For some reason, Yahari Bento!! was very kind in nominating me for one of these blog award things. I don’t really read any anime blogs anymore (my fault not the community’s, I swear), but Yahari’s Christmas post is festive!
I’m not too familiar with the anime blogging community anymore, so I am going to refrain from nominating more folk, but I’ll address the 3 questions put forth and figured that since two of them were about movie watching, I’d talk a bit about that too.
- 3 favorite anime in your mind are…
- The experience you want to encounter in “Kimi no na wa (Your Name)” anime film, is…
- The snack you will buy when watch the movie in the theater is…
1. 3 Favorite Anime
It is near impossible for me to narrow my top anime down to 3, but here are 3 I really like and hope folk check out.
It has been many years since I watched School Rumble and even longer since I last read it (maybe close to 8-10 years even!), but it is still one of the best comedies ever made.
What constitutes good humor varies person to person, but for me, it must both be funny, within character and be backed by incredible earnestness. School Rumble is all of that.
Sure, the exaggerated gags (like Tenma shooting love arrows) are funny, the misunderstandings even more so (like Eri talking to a bathing Harima thinking he was Mikoto), but it is the backdrop, the cast and their relationships, that still amazes me to this day.
School Rumble’s cast do nothing out of the ordinary. They are just a bunch of high schoolers trying to win over the ones they like, but it is that simple premise and an incredibly well defined cast that leads to all kinds of great humor and incredible romantic tension.
School Rumble is still one of the best shipping anime. Harima x Eri is a fantastic ship and in any other anime it would be my NUMBER ONE OTP, but here Harima x Yakumo exists and its one downside is that perhaps I’d rather ship Yakumo with myself (I like her that much). Of course most of the other ships (except maybe the main ship depending on where you stand) are fantastic too.
School Rumble is such a good show. I should rewatch it in its entirity someday. I only wish it were properly concluded. Perhaps someday some bright chap, having watched the show in their youth, will become powerful in the industry and ask for a conclusive remake. One can only hope.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
I have a great many regrets when it comes to my relationship with anime, chief among them though is not diving head first into the anime fandom of the mid 2000s. Had I watched Haruhi just a bit earlier, had I jumped into exploring more of the internet just a bit earlier, I might have spent my mid teens watching Hare Hare Yukai videos, and heck maybe even making some of my own.
I’m sure those who observed the fandom then thought the movement silly and cringe inducing. I’m sure those who partook into it felt the same and perhaps felt it sillier even. But, it is only when you are old and you look back through rose tinted nostalgia lenses do you go ‘ah yes, we did that once eh. That was cute. I’m glad.’
Apologies for the digression, but what I meant to say was that Haruhi inspired mass memedom because it was good. Popularity may not be the sure sign of something being ‘good’, but it is an indicator and Haruhi, for all its critics and slight stumbles, is genuinely good.
A frequent anime watcher in 2016 (2017 almost) watching Haruhi for the first time might be confused to the appeal. The idea of a normal-ish boy joining a club or group full of slightly strange girls is hardly all that unique, but that’s at least in part because of Haruhi’s popularity. And, in my opinion, most of these ‘normal boys’ you see joining strange clubs are not Kyon and these clubs or groups they are joining are not the SoS brigade.
This is not me complaining about how anime used to be better, rather simply iterating how good Haruhi was. Kyon is still one of my favorite anime leads. Normalcy alone does not define Kyon. He has that great sense of sarcasm and wit to back it up and while I’ve seen plenty of sarcastic, cynical anime leads, they’ve never really felt as real as Kyon did.
I don’t know if it is because his banter was of great quality or because his cynicism was actively contradicted by genuine acts of friendship, but Kyon never felt like a one trick pony. More so I think a lot of us, especially if we were in High School, saw ourselves in Kyon.
Kyon, unlike most leads, is not steeped in past tragedy nor is he prepared for unexpected excitement. No, Kyon is slightly lonely (albeit not friendless), aloof and directionless. He represents what many of us went through then and perhaps still go through now: The daily motions. You go through every day with little direction, no real goals and even less motivation. The days are not really a struggle, but every night you wonder if tomorrow will be more exciting, different in some way and of course it isn’t.
Kyon noticing a pretty girl (Haruhi) changing the number of ponytails she wore for every day of the week is the exact kind of mundane observation any of us sitting in a boring classroom would notice. Being dragged into a club of supernatural people and having something to look forward to day to day, is a fantasy far too many of us had and have.
Speaking of the club, the SoS brigade is fantastic. What makes it perhaps stick out compared to its many contemporaries is that the club itself has a genuine goal and there are no useless members, and no useless relationships within it.
The Brigade’s public facing goal is to do what Haruhi asks and their private goal is to keep Haruhi from wrecking stuff subconsciously. These simple motivations were enough to provide both slice of life adventures and exciting ‘save the world’ scenarios with the two often colliding in interesting ways.
While watching a show, I am used to ignoring a certain character or a relationship, but I do not feel that way with Haruhi. There are no wasted characters here. All of the SoS crew are developed and their bonds with Kyon and Haruhi explored. Sure you might not like all of them, but not because the character lacks depth. (To be honest, you could maybe claim Asahina isn’t all that well developed, but I think between her earnest efforts and the slightly ruthless nature of her superiors, you do come to really like the kid.)
Perhaps it is a consequence of the characters feeling multi-dimensional, but the relationships between the members and Kyon are fantastic.
Kyon – Asahina starts out as Kyon having a crush on the very attractive Asahina and wanting to protect the cute animal from Haruhi, or so he claims anyway. But then as the series progresses, Kyon notices that poor Asahina is used by her superiors and he vows, that as a friend he’d step in and help if they go too far.
Kyon – Koizumi is real good shit. There is a reason so many Haruhi fans ship the two. Kyon openly expresses hate for Koizumi and his handsome face. Koizumi, donning a really shallow smile, would probably claim to be offended and note that he really likes being Kyon’s friend. Beneath it though you know the two are good friends and no one understands the other better than they do. If memory serves me correctly, a good portion of Kyon’s monologue time is spent thinking about how smug Koizumi would react to something.
Kyon – Yuki is the stuff of legends. To quote myself:
The Haruhi series has many fantastic relationships, and the relationship between Nagato and Kyon stands out as one of the best in the franchise. It is a relationship built atop trust, comradery and mutual benefit.
For Kyon, Nagato is his most reliable and trustworthy companion. He likes Koizumi and Asahina for sure, but he knows that despite his friendship with them, he can never trust them completely. Both Asahina and Koizumi have allegiances with the factions they belong to. Both of them have to keep secrets from Kyon and their opinions about Haruhi are generally based on the beliefs their factions carry. Nagato, on the other hand, is far more transparent and far more neutral.
Nagato is almost certainly a puppet of a supernatural species as well, but her intentions are clear, her observations are neutral and her serious actions are always necessary. It is perhaps this observational nature of her job and her lack of interest in controlling or restraining Haruhi that makes her Kyon’s number one go to problem solver and informant. It also helps that Nagato can rip apart time and space and essentially obliterate any enemy she encounters.
For Nagato as well, Kyon serves a very important role. He is the human medium through which she prefers interacting with the human world. If Nagato starts doing something that is against the conventional laws of physics, Kyon will let her know. If Nagato is unsure about what is considered moral or immoral, Kyon will her know. Kyon is Nagato’s guide to the normal human world just as she is his guide to the strange world of Haruhi Suzumiya.
And finally Kyon-Haruhi is my OTP for the show and frankly just great all around. Kyon understands Haruhi better than anyone and Haruhi in turn, trusts Kyon more than anyone else. The two might bicker a lot and Kyon always ends up doing her dirty work, but there is a lot to be said about how they interact with one another.
I apologize. This wasn’t meant to be a post on Haruhi, but somehow it ended up being one. This is what happens when you give me the chance to talk about some of my favorite anime. -_-‘
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
I have a lot of anime I think are better than Mikakunin, but for whatever reason this one holds a special place in my heart. I don’t know there is just something really special about the no frills cute romance. It is my jam and I need more of it. Mikakunin S2 WHERE!?
2. The experience you want to encounter in “Kimi no na wa (Your Name)” anime film, is…
I haven’t seen Your Name, nor do I know much about it, so I can’t really say what experience I wish to encounter with it. I’d say that if I wanted to enjoy it, the movie would have to be easy to watch, sort of subtle with its message, and gripping.
3. The snack you will buy when watch the movie in the theater is…
None. No really. Snacks in the cinema are really expensive, so I rarely if ever buy anything. If I go with family, maybe some popcorn, but it is hardly mandatory. Tdeally I’d get a tub of tasty candy like mini kit kats (did that once) or maybe French Fries or maybe even Frozen Yogurt. While I have bought all of those in the past, I rarely do so regularly because I’m cheap.
Stray Thoughts on Anime Movies
I’m not much of a movie buff even with respect to anime movies. I’ve got a few Miyazaki movies and a few others on DVD, but my collection of seasonal anime is greater and the total amount of seasonal stuff I’ve seen far surpasses the few hours I’ve put into those movies. (Hilariously enough, to get my Conan fix I’ve put a surprising amount of time into Detective Conan movies. I think I saw like 7 or 8 of them.)
I’ve seen even fewer of those anime movies on the big screen. Here in Canada, I’m fortunate that a good deal of big name anime movies do make it here, but a lot don’t and those that do run for a very, very short amount of time, so you have to be totally on top of the date. Dates are sadly my biggest weakness as my many missed deadlines no doubt prove.
I haven’t had a shot at watching “Your Name” yet, but frankly I haven’t been feeling too bummed over that. I was sad I didn’t get to see Kizumonogatari, but for whatever reason, I’m tired of the ‘Your Name’ fanfare. Every other day the front page of reddit has a ‘YOUR NAME SUPER SUCCESSFUL IN JAPAN’ headline and for whatever reason that just puts me off even more. Maybe I’m just being contrarian! I barely know anything about the story!
I haven’t seen Koi no Katachi either and while I’m not one for series full of drama (even if it is good, excellent drama), I do want to watch it for the directorial chops alone. I’ve heard it is one of the studios finest works and I do love me some KyoAni.