On Loving the Idea of a Character or Show More Than the Reality

The subject of today’s post: getting into the bones of why I like Nekogami Yaoyorozu—a currently-airing show that isn’t very good. You don’t have to watch the show to read this post, and there are no spoilers.

Before I get to Nekogami, let’s talk about one of my favorite anime characters, Tsukuyomi Komoe. Komoe-sensei is a minor character from the To Aru Majutsu/Kagaku no Index/Railgun franchise who scarcely exists beyond her base character traits. The things you need to know about her are as follows:

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Why The Hell Not: My Top 10 J.C. Staff Shows

For a long time I’ve wanted to make a post about how great J.C. Staff is, since they get so much shit from the Western anime community in general (though they also get plenty of due respect). Now’s a good time to help raise awareness because a bunch of dumbasses are making top 10 lists of J.C. Staff anime—so I’m jumping into the fray.

It began with a random-ass survey on some Japanese website whose top 10 was then transplanted to Sankaku Complex. Top 50 is long, but since it’s a good way to look at a lot of shows at once, it’s a good way to start this post. Please note that the order of this list is absolutely fucking ridiculous (as in, I can’t fathom how the results came out this way).

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Do Your Avatars/Banners/Headers Have Special Meanings?

Even though I talk to anime fans about many other things, it’s hard to divide those conversations from anime as a whole because more often than not, anime fans use anime avatars. On Twitter, I used to distinguish my spam followers from real ones simply because all the followers with human images were spam, with the exception of famous people (not my followers, people I follow).

One of my occasional variants. Actually my Tumblr account avatar fwr.

I know that a lot of people use images from their favorite shows or of their favorite characters. Some stick with the same avatar forever (ghostlightning since settling on the skull leader toy; chii’s had the same one on every site as long as I’ve known her). Others change their avatars every season to whatever their favorite character of the season is (Fall ’10 seemed like mostly Ikamusume, and Spring ’11 seems like mostly Kyuubei).

No matter the case, these images aren’t chosen at random. It could be that they’re simply the best-looking image a person found of whatever character, but I think more often people chose images to represent a certain aspect of the character that they appreciate most, or one that represents their favorite moment featuring that character. (My co-blogger Thoughtcannon chooses his Twitter avatars from memorable scenes in current shows.) There’s a reason that GL is using a blurry picture of a dusty action figure for his avatar rather than just a piece of series art. (I suspect it’s the same reason he has a twinkling space background on his site.)

I’m definitely one to dramatically overthink my choices of header, avatar, etc. (big surprise there). I don’t want to talk about it all day, so I’ll stick with the avatars and site header that I currently use.

Art by Mizuki Makoto

1. Tsukuyomi Komoe-sensei with a cigarette and a beer.

Used as: Facebook avatar, MAL avatar, Image on this blog’s intro page, Twitter background

A few months ago I decided that Tsukuyomi Komoe would become my “mascot character,” because she’s the perfect representation of my bias. Komoe is one of my alltime-favorite anime characters in spite of being a decidedly minor cast member in To Aru Majutsu no Index. (Just so happens that her big moment in episode three is one of my favorite scenes ever.) I’ve already explained exactly what my bias constitutes in my post about her, and this image shows everything I love about her at once, which, combined with being from a great artist, makes it my favorite Komoe-sensei image.

2. Tsukuyomi Komoe moeblob version

Used as: Twitter avatar

Another part of using Komoe-sensei as my mascot character has to do with changing my theme colors from darks to lights—more specifically from red to pink. Red has been my theme color for a long time because I feel all of the emotions derived from red perfectly describe my personality, especially in writing. However, I’ve calmed down a lot and become less intense and more chill about things, so I want to lighten up my image. Because of this, I’ve shifted focus to cute, brightly-colored images. This image was chosen for being very pink and for being recognizable even at minimum size.

3. Remilia Scarlet over the bay of blood

Used as: Gravatar, Scarlet Monochrome header

This is my oldest avatar currently in use, and I’m unwilling to change it on Gravatar simply because Gravatar effects such a large number of sites. Remilia Scarlet is my favorite character (no matter what I may say otherwise), and while she has an infinitely vast wealth of spectacular fanart, this was one of the first pieces that I saw and first used as a desktop background on my old piece-of-shit mac. It was some time later when I came up with the phrase “scarlet monochrome” that this image took on a special meaning.

Scarlet monochrome is a vision I have of the world as “black, white, and red.” (I realize that “scarlet monochrome” inappropriately describes such a concept, though black and white will exist within the spectrum of scarlet monochrome). I’ve totally latched onto that phrase and use it like a sort of genre title for my work (like Guitar Wolf calling their music “jet rock and roll,” or Static X calling theirs “evil disco”). Because the term is so important to me, it became the title of my personal tumblr; the image followed. I find it captivating, and of course, besides Remilia, the whole thing is literally set in scarlet monochrome. I also used this image as my custom badge for Otakon 2010, since I always use a symbolic image. (Accordingly, the Komoe-sensei image will be my badge for Otakon 2011.)

Art by petenshi

4. Konpaku Youmu examining her sword while naked for some reason

Used as: Header for this site

If you never visited the intro page before I put Komoe-sensei up, then I bet you didn’t know Youmu was naked in this pic! There’s a fun story behind this one: I went to gelbooru and searched the tags “loli sword absurdres,” which turned up two pages of images, not one of which was worksafe. Not even the official Shana art. I needed an image that showed the character’s face and their sword close enough together, but without having to include any naughty bits. I also didn’t want the image to take itself too seriously, since the aim of this site design was more relaxed. That I happened to find a cute picture of a character I like examining her sword at eye level was a tiny miracle. I can imagine her saying to herself “my sword is unbelievably dull!”

That about covers my active images—I try to be consistent so it’s easy to tell who I am wherever you go. Do your image choices have any personal significance?

Otakon 2010 Post One: The Haul

I’m gonna be segmenting my Otakon coverage, partly because the thing as a whole is so massive, and partly because I want the sense of accomplishment from writing an Otakon post tonight without the incredible amount of work it’d take to do it all at once. So first up, I’ll start with the easy stuff: my haul.

Here's all of it together~

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Finish or Fail 19 – If Only A Certain Scientific Railgun Had Been More Like Kamichu

I’m happy about having watched Railgun, because I’m a huge fan of A Certain Magical Index. The franchise has been one of my biggest fandoms from the past 6 months or so, and it’s got a lot of great culture surrounding it. Albeit, while I did enjoy Index a lot, it’s always been true that the whole of the series is better than the sum of it’s parts, and it’s for the same reason that while I did enjoy Railgun, I didn’t necessarily ‘like’ it, as ghostlightning might say.

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Finish or Fail 14, 15, and 16 – To Aru Majutsu no Index, Utawarerumono, and Mononoke

All three of these were meant to have been done like a month to a month and a half ago in the order listed. In Index’s case, I had too much to say and ended up breaking it all into different posts, then never got around to a cumulative one. The other two I just didn’t have that much to say about. I really want to make sure that all the shows in this series get posts, though, so if nothing else, I’ll just knock out the whole trio real quick.

Starting with To Aru Majutsu no Index. I did not expect to enjoy this series nearly as much as I did because of the bad things I had heard about it from people, but of course, once again, I was reminded that people can eat a cocksicle. A lot of my enjoyment had to do with my addiction to this kind of light novel, as I detailed in this post as well as this one. I felt a level of realization in the Index universe, like the author has seriously big ideas for this series and all of the things that will happen, and has it all planned out (the fact that over 20 novels have been cranked out in under 6 years feels like proof of that.) Every arc adds onto what the last arc has built, so that the story always feels more fleshed out and interesting. This is one of the rare anime where I genuinely want to know what happens next.

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Loving Your Fellow Fan – It's All A Rich Tapestry! (Also: I Learn to Truly Understand the Thirst for Akihabara)

It’s quite evident that we of the anime blogosphere have a great love for our fellow fan. After all, we spend a lot of time reading anime blogs (yes, it’s crazy that I post 3 times a day, but you’re also crazy for reading three posts by me a day!) and we allow the views and opinions of others to enhance our fandoms and our lives. It is, however, because I share such a strong bond with anime bloggers that I feel I almost try to ‘do too much with them,’  like a clingy girlfriend. I’m sure that some of you do the same as well, as I feel that the blogosphere moves at a pace and has a livelihood that wouldn’t be possible if we spent most of our time interacting with fans of other groups. However, every so often I remember that anime fans are a vast, vast sea of people, and many of them have a lot to offer us. Just as a sheltered person would never be able to gain enough experience to have worldly knowledge and grow an epic wizard beard, a sheltered anime fan may be disallowing their beard to fully grow. That might not be a problem for everyone, but for a guy like me who strives to be the biggest otaku possible, I find it important to make sure I’m getting the ‘full experience.’

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This Will Destroy You – The Lovecraftian Hell-Beasts Lurking Behind Every Corner in Haruhi, Bakemonogatari, and Index

Liable to end life as you know it at any given time.

…all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large.
-H.P. Lovecraft

Upon completing To Aru Majutsu no Index (post forthcoming) I noticed that this series contained one of my favorite plot elements, seen also in Bakemonogatari, Boogiepop, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – a trait no doubt attributed the certain style of light novel which all of these series are based on. In each of these stories, there lurks a power far beyond human comprehension – a force that can and will destroy you.

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200 (+) Anime Worth Taking With Us Into the Next Decade