Feat. a Character that Would Be Your Best Friend (30 Day Character Challenge, Day 9)

The difficulty in this particular challenge piece is establishing what exactly I should here consider; do I choose a best friend based on compatibility or simply on the interest that I have in said character? For example, I feel like Yurio (Yuri!!! On Ice) and I would have quite the interesting dynamic, and I’d be interested in his friendship, but he might also want to murder me (in his own, endearing, angry-kitten way). On the other hand, someone like Chizuru (Hakuouki) would be quite easy to get along with, but with her calm nature, I don’t know that we have much in common, as I’m basically a Tama-chan on the regular.

Speaking of the character, I’d love Tamaki (Ouran) as a best friend, but I’ve already written about him in the course of this challenge, and I hesitate to do so again. In addition, perhaps our similarities would become too much for our friendship to bare, leaving us at each other’s throats.

Who am I to choose, taking such factors into account? Tohru (Fruba)? And adult Alphonse Elric (FMA & FMA:B)? Oh, my gosh, that would be sweet…

But, no, rather, I think that I’ve found my feature for today.


Enter Nanami Momozono!

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I wrote about Nanami during a previous challenge (please click the link for a more in-depth look at this character), and when I consider all of the casting options that I have to be besties with, Nanami comes out on top because she’s both interesting and kind. She’s also silly, larger-than-life on occasion, nurturing, and we have enough in common that we’d get along swimmingly. She’s resilient, and more mature than one might imagine while still innocent at heart!

For a review of the title from whence Nanami hails, Kamisama Hajimemashita (Kamisama Kiss), please click here.


So…who would be your anime bestie?

Keep on keeping on,

Shoujo

My Favorite Female Anime Character (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 4)

Identifying favorite female characters in shoujo is quite a bit simpler than identifying favorite male characters because there are many female MCs who, written to be self-inserts, don’t have a lot of screaming personality. Here, I present two characters that don’t struggle with that problem, leaving them ready to take on the top spots (though they do so on specific merit as well)!


Momosino Nanami (“Kamisama Hajimemashita”)

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Nanami is lively. She has a big heart and operates with determination. Look out, Tomoe; you’re not going to be able to walk over this spirited spitball. (I have NO idea why that term popped out of my brain, but there you go, Internet.) She’s feisty and fun; there are a million and one things to like about Nanami, but more than perhaps anything, I love how she handles herself in less-than-idea situations. This quality manifests itself in various ways. She grew into a fine young woman, cares about other with such total abandon, and almost always has a ready smile for someone who needs it; all this is true, even though she lost her greatest role model at such a tender age.

I also greatly admire how she prioritizes what needs to be done that she might maintain her relationships, and does so with such strength. *spoilers ahead* Tomoe doesn’t return her affections right away, but she doesn’t pull that angst-y teen “Lovely Complex” BS in which she just LOOSES HER MIND for like a bazillion episodes and revolves the meaning of her life around him. (I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t a teen once, but I don’t care to relive it, thank you very much—I like my heroines more mature than that.) Instead, she’s understandably upset and down for a few episodes, and then she proceeds to deal with her unrequited feelings like a total boss; she doesn’t let it mess up their master-familiar relationship. It doesn’t ruin their friendship. She keeps on keeping on, neither “giving up” nor forcing herself on him. The best quote to summarize this tendency is when Nanami says with a smile, “But, it’s okay. I get this is one sided. You don’t have the same kind of feelings for me, and that’s totally fine. I won’t freak out on you because I think I can change how you feel, and you don’t have to freak out on me.”

Nanami’s love is unrequited, but she doesn’t let it destroy her happiness. She feels what she feels, and she gets down about it sometimes, but she doesn’t psychologically annihilate herself over loving the tsun tsun yokai. She cares without restraint, and she sees the good in almost everyone. *spoilers over* Nanami’s top spot when it comes to my favorite female characters is well deserved.


Honda Tohru (“Fruits Basket”)

With Tohru I can be brief. I say this not because her character is not wonderful–No, I can be brief because her character is so straight forward. Tohru, in summary, always sees the good. She is selfless, kind, loyal, and brave when she must be. She sees the person inside the physical shell and tries her hardest in every situation. She is innocent, honest, and pure. She’s an amazing role model. She lives her life being grateful of the things that she has; she appreciates others; she holds on to hope. She makes do. She doesn’t judge. She thrives in difficult situations. She isn’t academically gifted, but she’s insightful and grasps the heart of matters. She lives to help others and achieve a mother’s dream for her daughter.

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Who are your favorite female anime characters? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Hoping this post finds you well,

Shoujo

My Favorite Anime So Far (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 2)

[PRE-POST EDIT: I just finished “Yona of the Dawn” and OH MAN. I enjoyed that. Just saying.]


I am terribly indecisive when It comes to “favorites,” and thus I don’t see how anyone can expect me to answer this question. There are so many other “favorite” questions over the course of this challenge, to boot! I’m terrible at favorites, just no good at all. It’s maddening! However, though my preferences may change, I think I can at least narrow down a few of my favorites for the purposes of answering this question. (I’ll try to keep it relatively spoiler free.)

When I think of my favorite shows, the very first that come to mind are “Hakuouki,” “Ouran High School Host Club,” “Black Butler,” and “Kamisama Hajimemashita.” I think that I’ll dedicate a portion of this post to each of these four titles, though some maaayy~~~ hold a greater place in my anime heart than others.

Oh, and we can’t forget about “Death Parade,” which was perhaps not my favorite, but something…different.

But anyway, to begin:


Hakuouki

I’ve discussed in a previous post about voice actors how I stumbled across this anime, but now I’ll tell you why I stayed and fell in love.

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If someone wants an example of shoujo done right (and basically josei, to be honest), I immediately think to this anime. It is the ultimate example to give someone who doesn’t like the genre; one episode in and I all but guarantee that the most diehard “action-only” fan will give it a reasonable shot, and ultimately fawn. If you haven’t seen it, I cannot recommend highly enough that you do so.* There is so much humor, tragedy, love, heartbreak, and far too many instances of heroics, stoicism, and determination to name. It balances emotional, touching moments with just enough action, and asks questions such as, “How far would you go to protect what you believe in?” and “What are the unchanging things in which you believe?” You will watch men struggle with their convictions and the bonds they hold to each other, asking themselves if they can carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. You’ll journey to the end with the Shinsengumi in this period drama based during the late Edo and early Maji Periods of Japan. You will smile. You will stay up late. You will cry.

*I have a watch order post up; look for it if you want a hand navigating the extensive Hakuouki media.


Ouran High School Host Club

Do you know someone who doesn’t like anime, refuses to seriously consider it, misjudges the whole medium as a den of perversion? Well, that was me, and “Ouran High School Host Club” changed all that.

The show makes fun of itself in the best possible ways, mocking nearly every dominant shoujo stereotype, type-casting the host characters but putting with them a heroine so unlike any other shoujo protagonist that you KNOW things are about to go down. Haruhi is a down-to-earth, capable, nearly gender neutral young woman who couldn’t be your self-insert even if you tried. (Which I love, because I don’t like self-insert and I’d rather see some personality, but anyway…) She’ll call the host club on their shenanigans, but still humors them; she tells them like it is, but cares for them; she is impassive to their seduction techniques (which are, again, all tropes), but still…might she slowly fall for one of them? No, no, no, not their facades, but THEM?

You’ll be rolling in the first few minutes, and be touched several episodes in. The show is humor and heart, wrapped in a broadcast package and twincest. (Don’t freak out yet. It’s a ploy, I promise you.) Go watch it if you haven’t already.*

*Check out my Watch Alongs, if you want. We’re presently on “Ouran,” Episode 10!


Black Butler

As so it seems with all my favorites, I have a post about Black Butler as well! More than once have I rambled on about this show, to be honest: we’ve touched on a review/watch order and on interpreting the show’s amazing music. Because of this, I won’t spend too much time on it here, although my thoughts on it could basically fill books. What I will say is that this anime holds no romance whatsoever. I ship in all media, and I have since long before I understood that shipping was “a thing.” I have too many “One True Pair”s to name. (Is that even allowed?)

But I ship no one in Black Butler. And it still makes my top 5. And that should tell you everything you need to know of its quality.

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Give it a chance even if the first few episodes seem too “silly.” It isn’t light, and you won’t regret it in the slightest.


Kamisama Hajimemashita

Oh, Tomoe, you tsun tsun. What would we do without you? I have a comprehensive post on Kamisama Kiss available for your perusal, but I’ll just note here that, if you’re looking for a supernatural shuojo romance between an outgoing human girl with some real personality (no self-insert to be found, yay!) and a bad ass but tsundere fox yokai, you’ve found the right anime.

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Lastly, I’d like to include this bonus:

Death Parade

Did you know that, when you die, you’re taken to a bar to play parlor games while an arbiter decides the fate of your soul? But these aren’t regular games, and the arbiters are anything but human.

Yes, a being without human emotion or understanding gets to judge your essence and choose your destiny: heaven, reincarnation, or hell.

Decim of the Quindecim bar is one such arbiter, and he does his job…efficiently. But what happens when a woman with no memory of her past walks into his life and teaches him what it’s like…to feel something?

Can an arbiter be effective, be expedient, if he can feel?

A psychological thriller so far removed from shoujo that it doesn’t inhabit the same planet makes the list. You’ll squirm, cry, and find yourself captivated. It isn’t the easiest show to emotionally process, but it’s a doozy, I guarantee.




I’ve mentioned two reverse harems, a supernatural romance, an examination of good vs evil, and a psychological horror/thriller. What are your favorite anime titles?

P.S.

How could I not include at least a mention of “Clannad: After Story?” It’s been so long since I’ve seen it, but it’s feelings evoked are so real.

“Clannad: After Story” delves into the adult life of Nagisa and Tomoya. This title deserves a post all it’s own, but I will leave it here just saying that as of the most emotional titles I’ve ever seen, it’s a show I’ll never forget. You will laugh and cry in a context that’s all too…possible. The realism is what makes the biggest impact.

I don’t know that the show as a whole with or without including “Clannad” (season 1) is one of my favorite titles, but “After Story” has some of the most poignant moments of any show I know. It isn’t my favorite title of all time, but I do think it worthy of praise and a shout out here.

I’ll need to watch the whole show again to see where the series as a whole lands. But, can I take the tears?

 

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

Let’s Talk About “Kamisama Kiss” (DUB/SUB)–HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The scene is set!

“High school student, Nanami Momozono–otherwise known as the protagonist of this story. As you can see, ordinarily darling Nanami is possessed of a lively beauty, but right now she appears to be rather worn out, as they say. And who could blame her? Unfortunately, Nanami’s father loves to gamble, therefore their household is awash in debt. It’s no wonder she’s like this. Oh, what a terribly unfeminine lunch box! Oh! I forgot to tell you the worst part!…” -Unnamed narrator

 

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Nanami, recently left to wander the streets in response to her deadbeat father’s gambling debts, stumbles upon a situation that one one ever could have predicted. Now, as a land god, she will have to do her best to fulfill her duties, take care of the shrine, and put up with a certain unrepentant yokai fox…



“Now, don’t worry. This isn’t one of those depressing stories. It’s a proper romantic comedy!” -Unnamed narrator


The narration says it all; Kamisama Kiss (or Kamisama Hajimemashita) is first and foremost a romantic comedy, and unapologetically one of the best I’ve ever seen. It has a wonderful plot line, fleshed out characters, light drama, amazing art, and too much heart to contain.

One of my favorite series and one worth watching again and again, I can’t recommend season 1 and season 2 highly enough. Though I watched the English dub and LOVED IT (J. Michael Tatum-Sebastian from Black Butler and Kyoya from Ouran HS Host Club-as Tomoe? I’M IN HEAVEN.), I’ve recently started watching bits in the original Japanese and find that I enjoy that as well. Goodness knows I’ll go back watch the Japanese as I have planned to do with Hakuouki.(Story for another time, and possibly a watch along but GO WATCH IT, GUYS. The English version has ANDREW LOVE. *squee*)

Also, where season 2 ends and leaves you screaming “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?” (No spoilers here!), the OVAs (Kamisama Kiss: Kako-hen) pick up and just make you fall in love all~~~ over again. The episodes of Kako-hen are currently only out in Japanese (Though I have high hopes–Funimaton, don’t let me down!), and you don’t want to miss them, so watching the original (at least of those episodes) is a must!

This show blows others like “The Wallflower,” and “Ore Monogatari!!” out of the water. (Though I really that last one, true enough!) It easily makes my top ten if not top five, but that’s a debate with myself for another time.

This is the series I referenced in my sleep-deprived state by saying “NO SERIOUSLY. GO WATCH IT NOW; I’LL WAIT.” And now I’m off to pray for a return via season 3 (unlikely) and watch an episode or two while I have the time. BUT HEY, BY THE WAY, HERE ARE SOME ADORABLE AND CATCHY INTROS FOR YOU. SEASON 2 HAS A DANCE PORTION AND I LOVE IT.

S1:

S2:

“Prepare to enjoy the thrills and chills to the very end!” -Narrator, again.

Until next time,

-Shoujothoughts

#anime #KamisamaKiss #KamisamaHajimemashita #romcom #romance #comedy #recommended #fantasy #JMichaelTatum