Get Involved

I’m watching Kuroko’s Basketball / Kuroko no Basket on VRV / Crunchyroll. I have a Haikyuu void and wanted to watch a sports anime that was uplifting. I attempted to watch Battery on Amazon Prime, but then I started getting the vibe that was not going the direction I was hoping. I may give it another chance down the road. So far Kuroko’s Basketball is exactly what I was looking for.

Tetsuya Kuroko, one of the esteemed members of the Generation of Miracles (a group of elite players from Teiko Junior High) is now attending Seirin High. He was on a team that always won, but he’s looking for something more. In this aspect, he reminds me of Haiji Kiyose from Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru. Kiyose was looking for the an answer essentially to the question, “what is running?” I think Kuroko is looking for what is basketball. In episode five, of season one, Kuroko has a conversation with his former teammate, who was also a member of the Generation of Miracles, Ryouta Kise. Kuroko thinks there’s more to basketball than just winning, and he wants to find out what that is.

Kise really wanted Kuroko to attend the same high school as him, so they could continue playing together. Kise views Kuroko as a friend and enjoys being around him, and sees him as a valuable teammate. So he was disappointed that Kuroko rejected him. It reminded me of Haikyuu’s Ushijima telling Oikawa, “you should’ve come to Shiratorizawa” (with slightly less intensity).

He must have abs of steel with balance like that.

At Seirin High School, Kuroko meets an impressive player named Taiga Kagami. Together, they’re a fearsome duo on the basketball court. Kuroko, with his seemingly lack of presence, and Kagami with his impressive build and abilities, help Seirin win their first practice match against Kaijou High (Kise’s school). Initially people are dismissive of Kuroko, until they see him in action. He is the linchpin for Seirin’s basketball team. His stealthy maneuvers, and misdirection, contribute to the effectiveness of their plays.

One phenomenal skill Kuroko has is being aware of his surroundings and reading people and their intentions. It might seem trivial, because in sports often athleticism prevails, but it is vital. It helps him play as an instrumental member of the Seirin team (especially since he is considered weak in other aspects). This ability is also helpful in day-to-day life. Being aware of his surroundings, means he noticed what was happening behind him on the basketball court, and ran over to help before Kise and Kagami even noticed. Demonstrating his strength of character and integrity, Kuroko ran over to intervene on behalf of the bullied students without hesitation.

It’s one thing to notice an injustice, but it takes a certain level of strength, character, and integrity to stand up against it (especially if you’re alone). The students didn’t ask for his help, but I’m sure they appreciated Kuroko’s intervention. In real life, cases of bullies and injustice, may call for action that isn’t direct. But sometimes direct is the right approach.

I’m glad there are still guys like that these days, especially in real life. We need them more now than ever.

Just in time, Kagami and Kise show up to help. Despite being opponents during the practice game, Kise and Kagami join forces to support Kuroko when he stands up to the bullies. The trio take on the entire group of bullies, and emerge victorious. The students are in awe.

After their stand against the bullies, Kagami lectures Kuroko about being aware of the consequences of one’s actions and safety. Kuroko’s response provokes Kagami’s ire, but Kise chuckles and commends Kuroko for being amazing. I have to agree with him. Not a lot of people would get involved to help others, especially strangers, but Kuroko did without hesitation.

Seeing how happy Kise is after their brief game against the bullies, shows how much he enjoys playing with Kuroko. Plus he admires the strength of character he has, and who Kuroko is as a person.

I’m enjoying Kuroko’s Basketball / Kuroko no Basket. Hopefully the rest of the series will be just as enjoyable. Give it a shot and see see what you think.

Regular Sized Is Just Fine!

Regular sized is just fine! I’ll even make do with fun sized!”

“Such low-class company for such a high-class place.”

Between that, and her nosebleeds, what will he do with her?

I stumbled upon this on YouTube, and it made me laugh. I may watch Assassination Classroom. Debating because I heard the ending of the anime would make me cry. I already cry from shows very easily.

When we used to go to movie theaters, even trailers would make me sob. I got teased more than once for that. But the funniest time, was when I was sobbing over a movie trailer about a dog being reunited with Dennis Quaid, and the guy behind me was crying too. His friends were just laughing it up. It felt nice that I wasn’t alone in crying at a movie trailer. No, I did not ask for his number, but maybe I should’ve! That’s why I tend to gravitate towards comedy, slice-of-life, supernatural, and romance genres for anime. Sometimes shows will catch me off guard with a heart-breaking, or heart-warming, scene that will make me cry. I try to avoid upsetting shows if possible. Real life is stressful enough, so I prefer a blissful escape when it comes to entertainment.

Much like when we read books, or watch shows, even if the story is fictional, the feeling is real. As best explained by Nathan W. Pyle’s comic below. You can see more of his work, and check out his merchandise, on his website https://www.nathanwpyle.art/

Dirty Sinner

That awkward moment when you run into one of your students at the store while you’re holding adult material…

Yes before and after…is probably what Pin is thinking to himself…she’s actually just worried he is getting sick…

Yes, you dirty sinner! What a guilty conscience he has lol.

Seriously, Pin?! Was the adult video that mesmerizing?!

You know what, I’m not even going to speculate what type of thing he’s into.

Well. At least he looks happy.

Weaklings Must Call In Sick (The Nerve!)

I’ve tried a couple times to watch Kimi ni Todoke, but the secondhand embarrassment was tangible and too real, too painful, and I never made it past the first fifteen minutes of the very first episode. So much cringing. However, Right Stuf had a promo, and seeing their ad made me want to give it another try. And I’m glad I did. I’m watching on Hulu and VRV/Crunchyroll.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Sawako Kuronuma (nickname: Sadako), is enjoying her high school life. Her character design reminds me of Sunako Nakahara from The Wallflower / Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Kuronuma’s fateful run in with Shouta Kazehaya, leading to their friendship and his positive influence in her life, energized her to take chances to interact more with her classmates and peers. He supports and encourages her to be herself. The scene on the stairs in the third episode, when they express their shared appreciation for each other’s positive influence, was touching. In real life, it’s not as easy being unfiltered with others, or sharing what we admire and appreciate about them. I feel comfortable expressing it, but it can be a challenge receiving it. Is one way easier or harder for you?

Ayane Yano, Chizuru Yoshida, and Ryu Sanada are in Kuronuma’s friend circle too. They, and Kazehaya, have all stood up for Kuronuma. She was the subject of bullying (especially the behind the scenes type of bullying girls are notorious for, if you’ve seen Mean Girls, or are a girl yourself, you’ve likely seen this behavior). I’m only on episode eight of the first season, but some of the ways they’ve stood up for her include; Kazehaya standing up to the class when they make rude comments about Kuronuma from the night of the Test of Courage, when he says aloud for the bullies to hear that he detests hateful gossip, when Yano, Yoshida, and Kazehaya move their seats next to Kuronuma when others avoided her (Sanada I suspect just wanted the window seat but he didn’t avoid her like the others), the girls stood up for her when she was cornered by the bullies in the ladies room, and when asked his thoughts on Kuronuma and the rumors, Sanada pointed out the unrealistic possibility of that being remotely true. Being a good friend to another person, means being a good friend to them even when they’re not around. Kuronuma’s close friends love and care for her, and they don’t give the opinions of others a second thought. Knowing all of the hurdles she’s overcome and how lonely she felt, especially with everyone calling her Sadako (from The Ring), it’s wonderful to see her finally happy. One other comment, about the bullying scene from the bathroom, sometimes intervention depends on a person’s comfort level. While Hirano and Endo didn’t feel physically, emotionally, or mentally capable of taking on the group of girl bullies, they did run to get help. Standing up for your friends can be expressed in various ways. Yes it might’ve been more helpful if they had directly intervened, but it makes me think of all the others who saw Kuronuma bullied over the years who did absolutely nothing. Seeing how Yoshida and Yano stood up for her, Kuronuma finally realizes they are friends, and have been friends all along.

I enjoy the moments when the friends are relaxing together and being themselves. Yano and Yoshida see the blossoming romance between Kazehaya and Kuronuma (even if Kuronuma herself is unaware). After intentionally making Kazehaya jealous (proving he liked Kuronuma), of course the girls can’t resist giving Kazehaya a hard time as he walks Kuronuma home.

Joking aside, Shouta Kazehaya truly is a gentlemen. He has integrity and is an authentic person. He is a leader without trying, he makes it look effortless. Everyone feels welcomed in his presence, and he “sees” those around him. He’s present. That smile puts everyone at ease. Do you know people like that in real life? I do. Their energy is positive and uplifting. They’re sincere in their words and actions. I aspire to be that way. I’m authentic, but I don’t know about uplifting and positive. Maybe one day.

This shoujo anime, Kimi Ni Todoke, has humor. Not as much as others I’ve watched in the past, but the parts that are funny make me laugh out loud. Try to overcome the hurdle of the horrible secondhand embarrassment that this show has so much of. I haven’t felt this much embarrassment since watching Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji. Here is a funny moment from episode eight of the first season. The class is discussing the upcoming Sports Festival with their teacher, Pin. I suspect if I was in their class, Pin would strongly encourage me to take a sick day (the nerve!).

Give the show a chance if you haven’t already. Or if you tried before, give it another opportunity? Maybe you will like it the third time, like I did. There are a lot of positive messages in this show. Perhaps there will be less drama and less secondhand embarrassment in the future episodes. I’m only on episode eight, but I’d prefer less cringing. Hoping everything works out for this group of friends!

Aries Hangover

Me, an Aries, reflecting on my actions afterwards.

Note she didn’t say they weren’t true. But some things just shouldn’t be said.

Watching Gakuen Alice on DVD. It’s also on VRV / Crunchyroll.

Dodgeball

I just started watching Gakuen Alice on VRV / Crunchyroll. It is absurd and hilarious. The main character, Mikan Sakura, reminds me of Sana Kurata from Kodomo no Omocha / Kodocha. In the episode I’m currently watching, Mikan is attempting to recruit members to play on her dodgeball team. Since students are able to use their special abilities in the game, her classmates are reluctant to join her team. They’re hesitant because the other team’s leader, Natsume Hyuuga, has the ability to use fire. Unfortunately with Mikan’s special ability being nullification, she is disheartened to know it may be useless in the game. As she reviews her list of players, it gave me pause to wonder what she would write about me if I was on her team! I guess curly-perm isn’t the worst thing to be called, but she needs to learn people’s names!

Must Protect Little Sister

Daily Lives of High School Boys is a comedy/slice of life that I’m watching on VRV / Crunchyroll. Usually the boys find themselves in funny or awkward situations. But this episode was more serious and heart-felt. Tadakuni has a little sister, and she has a problem. She goes to her brother’s friends to ask for help. A boy confessed to her, she refused him, said she was lippy to him, and then he hit her. Regardless of whatever she said, he should not have hit her. However, having watched the previous episodes, I know the little sister hits Tadakuni and his friends all the time. They never hit her back. Be that as it may, when she asks for help from Tadakuni’s friends, even though they’ve been on the receiving end of her blows, they go straight into Papa Bear mode. They even break their mugs they’re so irate that someone would hurt her.

Little Sister asks for their help since the boy wants to meet with her again. I think it was good she asked for help and told someone. It is a potentially unsafe situation. Motoharu wants to go. Karasawa thinks the problem would be best solved if Little Sister addresses it herself. I understand where Karasawa is coming from. Neither boy looks happy as Little Sister leaves the room.

As we see below, she can actually count on all of her brother’s friends, not just Karasawa.

She meets with the boy and addresses the issue directly. Despite her anxiety and tummy troubles, she goes. The boy doesn’t cause her additional harm. He apologizes for his behavior.

If the situation had gone south, she had a host of bodyguards waiting in the wings. I love that they each went there on their own, to make sure she was safe. Afterwards they realize that the other guys each had the same instinct. Yet, her own brother didn’t know. Maybe she didn’t feel comfortable talking to him about it. The fact that the friends each showed up on their own accord, shows how much they care for her, it wasn’t a favor to their friend. When you have good friends like that, their family can feel like your family too. So of course you’d want to protect them.

Onki: The Cause of Epidemics?

I’m watching Season Two of Hozuki’s Coolheadedness / Hoozuki no Reitetsu on VRV / Crunchyroll. Sentai is having a great sale, a lot of their anime is 95% off including Hozuki, so you may want to take a look at their site. In this episode of Hozuki, the gang assists the tengu police with an investigation and goes on a search for the inhabitants of Ogre Island.

Personality

I used to work in retail. Back when I was in college I worked at one of my favorite stores, the Gap (when I was little and I watched those ads of everyone dancing they always cheered me up). I met the greatest people and had such a blast working there. It was so easy to fold jeans, or work on the khaki wall, while chatting with your co-workers! I enjoyed doing the cash register because I could easily knock out long lines. I was not a big fan of the fitting room because people did really gross things in there and no matter how much I cleaned it always felt dirty. Yet I’d often get assigned there because I was, “good with customers.” It was fun doing window displays and floor sets. The few times I was assigned to shipping or the stock room it was always a good time. It was like an assembly line and we always worked diligently while enjoying each other’s company. I also liked the music they played at Gap. And songs you thought you hated, would grow on you after hearing them repeatedly in an eight hour shift!

Where am I going with this and does it relate at all to anime? Lol well I was watching Hozuki’s Coolheadedness / Hoozuki no Reitetsu on VRV / Crunchyroll and there was a scene that reminded me of a very funny moment I had at Gap. Don’t read this and think I’m fishing for compliments. I truly did find it hilarious and of course I couldn’t resist teasing the person who told me.

It was a busy day, and I ran into the Gap stockroom looking for an item for a customer. As I entered I was greeted by one of my pals who has a great sense of humor. It was just us in the stockroom. He looks at me, and with great enthusiasm and gusto, he announced; “Look! It’s the girl voted best personality at Gap!” Okay so in a second I’ve gathered that my dear friends, maybe just the guys, have been chatting and they’ve given me this great distinction. But as as you read this, your first reaction may be the same as mine.

I know he is being sincere, and I do truly take it as a compliment. I enjoy conversations with people and making them laugh. I’ve had boyfriends, some serious, in my lifetime. I don’t think I’m a complete troll. But I also get what’s on the other side of this coin. And if you know me, you know I cannot resist a perfect opportunity to give people sh*t.

“Really, Tobias*?”

I get a blank look. He meant it as a compliment. I have a feeling the others don’t know he told me. And if they suspected he would tell me, they would’ve told him not to. Not because they didn’t mean it, but because they know how it sounds. And they know I like good-natured teasing.

I say thank you and give a little mischievous grin. I go back to looking for my customer’s item.

After a few minutes I ask him about his weekend. We chat a bit. Then I ask, as I’m still searching for this item, “Hey I have a cousin you might like! You should meet her.” You already know what’s coming. His reaction is enthusiastic and positive, and he asks…drumroll…”What does she look like?” I reply with, “Well she’s got a great personality.” THE LOOK. Maybe briefly let down? Maybe a flutter of dejection?

I cannot hold it in anymore. I am laughing so hard I almost bust a gut. I look at my walkie and headset to make sure I’m not live, otherwise all the other Gap employees will ask me what’s going on because they want to laugh too. A manager might also come looking for me, maybe to yell at me, and to ask what in the world is so funny.

Tobias has a look of confusion and bewilderment.

No I don’t have a cousin for you! I was trying to make a point about what you said about me having the best personality!!!”

Now he realizes what it implies. Now he’s laughing. He says it’s not how it was intended! I always take into account various things when I interact with people. How they seem, their mood, body language, vibe, pattern of behavior, etc. And being friends with him, and the other employees for so long, I know it’s not anything meant to offend. If this sounds like a humble brag it was not my intention. I am honored they think highly of me. Plus the girl who was voted prettiest (because I already knew that had to be a point of discussion) was who I would’ve picked too! So I’m not even upset about that. Maybe if they had picked someone I disagreed with I could’ve been offended lol.

We could go into a whole dialogue of looks shouldn’t matter, you can’t help who you’re attracted to, things that seem hypocritical, society pressures, cultural elements, etc. but I personally just viewed this one moment, this one interaction, at a job I loved, with friends I adored, as something that made me laugh. And I was reminded of this when I laughed at the scene below from Hozuki’s Coolheadedness / Hoozuki no Reitetsu.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent (or guilty? you decide lol)

I also included some vintage Gap commercials just because I like them.

Even Kodama, who looks horrified, knows what that implies!

Nerves

What do you do when you’re nervous or stressing out? Changing your focus and envisioning a positive outcome can help. Practice and trust in your training. Faith. Meditation. Music. Movement, like running or yoga. Rest. There are a lot of ways people handle nervous energy. Or you could view it as excitement. Sometimes our tummies can give away our nervousness. Hinata knows that very well. I’m watching Season Two of Haikyu on Hulu. In this episode, Yamaguchi is nervous about playing in the spring tournament. The thought of him repeating his blunder from the last competition makes him anxious. Yachi tries to cheer him up, but as he tells her about his ordeal, his anxiety quickly transfer to her. The group tries to make sense of it. Having experienced that on the receiving end, I totally get it. So maybe Shimizu’s guess was pretty accurate. Of course Hinata can’t resist poking at Kageyama!

True. But it’s up to us how we choose to react to it and how we handle the situation. Check out how the Karasuno Crows handle their stress, on Hulu!