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Dated 9 August 2007: THE AYAKO DOCTRINE

Kawasumi Ayako
Kawasumi Ayako.

Origins of the Ayako Doctrine: Circa 2002, with J.C. Staff riding its recent successes of Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar and the Azumanga Daioh anime, members of the Something Awful anime forum developed the J.C. Staff Clause (i.e., an anime produced by J.C. Staff should be watched), and invoked it when speculating about the quality of unreleased shows.

Ginban Kaleidoscope.

As an aside, "J.C. Staff Clause" itself likely benefited from its name's similarity to the "J.C. Crew," a band of Internet miscreants with ties to Something Awful's forums. But I digress.

Princess Nine.

Later (likely 2003) a member (probably ricequeen) of the channel #raspberryheaven or its offshoots applied the J.C. Staff Clause reasoning (an anime by J.C. Staff will be good) to his fervent devotion to the seiyuu Kawasumi Ayako, bringing the "Ayako Clause" to the #raspberryheaven vernacular (and effectively adding the clause itself to the Raspberry Heaven common law).


In 2004, a participant in #marimite, Evirus (yes, that's right), unilaterally determined that the principles defined by the existing variants of the Ayako Clause, as practiced, constituted dogma: THE AYAKO DOCTRINE.

Kannazuki no Miko.

The Ayako Doctrine simply dictates the following axiom:

Any anime featuring Kawasumi Ayako should be watched.

Note that the Ayako Doctrine does not claim every anime featuring Ayako Kawasumi will be good, nor does it dictate that these anime must be watched to completion. The Ayako Doctrine merely compels the viewer's consideration, reasoning that her presence can only be positive. Ergo, ceteris paribus, Ayako anime should be prioritized over other shows.

Samurai Champloo.

So ordered.

Dated 13 August 2007: Incorruptible Loyalty. In consideration of two-dimensional crushes

Shinji, Rei, Mana, and Asuka
Shinji is aghast. Rei should be ashamed.
Asuka loves Kaji. And Mana is quite the sticker-whore.

Who is the best anime/manga character of all time? Of ALL TIME. This is a question frequently discussed (usually inadvertently) in many forums and channels (although the term "best" is usually taken to mean "hottest"). These discussions often arise in the form of binary comparisons of characters from popular contemporary shows such as "Teana > Subaru" or "Shamal > Signum" that ultimately lead to final decrees such as "FATE > *."

Nanoha and Fate
Nanoha and Fate.
Fate > Nanoha.

Whatever the cause, and regardless of form, one thing is certain: Anime fans are fickle. Inevitably, their favorite characters are quickly replaced season by season; demonstrations and pronouncements of current favorites (such as message board avatars) are ephemeral, soon replaced, and sooner forgotten.

Saber, Emiya, and Rin
Saber, Emiya, and Rin.
Rin > Saber.

I've mentioned this phenomenon among anime fans in the past, and the general consensus seems to be that this flightiness is entirely normal. After all, they are fully cognizant of the fact that their favorites cannot love them back; these fans are not delusional even as they compulsively download and hoard pictures of their favorite characters and collect figurines and paraphernalia emblazoned with their likenesses, only to begin the cycle anew next season when they develop a new favorite in a month or two.

Meyrin, Athrun, and Lunamaria
Meyrin, Athrun, and Lunamaria.
Meyrin > Lunamaria.

I am not damning this behavior. I am merely setting the stage for the real object of my curiosity: Why is it so rare to find a fan with unshakable, indefatigable, incorruptible loyalty to a single character—one for whom there is no superior, no equal, no rival, no successor? To be honest, in the past seven or eight years during which anime emerged as my primary hobby, I can think of very few people who appear completely devoted to a single character. Bear in mind that this is a fandom in which nearly unimaginable perversions, grandiose neuroses, and unspeakable habits are not at all uncommon. And yet, I know of far more people who genuinely enjoy, for example, guro than I know people for whom there is adamantly only one best character. Are the latter the more perverse, since they are the more rare?

Souju and Sara
Souju and Sara.
Souju > Sara.

Perhaps this behavior is related to the aforementioned tendency to associate "best character" with "hottest character." Relying on the old standard, "familiarity breeds contempt," (or the more modern axiom, "show me a hot girl, and I'll show you a guy who's tired of fucking her"), it seems natural that people who are fully aware their 2-D love affairs will remain unrequited must quickly find and fixate on new characters as their fervor for their current favorite inevitably fades. So, do the rare Incorruptible Few not realize that their idols can't love them back, or is it that they just don't care?

A Little Princess > The Secret Garden. Wait....

My optimism tells me it is the latter. For that reason, as far as I am concerned, for these few, their unique peculiarity is an attribute—their uncommon determined, dedicated devotion their defining characteristic. And so, so damning if I am wrong.

Soryu Asuka Langley
P.S. Asuka > *
Soryu Asuka Langley

Dated 23 August 2007: In praise of SASAMI2k


I started out using Windows Media Player 6.4, foregoing all of Microsoft's later versions, and shunning obnoxious corporate piles of shit like RealPlayer.

Nowadays, I watch most of my anime on my television using MPC—Media Player Classic—on my HTPC. It hasn't been updated in forever, but that doesn't seem to matter. Everything still works. If I'm away from my television (which seems to be a lot lately, alas), then I use MPlayer on my IBM Thinkpad.


In between, I've used various versions of BSplayer, VLC, ZoomPlayer, and other free media players. The one I used the longest prior to settling on MPC was probably SASAMI2K.

Developed around the turn of the century, and named after an anime character, Sasami2K may be the prettiest media player. Like MPC, it also hasn't been updated in forever—something on the order of five years and counting.

Media Player Classic
Media Player Classic.

On a whim, I downloaded a copy to use on a fresh installation of Windows XP along with the CCCP codec pack. Funny, everything works. Old AVIs play, of course, but so do MKVs and recent .h264 AVC MP4s (thanks to CCCP assisting with the newer containers). The only thing it doesn't seem to play are DVDs (although it will play the VOBs). And Sasami2K is still the prettiest media player.


So I think I'm going to keep using it, at least during the rare occasions when I boot to Windows on the Thinkpad. Nostalgia is definitely a factor. This is what I used "back in the day," as it were—after VHS tapes and before HDTV. I used SASAMI2k to watch Love Hina and FLCL and Cardcaptor Sakura and, uh, Witch Hunter Robin. It's familiar, okay, and somewhat comforting that it is unchanged after all these years, yet still works.

Cardcaptor Sakura rack
In a way, SASAMI2k is responsible for my Cardcaptor Sakura brace.

And I encourage you to try it—again, if you've been down that road before—or for the first time, if you're relatively new to all this nonsense.

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.

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.)

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 18 October 2007: Fox-squirrels are no less plausible than platypus, okay

So, I'm listening to the radio, right, and I hear some lady talking about the fox-squirrels that lived behind her house when she was young. And I'm all, "What in Hell? Fox-squirrels are real? I thought Miyazaki made that shit up!"

Teto, the fox-squirrel
Teto, Nausicaa's fox-squirrel friend.

So I look them up.

North American Fox Squirrel
An actual fox squirrel.

It turns out fox squirrels are just the ones that I've been referring to my whole life as "them brown ones." Phew. For a moment there, I felt like Tomo. God damn radio.

Dated 21 December 2007: Merry Christmas, Internet

Raspberry Heaven Christmas Card

In re

Dated 30 January 2008: Situation Normal

I hate upgrading Wordpress. Although it's easy to do, I still find it unsettling and usually worry that I'm going to make some boneheaded mistake.

I've also stolen ani-nouto's plugin for displaying older entries first, although the navigation links are now counter-intuitive. [Edit: Should be fixed now.]

In other news I encourage giving PlaneteS a second try. At the very least don't let one Space Ninja episode sour an otherwise excellent show.

Also, buy M-Lock DVD cases.

Dated 30 March 2008: Season previews

So that's where Hashihime has been. I moved the feed from Sekai to Wakusei because the blog focuses almost entirely on seiyuu. And how. But after this move, the blog went dark for a while. Turns out it was just building momentum for a gigantamous new-season preview of upcoming anime with extensive casting details.

There are other good resources for those of you who aren't obsessed with voice actresses, but the massive amount of information at Hashihime warrants at least a look.

And for those of you who spend entirely too much time traveling and don't feel like doing a lot of research because you probably won't have time to actively follow any new shows anyway, I suggest you just do what I do: Drop back 10 and punt. I.e., rely on THE AYAKO DOCTRINE.