Let's Talk Anime

Lists, Reviews, and Rants on Anime and Manga

[OWLS Blog Tour: “Pride”] Breaking the Boundaries of Society: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime — 06/12/2018

[OWLS Blog Tour: “Pride”] Breaking the Boundaries of Society: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Welcome to another OWLS tour post of mine, but this one is special!! This post marks one year of OWLS posts for me! It’s been a great year, and I’ve been able to participate in every tour so far, fortunately.

This is a very special month as well, one that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate last year. June is deemed “pride month” for the recognition of the LGBT+ community and spreading positivity surrounding it. Last year, I wasn’t well-versed in this topic, but I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been proudly celebrating as I can. I’ll be writing more on the topic this month, at least two posts are what I have planned.

Our topic this month is “pride,”

In honor of “Pride Month,” we will be discussing the word, “Pride” and its meaning. We will be exploring pop culture characters’ most satisfying and joyful achievements or skills that they possessed and whether or not these qualities could be seen as a positive or negative aspect in their personal lives and/or society.

I really love this topic, and it allows me to talk about one of my favorite anime, and one I’ve been itching to write an OWLS post on!

This post will be on Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, or Snow White with the Red Hair. I’ve mentioned this anime before, but I’ve never written a whole post on it. I really love this anime, mostly for the two main characters, who will be my focus.

Context

As I know this anime isn’t overly popular, but not unknown either, I’ll give a brief explanation before diving in. I won’t be spoiling major pieces of the anime in this post, this will give basic beginning details.

Shirayuki lived with her grandparents in the kingdom of Tanbarun working as an herbalist alongside them in their shop. Due to her bright red hair, the prince, Raj, attempts to make her his concubine, but she flees directly after the encounter. She ends up in the kingdom, Clarines, where she meets Zen, Kiki, and Mitsuhide in the forest. They appeared to only be travelers in the forest, but it was soon revealed that Zen is the second prince of Clarines, and Kiki and Mitsuhide are his bodyguards. Shirayuki is invited to live in Clarines to train to become a court herbalist for the castle.

Shirayuki’s Pride

The way Shirayuki carries herself is very certain, and mature. She knows her goals, and she is always willing to put in the work to reach that goal no matter what. She loves her work as an herbalist, and is always willing to grow. Though, this sense of determined pride can become troublesome for her if she’s overdoes it. She has a tendency to continue working even if she’s hungry or tired.

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Those living and working in the castle see this determination, and respect Shirayuki highly. The other herbalists look up to her, and are very supportive of her work and her growth. They watch as she continues to work and grow consistently, and are impressed with her constant motivation. She carries so much pride in her work that it shows to the others around her and she inspired them as well.

Zen’s Pride

As I established, Zen is a prince, but he doesn’t initially seem like one. He enjoys adventuring in the forest and sneaking around outside castle grounds when he gets the chance. He doesn’t seem like the typical princely-type character at all, and I think that’s what make him an interesting and likeable character.

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He begrudgingly attends to his princely duties, and he sticks out like a sore thumb among the other royals. He doesn’t have a lot of the close-minded ideals, and he doesn’t like sticking to traditions.

Zen’s pride in his individualism, and looking closer at the real world instead of the walls of his lush castle, is what actually makes him the perfect prince. He’s genuinely caring, and he seeks knowledge of events that he would otherwise be unaware of. He’s accepting of people no matter their social status, and just wants to see other people happy.

Their Pride in Each Other

This shouldn’t come as a shock to those who haven’t watched this anime that these two characters are love interests, and they eventually engage in a romantic relationship. While most of the points don’t necessarily need to be in the sense of romance, it helps to explain that aspect a bit as well.

Zen was born a prince, and Shirayuki was born a commoner, living in an inn and tending to customers. They’re nowhere near the same social standing. Those living in the castle have mixed opinions on their friendship, and this ends up causing a lot of rumors and trouble to spread around the castle. It’s a common trope in these fairy tail-esque stories that there’s a love between a royal and a commoner, but the way this one does it is one of the best I’ve seen.

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Even when they were only friends, it was risky for them to be acquainted with each other. And even with knowing that fact, they both agreed to remain friends and ignore what the people of the castle had to say about it. When their relationship developed, with the risk of more discrimination and hurdles to get through, they were aware of it and continued doing what they could to live in a way where they could be together.

Zen’s brother, the first prince Izana, has been one of their biggest discriminators. He’s never approved of their relationship, even in the beginning, and always attempted to break them apart. When Zen told Izana about his relationship with her becoming romantic, Izana didn’t take it well at all. He told Zen he was being stupid, and that this won’t get him anywhere, since her social standing is lower. Izana is stuck in the notion that wealth and status is more important than love in a relationship. He wants Zen to marry someone on the list of nobles, even if he doesn’t like her, but Zen remains solid in his decision to marry someone whom he loves.

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Shirayuki knows as well that her relationship with the prince has a chance of failing because of this gap, but she’s willing to try to make it work. She improved her herbalist skills until she was able to land a spot in the court herbalist workplace, so she could live inside the castle walls to see him more often. She knows she can’t bring any honor to Zen’s family if they get married, and they both know they’ll likely be shamed if they decide this as well.

Their determination to see each other and build their relationship further despite what others say is what makes them a great focus for this month’s topic.

Relating to Real Life

“Pride Month” was created as a way to celebrate the individuals who show pride in themselves. Those participating in it are aware that society has a tendency to look down on them, and they know the risks involved with being open with themselves. The LGBT+ community unites together during this month to show that we aren’t scared to be ourselves, even in the face of the ridiculing and violence.

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I identify with this community. And it’s come to my attention recently that even some of the people in the community won’t accept me.

I’m in a weird gray area to some people. I want to be a part of the community, and I am, and even if some people don’t think I am, I don’t care. I’ve been open about it on my blog, and online, and I haven’t had any direct criticism. I surround myself with people I care about, and who care about me. I’ve met some awesome people who either are a part of the community too, or are accepting of it, and that’s what’s kept me proud of myself.

I identify as asexual, and though I’m still working everything out, I have become very comfortable with this label. I gave it to myself in August of last year, and I’ve been slowly working on coming out to more people, even though it’s scary. Some people just don’t understand it. That’s okay, as long as they respect me and don’t say things like “you’re sad” or “oh, you say that now,” I’ve heard those coming out of the mouths of people I’m close to in my real life. They strike me hard. If the people who aren’t in the community say these things, I don’t need it in the community too.

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Have you seen this flag before?? It’s my flag!!

Pride Month is supposed to be about positivity! Everyone who falls into any sexuality or gender that is one of those many letters belongs.

Yes, I chose to talk about a straight pairing for this month, I’m aware. Why was that? I thought about doing something different, but this one struck me.

What Shirayuki and Zen deal with is in a sense similar to the modern-day LGBT+ community. The negativity about relationships, the denial to allow a family member to marry the one they love, the standing out among “normal” relationships. In the time period that this anime takes place in, people were treated horribly for not marrying in their class. Same can be said for “not marrying the right gender” now. They have a small amount of people who do accept them: a couple of guards and Zen’s personal bodyguards, Kiki and Mitsuhide; and for present day: some of those in the community and allies. It’s not a perfect comparison at all, but just the fact that discrimination against people being with the person they love is not a new concept is what makes it work.

People have been facing criticism and violence for who they are for all of humanity’s existence. This Pride Month, I ask that you help make it seem less overbearing for anyone who identifies in the community. And, to just be nice to everybody, regardless of their partner’s gender, whether they have a partner, whether they want one, whether they identify as this or that gender, whether they like this or that thing, I can go on.

Be nice to everyone!! And thank you for reading my post.


Long time no see to my followers, haha. I’ve been absorbed in talking to online friends for the past couple weeks and it’s so hard to pull away. I also had a con at the beginning of the month, and cosplays to make before that, so I just haven’t had time.

Happy Pride Month to everyone, and I hope to write something else for you all soon! I’ll be busy next week with a tumblr project, but I’ll try to get something out this week or next week!! I’m just busy with things, I haven’t totally abandoned this, I promise!

Make sure you check out the stops before and after me as well!

Before: Mel from Mel in Anime Land

After: Mistress of Yaoi from The Yaoi Playground

 

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[OWLS Blog Tour: “Squad”] Friendship through the Eyes of an Introvert: Hyouka — 03/09/2018

[OWLS Blog Tour: “Squad”] Friendship through the Eyes of an Introvert: Hyouka

I happened to already have the intention of rewatching this show before I saw what this month’s topic was going to be. And then as I was thinking about possible anime to cover, I thought, “Oh, actually that’s perfect.” and now had a reason to be rewatching the show. Not like I wouldn’t anyway because I love and missed this show a whole lot! It was within my first fifteen or so anime that I watched, and gosh it was great to visit something I haven’t touched in three years.

If you aren’t aware, this post is of a tour for the lovely group, OWLS, which I’ve been writing for since June of last year! We are a group of loving anime fans who want to spread positivity through pop culture and anime! We are non-discriminant against anyone regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, etc.

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And, for the prompt of this month:

Although some people may like to be alone at times, we all have that one special friend or a squad of friends who we kick it and have some good laughs and fun with. However, there are friendships that don’t last a lifetime and usually, they end due to a falling out or a misunderstanding. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring some of the best friendships in anime and pop culture as well as the friendships that ended suddenly. We will talk about what a true friendship means to us, what we learned about ourselves and others through broken friendships, and our definitions of a “good friend.”

Thank you Lyn for the wonderful topic for this month!

There are not any explicit spoilers in this post, only vague events. None of the mysteries are spoiled in the slightest. So, if you’ve never watched this show, it is safe to read!

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My Thoughts On… Recovery of an MMO Junkie — 12/27/2017

My Thoughts On… Recovery of an MMO Junkie

I watched this show over the course of a week, which I haven’t done in months. I had such a hard time pacing myself, and clearly I failed at it anyway. Just by that, I’m saying it was amazing and an easy binge.

When I first saw the announcement for this show, I was horribly skeptical. The title didn’t catch me. There have been multiple gaming-centric anime titles recently, and none caught my eye, so this one was no different.

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Tsukigakirei Review — 09/15/2017
My Thoughts On: Yuri!!! on ICE Episodes 7-12 — 01/28/2017

My Thoughts On: Yuri!!! on ICE Episodes 7-12

I finished this show last night at about 1:40 am. I was determined to finish it so I could write this, but I was also reluctant because that would mean I couldn’t watch it for the first time anymore.

This show exceeded all expectations I had. I’d heard about it sometime in early October before it was aired. I read the description, but it didn’t strike me as something I would love to watch. I would see posts about it on Twitter for months, but I generally ignored it all. Then in December, my friend decided to start it and convinced me to watch it. I didn’t start it until the beginning of this month, but once I did, I knew I made the right decision.

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Review: Fruits Basket — 09/30/2016

Review: Fruits Basket

I am genuinely sorry about the long, long wait.  I started working last Wednesday, and everything has been hectic since then.  I may need to cut the updates down to either once a week or once every other week just because of how busy I am and my lack of time.  But hopefully, I’ll have a cool post next week, since over the weekend I’m cosplaying at my local convention.

Just so you are aware, I’m writing this on a time limit.  I have about 45 minutes to complete this before I leave school and then I have a ton of stuff to do at home.

So, let’s see how this goes.

I chose to talk about this anime in particular because I have memories about it.  About 4 years ago, my friends came over to my house for a sleepover.  My friend had just started watching anime, and she knew one that we would enjoy watching.  It was on Netflix at the time, and I was kind of wary, since my parents had no idea that we would be watching anime.

But, we watched about three episodes and then my mom came in the room.  She watched

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Yuki Sohma

an entire episode with us and determined that whoever thought of it was high.  (She still thinks this and I don’t understand why)  Anyway, my dad also came upstairs and his literal words were, “Is this a ‘pretty boy’ anime?”  For those of you who don’t know the characters, Yuki was the one on screen, and here’s what he looks like.  It was a pretty safe guess on my dad’s part.

During that night we watched eight episodes.  And in the morning, we watched more and my brothers were in the room.  They loved it.  At the time, they were probably about 7 and 9 years old.

Not only was this show one of my first animes, but I have a very vivid memory of when I first watched it.

Onto the actually show itself, not my sentimental memories of it.

This show aired in Japan in 2001, and is now considered a classic according to Funimation’s website.  It’s very likely that you’ve never heard of it, I probably never would have if it weren’t for that day 4 years ago.

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Screenshot I took

At this point, I’ve watched every episode around three times, and I’ve read the manga all the way through once, along with reading some chapters multiple times.

Now, you may be asking why I didn’t put this on my My Top 5 Animes list, but I did that based on how often I revisit that show.  I also thought of putting this on my Top 5 Comedy Animes list, but I think there’s a better list for this show.

The show is very funny, but it’s probably equally sad, and character driven.

I’ll give a basic summary, since I’m sure some of you have never seen this show or even heard of it.  But at the time I’m writing this, I have about 15 minutes to complete this post.

Tohru Honda (the girl in the photo), was recently orphaned when her mom died in a car accident.  Since then, she lived with her grandfather, until the house needed work done on it.  She began living in a tent in the woods by herself.  One day, she found a house and was greeted by Yuki Sohma, the prince of her high school.  They walked to school, and she began to talk to him.  Later, as she emerged from her tent, him and his cousin find her and offer to let her stay at their house.  She starts living with them and finds out that their family has a curse placed on them.  She has to swear to never tell anyone else about this, since they are all ashamed by it.

As she lives with them for longer, she meets more members of the Sohma family and she discovers how strange of a family they are, not just because of their curse.

I know this doesn’t give a whole lot of information, but I don’t want to spoil much.  I’d rather you be surprised by what the curse is and everything, though by looking at the banner photo, you might be able to figure it out.

Oh, before I leave this, there’s a new manga the author started recently that picks up probably about 20 years after the manga completed.  Though, don’t read it if you haven’t read the manga, you’d be helplessly lost, there are a lot of new characters in the manga that aren’t in show.

The manga is Fruits Basket: Another, written by Natsuki Takaya, same mangaka as the

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Fruits Basket: Another cover

original Fruits Basket.  I’ve only read the first eight chapters but it’s decent, and makes me pretty happy since I loved the manga more than the show.  I shouldn’t say much more, since even the premise kind of spoils the original manga.  Anyway, just read the original, then the new series.  It’s all great, hope you enjoy it.

I’ve got about 5 minutes now, so I’ll update my new post asap, and I hope you enjoy this one.  Sorry about the entirely too long wait, I promise I’ll say if stuff changes.  For now, enjoy what I’ve put up.  Next post should be cool.  It’ll include pictures of my cosplay making process, plus hopefully some of my full cosplay.  Bye!

*I’m cosplaying as Maka Albarn from Soul Eater in case you didn’t know. :)*

Top 5 Comedy Animes — 09/17/2016

Top 5 Comedy Animes

*Sorry this one was late, I was super busy yesterday and didn’t have the time to write this*

Comedy!  One of my favorite genres.  Almost everyone can appreciate a comedy show, since there are just so many of them, there’s one for everybody.

Personally, when watching a serious anime, I like to watch a comedy anime as well, to balance things out.  I can guess that I’m not the only one.

As the last list went, I’ll present my list, then write a bit about each.  Enjoy!

I’m not going to put these in a specific order this time, I’m unbiased to these for the most part.

  1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
  2. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
  3. School Rumble
  4. Assassination Classroom (Season 1 mainly)
  5. Lovely Complex

For the most part, these are romance as well as comedy, since most of the time, they pair well together.

(Also notice Ouran is not on this list.  I don’t want to talk about it too much, and I have a special post coming up about it.  You’ll see why when it comes out.)

  1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
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(Left to Right) Itzuki Koizumi, Yuki Nagato, Kyon, Haruhi Suzumiya, and Mikuru Asahina

This show follows Kyon, as he enters his first year of high school.  On his first day, he’s introduced to Haruhi Suzumiya, a strange girl who is only interested in the supernatural.  He tries talking to her, and ends up involved in the SOS Brigade, a club designed to find supernatural beings.  They recruit Itzuki Koizumi, Yuki Nagato, and Mikuru Asahina to have a total of five members of the SOS Brigade.

Through the show, Haruhi gets he club into multiple situations of trouble, and they must get themselves out of it.  All of the members beside Kyon and Haruhi possess some sort of power, but Haruhi is oblivious to it.

The personalities among the club makes for quite an interesting experience.  Haruhi is bossy, outgoing, and independent.  Kyon is passive and pessimistic.  Yuki is soft-spoken, a bibliophile, and intellectual.  Itzuki is polite and friendly.  Mikuru is shy and reserved.  Clearly, their personalities are very different, making them clash often.  There’s no real hatred in the group, but Kyon and Haruhi tend to bicker often.

2. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun

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(Left to Right) Hori, Kashima, Sakura, Nozaki, Mikoto, Seo, Wakamatsu

The only way I can describe this as is an anti-shoujo.  Any time I tell anyone about it, that’s what I tell them.

Sakura has a crush on Nozaki, she confesses to him, but to her surprise, she receives an autograph instead of an answer.  Why?  She finds out the serious, reserved guy she has a crush on writes shoujo manga as a hobby.  She ends up helping him out by inking the sketches he does.  Through this, she tries to get closer to him.

Though that is the main concept, it’s not really focused on.  This show has no plot, is what I’m getting at.  But I laughed so hard my stomach hurt during every single episode.

As for the other characters: Hori is in the drama club, making backgrounds for their plays.  He’s insecure about his short stature, and deals with Kashima clinging to him when she has the time.  He acts annoyed by her bothering him, but he still is fond of her.  Kashima is the main star in the drama, popular with the girls for playing princely characters.  Though they are all aware she is a girl, they still act as though she is a prince.

Seo is a basketball star, and also has an angelic singing voice.  Though violent by nature, she is part of the choir club and is loved by the whole school.  Wakamatsu is drawn to her voice, but has no idea it’s her.  She still hangs around him, and he’s terrified of her.

Mikoto, well, he’s a bit weird to explain.  He’s very suave and good and flirting with girls, but once he’s realized what he’s said, he breaks down.  And he is the influence to the main female character in Nozaki’s manga.

Through the show, there are many references to cliche shoujo themes, and they never work for any of the characters.

3. School Rumble

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Another somewhat romance comedy.  Kind of.  Again, nothing really works for any of them.

Tenma Tsukamoto has a crush on Oji Karasuma, and plans to confess to him. (yes it’s another one of these, just hear me out)  She has a hard time figuring this out but finally writes a letter (a quite lengthy one at that).  He reads it, but completely disregards it.  He has no interest in her, only his curry.  (Also he likes to wear turtle costumes so yeah he’s kinda weird)

Kenji Harima is a delinquent who’s repeated some grades a couple times.  (He’s like 20 something) He likes Tenma, making an unfortunate love triangle.  He tries to separate Tenma and Oji, and confess his love to her but, it fails every time.

Kenji is also a manga artist, and Tenma’s sister, Yakumo, ends up helping him out with it.  He ends up having some romantic problems with her and one of Tenma’s friends, Eri.  I’ll leave it to that, since it’s a bit more complicated, and I’d like to prevent spoilers.

Also, I’d like to point out that the dubbing for this show is amazing.  Tenma is played by Luci Christian, Oji played by Eric Vale, Yakumo played by Caitlin Glass, and Kenji played by Brandon Potter.  If you’re into dubbed anime, I highly recommend watching it that way.  Also, season 2’s ending is a duet sung by Luci Christian and Caitlin Glass.

If you aren’t into dubbed shows, then none of that made sense to you, and that’s fine.

4. Assassination Classroom

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Yes, I’ve already talked about this show.  But don’t expect me to stop talking about it for months.  I’m in love with this show right now.  If you don’t know what this show is about go read my summary in My Top 5 Animes.

You’ve read it?  Alright, we can continue, I have a little more to say about the comedy in this show.

Looking at the title alone, you’d never think “comedy.”  You’d think it’s about a bunch of hardcore, violent, scary people learning to kill other people.  Wrong.  This show is bright and colorful, with a wide variety of characters, and only gets dark in the end of the first season and second half of the second season.  It’s hilarious.  I’ve had to pause the show just to laugh so I didn’t miss anything.

Even knowing that they have to kill their teacher, you’d never think of comedy being associated with this show.  The class likes to come up with creative ways they plan to kill their teacher, and some of them are quite out-there.  And some of the things they do together are entertaining.

Basically, I don’t care who you are, watch this show.  It has comedy, action, school life, sad backstories, a tiny bit of romance (seriously, it’s almost nothing), it’s perfect.  I went in the show not knowing a whole lot, and concerned that a main character was a giant yellow octopus employed as a teacher.  But, as I began watching it, I began liking it more and more.  By the end of the first season, I loved it.

Though I’m talking about a lot of non-comedy things, trust me, there’s plenty of it.  The second season is much more serious, but it stays light-hearted  as much as it can.

5. Lovely Complex

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Alright, here’s the last one.  This is definitely romantic-comedy, though not until about half-way through the show.

This show is about Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani (I’ll refer to him as Otani).  Risa is tall-172 centimeters (about 5ft 8in), much taller than the average Japanese girl.  Otani is short-156 centimeters (about 5ft 1in), much shorter than the average Japanese guy.

Because of their height complexes, they are given the nickname “All Hanshin Kyojin” after a popular comedy duo.  Though they argue often, they quickly become friends after bonding over a favorite band.

Though I’ve watched many different romantic-comedy shows, this one stands out to me.  I loved it the moment I finished the first episode.  This is another one where I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.  I had to silence my laughter since I watched this at 1 am while everyone else was asleep.

For anyone not fond of the romance genre, don’t be too worried.  It isn’t so heavy on romance, and comedy is its main focus.

Alright, that’s my list.  I hope you enjoyed it.  This is based on the animes that I’ve seen, so if there are any comedy shows that didn’t make it on the list, comment and tell me.  I may or may not have watched it.  I’d say I’ve watched about 10 comedy shows, that’s just a rough estimate.  Clearly not all made it here.

Thank you for reading and I’m very sorry I was late.  I might not post until Tuesday, to give me time to plan and write up the next, but I’ll try to post as soon as I can.  And Friday’s won’t be up until about 11 pm (I live in the Eastern Time Zone in the United States).

Pictures

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: thesouthbankreview.co.uk

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun: http://static.zerochan.net/

School Rumble: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/

Assassination Classroom: http://cdn32.sptndigital.com/

Lovely Complex: tvfiles.alphacoders.com

Cover: wallpaperscraft.com