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Dated 13 October 2007: In praise of the Girl Next Door

Kyo and Kaminagi
Kaminagi is a Girl Next Door because her apartment
building is only an apple's throw away, okay?

Among the many moe stereotypes, you'll frequently find the Childhood Friend. She is a staple of harem comedies and pretty much anything related to dating sims or eroge. One study suggests that the Childhood Friend does quite well for herself, even if she does not necessarily have the inside track.

Nodame and Chiaki
Sometimes you're taking your chances with the Girl Next Door.

In addition to the Childhood Friend, you'll also find the Clumsy Girl, the Class Rep, the Athletic Girl, and the Shrine Maiden, among others. Curiously, you won't find the Girl Next Door quite as often.

Naru
Calling Naru a Girl Next Door might be a stretch,
but the floor/ceiling hole convinces me.

Perhaps the Girl Next Door is a convention foreign to Japan, at least compared to her stature in American culture. You'll remember that Hugh Hefner built his empire on her charms. He explicitly states that his Playboy centerfolds represent the Girl Next Door. (I would argue that the typical centerfold has looked less and less like "the girl next door" over the years, but you get the idea.)

Winry
A Childhood Friend, Winry is also a Girl Next Door,
even if her house is kinda far. They live in sugei inaka.

But where ranks the Girl Next Door among anime cliches? When she does appear, she's sometimes also the Childhood Friend or some other more common cliche. It's like she's just the Girl Next Door by happenstance.

Kasumi and Kazuya
Kasumi might be the best Girl Next Door in all anime.

So, while I can't claim the Girl Next Door is rare, she is uncommon where anime is concerned—uncommon and under-appreciated. All glory to the Girl Next Door. When you're with her, it feels like home.

Dated 16 January 2008: Cowboy Bebop is the future of women's fashion

Judy
Judy > Julia.

I've uncovered the magic behind Judy's coat: It isn't just draped over her; it's actually form-fitted to her body. It's as if the coat has a built-in bra. You know what this means? It Goddamn means that this outfit is theoretically possible in real life! Someone invite the attention of some fashion designers to this entry so they can start churning out scalloped coat-bras for all the trendy beautiful women out there looking for The Next Hot Thing.

Kasumi
Kasumi.

Listen, okay? It worked a few years ago after my Hand Maid May CHECK when girls started wearing baseball jerseys together with mini-skirts all over Southern California, however briefly. There's no reason why warm-weather form-fitted coat-bras couldn't make it in L.A.

Dated 14 February 2009: In re Girls With Bats

Shimizu Kaoru
Kaoru is the Best Girl in Major. Ryoko has more game, but Kaoru is a peach.

Kasumi
Kasumi from Hand Maid May is one of anime's All Time Babes,
and only partly because she's a natural right-hander
who takes baseball seriously enough to bat left.

Minori
Minori also deserves special mention for batting left and throwing right...

Minori
...and for being kinda broken inside.

Chidori Kaname
Chidori vents some aggression.

Narue
It's Narue's World. We're just living in it.

Mamini
Mamini is this post's Mendoza Line.

Sakaki
Sakaki is pretty athletic, but I'm scoring that at bat E-9.

Iizuka
Iizuka also bats left, but she's a natural southpaw.
I doubt she can hit, but her on-base percentage is pretty good.

Momo and Daniel
I guess Daniel isn't technically a bat, but it's kinda academic, since
you can't really let Momo from Shinigami no Ballad play ball.
People would die.

Dated 21 February 2009: Girls Playing Baseball is the new Girls Piloting Mecha

Koharu
Koharu is a witch.

Actually, that's not true. Girls Playing Baseball isn't really the new Girls Piloting Mecha because girls playing baseball isn't really a new thing at all. At a minimum, there's Princess Nine. Maybe I should have titled this post, "Princess Nine Xenoglossia."

Ryoko
Ryoko is a beast.

Really, this is just an excuse to talk about Not Idolm@ster Baseball (real name, Taisho Yakyuu Musume), which, quite frankly, can't get here fast enough.

Shimizu
Shimizu is a peach.

Realistically, this will probably be the Sky Girls of 1920s Japanese girls baseball, being a J.C. Staff production and all—meaning that it will probably be about interpersonal relationships instead of actual baseball service-service, but that's okay too.

Taisho Yakyuu Musume
Taisho Yakyuu Musume is Not Idolm@ster Baseball.

I'm calling my shot: The Best Girl in Taisho Yakyuu Musume is going to be the one in the front, swinging the bat. I can tell because she looks the most serious.

Narue saves Kazu
Narue is a Mamiko Noto tea kettle.

One thing that troubles me about Taisho Yakyuu Musume is the apparent lack of wooden bats. In fact, that seems to be the prevailing deficiency in anime baseball. Even Narue uses an aluminum bat during Narue no Sekai despite carrying a wooden one in the ED. Kasumi from Hand Maid May alone uses a wooden bat among anime girls playing ball that I know of, although the sound effect used in the show is wildly incorrect, alas.

Kasumi
If only those kids knew how easy Coach Tani was going on them.

Metal bats are quite an anachronism for 1920s baseball, although I doubt Not Idolm@ster Baseball will make any attempt at depicting realistic baseball of that era—or any era, for that matter. Not that I expect this to impair my enjoyment of this upcoming series. Surely it will be more important to keep a relationship chart than a scorecard for this show.