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

Misdirection

How much do you notice about your environment and the people around you? What about facial expressions, reactions, tone of voice, and patterns of movement? The feelings you get about people, environments, and situations, are they based on your observations? Experience? Intuition? Perhaps a combination of factors? What about your first impressions, are they usually accurate? Are you better at reading body language of people you know versus strangers? Can you read the mood of a room? Atmosphere? When I was at a happy hour for a friend’s promotion, her roommate’s boyfriend and I were talking about energy. He scoffed at it. I mentioned the example, many of us can relate to, and it’s entering a room and sensing immediately that there’s tension so thick you could cut it with a knife. Even without knowing the people in the room, or the topic being discussed, you can sense it. What is it that we sense? He understood what I was trying to convey after using that example. Why do some of us have such a huge presence and some of us don’t? Does it depend on the day and our energy level and mood? Is it something consistent? Is it because of physical features? Why do we notice someone when they enter a room, versus the many who entered without us realizing? What about realizing someone is behind us, without hearing or seeing anything? Or when we can tell someone is staring at us from across the room? What is charisma, and are people born with it, or is it developed over time? Who notices the nuances between people and groups? Those with emotional intelligence? If so, how did they acquire it? Why are some people so stiff in their emotions, body, and speech? How are other people so incredibly welcoming that they exude kindness and warmth?

Being a psychology major, I found the episodes in season three of Kuroko’s Basketball, when Kuroko first uses misdirection fascinating. Whether or not the idea is realistic in a basketball game, I leave to the athletes and experts to decide. But as a concept itself, I found it intriguing. Is being aware of these idiosyncrasies, and using them to your advantage, manipulative? Is it something people do subconsciously? Can it be misused by swindlers and advertising companies? How did magicians discover these concepts? Perhaps it’s application to Teiko’s basketball team isn’t too far-fetched?

What about people who wear their hearts on their sleeves? Someone who is hot-headed, may need to take a pause before responding to a situation. But in a general sense, people who are open with their feelings in a sincere and authentic way, are usually honest. And hopefully their feelings aren’t riddled with hate, envy, or malice. For people with intuition, and those with a keen sense of human behavior, it will be evident when people use crocodile tears or attempt emotional manipulation. How about nerves? Things that rattle us before important events, like a meeting presentation, a big game, or even a wedding? What IS that? Just an overabundance of energy? Why does it propel some people to greatness, those with an ability to harness it for enthusiasm and drive? And others to freeze? Others to run in avoidance?

When observing others, there are many factors to consider like varying cultures, environment, or health. Is it cold outside and that’s why someone’s movements are rigid? Is someone’s mental health affecting the way they carry themselves? People in healthy relationships with others will carry themselves differently than those in unhealthy relationships. People being persecuted, harmed, or bullied may avoid eye contact. Bullies may have a menacing air or an arrogant attitude. Someone who may be a bully in one situation, could be a victim in another (not excusing the situation, but noting there may be a change in behavior). Confident people may find eye contact with others normal. Those with low self-esteem may not, and it may even be rude to look someone in the eye in some cultures. Families will interact differently with each other than a group of strangers meeting for their first book club. Context plays a major part in what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. Or, what is common behavior and what isn’t. We bring our own lens as an observer when analyzing human behavior. Our own potential biases is something to consider as well.

I used to study and work on school assignments at a cafe every weekend. It was rich in opportunities to observe human interactions. It was also a popular spot for online dates, not sure why. Especially on Saturday mornings when I was doing homework. Typically those were painful and awkward, so I tried to ignore those. Interestingly, I often had strangers tell me their life stories, even if I tried to avoid eye contact, because my paper had a deadline. All types of people, of various ages, and backgrounds would share their stories.

Yes, I probably should’ve started writing my paper earlier. So glad those days are behind me! Credit to the owner/creator of this meme, saw it circulating online and seemed appropriate, if not accurate lol.

I want to know what I was projecting to attract that routinely. Or not projecting that I should’ve been. Overall, I enjoyed the conversations and interactions I had. Perhaps, people felt comfortable sharing with a stranger who wouldn’t judge them, versus someone they’d see often in their daily lives. On a related note, why do lost children always come up to me in stores? Thankfully, all were reunited with their guardians without issue. Parents, please teach your kids, as early as possible what your full names are. I remember one little boy replying that his mother’s name was Mom. Realizing I had to take a different approach, I asked him what her friends called her. Knowing her name now, we were able to find her easily. Whatever part of me, that makes me approachable and lets people feel safe, I am grateful for it. I’m just curious what it is…

The Greatest Present

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I just finished season three of Kuroko’s Basketball on VRV / Crunchyroll. By far, my favorite episode was the one titled “The Greatest Present.” Knowing that Kuroko’s desire all along was to play basketball with his friends, instead of it being a constant battle of who was the best, it was great seeing that dream fulfilled. For his birthday, the Generation of Miracles reunited to play street ball.

We even got to see Aomine smile!

I can understand why Momoi was brought to tears seeing her friends reunited.

To commemorate the occasion of course you need to take a group photo!

Afterwards they celebrated Kuroko’s birthday with his Seirin teammates at Kagami’s. Other friends joined the party too. It was a very wholesome ending to the show, and it wrapped everything up nicely. Plus it was great seeing all the characters relaxed and being themselves.

How fancy. I probably would’ve just ordered pizzas. These guys make cooking look easy.

Of course some rivalries remain.

For someone who is known for having a lack of presence, it’s ironic how integral Kuroko was in uniting everyone. Fun chaos and everyone bonding in celebration! If you haven’t watched this episode yet, check it out!

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.

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.

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!

Haikyu!

I just finished Season One of Haikyu on Hulu (I think it’s on Netflix and VRV/Crunchyroll as well). It was my first sports anime! I always enjoyed playing volleyball, so an anime about the sport peaked my interest. Having watched so many shoujo anime, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a sports anime.

Haikyu showed the hard work, effort, practice, training, dedication, drills, and sacrifices athletes make to be successful in their sport. Discipline and passion should be present (and talent doesn’t hurt). What’s that quote? “Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard” (Tim Notke).

This show had me rooting for Hinata, Kageyama, and all of the Karasuno Crows! Personalities clashed at the beginning, but the team bonded as they prepared to do battle with their rivals, and they became even stronger! Their coach, faculty mentor, manager, and advisors encouraged, supported, and motivated them to always do their best. There are meaningful mentoring scenes. The teammates acquired skills and tips from each other, and learned from their rivals. In sports, and in life, it’s interesting how much energy, mood, and vitality affect us. And what the contributing factors are, what helps, what doesn’t, and how can we repeat those positive experiences. A lot of psychology. If you’re looking for something that will inspire you, energize you, and give you a great team to root for, check out Haikyu!

They almost made me want to run! Almost.