The Best Dark Monsters in My Dark Deck

Playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game is one of my favorite pastimes if you didn’t know. I love playing it with my friends and especially my cousin Romeo (he’s not actually my cousin, but I wish he was). To me, Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the most imaginative card games out there. Since 2014, I’ve been collecting cards and will continue to do so until I have enough to trade them for an old man’s Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. Today, I’d like to go over one of my two decks and some of the highlights regarding it. Oh and for the record, I don’t play in tournaments anymore so I don’t give a crap about the banned list. With that said, here’s the list!

 

Image result for yugioh ebon magician curran

6. Ebon Magician Curran

ATK: 1200
DEF: 0

Okay, okay, I’ll admit, Ebon Magician Curran is only on this list because she’s my favorite card. She’s an adorable little monster which becomes more dangerous the more monsters my opponent controls. At the start of the turn, Curran will at least punish the opponent by dealing 300 damage for each monster on their field. She was made at a time when a good chunk of strategies focused on swarming the field with monsters and setting up summoning stuff from the Extra Deck.

Even though she has a great burn effect, she’s pretty much a sitting duck on her own which is why I usually summon her when The Seal of Orichalcos is on the field or if I can equip her with Axe of Despair or Mist Body. Those type of cards can prevent her from being destroyed by battle and keep the ball rolling regarding her effect.

 

 

PrometheusKingoftheShadows-GLD1-EN-GUR-LE

5. Prometheus, King of the Shadows

ATK: 1200
DEF: 800

Besides having bad ass art, Prometheus has a versatile effect that helps me summon a special monster (which will appear later on this list). One of the goals of my dark deck is to have a lot of my monsters in the graveyard and usually by the time I summon him, there’s at least 5 monsters so he’ll have a 2k attack boost.

I like to combo this card with the Trap cards Escape from the Dark Dimension or Return from the Different Dimension. They both help me special summon even more monsters, for more battle damage. I am a little bummed by the fact Prometheus‘ effect isn’t permanent, but if he’s destroyed by battle, he can then be used for the effect of two monsters in my deck.

 

 

4. Spirit Reaper

ATK: 300
DEF: 200

This ghoulish monster works great in my deck because of its strong offensive and defensive effect, and I don’t even need a tribute to summon him.

If you look at Spirit Reaper’s stats you’re probably thinking, “What’s so great about its attack and defense? Are you mad?”. Maybe, but if you look at the card’s effect you’ll see it provides a wall since it can’t be destroyed by battle. Once the field is clear, I can change this monster to attack position and hit my opponent. Thanks to Reaper’s second effect, they must discard a card when Reaper lands a direct attack.

 

 

CyberJar-DB1-EN-R-UE

3. Cyber Jar

ATK: 900
DEF: 900

Spammy card is spammy. I love all of the Jar monsters because they have devastating effects. This particular jar grants each player up to five new cards to the hand, but there’s much more besides that. Instead of discarding the players’ hands, it wipes out the entire field once flipped. And if the players draw Level 4 or lower monsters by Cyber Jar‘s effect, they will be special summoned. This is still a pretty risky move though so I try not to play it unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s able to clean the field with new creatures, giving me new cards to combine with the others I already have, and also the chance to completely ruin the opponent’s field.

The worst case scenario with Cyber Jar is if my opponent attacks and even with this effect, I’m still unable to special summon at least one monster. This means my opponent can have a field day with my life points. This has yet to happen to me, since my deck has more monsters. I love this card because it can change the flow of the game in my favor in the matter of a turn.

 

 

DarkArmedDragon-PTDN-EN-ScR-UE

2. Dark Armed Dragon

ATK: 2800
DEF: 1000

Easily one of the most feared monsters in my dark deck (Romeo can attest to that) and for good reason. Being able to summon Dark Armed Dragon is far too easy thanks to working around dark monsters. Having a Dark Grepher or Armageddon Knight can make having exactly three dark monsters in the graveyard possible in the first turn. It brings an incredible offense, as combined with its high attack allows me to banish a dark monster in the graveyard to destroy any card on the field. With several methods to have exactly three dark monsters in the graveyard, it’s not a chore to summon it even later in the duel.

Once it is out on the field, I will most likely clear the opponent’s field. The main objective with this card is to bring destruction, and it’s no difficult task. Its removal effect has no restrictions whatsoever, so I can either remove up to three cards in a single turn or dump more dark monsters in the graveyard after its summon to wipe out the entire field. Its high ATK can easily overcome many monsters, and in the best scenario, it can declare a direct attack for solid damage. Banishing several dark monsters might be a risk later in the duel, but with cards like Escape from the Dark Dimension and Return from the Different Dimension it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

 

 

rainbowdarkdragon

1. Rainbow Dark Dragon

ATK: 4000
DEF: 0

What other monster can it be? My dark deck centers around summoning this special card. It might seem expensive to summon since there needs to be 7 dark monsters (and with different names no less) in the graveyard to be removed from play. Thankfully, one of my other goals for my dark deck is to fill the graveyard due to effects and card costs. Armageddon Knight directly sends a monster to the graveyard from the deck just for being summoned, Mystic Tomato and Giant Germ also help by sending copies of themselves to the graveyard for an attack boost once this is summoned.

Unlike other powerful dark monsters in my deck like Dark Armed Dragon, Dark Magician of Chaos, The Dark Creator, etc. Rainbow Dark Dragon needs an entire deck built around it to be played. Also, unlike Dark Armed Dragon, this dragon will most likely be played late. This can be both a good and bad thing because it’s possible to set up one turn kills. On the other hand, its costly summon gives me one shot to do damage on the field, so I need to make sure to have a plan b in case this card gets destroyed.

 

 

That’s my list! Obviously, this isn’t all of my cards, but I hope you got an idea on what I like to play. If you play Yu-Gi-Oh! too and want to play me, we can do that. I’ve dueled people over video chats and they’ve always been fun. Anyway, make sure to have fun when playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, I mean, it is just a children’s card game after all! 😉

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萌え: What’s Moe?

 

Besides “waifu”, “moe” is a term you will most likely hear in any anime community, forum, chat, etc. However, unlike waifu, the word is a bit more ambiguous and complicated. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even using the word right. Moe is a source of much debate in the anime community. There are those who can’t stand it, and there are those of us who need it on a daily basis like it’s food or water. I hope this blog post will help in demystifying the concept for anyone who wants to know what it is.

 

Origin

To make things more bemusing, the origin of the word is unknown. One popular theory of the etymology of moe revolves around Hotaru Tomoe bka Sailor Saturn (Her last name would be written like this in Japanese: 土萌. As you can see, part of the kanji for “moe” is the same). Apparently, she was the most ideal girl in anime at the time. The term has been associated with characters that give off an aura that they need to be protected (think of the Lil B and the Task Force if you need a real life example). It makes sense considering Sailor Saturn’s backstory and meek personality makes you want to take her away from all the evil in the Sailor Moon world.

Another theory is that the word comes from the Japanese verb 萌える which can mean “to burn/get fired up” or “to burst/bud/sprout”. I can see this one also holding weight since there are people who get excited over seeing young fictional girls having a good time. Generally, moe centers around the idea of cuteness. It can be quite vague and mean a strong affection towards anything specific in the anime industry. Moe characters are usually young since they are mostly of middle school to high school age, but adult characters are not exempt. Cute characters represent purity and innocence, which is very alluring to many people. I should note moe does not necessarily mean cute. Any anime character can be defined as “cute”, depending on whom you’re asking. A moe character is more specifically a type of character that’s endearing to the beholder.

While I’m at it, here’s an in-depth article about the concept of moe. It is pretty long so if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like reading something with no pictures, then I’m just giving you a heads up right now. I believe it’s a good read though, it covers a number of things such as Japanese critical discourse, Otaku discussions of moe,  Moe desire and sexuality, etc.

From the conclusion it reads…

“The moe character is a ‘body without organs’ and it engenders virtual possibilities without limits or control. Stated another way, moe describes affect, or an unstructured intensity in response to the virtual possibilities of fantasy characters. Whether it is the girl-child popular among men or the homosexual boys popular among womenthese young characters are not part of the ‘real’ world and do not demand their partners be socially mature and responsible adults; with moe characters, men can experience love outside the confines of manhood (defined by work) and women love outside the confines of womanhood (defined by childbirth). As the media and material culture that emerged in the 1980s continues to evolve, and the ongoing recession alienates youth from work and home, accessing and exploring moe becomes increasingly important to a growing demographic of Japanese”.

 

Any romantic or sexual aspect to this?

Moe is not exactly romantic or sexual, but it isn’t always platonic either. A female character who is pretty or beautiful isn’t typically defined as moe, but it’s possible she can elicit those indescribable feelings. This isn’t to say a moe character can’t be sexually attractive, indeed, some characters deliberately blur the line. Moe characters don’t always have to be younger girls, but it makes things easier to understand! In fact, moe characters don’t even have to be female! As long as they instill an intense desire to adore them, hug them, protect them, comfort them, etc. that’s your moe!  If it makes your heart go ドキドキ and you want to protect them, it’s probably moe.

 

Related terms

  • Kawaii – “Kawaii” is a word that isn’t synonymous with moe. かわいい simply means “cute” in Japanese. It also can be applied to more things. For example, SEGA’s jumbo nesoberis are kawaii, but they’re not moe.
  • Moe blob – A character who is moe and has no other visible personality traits. Cuteness has been taken to an unappealing level.
  • Moe anthropomorphism – Moe anthropomorphism is the moefication of an originally non-moe character, object, concept or idea. It is very popular on the internet. An example would be Clorox-chan.
  • Chibi – a Japanese slang word meaning “short person”. In anime, it refers to a smaller form of an existing character. When an anime character is draw in chibi form, they tend to be short, have big heads and short limbs to look more moe.

 

 

My personal thoughts

I happen to be a big supporter/lover of moe. Considering I really enjoy anime with moe characters such as K-On, Lucky Star, Ichigo Mashimaro, Haruhi and Non Non Biyori to name a few. Moe is mistakenly thought to be an anime genre because many studios are catering to moe interests, but as aforementioned, moe is a term used to emphasize one’s love for fictional characters. There are a number of anime characters that I think are moe, but I’d like to save that list for another day.  There are those out there who believe moe was a mistake, that catering to fans’ love for specific traits such as girls with glasses, ditzyness, big breasts, youth, etc. has become more important than the actual plot/story.

While I am someone who enjoys a well-written story, I do not think moe is irredeemable trash. In fact, since K-On is one of my favorite anime, I feel it is quite the opposite. Moe is there to cater to someone’s love for certain characters, and that is all that should matter. Being able to resonate with and become emotionally invested in a fictional character is important too.  Anime should be a medium where anyone can have fun watching. It’s entertainment. Maybe it’s true that moe is just a trend, something only temporary. There was a time when moe wasn’t as prominent as it is now and maybe it won’t be in the future. Entertainment will change with the times and trends.

To be honest, it’s not often I use the word myself because I’m not entirely certain of all of the concepts of moe. Although I feel I understand the basic gist of the word, I don’t know if I will ever be able to keep up with the new types of “moe” which appear in the anime community. If you still can’t understand what moe is after this, then I can completely understand. Maybe I’m wrong about it all, perhaps what I just wrote above is all a misconception and I’ve only written what I think moe is. Still, I hope this post was at least able to give you an inkling of an idea on what it is.

Redo!: Thoughts on Re-watching Anime

Rewatch

That “redo” was in my Cosmo voice. Since the start of December I’ve been re-watching a number of anime series. This isn’t anything new really, re-watching anime has been a fundamental part of my hobby. The primary reason is to see if the anime in question still holds up, basically to see if the happiness I experienced watching my favorites is still there. Re-watching is a big part of updating my list of favorites (even though it has remained the same for years). There are some anime I don’t remember much of because it’s been years since I last saw them so it’s nice to be able to re-watch them because it’s like watching a new anime without watching a new anime!

Here are some anime I’ve re-watched this year:

  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • K-On (both seasons)
  • Dirty Pair
  • Tenchi Muyo
  • Serial Experiments Lain
  • Lucky Star
  • Love Live
  • Baccano
  • Angel Beats

 

I’d memorize dialogue in these anime and I can still reference certain moments because I know them so well. If you’re wondering what anime I’ve re-watched the most it’s K-On. I’ve dead ass watched both seasons and the movie at least 25+ times, I never get tired of it! I don’t think I’m alone. There are other fans who re-watch anime, but for others they rarely want to watch an anime again. The reason I’ve seen is they would rather move on to something new as opposed to retrying something that they have already finished. Fair enough, but for me, since I’ve watched over 1,000 anime now I think I can slow down a bit when it comes to watching anime I’ve never seen before.

Upon a re-watch I can definitely appreciate an anime more and in greater depth. I don’t even look up the meaning for any of the anime that have the most complex story because I’m usually able to have it figured out on my own. As you can tell by the above pic, I’m currently re-watching Bakemonogatari, and if seeing my waifu on my screen again has taught me anything, it’s that maybe new isn’t always the best choice. I may have watched the entire Monogatari Series a number of times, but her lines and actions still make me laugh my head off and get me saying “what the blue cheese!?”. Even in the first episode when she’s a verbal abusive jerk, she finds the cleverest way to say what’s on her mind.

Please

Aren’t Japanese people supposed to sneeze twice if you say something bad about them when they’re not around? Anyway, the one thing I can say about re-watching anime is that I’ll never be surprised by the ending of Cowboy Bebop, or what happens to the Elric brothers in Fullmetal Alchemist, or the magic in Howl’s Moving Castle. But I can experience the feelings associated with them and relive a bit of what it was like to view them for the first time. Sure, it may not be as potent, but they’re still present with the knowledge and excitement that what’s to come will deliver.

If I don’t like an anime, it’s not likely I’ll re-watch it again. I may not drop any shows, but at the same time I won’t waste my time re-watching anything that I don’t find wonderful. For me, I think it’s better to re-watch anime more often than watching new series. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch some seasonal anime (that upcoming Pop Team Epic anime adaption though), but I’d rather go back to my favorites than watch a new mediocre anime. I don’t know why, but seasonal anime hasn’t been doing much for me, which might explain why I have been re-watching more and more recently. Seriously, there are at least 30+ new anime every season and I can count the ones I’m currently watching on one hand. Sure, there might be that one anime which gets extremely popular once in a while, but I can always check it out later or never.

I remember when I went through my “anime is the best thing evarrr!!!!!” phase back in 2012 to early 2014. Nowadays, just two days shy of being 24, I’ve mellowed out a lot. I mean, I’m still a weeb, but I had way more 10/10 anime back then where as now I only have two. I realized some anime don’t have the same impact they once did. I feel all my ratings should be a big deal for me. As my own life experiences and attitudes have changed, I’ve found that my ability to connect with and relate to characters has also changed. I understand them better, and am entertained by them even more. Even characters I once thought were annoying little buggers I’m now able to at least sympathize with them.

Another good reason I re-watch anime is because I’m the only person I know who’s watched as much anime as I have and I’m trying to introduce someone to something new I’m confident they’d like. My brother may not be what you would call a fan, but he does appreciate and respect anime (he says Samurai Champloo is the best anime despite only having watched 8 series maximum). My sister likes anime too, and good gosh I’ve been exhorting her to watch Love Live for months. So far, she’s only watched one episode and I thought she’d continue, but she has yet to do so! *sobs* 😦 Random note, but those Love Live Jumbo Nesoberi Plushes make for great presents. I have Maki and Riko, my niece has Kanan, my sister has Umi, my aunt has Yoshiko Yohane (in her Santa Claus costume from “ジングルベルがとまらない” or “Jingle Bell ga Tomaranai” in romaji or “Can’t Stop the Jingle Bells” for you English speakers). My brother has none ’cause he doesn’t like idol anime if I remember correctly. I probably should buy one for my mom, but I don’t know what she’d do with it. Anyway, writing this post made me realize I still haven’t watched K-On with my sister either and we’re supposed to do that (it’s been two years now)!

 

I should note I’m not one for nostalgia. I actually dislike it. But some moments are just worth reliving y’know. Anime I love deserve their re-watch for giving me the entertainment they have, and I deserve that sense of joy and refreshment from watching them. What about you, reader, do you re-watch anime? What are some of your favorites to watch over and over again?

同人誌: Thoughts on Doujinshi

You’ve probably heard the term at one point or another. It’s the word “doujinshi”, sometimes it can be shortened to doujin. What does this word exactly mean though? That’s where I come in to happily explain it to you. I had misconceptions about it myself, thinking that it was just a way for people to illustrate pornographic material of their favorite anime characters. With this post, I’m hoping to help clear some misconceptions and maybe get some people interested in it since I was someone who initially didn’t find any value in it until I gave it a try!

 

Origin

Wikitionary defines doujinshi as “A fan-produced work, especially a manga, anime, or video game”. While this is true, I find this definition to be simple and I think I can go deeper so let’s start with that first. The word 同人 (doujin): literally translates to “same person” (the 同 kanji is for “same” and the 人 kanji is for “person”), and refers to a group of people with shared interests. The 誌 (shi) kanji that follows is short for 雑誌 (zasshi), which translates to “magazine”. When you put them all together, we get 同人誌.

Meiroku Zasshi” is often refered to as the pioneer of doujinshi. This means the earliest display of doujinshi was during the Meiji Era of Japan. The first magazine to publish doujinshi was Garakunta Bunko in 1885. The popularity of doujinshi really started to pick up in the beginning of the Shōwa Period between World War I and World War II. During this time, doujinshi was being published and shared amongst people. However, it was hard to get them as they could only be made by hand. Their popularity declined during the postwar years, but rose again in the 1970s because of photocopy machines. Hooray for technological advancements! Then in the 1980s, there was a shift from doujinshi being mostly original stories to mostly parodies and using characters from current, popular shows to recreate setups and portray different romantic pairings. In the early 90s, doujinshi started being sold at comic book stores and there’s even a doujinshi fair held twice a year (I need to make sure when I go to Japan I go around the time Comiket/コミケット is held).

 

Doujin vs. Doujinshi

Some people may think doujin and doujinshi are synonymous, but they aren’t. A doujin/同人 is one person or a group of people who share the same hobby, this can refer to all people that have a certain hobby. Most of the time, doujin refers to people with an interest in anime and manga, or the “anime fandom”, but it isn’t exclusive to that. So what do these “same people” do together? Stuff. Stuff like drawing manga, writing stories, making music, etc. Now doujinshi/同人誌 is publication made by a doujin.

 

Doujinshi today

In this century, doujinshi is still prominent. As previously stated, Comiket is a doujinshi fair where doujinshi is sold and websites like Melon Books sell them too. Doujinshi was and still is popular in Japan, but this is not the case in western countries. Despite this, reading doujinshi is an enjoyable hobby for many people around the world. Are you like me and want to see what a romantic development between Nozomi and Nico would be like? There’s a doujinshi (actually an entire series) for that. Or maybe an exhilarating adventure featuring Goku, Ichigo and Luffy piques your interest? I don’t know if there is a doujinshi for that since I never looked into it, but considering how big this world is, there’s got to be at least one.

In the west, doujinshi is often used to refer only to pornographic doujinshi. So some people might think that all doujinshi is hentai or that all doujinshi is pornographic, but this isn’t true. In fact, a doujinshi that has pornographic material is called usui hon/薄い本, which translates to “thin book”. They are called that because they tend to have few pages so they are “thin”. On another note, a doujinshi doesn’t have to be a manga. There are doujinshi that are simply illustration books, or visual novels, or music CDs or other creative outlets.

Unlike manga, doujinshi are not serialized and never get reprinted, they’re self-made. This means once they’re sold out, it’s not likely you’ll be able to buy them so you better get ’em while they’re hot! Thanks to technological advancements (hooray again!) there are doujinshi that can be found on the internet. However, most doujinshi are still pretty much gone once the last one gets sold, so if you didn’t buy one when it was for sale, you’ll likely never get to read it.

Before I move on to the next part, I should note doujinshi can be categorized in two ways: Original (オリジナル) and Parody (パロディ)Original doujinshi are works which are not based off any existing manga, anime, video game, or someone else’s brainchild. They are completely original amateur works. A fella makes something and tries to get people interested, either for fun or profit. Cool beans. Parody doujinshi are publications which utilize pre-existing characters and/or settings. A different fella takes someone else’s characters, puts them in different situations and sells it. Also cool beans.

 

How is any of this legal?

Is probably one of the first questions you’d ask. After all, in America, if someone was to make money by making a comic book using Spider-Man, the legal team of The Avengers would assemble and use their litigious superpowers on them. “Spider-Man is the property of Marvel Comics!” they would say to the nefarious villain. “We won’t let you make profit off of the web-slinger with your crappy writing. That’s what we have Dan Slott for!”. This type of stuff happens all the time in this country. Works using copyrighted/pre-existing characters that obtain profit are squashed like those spiders from the Spider Stompin arcade game. However, in Japan it’s a different story. The official stance is doujinshi does break the law in Japan. That’s right, creating a derivative work of a pre-existing series without prior permission from the copyrights holder is against the law in Japan. Even if you’re in the US, creating a doujinshi based off of a Japanese work would still be considered illegal. So then, why is it allowed? The bottom line is Japanese authors purposefully choose not to prosecute doujinshi authors and there are a number of reasons for this…

1. Doujinshi is where new talent is discovered.
2. There are serialized mangaka who make doujinshi themselves.
3. It’s possible that doujinshi can actually stimulate and strengthen interest in a series, and ergo generate more profit for the official works.
4. Cultural reasons.
5. Doujinshi is considered niche in an already niche form of entertainment.

 

Doujinshi artists also generally don’t make a lot of money so it doesn’t make much sense to sue them. There are a few like あずまきよひこ (creator of Azumanga Daioh which is a beautiful anime you should watch if you haven’t) who end up becoming professionals, but they’re not the norm. Actually, most of them tend to lose money.

“The vast majority of creators will never get close to earning back even their printing costs, and they know it. When asked about what they liked the most about Comiket, “I can show my work to other people” was the top answer (41,5%), followed by “there’s a festival atmosphere” (21,3%) and “I can meet friends and acquaintances that I normally can’t meet” (13,1). Only 4,2% of circles chose “I can sell a lot of doujinshi there” as Comiket’s primary attraction”.

So it’s obvious most of the doujinshi artists out there do it because it brings them joy and happiness.

 

I can’t read Japanese!

Unlike your favorite manga, it’s not likely for a doujinshi to get translated or scanlated. Yes, there are some that do, but it’s not on the same level as manga. They seldom receive any attention, and are almost impossible to find or purchase. Since doujinshi’s origin is from a certain East Asian country, naturally, the original language will be in Japanese. Speaking from personal experience, most of the doujinshi I’ve read don’t have furigana/振り仮名 like manga does. Just a quick note for anyone who doesn’t know: furigana is the hiragana above kanji or at the right side of kanji written in a smaller font in an auxiliary line of text. It shows how a particular kanji character is supposed to be read. Doujinshi is one of the reasons I decided to buckle up and learn the remaining kanji I need to know. I can read most of the content of the ones I own, but there are times when I have to look up a certain kanji character to make sure I read it right.

 

My personal thoughts

20171207_124643.jpg

Yes, that’s my のぞにこ/NozoNico doujinshi collection. かわいい でしょう? I like to read them whilst playing “My Love Is Hot” by The Cool Notes. I actually have more doujinshi that doesn’t revolve around my OTP, but those are por… anyway, I have a new found appreciation for doujinshi. It’s a recent interest of mine and currently, the only ones I invest my time in are my two yuri ships from Love Live (NozoNico and りこまき/RikoMaki). I will admit there are definitely fantastic writers and illustrations in the doujinshi scene! Even I’m not immune to partaking in it since one of the characters in my story is Seilah (from the anime/manga series Fairy Tail) and it was originally supposed to be a comic book (which I still plan on doing btw). I think doujinshi can be a very good creative outlet for many people. Through this unique and weird medium, people have not only been able to express themselves, but have been able to get indispensable experience and feedback on their drawings and storytelling.

“I Love Emilia”

Emilia

If I listen very carefully, I can hear the Rem stans with their torches and pitchforks. The waifu wars will never cease, I know this is a pretty controversial opinion especially considering how rancorous the Rem fan base can be towards Emilia’s character. However, that’s exactly why I’m writing this post. Before I start, I’d like to note I don’t dislike Rem, but I’m an Emilia guy. Please don’t send your waifu after me, I can only run a mile and a half without stopping and I’m not all that confident with my reflexes.

Emilia is a character who tends to be overshadowed by Rem even though she’s the main heroine and the one the main character wants to be with. While this post can be seen as a Emilia > Rem post, it’s honestly more of why I like Emilia as a character. With that being said, here’s why.

 

Character design

Emilia and Pack

When I started watching Re: Zero, I thought Emilia had one of the best character designs I’ve seen in an anime in recent memory. Good character designs for me are the ones where I’m thinking “Mayne, I wish I could’ve thought of that first”. Being an illustrator and making created superstars in WWF/E games, I know how character design can be a tricky thing to master. It’s one of those tasks that seem very simple when I look at them from afar and then turn out to be quite difficult when I try my hand out at them for the first time. For me, her design is instantly recognizable at first glance. Even Subaru was enthralled by her looks when he first saw her. I would say her most unique feature would be her eyes, even though they’re what anyone would expect from anime, her irises and pupils are different from all the other characters. I want to say this is because she’s a half-elf, but I can’t say with 100% certainty.

 

Nice and nonjudgmental

Emilia-tan

I’m going to be honest, the whole Rem falling in love with Subaru didn’t work for me. It made little sense how Subaru went from her most despised person to her most cherished one. She killed the guy twice because he was supposedly part of the Witch’s Cult (despite having no evidence of this). In the first episode, Subaru gets his butt kicked by some hoodlums when then, Emilia comes in to save the day. Even though she had more important things to do, she decided to stop and help a total stranger. That makes a pretty good impression and it left an impact on Subaru who had just been summoned into a different world. Now based on what I said about Rem, try to imagine her doing that before her character did a 180. Emilia’s character has been more consistent, she’s always been slow to anger and quick to forgive and considering how annoying and obnoxious Subaru can get, she’s definitely the patient type as well.

 

This hoodie thingy

Hoody

Trying to inject some levity in this post, I would own one of these hoodies if they were sold.

 

Her dream

Emilia

She’s got my vote. Emila has shown throughout the series she’s a congenial and magnanimous character through and through. She’s the idealistic type, as seen with her speech when asked why she should become the 42nd ruler of the Kingdom of Lugnica. Her idealistic way of thinking is based from her reality, her lineage, her experiences and what she observed in her life so far. She’s a visionary, you can accuse her of looking through rose-tinted glasses when, in fact, she simply “sees” the end goal and truly believes there is a way to get there. Of course, that isn’t enough, she needs to be willing to roll-up her sleeves and engage in the hard work the execution will entail. As a leader and based on her character, her thinking would start with the question: “How can things be better?”. I find it interesting to know what she would do to accomplish this aspiration. I will confess, I might love and laud her dream because I myself am optimistic and idealistic.

 

Hated but hopeful

Emilia1

Re: Zero touches on the topic of racism. Despite being a candidate for ruler of Lugunica, there are those who hate and are scared of her simply because she’s a half-elf and her resemblance with the witch Satella. Still, she’s not cynical, she’s not misanthropic and she doesn’t think the worst of people. Good, ’cause those kind of people in the real world are tiresome. Try being a half-elf who is always discriminated not by your actions, but by how you were born. She still does her best and she still helps anyone in spite of society rejecting her. This isn’t to say none of the stuff hasn’t affected her in a negative way, it definitely has. As a result of the way she’s been treated she has low self-confidence and constantly doubts herself. It’s amazing she is the way she is considering the abuse she’s received. It would be understandable if she resented everyone or used her powers to hurt others, but she doesn’t.

 

Stay Alive

Emilia’s 声優 /seiyuu sings this, which means Emilia sings this.

 

Her relationship with Subaru

Emilia2

Lastly and possibly one of the more defining facets in the anime is the relationship between Emilia and Subaru. Why is Subaru so in love with her and willing to go to the ends of the Earth for her sake?

I think their first meeting contributed a lot to it. You only get one shot at making a first impression and like I previously stated, she came to his rescue when he was getting stomped out by a bunch of robbers. Having stopped her pursuit of her robbed insignia to help him, she went above and beyond to heal him. She puts on an act stating she only stayed with him until he regained conscious to obtain information from him. In actuality, Emilia only said this to remove any feelings of debt to her for her selfless act. I think the reason she tries to make sure people don’t feel like they owe her anything is for two reasons: she genuinely doesn’t believe she deserves anything in return, and might be worried people associated with her will receive unjustified hatred the same way she does.

It takes a bit of insistence from Subaru before she agrees to let him help her find her insignia. They actually spend the whole day looking for that confounded thing. I think what sparked his fierce loyalty to Emilia was during his first death. In his last moments, he pledged to save the woman in front of him no matter what it takes. There are other moments where Subaru expresses his desire to protect her, but I think that’s the best one. I will agree with anyone who says Subaru is frustrating, annoying and corny, but I can respect the guy for being loyal and willing to do anything for the people he cares about.

 

And that’s all I have to say about Emilia. There’s actually more I would say, but it goes into light novel spoiler territory. If you couldn’t tell from this post, I do like Emilia. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

ファンサービス: Thoughts on Fanservice

Mai_Kawakami_water

Mai_Kawakami_fire

Hm, interesting. When I touch my private parts the only thing that happens… Anyway, if you watch anime I don’t think this topic needs any introduction, but maybe you need a refresher. The good people at Wikitionary have defined fanservice as such “The inclusion in a work of fiction of material, especially of a racy or sexual nature, which has no relevance to the storyline and is designed merely to excite the viewer”. Simple enough, but you may or may not have known this, but fanservice is a controversial, ubiquitous and hot topic in the anime community, especially in the West. Some people love it, some people don’t care and some people hate everything about it.

 

Origin

The term ファンサービス/fanservice did originate in Japan among the anime and manga fandom and is based on English words “fan” and “service”. サービス  in Japanese comes from the English “service”, which is a service done as an extra for a customer/お客さん. Since service is done for someone “fanservice” is extra service done for fans. There is another word related to fanservice and it’s サービスカット/service cut, a term born in the film industry in order to market a movie. According to Anime.Mikomi.org, “The term ‘fan service’ goes back to the late 80’s at minimum. However, Dirty Pair was done in 1985 and clearly had fan service in mind even if they didn’t expressly use the term then”. I’d like to note Dirty Pair is a great and underrated anime. Now that you know fanservice is a loan word and a little more about its meaning, I think now would be a good time to give some examples:

  • Boob shots
  • Panty/ass shots
  • Wardrobe malfunctions
  • Suggestive poses
  • Nude scenes (bath and shower primarily)
  • Characters caught changing clothes

 

What’s the point?

Long story short, it keeps the anime studios around and pay the bills, which simply isn’t possible by only making complex, high-quality storylines.

“What!? They’re only motivated by money?” you indignantly ask? What you need to know is that anime studios don’t do it to make a crapload of money, but because they need to stay in business. Here’s a picture of Kyoto Animation’s head office. For the anime studio that brought gems like Full Metal Panic, Haruhi, Lucky Star, K-On!, Hyouka and Clannad to television screens, the employees aren’t working in an opulent building, quite chilling if you ask me. I’m sure everyone would love to create an anime with a strong story and aesthetically pleasing animation. And I’m sure everyone wants to watch the next Fullmetal Alchemist or Cowboy Bebop and just for my brother, I’ll mention Samurai Champloo. However, not everyone watching is going to pay and even fewer will be willing to.

In order to not go bankrupt, anime studios will produce stuff that sells. What’s something that sells? Sex. Maybe the studio doesn’t have a flagship title or developed characters or a popular franchise that will make bank.

 

Fanservice today

Maou's Plot

Maou is beautiful and so is her plot. Anyway, fanservice is still used by fans with its original meaning intact. It’s about giving the fans “exactly what they want” and this doesn’t have to refer to the erotic nowadays. It all comes down to the show’s main audience. A scene involving mechas fighting and blowing up can possibly be considered fanservice. I like to think of the walking Pokémon feature in HeartGold and SoulSilver as “fanservice” because it is what I and so many other fans wanted (and the fact they took it out in subsequent games is repulsive and disgusting). As I’m sure others will agree, in recent years the amount of fan service in anime has greatly increased, with numerous titles released each season with an appeal that is centered around fanservice. With this growth in fanservice-centered anime, some fans have labeled it as an actual genre rather than an attribute, calling harem, ecchi and similar anime “fanservice anime”.

 

My personal thoughts 

Out of the countless fanservice scenes I’ve seen, my feelings usually range from indifference to lascivious thoughts swirling in my brain. It’s rare for me to lust over a 2D woman, but it happens. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a fella having an interest in women or breasts and asses. Sometimes I do wonder if my upbringing has anything to do with why I’m not averse to fanservice whatsoever. I grew up in Germany and it’s a country that has a relaxed attitude toward nudity and sexuality (especially the east side). Baring it all at saunas, beaches, parks, and swimming pools is pretty normal. Even on television and whenever I went to downtown Wiesbaden, I remember seeing nude advertisements. It’s one of the many things I miss about Germany and also one of the reasons I can’t wait to go back. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be prudish since I readily embrace my (a)sexuality and love seeing myself naked. Like Tommy Pickles said “Nakey is good! Nakey is free! Nakey is… nakey!”. In case you didn’t already guess, I’m a nudist and asexual. Anyway, enough about German culture, my sexual orientation and cultural and political stance!

Fanservice can be exciting, hot, fun, or all of the above. I enjoy collecting bunny ver. anime figures from FREEing and I’m sure that would be considered fanservice. So it’d be HIPPOcritical of me to say all fanservice is bad. I do have a hard time answering the question “What makes fanservice ‘good’ or ‘bad’?”. Since entertainment is subjective, it goes without saying fanservice is too. What makes one weeb’s pupils dilate might make another’s eyes roll.

It varies from person to person, especially for me. Allow me to explain. The only “bad” fanservice for me is during extremely sad/important/dramatic moments, it’s not going to contribute anything meaningful and is therefore silly and unnecessary. The only “good” fanservice for me is anything involving any of the female anime characters I’m highly attracted to. Fanservice scenes revolving around Medaka Kurokami, Eleonora Viltaria, Dimaria Yesta or Senjougahara Hitagi for example make me and my woody womb pecker happy. Anything else, I don’t care nor do I care how much there is or isn’t. I say it varies because I’m sure you’ve heard the proverb “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so not everyone’s going to think the fanservice I like is hot and vice versa.

One common argument I’ve heard against fanservice is something around the lines of “If I wanted to be turned on and wank I’d watch porn and/or hentai”. Okay, first off, porn and hentai are both crap and if you watch either, I’m judging you. Naw, I’m just kidding about the judging part. Before you ask, no, I’m not one of those people who think porn or hentai should be banned or any nonsense like that. I just don’t see the appeal of either, but you know what the Japanese people say “十人十色/Ten people ten colors”.

Another one is how fanservice ruins anime’s appeal and only was made with the lowest common denominator in mind. I can somewhat understand this argument since my favorite anime tend to have little or no fanservice and instead focus on the story and characters. Fanservice can often be the product of sloppy writing: give the fans what they think they want in order to compensate for any glaring issues. Not all fanservice is bad. But the fan service that works for one anime isn’t going to serve the fans in another. When I watch Dragon Ball Super I expect to see fighting and at least one Kamehameha, not Goku’s crotch. Likewise, when I watch High School DxD I want to see Rias’ titties, not hear her give a passionate speech about why bad things happen to good people. Giving fans what they want is awesome, but sometimes the problem is the creators don’t even know what they want, let alone the fans.

Not every anime show is going to appeal to everyone, and I’m perfectly fine with this. At the end of the day, I’d rather see shows do what they can and make their intended audiences happy than try to be something they are not in an attempt to gain a wider one, especially by using fan service aimed specifically at just a portion of viewers who may or may not be in the audience. I feel there’s a time and place for everything, and fanservice is no exception. If viewers want their T&A, let them have their T&A. If viewers want a life-affirming, empowering story, let them have their life-affirming empowering story. There’s enough room in the anime world for there to be both, maybe not in the same show, but there’s room nonetheless.

 

And by the way, if you thought I wrote this post as an excuse to post images of hot/fine anime women, then you’re right. I’ll end this post with two gifs of the sexy Yukihime.

Yukihime

Noice