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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Alright, folks. I’m headed off to enjoy myself away from my computer for a few days. Try not to burn the website down while I’m gone.

Before I go though, a brief word on beach/hot spring episodes. You will notice, in most animes, there will be a beach or hot spring episode, an episode where the characters will set everything aside, pack up and ship off to some relaxing locale. This is because of a desire that we, the fans, have to see what the characters are like during their relaxing moments. We want to see how they behave outside of the normal framework of the show. This applies to any show, really. By seeing the characters operating outside their routines, we hope to glimpse a little bit more about them as characters.

For instance, the Full Metal Panic! episodes where they go to the beach. One was used as a beautiful metaphor for Sousuke’s distance from Chidori, but lets ignore that one for right now. Let’s focus on the one where Sousuke can’t calm down with so many potential threats around, but is so distracted that he lets Kaname practically get kidnapped out from under him. She then beats the shit out of a rich kid with poor health.

Just watch it for a bit.

Then, Sousuke storms the place SWAT style to get her back. Was it a fun episode? Yes. Did we get to see the characters behaving in vacation mode? Yes. (Poor Sousuke can’t relax and poor Kaname can’t catch a break.) Did I use it as an example JUST because I wanted to use that gif I’ve been saving for years? Maybe.

Tom out!

[I will be going on a brief vacation this weekend. Stop checking for updates after Thursday, but please start checking for updates again when the next week starts. I will come home eventually.]

Gather round, friends, so that I might tell you a tale. A long time ago, there existed a mysterious and magical creature. She was known.. as the Tsundere. Yes, friends, a girl who lashed out angrily at those she loved because she didn’t know how better to express her affections. It was a magical sort of thing, the Tsundere. It warmed the heart to look upon. The love was somehow kept purer inside its shell of physical and emotional abuse.

Alas, the Tsundere is all but extinct. In its place, my friends, we find the Tsuntsun. A creature with no dere worth finding, the Tsuntsun is a ball of hatred and abuse. The Tsuntsun is magical in its own way, though. It has the mysterious power to be likable by characters within the show, despite giving nothing but pain and misery. The other characters will put up witha Tsuntsun’s bullshit and even fall in love with it, despite it never offering any sort of incentive to do so! Indeed, a Tsuntsun will punish affection! You care about my well being?! *BOOM! KICK TO THE NUTS!*

I’m tired of the obligatory Tsundere character being thrown into an anime. More often than not, it turns out it is actually a Tsuntsun in disguise. The Dere is an extremely important part! The dere is what makes them something other than a mean-spirited bitch. We tolerate the Tsun because it enhances our perception of the dere. The character becomes their own foil. We aren’t here for the Tsun! The Tsun is only part of it!

Hell, two of my favorite Tsunderes AREN’T EVEN ANIME CHARACTERS. That speaks for the quality of Tsundere as a universal concept, not just a Japanese concept… but it also says something about the quality of recent Tsundere characters. No Tsundere comes to mind that can top the Tsundere power of Helga Pataki or Viconia DeVir. These were western characters designed by guys who probably hadn’t even HEARD the word Tsundere, yet they captured the spirit so well!

The dere part was absolutely essential to both of these characters. They had dere moments, moments of weakness where the Tsun front fell away and revealed the dere core. Now remember, this is absolutely essential here, the Tsun has to be a front and it has to fall away. The Tsun isn’t an armored shell, it is a curtain. With the modern Tsuntsun, we are shown glimpses of Dere-like activity within an overall tsun context. Taiga can be nice inbetween beatings. I tried to get my mother to watch Toradora, but she couldn’t. She didn’t understand why the little girl kept being so mean to the nice boy. She was overly mean to him for no discernible reason.

“Oh, but that’s just because she has feelings for him!”

But wait… what about the beginning of the series, when she didn’t know him from Adam’s Housecat?

“She had feelings that other guy and she was projecting that awkwardness onto him because he was related?”

How about shes just a mean bitch who is cold and hurtful to everyone in the world except her best friend and her crush? That doesn’t make her a tsundere… that makes her a mean bitch! It isn’t that Tsunderes lack human affection, it is that they DON’T KNOW HOW TO EXPRESS IT!

Now, Helga Pataki, on the other hand, is a strong-willed and popular kid in school. She is often in a leader position and comes off as “cool” and “strong” to the other kids… but she teases Arnold. Note, she teases ARNOLD. I don’t recall Helga being a mean bitch to the average person on the street. Ah, but then she has the dere moments. She will steal away, whip out her little Arnold locket and gush out the dere. She can’t say it to his face, it would kill her! But boy can she gush to that locket. Ah, and here comes the mouth-breather with the glasses! A witness. Tsun kicks in. She doesn’t have anything in particular against this mouth-breather, but she punches him. He knows her true heart when even the one she loves doesn’t and that is too embarrassing for a Tsundere to allow to pass without physical violence. I mean, she isn’t trying to kill him with a wooden sword while he sleeps or anything. One quick punch.

Viconia DeVir is a beautiful bundle of intimacy issues! You rejoin her in Baldur’s Gate II tied to a stake and about to be burned alive for being a dark-elf. Even good characters in your party beg you to save her! (Minsc and Boo can not let the pretty elf be burned by a mob!) You can romance her if you are a male human, elf or half-elf… but the romance mostly starts off with her talking about all the bad things shes done. She is testing the waters, seeing if you are going to push her away. Then, she sleeps with you. The next morning she gives you the cold shoulder when you offer affection. She tells you that everything she told you before was a lie and that she actually just slept with everyone in order to get her way. She practically begs you to reject her, but it’s all a ruse. She is just afraid of acceptance. If you don’t turn her away there, eventually she caves. She even says “I raise my white flag… you win.” It is almost a defeat for her, to have someone know that she has these vulnerable feelings.

So, if we were to analyze Viconia’s behavior, we would note that it follows a pattern! Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Dere. Interesting! Now, if we compare that to a 26 episode series with a Tsundere main character….

Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Dere. Dere. Tsun.

What. The. Crap.

[I’ve changed the format! Now only 3 posts per page so that page ENDS! There is a search bar at the bottom, as well as an archive and an older posts button.]

So, I was eating a delicious breakfast of curry and rice, earlier, watching some Adventure Time while I did. I was trying to think about what I would write here today and, luckily for me, Adventure Time inspired me. You see, Adventure Time is a great show for me because it presents pure nonsense in a very matter-of-fact way. It is almost like dreaming, within the realm of the dream everything makes sense. I turned the rock into a turkey because rocks can do that and why WOULDN’T I? Much like dreaming, I find that sort of program to be refreshing when it is properly done. It lets me shift my brain into neutral and coast.

Colorful is an anime that is much the same. Alas, I can’t embed the video for Colorful on the blog as it contains nudity and insanity. Feel free to follow that link and set your mind on neutral. It is a trip, flying coach the entire way. There are no leather seats, there are no extra pillows, there is only the crying baby that is your subconscious.

Why does the meaningless and random seem to appeal so much? I’m looking at YOU, Studio Shaft! Potemayo? Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei? These are celebrations of the “answer unasked for”. They will gently massage your brain with canola oil, preheat it to 360 degrees and inflate until inner-tube is firm to touch. Here, watch this.

Now, try to unwatch it. YOU CAN’T!

Symbols without signifiers. Beautiful Fu king indeed. There is a small group within the anime community that appreciates the appeal of a dash of chaos. A little bit of insanity. The bending of the preconceptions of anime itself. A lot of them seem to work at Studio Shaft. Go figure. Ah, but Studio Shaft is good at it. You swim past the chaos to find the story… your mind begins accepting the chaos, your mind begins BENDING AROUND THE CHAOS. WITHIN THE MADNESS YOU FIND SANITY! THE EYE OF THE STORM WHERE ALL THE WINDS ARE CALM! Also, they are darn good shows. ^_^

If they aren’t darn good shows and you are just trying to apply the surreal for the sake of the surreal, I suppose you would end up with The Diary of Tortov Roddle.

This is your anime on drugs.

I often wonder about the use of chaos as a technique in anime… so often it seems that animes these days follow such set patterns that it is refreshing to see one shatter the mold, glue the pieces into a bird, toss it off the edge of a cliff and watch it fly away.