Aniwords – Mean Girls, Anime Style

This topic’s been banging around in my head for a while since I started wondering what it was that attracted me to characters like Yuuko from AKB0048 and Miki from THE iDOLM@STER. As has been pointed out to me multiple times with both, neither are particularly nice people or the kind of person you would want as a coworker (or even as a friend, maybe!). Yet, some how I still found them enchanting. Likewise with Maka Albarn from Soul Eater, who I touch on in the article—why was it that my favorite episode of the show was the one where she’s at her very worst? Well, I think I at least somewhat cracked the code—and this piece is the result.

Here’s the link~

Hanamonogatari

6 thoughts on “Aniwords – Mean Girls, Anime Style

  1. Ami Kawashima from Toradora is a textbook mean girl. Initially coming off like a villain, it’s much more complicated and layered than that. She can be incredibly self-involved, and surprisingly generous. She is brutally honest (for good or ill) . But honesty is something in short supply in the world of Toradora.

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    • Ah, yes, Ami is a very good example, too. Her really nasty side—and the jealous side of her that compels her to be mean—are both aspects of her character that I reaaallly like. In the end, I think I still like Taiga more and sympathize with Minori more, but with Toradora!‘s cast you’re basically talking about differences in degree so tiny it’s pointless.

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  2. And Ami is an Okada character, like he mentioned in the article. I also thought of Naruko from Anohana (another Okada character). She initially comes off a bit cold, has self-image issues, and struggles with feelings of jealousy and guilt, but once you dig past the cold front and understand why she’s acting that way, you also see a good person with a warm heart and (I thought) a surprising amount of resilience.

    Outside of Okada-land, I think Yurippe from Angel Beats also fits the description pretty well. I spent about half the show wondering whether she was supposed to be a protagonist or an antagonist. Because her personality is complex, and her goals and motivations are so deeply personal to her (leading to a rather protagonist-centered moral code on her part), she ends up being a very “grey” character, but still a sympathetic one, especially once you understand what’s driving her. Haruhi isn’t the most likable character at first either – I showed the opening episodes of that series once to one of my friends who isn’t an anime fan (up through Melancholy IV), and his first comment afterwards was something like, “I’m not used to seeing a female bully as a main character.” He did like the show, though. I’m not sure if I’d call Haruhi a bully since her mistreatment of people in the early episodes comes more from a place of self-centered thoughtlessness rather than deliberate malice, but I know exactly what he meant. The first time I watched the show, I didn’t like her by the end of Melancholy II. I did like her again by the end of the series, but it took time and character growth and getting to know her.

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    • Actually, Kawashima Ami is a Takemiya character adapted by Okada. (The other Takemiya-sourced anime is Golden Time, and Kaga Koko is a piece of work, too. [I sometimes wonder if Golden Time would have been better had Okada adapted it. How much of a non-original character is part of the adaptor? It’s never easy to tell.])

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      • Yes, you’re right. And I have the fan translations of all ten Toradora novels on my Kindle, so you’d think I would’ve remembered that.

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    • Haruhi feels like a better choice to me than Yurippe. I think a lot of Yurippe’s antics fall more into the range of “supposed to be appealing,” while much of Haruhi’s negative behavior is definitely NOT supposed to make you like her more. Personally, I liked her a lot immediately, but she’s definitely not a character that’s totally cleaned up—she’s has some pretty nasty habits, which is a real good thing.

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