Feature an Underrated Character (30 Day Character Challenge, Day 26)

I have self-control, dear readers. I have some. I do.

Because, you see, I could use this whole post as an excuse to bemoan the fact that I personally feel like Harada Sanosuke from Hakuouki doesn’t get nearly enough credit in the otome fandom, but I won’t. See? Self-control right there.

Because, I mean… I could.

But I won’t.

You’re welcome. 😛

No, but anyway, an underrated character, huh? There are so many niche pieces of media I like that I feel like I could easily list a whole army of them. But if I’m to pick one from a well-known and properly appreciated series, I guess I will go with…

It’s so silly, but every time I’m about to land on a choice, my heart is just like, “But I appreciate them! If I do, other people must also, right??” Gosh. This is difficult.

Okay.

It’s the dango. Plural. From Clannad.

I pick them, because I love them, but I don’t think the dango family gets enough consideration for their overwhelming cuteness, and it’s a shame. So I pick them.

They’re so cute. I almost themed my whole blog around them for that reason alone. So cute. So wholesome. Just…. gah!

Feature the Character that Makes You Cry When /They/ Cry (30 Day Character Challenge, Day 25)

It’s this guy. It’s Tomoya.

I’ve written about the way that Ushio’s death makes me feel in a fair amount of detail, but Tomoya’s cries in her death scene just break my heart. His face, the horror, how strong he tried to be for her and how deeply he felt that loss…

And maybe it’s what his losses mean more so than his tears themselves, but I feel like Tomoya’s traveled such a hard road. He’s lost so much. When he cries, so do I.

His desperation is so incredibly profound, and yet things like his happen every single day. When he mourns Nagisa, his regrets are oceanic. And his feelings about wishing that he’d never entered her life are honest and realistic. He doesn’t know how to go on without her, doesn’t want this life, this unknown future without her…

And now that I’ve saddened you all for one day, I’ll take my leave. Maybe we all should go re-watch this moving, deeply poignant story.

~Shoujo

The Saddest Anime Death (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 25)

*necessary spoilers (for Clannad and Hakuouki) below*

I’ve mentioned it before, but there are different portrayals of death.

Some deaths make you mourn for those left behind, aching and alone. These are the deaths like those of Clannad, in which I felt for the main character, Tomoya, as he struggled through life after loosing his young wife only to claw himself out of depression before loosing his five-year-old daughter to the same illness. He was left alone, sobbing on a snowy street holding innocent Ushio’s small, lifeless body.

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“Did we…make it? Are we on the train, Dad?”

I chose this scene for the “The Saddest Anime Scene (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 12)” post because that’s what I felt appropriate at the time. The deaths themselves were truly tragic, and I bawled over that. How could I not sob over the death of a five-year-old child? However, in the midst of all this I was–perhaps even above all?–mourning for Tomoya, with whom I could empathize, who lost his wife and was now loosing his baby girl. That cornucopia of emotion is why the scene itself was rated as “most sad.”

Other deaths leaving you mourning the victim. When you cry, the tears are solely for the deceased. In the initial moment, for whatever reason it may be, these deaths impact you and make you cling to that character even harder, mourning their loss of life perhaps without even considering another character’s pain. These are the deaths like those in Hakuouki. There are two that come to mind when I consider the saddest anime death and yet…

I didn’t struggle when it came to this decision, and I think that as much is because, when I considered the back story of the characters in question, he who lived the most tragic life also met the most tragic end. I cried over the deaths of both characters, but for the saddest anime death, I chose the individual’s who could almost as easily had me sobbing over his life.

Okita Souji died the saddest anime death.

To understand his death, however, one must first understand how he lived, and I know that I won’t do his story justice. I think that Kondo-san explains Okita’s circumstances best.

But Souji…Souji has had it rough.

When we was left in the care of my dojo, he was still only nine years old. He was born into a samurai family, but he lost his parents when he was still young. His big sister, Mitsu-san, raised him in his parents’ stead, but apparently life was hard for them, so…

The child still hadn’t reached the age of ten, but he had to leave his family and start life in my dojo. Although he never said it outright, he must have been lonely.

Souji stayed with us under the pretext of being a live-in student, but in actuality he was treated more like a servant.

-Kondo, Hakuouki Reimeiroku, Ep. 4

Okita Souji grows up in Kondo’s family’s dojo after the death of his parents. Souji’s sister, Mitsu, attempts to maintain contact for a while, but eventually gets married and falls out of touch. Souji has no contact with his only living relative, and he is mercilessly beaten by the other, older dojo students. He hardens himself. Kondo-san stands up for Souji and cares for him. He tries to insist that Souji is special. When Souji laments being left behind by his sister, Kondo responds, “Souji, it is not as though Mitsu-san abandoned you. Who on Earth could ever abandon you, my boy?” He later continues…

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“I’m sure it must be hard living away from your sister, but nothing in this world happens without a purpose. I am sure that there must be a reason that you were left in our care, and whatever it is, I’m glad of it, son.”

-Kondo, Hakuouki Reimeiroku, Ep. 4

Kondo was the only one who never called him pitiable, Souji says. Even though young Souji claims Kondo a nuisance for the latter’s attempts to intervene on the his behalf, Souji truly views Kondo as someone almost otherworldly in his goodness. There was a time when the whole world seemed against one little boy and nothing made sense, but Kondo was a ray of kindness in his life. Souji was hardened, and grew to be quite bloodthirsty through events that had and would transpire, but more than anything, Souji–inside his murderous exterior–is still that wounded little boy.

When Souji finally takes Kondo’s words to heart, he makes what would come to be a critical decision.

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There must be a reason why these things happened. That’s what you told me, Kondo-san. That’s what you always said. I think I know what that reason is now. I came here for you, Kondo-san; I came to be with you. I came here to become much, much stronger.

-Okita Souji, Hakuouki Reimeiroku, Ep. 4

Souji dedicates his entire life to Kondo. And if you’ve seen the show, you know the road down which his dedication leads. His mental state has fallen into a sort of dangerous “condition” as Hijikata and Kondo would view it, to say nothing of his physical body. Hell, the Shinsengumi leadership even want to send him home to Edo, at one point. These hardened men cry over Souji’s first kill, knowing the blood lust and manipulation from which it stemmed.


Moving into the “present,” as it were–or, rather, the time in which our Shinsengumi have formed and the first two seasons take place–Okita has gown into himself as we know him in the series. He’s teasing, murderous, and strangely fragile. He’s unforgiving, loyal, dedicated, and…

…he sees no worth in his life beyond his ability to be a sword for Kondo-san. When he is diagnosed with tuberculosis, he forsakes any sort of life-prolonging treatment (although the disease at this time would–most likely–be ultimately fatal in any case) in order to stay by Kondo-san’s side.

Of course, being so close to Kondo-san would put him on a path parallel to Kondo’s right-hand man, Vice Commander Toshizo Hijikata.


Okita has a strained relationship with with Hijikata, and the same can be said in reverse. Calling on Kondo-san’s wisdom again, I quote:

Toshi is deeply worried about Soji was well, but he’s rather inept.

-Kondo-san, Hakuouki Reimeiroku, Ep. 4

Okita deeply resents Hijikata for taking up Kondo-san’s attention, and Hijikata grows frustrated with Okita’s childishness and temperamental impulsiveness . Yet, at the same time, they protect each other and care about each other even if it’s only grudgingly at times. The truth of the matter is, regardless of how much Okita may want to deny it, he knows that Hijikata’s not a bad guy; Okita is simply jealous of anyone else being that close to his mentor. Naturally, Hijikata watched Okita grow up, and he cares about his annoying subordinate more than one might initially realize.

When Hijikata follows Kondo-san’s order and leaves his Commander behind to be killed, he agonizes heartrendingly. And when the deathly ill Okita discovers what has occurred, he is livid. How, how, how could Hijikata leave Kondo-san behind to be killed!? How could he save himself at Kondo-san’s expense like that?!

And even though Okita can’t bring hiself to forgive Hijikata, once again…

…inside, Okita knows that his perception of the situation isn’t quite straight on; he knows he lacks knowledge of the circumstances, yet it simply doesn’t matter. Okita would be unable to forgive any other person who acted as Hijikata did under those circumstances, and I think in many ways he would have been literally murderous toward anyone else in Hijikata’s place. It is a testament to his relationship with the Vice Commander and self-awareness that Okita did not attempt to kill him at his first opportunity.

In the end, he still asks Chizuru to look after Hijikata-san in his stead.

Aside from all that, when Okita finds out that a gravely injured Hijikata is in danger, he gives up what little remains of his life and defends the town in which he and Chizuru are hiding out. He meets his fate knowingly and without hesitation to protect the one person who could carry on Kondo’s Shinsengumi vision, the one man he had left from his childhood.

Souji is gone in a rush of flame, alone with corpses in his final moments.




 

And then Hijikata finds his sword.

 

sojideathsojideath2sojideath3sojideath4sojideath5




 

I remember watching Souji’s final fight for the first time, and the discovery of his sword. I recall the very moment that Souji’s death hit me, and I remember sobbing, warm tears running down my face. Without any hesitation, my thoughts went to him when I considered which anime death I find most heartbreaking.

Okita Souji died as he lived–as a sword, and by the sword.

 

Do you agree?

Signing off,

Shoujo Thoughts

Favorite Male Anime Character (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 3)

No, no, no, don’t do this to me, NO. I mean, it’s SHOUJO. How am I supposed to have ONE favorite male character? HOW?? I have oodles, so many different personalities and appearances and development arcs that it boggles the mind! There is absolutely NO way that I can play the favorites game today, uh uh, nope, case closed, no way…

How about a gallery of favorite male character’s images each with three accompanying adjectives/nouns and one short sentence for brevity? Sound reasonable? Or…well, acceptable?

Yes? Yes. Very good. Off the top of my head, here we go.


Harada Sanouske

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Reliable, Protective, Charming: Sanouske is the Hakuouki husbando.

Hijikata Toshizo

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Determined, Dedicated, Tsundere: Hijikata is the oni vice commander.

Kuran Kaname

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Vampiric, Mysterious, Pureblood: Kaname has one goal, and he will achieve it at all costs.

Okazaki Tomoya

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Young, Broken, Strong: Tomoya travels difficult roads.

 

Otika Souji

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Rebelious, Mishevious, Hurt: “It’s a shame we didn’t have to kill you.” -Okita

Sebastian Michaelis

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Death, Life, Demonic: He’s simply one hell of a butler.

Suoh Tamaki

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French, Princely, Sincere: Tamaki has more to him than would suggest a mermaid princess.

Takasu Ryuuji

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Responsible, Gentle, Lonely: Ryuuji would be the one to save her in a situation like this.

Son Hak (I am not even the littlest bit sorry that I chose this picture.)

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Playful, Professional, Protector: The Thunder Beast has been deceiving himself.

Tomoe (Megage Tomoe)

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Loyal, Powerful, Yokai: Doesn’t Tomoe remember that he promised her?

Who are some of your favorite male characters? Would you like to discuss any of these in detail? Comment below and let me know!

Until next time,

Shoujothoughts

An Unordered Shout Out to (Some of) Shoujo’s Favorite (Male) Voice Actors!

I gave up on twisting hooks into the drywall and sat in my pink office chair. Instead of attempting to manifest my less-that-proficient home improvement skills, I tuned in to the dub of Nondame Cantabile (I know nothing about this yet, guys. I might just start watching Ouran episode 7, but still…). Doing so, I read the most humorous comment before I hit the video.

“Why,” I paraphrase, “must every side character be voiced by Vic Mignogna? I love Vic…but it’s so confusing…”

Immediately I was laughing, because I love Vic’s work and totally get her point, but it got me thinking about a post that I’d been meaning to make for a while. Who are some of my favorite (male—I mean, it’s shoujo.) voice actors? Why do I feel this way? Is it even possible for me to rank them?

The easy answer to that last question is, “NO.” I can’t rank them, at least at present. Far too much deliberation involved there and my conclusions are liable to fluctuate wildly on a daily basis. What I can do, however, is give a shout out to a short few of my favorites for being so totally awesome.

I discovered many of my favorites by falling in love with one of their voices, and then realizing that I had heard it before and loved their acting for (a) previous character(s)/following it like a dog sniffing a trail to other anime in which they acted in which I proceeded to absolutely fall in love with their performances. Every single one of them is from an English dub. Because, you know, I was ONLY a dub girl until just rather recently in the grand scheme of things. (Eventually you run out of dubs and just have to make the jump…Don’t worry, it gets better. You’ll come to love it in some ways.)

I won’t spend much time analyzing their qualities; that’s for another time. I won’t list all the characters that they’ve played; that’s what Behind the Voice Actor is for.

Keeping in mind that it is quite likely that I will attempt this in a more official and less haphazard capacity in the future, I present without further ado…


An Unordered Shout Out to (Some of) Shoujo’s Favorite (Male) Voice Actors!

*Crowed roars; mothers hug their children; fanboys rip open shirts to reveal painted chests in tailgate fashion boasting letters spelling “A-N-D-R-E-W L-O-V-E-!” *

Andrew Love

I should mention that I first discovered Andrew Love when I stumbled across Hiiro No Kakera—The Tamayori Princess Saga. He voices Guardian Takuma Onizaki. I enjoyed the series, but I will fully admit that it wasn’t the best reverse harem shoujo romance that I’ve ever seen. It ran into some common pitfalls, but let me tell you—Andrew Love’s voice acting is not one of them. He blew me away, and really got me into searching up other shows in which he featured. THIS lead me to connect some dots and realize that he also voices the loving and somewhat ridiculous (but awesome) father, Akio Furukawa, in Clannad (TV and movie) and Clannad: After Story (a TOTAL shift from that male romantic lead, am I right? But still an excellent performance). His performance in Hiiro No Kakera made me discover and watch Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (which I later discovered is just as enjoyable in the subtitled version), in which he plays the Oni Vice Commander of the Shinsengumi, Toshizo Hijikata. He reprises this role in the sequel, prequel, OVAs, and films. I was SOLD. DONE. Hook, line, and sinker—caught! And Hakuouki is one of my favorite shows! Andrew Love makes my top voice actor list, definitely. Go listen to his manly tones!

toshiToshizo Hijikata

J. Michael Tatum

Do you have all day? I might need it. He was one of the reasons that I started watching Black Butler on a whim! Tatum plays the “cool type,” Kyoya Ootori, in my intro-to-anime’s ultimate shoujo, Ouran High School Host Club. Does my admiration need any explanation if you’ve been following this blog at all? He voices tsundere fox yokai, Tomoe, in Kamisama Hajimemashita. I love that show, and I love his performance, and I sometimes I watch it and “I just can’t.”

I mean, those amazing performances alone would be enough to earn him a top spot on my list, right? Right. But then what do I discover? HE CONTINUES TO BLOW MY MIND AS SEBASTIAN MICHAELIS IN BLACK BUTLER.

What do all these roles have in common? Those tones and characters have a matching elegance, tradition, and class—as well as allure—that is just inescapable when Tatum is turning on his own unique brand of enchantment.

tomoeOh Tomoe, what would we do without your tsundre? lol

Vic Mignogna

I won’t get too deeply into discussion on Vic seeing as how I’ve gushed about him in the past (check my tags #vicmignogna and #music for more information), but just to give you a rundown…

Edward Elric in Fullmental Alchemist and Fullmental Alchemist Brotherhood, Tamaki Suoh in Ouran High School Host Club, Zero (and Ichiru) Kiryu in Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty, Futo Asahina in Brothers Conflict, Takenaga Oda in The Wallflower (WHAT? Yes, I say!), Yukito Kunisaki in Air and Air TV (I KID YOU NOT.), Broly in the DBZ movies… Need I say anything more?

Yes, I do need. You read me write Futo Asahina in Brothers Conflict? Talk about an unexpected personality for him to portray!

zeroZero Kiryu

Greg Ayers

Okay, Greg brings a little something to this party that is super endearing and sweet. He’s the one who sounds young or timid, sometimes rash, inexperienced (sometimes), endearing, but charming and surprisingly competent (usually). His voice is easily recognizable. Let’s list a few of my favorites he’s played, shall we? You can always tell when it’s Greg Ayers…

Youhei Sunohara in Clannad (TV and movie) and Clannad After Story, Kaoru Hitachiin in Ouran High School Host Club (See, you can tell, right?), Heisuke Toudou in Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (and all its associated content), Yukinojo (Yuki) Toyama in The Wallflower, Mannen in Pretear, and Mahiro Atori in Hiiro No Kakera—The Tamayori Princess Saga: with all that under his belt, how can you not go gaga over this man’s talent?

yukinojo-yuki-toyama Yes, I know that picture looks super weird. Blame The Wallflower.

David Matranga

This guy doesn’t get talked about enough, does he? Let’s fix that. Matranga has a very soothing quality to his voice that makes it a pleasure to listen to; I think you’ll agree when you start to recognize his vocal roles in a number of popular shoujo anime titles. He makes the list because he is expressive, soothing, and an all-around talent. A few of his roles include Keisuke Sannan from Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (Do I really need to add all its additional material again?), Yuichi Komura in Hiiro No Kakera—The Tamayori Princess Saga, FREAKING TOMOYA OKAZAKI IN CLANNAD (movie and TV) AND CLANNAD AFTER STORY, Richter in Diabolik Lovers (I’m not kidding, guys.), Takumi Usui in Maid Sama! (I had to stop watching this in the dub and pick up the sub because I couldn’t take Monica Rial as Misaki Ayuzawa, but that’s beside the point; Matranga was awesome.), and Subaru Asahina in Brother’s Conflict. That’s a pretty decent resume, I’d say.

Also, you should have heard me when I realized that Sanan-san and Tomoya were the same person. It was simply too much.

tomoya-clannad-32985788-464-260If you don’t know this is from Clannad, go watch now and have all the feels.

This is NOT a comprehensive list, but I’ll stop here tonight. Off the top of my head, these men make the top five!

So, tell me fellow shoujo lovers, how do you feel about these awesome actors? Who are some of your favorites? Leave a comment and let me know, ‘kay? (∩。∩)ノ***

-Shoujothoughts