Tomoko Kuroki – A Girl in a Hard Shell, Looking Out

If you were to ask me to name the most relatable characters I’ve come across in fiction, Tomoko Kuroki would be one of the first to come to mind. I’m not very much like her and haven’t really had many experiences like hers, but I can clearly understand where she’s coming from and heavily empathize and sympathize with her. All of her mood swings, her thoughts about herself and others, her hopes and dreams, her doubts and fears, and every other aspect of her character feel very down-to-earth and true to how people think, behave, and react. These things are the mark of good character writing and execution in general, but I feel like they’re just a little bit truer of Tomoko than of most other well-crafted characters I’ve seen, primarily because her story is a very normal one to begin with, rather than something more fantastical or dramatic.

Well…it’s only fantastical and dramatic to her.

That story, WataMote (full title Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!, or No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m not Popular!), is all about Tomoko and her attempts to become popular upon entering high school. Sort of. That’s a very simplified, generalized, basic outline of the plot of the show, which is sparse. What WataMote is really about is a teenage girl with massive, crippling social anxiety who has an unrealistic view of what her high school life “should” be like, and has become frustrated, resentful, despondent, and lonely as a result of her perpetual, seemingly unalterable isolation.

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Yurikuma Arashi – What’s Up with the Bee in Episode 04?

Wow, what an episode! Because the previous three episodes had established so many of the ideas, concepts, themes, metaphors, and symbols, this episode was able to take all of those things and, by presenting many of them in a very different way and in a very different context, shed some light on where the show is going with all of this in a broader sense. I’m sure it will still be about lesbians, sexuality, and how those things are treated and viewed in society, but this episode brought to the fore some of the more subtle ideas about how we view each other and how society affects those views that have popped up here and there in the previous episodes.

Even though I have to cover many of the more general ideas and themes in the episode in order for the more specific ones to be fully coherent and understandable, since this piece is only about those things, I’m not going to talk much at all about the other parts of the episode. There are some excellent rundowns of the episode as a whole (and of the previous episodes) that you can find on Wrong Every Time (much thanks to Bobduh for prompting me to write this!; there’s also some great stuff in the comments on his articles) and on Gabriella Ekens’s review for Anime News Network.

As this is an analysis, it will not be spoiler-free.

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Update January 4, 2015

Well, it’s been over half a year since my last update, and I’ve only written one post, which was also more than half a year ago. I haven’t abandoned this blog, and I fully intend to post more here in the future. I have one piece in particular that I’m slowly working on, and which will be in progress for quite a while to come. The bigger problem is that I haven’t had anything to write about. Or, more accurately, I haven’t perceived much of anything to write about, at least not at the level of thoroughness that I think would be worth writing up a post for. As I’ve tried to watch things more critically, and thought about what that actually entails, I’ve realized more and more that I really don’t have any idea what I’m doing. I’ve been coming at this blindly, and what’s been happening is that I’ll notice something here or there, and maybe it’ll be worth writing about, but more often than not, it’s not.

I realized that I don’t know what goes into an audiovisual work, so that’s where I need to start. I got my hands on an introductory-level textbook that seems promising, so hopefully as I work through that and gain a better understanding of what to look for and how to piece things together through practice I’ll start having more to write about. In hindsight, I started this blog very prematurely. But I don’t see any point in deleting or abandoning it just to make it again when I have a better idea of what I’m doing, so I figure what makes the most sense is to keep it and post what I can that’s worthwhile.

Despite what I just said, I have done a couple things. The first is that I edited or completely changed some of the posts in the “Anime Wisdom” section. In particular, my thoughts on Aizen’s quote from Bleach and Izaya’s quote from Durarara!! have been completely re-written. The second thing is that I started a Tumblr blog as a less formal extension of this blog that, due to its format, gives me the freedom to post a much wider variety of things. I’ve written a couple short pieces there that fall into the category of being things that I think are worthwhile to write about, but that are not at the level of thoroughness I want for this blog.

I’m still here, and I’ll try to post more of the things I can write about, such as adding some entries to the “Names in Anime” section. I hope you’ve had a good holiday season! 🙂


What’s a drool-bond?

As I’ve said in other places on this blog, I think that understanding is very important. In the context of relationships, understanding helps us to more fully connect with the other person, creating a stronger bond. Mysterious Girlfriend X takes this idea literally, giving it a physical existence in the form of the drool-bond.

I love that they did this. It brings up the idea that no matter how hard you try, no matter how close you become, it is literally impossible to be able to tell exactly how another person is feeling, and then it does something about it, using the drool-bond to eliminate that barrier.

That’s all well and good, but what is this drool-bond? Urabe clearly states in the first episode that there’s nothing special about her drool. If this is indeed true, how can her drool do the things it does? How can it let her and Tsubaki literally share their emotions with each other? How can it let her see his dreams and thoughts?

Say “aaaaah”.

As this is an analysis, it will not be spoiler-free.

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Update June 8, 2014

Whew. I’m finally done adding initial content. This consists of several things I’d typed up on my computer in the past, some of which I edited or re-wrote when I added them to the blog so they’d be up to standard, or at least as close as I could manage. There are still things I’ve typed up that I haven’t added to the blog, but those are currently in a more tentative and/or incomplete state. In short, I’m done adding my backlog.

What’s currently up is:

  • The “About” page.
  • A couple posts on the “Analysis” page, both of which still show up on the front page of the blog.
  • My first entry on the “Names in Anime” page, which is a sub-page under the “Analysis” page, and which I’m rather proud of. 😀
  • The first several entries on the “Anime Wisdom” page.

I haven’t written any reviews or editorials yet. I’m trying to decide what to do my first review over, and am also mulling over an idea I have for an editorial.

So, from this point on, it’s going to be new content!

I’m curious to hear what people think about the organization and content of the blog so far. If you have any comments or criticisms to make about that, or about anything else, feel free to share. 🙂


Understanding Yuuji’s Drastic Change in Shakugan no Shana III ~Final~. Or, Why Yuuji Sakai is an Oblivious Dick.

Similarly to my first blog post, this post is taken from a comment I made in response to a review on Amazon. However, unlike my first blog post, this post is much more of a rewrite, as opposed to an edit.

As this is an analysis, it will not be spoiler-free.

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On Kagome Higurashi

I initially wrote this as a comment in response to a review on Amazon. It was the first time I felt like I had written something that was halfway decent from an analytical standpoint, so I think it’s fitting that this be my first blog post, even though I think I’ve gotten a little better since then.

This isn’t a verbatim copy/paste. In addition to cleaning up some of the writing, I’ve edited it to work better as a standalone piece.

As this is an analysis, it will not be spoiler-free.

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