solipsistic universe that bends to my will, and you are all figments of my imagination. Bwa ha ha.

I hope Crunchy’s report is indicative of their plans to fish for the rights to stream a sub. At present, Made in Abyss is not legally available in English, though it was originally produced as a web series and can be read online in Japanese. I for one am quite curious about the series because the story sounds charming and the art is gorgeous.

And Tsukushi-sensei’s characters all look so darn huggable.