To start off this series, the term moe itself must be visited upon. Moe is a modern term that has sprung up out of the kawaii culture of Japan. It is a word derived from a Japanese word that literally means “budding,” but Its meaning is still ambiguous and ill-defined. Moe is associated mostly to the fandom for anything cute. When the word moe is used to describe characters from an anime it usually means something akin to “adorable.” The origin of the word is unknown, although there are some rumors that suggests the word comes from the name of a Sailor Moon character, Hotaru Tomoe.
Over the years, moe has become a staple of anime. There are various so called moe-inspiring traits which are used as a kind of template to create characters including but not limited to: meganekko, kuudere, yandere, meido/shitsuji, nekomimi, and imouto. More on those at another time. Negima! is perhaps the best example of this trend with one of the largest gathering of cast members specifically modeled after moe-inspiring traits.
Another neologism, the word tsundere is derived from the Japanese terms ツンツン(tsun tsun), which mean to turn away in disgust, and デレデレ(dere dere), which kind of means being lovestruck (wikipedia.org). Originating from the internet, the word tsundere is used to describe characters with particular traits that correlate to their relationships with people, predominantly their relationship with a prospective love interest. Generally a tsundere is exceedingly hostile and aggressive most of the time and rarely, they are kind or generous. This is the typical definition.
After doing some thinking and a little bit of research, I’ve come to understand that tsundere encompasses two seperate but related types of characters. One type comes from more recent anime and there continues to be a great rise of this type of character. I will this character a Type 2 tsundere.Type 2 tsundere are characters who will act contrary to how they actually feel towards situations and other characters. They act hostile, cold, or disgusted, but their true feelings are closer to being in love.
These are already both tsun tsun (cold, hostile, disgusted) and dere dere (lovestruck), but tend to show only their tsun side. It takes special circumstances for this character to show their dere side. Even if the character is aware that they love someone, they are still essentially argumentative and unkind toward that person. Type 2 tsundere often have little character development revolving around their tsundere trait–they usually act the same way in the beginning and the ending of the story.
Examples of Type 2 tsundere:
Understand that these characters, even though they share similar traits, are quite different from one another. Each have their own issues, pasts, and circumstances that help shape who they are. One could divide out these characters further by sub-type: sibling, love interest, and social. The sub-types relating to how and where the tsundere tendencies show themselves. Overall, the Type 2 tsundere comes across as a very opposed and contrary character who never quite entirely becomes considerate or nurturing.
Type 2 tsundere are more typical today, but there are also what I call Type 1 tsundere, who are at first of a tsun personality, but as the story progresses their character begins to gradually become of dere personality. These characters go through an actual character developmental process by which their original behaviors are gradually changed to new behavior patterns. They are at first repulsed or uncaring toward others, but as one spends time with them and goes through various moments together, the once tsun personality gives way to a caring and loving personality. As opposed to the Type 2 tsundere, Type 1 tsundere will not revert back to their overly aggressive self. There is a more substantial change in how the tsundere relates to the specific character who has triggered these changes.
Examples of Type 1 tsundere:
I have heard that Type 1 tsundere were the original archetype which the term was contrived for and that modern anime attempted to use this character type, but instead ended up inventing the Type 2 tsundere instead.
“First, do we comprehend the true meaning of the qualities of a tsundere? No, unfortunately, the word tsundere has suffered misuse and decay, and one could say that the definition has evolved. To begin with, the word tsundere was born in the year 2002, an internet term, but the original definition was a character who starts of hostile, and eventually becomes affectionate. In other words, it was supposed to describe a change over time. And now, it is used to describe the multiple faces of a character. Hostile on the outside, and affectionate on the inside, would be how the word is currently understood. I declare here, this is plainly a mistake! We must bring back the true meaning of tsundere and restore this depraved nation! Rise up, citizens!”
Basically the word tsundere is still in the process of being accepted into our mainstream language and therefore has taken on subsequential meanings during its use. At first the term tsundere described a process, but now it is primarily used to describe a character with the contrary behaviors of tsun and dere.
Problems With Our Modern Lexicon
As Shiraishi says, tsundere is a term that has taken on multiple meanings over time that share similarities, but ultimately differ. One describes a character development process in a character, while the other is used to describe the coexisting tsun and dere aspects of a character’s personality. There is yet no distinction using a single word to describe the two. I agree with Minoru Shiraishi from Lucky Star, when he says it is hasty to classify characters with a single term like tsundere.
The connotation behind the word tsundere is often associated to dominantly aggressive and hostile characters who are just a little caring and gentle if moment is right. But there are characters like Kagami from Lucky Star who don’t precisely fit that mold. She does seem reserved about admitting how she feels towards her friends, yet she isn’t hostile or aggressive like what the label tsundere would imply. No… for one, she has a more dominant caring personality then what is typical in a tsundere type character. She is also much more passively embarrassed during situations which would normally trigger tsun-style aggressive behavior.
Kagami also doesn’t fit other roles such as kuudere or dandere. It seems that for Kagami another substitution for the tsun aspect is needed to define her character. The issue itself is brought to bear in the Lucky Channel segment quoted earlier. Co-host Shiraishi calls upon the viewers to invent a new term to describe characters like Kagami. The purpose of this being to perhaps avoid having the term “tsundere” take on even more incongruent meanings.
Many problems lie with how new “tsundere” and other such contrived terms are (according to Shiraishi, the term “tsundere” was coined in 2002). The word tsundere has not yet had enough time to sink into the world’s lexicon. Much like the word moe, tsundere is ill-defined, but that doesn’t keep people from using it and of course improper use as well. Calling Kagami a tsundere doesn’t seem right, but as Akira from Lucky Channel says:
“So what is Kagami if not a tsundere? I don’t really get this complicated stuff… but if you insist … do you have a replacement [word] for [Kagami who’s] currently known as [a] tsundere?”
Impressions and Opinions
In my mind, the two tsundere character types are separate terms. It is a mistake to consider characters “tsundere,” when there are too many ambiguities between what kind of tsundere is being referred to.Type 2 tsundere have a more ingrained personality which manifests itself in contrary behaviors, while Type 1 tsundere have consistent behavior that gradually changes throughout the story. The word tsundere is limiting the perspective on these characters and how they are perceived.
Tsundere types are normally identified by their cold or hostile attitudes, as well as their speech patterns (common phrases like: “don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing this for you.”). Constantly angry looking characters also hint at the tsundere type. The viewer uses the various hints to assess the characters and give them various labels such as tsundere. Once there, consensus is reached as to what standard fits the character best. The characters are then stuck with their label until someone comes along and reinvents the lexicon.
Through some consideration, these tsundere type characters have existed for far longer than the term itself. Only recently has the term been coined, so I’ve wondered which characters of older anime exemplified these traits and which helped define the modern tsundere type. It is something I consider worth studying, but seems like a time consuming work. Characters who existed before the term have been relabeled and I assume when some new term comes along to fix the deficiencies I’ve mentioned, that some tsundere characters will find themselves rebranded also.
The evolution of tsundere characters continue and yet somehow the really aggressive type tsundere seem to be taking over. Tsundere are starting to become overly cliché, mostly because of the Type 2 characters. It can become annoying seeing the same exchanges between different characters over and over again with escalating violence.
To sum up what I have to say, tsundere is a word that is altogether new and has yet to find its permanent place in language and because of this, its use has been at times confused. At first tsundere stood for a character who developed from a cold, unassuming, or hostile feeling to a caring one. Later, it was used to describe characters who shared both traits together. It continues to be used to describe character who seem to fit into the classification of a tsundere, yet often this adds even more confusion to the terms use. Apparently the current lexicon of the world still lacks the words to describe our characters appropriately. To remedy the situation, someone will have to invent new terms and process will start all over.
Makunouchi Ippo is a high school student who helps out his widowed mother with their fishing boat business. He doesn’t fit in well and is bullied because of that. Despite his anger at the insults towards him and his mother, Ippo isn’t able to find the courage to stand up to these bullies. One day a passerby happens upon Ippo being bullied and ends up bringing Ippo to a boxing gym.
Mamoru Takamura, the man who came upon Ippo, talks to him. Ippo is ashamed that he can’t do anything even when insults are aimed at his mother. Takamura lets Ippo have a go at a punching bag to help ease his mind about it and also lends Ippo some video tapes of boxing matches to help desensitize Ippo to the idea of a fist fight. While watching these videos Ippo begins to think, “I wonder what it means to be strong?”
The world of boxing becomes more than a fascination, it becomes a means for him to be reborn as a person, but when Ippo approaches Takamura about wanting to become a professional boxer Takamura becomes angry. “Don’t underestimate boxing!” He doesn’t think Ippo has what it takes. Takamura decides to give him a “test” to help rid Ippo of a hopeless dream. What Takamura didn’t count on was how determined Ippo was.
Much of the plot is simple, considering that Hajime No Ippo is a sports anime. The direction of where the series is going is obvious. There are specific goals which drive Ippo, but from fight to fight the goal is always going to be simple: win. The formula for the story is to train, fight, rest, and train again. But it never feels overly monotonous.
What makes this anime great are the fights. Fast fists, brutal breaking of bones, and the courage to stand up and keep fighting. Each of Ippo’s opponents get developed enough to draw you in even deeper. There are outstanding clashes of spirit shown in the ring and just a few surprises that get past your guard just when you think you know what’s going to happen.
Stirring and intense, the fights are exceptional. As the characters become stronger and more skilled, so too do their opponents. One of the pitfalls I’m familiar with in fighting anime is the effect where technical skill is sometimes overshadowed by pure prowess and brute force. The balance of physical and technical aptitude in Hajime No Ippo stays rather consistent. The pace of each fight is also done well. Some aspects of the fights became predictable, but you can never really guess the outcome of a fight.
First we have Ippo, who’s finishing up high school and determined to become a professional boxer. Slightly shy and unsure of himself, Ippo begins to show his true character the moment he finds something in life that he enjoys–boxing. The one who brings him into the world of boxing is Takamura. Takamura is the star hopeful of the Kamagawa boxing gym who is destroying the competition.
The antics that he and Ippo’s other sempai, Kimura and Aoki, get into are some of the funniest scenes in the anime. Including the new season from 2009, Takamura has some awesome fights and for me, the best fight of all anime (at least what I’ve seen). Kimura and Aoki start off kind of flat as characters except when the comedy is going, but as the anime progressed they get more fleshed out. Takamura, Ippo, Kimura, and Aoki make up the main cast along with the important coach Kamagawa. Most of the fights follow Ippo’s growing career as a boxer, but there will be an occasional fight following the other characters. The characters’ growth as a boxers never exceed reason and sometimes the training of the characters are shown. Characters (mostly Ippo), also develop outside the ring. One character develops in a way I never expected (I’ll stick with an ambiguous description: the guy with the dream to be a manga artist).
Shocking Lemon and Mori Naoya almost define the sound of Hajime No Ippo. Those songs are ingrained with the most pivotal moments, or at least that’s the way it feels to me. I’m not so crazy about the music from the new season, but it grew on me a little towards the end.
Something to look forward to
It’s nice to know there’s the possibility of more to come, since the manga is still ongoing. From what I’ve seen and heard the anime follows closely to the manga. I hate it when an anime adaptation is made of a manga and doesn’t deliver well enough. No worries here.
Since this is a sports anime, it has an average plot line.
Usually the animation was pretty good, but there were some slip ups here and there. One episode was especially bad.
Funny, heartfelt, and determined.
Inspiring, exhilirating, and powerful.
Oh Takamura…. what will you do next?
Sentamental Rating: 6/10
A clash of strong emotions is bound to run deep to the core of character and make you care about them.
Unlike Shinichiro Miki, Keiji Fujiwara’s voice usually sounds the same to me, but there’s just something about it that fits the characters he plays. I can easily recognize his voice whenever it comes up in an anime. Above is one of my favorite characters from Ao no Exorcist, Shiro Fujimoto. Guardian of the main character, Rin Okumura, and his brother, Yukio, Shiro is not someone you would want as an enemy. Shiro reminds me of another of Keiji Fujiwara’s roles, Holland Novak from Eureka Seven.
Holland is leader of Gekkostate, whose actions are tied directly to the fate of the world. Despite the gray hair, he’s actually quite young. At times I could almost hate him, but he definitely redeemed himself in the series. Another of Fujiwara’s roles comes from the anime that made me finally learn how to play Go, Hikaru no Go (something I’d put off for a long time).
Seiji Ogata is a character who moves in out of the story, much like many characters in the series. Ogata is one of the strongest players in the series, who at times acts as a mover of the story. Despite the lack of screen time, he definitely left an impression. Moving on, we have a role from the anime that has my favorite fight of all time: Hajime No Ippo.
Kimura is one of the main character’s sempai at a boxing gym. Kimura’s fights, like his friend Aoki, are never treated very seriously except in Kimura’s OVA. One of his newer roles is one I expect him to do well as: Leorio from Hunter x Hunter.
And finally there is the role I associate him most to, Maes Hughes from Fullmetal Alchemist.
First of all, I would like to say that I’m somewhat disappointed, but there are some good things to say about this series. I’m not so used to an anime dealing so much in psychological problems, so this was a plus. I hadn’t gotten far enough into the series to know about Rei and Asuka’s pasts which were certainly dark and troubling. Each character deals with their own kind of trauma and their actions and thoughts directly correlated to that. There were also some disturbing scenes which dealt with Rei and Asuka being invaded by the angels. Asuka, while battling an angel, has her mind violated and Rei, while battling, is biologically fused with an angel. During The End of Evangelion the First and Second child seemed to able to face their demons and move on. This was especially poignant with Asuka, who had been in a catatonic state, who livens up and seems genuinely happy with herself. Rei, who is almost raised as a puppet to Gendou’s wishes, in the end denies him of what he wants. Shinji however, does not seem to get past his psychological problems. There was much more closure regarding those character’s growth. If it had not been for The End of Evangelion, the characters would have ended up lacking in development. Much of the plot and how the characters acted were consistent. Excluding the end, everything progressed in a way, though not completely predictable, that made sense from a certain standpoint.
The end is rife with sexual and religious imagery. There could be much meaning behind the use of these things, but I really don’t want to pursue it in great detail. I’m fine with the impression I have and don’t want to spend to much time researching the reason behind such imagery. As compared to the end of the television series, The End of Evangelion has Shinji come that ambiguous form found in the instrumentality project. The reason for making an Ark out of he Eva for human kind is over my head.
I also noticed that this is perhaps the first anime with biological mecha. Eureka Seven Psalm of Planets is also known to have biological mecha. One problem I had with the Eva was that some of the components weren’t explained very well (Just what is an S2 engine?), so that caused some distraction.
After the close I found myself still wanting some explanations, mostly about the reasons for the angel attacks and what NERV’s or Gendou’s final intention were. The vague explanation of the angels being incompatible to human life didn’t satisfy. There is also some confusion as to what exactly happened during Second Impact.
Overall, I can see why this anime is considered so influential, but it’s still missing some points of explanation that left me wondering.
My first impressions were… well I didn’t know what to really think. The first episode starts with a six minute discussion between the characters about how they eat their various foods. The discussions and arguments are all somewhat seinfeldian, being “a long, rambling, seemly improvised conversation between characters about something that is beyond pointless, like loose shirt buttons”(tvtropes.org). I’m drawn to these sorts of discussions somehow. Anyway, the characters are all introduced: Konata Izumi, the otaku, Kagami Hiragi, the tsundere, Tsukasa Hiragi, the soothing character, and Miyuki Takahara, the clumsy yet intelligent class president. There really isn’t a plot since this is a slice of life anime, so the direction follows the various characters. Since I like shows about nothing, like Seinfeld, I guess I found myself liking this anime. After getting to know the characters a few others are introduced along the way keeping things interesting.
All of the common slice of life events take place: fireworks festival, open bath, and a school festival. Other, more uncommon events take place as well, like going to a comic convention. While watching I noticed there are many discussions about food, anime, and games, but there are also other random discussions the characters will have (discussions about the dentist, taking the train, holidays, and school related stuff). If you don’t like people talking about nothing, than you probably won’t like Lucky Star.
At the end of each episode is a segment called Lucky Channel hosted by Akira Kogami, whose voice is played by Hiromi Konno, and Minoru Shiraishi, who is played by himself. These segments are comprised of Akira and Minoru reading fan mail, talking about characters from the anime, and going through their own drama. It treats the anime as if it were a live action production. The Lucky Channel segments are some of the funniest things in the anime. It even had its own sub plot develop as the anime progressed. After Lucky Channel, for the ending, there isn’t a conventional ending song. The first twelve episodes have the friends at a Karaoke where they sing various songs, sometimes from an anime. The last twelve episodes have live action performances by Minoru Shiraishi or Hiromi Konno, which were mostly comical.
Throughout the series are plenty of references to anime, especially Full Metal Panic! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. There is even a brief cross over of characters at one point. Konata’s voice actress, Aya Hirano, is actually the same as Haruhi’s which is probably why there is more emphasis on that series. The English cast also have this in common with Wendee Lee playing the voice for both Konata and Haruhi. There are other voice actors and actresses shared between these anime. In one episode Konata cosplays as Haruhi and “immitates” her voice, which was kind of funny. The character Minami Iwasaki shares the same voice as Yuki Nagato and has a similar personality. At various times during the anime the Haruhi series is mentioned or seen in the form of manga, characters, or other things random things.
Full Metal Panic! also has its share of random appearances. FMP happens to be one of the manga that Kagami likes and she even has a Bunta-kun fluff doll in her room. The main character’s voice actor from Full Metal Panic! plays the voice for Meito Anisawa, who runs a manga/book store. For whatever reason, Konata is a prized customer of the manga market and Meito and his crew go through various encounters with her (hilarious stuff!).
Other anime you may notice are Initial D, Keroro Gunsou (Sgt. Frog), Dragonball Z, Shuffle!, and Fate Stay Night. I’ve seen Initial D parodies before, and this anime had the best.
I would definitely say that this anime would be more enjoyable if you have seen both Full Metal Panic! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, because you just won’t get some of the jokes otherwise. Understanding a bit about the manga and gaming world also wouldn’t hurt. This anime probably wouldn’t be for the anime newbie.
“You have two choices left. Be killed by us, or kill us and run away. You could also kill yourself, so actually makes three choices. Now, which one would suit you best?”
“Make me one of you!”
Rin Okumura is trying to live a normal life at a monastery where his guardian, Shiro Fujimoto, acts as priest, but suddenly his world changes. The demon blood haw awakened inside of him and Rin soon finds himself the target of the demons of Gehenna. In order to protect himself, Rin enters into True Cross Academy and begins his training to become an exorcist. Exorcists are part of an international organization formed to protect the material world, Assiah, from the demons of Gehenna, the world of nothingness. On the surface True Cross Academy is a prestigious school of the elite, but True Cross Academy’s secret is that it is in fact the headquarters of the Japanese Branch of the exorcist organization.
It started off awesomely, but became kind of mediocre towards the end. Well… I hear that one of the problems with the series is the so called “gecko” ending, which has to do with the anime branching off on its own because the manga’s still going. Other than that, I have a few other problems with the series.
At first the pace was good, characters and information were introduced well enough as the situation presented itself, but as things progressed those ideas weren’t developed properly. The main character Rin Okumura attends True Cross academy both as a normal student and as an exorcist student. It was disappointing to see so little of the structure of how student life was in both the normal and exorcist classes. All of the attention was focused on the exorcist side of things, and that I can understand. I can’t help myself from wondering what his normal school life is like, which is never covered. Only a few choice moments of exorcist tutelage were sampled and these were never the prime focus of the episode, mostly because of the random demon attacks and security slip ups throughout the academy.
I would rather of had Rin go up against some kind of crazy exorcist exam reminiscent to the ninja exam in Naruto then watch a series that doesn’t know what it wants.
One of my main issues with the treatment of Rin’s character development was his exorcist training. There seemed to at first be a stress on having Rin focus more on actual exorcist skills rather than rely on his demon powers, but as the story continued he only relied on those powers more and more until even those around him were pretty much telling him to rely on those powers and specifically train them. It was overly inconsistent with how Rin was to develop as a character. My original impression was that using his demonic power was dangerous and therefore he would train in one of the classes of exorcist and move away from using his blue flames. It just never happens. There’s not much keeping him from using his physical strength, which in some ways is tied to his demonic nature, but he could definitely limit the use of his exclusive blue flame abilities.
I’ve also heard by others mention that the secondary characters serve little point during the anime. The only reason they exist, as far as I can tell, is for Rin to develop his human qualities and diminish his demonic ones. None of the secondary characters have any place in any of the important fights. Instead, they all end up relying on Rin and his unique flames to finish the job, whether they are aware of it or not. One of the characters, Shiemi Moriyama, turned out to be surprisingly reliable. Other characters, when they did have their moments, were still overshadowed by Rin.
For me, my favorite glimpses into Rin’s character were the times he wasn’t fighting–most notably his encounters with Ukobach and Kuro.The sentimental moments were one of the better parts to this anime. The comedic moments weren’t bad either. I just don’t find the fights to be very memorable (nothing special or spectacular about it). It’s hard to see the point in all of various classes of exorcist when there aren’t any enemies to exploit the weaknesses inherent in each class. I would like to see more intelligence in my fights; I certainly don’t want to see the main conflicts solved by brute force and no technical skill whatsoever. I would have been more satisfied with a fuller treatment of how the various exorcist classes function and how those abilities are taught. All of it remains to some degree ambiguous.
Another question: Where are all of the skilled exorcist? With everything that happened I would like to have seen the experienced exorcists fight. I’m not too interested in a bunch of newbie exorcist who hardly grow at all during the series. Comparatively there seems to be little difference between the new exorcist and the more expert exorcists. We mostly only see the difference between Rin and the rest of the exorcist students.
The various plots that rose up during the story didn’t go anywhere. What were Mephisto’s intentions? What was the point of Amaimon fighting Rin? It bothers me that instead of following up on those ideas to create an overarching plot that they invented a new plot out of nowhere to finish up the series (the “gecko” ending).
I enjoyed the comedy and the sentimentality, but overall the series has one too many problems. This anime had great potential, but the development of the plot and characters was squandered away, so it never really met my expectations.
My favorite characters from the series were Shiro Fujimoto, Rin’s guardian who raised both him and his brother, and Mephisto Pheles, principal of True Cross Academy and Japanese Branch Exorcist leader. I would love to see some kind of prequel anime starring these two.
Plot: First half: 7/10, Second half: 2/10 Animation: 8/10 Characters: 5/10 Music (excluding OP and ED): 5/10 Comedy: 8/10 Sentimental rating: 8/10
What I thought would be a childish endeavor turned out to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.
Once upon a time… a man died. In his last story was the tale of a kind prince who was to defeat a monster raven. Yet now there would no longer be a conclusion to that story, but strange things have begun to happen within this town of stories and reality. A young girl, Ahiru, attends ballet school with her friends under the tutelage of Neko-sensei (who is in fact a cat, as his name suggests), yet she is wondering about the mysterious boy student, Mytho. “Looking at those lonely eyes… there must be some sort of reason for them.” Well, Ahiru causes Mythos to twist his ankle in a little accident and plans to apologize to him.
But wait! What’s this? Mytho is trying to catch a falling baby bird! “The prince is falling. The main character is going to die. What will happen to this story? … Will the prince be saved?”
“That’s right! I’ll save the prince.”
“Have you remembered who you are?”
“I am… Princess Tutu!”
What she also remembers is that she is just a duck.
“Who are you? Have you remembered Ahiru-chan? Yes, you are a duck.”
How this duck takes the form of girl I’ll leave to the viewing.
Back to the story of the prince and monster raven… During his battle with the raven, the brave prince, using a forbidden power, took out his own heart to seal the raven away. The pieces of his heart scattered across the town and found their way into the cracks of people’s hearts. Princess Tutu endeavors to return those pieces back to the prince, but where will that lead the story? While gaining a heart could mean bringing back both warmth and tranquility, doesn’t it also mean bring back unhappiness, pain, and loneliness as well?
This series had great character development. One gets their original impression of the various main characters as they meet them in the beginning, but the characters are rapidly changing. As the story develops the characters are forced into new roles and play parts that wouldn’t be expected. I was really surprised about how some characters turned out.
Just what are his intentions?
Although the plot seems simple enough, there’s definitely something going on that you can’t quite put your finger on. Why are stories and reality becoming mixed together? Isn’t it strange for characters from story to have come to life in this town? Just what is going on? I invite you to watch this great anime to find out with the words of Ahiru,
I wish to become a better player of the game Go, but learning by myself has great drawbacks. Where I live there aren’t any Go clubs nor does there seem to be anyone who is interested in the game. Go problems, instructional books, and playing online only take me so far. It’s frustrating not having anyone around to play with outside of the internet.