Tag Archives: romance

Kimi ni Todoke: Or, Why I Cheer for Sawako

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You are a self-doubting, introverted, and scary-looking high school student. Deep down you are a kind and considerate person, but because you are awkward, people think you’re strange and naturally avoid you. You long to be liked by others–anyone, really, though the most popular and attractive member of the opposite sex would be nice. But because you know it’s impossible, you sigh in resignation every time they call you names. It’s all right. You got used to it a long time ago. It’s not going to change anyway, so why get worked up about it?

Was this you in high school, in part or in whole? It was me to a large degree. (Even little kids at one point called me, quote, “creepy.”) It was also Sawako Kuronuma, in Kimi no Todoke (Reaching You)–and then, with the smile of one special boy and everything that followed, Sawako’s (along with almost every shy, lonely introvert’s) dreams started to come true.

How could this not be a joy to watch?

Continue reading Kimi ni Todoke: Or, Why I Cheer for Sawako

kimi ni todoke 01 – It’s nice, really.

My impression on Mamiko Noto’s voice is breathy and sexy, not scary. Apparently that’s not how many Japanese people think. She’s the person voicing Kuronuma Sawako, a girl with an apparence too much like the ghost Sadako from the Ring, a Japanese horror movie that I do not recommend watching at 12 AM at night on a large television – but it does make a great date movie that way (yeah, what do I know about that). A trivia – Once Mamiko sang a Japanese children song at some event, and people thought her voice was way too chilling like a hateful woman spirit making a curse!

The animation reminds me of Honey and Clover and even the story itself has a little bit of that atmosphere. Everyone is likable and you can’t help feel pretty good just watching the show. It is shojo so the guys do stand out. Obviously, Kazehaya, the guy who falls in love with our resident Sadako (no, that’s not a spoiler, it’s an obvious conclusion), is the nicest and kindest among them all. He’s known to wanting to help anyone in the class who is disenfranchised.

The usual shojo smiles and glittering and flowers are added for decoration but not obnoxiously so. There is shojo humor when people run away from Sawako even though she’s just trying to say hi, or say “please use it”. I say this is a nice show because it portrays the Japanese High School as a place with good girls. Even the girls that gossips behind Sawako’s back don’t say anything truly nasty. Nobody picks on her in her face or bullies her in anyway, perhaps because she’s rumored to see ghosts and make people sick. But she’s just a very nice gal who desperately needs a hair cut.

Thanks to Kazehaya, Sawako can speak up loudly and explain herself better by the end of the episode and the two clear up some air. So what will happen next?

Everything flows smoothly and nothing drags on. It’s no Honey and Clover but it’s appealing. I won’t be writing about this one because I’m no shojo fan despite the fact I have been seduced to the power of shojo side recently watching a little bit of H&C recently. If you want more coverage, ask Mike # 1 to do it.

Additional notes: the title text and the OP eye catcher made me think of Shaft and I went, uh-oh. But it’s animated by Studio I.G.!

The manga that the show is based on received an award, so for any women interested in how the anime turns out, there you go.


Bakemonogatari 12 – sweet and ironic tasting note

I guess this is the season ending episode. For fans of  Senjogahara, this was probably the episode they’ve been waiting for or wishing for, and surely it delivered. Senjogahara takes over the entire episode and shows the audience who is the queen among the harem, biatches.

As if hearing some folks’ complaint about Senjogahara (henceforth known as SJgH in the succeeding paragraphs) being missing in the previous episodes, this episode we’re treated with her on a date with Mr. Messiah Complex Nice Guy. He’s expecting something wonderful, and instead, it’s meet the parent time.

The long awkward car ride is amusing at best and annoying at worst. However, the interaction is superb if just a tiny little bit unbelievable. Everything happens, however, has a deeper meaning behind it

This probably doesn’t work in real life, but if your girlfriend actually takes you on your first date, together with her dad, and she trust her dad not to beat the crap outta ya, that means she AND her DAD trust you. We see that in this episode. No matter how harem-like the series had become, in the overall story, Araragi really makes  SJgH happy, so much so that she tosses out bold verbal hints or rather, commands, as to bid him closer. Forcing him to say her first name rather than last name in the presence of her dad shows that she wants to show the other important man in her life that this guy is the prince, the knight in the shining high school uniform riding on a white bicycle that comes to save the violent tsundere twintail-free princess from all her losses. The fact that her dad does not even flinch or cringe during her teasing sessions for Araragi also shows a strong sense of approval, albeit it may be cringe worthy for the audience (if there are dads in the audience).

The problem was that this is a supernatural show and I thought her dad wasn’t real; it was some kind of apparition or something. I’m so used to not seeing real parents in anime it was a shock when he started talking and sharing! HOLY CRAP! This guy is real! He talks!

The 3rd part of the show where they get sweet on us is a little weird in that Kanbaru is part of SJgH’s possession and she’s willing to share “that” with Araragi…Now, that lost me. But for any fans looking for the shining moments of love, I will not get into details here but I will tell you to enjoy.

After all, this is the most normal episode filled with enough abnormality that it’s almost ironic.

Additional notes: Although Saito Chiwa is obviously the highlight, the voice actor for her father is superb and the talk in the car probably should go down as one of the best intimate sharing moments in any dramatic story, followed by the scene of the lovers lying on the picnic blanket. In addition, of course I could get into how this show is an interesting portrayal of awkward teen romance, how SJgH’s heart and social awkwardness is slowly healed by Araragi and all that jazz. But that’s best left to other folks with greater interest in the show.

A Brave New Divergence

I have seen the future, and it is fantastic.

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These bounce each time she gives a status report. No joke.

Multicolored hair!  Massive oppai¹!  Quantum everything!  Cool robots!  Just ignore the bizarre displays of objectum sexual² behavior that accompany all these things in Divergence Eve, and we’ll proceed.

DivEve

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Aoi Hana 10 – my apologies

I hate that Sugimoto treats Izumi like crap and breaks Manjome’s heart. But you’ve got to remember, I’m 32 and way past my teens. Things that people did back then really were cruel, unthoughtful and immature and to an old guy, anyone who behaves that way is simply unacceptable. Though I suspect we can all be like that during some instances in our lives.

Sugimoto is rather feminine inside, but seeing her sister, who’s actually less feminine in many aspects (we see that during their interactions in the studio), she changes her hair style and becomes the “prince” female character that teenage girls in Japan always go ga-ga over. Her decision to go with masculine-femininity style influences Izumi, who has been in love with her even before her lesbian turning point.

However, Sugimoto never really loved anyone save the teacher; she’s not even a lesbian to begin with. In retrospect, her actions confuse people and give them a certain false notion about her. Being the center of attention and the star among peers can be a great thing; falsifying that image and duping (even unknowingly) people into believing it is not. However, the fault does not lie entirely on her; who doesn’t feel like maintaining the image that people truly admires? Even adults can’t get enough of that feeling of glee and pride.

She’s more confused than Manjome, who understands the situation well and knows what she wants. Manjome tells her clearly: “I’ve given up…please grow up.” But she only mutters her apologies under her breath.

But perhaps that’s what teenage folks do – being confused, unable to really apologize or sometimes even make amends. None of them is really a true villain (or that’s the way it’s supposed to be but in today’s world…), and after all, Sugimoto is just a princess who can’t grow out of her loss.

This arc ends nicely and so now I await the consummation of love between Fumi (Manjome) and Akira. I’ve been teased enough.

neko’s thinkbox’s insight

Review: Hatsukoi Limited (78%)

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Animation: 85%
Sound/Music: 75%
Voice Acting: 80%
Story: 75%
Overall: 78%

See explanation of scores here.

Hatsukoi Limited is a best-of-breed shounen fanservice comedy, with enough emotional sincerity and empathy to make it better than the average show of its type. This is no surprise, of course, from the staff that gave us the fine track record of Honey and Clover, Kimikiss Pure Rouge, and Nodame Cantabile. They seem to have a handle on making even mundane and archetypal characters seem heartfelt and sincere.

Continue reading Review: Hatsukoi Limited (78%)

Half and Half makes one fine read

There are many manga in the world, and there are many manga cliches. At first, a reader might think, “I don’t have time for double-takes.”

But Half and Half is here to dispute that. It will have you experience, with your body, the archetypical romantic plot!

What do you mean, no savefile?

Continue reading Half and Half makes one fine read

Review: Toradora! (85%)

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Animation: 85%
Acting: 90%
Music/Sound: 80%
Story: 88%
Overall: 85%
See explanation of scores.

Toradora is the standard-setter anime about high school shounen romance. It does for high school love what Kare Kano does for adolescence in general and Honey and Clover did for post-adolescence–and that well-defined scope is both its strength and its ultimate limitation.

Continue reading Review: Toradora! (85%)

First Look Fair: Clannad After Story

You throw like a girl
You throw like a girl

Welcome back to the moe? An episode that served more like a reintroduction to all the major characters shows some subtle differences from the first season, differences that may point to a difference of approach this time around.

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First Look Fair’s Shoujo Special: Itazura na Kiss and Special A

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This certainly seems to be the season for the return of shoujo romance and other female-oriented anime (i.e., BL in Junjou Romantica and vampires), after a good long run of shounen romances for the past two seasons. How are two of the most prominent ones stacking up so far?

Continue reading First Look Fair’s Shoujo Special: Itazura na Kiss and Special A