AURON570 (Level 15)

kukuku, how did that laugh ever become cute?... mysteries of the world..
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Note: I'm really liking this anime so far and I do recommend anyone to check it out before reading more about the series. In my opinion this is one of those anime you should check out without having read too much. This is more for people who are really on the fence about the series, or people who have already started watching it.  

No. 6 is a currently airing sci-fi anime. You can check it out on crunchyroll.com for free. No. 6 is the name of a district or city. The main protagonist is a naive male named Shion. I have only watched episodes 1 and 2 so far, so I'll try giving you an idea what it's about without and give my thoughts on some of the things that happen. If I had to say what this anime reminds me of, it would be Fractale and The Matrix.
 
So in episode 1 Shion is a teenager. He has great grades and will be able to get into any secondary school he wants. In episode 1 we get the sense of a nice functioning society. Similar to the Fractale system, citizens wear ID Bracelets that track their movements and store tonnes of personal information. However, one night Shion leaves the balcony window open and in comes a boy named Nezumi. Nezumi is injured and an escaped convict. Shion decides to help him anyways. This lands him in hot water, and Shion is no longer able to attend secondary school. 
 
In episode 2 we fast forward 4 years. He's working as a park surveillance worker. One day there is a mysterious death in the park. He comments to his coworker, "Maybe the government is hiding the truth." Then a bunch of guys in suits rush in and arrest him for malcontent. Just as he is being driven off, he is rescued by Nezumi. The run away sequence was nice and had good tension. Episode 2 ends with Nezumi and Shion outside the borders of No. 6, it looks like a wasteland. Nezumi says bitterly, "Welcome to the real world." 
 
I expect that the rest of the series will follow Shion as he finds out more about No. 6 and gets to the bottom of the mysterious deaths and government plots. I felt that episode 1 was all about establishing Shion and the city of No. 6 as normal. Then episode 2 picks up speed and has more action. This contrasts the happy more docile tone of episode 1. A lot of attention was placed on sound and music for both episodes. Things like the rustling of tree leaves, the sound of pouring rain or wind, to street traffic or robot/machine sounds, add a lot to shaping the world of No. 6. The characters are likeable. There seems to be some interesting setup for development between Shion and his best friend Safu.  Animation is pretty good. I'm loving the opening and ending themes, I think they contribute to the feel of the series. 
 
I feel like I might have trivialized the plot in my summaries of episode 1 and 2.>.> This anime is really good so far and I'm excited to see where it goes. I hope people are checking it out! Part of the draw of watching anime is seeing it all unfold for yourself!
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Note: I am not trying to elicit sympathy or advice. I am just trying to share some ideas on something I have realized, which happens to be related to anime. Also, I am a guy, not a girl.

Tsundere is a Japanese term used to describe a character. It is mostly used to describe a female character who is initially cold or hostile toward others. But after a while they show a warmer, more caring side. It is derived from the terms “tsuntsun”, meaning to turn away in disgust and “deredere” meaning lovey dovey. Such characters appear frequently in dating sims and visual novels, but have recently become more popular in anime and other mediums.

I think what ties together most tsundere characters is the fear of being left alone. In other words, what is the point of investing all these feelings for another person if they’re just going to leave me, or I’ll have to leave them? The tsundere continues to be wary of interacting with other people and being sure to not show anything that could be mistaken as a show of love. Or at least being sure not to show too much. Then eventually they meet someone that they fall in love with. Usually the tsundere is passive throughout the falling-in-love process, as he/she is approached by the other person on multiple occasions as the relationship develops. Then they live happily together because finally the tsundere can count on someone to be there for them and never leave them

Now I just want to look at 3 characters that exhibit tsundere traits. Squall from the video game Final Fantasy 8: You meet Squall when he’s 17 years old. He grew up in an orphanage before being transferred to Balamb Garden to train to become a mercenary. When living at the orphanage he looked up to a girl named Ellone. But she leaves the orphanage before he does. There are flashbacks that show a young Squall standing at the entrance of the orphanage saying stuff like, “Sis, I’m gonna be alright.” At Balamb Garden he gains the reputation of being something of a lone wolf, never relying on others and keeping to himself. Once he becomes a mercenary and goes out to do missions across the world, he begins to open up to his party members and learns to care for others.

In particular he falls in love with Rinoa. Rinoa keeps teasing Squall and giving hints to him. It takes a lot for Squall to eventually open up to Rinoa and the others, but I can’t really blame him for being cold at first. I first played this when I was around 9 years old. After playing this game, I had a really strong liking for Rinoa or girls like Rinoa.

Mio Aoyama from The World God Only Knows: For those that don’t know, Keima has to help his demon friend, Elsie, capture loose souls. Loose souls take refuge in hearts that aren’t full of love. Since a loose soul has resided in Mio’s heart Keima, the protagonist, has to make Mio fall in love with him in order to push out the loose soul so Elsie can capture it.

Mio is seen as the rich girl, however she lives in a run down apartment since her father died a few years ago. Keeping with a tsundere’s cold passiveness, Mio gives Keima the cold shoulder and never compliments Keima’s actions, sometimes even ridiculing him. An example of this is when Keima picks Mio up to go to school each morning in a carriage that he drags himself. Mio who grew up in high-society, where people are often quickly judged by how much money they have, has learned to become wary of others. Especially those that are nice to them. The best way to not lose anything is by not giving anything in the first place. Eventually though, she does fall in love with Keima, someone she can trust, the loose soul is ousted and captured. Those that have watched TWGOK, will realize that the happy conclusion of each arc is ambiguous. Here I just want to draw attention to how Mio is almost entirely passive throughout the relationship.

Lastly, Victorique de Blois, the protagonist from Gosick: Victorique is a small teenage girl, with long blonde hair and dresses in frilly dresses. She spends most of her in the garden at the very top of a large library reading books and eating snacks. She is also extremely good at solving mysteries and has a sharp tongue. Early on the relationship between Kujo and her is established. However, Victorique goes out of her way to be cold toward Kujo, calling him an idiot and hardly ever showing gratitude to him when bringing her snacks or trying to help her down from a tree.

It is revealed later in the story that Victorique was abandoned by her parents when she was very little. This helps explain her cold nature. As Victorique and Kujo experience more together, learn more about the mystery cases that they are involved in, and ultimately learn more about her past, she eventually opens up to Kujo and truly cares for him. By watching the series the viewer begins to realize that Kujo is here to stay and no matter how bone-headed it may seem, he’ll do almost anything for Victorique.

Even though Victorique is great at solving mysteries, she is still very passive in terms of her relations with other people, including Kujo. In one case, when she is effectively a kidnapped damsel in distress, instead of leaving behind a “help me” note for Kujo she leaves a note saying, “idiot”.

For whatever reason, I have recently realized that I am something of a tsundere. This helps explain why I don’t really like watching tsundere characters in anime, because it reminds me of me. I try to keep to myself and not let others know what I am thinking. A part of me thinks that if I let others in on my thoughts, this might be something that can be used against me in the future. The only person I can really rely on is myself, why rely on others when they just leave eventually?

But there’s a whole other part of me (the “dere” part, if you will) that realizes how important it is interact with others. That wants to fall in love and have lasting friendships. That believes you only get out of something as much as you put into it. Which means I can’t be passive my whole life, or else I won’t get anything out of it. Even so, I still have a hard time expressing this side of me.

In games or anime it’s different because the characters are completely scripted. They’re not real, and are only an artist’s representation of real characters and real actions. The game/anime can end on a happy note, but in real life there’s always a tomorrow until it ultimately ends in death.

Like always there’s isn’t really an easy answer. But I’ve gotten a few things from thinking about this and writing this blog post. I have a better appreciation for tsundere characters (especially Victorique, who I disliked throughout most of the series). I have realized something about myself from a new perspective. Maybe this will help me make decisions on how to act in the future.

Thank you for reading the entirety of this post.

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Ikoku Meiro is a slice of life, moe anime about a young Japanese girl named Yune. It is set in the late 19 century Paris. Yune decides to travel with Oscar back to his metal sign shop in Paris to help out there and learn about the French culture. Oscar and his grandson, Claude, run a specialty metal sign shop in the Galerie du Roi. Think of the Galerie like an old-fashioned mall. Recently a much bigger mall has been built and is running many of the stores in the Galerie out of business.

So far the anime seems to be focusing on Yune and how she is adapting to living in Paris. Yune is in many ways the perfect child that everyone wishes for. She does what she’s told, is polite, always wants to help, experiences the world with eyes full of wonder and has a cute voice.

Since this is a slice of life, much of what actually goes on in each episode is day to day stuff. But that’s not to say that there isn’t structure to each episode. For example, this episode was about Claude who has to make a sign for a customer, but has trouble finding inspiration. He asks both Oscar and Yune about Japan in hopes of finding something to trigger his imagination. He eventually succeeds with the help of Yune. (I wrote a full summary of ep 3 for the wiki, you can check out here.)

I think most of the joy that comes from watching Ikoku Meiro comes from the simplicity and ease of watching Yune. Each episode she discovers new things about Paris, and I have found it’s really easy to get caught up in life in Paris as we watch Yune, Claude and Oscar. I think the opening theme helps with this too and gives me a light-hearted feeling every time I watch and hear it. 
  

  

I have enjoyed the anime so far. I hope it keeps with the light tone, while also not relying on the “cuteness” factor. If you’re looking for something simple and easy to watch, I’d recommend checking this one out!
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I've been told that comedy can be used as social commentary. By finding out what we laugh at, we are able to ask the question, "What is wrong here that is making me laugh?" Likewise by finding characters that you empathize with you can ask the question, "what is it about this character that makes me like them?" Or if there's something you find funny about a character, why is it funny? 
 
I have enjoyed both seasons of The World God Only Knows. Especially the last arc of each season (s1 - Shiori "the quiet librarian" Shiomiya, and s2 - Jun "student teacher" Nagase). On the whole, TWGOK has been able to provide some striking social commentary. And whether or not this was intentional, I have found that the female characters I empathized with the most were the ones who had last arc of each season. In this blog I just want to lay out a situation in episode 10 involving Jun Nagase that I found cool, and then give some thoughts about it.
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The World God Only Knows, season 2, episode 10. The second episode of the Jun Nagase arc. Jun Nagase is a female student teacher. She is rather cute and well-formed and wonderfully voiced by Toyosaki Aki. Nagase at first seems rather energetic and optimistic about becoming a teacher. So she can help students and put them on the right path to a better life! At first she is generally well-liked by students and staff, especially male students. But things soon change as Nagase tries to take matters into her own hands and goes out of her way to help others. 
 
For example, she notices that another teacher (Mr. Kodama) yelled at a student for always doing poorly on tests, calling him a failure. Nagase tries to tell Mr. Kodama off, saying he shouldn't be mean to students and try and help them, but she is just ignored and brushed off. Then when Nagase approaches the "failing" student and offers to help him study, he tries to refuse her. Two other female students who happen to be nearby interject and saying things like, "Don't worry he (Mr. Kodama/the student) is just like that." Nagase tries to argue by asking, "But isn't it a teacher's job to help students? Don't you think it's wrong that he (the teacher) calls another student names?" To which the female student replies offhandedly, "Yeah, but that's just how it goes in the real world, heh." At this line, Nagase seems to break down, but quickly excuses herself from the classroom. 
 
Standing outside the doors to catch her breath, Nagase hears the students talk about her, "You know, I hate those kinds of teachers the most. The one's that but in on everything and get too passionate about their work. I guess it's fine that she's a student teacher, but she's getting really annoying."
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This scene really set off alarm bells in my head. The kind where I say to myself, "Oh wow, I completely understand where they're going with this, that is so cool." The situation that Nagase is put in is a classic one. Naive young person enters the "real" world, tries to make a positive difference, proceeds to get shot down and is forced to rethink his/her ideas. 
 
The way this series puts a twist on this idea is with Keima-kun. The student who gets straight A's, seems to be anti-social and spends all waking time playing games in and out of class. Nagase, being the passionate and caring teacher she is, wants to help Keima make friends in the real world and not be absorbed in the virtual reality of video games. 
 
This opens up a whole host of questions and complications. Most of which have probably already been discussed, at some point in history, at great length without any definitive answer. Questions about the relationship between student and teacher go all the way back to Plato, who's written dialogues (depicting his teacher Socrates) has coined the term "Platonic Love." In Japan there have been a number of cases where a male teacher has taken advantage of young female students. This may be a bit of an extreme example but even if a single person said something like, "It's unfortunate, but that's just the way it is in the real world sometimes," we have to ask ourselves why the case of the mean teacher is that different from the lolicon teacher, or the failing student and the delinquent student.
 
Isn't it a teacher's job to take care of their students and help them when they struggle? Maybe a better way to look at it would be to ask, "isn't part of being human, helping other humans around you?" I've been told that, "you only get out of life, as much as you put into it." So according to this, if I don't do anything, I won't get anything. It also means I can get by with the minimum if I just do the minimum amount of work. That might sound great and all, but isn't it better to strive for the ideal, like Nagase is trying to do, and give it everything you got? Even if you don't make a huge "profit", you'll still end up with more than you started out with.
 
Arguments can be made on both sides and anywhere in between. Nagase-sensei doesn't have definitive answers about these things, neither does Kemai-kun, and neither do I. But I still think the way TWGOK is able to achieve this sort of subtle social commentary, underneath the comedy and anime antics, is pretty awesome. Of course I might just be reading too much into things, *shrugs*. That won't stop me from enjoying the final arc of season 2 and the characters is centers around! >.>
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This series is going really well! I'm a bit behind, but I am hereafter dedicating myself to editing the episode page of each episode of Hanasaku Iroha. With a detailed summary and screenshots! You can see what I have done with episode 12, here
 
Time, you cannot escape it
Time, you cannot escape it
So some thoughts... I'm beginning to realize how much is put into each episode. In terms of time, this episode spans just over a single day. In terms of action and development, almost every scene seems to shows something important or remind us of something interesting. Whether it is a character's personality, or a reminder that we're still in the big city Tokyo, or a reminder of what time of day it is (and as a result a reminder that time is constantly passing by), the flow of each episode seems just right. Not ever going too fast or too slow. 
 
It's an interesting experience for me now. Since I'm watching each episode twice (once for plot, again for screens), I always find that the second time the episode flows a lot more quickly than the first time. This probably also has to do with the fact that I pause every few minutes the first time I watch it in order to update my summary :). 
 
About wha
Ohana sucks in her tears at a train station
Ohana sucks in her tears at a train station
t's happening with the story. I'm really enjoying it, and I hope it keeps it up. One particular moment that struck me was when Ohana was thinking to herself. She was thinking about the love triangle between her, Narumi and Kouichi. In the triangle she sees herself as the antagonist, getting in the way of any relationships. This scene happens just after Ohana is confronted by Narumi, Narumi telling her she should make up her mind and stop stepping on Kouichi's kindness. It's ironic that Ohana sees herself as an antagonist because, in reality, she is the protagonist of an anime series called Hanasaku Iroha! 
 
Satsuki yelling at her mom
Satsuki yelling at her mom
I also really enjoyed the flashback showing young Satsuki, Sui and Enishi, that was an interesting parallel to the flashbacks of young Ohana. The interplay between Minko and Tooru in this episode was interesting too, I wonder how it will develop in the future. Same goes for Ohana and Kouichi, it doesn't look like there's much hope for them, and I wonder if they do eventually get together, how it will happen, and if it will be a generic "happy ever after". We'll see.
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