Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 15 November 2006: Tsukihime

Mirror Moon completed their English translation patch for the Tsukihime game. This is no small feat, as the Tsukihime game reportedly contains as much text as all the Lord of the Rings books. (I have no idea if this is true or not.)

Don't blame Hisui for these ungodly hours.

I'm far enough along to understand why I keep seeing "This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair" pasted all over the place. (It had it coming.) Just a few observations:

  • From the anime, I concluded Kohaku > Hisui. Thus far through the game, the reverse is true.
  • In fact, Hisui is the only character I particularly like so far. She's the best.
  • Akiha better back the Hell away from Hisui. Damn.
  • Shiki is kind of a putz for letting his kid sister talk to him like that all the time.
  • If an American company ever licenses the Tsukihime game, I propose that they use "the vapors" for all the instances where Mirror Moon used "anemia."

Also, I'm working on my Tsukihime playlist to substitute for the rather uninspired soundtrack.

Dated 25 March 2007: Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~

Mina and Kasuga
Yayoi and Kasuga get ready to go to war.

Out of all the shows I'm currently watching, I sheepishly admit that the one I anticipate the most is Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~. It's not because it's the best, or the most interesting, or the most original, or the most engaging. I think it's because it's the most anime. You see, there are plenty of highly-recommended shows out there to watch, most of which I'm missing. For example, I still haven't seen a single episode of Lost or Arrested Development, and quite a few people have assured me that I would enjoy both (although of the former, I'm not so sure). Nevertheless, I end up watching something like Venus Versus Virus instead, not because it's better or necessarily more entertaining, but simply because it's anime.

Riku and Sayuri
Riku breaks Sayuri's brain.

I would not be interested in a live-action adaptation of Tokimeki Memorial, because the intrinsic unrealistic 2D quality aspect of the show itself is a significant factor in my enjoyment. It's kind of the same reason as why I never finished the first episode of the Nodame Cantabile live-action drama—a Japanese man berating someone with a harisen is so ridiculous an image that it distracts from the show itself. But Chidori producing one from thin air to smack the crap out of Sousuke is perfectly fine.

But I digress.

The Tree
It's THE TREE. It's also about God damned time.

I enjoy Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ for its pleasant and absurd atmosphere and silly gags. As I've said before, the recurring Sayuri Legends gag cracks me up, as do random bits of weirdness like the Incinerator Goddess. The school has an INCINERATOR GODDESS, for crying out loud. (And she sounds like Belldandy....)

Sayuri and Riku
For some reason, Riku likes Sayuri even though she is perfect.

Also the show takes care of the harem comedy spot in the lineup of genres I persistently watch (e.g., mahou shoujo, space opera, girls with guns, et cetera), but does so with more aplomb than something truly dreadful like... Digression: I googled for "terrible harem comedy" at this point just for kicks, and Ai Yori Aoshi was the first result. Somehow that's kinda upsetting, but as far as the anime is concerned, I have to concede that it's true. Sister Princess comes up as the lone result when I use the quotes, though, and that seems more fair.

Kasuga and Mina v. Sayuri and Yukari
Kasuga aces the Hell out of Sayuri and Yukari.

Anyway, Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ succeeds as a harem comedy for me because although the main character is a doofy putz, he's dead set on the Unobtainable Girl (of whom I'm at best ambivalent because she's perfect), instead of the Best Girl (a crazy redhead), a prospect which would likely irk me to no end.


Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ also succeeds by devoting at least a little bit of time to one of its adult characters, the 27-year-old teacher, Haruka, who whiled away a considerable part of episode 15 pillow sitting and getting drunk off Mexico Beer. (And playing Tokimeki Memorial Online!) It was a nice look into her lonely life, and rather reminded me of the episode of Azumanga Daioh where Nyamo and Yukari got drunk and scared off potential suitors.

Mexico Beer
Mexico Beer. A single gal's best friend.

And then the episode ends on a chipper note with the sprightly "Kiseki no Kakera" ED serenaded by Aoba Riku's trio of primary love interests. Hope springs eternal.

Haruka-sensei wakes up alone again.

On a whole, the series is unassuming and lighthearted and earnest enough that it allows for a half hour of escapism without the burdensome melodrama found in an overwrought harem emo-comedy like, say, Kanon.

Dated 10 April 2007: Zegapain

Kyo and Kaminagi
Kyo and Kaminagi.

Joining my list of characters in need of better shows is Kaminagi from Zegapain. This is not to say that Zegapain was a bad show, but Kaminagi was far and away the best part about it, and it's a shame that the rest of the series couldn't measure up to her awesomeness. (For those of you keeping track, some other characters in need of better shows have included Kotori from the Da Capo series and Aoba from Jinki:Extend.)

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 27 August 2007: The End of Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~

Aoba and Kasuga
[Spoilers] The best girl escapes Aoba's dirty clutches.

Episode 25 was pretty much the only time Kasuga and Aoba ever actually looked like a couple. I think it's because this is the first time they've ever shared the same mood and facial expressions. Funny how easy it was to give the two of them a little chemistry. They sure waited long enough.

Dated 15 September 2007: Meia is the best character in VanDread

Meia Gisborn
Meia Gisborn.

I love Meia. That's not saying anything; everyone loves Meia. And it's only mostly because Meia is fully awesome.

Meia before bed
Asuka:Hair Clips::Meia:Face Thingy.

It's also because we first see Meia as a strong, confident, standoffish leader that the other characters look up to and respect, then get back-to-back episodes revealing her vulnerable side. It's a tried-and-true formula designed to evoke admiration, sympathy, and empathy in the viewer, and it works here.

Meia captures Bart
Meia captures Bart.

We go from an extremely fit, no-nonsense warrior who stops Bart cold with a fist and some cameltoe, to a wounded girl who hallucinates about running while crying. Naturally, Meia is going to be a viewer favorite.

Meia from episode two
Meia from episode two.

Also, her character design gets softer and prettier. Compare the episode two shot above with the episode six shot below. Both feature similar poses, but the latter clearly appears more engaging and personable.

Meia from episode six
Meia from episode six.

Contributing significantly to Meia's appeal is the superb voice acting of Fumiko Orikasa. She's great as Meia, and I still consider it to be one of her better roles. Re-watching VanDread reminds me how much I miss her work. Now that she has a steady starring role as Rukia in Bleach (which I've long stopped watching), I have to wonder if maybe she could have found time to be in five or six other shows if she wasn't lost in neverending Shounen Land.

Meia crying while running
Meia running while crying.

In related news, I would like to nominate "crying while running" for the moe melting pot.

Dated 1 January 2008: Megumi > Miki


Further proof that Megumi is better than Miki:


Megumi wears a pinafore, which is clearly superior to Miki's apron.

Sing do wah diddy.

Dated 21 February 2008: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Kitsu Chiri
Kitsu Chiri.

I finished watching the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Chiri is my favorite. With her uncompromising, fastidious, exacting personality and giant monkey ears, what's not to love?