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Welcome to the Self-Reflection: An Welcome to the NHK Anime Retrospect Part 2: Hitomi

NOTE: This retrospect will only explore the anime version of Hitomi as I am only on chapter 6 of the original novel at the time of publishing. If I had missed anything about Hitomi’s personality from the novel then I ask for forgiveness on that front.

Link to part 1:
https://yukithesnowman.com/2022/01/27/welcome-to-the-self-reflection-an-welcome-to-the-nhk-anime-retrospectpart-1-introduction/

You know, if Welcome to the N.H.K came out during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hitomi wouldn’t be just a beloved character: she would be the Waifu Queen of the anti-vaxxers who would share their views of conspiracies with vigorous, all-mighty passion. They would swear up-and-down that mask mandates and stay-at-home orders are secretly about control. They’d proclaim that COVID vaccines could alter one’s DNA. Finally, they would express that COVID itself was the ultimate plan of the world’s elites to reduce our population. Horny anti-mandate Hitomi fanboys would wish that she was real so she could step and spit on them; begging her to call them her cute little submissive kouhai while she talks about how COVID-19 is a conspiracy to dominate us while she dominates them.

On the flip side, however, those who’re pro-vaccine/mask mandates would do everything in their power to make Malty Melromarc of Rising of the Shield Hero fame look like an utterly innocent angel compared to Hitomi. On Twitter, they’d mindlessly rant about how Hitomi inspires vaccine “misinformation”. They’d wage war against those who’re Hitomi fans: stating that their waifu is the reason why there’s an increase of COVID deaths and variants. Hitomi cosplayers would be bullied at anime conventions by morons who can’t separate fiction from reality. Japanese and Japanese-American women named Hitomi would flood their local circuit courts to change their name to something like…idunno, Heather, or some shit. Why? Because they can’t bear the shame of having the same name of a cartoon and novel character who might be anti-vax.

Goddammit Tatsuhiko Takimoto, why couldn’t you just had been born about 10-15 years later?

In any case, ladies and gents, I hope you’ve enjoyed my humorous introduction because that is the only humor you’ll get from this article/essay today because I’m going to go into some dark territory. If you’re bothered by subject matters such as depression and suicide, then I advise you to turn back and check out some of my other content on this website (I mean, if that does bother you then why are you a fan of Welcome to the N.H.K in the first place?)

With that said, let’s get into it!

*****

Alex Jones’s waifu.

Seen in a flashback in episode 1 (but officially introduced in episode 4) Hitomi Kashiwa is Satou’s senpai from his high school days. Bonding over playing cards, having debates on conspiracy theories, and being the only members of their school’s literature club, the two would quickly become friends. Due to Hitomi’s fascination towards conspiracies, plus his lone-wolf social status, Satou’s worldview would be wrapped by her3. This in turn led him to believe that his hikikomori state is the result of a conspiracy itself.

Despite her unfeasible hopes of a future with him, Hitomi would find herself extending intimacy with Satou. From this, it’s possible that Satou and Hitomi were (sexual) lovers. However, this is merely hinted at via directorial imagery: such as Satou playing an erotic video game starring a senpai in a relationship with her younger male kouhai, cards from the Heart Suits lying on the club’s table, and Hitomi’s lips wrapped around the tip of a straw in episode 5.

In the cafe’ scene of episode 5, Hitomi notices that Satou isn’t looking well, so she offers him drugs to boost his mood. Satou questions her on this, to which she responds by declaring “Being a working adult is tough, you know.”. It’s clear that Hitomi is abusing substances to cope with her life. This is further proven in episode 11 as Hitomi is popping pills in the shower, on the streets, and while she’s browsing through forums dedicated to the discussion of suicide and suicide pacts.

As we’re given a peek at her everyday life, we come to understand why she abuses drugs. She’s in a strained relationship with her boyfriend Akira due to his busy work life. She earns no respect at work: often belittled by her superior and coworkers. Moreover, she struggles with mental health (which we’ll get into soon).

Excluding the boyfriend thing (as I’m into women), I couldn’t help but partly relate to Hitomi. Working bullshit jobs were people older than you try to test and mess with you because they’re screwed up in the head and don’t know how to cope otherwise. Disrespectful middle-management bosses who think they’re hot shit (but are utter pussies when the cool district and regional managers come by to visit) acting like they’re above you (when they can be easily fired like you). Having to cope with the stress of work through my vices: drinking and smoking. Admittedly, dealing with the bullshit lead me to some darkness (which I’m still dealing with today, but I have better control of it).

At times, I wouldn’t come straight home after work at night. I would hit up a grocery store on my way home and buy at least buy some beers (or if I was feeling really down, a bottle of hard liquor), head to a park near my house, prep some weed for a blunt or my bong if I have any, and indulge in my vices.

Then, the darkness would come as I sat.

Maybe if I didn’t waste all my money and time partying and going to bars/clubs nearly every weekend trying to make up for all the times that I never got the chance to party during my high school days due to being unpopular. Why did I decide to be a nerd living a square ass life instead of a normie street dude who could make fast, easy money and stack the money up for something better in life instead of working at this bullshit ass job.”

Drinking and smoking weren’t enough for my dark side. It got to the point where at times, I would browse through Facebook and other social media platforms just so I can see others suffering worse than I was; finding joy in their misery. Now, before anyone thinks I’m a monster, I had a code like I was Dexter Morgan from Dexter when it came to my darkness. I only laughed and mocked those who I knew and could prove they were horrible people or those who had wronged me in the past and never apologized for it. I do not and will never find joy in seeing good, kindhearted innocent people suffering.

I convinced myself that as long as the other person whom I was laughing at and mocking was proven to be bad, it was okay to tap into that horrific darkness to find joy in their misery. It was my personal stress release. “I know it doesn’t make it right but the world doesn’t operate on right or wrong: only winning and dominance!” I told myself.

Just like how Hitomi’s drug abuse only made her temporary “fix” her issue, that too was merely a temporary solution. I knew this. But I kept at it until I realized I was only hurting myself at the end as I only sunk further into my darkness.

Thankfully, I didn’t reach the point of darkness where I was suicidal….

I swear to God I want to just slit my wrists and end this bullshit
Throw the magnum to my head, threaten to pull shit
And squeeze until the bed’s completely red
I’m glad I’m dead, a worthless fuckin’ Buddha head
The stress is buidlin’ up, I can’t — I can’t believe
Suicide’s on my fuckin’ mind, I wanna leave
I swear to God I feel like death is fuckin’ callin’ me
But nah, you wouldn’t understand

-Biggie Smalls, Suicidal Thoughts (1994 hip-hop single)

Hitomi’s stress would reach its peak as we see her planning to end her life in the middle of the series. As mentioned earlier, we see her browsing through and posting on a suicide forum: expressing how she wants to end her life and will go through with it the next day. Following that, she invites herself over to Satou’s house with beer, snacks, and stories of their high school days. Satou can’t help but notice that the usual “conspiracy-mania” Hitomi is in a blissful mood.

This happens quite often with victims of suicide. Examples: the night before she ended her life, fashion designer Kate Spade was reported to “sounded happy” by her husband. The wife of Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington shared a picture of Bennington smiling with their family; stating that the evening before his death, he seemed like he was at his best. In both cases, the spouses admitted that there were warning signs, but they never picked up on them before it was too late. For Satou, we can say the same. Hitomi showcased the warning signs of depression and suicide, but he never picked up on them (sans the fact that she saw her go through this in the past from when she broke up with her boyfriend).

It’s not until he unwittingly joined her at the OFF group suicide pact meeting that he realized there was something wrong with Hitomi.

We know the rest: The members of OFF realized they had lives worth living and called off the group suicide – excluding Hitomi. Struggling with the idea that nobody neither wants nor needs her, she convinces Satou to end it all with her: making him promise if they’re reborn at the same time to play cards again. However, when Akira arrives at the meeting spot for the suicide group, Hitomi changes her mind as Akira express that he wants her hand in marriage: to which she happily agrees (much to Satou’s dismay)

Hitomi isn’t seen again until the final arc of the series. During New Year’s Eve, Satou meets up with Hitomi (after he and Misaki are separated by a crowd). The two bar hop with Hitomi drunkenly suggesting that they should have an affair while Akira is away on business. Satou shoots down the idea: telling Hitomi that he doesn’t want to destroy her newfound happiness towards life. Hitomi, smiling, agrees with him. Finally, she drops the news that she’s pregnant with Akira’s child (which she delivers in the series’s epilogue.)

I myself never try to take my own life, nor had suicidal thoughts, so I’m not going to pretend that I understand Hitomi’s situation. As much as I talk to those and have empathy towards those who’ve experienced such thoughts or even try to take their lives, empathy doesn’t equal understanding. But, I can see why some people would want to end it all. With the state and stress of the world, it is clear why some people believe they have no other option or outlet. Over the years I’ve come to learn not the judge people with suicidal thoughts because we don’t know what goes on in someone’s mind. Additionally, you or I could easily find ourselves in that state of hopelessness.

Japan is famously known for being a country that holds the status quo in the highest regrade. Working hard and providing for your countrymen nation is expected of you. You must put on your best face (or tatemae, 建前 たてまえ, lit. “facade”) no matter what. You are not allowed to express your true feelings (or the honne, 本音, lit. “true sound”). Expressing oneself in Japanese culture is taboo; even if you’re going through emotional pain. So, it is understandable on why Hitomi wanted to kill herself before she got better.

Honestly, it’s messed up.

Being a working adult is truly tough, you know? There’s nothing you can really do about it as you need to work to survive. Living this life comes with stress: may the be from bills, competition against and from others to advance, and dealing with things that take a toll on both your physical and mental health. You can’t ask the world to help you; as this world is not an ally, but rather, a cruel and unforgiving enemy.

But it isn’t all bad.

While the world itself will never be your ally, you’ll find people who are willing to be your friend if you can form that bond with them. In turn, they will be willing to help you get through life.

Are there conspiracies in this world that make it hard for someone to live a good life free of stress, pain, and suffering? Of course! But, we must acknowledge and face them head-on – no matter what. It doesn’t mean that we should use said conspiracies as crutches or excuses to not do good for ourselves. Hell, in fact, those behind the conspiracies would love it if we give up and give in to the darkness of the world. So we must do good for ourselves. We must treat each other with kindness. We must show empathy to those who aren’t doing too well mentally; showing them that they’re not alone in this cruel, cold world.

That’s how we defeat the conspiracies of the world.

Next: Welcome to Yamazaki.

AFTERWORD :

1. I find it funny that Hitomi names herself “HANA-HANA” on the OFF suicide forums when Hana means “Happiness” in Arabic and “hope” in Kurdish as Hitomi was neither happy nor hopeful. I do not know if Takimoto (or the writers of the anime version of NHK) was aware of this and used that as irony.

2. At the time of this article’s publishing, I am on Chapter 9 of the original novel. However, I probably will not edit said article to reflect anything from the novel because I’m lazy.


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A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in nerd culture. Every Tuesdays we drop episodes containing serious and laidback topics while Saturdays we drop episodes talking about TV shows, anime, film, comics, manga, and video games.

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Welcome to the Self-Reflection: An Welcome to the NHK Anime RetrospectPart 1: Introduction

You know, the arts have so much power – anime include. There’s something about anime that can change people for the better. It’s common to hear anime fans declare that a certain anime made them a better person. I myself am not immune to that power.

As I’ve oft-stated, the anime that changed me was Kyoto Animation’s (in)famous The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. First, it was my first “non-normie” anime. Second, it opened my eyes to the wild, wild world of internet otaku-ism (the mid-to-late 2000s was an amazing time to be an anime fan on the internet). Finally, and most important, it inspired me to want to leave my mark on the world – to show that I exist.

Haruhi’s existence monologue still resonates to this day.

Around the same time I got into Haruhi in 2009, I was introduced to Welcome to the N.H.K (N.H.K) from a former friend who was willing to let me borrow his copy of it. Foolishly I decline; as I thought it was about the actual Japanese TV broadcast network NHK WORLD-JAPAN. I (at the time) had no interest in television production.

Plus, can you blame me for assuming that it was about TV production based on the title? Hell, I even thought Satou was a stressed-out TV producer who drank a lot (because of the open beer can on the promotional art). I also thought that the bunny girls (Hitomi and Misaki, I assume) on said promotional art was Satou’s playful and flirtatious interim who were complete screw-ups who caused Satou to drink.

…I should have actually researched the show first before blowing it off back in 2009.
If I did, maybe NHK would have changed my life more than Haruhi did.


*****

It wouldn’t be until 2016 when I learned the truth about N.H.K. The truth? N.H.K is an anime based off a novel written by Tatsuhiko Takimoto about a 22-year-old college dropout named Satou Tatsuhiro who has been living as a hikikomori for the past four years; believing that his condition was influenced by an evil organization named the “Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai”. The group’s goal? To transform healthy young adults of Japan into socially inept shut-ins.

Now, knowing this, did I give N.H.K a chance then?

Well, everyone, the answer to that is….


Nah! 🙂

I dunno why, but I waited until late Summer 2019 to finally watch N.H.K…up until the final arc where I put it on hold for anime such as High Score Girl season 2 and Ascendance of a Bookworm. When both of those shows ended, did I pick Welcome to the N.H.K up again?

Of course, I did!

…on January 22nd, 2022 when I found out that the 20th anniversary of the novel was a week away. That’s when I decided to restart the series so I could write about it for said 20th anniversary!

(Better late than never, right?)

As I restarted N.H.K, I started to think:

‘What if I had seen this way back in 2009 when I was 19 instead of 30, then finishing it at age 32? Maybe I wouldn’t have this habit of starting anime and TV shows and never finishing them or putting them on hold forever? I would have seen Satou waste four years of his life doing nothing which would have led me to not waste time like that. Would my life right now would had been way better than it is currently? I wish I never blew this series off because I KNOW it would have changed my life…’

NHK made me reflect. Not just on the show, but on my life for the past decade. Not saying I wasted most of my 20s, but I could have done a lot better with my 20s. I swear, if I would have given N.H.K a chance in 2009, I think my life would be greater than what it is right now.

It didn’t help that I saw myself in each of the main characters of the anime. While fans stated that they find themselves in one of the four core characters, I can’t. In fact, I found myself in ALL of the four main cast members. Hitomi. Karou. Misaki. Satou. Each of them I could say represent different parts of my 20s.

For the next few weeks, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original novel, I’m going to explore each of the main characters and not just reflect on them, but on myself. Because I truly believe the anime and novel are life-changing and it deserves more praise, more fans, and more love in general.

If you’re down with that, then join me as I explore the conspiracy maniac Hitomi and how her words, “Being a hard-working adult” hits home with me!

Link to Hitomi Retrospect:
https://yukithesnowman.com/2022/01/27/welcome-to-the-self-reflection-an-welcome-to-the-nhk-anime-retrospect-part-2-hitomi/

RELATED ARTICLES/ESSAYS BY ME:

  1. Hikkikomori: The Digital Age Hermit
    https://yukithesnowman.com/2019/09/03/hikikomori-the-digital-age-hermit/

    2. Fandom: The Ultimate Secuirty Blanket
    https://yukithesnowman.com/2020/06/25/fandom-the-ultimate-security-blanket/

    3.Handcuffed by Geek Culture
    https://swarthynerd.com/handcuffed-by-geek-culture-ep-123

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A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in nerd culture. Every Tuesdays we drop episodes containing serious and laidback topics while Saturdays we drop episodes talking about TV shows, anime, film, comics, manga, and video games.

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The Passion of the Weirdos: My Dress-Up Darling First Impressions

I can fondly remember the day when I discovered the extravagant world of cosplay. It was during my freshman year of high school when I was getting into the SNES era Final Fantasy games through Final Fantasy VI. As I started to fall in love with Final Fantasy VI, I was curious about what more it had to offer after my first run of it.

So, one day, I stumbled upon a romhack of Final Fantasy VI titled Awful Fantasy 3: made by the clearly great and righteous people of the Something Awful forums who totally aren’t toxic folks. I won’t go into many details because I forgot about most of the story of Awful Fantasy 3 due to the passage of time (and the passage of alcohol, weed, and shrooms through my body over the years), but I do remember that the game mentioned cosplayers a lot.

According to Awful Fantasy 3, cosplayers were deranged people with possible mental health illnesses who gathered around at convention centers across America. These people spent their time at conventions creating conflict and engaging the vilest of debauchery one human can do in a weekend dressed up as their favorite characters from nerd media. Awful Fantasy 3 drove the point home that cosplayers were the enemy of the society who deserves to be purged to cleanse the world of their filth.

The years have taken a toll on poor little Relm.

As fate would have it, a few days later, I managed to catch a replay of g4’s G-Phoria 2003 Game Awards Show during their lead-up to their 2004’s Game Awards Show. What made this special was that there was a special cosplay segment for fans to show off their cosplay celebrating video games and anime. However, what caught my eye from the segment was a short, two-minute skit featuring cosplayers from Kingdom Hearts. One of them was a grown-ass man with a five ‘o clock shadow dressed as Sora. Another guy was dressed up as Ansem.

In blackface.
On national TV.
Yeep.

And nerds wonder why they got bullied and judged for being nerds before the 2010s.

So, after seeing that blackface cosplay mess in G-Phoria 2003, I came to a great and enlightened understanding of why the folks over at Something Awful wanted to purge the world of cosplay and cosplayers. Me too. Fourteen years old Yuki wanted to round them all up with their families, put them in a sporting venue, tied them to stakes, and gun them all down in front of their loved ones like we’re in North Korea best Korea. But for real, that was a horrible first impression of the world of cosplay and cosplayers.

(My disdain for you cosplayers has yet to wane.)

However, what didn’t leave me with a horrible first impression when it comes to the world of cosplay and cosplayers is Cloverworks’s latest animation series: My Dress Up Darling. Directed by Keisuke Shinohara My Dress-Up Darling centers around co-protagonist Wakana Gojo: a young first-year high-school student who yearns of becoming a hina doll creator. It is because of his hobby of doll maki- wait, sorry, hina creation (y’all know, we gotta be culturally correct to make it less disturbing that a high school male is making dolls) hobby that Wakana has never made any friends.

That is until the popular gyaru Marin Kitagawa crash lands into his life.

In an alternate universe, she lands on her neck and dies.

Marin is a giant otaku cosplayer. Or she would be a cosplayer if she didn’t have the sewing skills of a special needs snail. However, she makes up for it in being a pervert who likes to talk about ero-games that features sex slaves, gothic lolitas in bondage chains being gagged, and super happy endings (it’s up to you to come up with what she meant by “super happy ending” given that Marin’s a perv) out in public. Because, you know, if you gonna have an anime girl who was clearly designed to be waifu of the season and possibly waifu of the year, you gotta make her a pervert to cater to males who’ll never have a chance with real women who enjoy things like cosplay, being perverted, and fucked up h-games with sex slaves!

Marin, look, people don’t generally talk about their kinks to people they barely know.

After talking to Wakana on why he shouldn’t let his classmates take advantage of him, Marin decides to take advantage of Wakana by asking him to make her an outfit based off her favorite hentai video game character. This is due to her seeing Wakana sewing in the old sewing club room of their school. She becomes all giddily that someone in her class can sew and help her bring her favorite anime porn game character to life through the magic of cosplay!

Typical anime rom-com hilariously pops off. Marin strips behind Wakana to put on her shitty, raggedy cosplay while Wakana is being a scared little pussy scared of the pussy. Marin projects her creepy fetishes (and possible crimes of harboring sex slaves at her house and having non-consensual sex) onto a fictional character so Wakana doesn’t freak out and assume that Marin is a degenerate.

Later, we see that Wakana truly doesn’t have any experience with girls as Marin comes over to his house so that he can take her measurements for said cosplay while she’s wearing a swimsuit. Wakana is incredibly flustered by it. But’s it’s cool because Marin also winds up also flustered when Wakana has to get up close and personal to measure her inseam. And wow, how amazing. They discover that they’re both awkward little weirdos when it comes to the opposite sex and what they’re into.

How profound!
How fuckin’ inspiring for all the awkward ass nerds watching this show!
Little dipshits!

But, I can’t lie: As cliche as it is, I do find it admirable that both Wakana and Marin’s friendship blossomed over the fact that they are weirdos who’ve struggled to share their most sacred passion with others who get where they’re coming from. From their new friendship, they found empowerment in being able to express themselves with their art.

And that’s a great thing.

I wholeheartedly believe that people deserve to share their hobbies with those who won’t judge them for said hobbies (as long as the hobbies are ethical and morally right, of course). From what I’ve noticed from the first two episodes, acceptance and passion will be two of the core themes of My Dressup Darling…outside of the whole cosplay thing, obviously.

While on the topic of noticing things, I couldn’t help but be aware of the highly detailed and amazing character design, art, and animation. I mean, you would have to be a fool to work on an animation project that is catered around cosplay (and fashion I assume) and not place your focus on the visuals. I love how Marin’s “cosplay” visually looks like it was put together by someone who didn’t know what they were doing down to the horrible, careless stitching job.

You can feel the passion that Marin has for Shizuku-tan and the game she’s from as she talks about her with expressive body movement at the beginning of episode 2. It’s like talking to that one incredibly passionate friend who’s expressing her love towards something that gives her joy; seeing them become alive through their words, tone, and body language.

On the subject of Shizuku, she has a beautiful design with her purple, red, and black color scheme as well as her being a gothic lolita. Don’t be shocked when we see a lot of women cosplaying as Shizuku during the 2022 anime convention season.

Okay, I now see why Marin is a fan of Shizuku. Me too.

I also gotta give praise to the clever usage of lighting in this show. Now, I’m not gonna act like I’m some pretentious dipshit elitist film school student who hasn’t done anything with their knowledge of filmmaking outside of making YouTube videos over the lighting. But, I love how in the first episode when Wakana is having his inner monologue about Marin and her friends, there is this brightness that surrounds Marin; telling us about Marin’s nature without actually telling us. In comparison, when Wakana talks about himself, the shot is dull and dark. This tells us that Wakana’s life perhaps hasn’t been the best: with him being an orphan, battling insecurities, and being friendless. It isn’t until he becomes friends with Marin that shots with him are bright.

At the time of this article’s publishing, My Dressup Darling is a wonderful show of how people can come alive when sharing their passion as well as helping others take said passion to the next level. I can’t help myself but root for Wakana to get over his fears of being judged for what he like as well as rooting for Marin to bring her favorite character to life through the power of cosplay. The two have clear chemistry that is driven by their love for their hobbies. I’m tempted to just say screw it and read the manga to get ahead because I am curious about these two and their story.

My only gripe I have with this show so far is that Wakana is, again, your typical high-school male student who is scared of being around a (half-naked) girl when Marin visited him at his house to get measured. Seriously, Japan, kill this trope – now. Yall wonder why your birthrate is so low and yall can’t get young men to get into physical relationships with women.

If you’re someone who loves sewing, cosplay, ever dealt with struggling to express your passion, or just want a feel-good rom-com about two passionate weirdos, I can’t recommend My Dressup Darling enough. With how popular it is and the community talking about it daily, I wouldn’t be shocked if it becomes a contender for anime of the 2022 winter season. I’ll even go as far as saying that it could be anime of the year.

(…don’t come after me if it doesn’t become either anime of the season or year.)

(Just wanted to add this cool shot of Marin messing with her hair)

The Swarthy Nerd Podcast
A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in nerd culture. Every Tuesdays we drop episodes containing serious and laidback topics while Saturdays we drop episodes talking about TV shows, anime, film, comics, manga, and video games.

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Anime Analysis 0

Otaku no Hustle: The Hustling (and Entrepreneur) Side of Otaku no Video

Otaku no Video (lit. “The Geeks’ Video”) is Gainax’s 1991 two episode OVA (original video animation) celebrating otaku culture.  Set between 1982-1999, the anime follows main character Ken Kubo’s journey from an everyman college tennis player, to his transformation into a diehard otaku, aspiring entrepreneur, the CEO of his a multi-million dollar anime figurine/garage kit company, and finally, the president of a successful multi-billion dollar animation company.  Otaku no Video is celebrated throughout the otaku community; due to its overarching theme of otaku pride and positivity. However, there’s one theme of the OVA that isn’t discussed within the community: the hustle of Ken and his journey as an entrepreneur.

Join me as I discuss this underappreciate theme of  Otaku no Video and how it even relates to the real world of entrepreneurship.

otaku-no-video-wallpaper-560x458
From left-to-right: Misty May, Tanaka, Ken, and Fukuhara.

PART 1
THE HUSTLE

‘While we out here, say the Hustler’s Prayer
If the game shakes me or breaks me
I hope it makes me a better man, take a better stand’
-Biggie Smalls, Sky’s the Limit (1997 hip-hop single)

Towards the end of episode one, Ken (frustrated with his girlfriend dumping him, not being able to find a job, and dealing with the negative stereotypes of  otakus) convinces his friend Tanaka to drop out of college and quit job hunting in order to start up an anime figurine manufacture company: Grand Prix (GP) . The ambitious friends worked and hustle non-stop; creating figurines out of their apartment and promoting the GP brand.  Months later, they were able to buy a property – setting up shop at a storefront and hiring old college friends (to work for them).

Their business massively grew and they start to scale; buying up more property to open new shops. The public and media take notice of their brand; with Ken and Tanaka’s brand appearing on TV, newspapers, and magazines.  Grand Prix grew into a power player within their industry – dominating the competition.

Finally, after a year of relentless growth, Grand Prix transformed from a small business to behemoth of a corporation.

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In the real world, a company coming up from a small business to a major corporation within a year is a mere fantasy.  However, the reality of business growth can be rooted in taking risks. Quitting a secured job and/or dropping out of college to one’s entrepreneur journey is risky.  Successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg know this well. They had to drop out of college in order to grow their business massively. Daymond John (founder of the urban clothing line FUBU and Shark Tank judge) quit his job at Red Lobster to focus on his brand (although he did wait until FUBU became a profitable business before quitting). The greatest of entrepreneurs had to surrender something in order to build their brand – just like what Ken and Tanaka did.

The otaku duo where met with overwhelming success in a span of a year.  Yet, like with many entrepreneurs, failure was waiting nearby.

 

PART 2
FAILURE AND COMEBACK

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‘Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is the part of the process of success.’
-Robert Kiyosaki

The impressive growth of the GP Company meant that Ken was able to expand the business overseas.  In order to increase capital, Ken (now a multi-millionaire), set his sights on China (in order to build a warehouse for mass production). Taking out a loan with a bank, Ken travels to China and buys land for the warehouse; overseeing the production of it. Back in Japan, the figurine industry starts to crash – putting Grand Prix at risk of going under. With the company in financial trouble and the morale of his employees fading, Ken at is in danger of losing his title as president of GP.

The downfall of the Ken begins.

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Fuck bankers. 

After the success of the warehouse in China, Ken is called to an emergency meeting at Grand Prix.  The meeting is a front to fire him as president – with the entire company in favor of it – including his best friend Tanaka. Ken is forced to work as a regular employee at one of Grand Prix’s underperforming location and he begins to lose hope in himself. Later, during an event at a Grand Prix store, Ken encounters Tanaka (who too was fired from the company on false embezzlement charges) and confronts him (about Ken’s firing). Tanaka begs for his forgiveness: explaining to Ken that he was manipulated by the bankers to vote against him.

Ken forgives Tanaka as he realized they were both screwed over (by the same people). Putting his anger aside, Ken asks Tanaka if he wants to start over again.  Tanaka agrees and the two join forces once again to build a new brand – separate from Grand Prix.  Together, Ken and Tanaka start up a Japanese Adult Video (JAV) business with cosplay porn as their specialty.

…Nah I’m just fucking around they open up their own animation studio.

Tanaka and Ken begin work on creating their new company: “Giant X”. Tanaka suggests that they create homemade anime marketed towards otaku to sell through mail orders (as well as selling merchandise at events for extra income). Tanaka recruits Fukuhara: a former employee of Grand Prix as an animator.  Together, the three start production on an original anime: Misty MayMisty May is a hit with the otaku market; putting Ken and Tanaka back in the national spotlight.  Giant X – like Grand Prix before – dominated its market and industry without resistance. Ken, with the success of his new company, buys back Grand Prix and becomes a juggernaut of a businessman. Later on, Ken opens the world’s first otaku driven amusement park: An amusement park for otakus by otakus.

Finally, at the end of the OVA, Ken is the richest man in Japan and one of the world’s wealthiest CEOs.

‘Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.’
‘If you’re a real winner you know how to bounce back!’
-Big Sean, Bounce Back (2016 hip-hop single)

Ken was able to bounce back from failure – like many entrepreneurs have done.   In business and in hustling, you’ll have your fair share of failures, mishaps, disappointments, what have you.  It’s all a part of the entrepreneur’s journey.  In order to become a successful entrepreneur, you must bounce back from failure and never give up. Richard Brandon, the founder of Virgin, has seven well-known failures. But he still works as an entrepreneur to this day. Walt Disney, one of the world’s most influential animator and businessman, was fired from his first cartoonist job.  His boss told him that he’ll never find success because he lacked imagination and his ideas were terrible.  Today, the Disney Company is worth over 92 billion dollars.

Failure doesn’t always mean the end.

Otaku no Video is a wonderful OVA on otaku pride.  It has inspired many fans around the world to love their nerdiness.  Gainax shows the world that otaku can break the stereotype that nerds are hopeless losers that won’t amount to anything in life.  However, what should be celebrated about this OVA is Ken’s grind from a young college kid to a rookie entrepreneur, to a successful businessman who failed but bounces back against all odds.  Although Ken ’s wild story and the man himself is fictional, we can learn from and relate to him.

We dealt with failures, setbacks, doubters, and disappointment, only to come back from all of them and shine brightly.  Our vision may seem wild and outlandish to some, but to us, they can come true – but only if we work our ass off for it.

We should be like Ken Kubo; staying focused on our goals regardless of what failure may come and embrace the hope of an unseen world far away.

‘I won’t let anyone block me!
I’ll go my own way!’
‘My goal is the world!’
‘I’ll be the greatest man’!
-Lyrics from Fight! Otaking! (Otaku no Video’s OP theme)

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Anime Analysis 1

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship FINALE: Satoko (And The Unity of Hinamizawa)

‘I won’t show pain.
Never…

I’m not crying…I don’t cry…
Hide my feelings…smile!’

“Sukizuki Nii-Nii” by Mika Kanai (Satoko’s image song)

With all the hardships she went through, I’m pretty convinced that Satoko is Higurashi’s punching bag (and it’s pin cushion). To say that her young life is rocky is an understatement.    To start, she killed her own parents (whom she believed were trying to kill her) by pushing them off a deck. The village of Hinamizawa treats her like an outcast.  Her uncle Teppei abuses and belittles her. Finally, her beloved brother (who would protect her from the abuse) is missing – leaving Satoko all alone in the world.  Well, she has Rika, her best friend. The two  are for each other greatly; as if they were sisters.  The hardships they’ve suffered in young lives drew them closer to one another, creating a everlasting bond between the girls.

Rika and Satoko are inseparable friends.

 

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Expect for that one timeline where Satoko was a bullying bitch to Rika.

One day, Satoko went off on her own without telling Rika (which alarmed her) and haven’t return since. She fears the worse – her Uncle returning to the village; therefore forcing Satoko to move back with him.  Acting on this fear, Rika decides to confirm or deny her worries, and makes her  way to the Houjou’s house. Rika arrives, with Satoko  showing up behind her (who was returning from an errand at the “request” of Teppei).  While Rika is relive to see Satoko “safe” and alive, she is shocked at her physical and mental state.  Satoko appears drained.  She’s not her normal, happy, and cheerful self.

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Alarmed, Rika hits up Oisihi’s line.  She requests  to get in contact with her friend Mamoru , hoping he can  save Satoko.  However, Mamoru was away on vacation, ending her plan before it could start.  Rika then decides to visit  Dr. Irie and Miyo  at their clinic.  Rika figures she could convince the two to mobilize their personal militia (the Yamainu) to kill Teppei (in order to save Satoko, or at the very least, rescue her without violence).  The two decline the request; stating that the Yamainu couldn’t move to attack due to the police investigating Teppei (he was the pimp of Rina, who was found murdered days prior).  At best, they would have to wait until after the Cotton Drifting Festival to attack Teppei – which by then would be too late (due to the time loop).

Rika snaps.

The next morning, Rika’s classmates are asking why Satoko hasn’t shown up to school.  Rika (who is visibly depressed)  ignores them,  but decides to inform Chie-Sensei on the situation.  Chie-Sensei figures she should contact Child Counseling Center (an even worse version of the terrible real world child protective services [CPS] ) to see if they can intervene. Rika see this as hopeless, since Satoko filed false reports of abuse on her previous step-fathers, but Chie decides to take action regardless.

Chie  visits the Houjou household in an attempt to talk  Teppei into letting her speak with Satoko and get her back to school – which fails.  Chie returns to the school, telling The Club about her lack of success.  Shion goes off, demanding answers on why Chie backed down against Teppei. In her rage, Shion decides that rather than wait for the legal system to make a move, she would kill Teppei  and rescue Satoko herself.   She doesn’t want Satoko to suffer anymore hardships.

Shion attempts to leave but is stopped by Keiichi.  He tries to talk sense into her, telling the girl that she’ll only regret killing him later. Shion ignores him and threatens to kill him first (if it means getting to kill Teppei).  Mion tries to stop her but is quickly stopped by Rena.  Rena has faith that Keiichi will calm Shion down and convince her to see the errors of her idea.   Shion picks up a chair and smashes  Keiichi’s head with, which calms her down.  As Hanyuu attempts to cheer Rika up (since they’re able to prevent their friend from killing Teppei), Rika refuses to believe that things will resolve in a happy ending.

Rika’s depression and doubts reminds.

Later, Mion, Rena, and Keiichi discuss strategies to save Satoko without bloodshed.  Rena mentions that she was scared that Keiichi was going to mimic Shion’s actions and ideas of killing Teppei.  This is funny, given Keiichi actually did kill Teppei in a timeline before (which Keiichi tells the girls he had a feeling that she once did kill the him) They come up with the conclusion that it is best for them to fight without resorting to harming Teppei.

The next morning, The Club visit the CPS office to influence them to rescue Satoko.  CPS tells everyone that they’re working on it, but Keiichi calls them out on their bullshit;  Stating they failed to act upon the first reported case of abuse.  He tells  the case worker to not believe Satoko’s words,  as she hasn’t shown up to school.

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Reflecting on the situation at hand, Rika breaks down in tears.  She starts to beg Keiichi to save Satoko and not give up. His words gave Rika courage and inspiration to fight.

Rika’s hope is restored.

‘Gift of the silver tongue.  They say it’s the mark of a good officer.’
-Revolver Ocelot, Metal Gear Solid 2 (2002 Konami video game)

The next morning.  Keiichi and The Club rally their classmates save Satoko.  Keiichi – the magician of words – utilize his talents to convince everyone to save her.  He reminds the class of Satoko’s suffering, unhappiness,and how much she needs them. Keiichi ends his speech by informing the class that CPS  weren’t taking the matter serious. It’s up to them to fight for Satoko.

With his zeal, Keiichi is able to successfully recruit his classmates into his army.

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With his unit, Keiichi marches forth to the CPS offices to negotiate against them.  The two groups go  back-and-forth, with Keiichi’s unit not backing down.  Despite their efforts and emotional appear, The Club loses.  Yet, they will not give up hope. They must regroup and try again.   They can not give up.  Keiichi’s unit needs the support of everyone, no matter what.

Keiichi gathers new allies from all over Hinamizawa.

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After a successful night of enlisting new recruits, Keiichi and the others go over their new battle plan against CPS. As they talk, they’re surprise and relive that Satoko has  returned to school.  However, Satoko looks like hell: She show signs  of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. Everyone surrounds her, happy to see her again, but thigns don’t seem right.  Satoko lies about having a fever. Cleary a cover up for abuse given nobody asked if she was sick.

Keiichi questions Satoko, asking her if thing are hard for her, which she denies. Satoko then  mentions her brother; Telling Keiichi while it’s hard for her, she must stay strong for Satoshi’s sake.  Keiichi gives Satoko a friendly, yet sorrowful smile and praise her for her hard work.  As a reward, he pats her on the head.  Satoko starts to weep as Keiichi and everyone else reach out to her.  They want to help their friend; they don’t want her to think that she has to suffer alone, but she refuses the help.

Until she has a trigger.

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Satoko hears footsteeps in the distance.  This alone causes her to have a panic attack (as she thinks her uncle was coming to hurt her again).  They manage to calm her down with injections (to combat her HImiizawa Syndrome) and let her rest.  Rika and Keiichi talk  about what they should do.  Rika reveals that Satoko was forced by her uncle to stay with him; as he threatened to burn and destroy Satoshi room.  This enrages Keiichi, who now wants to kill Teppei.  Rika manages to talk sense into Keiichi by calming him down.  Keiichi regains his focus. At this point, they can’t afford anyone to lose it this far – victory draws near.

The Club regroups with new allies.  They march back to the CPS.  While talking to Hanyuu, Rika analyze the events leading up to this point.  She realize that while she has been rooting for her friend, it was just at the sidelines.  Rika was just a mere spectator, refusing to take center stage .  She takes it up to herself to fight at the front lines.  She plans to convince Satoko to admit to the abuse.

She can no longer just stand by and watch her best friend suffer any longer.

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After the meeting, Keiichi receives word from Chie that they have stir up ill will from the elders who still hold a grudge against Satoko’s family (as they opposed the village during the Dam Wars).  The villagers believe that Oyashiro will curse them for allying themselves with The Club, but Keiichi continue to fight undisturbed.

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Keiichi stands up and steps up to the elders.  He outs them for bullshiting around, preventing Satoko’s resuce, and letting the conflicts of the past impact the present and future.  He gets bold – demanding the elders to tell him if they are his foe or ally.  The rest of The Club then expose the elders’ connections with the government (as they were getting favors from them).  They know that the elders don’t wanna lose that connection.  Using this to their advantage, the Club forces the elders to play with their cards. Keiichi’s relentless spirit and logic works:  He successfully recruits the elders to his side.

With the elders and youth in his army, there’s one more person whom Keiichi must convince to fight in his war – Oryou Sonozaki – the head of the Sonozaki clan:  The elder who still harbors hatred towards the Houjo family’s past sins.

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Keiichi confronts her.  He presents his case to her in hopes that she’ll let go of her anger towards the Houjous for just a little bit to help Satoko.  When she doesn’t bulge, Keiichi threatens to kill her and  make Mion the new head of the family. This isn’t a smart move on  our talented magican of words as Oryou threatens to kill him.   Keiichi tries again, begging her to change her mind.  She still won’t buldge but it isn’t hopeless.  Shion and Mion’s parents seem supportive of helping Keiichi’s cause, which pisses Oryou off.  Keiichi goes off on her once again, which doesn’t piss off Oryou but her daughter, Akane.  Akane tells Keiichi to fuck off and return once he matured.

Keiichi’s effort (and perhaps his stupidity) pays off:  Oryou agrees to join his side and save Satoko.

The next morning, CPS is bombard with phone calls from the villagers of Hinamizawa.  The pressure and heat is on and the CPS office can feel it.   Supporters from not just Hinamizawa, but other villages and towns join forces to express their concerns of CPS delaying efforts to investigate the case.  Somebody even pulls up on the rally with a protest van equpired with speakers.    The CPS director starts to freak out.  He’s corner and knows it.

Victory is in sight…or so it seems.

Oishi pulls up on Keiichi’s protest.  He informs them that their assembly is illegal and they must stand down and break up, or risk arrest.  Keiichi refuses.  They cannot give up.  They’ve come so far and worked effortlessly.  Surrender means defeat;  not only for theme – but as Satoko well.

Inside the office, the director is planning to escape, but is thwarted.  Central office is calling.  Elder members of the Sonozaki clan have reached out physically to the central offices.  Learning this, the director surrenders to the demands of the people.  With the pressure on, he decides to take action and calls the Houjou household.

Meanwhile, Satoko is assaulted by Teppei…

After beating her, Teppei answers the phone.  The director requests him to speak to Satoko, which he agrees to.    Before handing the phone to Satoko,  Teppei violently grips her shoulder and tells her to tell the director that they’re a happy family.  He threatens to burn Satoshi’s room down if Satoko betrays him.

Satoko speaks with the director while Teppei behind her, installing fear in her.  Keiichi speaks to Satoko first.  He tells him how the village is rallying for her.   He promises her that nobody will ever bully or harass her again, even if she is a Houjou.  The same village that once outcast her  and her family is now rooting for her.  They want to see her safe and sound.  For a second, Satoko ponders if there is any hope for her to live a happy life in the village that once rejected her.

Keiichi then puts Rika on the phone to talk to her best friend.

Rika reiterates Keiichi’s statement. She promises her that nobody will mistreat her again.  Rika tells Satoko that she almost gave up, until Keiichi show her otherwise.  Rika then tells Satoko that she knows that she was doing all of this to atone for her sins.  She tells her that if she wants to make up for that the sins, t she must also ask for her friend’s help. It is the job of Satoko to reach out like her friends did for her.  Rika hands the phone over to the director.

The director asks Satoko if there have been any problems with her and Teppei since she returned to live with him.  There is a tense pause followed by stuttering from Satoko.

“He…He-help me!” At last, Satoko admits she needs help.  She stands up to Teppei, telling her abuser that this is her and her precious “Nii-Nii” (older brother) house; she will do anything to protect it – even if it means forcing him to leave.

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Teppei snaps. He slaps her, knocking the girl to the ground.  He then picks her up from her hair and slams her to the ground, threatening to kill her.  Before he can do further damage to her, the police force their way in, arresting Teppei and saving Satoko.

Satoko steps out of the house, greeted with the sight of her friends: friends whom all joined forces to save her.   Satoko spots Rika, runs over to her arms and break down crying.

Satoko is finally free.  With her courage, Satoko was able to stand up to her abusive uncle and confess she needed help.

Satoko has finally reached out to her friends.

Series concluded.

Anime Analysis 1

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship Pt. 2: Rena

‘Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends.
Oh, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.’
“With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles (1961 rock single)

Rena, despite her naive and ditsy nature,  has a rough past. She harbors hatred towards her mother (who cheated on her father and tore apart their family).  Her “friends” from middle school tried to rape her.  She fought back however, savagery beating them with a baseball bat. Following that, she went on a rampage at her school, smashing all the windows in it.  Following, Rena was admitted to a mental health clinic (due to the stress of the incidents).  After recovery, Rena and her father moved back to Hinamizawa in an attempt to continue their lives as normal.

Rena managed to move on, regaining her happiness and enjoying the company of her new friends, Rika, Satoko, Mion, and Keiichi.  Together they formed “The Club”, a clique created from their  friendship; spending many happy days with one another.

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The Club

Yet,  Rena’s happy days would come to an end thanks to her heinous acts of murder.

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‘I do you one better and slay these niggas faithfully.
Murder is a tough thing to digress
It’s a slow process
And I ain’t got nothin’ but time.’
“Dead Presidents II” by Jay-Z (1996 hip-hop single)

Discovering that Mamiya Rina and her pimp Teppei Houjou entrapped her father into a badger game (with Rina pretending to act as her father’s boyfriend and Teppei coercing him into a payment plan), Rena decides to take action. She lured Teppei and Rina into her hideout (the garbage dump).  First, she barbarously smashed Rina’s skull in with her lead pipe. Later, she cleaved Teppei’s head with her billhook – taking their lives.

The next day, The Club decides to check up on Rena, who was absent from school.  Upon arrival at her hang out spot, they see Rena dismembering the bodies of her victims.  Keiichi goes off on her; demanding Rena to explain why she committed such acts.  He also asks why she didn’t ask for help before killing the two.  Rena tells him that they couldn’t help her. She only sees friends as people to only have fun with – not as an outlet for emotional support. Because of past betrayals, Rena fears that she can’t disclose painful information to her friends.  She doesn’t trust them to help her. She believes by murdering Teppei and Rina, she made the best choice for her life.

Keiichi calls her out on her bullshit; telling her that she crying and suffering.  He presses the question of why won’t t trust her friends.  Despite her crimes, he wants to forgive and understand her.   The Clubs shares his idea, as they too want to still remind friends with her and help her (including helping her burying Teppei and Rina’s remains).  They assure her that they’ll never turn their backs on her – and that they’ll still be friends.  Rena thanks everyone for helping her out and understanding her actions.  Rena feels that she no longer has to bare the cross of her sins alone.  She can trust and rely on her friends.

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And yet, this period of trust and reliance wouldn’t last for long.

Time has pass since the Cotton Drifting Festival. Oishi visits one classroom school of Hinimizawa,  requesting to speak to Rena.  The two have a little chat in his car, with him informingthe girl that Tomitake is dead and Miyo is missing. As the two talk, a flashback plays.  Rena and Miyo are chilling at the library, speaking about  Oyashiro’s  curse  and the influence it has on the village and Rena herself.

We learn from this flashback that Rena “broke the taboo” of leaving Hinamizawa.  Rena believes that the cause of her being cursed by Oyashiro was in relation of her family leaving the village years ago. The incident at her school and her parents’ divorce was punishment brought upon by the resident god to her to suffer from.  Rena then tells Miyo that she the god spoke to her, telling her she must return back to Hinamizawa.

“Believing” her story, Miyo gives Rena her bullshit “research” scrapbook. (Granted, Miyo only gave her this to agitate Rena’s Hinamizawa). Upon learning about Miyo’s disaperance,  grows paranoid.   With Tomitake’s murder and Miyo’s disappearance, Rena believes she’ll be targeted next.  She hits Keiichi’s line up, informing him on the situation, and theorizes that the Three Great Family had Miyo (and the rest of the Cotton Drifting Festival victims) murdered  in order to revive the Oyashiro curse.

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Rena’s paranoia worsens.  The following day, members of the Yamainu unit visit the Hinamizawa School for an “inspection”.  Rena takes notice and investigates.  Going over the information left behind by them, she calls their business number, only to discover that the company doesn’t exist.  Rena thinks they’re after her , decides to leave school early, and goes into hiding. Worried about Rena’s behavior, Keiichi decides to search for her.

Learning that the both the police and Sonozaki clan are after her (given she stole money form the later), Keiichi grows concern about Rena’s wellbeing.  Assuming that she’s hiding out in the dump, Keiichi searches for her there.

Meanwhile, Rena is indeed hiding around in the dump – with the police nearby. While evading them, she overhears a dispatcher (from the radio) telling the field officers that she has been spotted at a warehouse near the Sonozaki land, thus making the police leave the dump to confirm this information. This should relive Rena, but she’s freaking out.  She thinks that she has been clone (thanks to Miyo’s bullshiting Rena in her scrapbook)!  It doesn’t help that Rena’s paranoia has gotten worse and the Hinamizawa Syndrome is screwing with her head.

Rena attempts to leave the dump (and the village) but she is caught by Keiichi.  He tries to convince her to return to the village but she refuses. She’s pretty pissed off at Keiichi. Earlier, she had went to check on the burial site of the victims and discovered that their bodies weren’t there. Keiichi tries to explain to her that Mion had her family exhume the bodies from the original burial site to their secret mass grave site  (due to government deforesting).  Rena doesn’t believe this.  She  feels betrayed by Mion (despite Mion was covering Rena’s ass for her own good) and snaps on Keiichi.

Keiichi begs Rena to trust The Club and Mion’s action but Rena is blinded by rage.  In her anger (and derange fits of laughter) she tells Keiichi a little secret – a secret  that Keiichi hidden for years.  Before Keiichi moved to Hinamizawa, he was facing legal issues. Due to stress, Keiichi hunted down young girls and shot them with a BB Gun (with one of the victims losing an eye). In her normally sweet voice, Rena taunts him with this reveal, calling him a shameless pervert (for attacking little girls) and that it must had been fun for him to install fear into young girls for his actions. She finds joy in making Keiichi cry and forcing him to beg her to stop, but Rena keeps at it. Rena finish her sadistic taunting by telling Keiichi that she’s not his friend and for not telling The Club about his past.

She leaves Keiichi alone in his pitiful state.

‘I think we all have stories we don’t want to share of misery, sadness, mistakes, or even memories we don’t want to recall.’
-Mion Sonozaki

The morning after, Keiichi reveals his past to the Club. When questioned by his friends on why he’s revealing such things, he tells them that he doens’t feel right about it from them.  To his surprise, Mion and Rika tell him that he shouldn’t feel shame from it.  Satoko follows suite, telling her friend that he’s a good person now.

His friends’ words of forgiveness and kindness trigger yet another seemly forgotten past:  his distrust towards his beloved friends – and of him killing Mion and Rena in another world.

Keiichi freaks out, weeping in front of the others.  He remembers his delusions of Rena and Mion plotting against him. In reality, they were only trying to help him get better.  Especially Rena whom, even at the final seconds of her life (of that world) literally reached out to him to tell him that it’s everything is okay – to believe in her.

Keiichi laments over this. He questions himself on  why he couldn’t see the fact that his friends wanted to help him. Rika calms Keiichi down and tells him that she forgives him. She knows that he’s a good person now.  Fully aware and understanding what Rena is going through (and awared of the multiple worlds), Keiichi is inspired to fight against fate and save his friend – and to atone for his own sins.

The following school day Rena, who hasn’t shown up to class in a while, finally shows up! To celebrate her triumphant return, she decides to take everyone hostage!  Yea, she pretty much went completely insane.  She forces Keiichi to join her side, as he was the only one who “believed” her story( along with Oishi)  As time passes, things get worse.  Rena starts to spread gasoline around the classroom.  You know, just a simple insurance policy, just in case things go south.

It’s normal in hostage situation trust me.

Rena takes her anger out on her best friend Mion.  She beats her with the blunt end of her billhook, screaming at her. “I trusted you!” She yells, slamming her billhook downwards on to her friend’s forehead and busting her open. Keiichi tries to stop Rena but she threatens to blow up the school right then and there.   Despite Keiichi telling Rena that Mion only had the bodies moved to a secured location; Rena still neither trust nor believe her friends.

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Observation: It can be theorized that Rena does not trust her friends because she experienced mistrust and betrayal from people she once trust in her past.  Remember: three of her former male friends attempted to raped her years ago, friends that she probably trusted.  Additionally, her own mother lied to her father about her having an affair with a coworker.  This coworker impregnated her.  The mother tried to convince her to leave her father, which she refused.   Perhaps in Rena’s head, Mion and Keiichi’s acts against was yet another betrayal.

Her so-called friends violated her trust – therefore, they must be punished.

The day passes.  Keiichi (through an earpiece provided by the police) is informed about a homemade bomb crafted  by Rena, which is hidden in the school.   Keiichi sneaks out of the classroom in search of it.  He encounters Satoko, who concludes that the bomb was hidden away in the school’s storage room. Satoko then gives Keiichi a weapon – her beloved brother’s baseball bat.

Observation:  This scene can be considered a full circle of sorts. During the events of the first arc Keiichi “borrowed” Satoshi’s bat.  Keiichi was planning to use the bat for self-defense Rena (during his bout with paranoia).  This made Satoko upset.  Flash forward to the Atonement Arc. Satoko trust Keiichi.  She trusts him so much that she allows him to use her brother’s bat – one  of the few items she has to remember him.  After giving him the bat, Satoko  is staring at Keiichi, quietly saying “Nii-Nii”.

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What we can take from this is two things:
1. Keiichi reminds her of Satoshi
2. Satoko sees Keiichi like an older brother.

(This is very important for the finale of this analysis series)

Keiichi finds the bomb and disarms it (with a second to spare).  As the hostages escape and the police charge in the school to capture Rena, she encounters Keiichi on the rooftop.  The two talk some shit, mostly with Rena speaking about aliens and Keiichi calling her an idiot.  She then challenges her to a fight to prove who’s right.  During their clash, Keiichi jokes about making Rena his service maid if she loses.  He brings up that their rooftop battle is like their old fun water gun fights and other past club games and ask if her she wanna go back to those days.

The two fight again but then stop when Keiichi thinks of all the fun things he would do to Rena if she was his maid.   He then asks what she would want if she wins, which are the same rewards of the battle he requests.  Rena tells Keiichi that regardless of the winner, they will still be together and happy.  Rena will still have her friends – something she truly wants.

Before they prep for their final blow, Keiichi brings up that this was fun, which Rena plies that it was fun for her too.  The two charge at each other, with Rena wining it by disarming Keiichi of his bat and knocking him to the ground.

“The fight’s over now, right?” Rena asks him.  Keiichi replies once she swings her weapon towards him for the finishing blow.  Rena – regaining her sanity – breaks down crying.  She doesn’t want to hurt her friends.  She weeps as she questions herself on why she cause her friends to suffer and shaming herself for not believing in her friends who only wanted to help her and ruining the happy, fun days they had.

Keiichi then tells Rena that she was right to be suspicious when she sensed something was wrong – anyone would have done the same.  He then follows up with that if there was something painful going on in her life she needs to talk to her friends about it.  Reazling this, Rena starts t ocry uncontrollably in Keiichi’s arms.

It is then that Rena realized her mistake – she needed her friends for support.

‘Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
Buy if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on’

-“Lean on Me” by Bill Withers (1972 soul single)

Series continued in part 3.

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Rena and Keiichi’s fight video source:
https://sakugabooru.com/post/show/18796

Anime Analysis 1

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship Pt. 1: Keiichi, Rena, and Mion.

 

‘Friends…
How many of us have them?
Friends…
Ones we can depend on.’
-Whodini, Friends (1983 rap single)

The power of friendship is a tired concept in anime. It’s  a trope used as either a final hour plot device or a moral boast given to the  hero from their freinds  as a power-up, or a motivation toll to push forward  in the face of despair. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni isn’t exempt from this.  However, how Higurashi tackles this theme makes it stand out from other series that uses the power of friendship such as Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh.

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Oh you’re my best friend…

Using mature and controversial themes (such as child abuse, mental health, trust issues, etc.) for its overarching narrative, Higurashi makes the power of friendship, and the benefits of it feel realistic compared to other anime series.

With series main character Keiichi, we see Rena and Mion attempt  to reach out to Keiichi in his time of stress and paranoia, whom he couldn’t seem to trust.  Rena herself would wind up untrusting of her friends; accusing them of betraying her (as she believed they snitched on her for murdering Rina and Teppei).

Finally, The Club unites the village of Hinamizawa to rescue Satoko Houjou from her abusive uncle – including villagers who once outcast and hated her.

Join me in part one of my analysis of the Power of Friendship in Higurashi as we explore how Rena and Mion reached out to help their friend Keiichi, only to be murdered by him due to his paranoia.

Keiichi, Rena, and Mion

‘Give me a reason why not to adapt in this way,
or judge me to be guilty of  so many incurable sins
Tell me why, or why not, complaining way too much,
Maybe I overlooked something fatal for me’


“Why or Why Not” by Katakiri Rekka (Higurashi no Naku koro ni  ED 1)

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Ever since he moved to the small and close-knit village of Hinamizawa, Keiichi grew close with new friends Rena and Mion.  They walk together to school, play after-school games and kick it and chill with one another as good friends.  It’s clear by their interactions and the time they spend with each other that they’re bonded by friendship.

A bond of destroyed by paranoia and distrust.

Keiichi’s distrust towards his friends began when he was informed by Tomitake about the Hinamizawa Dam War (a protest conflict against a dam construction in the village). The “war” resulted in the unsolved murder and dismemberment of the project’s director.  Now mind you, this information was given to Keiichi after he was joking with Tomitake that Rena may had hid a body in the garbage dump (the land that was going to be used for the dam) where she normally hangs out at. We must also note that some of the remains of the project director have yet to be recovered at this point of the story.

This news doesn’t ease Keiichi’s paranoia. It will get worse after the Cotton Drifting Festival.

It’s the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. After kicking it with The Club, Keiichi goes off  on his own to explore the area.  He links up with Tomitake and his girlfriend, Miyo.  The lovers get Keiichi hip on Oyashiro’s Curse: a series of unexplained “supernatural” deaths and disappearances occurring  at the festival for the past five years – with this year’s festival being the fifth anniversary. This new information in combination of the murder and dismemberment case freaks Keiichi out.

There’s more to the village than he is aware of.

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Miyo explaining the legend of Oyashiro’s curse. 

The following morning, Keiichi is visited by detective Oishi at his school. Oishi notifies the boy that Tomitake was discovered dead during the festival. In addition, Miyo is missing. He asks Keiichi if he believes these incidents are linked to the curse. Keiichi replies that he doesn’t believe in such things such as curses and gods.  Pleased, Oishi sees Keiichi as an useful person for the case . Oishi ends their meeting with him requesting that he does not repeat anything to anyone –especially to Mion – as she is a member of the notorious Sonozaki Yakuza clan.

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Oishi informing Keiichi that Miyo is missing.

Returning to class, Keiichi overhears Mion and Rena discussing the disappearance of past victims of the supposed curse.  Satoshi is mentioned, which Keiichi questions Rena about the boy later.  After school, Keiichi confronts his friends about the murders, the village, and the curse.  He suspects them of withholding information.  Rena counters this, asking him why he too is withholding information.  She brings up that she knows that he spoke with Oishi (contradicting his lie of him talking to their teacher).

The friends argue back and forth.  Rena grows hostile. In the height of their verbal fight, Rena questions the subject of Oishi and Keiichi’s discussion, which he dodges.     Rena snarls at Keiichi – accusing him of lying.  Returning to her normal sweet nature, she tells Keiichi that just like he has secrets, they too have their own.

Knowing that the Hinamizawa Syndrome causes paranoia, one can assume that Keiichi is imagining Rena becoming hostile in her actions. For all we know, Rena could have been teasing Keiichi for fun.  Maybe she was concern that Keiichi was talking to a police officer that he did not know.

Later that night, Keiichi receives a call from Oishi requesting new information.  Keiichi mentions Rena and Mion were talking about the curse, the murders, and Satoshi (with Oishi informing Keiichi that Satoshi was one of the victims of the curse the year before).  Keiichi links everything Rena and the others told him earlier – suspecting that he will be the next victim; Confirming his theory that his friends are withholding information from him.  The phone call is cut short when Keiichi’s dad comes up to his room to give both Keichi and Rena tea.   Keiichi freaks out. He never noticed Rena standing outside of his room, even though his father saw Rena going there. Keiichi believes that Rena might have overheard the phone call and starts to worry.

Keiichi decides to skip school the next morning.  Feeling sick, he heads to the doctor clinic. At the waiting room, he overhears that Miyo may had been spirited away by the demon.   Following that, he links up with Oishi for lunch (as well as to provide the kid with new information).  Oishi informs Keiichi that  Mion and her family were involved in the  Dam Wars. He also supplies Keiichi with new information on Satoshi’s disappearance. Finally, perhaps the most important pieces of information he can give Keiichi – Rena’s past as well the links the curse’s past victims and his friends.

Oishi reveals to Keiichi that a few years ago, Rena suffered a mental break down; resulting in her assaulting her friends with a baseball bat.  She was admitted to a mental health clinic following the incident.  It was documented that during therapy, she repeated the words “Oyashiro-Sama”. It was also noted that Rena believe Oyashiro was watching over her.

(Bare this part of Rena’s past in mind as it will be important later on in relation to Keiichi’s paranoia.)

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Oiishi then explains the link between Keiichi’s friends and the victims. The victims had a relationship with each friend.  The dam director got into it with Mion and her family.   The dam project’s supporters, the housewife that died in the fourth year, and Satoshi were kin of Satoko – blood or otherwise. The priest who died and his wife who disappeared were Rika’s parents.  Finally, Tomitake was friends with The Club.

With this knowledge, Oishi theorizes that Keiichi will be targeted next.

That night, Rena and Mion visits Keiichi out of concern (due to his absence from school).  They gift him with dinner and make him play a game to see who prepped it.  As they chat, the light-hearted visit turns into an interrogation of sorts.  They question Keiichi on his meeting with Oishi, which Rena brings up she noticed the two at Angel Mort. Keiichi starts to worry.  He tells Rena that they weren’t talking about them, but she doesn’t believe him.  Mion  tells  Keiichi that no matter what, she’ll find out his secrets between him and Oishi before leaving.

 

Keiichi examines the ohagai, suspecting nothing of it. As he takes a bite out of it, he starts to freak out and spits the food out into his hand. He spots a “needle” covered in “blood” sticking out and goes berserk.  He tosses the food in the garbage and screams.  Fearing that his life in his danger, Keiichi hurries back to his room, grab a piece of paper and starts writing:

‘I am Keiichi Maebara, and my life is in danger. I don’t know why or who. The only thing I know is that it has something to do Oyrashiro-Sama’s curse.’

In reality of course, the Hinamizawa Syndrome is clouding Keiichi’s thoughts.  As the disease grows, so does his paranoia – therefore, creating false perceptions of reality.  When examining the situation outside Keiichi’s perceptive of fear, you have to take in a few points:

  • The “needle” in Keiichi food (and the pain caused by it) is an illusion. The sharp, painful poke from the “needle” was actually spicy hot sauce (which also explains the “blood”).  This was a prank by from Mion used to mess with Keiichi and cheer him up.  We can assume that Rena and Mion both knew that something was bothering Keiichi and wanted to make him happy.  This can be further supportive with the fact the girls visited him to check up on him.
  • It’s possible that Mion and Rena knew Oishi and Keiichi were at Angel Mort through Shion; Mion’s twin sister and an employee at the café.  One could theorize that Shion informed Mion that Keiichi was talking to Oishi.  Keep in mind that Oishi and the Sozonakis have beef.  Oishi suspects that the Sonozaki are behind the mysterious murders.  The dam director (one of the victims) was Oiishi’s best friend and father-like mentor.  Taking this into account, you can assume that Mion thinks that Oishi is using Keiichi to get information off Mion. Mion could also just have been playfully teasing Keiichi (as well as telling him to stay away from Oishi because her family doesn’t like him due to reasons).

The following morning, Keiichi heads to school alone; planning his next course of action against his enemies.  He’s nearly run over by a van (driven by members of the Yamainu).   Thinking that they’re after him, Keiichi declares that he must not drop his guard. He must fight back.  Upon arriving to school, Keiichi search the lockers for a weapon. Coming across Satoshi’s locker he finds the perfect weapon – Satoshi’s metal baseball bat.

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At recess, Keiichi is “practicing” swinging the bat with aggression.  Rena and Mion see this, questioning why he’s playing around with the bat.  Keiichi lies, stating that he’s practicing for the national finals.  The girls looked on with confusion and concern.  They leave, letting Keiichi do his own thing. After school, Keiichi decides to drop out of The Club’s after school activities and tells them to leave him alone.

They’re worried about him.

Rena follows Keiichi to check up on him.  Keiichi sees her and snaps.  He points his bat at Rena with a threatening stance; demanding the girl to walk ahead of him.  Rena complies, but not before asking him why he’s emulating Satoshi’s actions from last year (as well as using his bat) Rena tells Keiichi how he and Satoshi are alike (such as carrying baseball bats despite not being athletic, being paranoid,  and dropping out of  the club activities). Then Rena asks Keiichi if he’ll “transfer out” of school like Satoshi did prior.  Keiichi uneasiness worsens.  He believes that he’ll disappear like Satoshi from the tone and body language of Rena’s words.

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Reality: Rena is troubled by Keiichi’s actions. She cares for him. She doesn’t want to see another friend suffering (remember: she regrets not reaching out Satoshi when he was suffering).  To take it one step further, Rena had her own bouts with paranoia, stress, and mistrust in others before receiving help.  She is by all means attempting to reach out and help Keiichi.

That night, Oishi calls up Keiichi again.  Keiichi tells the cop that he’s certain that Rena and Mion are trying to kill him (with the whole “needle” in his food ordeal and the Yamainu trying to run him over) Oishi asks Keiichi to find the needle for him for evidence.  Keiichi fails to do so (since the “needle” was hot sauce) and thinks he had accidently thrown it away.  Next, he explains how he got new information on the Satoshi situation from Rena to Oishi.  During this, he is startled by Rena ringing his door bell.  Keiichi goes answer the door.

Just like the other day, Rena brings Keiichi over food and checks up on him.  She asks him if he had anything to eat all night.  He lies to her, which Rena calls him out on.  Rena brings up that she saw him eating noodles and food  he brought from the market.  She starts playing around by yanking on the door chain of his house in an attempt to “break in”. Thinking Rena is out to kill him, Keiichi smashes her hand in the door several time, forcing Rena to leave.

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Now, if I was Keiichi and Rena came through to my crib while my parents were away for the weekend, I would totally invite her in for a few hours.  Just being real. 

Reality: Rena was reaching out and  checking up on him like last time (since he scared everyone earlier that day) Plus, Rena is close with his mom, so it is possible for her to know that Keiichi was alone without food.  And given that Rena has a playful nature, her attempting to break him was just a joke.

Returning to his room, he notices Rena standing outside in the rain, looking into his bedroom chanting “I’m sorry” repeatedly.  The following morning, Keiichi is back to practicing his swing with the bat.  Mion confronts Keiichi and orders him to stop.  Everyone is frightened of Keiichi’s unexplained erratic behavior.  He goes off on Mion, asking her why is everyone is scared. He also tells her that he knows that Satoshi never “transfer” (given his sister Satoko is still in the same school and town).  He tells her that he also knows about her fights with the dam war and asked why did she wasn’t truthful to him about that fact.

Mion breaks down in tears.   She becomes enrage soon after.  She assumes that Oishi – the “old bastard” – was the one who told Keiichi about her fights between the dam director and express regrets of not killing him earlier.  Keiichi ponders if the “old bastard” in question is Oishi.

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Reality: Mion is troubled by Keiichi’s actions.  Like Rena, Mion fears Keiichi will end up like Satoshi and run away.   Mion is also angry that Oishi made her seem like a ruthless killer to Keiichi due to her past with the dam director.  The stress of her family dealing with Oishi’s police force, as well as rumors of her family murdering people has taken its toll on Mion.  Therefore, out of rage, Mion snapped. Her wishing death on Oishi was due to anger.  Deep down, I just think Mion was blowing off steam.

Keiichi leaves school and walks alone again.  He spots Rena and  books it, hiding into the woods, but his efforts fail.  Rena catches up to him.  He notices her billhook in her hand and questions her why she has it.  She laughs at him.  She then explains about how Satoshi was doing everything that Keiichi was doing in the past, her regrets for not helping him, and if he knows about Oyashiro’s curse. She ends with telling Keiichi that only she and she alone can help him solve his problems and that she’ll save him.

Rena starts to manically laugh and Keiichi runs off in the woods.

Reality: Rena was carrying her billhook for one of two reasons:
1. To help her on her grand ‘ol treasure hunting adventures in the not-so-grand garbage dump
2. To protect Keiichi from danger, as it’s implied from Rena’s point of view of the Onikakushi-hen arc (which you can watch a video of that POV  below):

Rena is very observant.  Her watching Keiichi becoming like Satoshi and him pushing everyone away is something not out of the ordinary for her.  Like everyone else, she clearly noticed Keiichi felt and appeared troubled.  Thus, reaching out to him was a priority. She states that she felt regret for not helping Satoshi out with his problems before he left.  Perhaps she felt guilty for that and to atone for her it, she vows to save Keiichi.

Maybe, just maybe, she can save him.

A few hours later, Keiichi awakens in his room (he appeared to have been knocked out by a Yamainu solider).  In his daze, he notices Rena sitting at the foot of his futon.   He starts freaking out, asking her why is she in his house.  Rena tells him that she found him in the woods and decided to carry him back to his house to recover.  While they’re chatting, Mion comes through to the house, welcoming herself to his room.  Mion ask if Rena called the sports supervisor, given Keiichi has an “interest” in baseball. Keiichi (with his paranoia at its highest) asks who the supervisor is.  The girl simply laugh at him.

Mion suggests that they finish the Punishment Game before he comes, which Rena agrees.  Rena gets up, walks over to Keiichi, and restrains him.  Mion gets up and pulls out a syringe from her pocket with a sadistic smile.  Keiichi is terrified.  As he struggle to break free from Rena she asks what they’re about to do to him.  Keiichi remembers Oishi telling him how Tomitake died and they suspected drugs were involved.

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Keiichi overpowers Rena, grabs his baseball bat and beat the two girls to death with it in what he believes to be in self-defense.  After killing the girls, he spots Dr. Irie rolling up to  his house in the same van that attempted to run him over earlier that week.  Seeing this, he reaches into the back of his clock to recover the letter he wrote earlier.

Finishing the letter, he names Rena and Mion as suspects, list five adults in the van, and suggests that the “drug” that Rena and Mion were planning to use on him is the same as the one that killed Tomitake.   He then escapes the house, dodging Yamainu guards in the process.  Keiichi calls up Oishi from a phone booth, panicking.  In his dying breath, Keiichi tells Oishi that he thought the suspects were human, but at this point believes that Oyashiro’s curse is real and that the god is following him.  Keiichi starts to tear at his throat – effectively killing.

Reality: Keiichi murdered Rena and Mion in cold blood.  There were no drugs discovered at the crime scene.  The “drug” he spoke of was a marker. Rena and Mion never attempted to harmed or kill Keiichi – simply, they wanted to help him and be there for him as friends.  They wanted to cheer him up and wish him to get better.  Sadly, Keiichi’s perspective of reality was distorted from his paranoia and the  Hinamizawa Syndrome.   He could not see that his friends only wanted to help him, not harm him.

Because of his paranoia, three young lives were cut short.

The truth of Rena and Mion’s kindness and Keiichi sins would be later revealed in the Atoment Arc.  Rena, the airheaded, kindhearted girl, needed help herself.  Help from her own pain, mistrust, and paranoia.

And what better friend to save her than Keiichi himself?

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Continued in part 2.

(My bad about the spoilers fam  lmfao)

anime 0

Kakegurui – Power and Freedom (THEORY)

With episodes four and five’s plot of Mary and Yumeko teaming up to regain their humanity and lives,  I figured that now is a great time to drop a theory I have on two possible narrative theme elements of Kaegurui; The theme of power and freedom. Both episodes (including manga spoilers) and the ED provided me with more than enough evidence and clues to support these claims.  Hell, I’ll throw in some theories I have about Yumeko’s personality because why not.

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The first phase of the ED opens with separate, close focus shots of Yumeko’s ass and bouncing breasts; branding Kakegurui as a series of near hyper sexuality. Next, we see Yumeko walking in the rain unprotected.  She doesn’t appear to mind the rain, or the problems it brings.  This tells us that Yumeko is carefree: She loves taking risks and finds comfort in being reckless.   In short, she marches to the rhythm of her own beat.

 

In the background, there is a peony flower –   the Japanese symbol of daring bravery and wealth.  People with bravery and wealth are powerful.  Yumeko is a brave girl; she’s not bothered by high risk stakes or manipulation by outside sources. In fact, she enjoys it.  To say she gains pleasure from it is a statement not far from the truth.  Hyakkaou itself is rich in wealth, bravery, and power.   Seeing the peony flowers in various Kakegurui manga covers and promotional materials is no coincidence in that sense.

 

The peony cycles through four colors: red, green, yellow-green, and purple.

In color theory, red is use for power.  Now, what are the Hyakkaou students gambling for? Status and power above all.  But, before you get the power, you must get the money. This leads us to the next color – green.

Green – most associated with money – and greed.  Money makes the world go round.  Money never sleeps like Wall Street.    If gambling is the backbone of  the school than money is  the lifeblood.  The student body is made up of the children of some of the richest and most powerful connected families of Japan.

Power is everything.  Money rules all.

‘You gotta  get the money first. Then when get the money,  you get the power.’
-Tony Monata, Scarface (1983 American film)

‘All my life I want money and power.’
-Kendrick Lamar, Backseat (2012 American hip-hop single)

Next is yellow-green.  We already analyze green, so let’s focus on yellow.  Yellow represents logic, analysis, and brain stimulation.  Gambling itself is a mental game; As you much analyze and read your opponent’s moves. Logic can greatly dictate the flow of a gambling match (if you’re extremely smart and/or know how to play the system that is).  Yellow can also represent joy and happiness – something Yumeko tend to indulge herself in a lot through gambling.

Finally the color purple.  Purple represents royalty, power, luxury, and nobility – four things in which the upper-class students either have obtained or inherited. The lower-class/livestock yearns for these four things they lack.  Purple is also a mysterious, yet beautiful color. This works with Yumeko, as we do not know neither her origins, nor background.  She’s also rather beautiful as her male peers were captivated by her beauty at first sight (and it’s implied Ryota has a crush on her based on her beauty).

This phase of the ED continues for a few bars of music, which builds up as the vocalist and instruments are layered in the melody.

There are quick, close focus shots of Yumeko’s chest, skirt, opened shirt, and finally, her lips.  The animation of her lips sync with the vocalist singing “tagitte shimau wa!, or, “I’m overflowing!” in English.

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Now, we’ve heard Yumeko say this line before in episode 2; as she gets aroused through gambling. Gambling excites Yumeko profoundly.  Perhaps a bit too much  however.

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From episode 2. Yumeko has issues.  Not Midari level issues.  But issues.

The ED transitions into phase two.  The peony flower has exploded into red pedals. The pedals start to rotate around Yumeko.  Now, remember that red means power. Who has the power in Hyakkaou? The student government has the power of course.   Now, could that possibly mean that Yumeko will break up the student council’s power game, and have them wrapped around her fingers as the series progress?

These lyrics of the ending theme seem to suggest so:

‘So have your way with their souls.
Make them dance in the palm of your hand!’

Then again, this could also be a reference to how the student council control the lower class; removing their humanity, treating them as livestock, and dictating their lives through the Life Schedule Plan (more on that later).

After that, Yumeko tosses her blazer aside carelessly; her dress shirt open, revealing her cleavage and pink bra.  Her arms are spread slightly.  She walks with fluidity as she sways her hips back and forth, still soaked by the rain.  Liberated from her “restrains” (the blazer and buttoned shirts), she wears a wide smile; As if she’s happy that she can be free.  Perhaps this symbolize that in the future, she’ll finally be happy that she can be her true self – a fearless, limitless gambler.

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There’s a bar of rest in the music, followed by an upskirt shot from the ground up.  The downbeat directs us to the final phase. Yumeko’s arms and hair are raised high above her head. She walks with more confidence in each step.  Multiple lights sync with the percussion, alternating between blue and pink at each bar.  Five or six peony flowers appear in the background, each rotating like roulette wheels while the pedals of the original peony still dance around Yumeko.

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The imagery increases with intensity, working in synergy with the music’s crescendo. The animation transitions to a set of poker chips ascending; This might hint that Yumeko will raise above the ranks of Hyakkou and the student government.

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Finally, the ED ends with a focus shot of the Yumeko’s face. It’s blushed, her lips are parted, and her hair a mess. She appears she just been pleasured sexually for some odd reason (sex sells I guess).  Also, note how her hair are red –  just like the peony pedals.   Perhaps she gains power and triumph over the student government overtime.  Maybe I’m thinking way too deep into the shot, but whatever.

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By analyzing the ED, I’ve theorized two the possible themes of Kakegurui are freedom and power.

Freedom plays a large role in the series. Students yearning to free themselves from their “pet” and “livestock” statues,  as well as debts they owe to others.  We first see this through Ryota and Mary’s game from the first episode. Of course, Ryota lost to Mary and became her pet as a result.

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Later, after her defeat against Yumeko, Mary is force to surrender her life, and live the life that the student council crafted for her: the Life Schedule Plan (getting married to a senator, baring his children, etc.).

 

She enters a debt forgiveness gambling match with Yumeko (also suffering the same fate as Mary).  The two join forces to lower their debt, thus one step closer in retaining their humanity and freedom.  During this match, we’re introduced to Nanami, a young girl reduced to livestock status.  She’s  forced to partner up with minor villain Kiwatari.  After realizing  that she was coerced (as well as emotionally and mentally abused) into working for Kiwatari, Yumeko convinces Nanami to grow a backbone, fight for herself, and free herself from Kiwatari.  Despite losing the match (coming in second place) and still having debt, Nanami gains a sense of freedom and confidence for herself.

 

As for the theme of power, it’s quite obvious.  From episode 1 to the recent episode 5 (and the manga of course), power and status is played heavily in the series.  Mary has power over Ryota for a time.  Yumeko displays her power through extreme wit and intelligence.  Students with status and money have power over the pets.  The student government (made up of high ranking gamblers and students with political and financial connections) rule the school through their power.  We see the fincinal status and connection with Itsuki (as her dad is the CEO of a toy company) and the political pull  and ruling of the current ruthless  Kirari Momobami.

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Power is everything in Hyakkaou.

‘No one man should have all that power.’

Kanye West, Power (2010 hip-hop single)

How did you like my analysis and theories?  Think I’m spot on or am I’m just overthinking an ED and the music?  I’m excited how things will play out in both the manga nad anime, as things are starting to get wild in episode 5.  I’ve yet to read the manga but I heard from a friend that it’s nuts.  Let me know what you think in the comments!

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

http://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/national-helpline-1-800-522-4700/
The National Council of Problem Gambling.  Just because a fictional character makes having a gambling addiction fun doesn’t mean it is in real life.
http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/meaning-of-colors.html

http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/10/hanakotoba-japanese-secret-language_18.html

http://peonypaintings.blogspot.com/2013/07/japanese-peony-flowers-meaning.html

http://www.lyrical-nonsense.com/lyrics/d-selections/layon-theline/
English and Japanese lyrics for the ED.

Mother’s Basement analysis of the OP of Kakegurui.  Although this further inspired me to do this ED analysis, I wasn’t initially inspired by the video.  I was more inspired by Anime Live Reaction analysis of  Dragon Ball Super ED 7 to analyze anime lyrics and ED.

NOTE:
If you’re wondering why I haven’t done days 29 and 30 of the “30 Day of Anime Challenge”, it’s because I’ve been too heavily focus on other major projects right now.  They will return soon.

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 6: Favorite Anime Ending Theme

I’ve been looking forward to Days 5 and 6  of this list. I love music.  I love anime.  This will be a challenge indeed. There are far too many endings songs I love that I can not possibly just choose one as my favorite.  I’m going to do ten songs, five opening and five ending themes for each day and let you in on why I love them so much.

 

5.An Evil Angel and a Righteous Devil
Dragon Ball Super ED 8
Performed by The Collectors

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With the Tournament of Power Arc introducing a new ending theme this week (Haruka by Lacco’s Tower), I thought it would be a great idea to start off this list with the Arc’s first ending theme.  An Evil Angel and a Righteous Devil is my personal favorite of the Dragon Ball Super ending themes due to the political tone and themes of the lyrics and music video (choosing a side, deception,  the tragedy of war, etc.), something I  would never expect from a Shonen series such as Dragon Ball.

I’ve already given an in-depth analysis on the song  in an earlier post, so please check out the link provided.

‘Angels and devils: even if the devils were really angels
Righteousness and evil would still hold no meaning
Winning or losing doesn’t benefit anyone –
Everyone is simply hurt, crying at the end’

Number Four:
Dou Kangaete mo Watashi wa Warukunai (lit. No Matter How  I Look at It, I’m not Popular)
Watamote Ed 1
Performed by Izumi Kitta (voice actress of series heroine Tomoko Kuroki)

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Great  songs are the ones that are personal.  It’s even better if find parallels in the lyrics to your own life  or if the performance of the song matches the spirit of the song’s central theme.   The first ending theme of   “Watamote” captures this as voice actress Izumi Kitta’s  performs  as Tomoko the series socially awkward main character I coudn’t help but find a sense of similarity by   listening to Tomoko sing about her  inability to commute with “normies”, wasting her life online, and her loneliness.

I also couldn’t help but laugh as in reflection of my old  days of being a shut-in weeaboo back in middle and high school – feeling superior to my normie peers.

…god i was such a special snowflake trash back in the day.

‘After all the time I’ve spent online
My voice won’t even come out after all this time
In rain or shine, it doesn’t change
Is that right?! It’s not my fault!’

Number Three
Hiru no Tsuki (lit. Daytime Moon)
Outlaw Star ED 1
Performed by Arai Akino

‘This serene feeling…
Tell me, what’s the word people use for it?’

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“This serene feeling”.   It’s the feeling I had towards  Hiru no Tsuki ever since I was a child watching Outlaw Star.  Despite being ignorant to the Japanese language and the context of Hiru no Tsuki  back then,  I always felt this peaceful, yet sorrowful presence in Akino’s performance and in the song itself.  11-year-old Benjamin couldn’t quite tell exactly  what or why the reason  for the feeling back then but he knew that there was more to Outlaw Star than just the simple story of  ragtag crew traveling through space finding treasure and collecting money.

Hiru no Tsuki fueled the feeling.

Emily Brown and Ayako Kawasumi’s  (American and Japanese voice actresses of Melfina) performance of Hiru no Tsuki in Episode 21 (Grave of the Dragon) drove the sorrowful emotion point home with Melfina singing acapella – possibly reflecting on her longing to understand the purpose and reason on why does she exist; despite her artificial creation.

The pain in her heart.

Will the time come? When you will know the pain in my heart?
Then you’d be able to be gentler than you are now.

 

Number Two
Ride on Shooting Star
Fooly Cooly ED
Performed by The Pillows

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Ride on Shooting Star doesn’t make sense.  You can not make sense of it, no matter how much you want it to.  It’s confusing. It’s crazy.  It’s nonsense.  It’s perfect for FLCL!

Think about it: Fooly Cooly is a crazy and outlandish anime series.  You know what else is crazy and confusing?  Puberty – and the changes that it brings.  Unexplained changes and experiences you did not  understand at all as a teenager.  What’s one of Fooly Cooly’s creative themes?  Dealing with puberty and not knowing how to deal with it.  That’s why Ride on Shooting Star is perfect as the series’s ending theme.   It doesn’t need to make sense and that’s why it’s perfect.

‘Ride on shooting star
With the voice of my heart, like a shotgun
I kept on singing’

Number One
The Real Folk Blues
Cowboy Bebop ED
Performed by Mai Yamane and The Seatbelts

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‘THE REAL FOLK BLUES
I just want to know real sadness
Sitting in the muddy river, this life isn’t so bad either
If it ends once.’

The lyrical music of Cowboy Bebop is of  an expansion of the series’s story beyond simple background atmosphere.  Cowboy Bebop is heavily influences by music so it shouldn’t be a shock  how the music in the series work in synergy  for the narrtive  of Cowboy Bebop with songs such as “Rain”,  “Blue”, and  ending theme song “The Real Folk Blues”.

Spike’s tale is that of a depressing, saddening one.  While there are many things about Spike and his past that we may never know, we do know and are aware of the sad realities of it. One could consider The Real Folk Blues  as additional information on Spike,  with lines in the song such as “The despair that grew out of hope
And this chance with a trap laid in it “ and  “How long must I live to be healed?”.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my top five anime ending themes!   What are some of your favorites?  Please tell me in the comments below and see ya later!

 

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FREEWRITE/THEORY: If Hotaru Never Met Chibi-Usa

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What if this encounter never happened?

So this great theory dawned on me while I was shit posting on my Facebook page with Sailor Moon memes: If Hotaru never met Chibi-Usa during the events of the Infinity Arc (doesn’t matter which version), not only would Hotaru would had grew more miserable with her life, it might had spelt doomed for the entire world.  One of two things would had happen:  Either the world would had been destroyed by Mistress 9 and Pharaoh 90,  as none of the Sailor Scouts were powerful enough at the time to stop the Daimons, or Sailor Saturn would had awaken and under Hotaru’s influence, would had been like “ha ha ha fuck my entire life and this world” and destroyed the planet.  I mean, would you wanna continue living life if you were Hotaru with absolutely no friends, no mother figure,  an abusive father (or an abusive Kaorinite depending on the version of the series) and a degenerating body that’s falling apart?

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How Hotaru managed not to hang herself or  blow her brains out at this point is beyond my superior analytical mind (I mean Japan has strict gun laws but that’s another story).

. Think about it:  Prior to meeting Chibi-Usa, Hotaru had a terrible life. I wouldn’t be shocked if she had a rather pessimistic view on it.  I mean, if you saw your own mother burning to death, had your limbs damaged to the point of having them replaced with robotic ones by your sociopath father, have an alien space bitch overlord’s egg inside your body, an uncontrolled split personality, and dealing with being bullied relentlessly at school, you probably have a fucked up view on life as well.  Chibi-Usa befriending Hotaru and making Hotaru feel a lot more positive about herself was lowkey the best thing to happen to the Sailor Scouts and the world.

 

The only positive outcome I see from any of this is in the 90s anime series.  Hotaru would probably save the world as Sailor Saturn only to save her father who wasn’t an abusive piece of shit unlike his Crystal and manga counterparts. Other than that, she would had either died as Mistress 9 completed destroyed her body (and would had went on to destroy her literal sprit), or died as an result of ending the world as Sailor Saturn.  Sailor Moon was not powerful enough to take out both Mistress 9 and Pharoh 90, as Saturn herself stated in the 90s anime that Moon wans’t that powerful.

I would go more in-depth with my theory but I gotta get ready for work in like  30 minutes of the completion of this writing.  Plus I wanna get this out of my head before I forgot about the theory.  Also sorry for the bad grammar and spelling errors I gotta get ready to work like now.

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FREEWRITE: Haruhi Suzumiya and Law 6 of the 48 Laws of Power

‘Law 6: Court Attention at All Cost’

-Robert Greene, author of the 48 Laws of Power

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To say that Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melachonholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) is a bit of an attention whore is a grave understatement.  Haruhi lusts for attention.  She demands notability.  She wants all eyes on her like Tupac.  To Haruhi, the world should  and must revolve around only on her. (of course, she’s God after all, so she’s not. She’s not wrong to think that [despite unaware of her godly reality wrapping powers]). Every day, she makes an effort to be noticed, to have people know her name, and who she is.  She doesn’t care if people speak of her in a negative light; it keeps her name circulating. She loves it.

Haruhi  doesn’t want to fade in the background.  She does not want be average, or one of faceless many in the world. Haruhi’s drive is to become extraordinary and different from the rest of the world.  To understand this drive, we must look at her flashback scene from episode 13 of season 1.

‘So I figure I would change myself in middle school. Let the world know that I wasn’t a girl content with sitting around and waiting.’
-Haruhi Suzumiya

As they’re walking home from school, Haruhi tells Kyon the story of her family going a baseball game as a child. Haruhi was amazed at the sight of the overflowing, sold out stadium. She believed that the entire population of   Japan came together at the venue to watch baseball.  When she asked her dad about the number of people in attendance, he told her around 200,000 people. These people, including herself, only made up very small fraction Japan’s population (around 128 million during the show’s original run in 2006).  After returning home from the game,  she did the math, breaking down the attendance , compared it to the entire population of Japan, and discovered that it only made one two-thousandth of the population of Japan.

Haruhi was just one of many. A  drop in the massive and everlasting ocean.

Realizing this, she no longer felt special.  Haruhi was just like everyone else; doing the same shit (brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, etc.).  Life became boring. What’s life when you’re just like everyone else? Maybe in the world, there was somebody amazing, unique, and extraordinary And yet, it wasn’t her.

At this  revelation,  Haruhi  had to  stand out from the rest of the world. She to get up and demand change by her own will. To  not become content with being average.  She had to make her mark in the world by any means. To court attention at all cost.

 

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Be obsessed or be average.’

-Grant Cardone, American CEO, Author, and motivation speaker

 

Later, Haruhi set out to achieve her dream of being noticed and not average. On her first day of high school, she proudly introduces herself and states that she isn’t interested normal humans.  Rather, she wants to meet with time travelers, aliens, and espers. This caused a stir in her homeroom, making people think just who the fuck is this childish girl, and why does she still believe in such things at the age of 15?

Throughout the series, Haruhi attempts (and mostly succeed at) various actions to be noticed.  She devolved a system to change her hairdo by style (she even went as far to wear a different hair ribbion each day).  She stripped down from her school uniform into her gym clothes, not caring if her male peers were watching. She attempted to join every school club, only to dip out from each and forming her own club: The SOS Brigade. She stole the show at her school festival, filling in for a sick guitarist ( revealing that she’s an amazing musician in her own right). All in the name of courting attention.   She places herself at the center of it all, regardless of what others may think.

It’s her world.  She just want all the attention.

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‘A normal life’s boring’

-Eminem, American Rapper

Haruhi’s World art source:
http://photobucket.com/gallery/http://s634.photobucket.com/user/MawsCM

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ANIME LYRICS ANALYSIS: Limit Break x Survivor (Dragon Ball Super)

The second opening theme song of Dragon Ball Super, performed by Kiyoshi Hikawa (signed with Nippon Columbia).  Debuted in Dragon Ball Super on Episode 77, the start of the Universe Survival Arc.

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Kiyoshi Hikawa

‘Get excited! To space, let’s go!
The latest obsession! Join the flow?
I’ll hold in my hand’

Too anime for me to analyze

‘I wanna laugh like a crazy!
I’m used to bein’ confused!’

When you’re so used to going through the same bullshit day in and day out, not receiving any results that makes you happy, you can only just simply laugh as if you’re insane.  Besides, you’re used to dealing with confusion (may it be from general life bullshit or what not).  It’s second nature, why not laugh about it?
‘I can’t get no satisfaction’

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Goku in his Super Saiyan God form.  A form in which he was ultimately unsatisfied with (which lead to Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, or Super Saiyan Blue).

This is Goku to a tee.  He is consistent with is training for self improvement and he is always seeking new, stronger warriors as he’s not satisfied with his current state of power.  His drive to become stronger and combat against people as strong or stronger than himself is one of the catalyze of the Tournament of Power.

In the real world, this can be applied to anyone with  drive and passion.  People  who reach their personal best want more in life, thus feeling unsatisfied. This create a desire to push themselves to a new heights, to explore new things to curb the thirst as to speak.

(This is my favorite line of the song, as it describes my nature of wanting more in life)

 

‘(woo-hoo) Boredom
(woo-hoo) Becomes a stone
Before it gets too heavy and falls (Let’s fly high)’


Stones are heavy.  Stone can drag you, slowing  down your process or your entire life.  Bored people, people who aren’t doing anything with their lives, are dragged down by it.  When people apply their dreams, drive, passion, and thoughts into action, they do not allow any stones to drag them down.  In fact they refuse to be dragged down.

In short, be obsessed with your passions, or be average and boring.

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‘(woo-hoo) Let’s spread
(woo-hoo) Our wings of excitement’

Open your wings and soar high.  Let others know about your excitement and influence them.
‘Let’s go to the next world’

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Goku achieving Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan

Go to the next level in life.  Do you want to stay in the same place as always  No? Then go do something about it!

‘The door of possibilities is still locked
Oh well, I’ll break through the wall again’

Opportunities.  Advancements.  Desires. At times, they’re locked behind a closed doors, blocking your path to achieve greatness.  Sometimes, you have to force your way to gain what you want in life, may it be breaking down walls or destroying road blocks.  Those who are used to facing roadblocks and locked doors in life just tend to say “screw it” and destroy the barriers as usual.

‘Now! Shoot past the limit! Shout “It’s piece of cake”!
The Invinclbe Me is waiting there’

Again, Goku to a tee.  As Beerus stated in the “Battle of the Gods” movie, Goku is a fighting genius.  A title Goku truly earned has he has shot past his personal limits with his Super Saiyan forms, discovering new forms of Super Saiyan overtime.

In the real world, those who push themselves will always go past their limits, achieving new heights no matter what.

Tupac said it best; “Real niggas do what they wanna do, bitch niggas do what they can do.”

‘Dragon Ball Super!’            

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It’s the name of the fucking anime it’s not deep at all.
‘Even Zen-Oh Sama will be blown away!’

It’s not that deep.  Lord Zen-Oh is a kid who can be impressed very easily.  Granted, he was super excited from watching the exhibition fights earlier in the arc.  Perhaps he will be blown away by the tournament.

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Reflecting on the Dragon Ball Super Eps. 95-98 Leaks (*POSSIBLE MAJOR SPOILERS*)

Before I begin I want to say two things:
1.  These leaks have yet to be confirmed until we have scans from the official Japanese TV Guide (usually provied by Herms98 over at Twitter).  Take these leaks with a grain of salt.  However, Toru Furuya (voice actor of Yamcha) posted a tweet that may confirmed the truth of these leaks.

2.  You assume the risk of being spoil if these leaks are legit. If you do not want to take that risk, turn back now. You have been warned.  With that said, let’s go!

DBS_Episode_Spoilers_95-98
Today has been a wild news day for the Dragon Ball community.  Recent leaks from 2channel have surfaced containing major spoilers for Dragon Ball Super episodes 95-98.  Let me say that (these spoilers are some straight up game changers for the Tournament of Power of the Universe Survival Arc (assuming if they’re real of course) .  Freiza betraying Universe 7 and joining Universe 4?  Universe 11 recruiting warriors from different universes to target Universe 7? If you fall off the arena, not only you will die, your existence will be erased as well?!
Man, this is crazy!  Let’s break down the episode spoilers and I shall give my opinions on each!

Episode 95 (Airdate: 6/10/17)

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Members of Universe 9 decide to take a nice and fun little universe studies field trip to Universe 7 meet their favorite people in the whole wide universe: Goku and Frieza.  No, not so they can get their autographs or anything cool like that.  They wanna kill them both before the tournament begins. If you remember from episode 93 of Super, Universe 4’s God of Destruction Quitela hired spies to scout Universe 7’s  warriors and discovered that Goku recruited Frieza for the Tournament.  Surprised that Universe 7 have went as far as inviting  dead warriors within their rank, Quitela starts plotting with Sidra (God of Destruction of Universe 9) to assassinate Frieza.  Frieza and Goku, for the very first time, must join forces to take out the assassins of Universe 9.  They decide to waste no time, as they have little of it before the tournament.

Do not get too content with Frieza and Goku being buddy-buddy for long.

Episode 96 (Airdate: 6/17/17)

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Ya really thought this man would work with a Saiyan!

Oh no.  Oh my. Frieza doesn’t wanna work with Universe 7 after all. He betrays them, linking up with Universe 4 instead.  Man that’s so fucked up. I can’t believe that this  man Frieza would backstab Goku like that.  Are you surprise as much as I am?  Well, I dunno how Quitela managed to get Frieza on his side, but he got him.  Maybe Frieza is playing mindgames with both Universe 4 and 7, killing members off of Universe 7 first,  and then betray Universe 4  and will  kill them  off as well just for his own personal and selfish gain.

Welp congrats Frieza, you played yourself!  Say goodbye to the deal of you coming back to life  with the Earth Dragon Balls (as if he could had use them to come back to life again). Beerus might just reward him with a stupid prize (Hakai) for playing stupid games. Well, Goku boy is short a member, again.  Universe 7 enters the Tournament of Power with just nine warriors.  But wait!  Who is the 10th  member entering at this 11th hour!?.  Who is “He”?

yamcha_the_jobber
$200 says this “He”.  Screenshot this post.

Well, there aren’t any information within the spoilers about who’s the new 10th member, but some rather interesting “meta” information have came out on Twitter within the last 24 hours or so of this writing.  There are talks in the Dragon Ball community of Yamcha being the possible 10th  member of Universe 7th.  How do we know this?  Well, let’s check out this tweet by Yamcha’s voice actor, the legendary seiyu Toru Furuya.

furuya_tweet
Seriously the 10th member is Yamcha just screenshot this post.

“I was tired talking a lot with Yamcha.” (Gotta love Google Translate) Hmm. And he can’t go into further details about what he was talking about.  That’s rather suspect, isn’t it? Yamcha has been featured in a few episodes of the Universe Survival arc, waiting for Goku to recruit him (poor fellow) but perhaps he’ll finally have his chance to prove his worth with Frieza’s betrayal and leaving Universe 7 one member short.  I for one can’t wait to see Yamcha shine!  Plus, I figure Toei needs to sell some Yamcha figures and toys because there’s a fan demand and market so why not!

Enough about Yamcha, let’s move forward to the next episode, and my lord, the Grand Priest’s new information is  grim, scary, and depressing.

Episode 97 (Airdate: 6/24/17)

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There’s something about his smile and the camera’s angle…

Finally!  After 20 episodes, the Tournament of Power kicks off with this episode (I’m gonna have some beers and trees on standby for this one).  The warriors of the eight universes gather at the World of Void to combat for their survival!  Before doing so, The Grand Priest drops some dire news: whoever falls off the  arena will not only die, but their existence will be erased on the spot!  That’s it.  Game over man. You’re gone for good!  Yea, I mean this is Dragon Ball, nobody (good) stay dead forever.  It’s pretty obvious the victor will use the Super Dragon Balls to revive all the universes that were erased, but this is some pretty grim shit.

Now that I think about it, the “no killing allowed” rule make sense.  In the world of Dragon Ball, if you die, your spirit will either go to the Other World or Hell depending on if you were evil or good in your life. You will still exist unless you either die again in the afterlife or if a God of Destruction erase your existence.

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Ghosts can get it too. 

So let’s imagine if a warrior  in the tournament was killed  by say  Frieza.  Their spirit would enter either the Other World or Hell, and tell the rest of the dead folks some shit like “Hey, so I was just killed in a fucked up tournament in which if our universe loses, we all being erased.  Let’s go to this World of Void and revolt against the Onmi King and his priests! Also Son Goku of Universe 7 caused this to happen so let’s kill his love ones!”

You know how chaotic things would be if word of  a tournament of this nature got out to the other universes?  Pretty great insurance policy the Grand Priest installed by banning killing.  Eh, I’m just hopefully speculating at this point. Let’s move on to the last episode leak.

 

Episode 98 (Airdate: 7/1/2017)

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The  warriors are divided into two groups: Those who’ve joined forces with Universe 11 to take out Universe 7 , and the rest who do not wish.  Universe 11 were going around recruiting fighters from outside their own ranks to link up and take out Universe 7’s warriors.  Goku, being the asshole he is, is just sitting back enjoying his own allies being targeted by Universe 11 and their new temporary teammates. This is interesting and we had clues that this  might happened.  First off, let’s check out a screenshot of second opening of Dragon Ball Super.

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Kale if you were taken  in by Universe 11 against your will please blink twice

It’s possible that the woman in the background next to Jiren is new best girl Kale of Universe 6.  I can only assume and speculate that Universe 11 managed to recruit Kale to join the assault on Universe 7.  Now, this is interesting to say the least.  Universe 6 and 7 are counterparts.  Warriors such as Cabba and Hit hold Universe 7 in high regrades. To see Kale on Universe 11 side to attack Universe 7 will create conflict within Universe 6.

Also,  remember that Universe 11 pride themselves as being warriors of justice, yearning to rid the universe of any and all evil by any means necessary.  Let’s take this one step further by examining some  lyrics Dragon Ball Super’s 7th ending theme “An Evil Angel and A Righteous Devil”:

‘”For all that is righteous, destroy this evil!”
They say, “The whole world is waiting for you!”

“’For all that is righteous, fight this evil!”
They’ll say “You’re our hero!  You’re the one!”

As stated earlier, Universe 11 prides themselves to their oath to destroy all evil and defend righteousness.  I can imagine members of that universe sweet talking somebody like Kale to use her powers for justice to attack Universe 7, the evil doers.  Plus, as fucked up as this sound, it’s probably easy to convince like Kale (who has self-esteem issues) to join forces with a group like Universe 11 to give them some confidence in themselves..  Just tell them “Hey, Goku and his team are evil and we’re the good guy.  They’re the reason why we’re in this situation!” Some fucked up game of politics if you ask me.
I really hope these leaks are true because if so, this makes the Tournament of Power and the Universe Survival Arc in general interesting as all hell.  Frieza betraying Universe 7 and joining Universe 4, Yamcha may make a comeback, Universe 11 recruiting warriors of other universes to attack Universe 7, and the rule of not only dying, but being erased if you lose?

Yeah, this will be a fun arc to watch!

SOURCES AND MORE INFORMATION:

Geekdom 101’s DBS Episodes 95-98 spoilers video
Ken Xyro (translator of the leaks):
https://twitter.com/KenXyro

Toru Furuya’s Tweet (English):
https://twitter.com/EmperorBigD/statu…

Toru Furuya’s Twitter:

Featured Image Source:
https://www.facebook.com/DBZexclusives/

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THEORY: On the Source of Kale and Her “Legendary Super Saiyan” Power (Part 2)

In my last post,  I  explored  bullying as a possible source of Kale’s rage, which served as a catalyst for her faux “Legendary Super Saiyan” state.  Supported by theories such as her  shyness , timid nature, and socially withdrawn, I theorized that Kale may had been bullied in the past, and  bottled her anger of being bullied within her.  Bottled up until Cabba managed to enrage her, sending her over the edge, and triggering her transformation.  Caulifla managed to chill her friend out, telling her that she wasn’t into Cabba romantically (which Cabba  assumed was the source of Kale’s anger from his interactions with Caulifa).  Hearing this, Kale reverts to her normal state and passes out with a smile on her face.  Kale was pleased to know that the two weren’t that close and that her mentor respects her.  Maybe Kale likes Caulifa beyond that of a friendly relationship, and seeing Cabba and Caulfia all chummy with each other might had been the cause of her rage.

Is jealously the true link to Kale’s rage?  Let’s examine this theory!

In the previously episode, Kale is “spying” on Cabba training Cauifla to become a Super Saiyan.  She smiles when Caulifla snaps on Cabba for making her angry.  Kale becomes at awe, amazement ,and admiration  when Cauifla obtains Super Saiyan with ease.  Kale is impressed by her mentor’s achievement, but beats herself up as she states she could never be a Super Saiyan like her.  Later (in the following episode), Cabba and Caulifla are encouraging Kale how to become a Super Saiyan.  Cabba attempts first.  He focus his energy and displays the Super Saiyan form to Kale, who is completely unimpressed by his power.

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Caulifla encouraging Kale. 

When Caulifla shows Kale her Super Saiyan transformation, she starts blushing and flash a bashful smile towards her.  It’s clear that Kale is more impressed by Caulifla’s efforts.  Perhaps Kale has a secret gay crush on Caulifla or just really looks up to her.

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Either way, Kale has a strong interest towards Cauifla.  Too strong maybe, as Kale ggets rather jealous with Cabba and Caulifla’s interaction.   Kale assume that they’re too friendly just to be that close.    It’s possible that Kale gets jealous quick.  A little too jealous for the good of her friend’s sake, and her own sake.

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Kale: The Yandere

Kale’s jealously (and inner rage) hits maximum  when Cabba and Caulifla are trying their absolute damn best to help Kale tap into the power of the Super Saiyan.  After a barrage of insults by Cabba, Kale becomes agitated and discouraged.  She loses hope of becoming a Super Saiyan, telling Caulifla that she’ll never reach that level, and that she’s just an useless and pathetic excuse for a  Saiyan.  Cabba’s words triggered Kale’s emotional state, causing her power to soar. She loses control of all sense and self awareness and finally achieves the Super Saiyan transformation!  However, there’s something  quiet different about transformation compared to Cabba and Caulifla.

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Kale transform into a hulking monster, influcned by her rage and jealously.  She focus her attention towards  Cabba, and vows to make him her first victim.  She lunges at the man with furious anger, completely ignoring Caulifla, who seems to be pretty excited that her friend achieve a greater level of Super Saiyan.   As Cabba and Caulifla tries to combat against the berserk Kale,   Cabba theorized that Kale’s  rage is rooted in assuming that  Cabba and Cauifla were a bit wee too close to be just friends.

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Caulifla just scoffs at Cabba’s theory and tells Kale that she isn’t so cheap that she would be romantically involved with such a low class Saiyan like Cabba (ouch).  Kale hears this, and stops her attack.  Caulifla then praises Kale, admiring her superior power.  Kale calms down, reverts to her base form, loses consciousness, and falls towards earth. As Kale is falling , Caulifla rushes towards her, catching her in her arms.  Cauilfla praises her friend once more, smiling at her sweetly.  Despite her unconscious state, Kale herself wears a warm smile across her face , happy to know  that Caulifla and Cabba aren’t an item as she originally believed, and her mentor  lauding her power.

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With the examples provided, I can conclude that Kale’s initial transformation was inspired by her jealously towards Cabba. She assumed that Cabba was romantically close with Caulifla (whom I can  assume Kale may have a possible crush on).  In addition of Cabba’s insults and her own frustration of feeling useless and fear of failure, Kale unlocked her Super Saiyan form out of pure hatred, jealously, and rage.  Thankfully, with Cauilfla’s calm words of respect, and reassuring her that she does not like Cabba, Kale managed to snap out of her rage.

 

With that all said I hope you’ve enjoy reading my theories on Kale’s power as much as I’ve enjoyed analysiing and writing about it!  Stick around for more theories and thoughts on Dragon Ball and other anime series in the future!

 

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THEORY: On the Source of Kale and Her “Legendary Super Saiyan” Power (Part 1)

It’s safe to say that Kale (the new Broly-inspired female Super Saiyan of Dragon Ball Super) stole the spotlight of episode 93 of Dragon Ball Super with her powers and Legendary Super Saiyan influenced transformation.    Clearly she’ll be an astonishingly teammate of Universe 6 for King Zeno’s Tournament of Power, just as long as she can showcase the same raw, brute strength that she has shown Cabba and Caulfia during their training.  Now, we know  that her power is prominent compared to her Saiyan friends, there’s no debate about it (not yet at least), but what is the source of it?

I have two theories I came up with: From either being bullied in the past or jealously towards Cabba.   To start off, let’s go with my first theory: her being bullied. When we’re first introduced to Kale, we can see that she’s very timid, shy, and socially withdrawn; common traits of children (as well as teens and adults) who’ve been bullied.

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Children who’ve been often bullied tend to have a lot of anger and rage build and bottled up inside.  Like her inspiration Broly, what does Kale has a lot? Rage.  Pure rage.   But unlike Broly, she probably knows how to hide it “well”…or at least somebody starts taunting her with cruel words.  Cabba  learned this the hard way.
Since anger is a great tool to transform into a Super Saiyan, Cabbas uses this tactic to help Kale achieve this state.   And by “help” her, I mean he starts insulting the poor girl with horrible words and phrases such as “useless”, “pathetic excuse for a Saiyan”, and “stupid”.  Kale starts crying, losing whatever reminding confidence she had and doubts herself.   She states that Cabba is right; she is a useless no-good Saiyan, and that she’ll only get in Caulifla’s  way in the tournament (Kale got some unresolved self-esteem problems).  Caulifla is rather pissed, upset at Cabba for making her student cry.  She tries to calm Kale down and wants her to stop beating herself up, but it’s too late.

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Kale gets emotional and loses all logical sense and reasoning.  Cabba’s words totally had an effect on her, as she starts transforming into a Super Saiyan, but not just any ol’ average Super Saiyan.  Cauifla notices Kale’s transformation is a little wee different compares to her own and Cabba’s.  Cabba tells Kale that she doesn’t need to put out so much energy, but Kale has completely lost it.

Kale  finishes her “Legendary Super Saiyan” transformation, directs her attention towards Cabba, and vows to kill him first, marking him as her first victim.  She’s pissed.   When bullying victims had enough, they will snap. They’ll   go after the source of their pain and anger, and attack.  It can be assumed that Cabba’s words  were the last straw for her.

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I assume in her young life, Kale was often bullied and teased.  Maybe she had a vicious tormentor that called her useless and pathetic  at any  chance.  Maybe, this tormentor got her on a really bad day, and she was already piss off about something.   The tormentor does their usual bullying  towards her.  Kale may have been like “please stop”, but the tormentor just laughs and laughs,  insulting Kale further.  All the anger that she bottled prior starts to overflow and she can’t contain it.

Kale snaps, transform into her monstrous state, and attacks the bully violently.  I doubt she killed them (she seems like a very sweet girl who wouldn’t purposely kill somebody), but did enough damage to scare the fuck outta her tormentor into not trying that bullying shit towards her again.

After she regain herself and transforms back to normal, she saw the damage she caused, regretted her actions (despite the bully being a piece of shit), and vows not to allow herself to get that so angry  that she transform into that state again.

Of course, this is just all my headcanon/theory, and we may not yet get an official in-depth backstory about Kale and her powers in the immediate future.  Anyway, that’s it for part one of my theory about Kale’s.  Part two will explore how I think jealously and a possible crush Kale has on Caulifa might be the source of her powers.

Until then!

 

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Chibi-Usa: The Real Ass Friend (Drunken Freewrite)

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Chibi-Usa is a real ass friend.  Even when Hotaru was revealed as Sailor Saturn (AKA Purple Sailor Moon), the solider of destruction,  Chibi-Usa stuck by her side.   The kid even put herself the way of a combined World Shaking-Deep Submerge-Dead Scream, an attack that would had certainly kill her,  just to protect her friend (Saturn!Hotaru would had tanked it but still) Most of ya fake ass niggas out there wouldn’t help your friend if they jumped by some weak ass bitches.

When Chibi-Usa had her Pure Heart snatched from her body (or her crystal thing stolen in the manga by Mistress 9 idunno what’s it called) by Hotaru (under the influence of Mistress 9), she was happy that her friend was “safe”, putting Hotaru’s well-being first, and hers last.

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Personally, I would question my selection of friends after this, but that’s just me.

Next, there’s the opening scene in episode 31 of S where Chibi-Usa goes off on Pluto (somebody who is like a second mother to her), telling the Senshi of Time that Hotaru is her best friend, and that she does not deserve to be harmed    Following that, in her fury, Chibi-Usa tells Pluto that she hates her, thinking that Pluto and the two lesbian incestuous cousins Outer Sailor Scouts took  Hotaru away or something.

Chibi-Usa is truly a real ass friend.

‘Friends ‎– how many of us have them?
Friends ‎– ones we can depend on
Friends ‎– how many of us have them?
Friends ‎– before we go any further, let’s be
Friends’

-Whodini: Friends (1984 hip-hop single)

With Hotaru’s character arc in Infinity came Chibi-Usa’s character evolution (which I’m too drunk to actually analyze how their friendship caused this).  The start of Chibi-Usa’s new development can be pinpointed to when they first meet on that faithful day at some park.  Chibi-Usa’s cheap looking hat is swept away off her head by the wind. The wind carries her hat near a frail looking goth kid, around 12 years of age or so, reading  a book or whatever the fuck gothic lookin’ Japanese kids like her do in spare time at the park.

The girl notices the hat heading to the river for and rushes towards it to save it. Perhaps the girl thought if she could save Chibi-Usa’s hat, she can finally have a friend for once in her sad life and not be completely miserable in her loneliness. For her selfless hat saving duties  of the day, the Good Samaritan is rewarded with a seizure.  Good job Chibi-Usa you almost killed a girl.

Kids, this is why you don’t do shit for people you don’t know.

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That aside, Chibi-Usa thanks her newest bestest friend in the whole wide world, Hotaru Tomoe (mostly due to the writing of their newfound friendship felling forced, but that’s for another alcohol fuled night).  Chibi-Usa finally made a new friend despite having friends prior to meeting the weird ass lonely girl in the park, but something felt special about this meeting.  That or Chibi-Usa sensed Hotaru had no friends and she wanted to be nice cuz Hotaru looks like a bullied white kid that would shoot up a school, hang herself in her closet, or both.

(Don’t get me started on manga Hotaru holy fuck she was ready to die I’m not talking about that Biggie Smalls album)

After the monster-of-the-week (or a primitive Daimon if you’re going by the manga or the Crystal anime) gets bodied by Sailor Moon (but not before beating Chibi-Usa’s ass) , we learn that Hotaru has a secret that made her lonely in the first place: entry level healing factor powers.  Like, she can only heal minor scratches and cuts.  Not  like Wolverine level healing factor where he  can restore his entire body from their just their his damn skeleton in a matters of seconds.

Hotaru can just heal minor shit, that’s it.  No wonder your peers bullied you growing up*, your healing powers suck.  Even your new best friend Chibi-Usa wasn’t impressed by yours powers.  She’s a fuckin’ time traveling magical girl from the future, and her mom is like some goddess version of  Classic Doctor Strange on steroids (as if Classic Doctor Strange wasn’t on magical steroids already)  with reality wrapping powers and bullshit hax.  You tried Hotaru.  You tried.

*(Hotaru also got bullied cuz she had violent mood swings from being possessed  by an evil  space alien bitch and viciously attacked a classmate but that’s’ not important)

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My drunken inner asshole aside, Chibi-Usa was impressed by Hotaru’s powers.   Finally, there was somebody her age who had powers as well.  Hell in fact, Chibi didn’t find Hotaru’s powers weird or creepy at all.  She found it cool.  Hotaru finally felt accepted, even if it just by one person.  Baby steps kid.  Baby steps.

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Homura and Madoka: A1s since Day 1.

Over the course of S, 90s Homura and Madoka grew closer. Chibi-Usa gets Hotaru out of the house more often to  go to fun cool places, hang out with Usagi’s crew and other shit to help Hotaru not feel like she has a worthless, sad life.

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Chibi-Usa also introduce Hotaru to weed as well cuz Hotaru needs to smoke.  And she also needs to  go see a mental health counselor jesus fucking chirst. 

 

Anyways, the alcohol is taking it’s toll on me, and I gotta work in the morning.  I hope you enjoy my drunken freewrite as much as my liver enjoyed taking punishment from alcoholic drinks just because I thought it would be great to write about fictional anime girls while drunks!

 

Where I stole the screencaps:
https://prettysoldierproject.com/