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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.

Kazusa
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.

Yuki
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).

Miu
Piano.

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.

Chikane
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.

Fuu
Samurai Champloo.

So ordered.

Dated 19 March 2006: Ginban Kaleidoscope

Sakurano Kazusa
Sakurano Kazusa

After seeing it mentioned in the Animeslice blog, I grew curious about Ginban Kaleidoscope. This show is the very model of the AYAKO DOCTRINE at work. Mamiko Noto, Chiwa Saito, and the voice of Hibiki from VanDread also contribute to Ginban Kaleidoscope, if you need additional reasons to watch it.

The show seems to be a shoujo sports anime, but is heavy on neither shoujo nor sports anime idioms or cliches. Kawasumi Ayako plays the lead character, Sakurano Kazusa, an aspiring figure skater trying to make the Winter Olympics. She becomes possessed by the ghost of Pete Pumps, a Canadian stunt pilot who died in a plane crash.

Pete and Kazusa
Pete and Kazusa

I'm no fan of figure skating, even though I thought the Tanya Harding v. Nancy Kerrigan drama of yore was great entertainment of the highest order. Despite my ambivalence to figure skating, I found Ginban Kaleidoscope pretty interesting, if more for the verbal gymnastics than anything else. Hearing Ayako's English outburst in the first episode sold me on the show, and her brief conversation with Mamiko Noto in English was icing on the cake. I should note that Mamiko speaks in Russian in Ginban Kaleidoscope, although she doesn't have nearly enough lines.

Thanks to the ever-welcome Ayako Kawasumi, I didn't miss Mamiko's presence much. Ginban Kaleidoscope is a surprisingly dialogue-heavy show, featuring lots of banter between Kazusa and Pete. I can't exactly claim this is Ayako's best work, but it is a good part in that it affords her the opportunity to do quite a bit of ranting, which I can't get enough of. Ayako Doctrine adherents can't afford to overlook Ginban Kaleidoscope. Seriously, it has Ayako bitching people out in English, Mamiko speaking Russian, and peculiar mix of background characters regularly speaking thickly-accented semi-Engrish and fluent English. What's not to love?

Sakurano Kazusa
Sakurano Kazusa

Ginban Kaleidoscope is a short 12-episode series with a heartful, realistic ending. Well, as realistic as you could hope for a show about an Olympic-level Japanese figure skater possessed by the ghost of a Canadian pilot. I didn't have any objections to the ending (significant in that the majority of anime series seem to falter with regard to their endings), and I found the series to be an enjoyable and engaging diversion from more heavy-handed, serious fare. For example, the "waitress" episode was cute (although I would have liked a "maid" episode as well as a nod to Ayako Kawasumi's automatic maiden sweetness in Mahoromatic), and seeing Kazusa grow to accept Pete's presence over the course of 12 episodes was satisfying. Perhaps as one final compliment—I would have liked more episodes; Ginban Kaleidoscope left me wanting more.