Egg Sale

The air is heavy. It’s been a rough week, with the events in DC, the world, and the pandemic. I find it bizarre that people would sweep things under the rug, or prefer living with their heads in the sand, to be dismissive of the atrocities, that are happening, daily. If there was ever a time to be loving, to stand up for others, to have integrity, and to learn from our past mistakes, and history, it would be now. To think of others, and to have the same care and compassion you have for your loved ones, friends, and hopefully yourself. Having said all that, I hope you are healthy and well. I am very grateful to be in good health and otherwise joyful. I am very blessed, and I try to remember that.

So, wanting a pleasant escape from the current state of affairs, I watched a new anime series, Horimiya on Hulu. I LOVED IT!!! The female lead is smart, hard-working, loving, strong, direct, fiery, passionate, funny, and full of zest! She’s a great older sister to her brother, Souta. Hori is authentic and doesn’t hold any punches. It’s refreshing to have a female character that’s sure-footed and assertive. Miyamura, the male lead, is quiet and reserved. His classmates have the false impression he’s an otaku (not that anything is wrong with that lol!). In reality…he is quiet and reserved, but he also has piercings and tattoos. He has his own style, which some may find surprising. But I wonder if that isn’t due to the requirements of their school dress code. I like that his character is free in that sense, it’s good for people to be self-expressive, and to be creative in showing their true self. Miyamura helped Souta after he had an encounter with a dog. He tended to his wounds and made sure he got home safely. Hori didn’t recognize Miyamura at first, since he dressed so differently at school. A lot of the responsibility for looking after her little brother, and taking care of things at home, fall onto Hori’s shoulders since her Mother works late. I can relate to aspects of that, having experienced that growing up. But she is a better “big sister” than I was. It would’ve been nice to have someone like Miyamura to help after school, in addition to being good company.

***SPOILER ALERT***

The first episode moved faster than I expected, which was great! I liked the pace. Our main characters meet outside of school, the tone was set for their relationship and possible development, we had an unrequited love, a battle for eggs on sale at the grocery store, and an attempt at cheer that went horribly wrong. We also found out what they liked about each other, and that they speak freely because they are comfortable with one another. Too many romance anime tap dance around awkwardness for too long (anyone seen Kimi ni Todoke?), that it was exhilarating having them just be direct. There was a moment with Miyamura tried to help someone, which didn’t turn out the way he expected, but Hori addressed the matter immediately. They each have a side they keep private (in this aspect, they reminded me of Umaru from Himouto! Umaru-chan). They bond over Hori’s brother, their shared meals, and the fact they accept each other, as their true selves. The first episode made me laugh and lifted my spirits. Some of the parts that made me chuckle are below. Do check it out, if you haven’t already!

For some reason, seeing Miyamura in this state, made me think of this song from Ferris Bueller:

Silver Spoon

I am watching Silver Spoon on VRV / Crunchyroll. I just finished the first episode. It’s a funny slice-of-life anime, about a student attending an agricultural boarding school. He selected the school because he could live there, which makes me curious about his home life and why he wants to avoid it. His name is Yugo / Yuugo Hachiken. The other students view him as different than them, because he attended a prep school. Having no experience with farm life, or agriculture, he makes rookie mistakes like chasing a calf and getting lost in the woods (instead of leaving it alone, so the instructor could entice him back into his corral with food). He is disgusted seeing where eggs come from, and he’s not used to the manual labor, and level of fitness one needs to keep up with the daily life of agriculture. However, he gives his all in completing the tasks assigned, and he has great classmates that help him integrate into campus and farm life.

What I found fascinating about this show, is it does an outstanding job of showing the real work, science, intellect, and methods behind successful agriculture and working with animals. The students who attend have various goals; to be farmers, to take over their family’s business, to become vets, to run farm-to-table restaurants, and other aspirations. I’m not sure who made this distinction, or why some societies have taken this view that career paths involving manual labor is “less” or “demeaning”, but these institutions are important and have meaning. The pandemic, quarantine, COVID, and life as we know it, has made that even more apparent. The jobs people may be dismissive about, or look down upon, truly keep society running. And agriculture, without it, where would we be? Eating chemical laden preserved foods I suppose, but that’s usually not the healthier option. The scenes below show some of the culture shock Hachiken experiences, as he realizes the full scope of attending an agricultural high school. Waking up early to help with the chickens, keeping crops safe from unpredictable weather, working with animals, and learning how to properly run operations were some of Hachiken’s first experiences at his new school. And he realizes the assumptions we make about others, aren’t always accurate.

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

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!

Good Husband Material

Is that how you ask someone to be your husband?!

***SPOILER ALERT***

I just watched Isshuukan Friends / One Week Friends on DVD. Although I enjoyed it, and blew through it very quickly (I started it last night and just finished), the ending didn’t bring the romantic closure I was hoping for. It is evident Kaori Fujimiya and Yuki Hase have feelings for each other. Hase makes a concerted effort to reconnect with Fujimiya every single week. Fujimiya writes in her journal daily, knowing it will help her continue her relationship with Hase. Researching online, it sounds like the manga did not bring romantic closure either. I enjoyed the characters, especially Saki Yamagishi and Shogou Kiryu. If you decide to watch it, it’s an interesting exploration on friendship, what draws us towards people, and the level of effort we put into those relationships. But if you’re looking for romance, temper your expectations before watching.

Guitar Care 101

K-On! A Slice of Life anime about gal pals and their friendship. It is slow paced, but good when you just want to unwind, or on a rainy day like today. Watching on Hulu.