Dead Monday Q&A: Second Edition—Waifu Status, Anime History, & More!

Thanks once again to everyone who asked questions during my second Dead Monday Q&A. As long as these keep being successful, I’ll keep doing them!

I answered a lot more questions than I could fit into this post, so if you want to read all the questions from last night, you can find them (or ask more) on my ask.fm. So, here are some highlights from last night’s session!

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

I wish someone had asked me this last night…

Q: Imouto, Tsundere, Genki girl, Dojikko. WHICH WAIFU ARE YOU?

Well, you can ask my archetype quiz results: https://twitter.com/iblessall/status/506633247099342848

But, seriously, there are a LOT of tsundere traits that I…heh…identify with.

You know Mikorin from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun? Yeah, that’s about as close to real life me as I ever expect to see in an anime. It’s somewhat frightening.

I do have some genki traits, as well as some kuudere traits. But yeah, I’m probably a tsundere more than anything, at least to the extent that you can box in the whole of my personality by a single anime trope. I don’t hit people, though.

Q: How did you get into watching anime?

Ah, it all began back during my freshman year of college. I was a bright-eyed freshman from a Catholic family coming straight from four years of Catholic high school. I had my whole future in front of me. What went wrong?

Well, I had this great roommate. He was on the track team, had a pretty girlfriend from another college, and we were buddies. Then, one day, I come back from show choir practice and find him watching something on his laptop. A shrimpy blonde guy with his long hair in a braid and a suit of armor were clapping their hands together and fighting some vaguely humanoid blog of flesh. That’s right, he was watching Fullmetal Alchemist (the original).

Naturally, my innocent eyes were captivated by the forbidden fruit of Japanese cartoons. But my roommate was a long way into the series, around episode 35 or so. So I busted out my laptop, found my way into the infernal bowels of Hulu and its stupid premium service that still forces you to watch ads, and began watching from the beginning. And what do you know? I loved it! It was like (literally) nothing I’d seen before–I mean, okay, it was like other cartoons I had seen before, but still different—and so I was a total jerk, caught up to the episode my roommate was watching, and then kept going. I didn’t tell him, but suffered through re-watching the episodes I had already seen. After we finished the original FMA, we dove into Brotherhood (I think?). Or maybe we stopped there. Actually, I think we did.

The year after that, I got a one month free Netflix trial for the sole purpose of marathoning my way through How I Met Your Mother seasons 1-6, which I proceeded do within the astonishing and shame-worthy space of two and a half weeks. But I still had half of my free trial left! What was I to do? Crime dramas didn’t interest me, neither did soaps, or crappy movies, or reality TV shows. Then, as I was skimming through the action/adventure section, a show called Soul Eater popped up (dubbed, of course). It looked interesting, so I loaded it up and blazed my way through 51 episodes like it was nobody’s business. Then Netflix got a clue and started recommending stuff to me. Next up was Angel Beats!, and then the Netflix trial was over (I might have watched a few crap shows like Aria the Scarlet Ammo in there, too). Then I went back to Hulu and started on titles like Shakugan no Shana, D. Gray Man, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Infinite Startos (I thought it was going to be sci-fi action!), Polyphonica, Neo Angelique, and, finally, Sword Art Online.

It was soon after I watched Sword Art Online that I, somewhat discouraged by Hulu’s collection and developing tastes marginally more sophisticated in the medium, that I discovered Crunchyroll. Although Gohands’ K Project was the first show I followed weekly, it was a little anime called Attack on Titan that made me realize that I hated being behind a week on shows. Thus began my CR membership, and the rest is history.

K Project

Q: If you could write an anime, what would it be about?

Well, I gave one answer earlier tonight: http://ask.fm/iblessall/answer/118016544165

But I’m feeling generous, so I’ll also say that I’d love to write a White Album 2-esque show, except one that didn’t end in misery. White Album was on track to become one of my all-time favorite shows, but the ending just /killed/ my love for it. Call me a wimp, but it was just too awful and too sad for me to say that I “liked it.” So I’d like to redeem the best parts of that show from the ending (and all the fanservice that I apparently totally missed when I watched it), and make it into a compelling, heart-wrenching show that ultimately offers hope.

Q: Which is more appealing to you: A story with great thematic purpose, but weaker characters and narrative, OR a story with great characters and plot progression, but very little thematic ambition?

Why can’t I have it all?!? =(

I think I would take the story with great characters (or at least characters I find likable and engaging and fun to be with) over most other stories. Characters are almost always my preferred access point to a story, so weak characters make it hard for me to engage with the story the way I’d like to. A good example of this is SYD. It’s pretty much the furthest you could ever get from having “great thematic purpose” (although some people might argue that trying to stuff as many totally inappropriate jokes into 25 minutes is qualifies), but because I like all the characters, as archetypal as they are, I enjoy the show. I don’t consider it a particularly good show or a particularly valuable experience, but it was fun.

Plot is generally a non-factor for me. Yes, if it sucks, I’ll notice and be put off, but my acclimation to slice-of-life shows (and love of stuff like Non Non Biyori) has somewhat weaned me off of plot as a necessary element to my enjoyment of a story. Of course, in some mediums, like novels, I might prefer more plot without the visuals to keep me engaged, but that’s sort of a case by case basis.

In short, I definitely appreciate great thematic purpose (although what exactly that is is another whole can of worms) when it is there, and I’ve said before that I prefer to see a show fail at trying to achieve something worthwhile than succeed in achieving something worthless, but I’m not immune to fun by a long shot (pun intended) and thematic purpose isn’t essential for a story to appeal to me.

But give it all to me and I’ll be happiest. ^_^

Q: Who has your favourite character design?

I’m assuming you’re asking about specific characters, and not character designers. You better be, because I don’t know any character designers.

  • Surprise! I love Maka Albarn’s design a ton! (Soul Eater)
  • I also love Nia’s design, especially her eyes—and that color scheme is gorgeous. (Gurren Lagann)
  • Final Form Hanekawa Tsubasa is something to behold. (Monogatari Series: Second Season)
  • Pretty much any character from Blast of Tempest, but especially Mahiro and Yoshino.
  • Nisekoi’s Chitoge—the ribbon! Ah, the ribbon!
  • Zvezda’s Jimon Asuta.
  • Non Non Biyori’s Renge.
  • Hime from Yozakura Quartet (both old verison and Hana no Uta’s moe version). I love her scarf! And it has such a cute story behind it!
  • All the characters from Kyousougiga.

Man, how’s that for an exercise to remind you just how bland most male characters’ designs are…

Gurren Lagann

4 thoughts on “Dead Monday Q&A: Second Edition—Waifu Status, Anime History, & More!

  1. Oh wow, you answered my question! ^_^ Here’s a much longer follow-up:

    Do you have an ideal anime? One that you would like to exist, but not write yourself? “Man, I wish someone would make an anime with [X]…” Take this for example: I recently watched Kino’s Journey, and found out it was pretty much exactly that for me. If I hadn’t seen it, but had been to describe my ideal anime, I would very nearly be describing Kino’s Journey. But! I’d never want to write a series like that myself. Mine would be more Fantasy/Comedy with a dash of mystery and gender politics. So, do have anything like that? Maybe they’ve even made it already!

    I like your character design picks. Good male character designs are really difficult to find! I think Penguindrum has really great ones, though. Aldnoah Zero as well, even if it’s become kind of a mess recently. I think shonen series like Soul Eater are one of the few places where they actually put effort into the guys design. To many bland, light-novel MC’s out there…

    Like

    • I mean, I have yet to conceive of a show that would be a better match for me than Blast of Tempest. I don’t know if you’ve read the little blurb I wrote for it, but in there I talk about how all the characters think like me. There’s action, some romance, and a sense of both personal and worldwide significance.

      I guess if I were to try and describe not Blast of Tempest for my ideal anime, it would be something with supernatural elements in it, a romance in which the characters get together before the end of the season, a diverse and likable supporting cast, no sexual fanservice, and themes I’m interested in (agency, truth, overcoming the past, self-actualization, human connection, and learned self-disclosure). If you know of an anime like that, please let me know (although I suspect a romance that has the characters getting together before the end disqualifies almost everything). Monogatari is actually pretty close, but the amount of fanservice and overly verbose nature of the conversations knock it down a bit.

      And yeah, it makes sense that action shounen have better male character designs, because they want those guys to appear “cool” to the younger male demographic. But for all those other shows…

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      • I think if the anime you’re describing existed, EVERYONE would know about it. ^_^

        I suppose it’s quite difficult to come up with an ideal anime that way. The one that is perfect for you would have a way of sneaking up on you. I mean, it wasn’t until after my first episode of Kino that I was giddy, bouncing up and down saying “This is it! This is the one!!” It’s difficult to know exactly what you’re looking for until you see it.

        I don’t know if you’ve seen it, and it certainly doesn’t check all the boxes, but you might be interested in Ano Natsu De Matteru. It’s a romance primarily, but it’s also got the supernatural elements and likeable supporting cast you’re looking for. I don’t want to spoil exactly how the romance angle plays out, but it’s DEFINITELY no White Album 2. It’s a much more positive, happy experience than that. There is a little bit of fanservice here and there, but, it’s pretty restrained. I don’t recall it ever being degrading or in poor taste. I also really like the character designs in this one. I think it’s got a fairly positive reception overall, so it might be worth checking out!

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        • So basically I want the perfect anime? Well, crap, we all know that won’t happen. Maybe I’ll have to write it myself after all…ah, such a pain…

          & Ano Natsu De Matteru looks like something I’d enjoy! Thanks for the recommendation; I’ll definitely check it out!

          Like

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