The country of Thailand is not a terribly common subject in Japanese pop culture such as anime, manga, and games. While it pops up from time to time, such as in Street Fighter with the characters Sagat and Adon, or its national personification in Hetalia: Axis World Powers, it doesn’t get quite the attention of other countries such as France, China, or the United States. This is what makes the 2009 anime Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzoo all the more unusual, as it is, to my knowledge, the very first anime to feature a Thai-language opening and ending themes.
Whether her fans come to know her through the music, the anime, or the mobile game, one look at Rin Hoshizora establishes firmly her role in Love Live! as “the energetic tomboy.” Rin has the boyish looks and the athleticism, and her performance outfits often incorporate pants instead of skirts. Being a tomboy also means often getting addled with certain narratives. For example, characters of this archetype often have a moment where they discover or are able to indulge in their more feminine side, and in this respect Rin is no exception. Yet, I find her story to be something more special. When Rin embraces her feminine side, it's not so much about a girl rejecting masculinity as it is...
Shidare Hotaru from Dagashi Kashi is one of my favorite new anime characters. I love her sheer intensity and deep-seated fondness towards snack foods, to the extent that she might end up being my favorite character of the year. For this post, I want to talk about one fascinating aspect of Hotaru’s character in particular, her identity as a “dagashi heiress,” and how it adds an interesting wrinkle to a common trope of anime.
At first glance, Umi Sonoda from Love Live! School Idol Project and Love Live! School Idol Festival is not an unusual character. Serious to a fault, one can even draw parallels between Umi and her fellow blue-haired idol, Kisaragi Chihaya, from the rival idol series The iDOLM@STER. However, what Umi offers isn’t Chihaya’s sense of quiet tragedy or the joy of overcoming one’ past. Rather, when it comes to the dynamic equation known as Love Live!, Umi’s appeal is in her dual roles as both “big sister” and “little sister.”
Kyoto Animation’s latest anime, Myriad Colors Phantom World (also known as Musaigen no Phantom World) is deceptively different from their past works. The studio behind popular hits such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, Free!, and most recently Sound!! Euphonium, Kyoani is known for attractive characters, a penchant for the eccentric, and a firm grasp of “moe.” However, even though Phantom World can be thought of in a similar vein, I find that the series feels more akin to popular anime from the 1990s.
Erased (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi) Recently, many anime from multiple genres have been making explicit references to the “Showa period.” For example, in the first episode* of the comedy series Osomatsu-san (aka Mr. Osomatsu), its iconic characters (who are based on the classic 1960s series Osomatsu-kun) lament the fact that their "Showa humor" might be outdated. In the first episode of the new supernatural mystery anime Erased (aka Boku Dake ga Inai Machi), the 29-year-old main character questions if his younger co-workers sense of humor is the result of being born after the Showa period before he is transported back in time to his childhood. The drama anime Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, is about two generations of “rakugo” performers and literally...
Source: Love Live! School Idol Festival One of the most fascinating aspects of Love Live! School Idol Project and Love Live! School Idol Festival fandom is the sheer divisive nature of the character Nico Yazawa. While the other Love Live! characters have fairly amiable personalities and few haters, Nico’s combination of genuine enthusiasm and abrasiveness towards others has resulted in lines drawn in the sand; most fans feel strongly about Nico one way or another. Therefore, as someone who is “Pro-Nico,” I thought I’d explain why the very same qualities that draw ire from others are what I enjoy about the character.
Source: Monster Musume Episode 1 At Comic Market 88 last summer, Japanese book publisher Tokuma Shoten brought with them an astounding seven-meter long hugging pillow. Featuring a character named Miia from the series Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls, it sold out in under an hour despite its whopping 100,000 yen ($850) tag. Given this success, why hadn’t any other company tried something like this before? The reason, I believe, is that Monster Musume boldly goes where other similar series do not dare to tread, and thus garnered a loyal fanbase because of its earnestness.