Big Sis Saeko

I just watched episode 14, of season 4, of Haikyu on VRV / Crunchyroll. I was already a big fan of Tanaka’s older sister, Saeko, but I’m an even bigger fan now.

Saeko is her own person, she lives life to the fullest, and she has such an energetic sense of being that she positively influences those around her. Plus she is confident, loves to laugh, and have fun. Saeko supports her brother and his teammates, even driving them to practices, and cheering them on during their games. She plays the Taiko drum, and she and her friends showed up just in time to support the Karasuno volleyball team during Nationals. They played a large part in easing the pressure the team felt on the court. It’s understandable why Nishinoya and Hinata reacted the way they did.

Quarantine Watch List II

Is this still considered quarantine? I’m limiting my exposure to others, especially considering the health concerns of myself and loved ones. So I’ll be at home continuing to watch anime in my free time. Let’s be honest, even if it wasn’t quarantine I’d be doing that. Instead of continuously updating my original post https://empathmeetsanime.com/2020/04/09/quarantine-watch-list/ I figured I’d start this new post. Overall I enjoyed the majority of the anime I watched and I wanted to track them. In case you’re wondering, the * is for the ones I loved (keeping in mind I tend to prefer comedy, romance, sports, or slice-of-life anime; so if you dislike those they may not be for you).

Kyoukai no Rinne / Rin-ne Season One*

https://myanimelist.net/anime/28423/Kyoukai_no_Rinne_TV

Senryuu Shoujo / Senryu Girl

https://myanimelist.net/anime/38787/Senryuu_Shoujo

Kyoukai no Rinne / Rin-ne Season Two

https://myanimelist.net/anime/31610/Kyoukai_no_Rinne_TV_2nd_Season

Kuroko no Basket / Kuroko’s Basketball Season One*

https://myanimelist.net/anime/11771/Kuroko_no_Basket

Kuroko no Basket / Kuroko’s Basketball Season Two

https://myanimelist.net/anime/16894/Kuroko_no_Basket_2nd_Season

Kuroko no Basket / Kuroko’s Basketball Season Three

https://myanimelist.net/anime/24415/Kuroko_no_Basket_3rd_Season

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii / The World is Still Beautiful*

https://myanimelist.net/anime/22101/Soredemo_Sekai_wa_Utsukushii

Akatsuki no Yona / Yona of the Dawn

https://myanimelist.net/anime/25013/Akatsuki_no_Yona

Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler Season One

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=4898

B-gata H-kei / Yamada’s First Time

https://myanimelist.net/anime/7817/B-gata_H-kei

Otome Youkai Zakuro*

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=8476

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes / Holmes of Kyoto*

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=37458

Kuroko no Basket Movie: Last Game

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=31658

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.

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!

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day

I just started watching Free! on VRV / Crunchyroll. It’s a sports anime about swimming. When I was at Otakon last year, I met a nice Mother and Daughter who I ate dinner with (they were visiting from PA), and they recommended this anime. I’m only five minutes into the first episode. But is this fellow older now, and out of college? And available in real life? He can make breakfast for me anytime. I’ll eat fish on toast.

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!

The Next Captain

I had to take a break from watching Taishou Yakyuu Musume / Taisho Baseball Girls. Shockingly being a woman in the 1920’s was not as liberating as one might think, and parts were depressing. No one wanted these girls to play baseball because they felt it was unbecoming and unladylike. Their families were focused on their daughter’s marriage prospects. And they couldn’t even have male friends without receiving a lecture. Parts of the show were heavy. I would not have done well during that time. If I was born under those circumstances perhaps I would’ve felt differently? All I know is, I am very grateful to be born when I was. On top of the other oppressive circumstances that came with being a woman during that time period, they were even chastised for running! They were told that it was too vulgar!

So, why not watch a team of boys being fully supported in their athletic endeavors??? Ha, yes I know that is ironic. I actually didn’t seek that out, it was a recommended anime on the VRV page, so I started watching. But I really am enjoying the sports anime, Days! Tsukushi Tsukamoto, the main character, is new to soccer and is improving upon his skills every day. Tsukamoto likes the camaraderie of being on a team and the shared goals and support. While not their most talented player, his determination, drive, and passion makes him the heart of the team. He reminds me a lot of Deku, from My Hero Academia. A lot of people counted him out, but his best friend who introduced him to the sport, Jin Kazama, saw his potential. So did the captain of their soccer team, Hisahito Mizuki.

During training camp with other schools, Seiseki’s soccer team makes quite an entrance. The reputation of their soccer team, and their captain Mizuki, leaves everyone in awe.

However, Tsukamoto’s smaller frame, makes him the subject of ridicule. The other teams make false assumptions about his ability. While new to the sport, he has made strides due to his commitment to training. He is better than he was at the beginning of the anime. Instead of being recognized for the player he is for Seiseki High School, everyone thinks he is the team’s manager.

Now that all the teams have arrived, it’s time to run up a horrible hill! What fun training for their first day of camp!

Around this time, the athletes are wondering, who is running ahead? What school? Who is the person is at the forefront? As you’ve certainly guessed, they’re about to learn why rushing to judge someone, isn’t wise.

“Read the mood of the crowd already!” LOL

He really is a super fan! Look at that heart. I wonder if he got that autograph he requested from “the manager.”

I’m only a few episodes in, but I’m enjoying it so far! I’m watching on VRV / Crunchyroll.

Is Running Great?

Is running great? Several years ago my very supportive friends Ken and Jose encouraged me to run. With their help and support, plus those of my other friends like Linda and Matt, I trained for and completed my first 5k. Later I did the Army Ten Miler and two half-marathons. After getting sidelined with a fracture (learn from me, don’t let a small dog with a big bark distract you, lose your footing, and then tumble down a hill and have a very disgraceful landing), running didn’t feel the same, like my mechanics felt off. I should point out, that the doctor first told me it was a sprain, and later I saw a specialist who told me it was actually a fracture. More recently I started walking/jogging in bootcamp classes and I continued during quarantine trying to get outside for fresh air. I’m starting all over, in terms of getting my body acclimated, but it does remind me of the parts of running I enjoyed. I liked feeling accomplished after I hit a distance I wanted to cover, or when I could run straight for longer periods of time. I enjoyed feeling light on my feet. And shockingly, thankfully, my legs and muscles responded really well to running, and I lost weight. Watching Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run With the Wind, reminded me of those pleasant memories. The memories of running when it was great.

I’m watching Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind on VRV / Crunchyroll. The DVD is also available from Sentai.

Akihiro Hirata tells Yukihiko Iwakura, that running has helped him prioritize his health. Hirata noticed he was short of breath while running so he quit smoking, and to keep his hands busy he has been creating wire figures.

What makes someone a runner? Is it enough to just enjoy it? Do you have to always be training for the next event or goal? Maybe running is different things to different people. Haiji Kiyose leaves an impression upon Kakeru Kurahara, that running is something that all people can participate in, and enjoy. It isn’t reserved solely for the elite.

Now that the group is adjusting to their two-a-day training, they look forward to learning even more, and taking their training to the next level. Some are more excited than others. I didn’t expect him to run with a notebook, but I guess Takashi Sugiyama came prepared.

If you like sports anime, or are curious how running is portrayed in anime, you might want to check out Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind. I’m only a few episodes in, but so far I’m enjoying it!

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.