25 Days of Blogging. It’s like ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, but you won’t shoot your eye out reading my content.
“Rising of the Shield Hero came out this past Winter! It’s old! Nobody cares about it anymore. You’re too late!” I laughed as this ashy cornball nerd with a Stevie Wonder styled hairline, draped in clothes he brought from the local Goodwill tried to nerd check/gatekeep one of our administrators of a Black anime nerd group I help run for not watching Shield Hero during its original run this past Winter 2019. I asked the cornball why our admin had to watch it while it was airing, not on his own time, and as well as stating that he’s still a fan regardless of when he watched it.
He didn’t say anything.
So I muted him for a week.
Admin power abuse to the side, I never got this train of “logic” that you need to watch anime while it’s currently airing. According to many anime nerds out there, you’re not a true a fan of an anime if you didn’t catch it while it was airing, or only watch it because of hype. For most shows, I like to wait until at least a few arcs are completed, or wait until the entire season/show has finished to watch a few episodes a day.
But some nerds don’t like waiting. You have these people who love bragging about being a part of the anime fandom conversation; because they want to be like everyone else due to their lack of testicular or ovarian fortitude of separating from the weeb pack mentality. They log into social media to boast about how much they love the last episode of a show to others. It’s so they can generate likes in the virtual world because nobody likes them in the real world. They want to be in the know for the sense of community and camaraderie
Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural to seek out fans of products that you enjoy to build a community around it; it’s why we go to anime conventions, interact with anime fans online, and wear graphic tees featuring our waifus out in public. It does, however, become wrong when you decide to gatekeep and check somebody for getting into an anime series months or years after the show ended.
I hope I hurt some feelings by saying this: If you only watch a show, regardless if enjoyed it or not, just so you can brag about how many shows you’ve watched a season, you’re not a fan. You’re just a nerd who’ll never produce anything of high value and quality: so you only exist to consume media for consumption sake. You’re just mad that you can’t just wait until something is over to watch it, or don’t have the courage to be your own person in the anime fandom; because you’ll never be shit without it.
Why does it matter that somebody waited until then to become a fan of the show? Why do people need to watch the show while it’s airing? I’ll never understand that.
-Until next time,
Yuki The Snowman
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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 the nerd and Eastern otaku fandoms. Every Tuesday join @superlostfan108 and @weebtrashyuki the founders of http://www.swarthynerd.com for there very informative podcast talking about all things nerdy. No desperate boot licking self hating negus who were never accepted by Black norimes for being too weird for their love of anime and comic books by the Black community allowed. Go drink bleach.
25 Days of Blogging: It’s like the 25 Days of Christmas, but without the cheesiness, horrible family members, and holiday depression.
If you know me, then you know thatI can’t stand isekai anime. I hate the concept of a main character (or M.C.) gifted with immerse, god-like powers after being transported into a new world without working their ass off (to gain those powers). The idea is tired, corny, goofy, and I don’t get nor understand why weeaboos enjoy that shit.
Well, I lied. I do understand why. Isekai fanboys (and most anime fanboys) live horrible, bland, and uninspiring lives. In the real world, they’re not shit. Nobody likes them. Nobody knows who they are. They will never be anything in life. They need (isekai) anime as a means to live vicariously through their fictional heroes’ adventures – it’s their only joy. Of course, once the isekai trend dies out, these nerds will wind up committing suicide because they will nothing to live for.
Now, despite my hatred towards isekai anime, I’ve discovered one that I’ve actually enjoy so far and another one that’s on my radar: Ascendance of a Bookwork and The Rising of the Shield Hero. Let’s start with Ascendance of a Bookwork first.
Urano, the star of Ascendance of a Bookworm, was a young Japanese college woman who loved nothing more but sticking her nose behind as many books as possible. Her life dream was to travel the world’s largest libraries and document her findings of rare books held in these libraries. Urano was one step closer to achieving her dream (by obtaining her librarian certification) until she was killed in an earthquake (crushed to death by her massive collections of books). Near death, Urano prayed to God that in her next life that she would be able to continue her lifework.
Answering her prayers, God transported into a world full of books – but only for the wealthy elites.
Urano, now a sickly five-year-old white girl named Myne, has been reborn in the medieval ages. She wakes in her new world to a disturbing discovery: there are no books. Worse, she doesn’t see anything that indicates a writing system. Myne starts to panic and break down. Myne’s new mother walks into her room and asks her what’s wrong, in which Myne asks her if there’s any books around.
Myne’s new mom laughs at her and makes her upset.
She’s such a loving mother.
Myne would later discover that books do exist in this new world, but only for those who can afford them (as her dad puts it: buying a book for her would cost the family’s entire income for the year). Copying books is also an issue that she would also come to understand, as they must be copied by hand ; costing as much money as buying a new book. Despite these setbacks, Myne is determine to not only read, but to learn the new writing system of her world so she can create books for the commoners of the world.
She doesn’t want the rich elites to have the joy of reading alone.
I admire Myne’s willpower and drive. Rather than to bitch about her current situation, she seeks out solutions for her problems; even if it means pushing her sickly body to its limits to yield desired results. While most isekai heroes are given unbelievable god-like powers in their new world to make living in that world easy, she is given nothing more but her raw imagination, wits, and determination. Hell, the girl she was reborn into almost died from a nasty fever. Her doctors told her parents that it would be a miracle that she lived. Worse, Myne lives in a world where many children don’t live past the age of seven – and Myne is five years old.
To say that the odds are stacked against her is a clear understatement. But, that’s life. There always will be certain odds stacked against you. You don’t ask nor beg for greatest. Nobody is born with it. You have to work your ass off year-after-year for greatness. Myne’s on the path of working towards greatness (even if she might have a mana cheat code built into her, but that’s for another blog post).
I have yet to watch Rising of the Shield Hero. I have the series downloaded on my computer (can’t wait for the easy moralist weebs to get on my case about that calling me evil for bootlegging anime while they probably got loli hentai and other fucked up shit downloaded on their phones), but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. Here’s what I know about the series from what I’ve seen and read from spoiler reports, screenshots, and video snippets:
Protagonist Naofumi is summoned into another world with three other young men from parallel universes to become Cardinal Heroes. While the other heroes are given offensive weapons and support from the people of the kingdom, Naofumi is given a shield. He also has no public support: as he’s falsely accused of raping the kingdom princess, Malty Melromarc Bitch a.k.a Slut (who was once his sole supporter before robbing him of his gear and accusing him of rape). Throughout the series, the cynical Naofumi must learn how to trust others; as well as work with the shield class’s limitations to not only become a legendary hero, but to clear his name.
Again, like Myne (cool nice Myne not Bitch a.k.a Slut’s fake name), Naofumi is an isekai hero who isn’t overpowered nor was blessed with anything special. He must work his ass off in order to get what he wants in his new world – even if it means playing dirty. He has to gain the public trust and prove his worth to a world that wants him humiliated and dead.
I want to see more and more isekai anime where main characters have all the odds stacked against them. They don’t need any special superpower that makes him top or god-tier from the jump I want to see the M.C. forced to adapt to his new world and be forced to work his ass off to get what he wants.
I wanna see an isekai where the MC is a lame ass cornball ass goofy ass dude who has no luck with women. He gets mocked for his horrible taste in fashion. Nobody wants to fuck with him due to his low social standing. He dies in an accident and while he’s dying, he makes a wish that in his next life, he’s reborn into a man that’s fly. A man that all the women want. A man that has high social status.
And he gets that wish.
But, he has to work for want he wants.
In this new world, he is still the lame ass cornball ass goofy ass man that no woman wants. After living in this world with anger and bitterness towards it, he realizes the only way he can get what he wants is to put forth the work. First, he figures out a way to make a lot of money through learning new skills through different trades. Once he gets the money, he gets the power. Money + Power = High social status and respect. High social status and respect = women (Yes, that was a Scarface reference).
Do you know how many male otaku isekai loving idiots would get inspired by an isekai anime like that? Do you know how many of them would want to be like that guy in the made-up isekai anime I just broke down that I know somebody will steal from me, turn into a light novel that will be adapted into an successful anime and never give me credit for it? Jokes aside, that’s the isekai we need in the world.
Stop with this power fantasy shit in iskeai.
It’s getting old.
-Until next time,
Yuki The Snowman.
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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 the nerd and Eastern otaku fandoms. Every Tuesday join @superlostfan108 and @weebtrashyuki the founders of http://www.swarthynerd.com for there very informative podcast talking about all things nerdy. No desperate boot licking self hating negus who were never accepted by Black norimes for being too weird for their love of anime and comic books by the Black community allowed. Go drink bleach.
In my 20+ years of being an anime fan, the thought of a twisted individual committing mass murder against those within the have anime industry never crossed my mind. Anime studios are known to receive death threats from disgruntled fans for whatever reason. Studios dismiss threats because those who send them never follow through with them. They are treated as people who talk a big action but never follow through. Thus, (and sadly) death threats aren’t taken as seriously as they should within the industry at times.
On July 18th, 2019 around early morning at the Kyoto Animation studio, 33 lives – mostly young people who not only just got their start in the anime industry, but in life in general – were senselessly taken from the world. Their stories, wisdom, ideas, and creativity for the anime industry will never to be brought to life for the world to see – because of one angry disgusting man whom decided to end their lives. Buildings can be recovered and restored, yes. Alas, we can not recover nor restored the talented lives that were lost.
It’s reported that the murderer was angry at Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) because they stolen something from him. It’s rumor that what was stolen from him was a light novel idea that KyoAni allegedly rejected and used said idea for one of their anime production. Out of anger, he broke into the main studio, pour gasoline on not only around the entrance of the building (to prevent people to escape the building) as well as inside it, but on his victims.
Even if KyoAni did steal this man’s novel idea, it is no reason for him to commit murder — let alone mass murder — through such inhumane means of turning a beloved animation studio into a death trap; burning people to death in the process. As a creative person, I understand the rage of having people steal your ideas/works and claiming them as their own. I would be livid if somebody stole my works and gain something from it. I even admit that I would go as far as to cause physical harm against a person if they stole my works. But, to commit (mass) murder over something I could prove was mines or creative a better version of it is maddening and illogical.
What was so valuable about that horrible man’s work that he had to take so many lives over it?
Is the love for one’s own art that extreme that people should be murdered over it?
Multiple people confirmed dead and 30+ injured at famous Kyoko animation studio from alleged arson attack. According to reports, police captured and arrested a man in his 40s who admitted to police he used a liquid accelerate to start the fire.
FROM ANIME NEWS NETWORK: “According to a report by The Kyoto Shimbun newspaper, nearby residents heard an explosion on the first floor of the building. NHK also quoted a man who supposedly heard an explosion in the building at around 10:30 a.m. JST, after which a fire erupted in the building’s second and third floor.” Kyoto Animation is an animation studio and light novel publisher founded in 1981.
Kyoto Animation is most famous for producing popular series and movies such as “Full Metal Panic!”, “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “Clanned”, “Free!” and “A Silent Voice”.
My Personal Thoughts: Anime — and entertainment in general — isn’t that serious to the point that you have to commit arson and murder. If you’re gonna kill somebody, kill them because they harmed/killed a family member or they’re threatening to kill/harm you. Don’t lose your freedom and endanger others over some damn cartoons.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a (cleaner) copy and paste free write of my thoughts of the evolution and history of the Western anime fandom taken from my Facebook page Yuki The Snowman. As such, I was shooting from the hip; so it is unstructured and lacks research and sources to a few statements.
While out-of-state at a friends’ house catching up on old times, we were disusing plans on attending an up and coming anime convention in their area next year named Dokidokon. During the discussion, they mentioned how cool it would be for us to report on the convention, it’s growth, and recording the events as they unfold at the con. With glee, they stated that it would be exciting to take record of what we witness there. Further into the talk, it was mentioned that we’re living in perhaps the best time period for otaku history in the West and how it is important for us bloggers, vloggers, and content creators to record such events in history.
I started to ponder.
While my friends and I enjoy attacking the otaku culture with venomous scorn, taking cheap shots against anime fans whenever the chance presents itself, and mock the culture for its many faults, we still hold onto our great appreciation for how far the anime medium and fandom has come. This is especially true given how Western otaku culture and conventions came up from (to my knowledge, mind you) the underground college anime clubs and conventions of the 70s and 80s to the massive juggernaut in which we are a part of today where the modern anime community is an indescribable melting pot of distinctive demographic coming together to celebrate our love for anime.
For those who might be too young to remember, it wasn’t that long ago when Western anime culture and fans where pushed into the darkest corners of the pop culture world. We were treated as unwelcomed outcasts by – and please note – most (meaning not all for those who are from the remedial side of the education game) nerds and geeks from different sets of the pop culture world (film, comic books, gamers, sci-fi, etcs.).
In the past, Anime (in the West) didn’t have that unbreakable grip that it has on the Western pop culture world today. Thus, us fans were mocked and alienated by outsides (both normies and, ironically, non-otaku nerds who too where shunned for their love for comics, games, etc.) for enjoying something that most people didn’t get. Maybe it was due to xenophobia, lack of understanding, or the pure pride of the ignorant who didn’t want to study why people like and watch anime, but anime fans were treated like some weird nerds who were too much in love with some whacky Japanese cartoons.
Sure, you had timeless hits such as AKIRA, Ninja Scroll, and Ghost in the Shell making noise in America; planting seeds and paving the path for what we are witnessing today when it comes to the Western Otaku culture, but they didn’t have the weight to help put anime in that sweet postion that we call mainstream appeal (Dragon Ball Z would take that honor and run with it in the mid-90s despite what the anti-entry-level anime elitists may want to argue to deal with the fact their favorite obscure anime didn’t get the job done but that’s another topic for another day).
Time went on. The influence of anime in the West grew stronger. Its popularity increased with shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon. Television networks such as Time Warner, The Sci-Fi Network, Tech TV and Freeform created program blocks dedicated to anime (Toonami, Anime Unleashed, and Made in Japan) in order to carter to the blooming Western anime fanbase. Online bulletin board systems (BBS) and websites revolving around anime culture sprung up on the dial-up internet side of the game. Magazines dedicated to anime such as Anierica were sent out to the mailbox of the American anime fan. Video stores started carrying anime that never aired on TV in America.
It was inevitable that anime in the West would become a huge deal.
Today, you can go on your favorite streaming website (legal and illegal) and pull up almost any anime from the past or present. Popular or obscure. Modern or classic. If you can think of an anime, there’s a good chance that you will find it online. No more wasting time and gas money traveling miles to a nearby video store in hopes you can get your anime fix. No longer do we need to call up a certain BBS to communicate with fellow fans of a peculiar anime and wait two-to-eight hours for a response.
With the advent of modern day technology and social media, we can instantly chat it up with fellow anime fans moments after an episode finished airing. Best of all, fans can communicate and interact with voice actors, creators, production studios, and distributors through websites such as Facebook and twitter – something that was once only possible at annual major conventions and snail mail.
History is being made.
As content creators, we must take advantage of this era of Western anime history. We must take part and note of the trends and the happenings of the fandom – despite the fact if we love or loathe such trends and happenings. Remember: future generations of anime fans will be curious on how their favorite shows and beloved parts of the culture became to be. They will research the roots of their favorites and find connects to the past (that is currently our present). There needs to be a record of what is going on today in the world of anime: both in the East and here in the West.
Keeping record will perverse what is happening currently. It will prevent experiences from being lost to time and history. Just imagine if nobody recorded the famous viral video of the Filipino female prisoners performing the Hare Hare Yukai dance from The Melacholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or most recent, the ever popular live-action versions Chikatto Chika Chika dance from episode 3 of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War!! by energetic otakus cosplay as Chika herself.
It would be utterly depressing.
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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 the nerd and Eastern otaku fandoms. Every Tuesday join @superlostfan108 and @weebtrashyuki the founders of http://www.swarthynerd.com for there very informative podcast talking about all things nerdy. No desperate boot licking self hating negus who were never accepted by Black norimes for being too weird for their love of anime and comic books by the Black community allowed. Go drink bleach.
From spending 40-45 hours a week cosplaying as a stable adult at my job for drug and alcohol money (for both anime con partying and to deal with life), to working with my homeboy The TV Guru on our new podcast The Swarthy Nerds Podcast, to reading books on how strengthen my troll game against people with the laws of human nature, and to downloading a ludicrous amount of best Monogatari girl Hanekawa ero pics and doujins as research material for an analytical video essay on her tits for the 10th anniversary of the anime series, finding time to watch (and talk about) anime can be difficult for hard working grown ass man reaching his 30s like myself.
With so many anime coming out each season (roughly 60 shows a season) and the ever growing desire to watch hard hitting classic shows such as Evangelion, GunBusters!, and His and Her Circumstances (Anno’s a beast director I wanna learn more about him beyond FLCL) which fills my everlasting backlog, it can be a struggle to discus and view anime with the limited amount of time I have.
Sure, I can watch old anime and ignore the new shows. With older anime, there’s no need to dread on the fact that the next episode of an anime won’t come out for a week. Plus, older shows already have an established fanbase, which makes it easier to talk to fans of it (sans the asshole die hards with no personality who think they’re better than everyone because they watch the show on its original run 10-25 years ago).
But, there’s a drawback to using my time to watch and talk about older, classic anime.
First, (most) older anime suffer from a lack of discussion (around the show). Unless it’s a timeless show such as Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball, the chances of me finding people to talk about an older anime is rather low (and if it’s an obscure OVA from the 80s, then the chances of me finding anyone to talk about it are neigh impossible).
Second, watching older anime will alienated me from the current discussion; where – thanks to social media – an anime that came out last season is consider old news. Example: Talk revolving hit Fall 2018 shows such as MAPPA’s Zombieland Saga, Studio TRIGGER’s SSSS.Gridman, and CloverWorks’s Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai has decreased since their finales.
The focus shifted to Winter 2019 shows such as Mob Pyscho 100 2 and Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War. However, with the Winter 2019 season finished, the community are going to talk about the Spring 2019 season with shows such as One Punch Man 2, Carol and Tuesday,Fruit Baskets 2019¸ and Aftertouch (Shoumetsu Toshi). I have to be willing to talk about the new shit if I want an active audience, so I can’t waste too much time on the past.
You have to be in the know, you know?
If you’re like me, a content creator with a “real” job, then you know how much of a chore it is to try to watch and talk about anime. It’s bad enough that we have to dedicate 40+ hours a week to earn worthless pieces of paper we call money (unless you’re using the money to help you buy and consume drugs at an anime con after party, then it’s not useless). But what’s worse is not having enough free time to focus on our purpose; just limited time.
All time is limited, of course. We could die today or next week, thus robbing us of all the time we could have had to work on our shit. Even if we do live into old age, some of us will spend all our time working until retirement. Retirement does nets us all the “freetime” in the world. But now you’re too tired and old to do what we want (bear in mind that you can’t compete against the younger generation at this point of life unless you’re a very late blooming outlier – which is rare).
With this in mind, we have to spend our limited time wisely to ensure that our messages of great weeaboo cartoons reach the masses. We have to manage time. For me, I work on my content before work and do light studying on the topic of my content after work. I may skip breakfast (which I don’t recommend) to have more time to work on a post.
However, if not eating breakfast for a while means having so much extra time to present more content to the world because I was able to turn this hobby into a career (that’s making me 3x the amount of money then working a 9-to-5 on a consent level), then it’d be worth it.
Even on my off days at work, there’s complete focus on my personal work.
I also tend to put forth a lot of work towards my projects on my days off, or if I plan on being a shut-in weeb and not kick it with friends at the bar. Time and sacrifices have to be made on my end in order for me to talk about anime through blogging, podcasts, etc.
Until I have made double, if not, triple the amount talking about anime in comparison to the gig; therefore enabling me to have access to as much time as I want to create content or just dick around and watch shows all day while still netting automatic (passive) income (thus not being hurt money wise), I must make do with the time I have and watch a few shows.
Does it suck?
But, in order to do what I wanna do (if you haven’t guess by now, talking about wacky Japanese cartoons for a living and eventually creating a media company from it), I gotta spend my time wisely.
So, readers, how do you make the time to watch anime? For my fellow content creators: do you find it hard to balance content creation and having a gig (if you work a normal job while building your brand)? Let me know in the comments!
CHECK OUT MY NEW PODCAST The Swarthy Nerds if you’re tired of autistic, annoying white nerds with nasty, unkempt beards who dress like they’re still in middle school telling you about nerd culture and you desire something more on the real side of the nerd game:
Throughout her short seventeen years of life, Sakura Minamoto dealt with everlasting failures and setbacks that mentally wrecked her. In the third grade, she landed the intense star role of Snow White after months of relentless practice to master the role; only to become sick and bedridden on the day of the performance.
Gifted with superior athletic skills, Sakura was selected as captain of her school’s relay team. She trained day after day in hopes of leading her school to victory against other schools in the Saga district. Alas, on the morning of competition, she tore up her hamstring; forcing her to retire.
But, those past failures wouldn’t hold her back. Determine to eradicate her bad luck, Sakura (now a sixth grader), had her sights set on academic mastery; vowing to shut everything out of her life in order to enter the best high school in her school district. Friends. Family. Entertainment. If it wasn’t a tool that’ll help her gain scholarly success, Sakura ignored it. Nothing mattered to her sans entering the ranks of the educated elites.
Two years later, Sakura’s near psychopathic drive towards success would pay off for her. She aced the mock entrance exams days before the real deal. Finally! Victory was near.
Or so she thought.
On her way to take the real exams, Sakura ran across a few sick elderly women who needed her help. Instead of ignoring the women and letting them die on the streets (which she should: they had their chance at life), Sakura decided to help these poor women out. However, this drove Sakura into an intense panic; as she feared that she’ll be late for and miss the exams.
Thankfully, she was able to make it in time. But, the stress from the fear of missing the exams gave Sakura extreme test anxiety – causing her to fail the exam – and missing out on her chance of success once more.
Now in high school, the defeated , depressed, and hopeless Sakura rejected offers to hang out with friends, join any after-school clubs, and work on her scholarly and athletic gifts. Nothing mattered to her anymore. She knew that anything she attempted to try would only make her feel worse about herself.
Every day after school, she headed straight home; numbed to the world. She lay up on the couch, mindlessly watching TV and rotting away as life passed her by. One day in peculiar, Sakura caught a TV special featuring the rise of singer Ai Mizuno: the center performer of the idol group “Iron Frill”. During the special, Ai was asked about her work ethics, as well as why and how she works so hard.
“I guess it’s because I don’t think mistakes or failures are a bad thing. Because they always end up helping with whatever happens next. And I really believe I’ll only be the best version of me once I overcome it all.”
Mistakes aren’t bad. Failure isn’t bad. If you study your failures and mistakes, learning from them in the process, you’ll always better yourself.
(Now, let’s not forget the fact that worse girl Ai is a stupid fucking idiot who got herself killed by sticking her arm out during a thunder/lighting storm while holding a mic at an open air concert on live TV/internet broadcast; therefore traumatizing her friends, family members, band mates, and fans for life. Plus, she made her parents cremate and bury her, so there’s that)
You fucked up on a test. Cool. See what you were struggling with, study, and do better. You got rejected by the girl or boy you liked. That’s okay. Be happy and reflect on the fact that you finally control your nerves, got over your fear of rejection, and you went for it. It’ll all be helpful the next time you ask different girl or boy who captured your heart out. You might get turned down from the company you’ve dream of working for since your youth.
Look, you will fail at something – it’s unavoidable. Your return on invest for your efforts might wield negative results at the end. Whatever you’re working on, sometimes, it won’t turn out the way you hope for.
And that’s okay.
You should embrace failure. Appreciate it. Respect it. Failure means that it wasn’t the right time to execute your plan. You selected the wrong moment for your course of action. Something didn’t line up right. Your approach wasn’t correct. Even so, you should inspect what went wrong so that next time, you will do better and better; until the day you are successful.
Inspired by the TV special, Sakura attended their Saga concert. There, Sakura was captivated by Ai’s high spirited performance to the point she was moved to tears. It was there where Sakura found the willpower to pull herself out of her depression; yearning to attack success one more time.
One more shot.
One more try.
One more chance.
Sakura set her sights to become the girl that she always dreamed of. She applied to join Iron Frill as an idol. She wanted to perform next to the singer that – as cheesy and white girlish as it (always) sound – saved her life. This was it. She’ll no longer let the set-backs and disappointments of the past drag her down. With the finished application in hand, the high-spirited Sakura ran out of the house to mail it…
…And then she got hit by a speeding truck and died on impact.
Thanks for reading!
(Just kidding. Sakura lived for a few more seconds in the air from the force of being hit before dying.)
“Failure is deceiving; it’s a good thing! You want to and should fail –it’s the learning process!” -Grant Cardone, CEO and real estate investor
Sakura’s journey to success wouldn’t end at her death. In fact, her death (and zombification) was the start of her finally capturing victory. As the center of the all zombie girl music group Franchouchou, Sakura had to lead her team and new friends through failure after failure on the path of success.
You could say that their first concert at the death metal show was a near flop. First, Sakura was the only member of Franchouchou (or Death Musume as they were first called) who regained her human conscious upon awakening. The rest of the girls were still in their mindless state. This resulted in everyone (sans Sakura) not being able sing or play instruments – let alone perform in unison.
Second, they were dress in bright, colorful idol outfits; ill-fitting for a venue hall catering to savage and cutthroat fans of death metal. Finally, the crowd wasn’t feeling them. They believed that Death Musume was mocking death metal with their idol get-up.
Death Musume proved their doubters wrong.
Thanks to their enhanced zombie bodies and minds, Death Musume surprised the metal heads with their brutal, (literally) broken-neck style head banging, ghastly growls, hard hitting stage dives that would had injured or killed a normal human, and caused mayhem in the pits after the show.
Even if the show was a (so-called) “flop”, Death Musume gained the respect of the metal heads (whom normally dismissed idols). They even earned two metal heads as loyal fans after the event. Fans who once were discrediting them admired their savage spirit so much that they followed Death Musume’s journey to success everywhere they performed.
Their second concert was almost a complete disaster (compared to the last). Despite regaining their senses, Death Musume (now Green Face), weren’t in tune with one another. Their movements were awkward and stiff (due to not building up chemistry with one another yet; not because they were zombies). The audience seemed uninterested in their performance. Tae had yet to regain her senses; so she was still roaming around mindlessly.
Worse, she tried to steal somebody’s dried squid snack. Sakura attempted to restrain her friend; only to cause Tae’s head to fly off her body into the crowd – therefore causing panic and confusion.
In panic, Sakura played everything off as a magic trick. While Sakura struggled to regain order, Saki started to dick around. The two girls started fighting over Tae’s head (Saki took Tae’s head off her body while Sakua tried to put it back on, annoying the latter). Pissed, Sakura snapped on Saki and snitched on the fact that they were all zombies. Saki snapped back: leading to the girls auguring on stage. Understandably, the audience was shocked.
Total disaster indeed.
But, most damages caused by disasters can always be fixed.
Tatsumi saw this as a chance to switch the show’s direction. Seeing Sakura and Saki argue as if they were rival rappers, he began to beat box. Best zombie girl Yuugiri provided a melodic instrumental on her shimisen. Lily channeled her inner Flavor Flav and played hype girl. Worse zombie girl Ai stood around looking stupid, awkward, and useless. Second best zombie girl Junko was also standing around looking stupid and awkward. Sakura and Saki turned their argument into a rap battle.
Together, Green Face was able to take a losing situation, turn it around into something positive, and became victorious.
Franchouchou improved each passing day.
They didn’t avoid failure – they embraced it and turn it around – into success.
They failed to get a business sponsorship from a drug company (due to Sakura being an idiot). That’s okay; they cut a deal with a local restaurant a few days later; netting a promotion deal with them. Tae accidently wore said restaurant’s mascot t-shirt after winning a sporting event instead of the shirts featuring their band’s name and logo (for promotional reasons). It didn’t matter: Franchouchou gained more fans from the sporting event.
Lighting struck the stage and the girls during their first major stage performance. What would have killed any normal human the lighting gave Franchouchou (thanks to being zombies) not only gave the girls the appearance of angels, but enhanced their voices; giving their fans a musical experience they never forget.
“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
Like Franchouchou, you must use failures as a tool to net you a positive outcome. The path you were on turned into something else. But, you need to take advantage of that. History is littered with people whom “failed” at one thing but was able to turn it around into greatness.
Japanese Horror and visual novel author Ryukishi07 Ryukishi07 first draft of the ever beloved Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When They Cicadas Cry) murder-mystery visual novel series was a short play titled Hinamizawa Bus Stop. Inspired by a friend, he submitted the play to his college’s theater group for a contest. He lost. After college, Ryukishi07 tried to enter the video game industry with no luck.
Yet, despite the setbacks, he was determined to let the world know about the mysteries and horror of the small village of Hinamizawa. His passionate drive would pay off in August of 2006 when Ryukishi07 dropped Higurashi upon the otaku world at the massive Japanese anime convention Summer Comiket 2002. The game became a global sleeper hit; with the series branching off to light novels, mangas, two live-action movies, a TV series, remakes of the games, and of course, an incredibly successful anime adaption by Studio Deen.
Intelligent System was failing to keep the Fire Emblem series afloat. After back-to-back failures with titles such as New Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the series was at risk of being killed off by Nintendo. Finding themselves on death grounds with the series, nearly everyone at Intelligent System that has ever worked on a Fire Emblem game pour their heart, soul, guts, creativity, love, and focus into Fire Emblem Awakening. They truly believe that Awakening was going to be the final Fire Emblem game in Nintendo’s (and gaming) history.
If Fire Emblem: Awakening was going to ultimately fail, at least Intelligent System had the balls to try to revive the series everyone counted out with everything they had. And as we all known (despite what the old-school autistic elitist assholes in the fandom may say), Fire Emblem: Awakening brought the series back to life: saving it from total death.
See how you can turn failure into victory?
We live in a world where failure is viewed as a bad thing. If you failed, you’re nothing (according to lowly people with their inflated egos who will never fix their own failures). In Japan, failure is viewed in such a negative light that young school students have killed themselves from the shame of failure (may they failed a test, failed to get into an elite high school, etc.).
They would rather end their life than to face society (after failure).
The American school system have mentality wrecked children for decades; because teachers, parents, and the education system paint failing as the ultimate sin. Who knows how many children in America are suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety because of how aggressive we are against failure?
Social media is now on a level where people will share your failures and humiliate you for it within seconds. We would rather mock those on Facebook or Twitter for their mistake(s) than to encourage them to recover and give them advice on how to do better. A screw up can easily be shared and display on the world’s stage without a second thought. It’s a shield to hide our own failures.
Why display your shame to the world where you can cover it with another man’s shame?
Society is not only fearful of failure – it uses it as a weapon.
But, you can’t be scared of failure. I’m not saying you should go out in purposely fail; that’s foolish. I am also not saying that some failures aren’t your fault; because your own stupidity and unchecked ego/pride can cause you to screw up. If you’re doing something that is outside the realm of logic, and your friends/family are telling you so, and you can’t prove them wrong, then don’t do it. Because that’s truly is failure.
You need to go into something knowing that there’s a high possibility that you will fail and that you need to bounce back from the failure. Beating yourself up over failure won’t get you to success. Having a defeatist attitude because you screw up won’t fix the screw ups. People will use your past failures to mock you; in order for you to give up. But, you can’t allow that. Try again until success.
As Sakura said to Junko and Ai in episode 2, and this is the closing statement:
“Quit coming up with excuses on why you can’t win. If you got even a little chance, try to do that then!”
Grover, Tim. “#1. When You’re A Cleaner… …You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.” Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable
I lied about the whole “Ai worse girl” thing she’s actually became my favorite character as I wrote this essay and re-watched ZLS due to her relentless drive to re-write her legacy after death.
Seriously, I wouldn’t spent nearly $25 on this shirt if I thought she was the worse girl:
(Plus, I love how she G-checks Tatsumi when he’s on his bullshit)
I’m also going to work on another Zombieland Saga essay that tackles the morality of men, how we should make the best of our limited time on Earth, and and a touch of Stoicism to go along with it within the following months.
In addition, there will be an audio version of this essay in the near future.
WARNING: Contains minor spoilers for the manga version of episode 5 of Mob Psycho 100
As I watched the end of Mob Psycho 100 II episode 5, I was reminded of Robert Greene’s controversial book The 48 Laws of Power. To be specified, it reminded me Law 2 “Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends. Learn How to Use Enemies”. Mob wasn’t trying to use his enemy, the class bully Minori for anything; there was no need to. It’s the fact that Mob saved and spared her life, despite Minori’s cruel and sadistic bullying of Mob for six months.
Yes, she was possessed by the evil spirit Mogami. Under his influence she hurt Mob. She tortured him. Made him feel lowly about himself. Now however, before she was targeted by Mogami, Minori spent her life bullying others. She loved belittling her peers who didn’t share her high social status. She found it thrilling to humiliate those who can’t defend themselves. That said, bullying (Mob) wasn’t anything new to her; it was her nature. Mogami wanted to show Mob that people like Minori deserved to die. He wanted to show that Mob would have been in the right if he killed her.
But, Mob believed that Minori could change if her life was spared.
It’s mentioned in Law 2 that those who have enemies never expect anything from them (besides revenge). When a man is spared from the guillotine from his enemy, he’ll become forever grateful towards that man; doing anything within his power to please them. Thanks to, or rather because of Mob’s kind and forgiving heart, Minori went on the path of bettering herself – vowing to never bully others again and to be kind to people as thanks.
To say that Minori was grateful (to Mob) is such an understatement – given her past with him. Remember: Mob lived in a world of despondency created by Minori’s negative feelings, memories, and history of bullying to make him suffer. Pouring sour milk all over him. Recording her friends ostracizing Mob. Threatening to kill the stray cat he was taking care of. Having her underlings beat him up. Anything that is all hellish to crush and break Mob’s spirit and driven him into a near inescapable depression for six months.
Could you blame Mob if he’d snapped and used his psychic powers and physical strength to kill her? Could you blame Mob if he gave in to Mogami’s trickery and have the man take her life?
He had every right.
But he chose not to.
Why is that?
Why did Mob spare his enemy and show her mercy?
“When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk
Besides the (obvious) fact that Mob is far too benevolent to murder a human being, let alone someone his own age, he knows that people can change (through positive interactions with others). He understands why people do horrible things. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Mob realized that Minori became a bully because she was fearful that she was going to be rejected and isolated by society. It’s possible that she was projecting her own fears (of social isolation) unto Mob through bullying (bully the outcast so you won’t become a bullied outcast sorta thing).
Like Mob, she too was a victim of horrific mistreatment. Minori was Mogami’s prisoner. The sole, lonely inmate inside a prison crafted from the darkness of her heart. Mogami wanted to make Minori suffer for her crimes before killing her. Who knows how long Minori was strapped and chained to a bed while Mogami controlled her body.
She was helpless as Mogami used her body as he pleased.
Finally, if Mob would have kill Minori out of cold blood, he would had a worse human than Minoir and Mogami. Pop her in the mouth for the bully? That’s okay. Beat her ass and put her in her place so she would never fuck with him again? That’s normal. But to outright murder her would only continue a tragic cycle.
A cycle that Mob had to break.
Sometimes, the best way to kill your enemy is with the guillotine.
Sometimes, the best way to kill your enemy is to show them mercy and kindness.
AFTERWORD: lmfao I know this episode is almost two weeks old and everyone is talking about episode 6, but work has been kicking my ass lately, so I didn’t have time to bang this out on the week of episode 5.
Also, 10/10 episode a lot of great narrative and real life themes in it.
(Also some enemies are beyond forgiveness and you can’t show mercy to them. Crush them totally. That’s just me being real.)
Professional wrestling history was made when future WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) legend Kevin Nash invaded rival company WCW’s (World Championship Wrestling) live show, WCW Nitro. Along with tag-team partner and friend Scott Hall (who invaded an earlier Nitro show before Nash), Nash delivered a warning to the WCW:
Idioms such as “[this is] where the big boys play” and “this is the big leagues” are often used to identify areas of intense and professional levels of competition. Areas reversed for the elites and only for the elites. Rookies are warned not to enter the big leagues unless they are mentality and physically tough and resilient enough to join.
Of course, you have the foolish rookies who – thanks to their ego – think they can go toe-to-toe with the harden vets (of the big leagues). Blinded by both arrogance and ignorance they try; only to be utterly humiliated, embarrassed, and humbled by their superiors.
This is the case of Erimi Mushibami: a little kid who thinks she’s hardcore just because she’s going through her baby’s first weeaboo gothic lolita teen angst phase. So hardcore that, the first thing that she does upon arriving at Hyakkaou Private Academy, is to challenge Yumeko Jabami and Midari Ikishima to a game of chicken.
An extreme game of chicken where players must place a finger inside a hole built into a mini guillotine with several cords attached to its frame. The guillotine blade itself is only held by single cord that – if cut – will send the sharp blade flying down; slicing its victim’s finger off. Removing your finger before the blade comes down will results in the player forfeiting the match and becoming a slave to the game host.
It’s the ultimate game of nerves.
Nerves that Yumeko and Midari both have an unlimited supply of.
Yumeko is insane and gets off to playing high risk/high rewards gambles. Midari is not only insane, she’s a fucking deranged masochist whose panties would be soaked if she got a finger cut off. The game is so thrilling to these women that Yumeko put aside her disdain towards Midari to team up with her against Emiri.
Erimi is a stupid kid.
Erimi gathers Yumeko, Midari, and Suzui into a room for her little game. Yuemko is relaxed. Midari is thrilled. Suzui is scared. Not for neither Yumeko nor Midari: he knows both of them are crazy. Who he’s concern for is Erimi herself – the girl who started this mess.
Erimi has yet to understand that her opponents are extreme gambling addicts. Both find joy in playing risky games – no manner how dangerous (the risks are). Furthermore, Yumeko and Midari are having fun playing Erimi’s game; even if the odds stacked against them. Erimi eventually picks up on her opposition’s carefree mentality towards her game and assumes if she pushes the girls to their absolute limit, she can break them.
Again, Erimi is a stupid little kid.
Erimi starts bragging about how her mafia-like family is full of torture freaks that used the guillotine game (and other fear tactics) to force confessions out of their victims. Yumeko isn’t impressed; she winds up finding the game boring as time goes on. Yumeko also thinks Erimi is a scared little bitch: as she believes that Erimi may have install a cheat to prevent her from losing her finger in things goes wrong and decides to go off on her.
Midari joins in on Yumeko’s verbal onslaught against the goth kid; reversing Erimi’s love for torture against her (remember: Midari wants to be tortured). In fact, she admits that the risk of losing a single finger doesn’t excite her; she wants more punishment if she loses.
Intoxicated with glee, both Yumeko and Midari pressure Erimi to cut the wires. Worse, Midari, out of her excitement and impatience, snatches the scissors off the table and decides to cut all the wires at once. Sure enough, the safety feature that Yumeko theorized that Erimi put in place was triggered; saving everyone from losing their fingers. But, even in a moment of grace, Erimi has broken down. In tears, she begs Midari and Yumeko to stop even after the game was finished.
The little girl wasn’t ready to play with the big girls.
Ego is funny thing. It’s the source of our ambitions, desires, and self-confidence. However, if left unchecked, the ego can lead us to disaster; as we saw with Erimi in episodes one and two of Kakegurui xx. Her wild ego and childish behavior made her believe that she could go toe-to-toe with two superior gamblers who outclassed her in talent, skill, and insanity. She could not handle the pressure that Yumeko and Midari rain down upon her; leading to her breakdown. Her plan to mentality break her opponents backfired – given they both love the thrill and dangers that came from her game. It’s the ultimate irony: Play with people’s fears only to be paralyzed by fear yourself. Pretend to be a big kid only to have bigger kids put you in your place.
Never attempt to play in the big leagues when you’re still in the little leagues.
“Be your true mind.”
-Revelations: Persona Japanese tagline.
Starring into the screen of the gaming P.C. I brought off my friend during the 2018 Holiday season, I noticed that there was something missing: A wallpaper – a good one. I was using fanart of Yugiri from Zombieland Saga as a placeholder until I could find wallpaper that I wouldn’t mind always seeing. Don’t get me wrong: Zombieland Saga is an awesome anime and Yugiri is best undead girl, but I needed something better. A wallpaper to serve as a reminder to do whatever the fuck I want to do throughout the year 2019
I hooked up an old external hard drive containing over ten years’ worth of anime and manga fanart, screenshots, manga panels, and memes; most of them were perfect to use as wallpaper, but I desire one that would be my mantra for 2019. As I browsed through the drive, there was a certain image with a manga panel snapshot that spoke to my soul. It was of Kyoko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica with a pocky stick in her mouth offering a box full of them to somebody off-screen. As she chew on the snack, she says the following:
“Who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your life – do whatever you want to do. That’s the right way to live.”
There was no hesitation. Instantly, that became my wallpaper; vowing to never change it until January 1st, 2020. Throughout my life (until I got into my 20s), I was concern about what others thought about me. Wanting to not offend my friends, family members, and bosses (surprising, right?); I followed their suggestions, putting my own thoughts to the side.
I believed that if I put myself first, it would paint me as a hard-headed selfish asshole.
I should had been an asshole.
“To be quiet and do as you’re told, that’s the cowardly choice.”
-Gearless Joe, Megalo Box
Go to church because the rest of the family were going; despite the fact I’m secretly don’t follow religion. Enroll in a community college my parents wanted me to go; regardless if I wanted to go to one outside the Midwest (my home region). Hang out with friends even though I actually wanted to stay and relax at home. Go into work on my off day when I knew I wanted to tell my boss to fuck off.
Deep within my soul, my “easy-going” public persona was clashing with my true feelings.
I truly didn’t want to do what people told me to do, but I didn’t have the balls to admit it.
This went on until I turned 23.
I dropped out of college. Smartest move of my life. I stopped going to church. I don’t need Jesus to be a good person. I ignored my boss’s phone calls for me to come into work. He got the point soon after. I cut off friends who didn’t respect the fact I didn’t feel like hanging out with them when I was tired. They were fake friends – I didn’t need them around.
It was liberating.
Soon after I selected the image of Kyoko as my wallpaper, I got a reminder from My Anime List that Mob Pyscho 100 Season 2 was starting soon. Fitting. Mob (the hero of the Mob Pyscho 100 series) is a kid who decided to follow his own path in life; as opposed to listen to others people’s suggestions for his life. For example: when the supernatural club at his school tried to get him to join (because of his psychic powers), he rejected their offer. He joined the athletic club instead to build muscle.
The anime is one of the ultimate showcases of being your true self.
But, Mob may have appeared to have forgotten about this.
Wanting to impress his crush Tsubomi, Ichi (who catches Mob sneaking a peek at Tsubomi) comes up with a plan for Mob to court her attention: Have him run for the recently vacant student council president position (it was a ploy for Ichi to have Mob gain popularity so she could have him as the new leader of the recently dismantled (LOL) cult). She even went as far as writing a speech for Mob, in her own words. Despite not caring for school politics and social structure, Mob agrees to Ichi’s self-centered plot – reluctantly.
And by reluctantly, I mean that Mob completely froze during his speech.
In front of the entire student body – his crush in the crowd included.
It’s goofy that a guy like Mob, who was always dead set on doing his own thing, decided to follow the path of another person. Sure, it was to impress his crush, but the plot wasn’t from his own driven nature and ideas. Despite the public embarrassment, Mob “won” the heart of a female classmate: Emi. She was “impressed” by his courage to stand on stage in front of the school, which spurred her into confessing her “feelings” to him. The two started dating soon after.
Obviously, their relationship is rooted in compete bullshit.
When Emi asks what type of work he does, Mob is about to tell her about his supernatural works and adventures but feared that she’d be creep out. He comes up with a bold-face lie; claiming he works for a bookstore. This excites Emi as she’s an active and avid reader and is writing her own novel. She even offers Mob to read it, which he agrees to.
Later on, as Mob reads Emi’s novel, she confronts him. She asks why he still walks her home from school after he rejected her. Furthermore, she reveals that she knew Mob was going back to his club after he had walked her back home; thinking that Mob was afraid that he would upset her if he stop.
She also makes the connection that Mob only ran for class president because somebody told him to do it, since it was clear that he didn’t write his own speech. Then she bluntly asks if he has trouble making up his own mind and following his own feelings, which Mob confirms.
Finally, she reveals a secret about herself: She too struggles with being her own person – like Mob himself. She only asked Mob out on a dare and was pressured by her “friends” to do so (based on Mob’s pitiful performance during the elections). She was scared of being rejected and seen as a laughing stock by her “friends”, so she followed through with their cruel prank.
They agree to end their “relationship and part ways soon after – only to meet up again.
The “friends” Emi worked hard to impress and not offend?
They weren’t truly her friends.
Emi regroups with her friends after receiving a text message from them. She decides to show her “friends” the novel that she was working on. One girl snatches it from her hands and started to laugh and belittle her work along with the rest. Another girl, while trying to hold in her laughter, ask Emi if she was being serious about it. Emi (clearly upset and defensive), gives off a weak chuckle and replies she was only doing it for fun. The girls starts to laugh cruelly as they destroy her novel.
Emi became the thing she feared the most: a laughing stock among her friends.
Not because she didn’t “date” Mob, but because she had a passion for writing.
If they were truly her friends, not only would they not pressured her into dating Mob (something she never wanted to do), they would have encouraged her to keep writing.
As Mob walks back home, he sees the girls destroying Emi’s novel. He confronts them, telling them how wrong they were to do that to her and her hard work. He starts collecting the pieces off the ground. Confused, yet feeling appreciated, Emi helps Mob out and her fake friends leave the duo to be. The two try their best to recover the novel but the reminding pieces are blown into the wind. Emi gets discourage and decides that they should call the novel a total lost.
At this point, Mob decides to be honest with Emi (as she did with him) and reveal his true self: The fact that he’s a gifted esper. He uses his powers to completely restore the torn novel; which impresses Emi (as well as Tsubomi – who was watching the events from afar). Perhaps it was because that Emi was honest with Mob about her feelings, fears, and insecurities that led Mob into helping her. Maybe Mob was happy that he knew somebody who too was scared to be their true self and wanted to help them.
Regardless, at the end of the episode, both Mob and Emi was able to embrace who they truly are without fear.
I believe there’s a lesson to be learned from the first episode of season two of Mob Pyscho 100 2.
The lesson? Put yourself first, be honest with who you are, and never fear about what others may think about you. Once you can do all that, you have truly become free. People may call you selfish or self-centered for being you, but in reality, humans are selfish by nature. Some humans are braver with their selfish nature than others. If somebody complains about your egocentric nature , don’t take it personal. They more than likely are projecting their anger of not having the courage to be selfish.
Right now, there are people who are completely unhappy with their lives. Why? Because they were controlled into following somebody else’s path. They never had the courage to stray off the path that wasn’t design for them. There are doctors, lawyers, and dentists in those positions who are completely miserable because they decided to listen to their parents’ wishes. They feared to bring “shame” to their family and enter a career field they hate. If only they would have follow their heart instead, perhaps they wouldn’t be miserable.
Remember this: You have the freedom to be your own person.
It’s your life. Who cares if anyone gets upset?
“Your life is your own, ok? It’s OK to run away!
If you’re capable of it, it won’t be a mistake.” -The Mob Choir
These are the mere free-flowing, raw, and unedited thoughts of mines on the first three or four episodes of the Fall 2018 anime “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” and my first impressions on it. There is no structure nor order on how I talk about this show.
A boy wakes up next to a girl around his age sleeping peacefully in his bed. He looks at her as she awakens and treats her with a “good morning”, in which she returns the greeting back. As they slowly wake up and indulge in playful teasing and banter of their lack of sleep, I am taken by surprise at the fact that the first episode has opened with our lead male and female characters in bed; suggesting that they are in an intimate relationship.
Additionally, the male lead looks and acts like an alpha; a rarity in anime today, as most male teenage leads are doormat simps (just like 90% of male anime fans globally). Finally! A young male anime hero with balls! This is great! Too great. Too great to be true.
No, really, it was. I accidentally downloaded the third episode, not the first.
Because I decided to get stoned out of my mind before watching this anime, I unwitty download episode 3; thinking it was episode 1. Sure, I spoiled myself by seeing Mai and Sakuta together in bed. However, it was a spoiler that I welcomed. I assumed that they got together by the end of episode 2 at the least.
I went back to KissAnime to download episodes 1 and 2. Episode 1 starts to play and its opening shot was the same opener from episode 3, except with different dialogue. Mai asks Sakuta if he is going to kiss her, in which Mai disappears and Sakuta awakens from his dream. Said dream foreshadowing future events.
I shouldn’t be surprised by this at how bold of a move that was. After all, Rascal Does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was written by light novelist Haijime Kamoshida (notable for his works The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, and the beautifully written original coming-of-age high school drama anime Just Because! from Fall 2017).
While I’ve never read The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, I’m a huge fan of Just Because! due to Kamoshida’s approach towards clichéd high school anime archetypes. Example: Rather than to write main character Eita as a new mysterious transfer student who enters a new school during the middle of his first year (like almost every other high school anime), Eita is a senior who transfers back to his hometown’s school district during the second semester (Eita moved away from his hometown during middle school). Eita’s “new” classmates at his “new” school district are actually a few of his friends from childhood. Komoshida effetely kills the “mysterious transfer student” idea off and replaces it with a character that’s already established and known by his peers in his city.
Komoshida is a clever writer in that sense, and Bunny Girl Senpai is no exception.
Before discovering that Kamoshida wrote Bunny Girl Senpai, I had no intention of watching it. Even hearing the show’s name alone made me (foolishly) believe that it was going to be, yet another, fanservicery, run-of-the-mill, below-average light novel anime adaption with a disposable trash waifu. A trash waifu wearing a skimpy bunny girl outfit that Cleverworks will produce figurines of her in said outfit for the fanboys of her to jerk off to and nut on.
These untrue, biased, stupid assumptions were slaughtered once I ran across Mother’s Basement video analysis on the show, explain that Kamoshida wrote the original novel, and discussing the themes of the show (such as bullying, facing rejection, social norms, etc.) So I figure I would give this show a watch.
Glad I did.
The first episode truly proved my earlier assumptions wrong. I was an idiot to think that this show was going to be garbage! Why did I allow myself to judge a book by its cover? In my defense, this current era of light novel anime adaptions is stale and bland. This is not the mid-2000s anymore when we had hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and creative light novel anime adaption coming out left and right.
Remember when the iconic juggernaut The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya came along and kick everyone’s asses in 2006? That was a light novel anime adaption that not only define light novels and light novel anime – but it was the start of a generation of otaku culture. The success and global cultural impact of Haruhi Suzumiya laid the groundwork for other light novels to be adaptive into TV anime.
I miss those days.
(Of course, that Haruhi laying the groundwork for light novel anime statement is up to debate)
Currently, light novel anime adaptions are a mess. The Goblin Slayer anime spat in the face of its light novel ancestor with its ugly CGI, lack of character development that was found in the original, removing important story plots from the light novel, and a controversial brutal violent scene that was not necessary for a first episode.
Every year, we’re “treated” to another boring, uninspiring isekai (another world) light novel adaption that just has a different gimmick that doesn’t change anything or do anything groundbreaking.
Sword Art Online needs to be taken to the backyard and get shot in the back of its head so it can be taken out of its misery already like the dying, useless dog it is.
Oh, how the era of the great light novel anime adaption has ended
…or so I thought. Bunny Girl Senpai’s first episode changed my mind.
Off the jump, we see the heroine parading herself around in a public library in nothing but a skimpy bunny girl outfit. Such a daring, lewd, and perverted act performed by any woman would certainly create attention for her.
But for Mai, – a well-known and beloved actress – there’s no way anybody could ignore her. Questions and comments such as “is she doing this for clout?”, “is this for a movie?”, “is that actress secretly an exhibitionist?”, and “she has fallen so low…” are gonna be said and asked. Everyone is glued to their phones. Everyone is addicted to social media. Indisputably, people seeking likes, views, and money for viral moments are going to document such an event on their smartphones.
Alas, she goes unnoticed. No. For real. They don’t notice her. She even bends herself forward towards a salaryman in a way that her breasts are in his face. But since the salaryman doesn’t have the time or the love for these hos, he doesn’t give her an ounce of attention. You know, maybe they’re just playing pretend. Mai has done this so often at this library that everyone decided to act like she doesn’t exist because they don’t wanna give her any attention.
Except they’re not playing pretend.
Mai doesn’t exist – both figuratively and literally.
She isn’t doing this for cheap thrills; it’s a legit cry for help.
Her existence is at risk and unless people notice her, she will die.
Moments later, Sakuta uses his main character powers to spot her walking about and confronts her. Mai, in return, copies Hitagi Senjougahara’s mannerism that she got from the Monogatari playbook and threatens him; demanding that he forgets what he saw and to never associate with her. And because the Monogatari playbook is public domain, Sakuta decides to steal moves from the Koyomi Araragi section and explains to Mai that he knows about her condition (due to personal experience) and that he can help her.
The condition? Puberty Syndrome: a rumored illness that causes sensitivity and instability among youths infected by it.
Mai believes him and accepts his help; thus starting the latest installment of the Monogatari series!
Kidding, of course. (That joke is getting old).
As mentioned (and me making fun of it) earlier, Bunny Girl Senpai (audaciously) borrows ideas from its influences (such as Monogatari) and other classic anime/light novel tropes, stereotypes, archetypes; using them to its advantage to add layers to each character personality. Therefore, the characters are more third dimensional compared to most others in anime that follow said archetypes and stereotypes.
Sakuta is your typical brash, blunt, and bold protagonist who doesn’t give a shit about following the rules, values, and order of society and freely operates outside of them (think Yusuke from Yuu Yuu Hakusho or Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes). Because Sakuta is an outlier, he is outcast by his peers – even to the degree that his homeboy’s girlfriend tells the man to stop being friends with him; because it would ruin his and her’s high social standing in school (granted, Sakuta tells the girlfriend to fuck off).
This could be seen as social commentary, as Japan is a nation of conformity and holds value in being non-confrontational. Standing out and being a person who enjoys confrontation in Japan will get you mocked, ridicule, and disowned: three things I’m sure Sakuta has experienced in his young life due to his mannerism, but I doubt he cares.
“To be quiet, and do as you’re told…that’s the cowardly choice.” -Gearless Joe, Megalo Box
His sister, Kaede, plays the annoying imouto, or little kid sister role. Kaede affectingly hugs her big brother often, loves getting him out of bed or get in his bed (even if he’s trying to sleep), and she is almost always at his side. She’s soft-spoken when around strangers but truly shines and becomes herself when Sakuta is around.
Pretty annoying, right?
Well, Kaede is a victim of (cyber) bullying at her school. She received death threats from her former friends and cruel messages from her classmates telling her that she needs to kill herself. The relentless bullying and vicious messages caused Kaede to withdraw from society to the degree that she became a shut-in. She hates social media and modern technology; as we see her freezing up out of fear when she hears Mai’s phone rings in one episode. Because of her trauma, Kaede sees Sakuta as a protector of sorts which results in her being close to him.
She finds comfort in her brother.
Mai, as we saw in the first episode, is clear fanservice bait. Even in the anime promotional art, she’s wearing her bunny girl outfit in public. For this, I can’t blame anyone for thinking Mai does this for attention or thinking that she was designed to be trashy waifu bait. The fanservice and waifu material bits are turned on their heads once you understand the grave reasoning behind Mai’s acts (and character design).
Mai must do everything and anything within her power to court attention at all costs. Initially, the actress loved the peace and quiet that came with not being in the public’s limelight: something she had been under since childhood. Like any aspiring child actress, she was in “everlasting” bliss that people knew who she was thanks to her TV and movie roles. But, over time, the toll and stress of childhood stardom got to Mai and she wanted out of showbiz.
Her breaking point came about at the hands her manipulative manager and agent – her own mother.
During a commercial shoot for cereal (correct me if I’m wrong I don’t remember the full details), Mai’s mother and the video producer suggested that Mai should wear a revealing bikini. Mai refused: as she was in middle school at the time and was understandably disturbed by the idea. Her mom snapped on her; calling her own daughter a disappointment. It was at that point where Mai decided to retire from show business and stray away from the limelight.
She got her one true wish – at the cost of her existence.
“The limelight. The actor who steps into this brilliant light attains a heightened presence. All eyes are on him. There is room for only one actor at a time in the limelight’s narrow beam; do whatever it takes to make yourself its focus. Make your gestures so large, amusing, and scandalous that the light stays on you while the other actors are left in the shadows.”
–Robert Greene, “The 48 Laws of Power”
(It’s ironic to think how Mai desperately worked hard to avoid any form of publicity and attention after her semi-retirement from the entertainment industry and yet, she was hunting it down once she realized that she could die if nobody acknowledges her. Maybe I’ll do an analysis essay on that one day.)
Watching the first episode (and parts of the second), I’m reminded of the golden era of the light (and visual) novel to anime boom. Text-based tales coming to life through animation. Stories crafted by otaku who dare to explore deep themes and issues about society, cultural norms, and life. There weren’t just mindless cartoons that otakus would simply watch and enjoy. They were shows with layers, messages, themes, and meaning.
It’s refreshing to see Bunny Girl Senpai bring such classic writing back into otaku marketed TV anime.
At the time of this writing, I am currently on episode 3. Sakuta is desperate to keep Mai’s existence alive. He has even gone as far as sacrificing his health by not sleeping (since anyone who’ve sleep after seeing Mai in her “invisible” state will have traces of her existence erased). Mai slips a sleeping pill in one of his caffeine drinks (probably deadly, but okay). She knows that this will erase her existence for him, but she doesn’t want him to put his health at risk – because of the fact she loves him. In tears, she thanks him for all he has done for her, and fades out of existence.
She’ll come back of course; thanks to Sakuta’s no-fucks-given attitude, however.
Bunny Girl Senpai has been an interesting anime to watch so far. The mystery of Puberty Syndrome keeps me wondering about how it impacts people and how it shapes society . The cast has wonderful chemistry with each other, as Mai and Sakuta have amazing banter with one another that helps keep fans interested in their relationship. Komoshida blending real-world issues such as bullying and blending in with sci-fi and supernatural elements is genius and I can’t wait to see how the writers of the show take his writing style to the next level.
I do hope this anime becomes a hit because I want to see more like it that is otaku driven and uses themes from anime to build layers for its characters. With people praising it online I sure my hopes will come to life.
…even if it does borrows from Monogatari.
-Yuki The Snowman.
I’m actually caught up with the show and currently waiting for episode 8. I have a theory that the main narrative theme of Futaba’s arc is accepting yourself (as Futaba has to deal with the fact that the second Futaba is the personification of her repressed but true self and she needs to understand it’s a part of her personality). I’m lazy as hell so I didn’t feel like rewriting the bit about episode 3 or whatnot.
The most real shit I’ve seen in anime in a while love how Sakuta speaks excellent game on standing out and being your own person:
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When The Cicadas Cry) is a fantastic, intense horror anime, manga, and visual novel series filled with nerve-wracking suspense, psychological terror, bloody brutality, and relentless ultra-violence written by Japanese author Ryukishi07. Higurashi is beloved by both anime and visual novel fans globally and is considered by many as Ryukishi07’s best work, and for many great reasons.
By crafting a cocktail of classic narrative themes/conflicts, traditional Japanese folklore, and supernatural elements with real-world topics/issues (such as mental illness, child abuse/neglect, ethics in scientific research, citizens vs. government, etc.), Ryukishi07 delivered to the world of anime and visual novel a powerful and thought-provoking masterpiece. A masterpiece that ’s still respected and celebrated in anime and visual novel circles today; despite the visual novel ending in 2006 (not counting remakes, ports, remasters, etc. after 2006), and five years after the run of the anime (with Higurashi Outbreak in 2013).
With Halloween drawing near, I figured that it now would be the best time to talk about this marvelous series – but not in a way you may expect. Yes. The spooky holiday is almost here. Higurashi is a spooky anime. You would think that logically, I would talk about the spooky and horror themes of the series.
But, I’m going to take different approach.
A much different approach.
Would you call me crazy if I say that Higurashi, a Japanese otaku series, helped me get into old school Hip-Hop; a beloved urban American music artform?
Yes. As wild as it may sound, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni got me into old-school hip-hop. Out of anything and everything that is a possibility in the world, it took a Japanese horror series for me to not only get into old-school hip-hop but have a strong love for it. You may be wondering how is that ’s even possible.
Well, in order for me to tell you this tale, we need to go back to the Summer of 2010.
I’ve been a fan of Higurashi for almost a year after discovering the series on YouTube (I was actually aware of it back in high school, but that’s for another tale). And by a fan, I was fucking obsessed with it. I spent most of that summer looking up anything Higurashi; in efforts to gain knowledge about it. The official manga. The Fan doujins. The voice actors. Video games. Ryukishi07 himself even. And of course, it’s music.
One night, I was bumpin’ Dear You: Destructive, one of many remixes of Shion’s image song Youfrom the Higurashi visual novel. As the song was ending, there was a video in the suggestion bar of YouTube that made me a bit curious thanks to its thumbnail.
The thumbnail featured a transparent face of Rena in the foreground of a New York City borough with the word “You” in the top right corner in Old English font. The title of the video was in Japanese, sans one single word: “HIPHOP”. I merely assumed that a Japanese doujin music producer created a hip-hop sample beat of the song and was excited to hear a hip-hop version of the song.
Being ever so curious and my attention grabbed, I clicked on the link.
The song starts to play. A lone piano playing arpeggios rang out for four bars. The piano version of You no doubt. A drumbeat sample from Shing02 and Nujabee’s Luv Sic Pt. 1 played on the fifth beat and throughout the song, along with a woman (Lauryn Hill) vocalizing “ooo ooo ooooo”, and an East Coast hip-hop legend spitting.
‘Imagine smokin’ weed in the streets without cops harassin’
Imagine going to court with no trial…’
‘This is Nas! This is Nas rapping over a Higurashi song!’ I was in both awe and disbelief. Some visual novel otaku fuck in Japan mashed up Nas’s If I Ruled The World with You! Not only did he do that, but he also threw in the drum track from Luv Sic as an added bonus! Granted, I knew who Nas was thanks to a friend who’s a fan of his works – I just wasn’t a fan of him until I heard this mashup.
I instantly fell in love with both the mashup and the lyrics of If I Ruled The World, even if it wasn’t the original song itself. I let the song repeat itself for about seven times. Upon Hearing the sorrowful piano notes of You in unison of Nas’s speaking on of his vision of utopia for Black America, along with Lauryn Hill’s breathtaking vocals, and the cries of the summer cicadas, Goosebumps hit me hard.
I grew ever more curious about If I Ruled The World and the lyrics.
‘It’s elementary: they want us all gone eventually’.
‘Why does this fit well with how the Japanese government wants to wipe out Hinamizawa and the villagers in it?!’ I asked myself.
‘If I ruled the world (imagine that), I’d free all my sons!’. ‘I wonder; did the dude who made this thought about how Rika wanted to free herself from her tragic fate ?’ I pondered.
‘Strictly living longevity to the destiny
I thought I’d never see it, but reality struck
Better find out before your time’s out, what the fuck?’
‘I can see this for Rika and how she is desperately trying to find a way to cheat death for good before fate closes in on her.’
All Wild theories; but it made sense (in my head).
I had to let it marinate.
Even if the mashup creator didn’t mean to make certain lyrics relate to Higurashi, I couldn’t help but reflect. I let the song stop playing and decide to listen to the original version of Nas’s classic. There’s no denying that the beat was soaked in that definitive New York City hip-hop vibe. That electro notes playing up and down the scale. The simple yet deep pulse of the bass. The quiet layered strings.
I craved for more information.
Acting on a gut instinct that the beat for If I Ruled the World was a sample, I went on Google to see if my gut was correct – and it was. Not only was my gut was correct, but the sampled was also from Whodini’s 1984 classic Friends.
How many of us have them?
Ones we can depend on.’
It was like if the universe knew I was searching for a connection for the Higurashi mash up. The overarching theme of Higurashi is the power of friendship and there I was; listening to a classic hip-hop song with the hook asking if we have friends we can depend on.
‘Friends…Ones we can depend on.’ God. That’s powerful.
Satoko depended on her friends to save her from her abusive uncle – including her new friends; who were once her enemies (the villagers who once hated her and her family). Rena realized that no matter what, her friends love her: even if Rena was having a mental breakdown and couldn’t trust the friends she loved. Rika learned that how it was okay to open up to her friends about her depression and fear that Satoko – her best friend – was going to be taken away from her (by said abusive uncle mentioned earlier). Keiichi, like Rena, learned the value of trusting and opening up to his friends.
Was it all a coincidence that I would find a hip-hop song that has a famous hook that could relate to Higurashi? Perhaps. But there was no denying the fact by me researching the source of Nas’s If I Ruled The World sample, it opened an entirely new world of music for me. Sure, I was aware of classic 80s hip-hop legends such as KRS-One, N.W.A, Public Enemy, and Grandmaster Flash, but I never went out of my way to listen to them.
At the time, my mind only focused on listening to modern artists who were on the real shit (J. Cole for example) and 90s rappers such as Tupac. I thought I didn’t need to listen to classic rappers; I foolishly believed they were outdated! Nobody, sans OGs (original gangstas) and oldheads, went out their way to listen to the classic MCs. I was ignorant! Stupid even! For years, I allowed myself to miss out on what hip-hop legends of the past had to offer to the art form. My jaded attitude caused me to miss out.
You can even say it was a shame that it took some weeaboo bullshit to get me into the classics.
But, it did.
As I’m finishing up this little insight of my world for you guys, I am reflecting on how hip-hop has a lot in common with not only Higurashi but with anime in general.
Two completely art forms.
Many endless similarities.
Let’s start with Higurashi, of course. Both Higurashi and Hip-Hop share a common birth month: August. In fact, the first Higurashi game, Onikakushi-Hen (lit. Spirited Away By The Demon Chapter) dropped on August 10th, 2002. The official birthday of hip-hop? August 11th, 1973. A mere 29 years and a day apart, but it’s amazing on how they have back-to-back birthdays.
Hip-Hop, for generations, has been used as a platform to speak out against government oppression and corruption with hits such as N.W.A.’s Fuck The Police, Public Enemy’s By The Time I Get To Arizona, and Childish Gambino’s This is America. One could say that hip-hop inspires Black Americans to rise up and fight against the oppressive forces that threaten our quality of life.
During the second half of Higurashi (The Answer Arcs), the series switch from a supernatural, psychological thriller tale, to a story of the people of Hinamizawa rising up against the corrupt Japanese government (that was trying to wipe out the town and its people).
When it comes to the realm of anime in general, you can’t tell me there aren’t any hip-hop songs that can be used for anime and the characters and stories that make up this beloved art medium. Listen to Sky’s The Limit by Biggie Smalls: A song about the hustler’s rise to riches and achieving his dreams. After you listen to that go watch Gainax’s classic OVA Otaku no Video: an anime about an otaku becoming a hustler, to a businessman, to the world’s richest man.
Or maybe Tech N9ne’s Pyscho Bitch may persuade you. Listen to it and think about your classic psychotic yandere characters such as Yuno Gasai (The Future Diary), Kotonoha Katsura (School Days), Kaede Fuyou (Shuffle!), and since we’re talking about Higurashi, the series best girl Shion Sonozaki.
To end my tale, let’s go back to my previous question: Would you, after reading all of this, call me crazy for the fact that it took Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – a classic otaku horror series, to get me into hip-hop? I can understand if you say yes. Of course, it is. It shouldn’t even make sense.
But, without that You x If I Ruled The World mash up I discovered nearly ten years ago, I would have gone through life never knowing about timeless artists that paved that path for talented, iconic wordsmiths such as J. Cole, Logic, Tupac, KRS-One, Kendrick Lamar, and many more.
That would have been much, much crazier.
-Yuki The Snowman
Somebody on Wiz Khalifa’s team is a fucking weeaboo and sampled Main Theme Aifrom the Higurashi anime for him to rap over:
NOTE: This is a freely written article on thoughts floating about in my head. As such, there is no structure or order with this post. I’m shooting from the hip.
Admit it: You love controversy. It’s okay, nobody (except me), will judge you. In fact, you, the world, and I all love controversy. It doesn’t matter if the controversy is caused by a football playing taking a knee during the National Anthem against racism/police brutality, a disgraced rapper tap-dancing, coonin’ it up, and running a Minstrel Show for his massas at the White House, or an edgelord “Babby’s first fucked up anime” featuring a disturbing rape scene in the first episode. We love it. Love it so much that we waste time talking about whatever made us feel some type of way on social media, to our co-workers, friends, whoever may listen to us rant.
Even if we hate the thing that caused the controversy, we can’t help but talk about it.
Let’s take the newest Fall anime Goblin Slayer for example. Anime fan circles online are at abuzz at towards the new show. Not because it’s a great show or anything like that. But because (as previously mention), it’s an edgelord, shit-tier anime that featured the brutal gang rape of a female character and a young girl being stabbed to death. In fact, Goblin Slayer (the manga) heavily features violence against women (meat shield lmfao). And you already know that Left-Wing liberal college brats with useless college degrees and confusing genders are all up in their feelings about the first episode and the manga series as a whole.
They have gone to their tumblrs and their twitters to rant about how Goblin Slayer is a male-power/ rape fantasy series and believes that it trains males to disrespect and assault women. Others stated that if you like the show, you’re probably an edgy little brat who thinks violence in anime makes it mature.
They’re just giving the show free promotion at this point.
It’s funny: You’d think people would have the sense to not speak about the things they hate in order to not get it noticed. As we all know, that method never works. The more you talk about something you don’t like, the more awareness you bring to it. The more awareness it gains, the more it’ll grow. Example: Idiotic Right Wing conservatives (racially charged) rampage against former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his deal with Nike. Kaepernick got a nice paycheck with his “Just Do It” advisement using his stance, activism, and platform.
Old, white men and women didn’t like that and decided to destroy their already-paid $50 Nikes that their poor, broke ass brought from Shoe Carnival or Ross’s (nobody isn’t stupid enough to destroy $150+ Air Force Ones, Jordan’s, or exclusives Nike shoes). Their anger simply only helped out the Nike brand and caused Nike to see an increase in sales – all because they couldn’t stop talking about their hatred Kaepernick and Nike’s supporting him.
And then Nike played everyone and use the funds to support Right Wing politicians.
As a child of the 90s, I am not a stranger to dealing with controversial against the things I love. The Simpsons (back when it was a great series) got a lot of heat for showing how truly fucked up the American family can be. Violent video games such as Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, and Postal ¸ where under attack by family groups. Wrestling – especially The WWF, was considered too immoral for TV. Yet, despite the controversy and protests by parent groups, the government, and other entities, these things strived and generated sales and popularity from the backlash. Why? Because people are naturally curious about terrible things. They check it out and see that whatever shit is causing the uproar isn’t all that bad.
I think people just feel good talking about the things they hate (or love)
With that said, If you are going to ask me how I am going to deal with the controversy behind Goblin Slayer as an anime fan here’s my answer:
(Speaking of controversy, you should totally check out one of my favorite yet controversial blog post: Pirating Does NOT Hurt the Anime Industry and share it on social media so I can make people mad at me and have them talk about the article and my blog. I wanna make high-horse moral weebs in their feelings.)
FOLLOW ME ON THESE VARIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS:
Scenario: Let’s say you and another person are deeply in love with each other. You both have unprecedented chemistry. Every little thing that person does never fail to charm you. You can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy around each other.
You guys are inseparable.
One day, however, you’re forced to leave that person – forever. Your family is moving far away. You got a new job in a new state. That college you wanted to get into accepted you. You murdered somebody and now you have to leave your country for another one where your homeland can’t legally remove you from that new country before the police catch you. How would you tell that person and would you do anything within your power to stay with them – just for one more day?
This is the situation for Akira in episode 3 of Hi Score Girl.
Episode 3 starts with Akira losing to an A.I. controlled M. Bison (Vega in Japan and Dictator in the competitive Street Fighter scene). Normally, the gaming genius Akira shouldn’t have any problems fighting against M. Bison (as he took him out with only two buttons from a damaged arcade cabinet), but she’s losing her edge. Even if she’s only commutates through body language, Akira is being eerily quiet.
Harou sees this and assumes that she’s upset because summer break is ending; therefore she won’t have time to spend at the arcades. However, he’s ignorant of the fact that her situation is far worse than a mere end to summer vacation.
In a few days, Akira’s family is moving to Los Angeles, California.
The next day, the duo is invited to hang out with their classmates at a local theme park, which both of them take up on the offer. As the day progress, Akira and Harou decide to ditch them and hang out with each other in the arcade instead. Akira is more than happy to do so, as she wants to spend time with Harou alone.
There’s a part during the arcade scene where Akira spots the light-gun game Space Gun. Harou takes it that she wants to play with her simply nodding yes. He starts to tease her; telling her that she might piss herself because it’s a scary game (given she hates horror-driven media) but she goes with it regardless.
As they play, Harou tries to get Akira to advance the game by having her move her foot off the pedal (as holding down the pedal makes the characters retreat from the enemies). She refuses. Her leg starts to shake. If she moves her feet off the pedal it’ll only lead her closer to their unavoidable separation.
Akira is desperate for time. Harou doesn’t know it, but Akira has feelings for him. Remember: Akira spent her young life as the heir to a rich but brutally strict family. Akira was never allowed to enjoy life as opposed to the average girl who could go out and play with friends. It was only recently when Akira decides to defy her family’s wishes and escape to the arcades to get away from her miserable home life.
Flashing, colorful lights blinding the eyes. Furious adults screaming vicious profane words at each other after defeat. Chocking tobacco smoke poisoning the air. Such a vile place wouldn’t seem right as a safe haven for Akira. But she needed a safe haven to escape the unwanted responsibilities place upon her.
The safe haven where she met Harou: the boy that brought joy to her life.
Akira and Harou continue their journey through the park; traveling through a magic mirror house, riding a roller coaster and a scary ride. At one point, Harou asks Akira if her parents ever took her to a theme park, to which she shook her head no in response.
To say that Akira is a sheltered child is an understatement. To Harou, the trip to the theme park was normal. Every (normal) child has gone to a theme park at least once in their life. But, to Akira, a girl who never experienced the joy of having a normal childhood; this was a new, life-changing event for her.
I’m sure some of you out there may have been sheltered by your parents and can relate to Akira. They forbid you to play outside after a certain time. They didn’t allow peculiar forms of media in the house like anime or rap music. Anime was a tool of Satan so they banned it from your house. Maybe one day, you had enough of their bullshit and decided to go out into the world and do your own thing, just like Akira.
(Akira’s gonna wind up doing hard drugs and drink straight from vodka bottles later in life. That what usually happens to sheltered kids once they get out in the world.)
The more time she gets to spend with Harou means the more time she can live normally. She doesn’t have to worry about her high status, school work and the pain those things brought her. The pain she never asked for. Pain that was mended by Harou’s company, understanding, friendliness. They spent the reminding hours of the day playing until sunset, eventually heading home on a bus with Akira falling asleep and resting her head on Harou’s shoulder.
The sunsets on their summer vacation – and their relationship.
The next day brings in the new school year – and the horrible news. Harou hears about Akira’s family moving away. He’s shocked. It hits him – hard. Rumors start to fly such as “her parents got a divorce” or “they got a new job in America.” Harou refuses to believe he’s hurt about Akira’s sudden move. He tries to play it off by acting happy that his rival is gone. Finally! He can rule his castle (the arcade) in peace; he shouldn’t fear Akira invading it. She’s gone forever!
Deep down, he knows he’s full of shit.
Akira wasn’t any girl that played video games casually. She was a gifted monster who dominated them. Any game she touched she mastered it. Only he was able to come “close” to her skill level – but it simply wasn’t enough. Akira forced yet inspired Harou to improve in Street Fighter II. She never judged him for his gaming passion but encouraged him to get better at it.
They started out as rivals. He was disgusted at the fact that Akira bested him time and time again. He couldn’t stand the fact she was around. However, as time went on, they grew as friends. He respected her. Harou was happy that she was her equal. In his time of reflection (and holding back tears) he became honest with himself:
Harou had feelings for Akira. She touched his heart.
With newfound determination, he runs after her; rushing to the airport to see her one more time. He arrives in time and tries to convince her to stay (as she’ll miss all these new games coming out such as Fatal Fury by SNK). Then, he gives her a good-bye present: The toy ring from the first day they hung out together as friends – not rivals. She rushes to him, breaking down crying. She’ll never see her first friend again.
Her first love.
Continued in Part 3 (because fuck SEO suggestions I’m not making this a 1600 word post also my bad for making this a summary than a reason why this series work)
I hate romantic comedy in any form of media – especially in anime; as most romcom anime are unrealistic and littered with cheap, perverted jokes. From my reviews on My Girlfriend is a Shobitch and Hajimate no Gal, it’s clear I detest this genre. These shows were clearly written by otaku virgins who never had a relationship with the opposite sex and are living out their weird, lonely otaku fantasies through anime. So, when I discovered that J.C. Staff’s latest project, Hi Score Girl, was not only a (loose) history piece of the second arcade boom in Japan, but a romantic comedy as well, I was I amazed by how they show a realistic portray of a relationship blooming and evolving over time.
May I dare say that this romcom anime has even charmed me by how pure the relationship between main characters Akira and Harou is? You take two characters who’re seemly “opposite” of each other but somehow, they click. Akira’s the popular, high-class rich girl who excels in every subject – performance arts included. She’s the type of girl that every boy in school wants to date and every girl wish to be. Harou, however, is “hopeless”. His scholarly performance is a joke. Artistic skills? None. He gets teased often by his peers for his bad grades. He rather wastes his day ruling over at his castle: the local arcade, installing fear in peasants with his mastery in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (SF2).
Harou believes that Akira is out of his league. Can’t blame him for his wrong line of thinking.
Akira, despite her academic achievements and financial background, loves playing video games. In reality, she’s socially awkward, can’t make friends, doesn’t express herself verbally, and hates that her family controls her life. She visits the arcades often to escape her rigid lifestyle, blow off steam, and be her true self. Funny enough, like Harou, Akira is an SF2 player – except she’s the top player in their scene – as Harou will learn the hard way.
After witnessing Akira’s 30 win-streak performance against other players in SF2 Harou challenges her. He loses to her Zangief – badly. To save his pride, Harou defeats Akira by using Guile’s defensive “Turtle” style and “cheap” throws tactics. Akira gets pissed and starts attacking him; it’s the start of their rivalry that will bloom into friendship and eventually, the two having feelings for one another. During their summer vacation, the two hang out at various arcades, testing their skills against each other and thus deepening their bond.
For Harou, he’s happy he has an equal. For Akira, she’s happy that she finally made a friend.
Right from the start, Hi Score Girl destroys the bullshit idea that opposite attracts we see in romance-based media by having our main characters falling for each other over a mutual interest: competitive video gaming. Let me ask you people who have a mate a question: How did you guys fall for each other? Surely it wasn’t the fact you guys were opposite of each other. It was because you and your mate had things that click with each other and that turned you on towards them. Sure, there are some differences, but overall, you were drawn to them through your similarities (and other factors of course).
Social and scholar level wise, Harou and Akira can’t even compare. Akira shouldn’t be hanging around with a “stupid” kid like Harou. Harou shouldn’t have the chance to be with Akira. Still, they were able to overcome those minor differences. They grew close through their powerful love for competitive gaming, relentless desire to win, and mending their after-school loneliness. Who cares for social status differences when you and your friend vibe over a powerful passion? What’s good are having excellent grades, popularity, and cash flow when you’re lonely and your parents dictate your life?
Those superficial ideas don’t matter when they’re outweighed by shared attractiveness on a deeper level beyond mere opposites.
You’re a science teacher in Japan. You’re passionate about teaching children about cells and how they work. Yet, your students don’t give a damn about that shit. They’re some stupid ass, Bebe Kids ass, hopeless ass children who don’t wanna learn anything in life. No matter how hard you try to make learning interesting, they refuse (to learn).
You decide to fail them all – you have no hope for their future.
You head home after a stressful day of dealing with those dumb ass kids. You kick back with a can of beer in one hand while having a blunt in another as you watch TV. Bill Nye The Science Guy – an American educational classic showing kids how much science rules – comes on. A smile appears on your drunken, stoned face as you remember how much Bill Nye inspired you to become a science teacher with his down-to-earth, caring, and loving approach to science education.
Bill Nye ends and it’s followed by a classic cult movie: Osmosis Jones – a comedy movie about Ozzy, a disgraced white blood cell cop who, with the help of his partner Drix, defends the sickly body of some depressed zookeeper with unhealthy grief coping skills. After watching both the movie and Bill Nye you get inspired to come up with your own manga series to entertain children while also valuing their education by teaching them about cells and the human body. You down another beer, roll up another blunt, and relentlessly get to work on this new project for the next few months.
You retain the White Blood Cell character from Osmosis Jones; making him a stoic killer of germs instead of a street-smart cop. Drix? You replaced him with a cute yet clumsy girl, giving her the role of a red blood cell. As you brainstorm ideas for different cells, you come up with cool designs that will appeal to both children and adults. The children of Japan need this. It may be too late for your slow ass students to learn anything but future children will appreciate your efforts. Once you finish the first draft you pitch it to Kodansha.
They love it.
Over time, this manga becomes a sleeper hit – mostly because you made the Red Blood Cell a waifu character that everyone will look up ero doujins of her getting a train ran on her by the Killer T cells troops along with Macrophage-Chan – but because of how innovating your manga was in terms of teaching people about how cells work. And that’s how Cells At Work became to be.
Trust me: My father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate used to be drinking buddies with Akane Shimzu and he told me this on the phone last night.
Bullshit aside, I’m impressed by Cells At Work. It’s secretly adorable and I admire how the creative forces behind it use Shounen style action to sell its educational value to fans. Furthermore, the roles of the cells and how they interact with each other are explained in a down-to-earth manner. If you’re a complete idiot like when it comes to science, you won’t be lost, confused, or feeling even dumber than you already are.
(And trust me: You’re probably just as dumb as I am thanks to the American education system.)
Cells At Work is a simple anime (which is good because it doesn’t need to be complex or deep for the show to share its message). Each episode, there’s a situation with the human’s body is attacked by a variety of ailments such as basic germs attacking the city in episode one, an invading army of infections in episode two, and the world battling against invasive bacteria in episode 3. They win of course, but in that classic rule of three (episodes) style, they get fucked up and ROFLstomp by the series’ first major enemy. In this case, it’s Type A Influenza.
Granted, the heroes will win through some asspull bullshit by episode four.
Main character Red Blood Cell-chan (RBC-Chan) is a clumsy girl trying her best on her first day at her new delivery job. During a delivery run, she (along with the citizens of the “world” of the human body) are attacked by monsters – germs attacking the body. They’re about to be killed when supporting hero White Blood Cell comes to save them by mercilessly butchering and slaughtering the germs with combat knives.
As with any Shounen series, Cells At Work uses violent action to keep fans engaged. We are first hinted at this fact during the OP; which features a squad of White Blood Cells, armed with knives, hunting down a germ. This is followed up by an elegant maid walking around gracefully in a flower field…and she’s carrying a giant ax while her hands and face are covered in blood.
What makes Cells At Work works (besides the violence) is the usage of implanting classic anime tropes and personality with each cell. The Killer T Cells are personified as merciless, battle harden combat vets, the Helper T cell becomes a military commander, Macrophage cells are portrayed as elegant, classy maids who like to chop up their victims with their giant axes and blades.
Do you remember those educational “entertaining” science films back in school? You know what I mean – they’re cheesy, boring, trying too hard to have style but it’s so dry. Cells At Work throws that shit away while still retaining the knowledge. Knowledge at a simple level but still knowledge regardless. That’s why famous personalities – may they be fictional or not, such as Bill Nye, Carl Sagen, Miss Frizzle, and Ozzy (Ozzy and Drix) are beloved. They taught us the knowledge of science through their unique personalities. Of course, I’m not saying you’re going to get layered, in-depth personalities for each character compared to story-driven anime series such as Durarara or Monogatari but when you’re selling an anime centered around science and the human body you better make it entertaining.
As of this writing, I’m caught up to episode four (somehow that Influenza enemy thing didn’t get resolved) of the anime and from my positive reaction, I’m going to stick around with the anime until either the series end or something utter bullshit makes me turn away from it. While I do believe it’s going to be one of the best shows of the seasons, I can’t confidently say it’s anime of the year material but we will see once the series end.
If you’re looking for a different anime series that still share the familiar style of your shounen shows while also learning why you should take care of your body and the cells in it, then Cells At Work is right for you. If not, you’re the reason why the education system is such a failure today.
(Before I go, Let me go on record that Red Blod Cell-Chan and White Blood Cell are those two co-workers that you know have a thing for each other and they’re gonna get caught fucking in the employee bathroom by the janitor when they thought everyone left the office building that night)