Going for a bit of an Ogiue Maniax style with this one…
So, I recently came up with this plan to make 100 header banners for my site. The idea is to use only official art and screenshots, and to try to take images from all of my favorite anime series, either using moments that I like, or just characters whom I love. Running this plan by No Name, he linked me to the official site for this Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight video game, KiraKira HappyFesta! – more specifically to the page where you can download different wallpapers of the characters. I promptly cut them up into banners, which you’ll see if you read my posts on-site, but as I was doing so I began to realize just how special these images were.
All of them have some things in common. For one thing, each of them is looking the viewer directly in the eyes, or more specifically, each of them is looking forward. Which empowers the second similarity – that each of them has a very ‘unclouded’ expression on their face. It’s not to say that the Manabi designs look overly similar, because that is far from true. Each of them is depicted with the defining aspects of their personalities intact, but all of them are thinking something very similar. A quick run-through, if you will.
Mikan’s expression says “Excitedly looking forward to a bright future with you!”
Mutsuki’s expression says “I’ll be by your side as we move ahead!”
Mei’s expression says “I’ll do it, but safely, okay?” (a sort of intricacy of her character where she is defensive but nonetheless wishes for progress)
Momo’s expression says “Looking forward to whatever comes!”
And of course, as always, Manabi’s expression says “MASSUGO GO!”
Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight is a very, very powerful show about a group who comes together for the purpose of helping one-another attain success and happiness. Each character overcomes their problems through one-another, and in the end, all of them learn to be positive-thinking forward-movers. There’s a reason that while Manabi’s message is powerful and deep, her face is very placid in this image. It’s because, as she does for each of her friends in the series, she is inviting you. She is letting you know ‘you can move forward, too!‘ and that her fist is as much the hand of a friend who will help to break down your barriers as it is a hand to break down her own – and she can’t do it without your help!
Truly, I feel that these images capture the nature of the series and the characters in their purest form.