I write about why you should have a greater appreciation for wacky Japanese cartoons and the otaku culture revolving around it.
I also co-host a Black Nerd Empowerment podcast with my friend The TV Guru over at http://swarthynerd.libsyn.com/ and create off-color memes about crap tier anime over at https://www.facebook.com/yukithesnowman/
Professional wrestling history was made when future WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) legend Kevin Nash invaded rival company WCW’s (World Championship Wrestling) live show, WCW Nitro. Along with tag-team partner and friend Scott Hall (who invaded an earlier Nitro show before Nash), Nash delivered a warning to the WCW:
Idioms such as “[this is] where the big boys play” and “this is the big leagues” are often used to identify areas of intense and professional levels of competition. Areas reversed for the elites and only for the elites. Rookies are warned not to enter the big leagues unless they are mentality and physically tough and resilient enough to join.
Of course, you have the foolish rookies who – thanks to their ego – think they can go toe-to-toe with the harden vets (of the big leagues). Blinded by both arrogance and ignorance they try; only to be utterly humiliated, embarrassed, and humbled by their superiors.
This is the case of Erimi Mushibami: a little kid who thinks she’s hardcore just because she’s going through her baby’s first weeaboo gothic lolita teen angst phase. So hardcore that, the first thing that she does upon arriving at Hyakkaou Private Academy, is to challenge Yumeko Jabami and Midari Ikishima to a game of chicken.
An extreme game of chicken where players must place a finger inside a hole built into a mini guillotine with several cords attached to its frame. The guillotine blade itself is only held by single cord that – if cut – will send the sharp blade flying down; slicing its victim’s finger off. Removing your finger before the blade comes down will results in the player forfeiting the match and becoming a slave to the game host.
It’s the ultimate game of nerves.
Nerves that Yumeko and Midari both have an unlimited supply of.
Yumeko is insane and gets off to playing high risk/high rewards gambles. Midari is not only insane, she’s a fucking deranged masochist whose panties would be soaked if she got a finger cut off. The game is so thrilling to these women that Yumeko put aside her disdain towards Midari to team up with her against Emiri.
Erimi is a stupid kid.
Erimi gathers Yumeko, Midari, and Suzui into a room for her little game. Yuemko is relaxed. Midari is thrilled. Suzui is scared. Not for neither Yumeko nor Midari: he knows both of them are crazy. Who he’s concern for is Erimi herself – the girl who started this mess.
Erimi has yet to understand that her opponents are extreme gambling addicts. Both find joy in playing risky games – no manner how dangerous (the risks are). Furthermore, Yumeko and Midari are having fun playing Erimi’s game; even if the odds stacked against them. Erimi eventually picks up on her opposition’s carefree mentality towards her game and assumes if she pushes the girls to their absolute limit, she can break them.
Again, Erimi is a stupid little kid.
Erimi starts bragging about how her mafia-like family is full of torture freaks that used the guillotine game (and other fear tactics) to force confessions out of their victims. Yumeko isn’t impressed; she winds up finding the game boring as time goes on. Yumeko also thinks Erimi is a scared little bitch: as she believes that Erimi may have install a cheat to prevent her from losing her finger in things goes wrong and decides to go off on her.
Midari joins in on Yumeko’s verbal onslaught against the goth kid; reversing Erimi’s love for torture against her (remember: Midari wants to be tortured). In fact, she admits that the risk of losing a single finger doesn’t excite her; she wants more punishment if she loses.
Intoxicated with glee, both Yumeko and Midari pressure Erimi to cut the wires. Worse, Midari, out of her excitement and impatience, snatches the scissors off the table and decides to cut all the wires at once. Sure enough, the safety feature that Yumeko theorized that Erimi put in place was triggered; saving everyone from losing their fingers. But, even in a moment of grace, Erimi has broken down. In tears, she begs Midari and Yumeko to stop even after the game was finished.
The little girl wasn’t ready to play with the big girls.
Ego is funny thing. It’s the source of our ambitions, desires, and self-confidence. However, if left unchecked, the ego can lead us to disaster; as we saw with Erimi in episodes one and two of Kakegurui xx. Her wild ego and childish behavior made her believe that she could go toe-to-toe with two superior gamblers who outclassed her in talent, skill, and insanity. She could not handle the pressure that Yumeko and Midari rain down upon her; leading to her breakdown. Her plan to mentality break her opponents backfired – given they both love the thrill and dangers that came from her game. It’s the ultimate irony: Play with people’s fears only to be paralyzed by fear yourself. Pretend to be a big kid only to have bigger kids put you in your place.
Never attempt to play in the big leagues when you’re still in the little leagues.
“Be your true mind.”
-Revelations: Persona Japanese tagline.
Starring into the screen of the gaming P.C. I brought off my friend during the 2018 Holiday season, I noticed that there was something missing: A wallpaper – a good one. I was using fanart of Yugiri from Zombieland Saga as a placeholder until I could find wallpaper that I wouldn’t mind always seeing. Don’t get me wrong: Zombieland Saga is an awesome anime and Yugiri is best undead girl, but I needed something better. A wallpaper to serve as a reminder to do whatever the fuck I want to do throughout the year 2019
I hooked up an old external hard drive containing over ten years’ worth of anime and manga fanart, screenshots, manga panels, and memes; most of them were perfect to use as wallpaper, but I desire one that would be my mantra for 2019. As I browsed through the drive, there was a certain image with a manga panel snapshot that spoke to my soul. It was of Kyoko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica with a pocky stick in her mouth offering a box full of them to somebody off-screen. As she chew on the snack, she says the following:
“Who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your life – do whatever you want to do. That’s the right way to live.”
There was no hesitation. Instantly, that became my wallpaper; vowing to never change it until January 1st, 2020. Throughout my life (until I got into my 20s), I was concern about what others thought about me. Wanting to not offend my friends, family members, and bosses (surprising, right?); I followed their suggestions, putting my own thoughts to the side.
I believed that if I put myself first, it would paint me as a hard-headed selfish asshole.
I should had been an asshole.
“To be quiet and do as you’re told, that’s the cowardly choice.”
-Gearless Joe, Megalo Box
Go to church because the rest of the family were going; despite the fact I’m secretly don’t follow religion. Enroll in a community college my parents wanted me to go; regardless if I wanted to go to one outside the Midwest (my home region). Hang out with friends even though I actually wanted to stay and relax at home. Go into work on my off day when I knew I wanted to tell my boss to fuck off.
Deep within my soul, my “easy-going” public persona was clashing with my true feelings.
I truly didn’t want to do what people told me to do, but I didn’t have the balls to admit it.
This went on until I turned 23.
I dropped out of college. Smartest move of my life. I stopped going to church. I don’t need Jesus to be a good person. I ignored my boss’s phone calls for me to come into work. He got the point soon after. I cut off friends who didn’t respect the fact I didn’t feel like hanging out with them when I was tired. They were fake friends – I didn’t need them around.
It was liberating.
Soon after I selected the image of Kyoko as my wallpaper, I got a reminder from My Anime List that Mob Pyscho 100 Season 2 was starting soon. Fitting. Mob (the hero of the Mob Pyscho 100 series) is a kid who decided to follow his own path in life; as opposed to listen to others people’s suggestions for his life. For example: when the supernatural club at his school tried to get him to join (because of his psychic powers), he rejected their offer. He joined the athletic club instead to build muscle.
The anime is one of the ultimate showcases of being your true self.
But, Mob may have appeared to have forgotten about this.
Wanting to impress his crush Tsubomi, Ichi (who catches Mob sneaking a peek at Tsubomi) comes up with a plan for Mob to court her attention: Have him run for the recently vacant student council president position (it was a ploy for Ichi to have Mob gain popularity so she could have him as the new leader of the recently dismantled (LOL) cult). She even went as far as writing a speech for Mob, in her own words. Despite not caring for school politics and social structure, Mob agrees to Ichi’s self-centered plot – reluctantly.
And by reluctantly, I mean that Mob completely froze during his speech.
In front of the entire student body – his crush in the crowd included.
It’s goofy that a guy like Mob, who was always dead set on doing his own thing, decided to follow the path of another person. Sure, it was to impress his crush, but the plot wasn’t from his own driven nature and ideas. Despite the public embarrassment, Mob “won” the heart of a female classmate: Emi. She was “impressed” by his courage to stand on stage in front of the school, which spurred her into confessing her “feelings” to him. The two started dating soon after.
Obviously, their relationship is rooted in compete bullshit.
When Emi asks what type of work he does, Mob is about to tell her about his supernatural works and adventures but feared that she’d be creep out. He comes up with a bold-face lie; claiming he works for a bookstore. This excites Emi as she’s an active and avid reader and is writing her own novel. She even offers Mob to read it, which he agrees to.
Later on, as Mob reads Emi’s novel, she confronts him. She asks why he still walks her home from school after he rejected her. Furthermore, she reveals that she knew Mob was going back to his club after he had walked her back home; thinking that Mob was afraid that he would upset her if he stop.
She also makes the connection that Mob only ran for class president because somebody told him to do it, since it was clear that he didn’t write his own speech. Then she bluntly asks if he has trouble making up his own mind and following his own feelings, which Mob confirms.
Finally, she reveals a secret about herself: She too struggles with being her own person – like Mob himself. She only asked Mob out on a dare and was pressured by her “friends” to do so (based on Mob’s pitiful performance during the elections). She was scared of being rejected and seen as a laughing stock by her “friends”, so she followed through with their cruel prank.
They agree to end their “relationship and part ways soon after – only to meet up again.
The “friends” Emi worked hard to impress and not offend?
They weren’t truly her friends.
Emi regroups with her friends after receiving a text message from them. She decides to show her “friends” the novel that she was working on. One girl snatches it from her hands and started to laugh and belittle her work along with the rest. Another girl, while trying to hold in her laughter, ask Emi if she was being serious about it. Emi (clearly upset and defensive), gives off a weak chuckle and replies she was only doing it for fun. The girls starts to laugh cruelly as they destroy her novel.
Emi became the thing she feared the most: a laughing stock among her friends.
Not because she didn’t “date” Mob, but because she had a passion for writing.
If they were truly her friends, not only would they not pressured her into dating Mob (something she never wanted to do), they would have encouraged her to keep writing.
As Mob walks back home, he sees the girls destroying Emi’s novel. He confronts them, telling them how wrong they were to do that to her and her hard work. He starts collecting the pieces off the ground. Confused, yet feeling appreciated, Emi helps Mob out and her fake friends leave the duo to be. The two try their best to recover the novel but the reminding pieces are blown into the wind. Emi gets discourage and decides that they should call the novel a total lost.
At this point, Mob decides to be honest with Emi (as she did with him) and reveal his true self: The fact that he’s a gifted esper. He uses his powers to completely restore the torn novel; which impresses Emi (as well as Tsubomi – who was watching the events from afar). Perhaps it was because that Emi was honest with Mob about her feelings, fears, and insecurities that led Mob into helping her. Maybe Mob was happy that he knew somebody who too was scared to be their true self and wanted to help them.
Regardless, at the end of the episode, both Mob and Emi was able to embrace who they truly are without fear.
I believe there’s a lesson to be learned from the first episode of season two of Mob Pyscho 100 2.
The lesson? Put yourself first, be honest with who you are, and never fear about what others may think about you. Once you can do all that, you have truly become free. People may call you selfish or self-centered for being you, but in reality, humans are selfish by nature. Some humans are braver with their selfish nature than others. If somebody complains about your egocentric nature , don’t take it personal. They more than likely are projecting their anger of not having the courage to be selfish.
Right now, there are people who are completely unhappy with their lives. Why? Because they were controlled into following somebody else’s path. They never had the courage to stray off the path that wasn’t design for them. There are doctors, lawyers, and dentists in those positions who are completely miserable because they decided to listen to their parents’ wishes. They feared to bring “shame” to their family and enter a career field they hate. If only they would have follow their heart instead, perhaps they wouldn’t be miserable.
Remember this: You have the freedom to be your own person.
It’s your life. Who cares if anyone gets upset?
“Your life is your own, ok? It’s OK to run away!
If you’re capable of it, it won’t be a mistake.” -The Mob Choir
These are the mere free-flowing, raw, and unedited thoughts of mines on the first three or four episodes of the Fall 2018 anime “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” and my first impressions on it. There is no structure nor order on how I talk about this show.
A boy wakes up next to a girl around his age sleeping peacefully in his bed. He looks at her as she awakens and treats her with a “good morning”, in which she returns the greeting back. As they slowly wake up and indulge in playful teasing and banter of their lack of sleep, I am taken by surprise at the fact that the first episode has opened with our lead male and female characters in bed; suggesting that they are in an intimate relationship.
Additionally, the male lead looks and acts like an alpha; a rarity in anime today, as most male teenage leads are doormat simps (just like 90% of male anime fans globally). Finally! A young male anime hero with balls! This is great! Too great. Too great to be true.
No, really, it was. I accidentally downloaded the third episode, not the first.
Because I decided to get stoned out of my mind before watching this anime, I unwitty download episode 3; thinking it was episode 1. Sure, I spoiled myself by seeing Mai and Sakuta together in bed. However, it was a spoiler that I welcomed. I assumed that they got together by the end of episode 2 at the least.
I went back to KissAnime to download episodes 1 and 2. Episode 1 starts to play and its opening shot was the same opener from episode 3, except with different dialogue. Mai asks Sakuta if he is going to kiss her, in which Mai disappears and Sakuta awakens from his dream. Said dream foreshadowing future events.
I shouldn’t be surprised by this at how bold of a move that was. After all, Rascal Does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was written by light novelist Haijime Kamoshida (notable for his works The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, and the beautifully written original coming-of-age high school drama anime Just Because! from Fall 2017).
While I’ve never read The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, I’m a huge fan of Just Because! due to Kamoshida’s approach towards clichéd high school anime archetypes. Example: Rather than to write main character Eita as a new mysterious transfer student who enters a new school during the middle of his first year (like almost every other high school anime), Eita is a senior who transfers back to his hometown’s school district during the second semester (Eita moved away from his hometown during middle school). Eita’s “new” classmates at his “new” school district are actually a few of his friends from childhood. Komoshida effetely kills the “mysterious transfer student” idea off and replaces it with a character that’s already established and known by his peers in his city.
Komoshida is a clever writer in that sense, and Bunny Girl Senpai is no exception.
Before discovering that Kamoshida wrote Bunny Girl Senpai, I had no intention of watching it. Even hearing the show’s name alone made me (foolishly) believe that it was going to be, yet another, fanservicery, run-of-the-mill, below-average light novel anime adaption with a disposable trash waifu. A trash waifu wearing a skimpy bunny girl outfit that Cleverworks will produce figurines of her in said outfit for the fanboys of her to jerk off to and nut on.
These untrue, biased, stupid assumptions were slaughtered once I ran across Mother’s Basement video analysis on the show, explain that Kamoshida wrote the original novel, and discussing the themes of the show (such as bullying, facing rejection, social norms, etc.) So I figure I would give this show a watch.
Glad I did.
The first episode truly proved my earlier assumptions wrong. I was an idiot to think that this show was going to be garbage! Why did I allow myself to judge a book by its cover? In my defense, this current era of light novel anime adaptions is stale and bland. This is not the mid-2000s anymore when we had hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and creative light novel anime adaption coming out left and right.
Remember when the iconic juggernaut The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya came along and kick everyone’s asses in 2006? That was a light novel anime adaption that not only define light novels and light novel anime – but it was the start of a generation of otaku culture. The success and global cultural impact of Haruhi Suzumiya laid the groundwork for other light novels to be adaptive into TV anime.
I miss those days.
(Of course, that Haruhi laying the groundwork for light novel anime statement is up to debate)
Currently, light novel anime adaptions are a mess. The Goblin Slayer anime spat in the face of its light novel ancestor with its ugly CGI, lack of character development that was found in the original, removing important story plots from the light novel, and a controversial brutal violent scene that was not necessary for a first episode.
Every year, we’re “treated” to another boring, uninspiring isekai (another world) light novel adaption that just has a different gimmick that doesn’t change anything or do anything groundbreaking.
Sword Art Online needs to be taken to the backyard and get shot in the back of its head so it can be taken out of its misery already like the dying, useless dog it is.
Oh, how the era of the great light novel anime adaption has ended
…or so I thought. Bunny Girl Senpai’s first episode changed my mind.
Off the jump, we see the heroine parading herself around in a public library in nothing but a skimpy bunny girl outfit. Such a daring, lewd, and perverted act performed by any woman would certainly create attention for her.
But for Mai, – a well-known and beloved actress – there’s no way anybody could ignore her. Questions and comments such as “is she doing this for clout?”, “is this for a movie?”, “is that actress secretly an exhibitionist?”, and “she has fallen so low…” are gonna be said and asked. Everyone is glued to their phones. Everyone is addicted to social media. Indisputably, people seeking likes, views, and money for viral moments are going to document such an event on their smartphones.
Alas, she goes unnoticed. No. For real. They don’t notice her. She even bends herself forward towards a salaryman in a way that her breasts are in his face. But since the salaryman doesn’t have the time or the love for these hos, he doesn’t give her an ounce of attention. You know, maybe they’re just playing pretend. Mai has done this so often at this library that everyone decided to act like she doesn’t exist because they don’t wanna give her any attention.
Except they’re not playing pretend.
Mai doesn’t exist – both figuratively and literally.
She isn’t doing this for cheap thrills; it’s a legit cry for help.
Her existence is at risk and unless people notice her, she will die.
Moments later, Sakuta uses his main character powers to spot her walking about and confronts her. Mai, in return, copies Hitagi Senjougahara’s mannerism that she got from the Monogatari playbook and threatens him; demanding that he forgets what he saw and to never associate with her. And because the Monogatari playbook is public domain, Sakuta decides to steal moves from the Koyomi Araragi section and explains to Mai that he knows about her condition (due to personal experience) and that he can help her.
The condition? Puberty Syndrome: a rumored illness that causes sensitivity and instability among youths infected by it.
Mai believes him and accepts his help; thus starting the latest installment of the Monogatari series!
Kidding, of course. (That joke is getting old).
As mentioned (and me making fun of it) earlier, Bunny Girl Senpai (audaciously) borrows ideas from its influences (such as Monogatari) and other classic anime/light novel tropes, stereotypes, archetypes; using them to its advantage to add layers to each character personality. Therefore, the characters are more third dimensional compared to most others in anime that follow said archetypes and stereotypes.
Sakuta is your typical brash, blunt, and bold protagonist who doesn’t give a shit about following the rules, values, and order of society and freely operates outside of them (think Yusuke from Yuu Yuu Hakusho or Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes). Because Sakuta is an outlier, he is outcast by his peers – even to the degree that his homeboy’s girlfriend tells the man to stop being friends with him; because it would ruin his and her’s high social standing in school (granted, Sakuta tells the girlfriend to fuck off).
This could be seen as social commentary, as Japan is a nation of conformity and holds value in being non-confrontational. Standing out and being a person who enjoys confrontation in Japan will get you mocked, ridicule, and disowned: three things I’m sure Sakuta has experienced in his young life due to his mannerism, but I doubt he cares.
“To be quiet, and do as you’re told…that’s the cowardly choice.” -Gearless Joe, Megalo Box
His sister, Kaede, plays the annoying imouto, or little kid sister role. Kaede affectingly hugs her big brother often, loves getting him out of bed or get in his bed (even if he’s trying to sleep), and she is almost always at his side. She’s soft-spoken when around strangers but truly shines and becomes herself when Sakuta is around.
Pretty annoying, right?
Well, Kaede is a victim of (cyber) bullying at her school. She received death threats from her former friends and cruel messages from her classmates telling her that she needs to kill herself. The relentless bullying and vicious messages caused Kaede to withdraw from society to the degree that she became a shut-in. She hates social media and modern technology; as we see her freezing up out of fear when she hears Mai’s phone rings in one episode. Because of her trauma, Kaede sees Sakuta as a protector of sorts which results in her being close to him.
She finds comfort in her brother.
Mai, as we saw in the first episode, is clear fanservice bait. Even in the anime promotional art, she’s wearing her bunny girl outfit in public. For this, I can’t blame anyone for thinking Mai does this for attention or thinking that she was designed to be trashy waifu bait. The fanservice and waifu material bits are turned on their heads once you understand the grave reasoning behind Mai’s acts (and character design).
Mai must do everything and anything within her power to court attention at all costs. Initially, the actress loved the peace and quiet that came with not being in the public’s limelight: something she had been under since childhood. Like any aspiring child actress, she was in “everlasting” bliss that people knew who she was thanks to her TV and movie roles. But, over time, the toll and stress of childhood stardom got to Mai and she wanted out of showbiz.
Her breaking point came about at the hands her manipulative manager and agent – her own mother.
During a commercial shoot for cereal (correct me if I’m wrong I don’t remember the full details), Mai’s mother and the video producer suggested that Mai should wear a revealing bikini. Mai refused: as she was in middle school at the time and was understandably disturbed by the idea. Her mom snapped on her; calling her own daughter a disappointment. It was at that point where Mai decided to retire from show business and stray away from the limelight.
She got her one true wish – at the cost of her existence.
“The limelight. The actor who steps into this brilliant light attains a heightened presence. All eyes are on him. There is room for only one actor at a time in the limelight’s narrow beam; do whatever it takes to make yourself its focus. Make your gestures so large, amusing, and scandalous that the light stays on you while the other actors are left in the shadows.”
–Robert Greene, “The 48 Laws of Power”
(It’s ironic to think how Mai desperately worked hard to avoid any form of publicity and attention after her semi-retirement from the entertainment industry and yet, she was hunting it down once she realized that she could die if nobody acknowledges her. Maybe I’ll do an analysis essay on that one day.)
Watching the first episode (and parts of the second), I’m reminded of the golden era of the light (and visual) novel to anime boom. Text-based tales coming to life through animation. Stories crafted by otaku who dare to explore deep themes and issues about society, cultural norms, and life. There weren’t just mindless cartoons that otakus would simply watch and enjoy. They were shows with layers, messages, themes, and meaning.
It’s refreshing to see Bunny Girl Senpai bring such classic writing back into otaku marketed TV anime.
At the time of this writing, I am currently on episode 3. Sakuta is desperate to keep Mai’s existence alive. He has even gone as far as sacrificing his health by not sleeping (since anyone who’ve sleep after seeing Mai in her “invisible” state will have traces of her existence erased). Mai slips a sleeping pill in one of his caffeine drinks (probably deadly, but okay). She knows that this will erase her existence for him, but she doesn’t want him to put his health at risk – because of the fact she loves him. In tears, she thanks him for all he has done for her, and fades out of existence.
She’ll come back of course; thanks to Sakuta’s no-fucks-given attitude, however.
Bunny Girl Senpai has been an interesting anime to watch so far. The mystery of Puberty Syndrome keeps me wondering about how it impacts people and how it shapes society . The cast has wonderful chemistry with each other, as Mai and Sakuta have amazing banter with one another that helps keep fans interested in their relationship. Komoshida blending real-world issues such as bullying and blending in with sci-fi and supernatural elements is genius and I can’t wait to see how the writers of the show take his writing style to the next level.
I do hope this anime becomes a hit because I want to see more like it that is otaku driven and uses themes from anime to build layers for its characters. With people praising it online I sure my hopes will come to life.
…even if it does borrows from Monogatari.
-Yuki The Snowman.
I’m actually caught up with the show and currently waiting for episode 8. I have a theory that the main narrative theme of Futaba’s arc is accepting yourself (as Futaba has to deal with the fact that the second Futaba is the personification of her repressed but true self and she needs to understand it’s a part of her personality). I’m lazy as hell so I didn’t feel like rewriting the bit about episode 3 or whatnot.
The most real shit I’ve seen in anime in a while love how Sakuta speaks excellent game on standing out and being your own person:
Disclaimer: This rant was written under the influence of alcohol. Please enjoy!
And if anything I said offends you: Good!
I’m going to be real: When I saw Blerds (Black nerds) getting in their feelings and crying about how the new Overwatch hero Ashe, wasn’t a black female, I laughed. Really, I did. I found great joy in seeing blerds bitching at Blizzard Entertainment for not featuring a black female hero ever since the game debuted in 2016. I filled my quiet, empty house with vicious, head-splitting cackling as I skimmed through the everlasting rants of Black (nerd) Twitter’s as they expressed their disappointment in Blizzard.
This does, however, begs the question: why should it be the job of Blizzard (or any other non-black owned media and entertainment company) to represent Black people and to create black characters for us? They’re not entitled to do so. So stop fuckin’ cryin’ and beggin’ them to do so.
I’m ain’t sorry.
Now, don’t get me wrong: Black representation (as long as it’s positive) in media is not only a great thing, but it’s incredibly important for us. This is especially true when it comes to young black children (as children are highly influenced by what they see in media). Black children need positive, heroic black figures and characters to look up to during their developmental stages. But again, this duty shouldn’t lie on the shoulders of non-white owned companies who never will experience the struggles of being Black. They shouldn’t have to carry this burden.
Do you know must carry this burden for Black people? It’s real easy to figure this one out.
This burden must be carried by black people.
There’s no other way around this.
If we Black folks want to see our people in the media, then it’s up to us to gather our creative forces together and build. Build something worthwhile for our people to celebrate and showcase our race in media. We have the tools online to do so. We have social media and blogs/websites builders to spread our art to our community.
Look, we need to stop depending on other races to do the job for us. I get it: Black people are used to being dependant on programs (Section 8, food stamps/E.B.T, welfare, trickle-down economics, etc.), but we — the true originators of Earth — gotta stop that lazy, sit on our asses and wait for bullshit! It’s a huge waste of time.
Do you want to know what happens when we let other races represent us while we sit on our asses? This is what happens. Ready?
They draw us in an offensive manner with overexaggerated racial features:
We’re showcased as criminals:
We’re reduced to tap-dancing, coonin’ servant roles:
Now, do you understand why we must represent our people and not get emotional when others don’t?
If you want black heroes to represent black people in video games (and other forms of media), then do it yourself. You don’t need to wait on white people to give you one. There are thousands and thousands of creative black people who are bringing us black characters in a positive light (such as Black Sands Entertainment with their comic series Kids 2 Kings). We have black people in tech who can code and program. I’m sure they can make a game for you that features a black hero.
For real, Black people can get together with their skills, form their own video game company, and make their own games. And sure, some of you uncreative, section 8 living, single mother having, dusty niggas who ain’t about shit and ain’t gonna do shit with your lives can say “Well, that’s a cop-out! We need to hold these companies accountable for not putting black people in their games”.
I agree with you! It’s a cop-out! We should cop- out from mainstream society and do our own shit rather than wait for somebody to give us something. We don’t need to wait for somebody else to do it for us and cry when they don’t do it.
Crying to these companies don’t produce results.
It only produces useless tears.
Tears that don’t do anything for anyone but for people like me to make fun of you for shedding.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to download some Ashe Rule 34 and wish she was real so she could step on me.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When The Cicadas Cry) is a fantastic, intense horror anime, manga, and visual novel series filled with nerve-wracking suspense, psychological terror, bloody brutality, and relentless ultra-violence written by Japanese author Ryukishi07. Higurashi is beloved by both anime and visual novel fans globally and is considered by many as Ryukishi07’s best work, and for many great reasons.
By crafting a cocktail of classic narrative themes/conflicts, traditional Japanese folklore, and supernatural elements with real-world topics/issues (such as mental illness, child abuse/neglect, ethics in scientific research, citizens vs. government, etc.), Ryukishi07 delivered to the world of anime and visual novel a powerful and thought-provoking masterpiece. A masterpiece that ’s still respected and celebrated in anime and visual novel circles today; despite the visual novel ending in 2006 (not counting remakes, ports, remasters, etc. after 2006), and five years after the run of the anime (with Higurashi Outbreak in 2013).
With Halloween drawing near, I figured that it now would be the best time to talk about this marvelous series – but not in a way you may expect. Yes. The spooky holiday is almost here. Higurashi is a spooky anime. You would think that logically, I would talk about the spooky and horror themes of the series.
But, I’m going to take different approach.
A much different approach.
Would you call me crazy if I say that Higurashi, a Japanese otaku series, helped me get into old school Hip-Hop; a beloved urban American music artform?
Yes. As wild as it may sound, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni got me into old-school hip-hop. Out of anything and everything that is a possibility in the world, it took a Japanese horror series for me to not only get into old-school hip-hop but have a strong love for it. You may be wondering how is that ’s even possible.
Well, in order for me to tell you this tale, we need to go back to the Summer of 2010.
I’ve been a fan of Higurashi for almost a year after discovering the series on YouTube (I was actually aware of it back in high school, but that’s for another tale). And by a fan, I was fucking obsessed with it. I spent most of that summer looking up anything Higurashi; in efforts to gain knowledge about it. The official manga. The Fan doujins. The voice actors. Video games. Ryukishi07 himself even. And of course, it’s music.
One night, I was bumpin’ Dear You: Destructive, one of many remixes of Shion’s image song Youfrom the Higurashi visual novel. As the song was ending, there was a video in the suggestion bar of YouTube that made me a bit curious thanks to its thumbnail.
The thumbnail featured a transparent face of Rena in the foreground of a New York City borough with the word “You” in the top right corner in Old English font. The title of the video was in Japanese, sans one single word: “HIPHOP”. I merely assumed that a Japanese doujin music producer created a hip-hop sample beat of the song and was excited to hear a hip-hop version of the song.
Being ever so curious and my attention grabbed, I clicked on the link.
The song starts to play. A lone piano playing arpeggios rang out for four bars. The piano version of You no doubt. A drumbeat sample from Shing02 and Nujabee’s Luv Sic Pt. 1 played on the fifth beat and throughout the song, along with a woman (Lauryn Hill) vocalizing “ooo ooo ooooo”, and an East Coast hip-hop legend spitting.
‘Imagine smokin’ weed in the streets without cops harassin’
Imagine going to court with no trial…’
‘This is Nas! This is Nas rapping over a Higurashi song!’ I was in both awe and disbelief. Some visual novel otaku fuck in Japan mashed up Nas’s If I Ruled The World with You! Not only did he do that, but he also threw in the drum track from Luv Sic as an added bonus! Granted, I knew who Nas was thanks to a friend who’s a fan of his works – I just wasn’t a fan of him until I heard this mashup.
I instantly fell in love with both the mashup and the lyrics of If I Ruled The World, even if it wasn’t the original song itself. I let the song repeat itself for about seven times. Upon Hearing the sorrowful piano notes of You in unison of Nas’s speaking on of his vision of utopia for Black America, along with Lauryn Hill’s breathtaking vocals, and the cries of the summer cicadas, Goosebumps hit me hard.
I grew ever more curious about If I Ruled The World and the lyrics.
‘It’s elementary: they want us all gone eventually’.
‘Why does this fit well with how the Japanese government wants to wipe out Hinamizawa and the villagers in it?!’ I asked myself.
‘If I ruled the world (imagine that), I’d free all my sons!’. ‘I wonder; did the dude who made this thought about how Rika wanted to free herself from her tragic fate ?’ I pondered.
‘Strictly living longevity to the destiny
I thought I’d never see it, but reality struck
Better find out before your time’s out, what the fuck?’
‘I can see this for Rika and how she is desperately trying to find a way to cheat death for good before fate closes in on her.’
All Wild theories; but it made sense (in my head).
I had to let it marinate.
Even if the mashup creator didn’t mean to make certain lyrics relate to Higurashi, I couldn’t help but reflect. I let the song stop playing and decide to listen to the original version of Nas’s classic. There’s no denying that the beat was soaked in that definitive New York City hip-hop vibe. That electro notes playing up and down the scale. The simple yet deep pulse of the bass. The quiet layered strings.
I craved for more information.
Acting on a gut instinct that the beat for If I Ruled the World was a sample, I went on Google to see if my gut was correct – and it was. Not only was my gut was correct, but the sampled was also from Whodini’s 1984 classic Friends.
How many of us have them?
Ones we can depend on.’
It was like if the universe knew I was searching for a connection for the Higurashi mash up. The overarching theme of Higurashi is the power of friendship and there I was; listening to a classic hip-hop song with the hook asking if we have friends we can depend on.
‘Friends…Ones we can depend on.’ God. That’s powerful.
Satoko depended on her friends to save her from her abusive uncle – including her new friends; who were once her enemies (the villagers who once hated her and her family). Rena realized that no matter what, her friends love her: even if Rena was having a mental breakdown and couldn’t trust the friends she loved. Rika learned that how it was okay to open up to her friends about her depression and fear that Satoko – her best friend – was going to be taken away from her (by said abusive uncle mentioned earlier). Keiichi, like Rena, learned the value of trusting and opening up to his friends.
Was it all a coincidence that I would find a hip-hop song that has a famous hook that could relate to Higurashi? Perhaps. But there was no denying the fact by me researching the source of Nas’s If I Ruled The World sample, it opened an entirely new world of music for me. Sure, I was aware of classic 80s hip-hop legends such as KRS-One, N.W.A, Public Enemy, and Grandmaster Flash, but I never went out of my way to listen to them.
At the time, my mind only focused on listening to modern artists who were on the real shit (J. Cole for example) and 90s rappers such as Tupac. I thought I didn’t need to listen to classic rappers; I foolishly believed they were outdated! Nobody, sans OGs (original gangstas) and oldheads, went out their way to listen to the classic MCs. I was ignorant! Stupid even! For years, I allowed myself to miss out on what hip-hop legends of the past had to offer to the art form. My jaded attitude caused me to miss out.
You can even say it was a shame that it took some weeaboo bullshit to get me into the classics.
But, it did.
As I’m finishing up this little insight of my world for you guys, I am reflecting on how hip-hop has a lot in common with not only Higurashi but with anime in general.
Two completely art forms.
Many endless similarities.
Let’s start with Higurashi, of course. Both Higurashi and Hip-Hop share a common birth month: August. In fact, the first Higurashi game, Onikakushi-Hen (lit. Spirited Away By The Demon Chapter) dropped on August 10th, 2002. The official birthday of hip-hop? August 11th, 1973. A mere 29 years and a day apart, but it’s amazing on how they have back-to-back birthdays.
Hip-Hop, for generations, has been used as a platform to speak out against government oppression and corruption with hits such as N.W.A.’s Fuck The Police, Public Enemy’s By The Time I Get To Arizona, and Childish Gambino’s This is America. One could say that hip-hop inspires Black Americans to rise up and fight against the oppressive forces that threaten our quality of life.
During the second half of Higurashi (The Answer Arcs), the series switch from a supernatural, psychological thriller tale, to a story of the people of Hinamizawa rising up against the corrupt Japanese government (that was trying to wipe out the town and its people).
When it comes to the realm of anime in general, you can’t tell me there aren’t any hip-hop songs that can be used for anime and the characters and stories that make up this beloved art medium. Listen to Sky’s The Limit by Biggie Smalls: A song about the hustler’s rise to riches and achieving his dreams. After you listen to that go watch Gainax’s classic OVA Otaku no Video: an anime about an otaku becoming a hustler, to a businessman, to the world’s richest man.
Or maybe Tech N9ne’s Pyscho Bitch may persuade you. Listen to it and think about your classic psychotic yandere characters such as Yuno Gasai (The Future Diary), Kotonoha Katsura (School Days), Kaede Fuyou (Shuffle!), and since we’re talking about Higurashi, the series best girl Shion Sonozaki.
To end my tale, let’s go back to my previous question: Would you, after reading all of this, call me crazy for the fact that it took Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – a classic otaku horror series, to get me into hip-hop? I can understand if you say yes. Of course, it is. It shouldn’t even make sense.
But, without that You x If I Ruled The World mash up I discovered nearly ten years ago, I would have gone through life never knowing about timeless artists that paved that path for talented, iconic wordsmiths such as J. Cole, Logic, Tupac, KRS-One, Kendrick Lamar, and many more.
That would have been much, much crazier.
-Yuki The Snowman
Somebody on Wiz Khalifa’s team is a fucking weeaboo and sampled Main Theme Aifrom the Higurashi anime for him to rap over:
Content Warning: Animated Rape/sexual assault mentioned/shown. Go readsome ofmy other shit if you’re not comfortable with that shit.
You know, there isn’t any reason why I should write a first impression review on an anime that going in, I knew sucked. When you share common opinions and viewpoints on anime with fellow otakus (with way more knowledge on anime than yourself) that you can trust (and mostly agree with because they’re jaded as hell thanks to horrible mainstream anime out today), you should take their word that the anime they hate on sucks.
It sucks and you should leave it alone – never to waste your time on it.
I could have spent that time on better things. Things such as shopping for food for the week, upgrading my Fall/Winter wardrobe (so I won’t look like the sloppy weeaboos and nigga nerds you love bashing, cleaning my messy room, and finishing up that Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) adventure series that I’ll never complete because I should have done it as soon as I got home from the convention while I still was high off the AWA hype.
Instead, I decided – against all of the suggestions of my like-minded peers – to watch Goblin Slayer: the latest edgelord gore fest anime that entry-level weebs are capping for. I am sure that I don’t have to tell you folks that Goblin Slayer is complete trash that you must avoid it. Avoid it as if it was your crazy ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who loves playing with knives and use those knives to cut themselves for fun.
We know its trash. I know its trash. But, it’s my duty to play pretend Chinese Cartoons Analysis and break down why this show is trash and why only edgelords and entry-level weeaboos love it.
…I’m fucking lying! I’m not wasting 24 minutes of my life analyzing an episode of from an anime that I knew it was going to be trash since Day 1! So instead, let’s talk about the scene that sold the entry-level weebs, offended the SJWeeaboos, and made us veterans otaku avoid Goblin Slayer.
The “fucked up” shit starts around the 5:52 mark. After our heroes see an obvious warning to not enter the goblin cave (not once, but twice), they are ambushed by the goblins. Inside their nest. Where they know the nooks and crannies of their cave. And know where are the best places to attack any intruders.
Our heroes aren’t fucking smart.
And so, they get their asses beat – mercilessly. The Mage Girl gets stabbed to death by a poisoned knife (more so she gets mercy killed by Goblin Slayer because the Healer Bitch never learned an Antidote spell), Fighter gets chopped up into pieces after being assaulted by hideous, CGI-rendered goblins (by hideous I mean that in a bad way the CGI animated goblins look ugly as hell. Oh and they cut away from the Goblin chopping dude’s body in pieces), and Kung-Fu Girl gets command grabbed by the Goblin boss, slammed against a wall, and gets gang-raped by the rest of the goblin nest.
This is the “fucked up” shit we waited for after two minutes of the generic baby’s first fantasy anime story explanation. This is the fucked up shit that people have been either of support or offended over for the past three weeks. It’s honestly nothing special.
Let’s compare Goblin Slayer’s intro to a legacy edgy anime’s intro: Elfen Lied.
In Elfen Lied, we’re immediately dropped into the carnage after the end of the OP. Viewers are treated with a twitching, severed arm on the ground cover in blood, a man being beheaded by Lucy, a pen piercing through another man’s skull, a young girl’s body gets used as a human shield riddled by bullets, (but not before Lucy’s rips her head off) , and bodies being shredded into pieces.
Right off the back Elfen Lied doesn’t play around with how gory it can get.
Goblin Slayer? Nah. It decided to show us its horrible crap after wasting two minutes of our time. Sure, we got a black and white scene of Healer Bitch weeping on the ground crying in fear while Goblin Slayer is walking towards here. But, there are no clues telling us what’s happening. We are unaware if Goblin Slayer was the one who attacked her or not.
The intro gave us no reason on why we should care about what is going to happen to Healer Bitch or why we should care about her and her character overall. That’s another problem I have with Goblin Slayer: the characters (sans the Goblin Slayer himself), are unmemorable.
They’re literally nameless. They are only named by their class names – nothing more. No clues on what these guys were doing before their demise, why they wanted to become adventures, their ultimate motivates, nothing.
The only character I gave a slight fuck about is the Black Mage Girl; that’s only because I like dorky girls who wear glasses and read books. But there are other anime female dorky, bookworm characters who are way better because they have personalities (Ami from Sailor Moon, Yuki Nagato from Haruhi, and Tsubasa from Monogatari to name a few)
(Btw, any dorky glasses-wearing woman between the ages of 21-30 out there reading this hit me up The Yuki The Snowman Facebook page DMs been dry lately)
None of the characters are remotely interesting (sans, again, Goblin Slayer). They all have generic, uninspiring character designs that you could find in any average, bland JRPG mobile game or an old-school Nintendo/Famicom JRPG. The Fighter looks like your average, cocky hero thinking he can smash any female in his party. Karate Girl looks like any other girl from anime that loves action (ponytail and acts a bit masculine). Black Mage Chick looks like a player 2 palette swap of Yuki Nagato in her Witch outfit.
I give no fucks about them.
You know how to make people give a fuck about characters? Give them a little bit of a personality that could help us connect to them. If we spent a little time getting to know these characters throughout a few episodes, maybe whatever terrible thing that happened to them in that cave would have been way impactful (beyond knee-jerk reactions from SJWeeaboos and entry-level weebs)
Better yet, if Goblin Slayer started by dropping us in the middle of the action/carnage at the very start of the episode, I would have given a care. Show us that this is a suspenseful world in conflict. Show us that these goblins have completely dominated the human population, in the beginning, to give us the impression that living in this type of society is horrifying for the average human.
Know what? Let’s compare the introduction of Goblin Slayer to the introduction of another dark fantasy media: Final Fantasy 2 (FF2). Bear with me; I know FF2 is a video game, but trust me on this one.
After reading the intro text and naming your characters, you’re immediately forced into a hopeless battle. Your party is surrounded by four dark knights from the demonic empire who are leagues beyond your party in combat experience.
One-by-one, the Dark Knights take your team out. By the way, your party was running away from these guys earlier; after their village was slaughtered by the empire’s forces. In less than two minutes you knew that the story of Final Fantasy 2 wasn’t going to be a happy one. You knew that it was going to be a story of war, despair, hopelessness, tragedy, and death.
And it didn’t wait until halfway into the game to tell you that.
If Goblin Slayer started out with the four heroes being ambushed and mercilessly assaulted by a few high ranking goblin soldiers (along with some other goblins wreaking havoc on their town) I would have cared. Elfen Lied dropped us right into the action. Higurashi starts out with Keiichi killing Mion and Rena (thus making us curious on why he did kill those two). Final Fantasy 2 started the action by showing the heroes getting their ass beat.
Why Goblin Slayer couldn’t do the same?
Let’s go back the boring ass “slaughter” scene of the Goblin Slayer party. First off, how did this party get slaughtered by a group of goblins? As in the entry level, easy to defeat enemies? That are usually fucking tutorial enemies to fight in most JRPGS?
In fact, let me show you the first battle in Final Fantasy 3:
See how easy it is to take out a few goblins. I was pressing “Fight” with one button while checking my emails on my phone with the other. That’s simple.
Another thing that annoyed the fuck out of me was the “fear” faces each hero had before they met their demise. These faces don’t convey the message that these characters are in fear of their lives. They looked like they were being in minor pain at best and annoyed at worse.
You wanna see faces that convey the emotion of fear?
This is fear:
This is fear:
This is fear:
This is retarded:
Black Mage Girl is about to get stabbed to death and that’s the face she’s making? It looks like she pulled a muscle. It doesn’t look like she’s about to have her life taken away from her by some monsters.
Sigh…no fuckin excuses for this shit.
After the scene where Healer Bitch starts pissing on herself and Goblin Slayer came to save her, I gave up on this anime. A shame. Mostly because I wasted two glasses of wine and a blunt of loud in hopes that I was able to completely tear this show apart (being intoxicated helps with writing bad reviews). The show was so disappointing that I couldn’t get past the fifteen-minute mark. It kinda makes me sad because I enjoy media that’s fucked up and dark…as long as it’s good.
I’ve seen Goblin Slayer being compared to Berserk and Elfen Lied in terms of edgelordness and darkness. Berserk is dark, yes. But Kentaro Miura went out of his way to make sure readers of Berserk gave a fuck about characters like Guts by giving Guts a personality and a reason for Guts to better himself despite all the horrific things that happened to him in his life.
We gave a fuck about Lucy/Kaede in Elfen Lied because we understand that she was tortured, bullied, and treated like shit because of her race. Despite how much of an overrated and horrible show Elfen Lied is, at least we could understand Lucy’s trauma and why she was so angry with humanity. We wanted Lucy to have at least a little bit of happiness (or at the least, therapy).
Goblin Slayer? Well, at least he’s a badass mother fucker that we can compare to Doomguy from the Doom video game series. Goblin Slayer (the anime) would have worked better as a dark, edgy, violent hack-and-slash game. You don’t need to have a decent story. An excellent, exciting gameplay and great graphics emulating the feel of the manga would do. But real shit, the characters of Goblin Slayer are boring, unoriginal, and lack heavily in the personality department.
It’s clear that I, and many other anime fans with common sense and superior taste in anime (compared to the rest of you weeaboos), don’t like Goblin Slayer. However, I do understand why some anime fans might love it. We are dealing with a new generation of anime fans who are watching their first edgy, bloody, and gory anime thanks to Goblin Slayer.
Like us older folks, they were once used to the light-hearted, cheerful, happy-go-lucky Shounen bullshit. Sure, Shounen anime tend to have blood, violence, and cussing, but that’s about it. A show like Goblin Slayer? It’s like these kids went from smoking reggie weed to Californian dispensary kush.
(Little do they know Goblin Slayer is just high-quality reggie weed)
Look, I remember being a naive weeaboo getting into gory anime such as Elfen Lied orHigurashi no Naku Koro ni for the first time. I thought I was the shit! No more watching boring, kiddie anime like Inuyasha or Dragon Ball for me: I’m where the big boys play now! I found anime that was bloody, gory, and ultra-violent. Anime that [adult swim] wouldn’t even dare to show on national T.V. late at night. And I’m sure some of you older folks once knew this feeling of joy as well when you saw your first gory anime like Violence Jack orNinja Scroll.
So I can understand why the current generation of young anime fans is eating up Goblin Slayer. It’s a new experience that they wouldn’t otherwise get from watching anime on T.V.. Or Netflix. Crunchyroll. I dunno what you folks watch your anime on now anymore; I’m a fucking old man.
But still! It’s that experience that is going to stay with their otaku journey forever.
Trust me on that.
Regardless, just like with me understanding that Elfen Lied was edgy trash a few years later after watching it, Goblin Slayer is edgy trash. The only people who should watch the show are folks who want to watch something utterly violent and degrading, but lacks substance to justify it (So mostly children and wannabe edgelords). Sure, it’s dark and fucked up, but as previously mentioned, there are other anime that does the dark and edgy gorefest much better (like Berserk).
To conclude this first impression review, what are my final thoughts on Goblin Slayer?
AFTERWORD: I heard the manga is lightyears better than the anime and much gorier so I may check the manga instead of the anime. Also I should had known this anime would suck given most anime that have its roots in a light novel are garbage.
‘I can never throw away who I am!’ -Vegeta, Dragon Ball Super
You should never apologize for being yourself. Even if people don’t get who you are as a person, you still need to be and do you. Somebody demands that you apologize for your quirky passions? Fuck them! Somebody thinks you’re too egotistical? Don’t feel bad. That person suffers from low self-esteem and loves to hate on anyone who has pride in themselves.
Never say sorry to them because you never allowed society to control who you should be.
People who get on the cases of other people (because they accepted who they are) are cowardly, beta losers who’ve allowed society to hammer them down and stripped them of their pride and confidence. When these lowly, insecure nobodies see people being comfortable with themselves and living a bold, grand life, they only see a reflection of what they could have been in their below average life.
Unlike the prideful champs of the world, they followed the rules of society and lost their true self.
At the time of this writing, I received a YouTube video notification from the luxury and wealth website, Alux. Alux dropped a new video for their Sunday Motivation Video series: 15 Things You Should NEVER Apologize For. I didn’t even start the video and a huge smile came across my face.
I needed this video due to recent events.
Last week, I was assaulted and battered for my views on money and wealth. Don’t worry beloved readers; it wasn’t physical, so I suffered no damaged. The assault came in the form of whiny liberal crybabies armed with their smartphones, keyboards, and Twitter fingers. Crybabies who are sick and tired of being broke and struggling, but won’t take action to cure their sickness.
I decided to share a post from a leftist Facebook page on how if we’re gonna eat the rich, we should also eat pop-stars like Beyoncé. Because, to them, it’s unfair that Beyoncé makes $30,000,000 a show while hardworking normal people get scraps (not her fault lol).
I offered a solution to their problem: Instead of worrying about and hating on how other people are building wealth, transmute that hateful energy towards something you’re great at and make money that way. Hating on somebody else’s livelihood isn’t going to stop their cashflow nor decrease their income.
I was viciously ripped apart by those dogs.
But – to be honest – I love it when I make hit dogs holler.
At this point in my life, I’m used to being attack for being myself. As a Black man who happens to be a passionate nerd, receiving criticism for my lifestyle isn’t new at all. Uncultured, uneducated niggas think they can shame you because you want to educate yourself and rise above the destructive street culture that takes the lives of thousands of young black men each year (thanks systematic white supremacy for trapping and setting up the black community).
There are black men and women who are nerds, weeaboos, and geeks of course. So finding common grounds with them should be simple. Sadly, most Black nerds tend to be coonin’ ass, tap-dancin’, self-hatin’ Uncle Toms, Bed Bucks, and Bed Wenches. If you don’t get down with their little get down (trash talking other black people and kissing white nerds’ asses) they will ostracize you from their dusty nigga nerd groups. To them, you’re not a “real” black nerd if you listen to mainstream hip-hop, wear stylish and timeless clothes, and speak out against racism.
I wish I was making all of this up.
Finally, you have racist white nerds (obviously) trying to hurt you and bring you down for being a black nerd with confidence. If you’re not a buck-dancing coonin’ nigga nerd kissing their white asses, act like “other black people” (whatever that means), and you actually have a backbone/pair of balls to stand up to their bullshit (unlike a lot of you black nerds), they will attack you with extreme prejudice. And racism.
You, a black man, fucked that Asian Reimu Hakurei off the popular anime series Touhou cosplayer that they were eyeing at an anime convention? Best believe they will call you a nigger with a hard “r” (not to your face obviously they do it on their weeaboo Facebook groups).
Decided to cosplay outside your race and are cosplaying trash girl Aqua from Konosuba? You will get harassed by white nerds who demand that you cosplay somebody black; because they think your Black skin is ruining their precious 2D white/Asian waifu (again, these are the same people who think cosplay is for everyone).
You have to do you and accept yourself despite the heat.
Never apologize for it.
These vicious attacks against your character can even come from your friends, family or close associates. People who you thought you could lean on for moral support and had your back. It can leave you heartbroken.
But you gotta keep doing you.
Years ago, I was heavily into the Shin Megami Tensei/Persona series. Obsessed even. I made a name for myself through the SMT/Persona communities on Facebook and had a rather successful live blogging of my Persona 3 and Persona 4 adventures on tumblr (before I left tumblr due to the entitled, white crybabies; whining about life ruining the website).
One day, while I was kicking it with a few friends, a friend of mine decided that I needed a weeaboo intervention; because my passion for otaku culture and Persona was too much (for his weak mind who lacked passion for things). He ranted about how Persona is an old series that he got into back in high school, how it was never going to reach mainstream popularity (what is that phrase that people use for stupid comments and statements? Lmfao), that I got into the series way too late for anyone to discuss about it (again, laughing my fucking ass off) and that I need to move on.
I simply smiled, nodded, and told him to fuck off.
What he was actually saying (i.e. projecting onto me) is that he wished he had the discipline and dedication to work on a live blog, that he could love something with grit (to deal with critical people that don’t get it), was passionate about had the balls and courage to speak on something that wasn’t popular, and that he wishes he could do the things I am doing. That’s what people like that do: worry about what others are doing with their lives (because there’s something going on in their lives they have yet to control).
A few years later (as recently as the second weekend of October of this year), I had yet another friend thought that he could try and pull that same shit with me.
I was chilling at a local convention (Archon St. Louis) drunkenly cosplaying as Monika from Doki Doki Literature Club (genderswap, of course, I am not fuckin’ wearing a skirt as a man like every other male does when cosplaying as a school girl character). The friend (drunkenly) came up to me and started saying how he blocked anything Doki Doki Literature Club related because I spoke about the game on my Facebook and Instagram pages “too much”.
I wanted to go off on him (as I tend to do with people when I’m heavily intoxicated), but I remember a small little victory I have over him. It’s just a small, minor victory from but it’s nothing major at all:
See kids, when you’re yourself and don’t apologize for it, people (in time) will notice, show their appreciation, and respect you. It’s going to take time. A long time. But it does and will happen (but only if you work smart and hard for it). Right then and there, I could have pulled that fanart up on my phone and told him to shut his ass up and walked away. But I rather have him discover that image by himself than to look like a (complete) asshole to the eyes of the general convention public.
I – thanks to me subtly not giving a fuck about the opinions of others – have fanart of my cosplay.
(Now if I can gain massive success and make millions off this passion over time, that will be perfect)
This is why I have Vegeta’s image for the feature image and his now famous quote from his battle against Jiren from Dragon Ball Super at the start of this article.
It’s a powerful line. Vegeta’s pride as a Saiyan warrior was questioned and provoked by Jiren. Pride disregarded by Jiren as mere arrogance. But, to Vegeta, his arrogance is who he is: A proud warrior who loves his race. A man who suffered and made sacrifices to reach greatness.
I’m sure many of you guys reading this have been called egotistical and arrogant for being yourself, prideful, and having high levels of confidence. People told you that you’re full of yourself? Good. People who say that to you (to discourage you from following your path) aren’t full of themselves and pride. You know what they’re full of?
Full of self-doubt. Full of self-hatred. Full of low self-esteem. Full of envy.
They threw themselves away and gave up on their desires.
To those who are like that, can I you guys a few questions? What is your thought process when dealing with people who haven’t thrown themselves away and take pride in who they are? Why do you feel the need to attack their pride and ego? Did something happen to you along the way for you to give up on being yourself? Why do you find joy in attacking those with high confidence?
While you losers apologizing for being yourself on Pity Party Drive, us winners are over here celebrating on Victory Road who we are.
Note: I am about to burn some bridges with people in the St. Louis anime convention and cosplay scene with this post, ain’t I? Bet.
Second Note: This is a freewrite. There’s no order of my paragraphs in terms of flow.
“You should all pay attention to me! I want people to take pictures of my cosplay! I work hard on it!”
An annoying, feminine voice behind me rang out in the halls of Gateway Convention Center during the morning hours of Archon St. Louis The owner of the voice is a bit of a…what the word I can use that won’t (easily) offend people of the LBGT community? A fairy. A very narcissistic, attention whore, drama starting fairy. But I’m used to him and his attitude. This guy, whom I shall call “Narcian”, is a well-known, highly egotistical, arrogant, eccentric (shit-tier) cosplayer (in our area) who believes he has magical, spiritual powers (trust me; that’s just 1% percent of his issues).
(And I thought my ego and narcissism problems were terrible)
His parents never gave him any attention or love; so he grew up seeking and demanding attention from others. I spent a good year and a half avoiding this man thanks to traveling to other conventions outside my hometown; helping me forget that he existed. As he tried (and failed) to get people to notice his cosplay (even photo-bombing a Marvel Comics cosplay gathering), I realized something:
“Wow! I haven’t missed shit while I was away from this con scene!”
Between Anime St. Louis 2018 and Archon 2018, I skipped out on other St. Louis conventions to work on myself, traveling(to Los Angeles and Atlanta), and to have a little extra money in my pockets. When I came back to the St. Louis convention scene, I was reminded – thanks to Narcian – that I truly wasn’t missing out on anything that St. Louis had to offer for their nerd culture cons. It was a reminder on why I decided to say fuck this con scene and explore other scenes across America.
The weeaboos here who never left the St. Louis area (or at the very least, aren’t bettering themselves) were doing the same shit: Bitching about how much they hate their current low paying 9-to-5 jobs, being stuck in the rat race, looking forward to going to the bars and clubs and conventions on the weekends, causing/starting childish drama and beef with people, and refusing to level up.
They love to complain about how their lives aren’t going anywhere, but won’t put forth the effort to make a change.
And don’t try to convince them to leave St. Louis for a larger weeaboo festival with superior guest lists (featuring Japanese voice actors and creators) and more to do that they love to fantasize about attending. They’ll hit you with excuses such as “I don’t want to travel by myself”, “traveling cost too much money” (but wasting money at the club/bar isn’t for some odd reason), and – my personal favorite – “You’re just going to do the same shit out of town you do at home!”.
Please. I’m doing the same shit at conventions outside my hometown (like exploring and spending more time in Downtown L.A. as opposed to Anime Expo itself) and yet you guys are okay with repeating the same things in your lives.
To them, being in a state of everlasting comfortable mediocrity is an amazing and great thing. Why apply yourself with self-improvement when you can have the same things you’re used to every day. Every week. Every month. Every year. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it – hell, don’t even upgrade it because there’s no reason or logic behind it! That’s how St. Louis runs; may it be politics, entertainment, or weeaboo shit.
Let’s take Anime St. Louis for example.
Anime St. Louis has been around for thirteen years (if we’re counting Kunicon: their first convention). Naka-Kon, another Midwestern Convention held in Kansas City Missouri/Kansas area, started around the same time as Anime St. Louis Naka-Kon brought in guests straight from Japan (such as the J-Rock band ALSDEAD, Nobuo Uematsu, Junko Takeuchi a.k.a the voice of Hinata’s husband, and Takashi Kisaki.
Anime St. Louis? I mean, they gotten voice acting legends and icons such as Richard Epcar, Keith Silverstien, and Troy Baker. But you can see them at any convention across America. Naka-Kon. In bumfuck Kansas. Can land guests. Straight from Japan.
And yet Anime St. Louis can’t do the same?
My grips with the St. Louis con scene don’t end with the convention either. The community itself is filled with toxic, drama causing, pathetic otakus who have nothing going on with their lives outside of playing dress-up as their favorite anime Chinese Cartoon Characters. As a result, they attack Black cosplayers for cosplaying outside their race, playing favorites during cosplay contests (and by playing favorites, the cosplayers and judges are probably fucking and sucking/eating each other out the night before the cosplay contest), and even spread their drama to other Missouri conventions: harassing anyone who aren’t in their clique and make them feel unsafe.
Don’t get me wrong: There’s drama in every convention scene around the world. You do need to learn how to deal with it and not get involved (and never create it). But there’s a feeling of joy when you go to a new con scene outside the hometown one and have a fresh start. Nobody knows who you are – making you automatic neutral to any conflicts. You dealt with drama and know how to read people so you can sense any drama-makers in a new con scene. Sure, once you’re cliqued in with a group drama might arise, but you can leave said clique.
This isn’t to say that all St. Louis cosplayers and con-goers have this loser, drama mentality. One of the first people to leave this scene grew popular outside St. Louis with her cosplays despite her haters here. I saw her recently at Archon and she looked incredibly happy with her life after St. Louis. Another major cosplayer from the St. Louis area (who’s a master of using duct tape and 24 hour cosplays) left town and blew up. He networked with some major players of the YouTube scene and is doing great with his life.
Hell, recently an associate of mines made a status about how they were felt discouraged on cosplaying at Anime St. Louis because the judge allows past winners (a.k.a their friends) to use the same cosplays that won them cosplay contests years previously. This inspired the associate to leave the St. Louis area to explore other conventions with their cosplays. Others have agreed with them and want to explore other conventions with the associate. Folks are giving up on the St. Louis and starting to understand that there’s more to the cosplay world than this small ass shithole city’s scene.
And to be honest, I am happy for them. I am glad to see people bettering themselves.
To conclude this rant of a freewrite, the St. Louis convention scene sucks outside of Archon (thanks to their old-school style of not playing the bullshit game). If you’re a seasoned con-goer who travel across America (or the world) for conventions, don’t come to St. Louis (unless its’ for Archon or work).
There is no progress here and you’re better off skipping over STL. If you’re a rookie con-goer, I do recommend coming to Anime St. Louis to get your feet wet and dip off once you earn enough experience. To the con-goers who keep doing the same old bullshit: Stop it. You niggas are Level 5 Terra and Locke off Final Fantasy 6 playing around in Narshe while we got people about to raid Kefka’s Tower at levels 60-100.
I’m about to get blacklisted from Anime St. Louis because of this I bet.
Oh well, I’ll show up to the con without a badge drunk as fuck next year and throw a giant room party (doubling as my Birthday party) as a final farewell to the St. Louis anime con scene on May 4th, 2019.
Note: This is a freewrite. This is an article without order or structure.
Disclaimer: To my fellow St. Louis weeaboos: This is not a jab towards the anime conventions Anime St. Louis (ASTL) and Anime Senpai. Although people wouldn’t have to jab at these cons and go outside of the STL area for bigger and better cons if these two cons weren’t doing the same bullshit every year.
There’s something magical about older, fan-run local conventions. I guess it’s because these conventions are run by fans who came from an era were conventions weren’t a place for popularity contest (through cosplay or otherwise). An era was being a nerd wasn’t mainstream or cool. Fans came out to these events and cosplay because of their passion, love, and respect for nerd culture.
To me, this is why Archon St. Louis stands out as the dominant force in the St. Louis convention scene. Plus, there’s the appeal of Archon allowing room parties and people to drink alcohol (in the hotel area) without stuck-up straight edge weeaboos being mad; Unlike other local conventions (such as Anine St. Louis) that claim to be “Family-Friendly”, but you have cosplayers high on hard drugs at the rave, weebs getting wasted on the con floor because they can’t handle their liquor, and otakus having orgies at the main con hotel.
(We still remember that Homestuck orgy from an ASTL long since passed you sick fucks.)
But what is Archon? Archon is an internationally known sci-fi and fantasy convention (they carter to other media pop culture group, but Archon’s bread-and-butter is the sci-fi and fantasy side of the game). Every year, Archon brings in world-renown figures hailing from the world of entertainment. Iconic figures such as George R.R. Martin (the first guest of Archon), Ray Bradbury, Billy West, and Phil LaMarr have graced Archon with their presence: bringing in thousands of their fans to their standing room only panels.
Sure, you can see them at panels at the bigger conventions such as San Diego Comic Con or Dragon Con; but what makes Archon worth going is that personal experience of being with these guests at their panels of say 500-1000 people; as opposed to those larger conventions and being in a room with these icons with 3,000-5,000 nerds. Would you rather waste thousands and thousands of dollars at these gigantic, cramped conventions where the odds of you meeting these guests and have a short chat with them are lower than you fucking a fine cosplayer at your hotel room?
Or would you spend the time and money traveling to a smaller, more warm and welcoming conventions where you can spend an intimate time with the guests?
Now that I think about it, it’s funny how I use the words “warm” and “intimate” to describe the Archon experience. Again, it does go back to how Archon is run by OG (original gangsta) nerds who came up in a time where nerds were bullied hardcore and weren’t welcome by normal society, but there’s that welcoming, warm vibe that surrounds Archon (because of what these guys went through).
Regardless of your nerdom (may it be anime, comics, sci-fi, movies, etc.), Archon welcomes everyone. Nobody will come up to you and get in their feelings on how you’re cosplaying as an anime character at a Sci-Fi/Western media convention (can’t say the same for you weeaboos who love to get in ya feelings and go up to non-Eastern media cosplayers saying they don’t belong at anime cons).
Believe me; check out these pictures of a few non-Western (influenced) media cosplayers I took (while drunk and stoned so that’s why their pics are blurry):
You may be wondering (due to the title of this post) at this point why I am doing just one local convention from here on out? It’s simple: Archon is much mellower and lax compared to the anime conventions in the St. Louis area. Wizard World St. Louis is an industry ran convention; meaning no freedom to go wild.
Anime St. Louis is “cool”, but larger conventions such as Anime Expo, Anime Central, and Anime Weekend Atlanta have better guests and have the funds to obtain guests directly from Japan. Anime Senpai just started their first year in 2018 and came from the remains of a few dead conventions that crashed, burned, and failed.
I have no hope for Anime Senpai lasting longer than five years at the most.
Archon has the longevity factor. It’s been around for nearly 45 years and each year they do something to make it better, bigger, and net new and old fans. Unlike other conventions in our area, they don’t play around. It’s a convention for everyone regardless of age and fandom. Have a cosplay even if it’s not sci-fi or fantasy? They don’t care – bring it to Archon! You will find people who enjoy it (if it’s not too obscure).
Archon is amazing and I love it.
‘What more can I say?
I wouldn’t be here today
If the old-school didn’t pave the way!’ -Brand Nubian
NOTE: This is a freely written article on thoughts floating about in my head. As such, there is no structure or order with this post. I’m shooting from the hip.
Admit it: You love controversy. It’s okay, nobody (except me), will judge you. In fact, you, the world, and I all love controversy. It doesn’t matter if the controversy is caused by a football playing taking a knee during the National Anthem against racism/police brutality, a disgraced rapper tap-dancing, coonin’ it up, and running a Minstrel Show for his massas at the White House, or an edgelord “Babby’s first fucked up anime” featuring a disturbing rape scene in the first episode. We love it. Love it so much that we waste time talking about whatever made us feel some type of way on social media, to our co-workers, friends, whoever may listen to us rant.
Even if we hate the thing that caused the controversy, we can’t help but talk about it.
Let’s take the newest Fall anime Goblin Slayer for example. Anime fan circles online are at abuzz at towards the new show. Not because it’s a great show or anything like that. But because (as previously mention), it’s an edgelord, shit-tier anime that featured the brutal gang rape of a female character and a young girl being stabbed to death. In fact, Goblin Slayer (the manga) heavily features violence against women (meat shield lmfao). And you already know that Left-Wing liberal college brats with useless college degrees and confusing genders are all up in their feelings about the first episode and the manga series as a whole.
They have gone to their tumblrs and their twitters to rant about how Goblin Slayer is a male-power/ rape fantasy series and believes that it trains males to disrespect and assault women. Others stated that if you like the show, you’re probably an edgy little brat who thinks violence in anime makes it mature.
They’re just giving the show free promotion at this point.
It’s funny: You’d think people would have the sense to not speak about the things they hate in order to not get it noticed. As we all know, that method never works. The more you talk about something you don’t like, the more awareness you bring to it. The more awareness it gains, the more it’ll grow. Example: Idiotic Right Wing conservatives (racially charged) rampage against former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his deal with Nike. Kaepernick got a nice paycheck with his “Just Do It” advisement using his stance, activism, and platform.
Old, white men and women didn’t like that and decided to destroy their already-paid $50 Nikes that their poor, broke ass brought from Shoe Carnival or Ross’s (nobody isn’t stupid enough to destroy $150+ Air Force Ones, Jordan’s, or exclusives Nike shoes). Their anger simply only helped out the Nike brand and caused Nike to see an increase in sales – all because they couldn’t stop talking about their hatred Kaepernick and Nike’s supporting him.
And then Nike played everyone and use the funds to support Right Wing politicians.
As a child of the 90s, I am not a stranger to dealing with controversial against the things I love. The Simpsons (back when it was a great series) got a lot of heat for showing how truly fucked up the American family can be. Violent video games such as Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, and Postal ¸ where under attack by family groups. Wrestling – especially The WWF, was considered too immoral for TV. Yet, despite the controversy and protests by parent groups, the government, and other entities, these things strived and generated sales and popularity from the backlash. Why? Because people are naturally curious about terrible things. They check it out and see that whatever shit is causing the uproar isn’t all that bad.
I think people just feel good talking about the things they hate (or love)
With that said, If you are going to ask me how I am going to deal with the controversy behind Goblin Slayer as an anime fan here’s my answer:
(Speaking of controversy, you should totally check out one of my favorite yet controversial blog post: Pirating Does NOT Hurt the Anime Industry and share it on social media so I can make people mad at me and have them talk about the article and my blog. I wanna make high-horse moral weebs in their feelings.)
FOLLOW ME ON THESE VARIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS:
An Slow Idiot and Why Should Have Been Hard on Myself
Planning for Anime Weekend Atlanta went smoothly; despite it being a last minute con for me. As smoothly as somebody falling down a rugged mountain with jagged rocks and tearing their flesh apart. Originally, I wasn’t even planning on going to AWA. I was focused on putting my resources towards attending Anime Expo (which was a highly successful trip for me), and then Michigan for my friend’s wedding (which was canceled due to his girlfriend’s father having to do military-duty shit). With my friend’s wedding being canceled, I took any funds that I saved up for the wedding trip towards AWA. And weed. And liquor. And clothes.
So I’m kinda bad on saving and spending my money on stupid shit.
In any case, I had to remind myself that I had to be strict with my money management skills as I was the only one on my team who was going to AWA – initially. For once, I was going to a con solo without any outside help (I had gone to Collosalcon 2015 by myself but I roomed with strangers, so that doesn’t count). I had the funds saved to book myself a flight, buy a badge, and provide other needs for myself. My sights were focused on being an independent weeaboo who didn’t need anyone to help him on his weeaboo festival trips. It was going to be uncomfortable but in order to grow and improve you need that uncomforted.
Then – against all my best judgment and my gut feeling – I got back into my comfort zone.
My friend, “Sub-Zero” (A Sub-Zero cosplayer) hit me up and asked if I had a room for AWA. I was going to shoot him down, but I figured having extra funds with two people splitting the room would help me. Plus, extra funds meant I could stay in Atlanta for one more day and explore the Downtown area. I let him join me. Plus, he too wanted to stay in ATL a day extra so it worked out (or it would…).
A few days later, my friend “Noctis” (A Notctis cosplayer) hit me up asking if I had room for him. I wanted to say no, but he was having a bad time mentality and wanted to go to the con. Plus, he wanted to help me build our brand and get us noticed in the Southeast. So, of course, I had to let my boy join in on the fun. He has skills that I lacked in terms of brand building and a natural leader of sorts. Plus, more money in my pocket for that Sunday ATL adventure.
An adventure that never came to be among other things thanks to a bummy ass nigga.
A week later, my “friend” “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” asked if we had room in our hotel. I immediately lied and said “no”; being all-so-aware of the drama he caused my crew at AWA 2017 (I was chilling with another friend for the weekend, so I avoided 99.9% of their drama). Sadly, the bum ass nigga revealed that Nactus had told him Sub-Zero and I was seeking people to help room with us. The lie didn’t work. Fuck. I (reluctantly) let him join us – causing things to go downhill quick in planning.
Here’s where I should have been hard on myself.
Despite if “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” would have gotten in his feelings (as he often does when things don’t go his way), I should have fuckin’ lied to him and told him we weren’t looking for anyone. I would rather look like a liar in his eyes and never speak to him again based on that lie than to deal with con drama (that drained everyone mentality). We had more than enough funds set aside to cover the hotel. My greed, and being a cheap ass, got the better of me. What’s worse is that a day before he asked to room with us, my co-worker got fired; therefore, I picked up all his hours (which gave me more than enough extra funds for the trip). But nah. I wanted to be a “good friend” – against all judgment and logic.
The first of our problems came about when “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime”, Noctus, and I had all meet up for them to pay me their share of the room. “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” suggested earlier that we should rent a car to drive down to ATL because his car couldn’t make the trip (and he was fearful that his car would get damaged by a deer like last year during their trip). Despite my gut. telling me to say no and book a flight instead, I went ahead and agreed with the rental idea. He needed about $70 from each person for the car. I told him that it would make logical sense for him to keep $70 of the money he owed me for his share of the hotel. He protested against the idea; telling me to keep his part of the money.
Should have pressed the issue.
Fuck me and my stupidity.
The next day, he went to the car rental place (he claimed). Apparently, he needed a $200 deposit to rent the car…despite him showing us a screenshot online of the rental details (unless he purposely hid that info in the screenshot which I heavily suspect). Fucking idiot. He suggested that we should meet up at our friend’s house again to resolve the issue. An issue he should had researched weeks beforehand by asking me for the money he told me to keep. Even though I told him multiple times that it would have been beneficially for the crew if he would have kept it from the get-go. I’m pissed. I just did a 10-hour shift at the gig running on only 5 hours of sleep. I just wanted to go home, smoke weed, and sleep. But those things never happened. Like an actual harem MC (Makoto from School Days) he truly lacked common sense and reasoning.
We had to suffer for it.
The day before the con brought a surprise that everyone was expecting: He didn’t get the rental. He gave us this long-winded, sob story how he was a shitty friend and that he was going to make it all up for us and get things right. He was on that abuser type shit trying to make amends for his shitty behavior to his battered victims (who he would blame/gaslight us for their abuse). Oh. He made things up alright. By using our money that was supposed to be for the rental and put it towards repairs on his car – that would benefit him in the long-run – not us. The repairs cost “$270” for a tune-up and oil change. Which, to be honest, doesn’t seem like it would run anyone $270. But what do I nor Noctus know who suspected he was trying to scam us for money?
The next day, We arrived at our hotel after a surprisingly smooth seven-hour ride from St. Louis to Atlanta. We got to the hotel and I decide to take a few “we made it” shots and got myself drunk. Sub-Zero went to get his badge leaving me and “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” alone in the room. He revealed something that would have made me murder him if I had absolutely nothing to lose.
The repair costs that he claimed were $270?
It was actually $450+. And he was actually “broke”.
So “broke” that he could only afford a badge and food.
Oh and he owed Sub-Zero $100+. Money that was supposed to cover the room and allowed me to keep an extra $100 in my own pockets.
I arrived at my hotel. I went over to my table where my crew’s bottles of liquor and mixer were. I took two shots of my friend’s E&J (sorry Rath!). After that, I grabbed a glass and specific bottles and mixers: Vodka, Captain Morgan Apple Smash, Midori, Pineapple Juice, and Sprite. One-by-one, I pour the liquids in the glass. Thanks to the efforts of the Apple Smash and Midori, the drink gave off a lovely green color. Perfect.
Just Monika I said to myself.
Just Monika is a cocktail I created for a party that I was going to throw at another hotel I had reversed (which was canceled due to unforeseen events). Initially, I was going to debut it at the party to celebrate DDLC’s first anniversary, but shit happened and I decided to do it for a friend’s party I was bartending for. I started sipping on it, letting the alcohol enhance my dark side and get me further in my zone (more on the dark side and “the zone” at the end of the chapter)
I hopped in the cold shower (cold showers help me stay awake when I’m tired) and kept Saiyan Pride on repeat. All my focus was on being the best genderswap Monika I could be (and in the world). I want people to recognize me. I want racist DDLC cosplayers to be mad at me for being a black man cosplayer a white/Asian character. I wanted to install fear in any other males doing a genderswap DDLC cosplay at the con. My aim isn’t to compete with other Monika cosplayers: Most are either women or dudes wearing skirts. I want(ed) to stand out (which I will explain in about five paragraphs below)
(Also, not gonna lie: There was a Monika cosplayer – who knew she had an ass and wasn’t shy about showing it off in a very short skirt who walked past me as I was returning to my hotel. I lowkey was thinking of shooting my shot with her in my cosplay if I saw her again.
Thank God for Atlanta.
Thank God for thick women.)
I got out of the shower, put on my Monika cosplay, and hit the con floor. And of fucking course, my legendary bad luck in cosplay had to hit me hard. I was the only Monika on the con floor. Awesome! But there weren’t any other DDLC cosplayers about. This always happen to me: Whenever I decide to put on a cosplay from a fandom, nobody is around. But when I am in not in cosplay it’s like everyone wants to wear their shit (hell, back in 2016 at Anime St. Louis, there was about 3-5 Umineko: When They Cry cosplayers in a group; a year where I decided to not wear my Goat Butler cosplayer, but I digress).
Maybe I should do my cosplays in the morning instead of in the late afternoon/night.
Not only that, nobody knew who I was cosplaying as or from. I had this problem at Anime Expo when I first did my Monika cosplay and I was doing it solo. I figured that the reason why I wasn’t being noticed was that I didn’t have her ribbon. To fix that mistake I went ahead and ordered one on Amazon for AWA…expect it was small as hell and wasn’t the size of Monika’s gigantic bow. Now that I think about it, I think I might just forego the hair ribbon and get a white headband without a bow and wrap it around the ponytail of my wig (imagine Ryu’s white headband from the Street Fighter Alpha/Zero series). Plus, I refused to wear a skirt for reasons.
The thing about these types of cosplay as a male is that every male fucking wears a skirt. If I was to wear one, I would be no different. Sure, I have my race as an advantage, but that is something I was born with that I can’t control: easy mode. I rather work smarter and harder to be different. I much rather have a blazer tailored made to fit my body type than to get a generic DDLC school blazer off some cosplay site.
I also am not a fan of competition. There are more female Monika cosplayers than male. I can’t compete against them: they’ll win. The average male Monika cosplayer wears a skirt as previously mentioned. Again, won’t compete against that. I rather dominate by taking a different route; making you Monika cosplayers study my style once I master that cosplay and get in known on a global scale.
You male Monika cosplayers can wear a skirt and be like every other males.
You guys can get your Monika cosplay outfits off ebay and Amazon.
I’m going to stand out – like Monika herself.
(My version of Monika is inspired by the Business Casual fashion look, so that’s why I wear jeans instead of a skirt. The example pictured below):
After being disappointed that nobody knew who I was cosplaying as, I headed back to my room out of discouragement (plus, a friend of mines told me he could smell the alcohol on my breath [I had taken more shots with a friend in his room prior] and advise me to get rid of it, rest up, and sober up. Thank you, John, for being real), a Froppy-Chan (My Hero Academia) cosplayer along with two of her male friends spotted me. “Are you Monika?” she said with a smile. I took off my sunglasses to make eye contact with her, replied with a smile, and said “yes”. We started talking about the game, the themes of it, and our favorite characters – although short because I was drunk as hell.
Man, she was cute. Maybe if I wasn’t drunk I could have more of a deeper conversation with her about the game’s themes. Maybe shoot my shot with her and make her male friends jealous at and hate on me.
Is it horrible for me to be inspired to sober up in order to either take somebody’s else woman or make her male friends mad at me cuz we were vibing a little bit? Yes. But it did awaken something deep inside me: What if I just not use a strong substance like liquor and have fun cosplaying as Monika and talk to women naturally who know the character? Even if I don’t get “physical activities” at the end, I still had done these things:
1. I made somebody happy that I was cosplaying as their favorite character and that would have brightened their day.
2. I could have made a female friend that was based on mutual, platonic interests and learn what makes women click and get advice on women by women.
3. It’ll be on some self-improvement shit. One Percent Better.
Maintaining my smile, I held my head up high and marched back to my room to recover and freshen up for the night. Even if one stranger knew who I was cosplaying as; that was it for me. Well, not really. I wanted more people to know me for my cosplay. It was motivation for me to keep doing it. Keep improving. Find flaws and errors in my cosplay and work on them. Always seeking to better myself.
This time around, I was going to do and act better. Don’t you fucking dare drink any liquor tonight, Benjamin. You don’t need that shit to talk to women or anyone else. Be you even if you’re cosplaying tonight.
Let me tell you guys something: This worked in my favor. More on that in a later chapter.
Way later in the night, I was walking around in my Monika cosplay, scanning the scene after the late night parties ended and the “secret panel” proved to be a bit boring for me without my friends around (who had retired to the hotel after a few conflicts and bullshit among us). I am about to leave when I hear a girl with a few male friends say “Hey Monika, come over here!” I walked over to her direction and she was all smiles and giddily about seeing a Monika cosplayer.
We started talking about DDLC and about our favorite characters. I remember her saying like how she likes Monika because of how it looks like she sticks her ass out when she talks to you (in her sprite) and how she wanted to select Monika but she didn’t have a route. I wanted to chop up some game with and spit but I didn’t proceed for a few reasons:
1. She looked underage. Which, now that I think about it at the time of this writing, she probably wasn’t; Given her and her crew were sitting outside the 18+ secret panel room (and the area the blocked off for anyone under 18) and they had beers. I blame myself for being an idiot who didn’t take a power nap to regain my mental focus after being up for 17+ hours with only 5-6 hours of sleep the night prior.
She had about three guys with her. It’s not that I’m scared of any dudes around their female friend(s), but given my mental fatigue, there was no way I could have an advantage for myself to spit game with her and beat out the competition (this is going to sound pretty fucked up but trust me; usually if a woman has a few dudes around her, they’re trying to get in her pants. This isn’t always true, however).
Oh well. A lesson that I had to learn to apply in the future (but at least I’ve gotten over my fears of talking to women and I accepted the fact I don’t need liquor to talk to them and be the best version of myself when I’m interacting with them)
Going back to the visual novel panel, I remember Chris saying how the Fate series completely dominated the visual novel anime genre (as it is the most popular VN anime of all time with how strong it’s going). Which is funny, because last year, I was attending a panel ran by Kana Ueda – the voice actress for Rin Tohsaka from the fate series. She talked about how for her, attending Anime Weekend Atlanta with her fellow voice actors and reuniting with a veteran Japanese voice who was once her mentor was “fate” (for them meeting there). Hearing Chris words on the VN scene, seeing people who still have a passion for it, and cosplaying as Monika, I couldn’t help but reflect on Ueda’s statement on fate.
Perhaps it was fate for me to go to that visual novel panel, network with him (being unaware that of his work Anime News Network), talking to people about how visual novels made them happy and being upset that the genre is on the decline. Was it fate that I saw that Hanyuu cosplayer after having two When They Cry related dreams? I guess. Did fate lead me to that Floppy-chan and that girl who was happy that I was cosplaying as Monika and made me want to do better with it and inspired me to not throw in the towel? Who knows?
As I am finishing this chapter out, I am reminded of a Facebook post I made about how I remember when the fate series was a bit of an obscure VN series that was popular in Japan, but didn’t get much traction in the Western otaku market beyond your hardcore VN fans. This wasn’t on some hipster, “I knew about the series before it was popular” shit: It was me being in awe that a game made by people of humble background reached heights that nobody could imagine for the genre or in anime fandom in general.
Some dumbass accused me of being a hipster and stated that “nobody gives a fuck about shitty visual novels”. I laughed. A week later, I was in Los Angeles for Anime Expo. I was walking around the Downtown area where my eyes met this massive Fate/Grand Order poster hanging over a bank. I was with my friend (whom I told him about the dumbass saying that bullshit) and we laughed. I wanted to post a picture I took of the poster and replied to his comment saying If nobody gave a fuck about shitty visual novels why they got this poster out here? on some petty shit.
To the dumbass who said that here’s something for you:
My unforgiving pettiness aside, I really do hope the visual novel genre does make a comeback. I’ll do more cosplays from it. Hell, even if it doesn’t, I’ll keep doing it – no matter what.
Continued in Chapter 3.
In the book Relentless by Tim Grover, Tim speaks on two accepts of the human’s psyche: “The Zone” and “The Dark Side”. The Zone is the dark, quiet lonely place within your mind. You shut everything in the world out to be in your own. It’s a calm, relaxing, and focused place.
The Dark Side is that: The darkness part of your mind where only you know your deepest, true desires – your true self (Persona lol). Rather than let your dark side control and ultimately – destroy you – you control it. You use the darkest parts of your personality to push yourself towards you end goal(s).
JUST MONIKA COCKTAIL:
1oz Light Rum
1oz Captain Morgan Apple Smash
4oz pineapple juice
Top with Sprite
Combine Ingredients sans Sprite in a shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour mixture in a Collins glass. Top with sprite. You can also rock the ingredinets with sprite and then pour the mixture into a Collins glass.
(The only reason why I used vodka in this story because my dumbass left my light rum in a homeboy’s hotel room the night before)
Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) left me starving. Starving for more. More networking opportunity. More ways to get my name out there. More ways to improve myself. On the final day of the convention, my crew and I went to smoke a blunt on our hotel’s garage parking rooftop before leaving our city for an eight-hour trip back home to St. Louis. As we smoked, we spoke about our successes and “failures”. Wins and losses. Triumphs and disappointments. Out of my team, I had the most wins; since I set my sights to hit the majority of my goals (such as making money bartending at a friend’s room party, networking with people within the industry, etc.).
They congratulated me for success and were happy for me.
But I wasn’t.
Sure, I hit a few goals. I went out and did what I was supposed to do build my brand. You’re not supposed to be praised for doing your job like everyone else. I wasn’t happy that I didn’t do more. I was disappointed at myself for allowing myself to get sidetracked and play myself. However, these disappointments, combined with my success started to fire me up. Disappointment turned into desire. Desire turned into drive. Drive turned into action and planning.
For once in my life, I was excited to go back home after a vacation. I needed to go back so I could plan out the next year con season, write about my adventures. And of course, work my ass off for the next con season and come back completely dominating it.
Anime Weekend Atlanta left me starving.
On Friday, I went to a panel that caught my attention weeks prior: “Whatever Happened to Visual Novel Anime?”. I have a slight interest in the genre and was wondering why visual novels and anime based on the niche have been on the decline for the past 3-7 years. I went; seeking knowledge from somebody who was much wiser than myself.
The panel started. The host introduced himself, spoke about his passion for visual novels ,and revealed an amazing fact about himself: The panelist – Chris Adamson – is a writer for Anime News Network.
I had to network with him; no matter what.
I was in awe by the deep knowledge Chris dropped on us about the history of visual novels anime and why they were not as popular as they were back in the 2000s. The answers were “simple”, yet layered with complex facts. The facts included the following: the lack of effort and innovation from VN creators. Long-time fans losing interest. Animators struggling to add every minor detail form the visual novels into the anime version. There were also the lack of sales of products relating to the anime and visual novels.
Chris broke down every little detail with graphs, pictures, videos, audio, cited sources, sales figures, you name it. He was armed and prepared to attack us with knowledge and education. Clearly, he studied this genre with depth. Clearly, he was passionate about visual novels and wants it to see it recover from its slump.
At the end of the panel, he left the floor open for questions. I shoot my hand up high in the air before anyone else (if you’re ain’t first your last) and asked him this question:
Do you think there will a renaissance of visual novels and anime based on anime, and if they the VN industry does crash, do you see it rising from its ashes?
I’ve since forgotten most of Chris’s reply (thanks to smoking weed all weekend and being an idiot for not recording the panel), but he brought up an interesting point: He does believe that visual novels could come back, thanks to the success of the American visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) with its innovating meta-narrative (he even suggests that a DDLC anime could work through streaming services with Monika going through your watch history, fucking with the audio/video, etc.). Chris also mentioned that with more Americans entering the VN fray that could lead to the niche revival from a Western’s standpoint.
After the panel, I was completely floored and astonished by his wisdom. I had to network with him. Deep down in me, there was a fire building up. The fire of craving more knowledge. There were other guys with me who also had that fire in them. Out of the 20-30 people in attendance, only five of us stay after the panel (to speak with Chris). Two were working on their own visual novels, two were fans of the genre and also hungry for more knowledge, and of course, me; who was moved by this.
As we were finishing talking, a Yuri and Natsuki (DDLC) cosplayers walked past us. We all smiled as we were just talking about DDLC earlier. I smiled even harder; as it got me excited to rock my Monika genderswap cosplay the next morning on Day 3.
And by the next morning, I mean I decided to have shots of rum for breakfast and plotted to wear my “No Coonin’!” shirt to The People of Color (I fucking hate how black people us that term as a black man) Photoshoot in hopes of offending any self-hating Uncle Toms/Coons/Nergo Bed Wench nigga nerds with it at the shoot instead of cosplaying as Monika at the shoot.
Which, said plot was used against me.
I arrived at the shoot. Since it was a multi-media shoot, the host had people take group photos by genre (movies, anime, comics, etc.). Of course, you had cosplayers from comics, video games, and anime. Mainstream shit. However, nobody was cosplaying from any visual novels series (a testament of the decline of interest towards visual novels). I was sad and angry. Sad because there aren’t many Black nerds who are into visual novels. Angry at myself for deciding to (unsuccessfully) troll people with my shirt and not going to the shoot with wearing my Monika cosplay.
This is me being utterly arrogant, but I don’t give a shit: If I would have gone with that Monika cosplay, I would have been the only Black cosplayer in that group doing a visual novel character cosplay. Is Doki Doki Literature Club a normie tier meme visual novel? Yes. But it’s still a visual novel. And I would have earned that honor and respect of doing something out of the norm. A black man. Doing a gendswap cosplay. Of a visual novel character. A piece of media which black people don’t really fuck with.
I could have spoken good game about the visual novel niche and get my fellow Black nerds hip on it. I could have introduced people who never played a VN before into a new world; which in turn could have gotten people into playing them.
But I’m a fucking idiot.
(By the way, there’s going to be more of my arrogance later. Please leave if you’re offended by people having pride in themselves and their passion).
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
I left the POC shoot and decided to take a few pics inside the convention center. As I’m wandering around I spot a black woman wearing a shrine maiden outfit. Red pants, disconnected sleeves, white top, and purple hair. For a split second, I thought she was cosplaying as the PC98 era Reimu from Touhou (Highly Responsive to Prayers, Lotus Land Story, etc.) and I was smiling from ear-to-ear at the “fact” that there was a black woman cosplaying as the old-school version of Red Sanae.
Upon further inspection, she wasn’t wearing Reimu’s trademark red bow, but rather black horns with cracks in them.
Wait, is she cosplaying as Hanyuu from Higurashi I asked myself.
I poked her on her shoulder and asked. She smiled and I started to geeked out. Somebody still has love for Higurashi and is cosplaying at the con; (to my knowledge) she was the only Higurashi cosplayer at the con. Either way, I was just fucking happy to see somebody cosplay as a character from one of my favorite visual novel anime series.
I took her picture of course and told her that her cosplay was lovely. My only regret is that I didn’t tell her I appreciate her for cosplay as a Higurashi character and that it made me want to do a When They Cry cosplay again (I used to cosplay as Goat Butler from Umineko for a while). I should had left my friends behind and let them go back to the hotel while I chopped up some game with the woman.
It’s funny because days prior to AWA, I had two When They Cry related dreams. The first dream was of me at Anime Weekend Atlanta. I was cosplaying as a genderswap Bernkastel, but I got kicked out from the con for being too drunk (Bernkastel drinks wine and gets drunk so I had to play the role you know even in my dreams), not wearing my badge, and telling con staff that I don’t give a fuck about having a badge.
The second one was of me at Anime Expo. I was wearing a way better version of my Goat Bulter cosplay. As I was walking out and about there was a group of Umineko cosplayers. A Bernkastel cosplayer spotted me and asked if I wanted to join them for a few photos, which I agreed to.
And then I woked up.
Back to reality. I marched back to my hotel. I started listening to an interview with Tim Grover (author of Relentless, the trainer of Basketball icons such as Kobe Byrant, Dwayne Wade, and Micheal Jordan). I was trying to think of a plan as I prep for my Monika cosplay. I was overanalyzing and overthinking. I remember in the first chapter of Relentless Grover stated the best don’t think,
They act. On instinct. And let their instincts do the work.
From that thought, I turned off the interview and started to listen to Saiyan Pride from Dragon Ball Super on repeat. The echoing piano notes. The percussion building up to the arrival the horns, strings, and bells. I was entering my Zone. I was inviting my Dark Side to do the work. Tunnel vision and laser focus.
I wasn’t going to allow myself to fuck up further.
I’ll be honest with you: I’d be happy if Hi-Score Girl ended with Akira moving to America and never returning to Japan (not saying there should have been only three episodes, of course). Harou would have to move on, deal with his feelings, and handle his first heartbreak as the series finale or something. A realistic, relatable ending to viewers who experienced such pain in their youth.
They had feelings for somebody they cared about, spent endless hours with them, realized that person touched their heart and wanted to be with them until they were separated by uncontrollable forces.
That’s probably why I enjoy the third episode of Hi-Score Girl: because it hits close to home.
Years ago, there was a girl I had a crush on. We were in the same class and hung out with each other often. I don’t remember much about her besides that her family was poor. So poor that she only brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
I couldn’t care if she was poor or anything, she was a good friend and somebody I had feelings for. One day, she told me that her dad got a better paying job. As a result, her family was moving out of the city (for the job). I was happy that her family finally got money, but I was sad that she was moving away and that I would never see her again.
(My first childhood crush is probably hooked on heroin now because it’s the Midwest)
Even if the series didn’t end with Akira moving, it would have been impactful if Akira never returned, Harou moved on with his life and got in another relationship with a girl (which he does). In episode 4, we’re introduced to the new female protagonist, Koharu. She’s a bit of an introvert and goody-two-shoe who’s a little curious about video games (thanks to her dad running a small arcade outside their house).
Koharu, despite being a normie girl, has uncanny natural skills in fighting games, which catches Harou’s attention. Later, the two start to hang out after school. Harou gets her into gaming and helps her hones her gaming skills; therefore triggering the start of their relationship.
I’d be fine with Koharu replacing Akira as the female lead. Her character devolvement from a quiet normie girl who cares about nothing than to study to a sadistic, jealous, straight-forward gamer girl is the best in the series. However, this is a bit overshadowed by Akira’s return.
Not to knock on it, but it cheapened the emotion events of episode 3 (and could have ruined it if there weren’t other factors that will save it later down the road). Granted, it was foreshadowed that she was going to return to Japan (with Guile telling Harou that his fight with her isn’t over yet), but I do feel some type of way by it.
It’s a shame because like Akira’s relationship with Harou previously, Koharu interest and relationship with Harou is rooted in realism.
As stated earlier, Koharu is curious about arcades, video games, and why Harou likes them. Despite being the model student, Koharu hates studying. She wants to know what it is like to have fun and freedom; which is why she’s drawn to Harou (since he has those two things). After school, Koharu is caught in a snowstorm while attempting to return home. Harou spots her and gets her to come inside a candy shop until the snowstorm dies. Harou convinces Koharu to play Street Fighter II (as she explained to him she never played a game before).
Despite being new to games, she was able to pull off advanced moves such as anti-air attacks, punishing on blocking the opponents, and 360-degree joystick motion special moves with ease. Mind you, this is with Zangief: a character who is not at all newbie-friendly.
They continue to hang out with each other, strengthen their bond and Koharu’s interest in gaming. This would lead to Koharu’s strong crush on Harou, which in turn lead her to convince her parents to buy her a Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) to not only get into gaming on a hardcore level but to make Harou jealous of her.
On the topic of jealousy, Koharu and Akira are jealous of each other, and they are not shy to showcase their mutual dislike. After a session in the arcade, Akira spots Harou and Koharu hanging out with each other. She gives them a death glance (from the safety of her car). The next day, Harou tries to speak with Akira (after finding out she was at the arcade), who simply ignores him. She refuses to speak with him until he comes clean with his relationship with Kaharu (which he states the two are only friends and he has no romantic feeling for the blonde girl).
When it comes to Koharu’s jealousy, it’s more severe than Akira’s. When she hears about Akira initially, she’s not concerned; as she was happy that Akira’s a fellow gamer girl with supreme skills (and even admires her for it). That changes when she finds out that Harou and Akira had a relationship in the past, which sparks her envy. This envy drives her to get better at fighting games: Darkstalkers mainly.
This drive isn’t out just mere self-improvement, but to beat Akira in order to win Harou’s love.
In Chapter 24 of the manga (after the second time skip), Koharu confronts Akira; bluntly asking her rival if she and Harou once had a thing. Akira is silent, making Koharu push the question further. Upon not getting a response from her rival Kaharu flat out tells Akira that if she doesn’t make a move on Harou, she will. On the surface, Akira doesn’t seem bothered by Koharu’s plans but later on in the chapter, we see that she’s afraid that Koharu will deliver on her promise (but more on that in a future post).
At the end of Chapter 26, Koharu challenges Harou in a best of three wagers with a selfish ultimatum: If she wins, Harou will have to end his relationship with Akira and date Koharu instead. If she loses, she’ll let him be. To say that she might be a sucker for love is an understatement but its young love.
Young love that is fueled by jealousy, but young love regardless.
I do not know the mindset of women when they’re in love, but I’m sure jealously and the fear of being replaced by somebody else plays a huge role in crushes. Koharu was in fear that Akira’s skills and friendship would cause her to be replaced. On the other hand, Akira feared that Harou replaced her after she had moved.
I can’t blame Harou for being close with Koharu (even if it was on friendly terms). He assumed that Akira would never return and moved on. Of course, she was on his mind for the two and a half years that she was away (as we saw with Harou admitting to Akira that he was longing to see her again) His sole purpose was to improve himself so if Akira did return, he’ll be ready for her.
It’s funny how Akira was the centerpiece for both Harou and Koharou’s quests for self-improvement although while one reasoning is innocent, the other is in malicious intent. Harou wants to get better for his rival. Koharo wants to separate Akira from Harou and keep him to herself.
It’s a bizarre love triangle: two girls fighting over a guy because of video games.
Continued in Part 4
Me personally, if I was Harou, I would do some playa shit between the two girls and date both of them behind their backs)
Scenario: Let’s say you and another person are deeply in love with each other. You both have unprecedented chemistry. Every little thing that person does never fail to charm you. You can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy around each other.
You guys are inseparable.
One day, however, you’re forced to leave that person – forever. Your family is moving far away. You got a new job in a new state. That college you wanted to get into accepted you. You murdered somebody and now you have to leave your country for another one where your homeland can’t legally remove you from that new country before the police catch you. How would you tell that person and would you do anything within your power to stay with them – just for one more day?
This is the situation for Akira in episode 3 of Hi Score Girl.
Episode 3 starts with Akira losing to an A.I. controlled M. Bison (Vega in Japan and Dictator in the competitive Street Fighter scene). Normally, the gaming genius Akira shouldn’t have any problems fighting against M. Bison (as he took him out with only two buttons from a damaged arcade cabinet), but she’s losing her edge. Even if she’s only commutates through body language, Akira is being eerily quiet.
Harou sees this and assumes that she’s upset because summer break is ending; therefore she won’t have time to spend at the arcades. However, he’s ignorant of the fact that her situation is far worse than a mere end to summer vacation.
In a few days, Akira’s family is moving to Los Angeles, California.
The next day, the duo is invited to hang out with their classmates at a local theme park, which both of them take up on the offer. As the day progress, Akira and Harou decide to ditch them and hang out with each other in the arcade instead. Akira is more than happy to do so, as she wants to spend time with Harou alone.
There’s a part during the arcade scene where Akira spots the light-gun game Space Gun. Harou takes it that she wants to play with her simply nodding yes. He starts to tease her; telling her that she might piss herself because it’s a scary game (given she hates horror-driven media) but she goes with it regardless.
As they play, Harou tries to get Akira to advance the game by having her move her foot off the pedal (as holding down the pedal makes the characters retreat from the enemies). She refuses. Her leg starts to shake. If she moves her feet off the pedal it’ll only lead her closer to their unavoidable separation.
Akira is desperate for time. Harou doesn’t know it, but Akira has feelings for him. Remember: Akira spent her young life as the heir to a rich but brutally strict family. Akira was never allowed to enjoy life as opposed to the average girl who could go out and play with friends. It was only recently when Akira decides to defy her family’s wishes and escape to the arcades to get away from her miserable home life.
Flashing, colorful lights blinding the eyes. Furious adults screaming vicious profane words at each other after defeat. Chocking tobacco smoke poisoning the air. Such a vile place wouldn’t seem right as a safe haven for Akira. But she needed a safe haven to escape the unwanted responsibilities place upon her.
The safe haven where she met Harou: the boy that brought joy to her life.
Akira and Harou continue their journey through the park; traveling through a magic mirror house, riding a roller coaster and a scary ride. At one point, Harou asks Akira if her parents ever took her to a theme park, to which she shook her head no in response.
To say that Akira is a sheltered child is an understatement. To Harou, the trip to the theme park was normal. Every (normal) child has gone to a theme park at least once in their life. But, to Akira, a girl who never experienced the joy of having a normal childhood; this was a new, life-changing event for her.
I’m sure some of you out there may have been sheltered by your parents and can relate to Akira. They forbid you to play outside after a certain time. They didn’t allow peculiar forms of media in the house like anime or rap music. Anime was a tool of Satan so they banned it from your house. Maybe one day, you had enough of their bullshit and decided to go out into the world and do your own thing, just like Akira.
(Akira’s gonna wind up doing hard drugs and drink straight from vodka bottles later in life. That what usually happens to sheltered kids once they get out in the world.)
The more time she gets to spend with Harou means the more time she can live normally. She doesn’t have to worry about her high status, school work and the pain those things brought her. The pain she never asked for. Pain that was mended by Harou’s company, understanding, friendliness. They spent the reminding hours of the day playing until sunset, eventually heading home on a bus with Akira falling asleep and resting her head on Harou’s shoulder.
The sunsets on their summer vacation – and their relationship.
The next day brings in the new school year – and the horrible news. Harou hears about Akira’s family moving away. He’s shocked. It hits him – hard. Rumors start to fly such as “her parents got a divorce” or “they got a new job in America.” Harou refuses to believe he’s hurt about Akira’s sudden move. He tries to play it off by acting happy that his rival is gone. Finally! He can rule his castle (the arcade) in peace; he shouldn’t fear Akira invading it. She’s gone forever!
Deep down, he knows he’s full of shit.
Akira wasn’t any girl that played video games casually. She was a gifted monster who dominated them. Any game she touched she mastered it. Only he was able to come “close” to her skill level – but it simply wasn’t enough. Akira forced yet inspired Harou to improve in Street Fighter II. She never judged him for his gaming passion but encouraged him to get better at it.
They started out as rivals. He was disgusted at the fact that Akira bested him time and time again. He couldn’t stand the fact she was around. However, as time went on, they grew as friends. He respected her. Harou was happy that she was her equal. In his time of reflection (and holding back tears) he became honest with himself:
Harou had feelings for Akira. She touched his heart.
With newfound determination, he runs after her; rushing to the airport to see her one more time. He arrives in time and tries to convince her to stay (as she’ll miss all these new games coming out such as Fatal Fury by SNK). Then, he gives her a good-bye present: The toy ring from the first day they hung out together as friends – not rivals. She rushes to him, breaking down crying. She’ll never see her first friend again.
Her first love.
Continued in Part 3 (because fuck SEO suggestions I’m not making this a 1600 word post also my bad for making this a summary than a reason why this series work)
This is The Yuki Half-Time Report, sponsored by Crunchyroll!* We’re halfway through Cells At Work with only seven episodes reminding. How does Cells At Work! stand right now?
Cells at Work is still going strong despite some minor issues I have with its progression. While I do like the show, it’s clear that the show is following a formulated plot guideline: Introduce the monster-of-the-week (bacteria, infection, virus, etc.), break down how they attack the body, let them do their business, good guys defeat them. Done. Next.
I am not a fan of this: it’s boring and a bit played out in my eyes. With episode 6 being set up as a two-parter or story arc where our heroes are facing off against a cancerous cell it seems that the formula is taking a break (for now).
I’m disappointed that the Type A Influenza enemy problem from episode 3 wasn’t resolved in episode 4. This left me wondering what happened and why this was skipped. The writers went to another storyline and I’m not too happy with that – especially since it was set up as if it was going to be a two-parter episode. If you’re going to set something up, resolve it, It looks goofy when you don’t and you got people wondering what happened.
.Cells At Work retains its cute charm which continues to work in synergy with the educational and action sides of the show The art and animation remain consistent (although I admit that I’m not trained in spotting animation errors) and there haven’t been any major changes to the art.
Storywise, there hasn’t been any changes to its simple manner. Again, bad guys show up, good guys win. There are some slice-of-life scenes here and there but nothing to write home about. Episode 6 featured a flashback story for the first half with how Red Blood Cell-Chan came to life, got assigned to her job, and meeting White Blood Cell-Kun. She was a clumsy, goofy, and cheerful in her childhood as she is now as an adult.
With the cancerous cell making its appearance in episode 6 going into episode 7 it appears that the show will be taking a serious, drama-driven approach. My predictions going into the future of the show? There will be a few character deaths on and off screens from the cancer cells. Things will be dark and painful but I can’t wait for it.
With that said I hope you enjoy this halftime report. I’ll catch you guys in the next one.
*Legal disclaimer: I am not sponsored by Crunchyroll lmfao I pirate most of their shows. (And there goes any chances of me being sponsored by them ever)