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.

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!

Anime to Make You Laugh and Lift Your Spirits (Part II)

This is a continuation of an earlier post, found here: https://empathmeetsanime.com/2020/03/17/anime-to-make-you-laugh-and-lift-your-spirits-part-i/ I’ve watched these anime series on various platforms; VRV, Crunchyroll, Hidive, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and DVDs.

Generally, my favorite anime contain humor, romance, supernatural elements, slice-of-life, or some level of cuteness. During this time of uncertainty, when many of us are stuck in our homes, you may be looking for a happy distraction! In that case look no further. In no particular order, here are some anime that may provide merriment, good humor, and cheer to your hearts!

  • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san / Teasing Master Takagi-san : At first glance, I thought this anime was pretty slow, but when I viewed it as a story of young love, sprinkled with humor, I got it. There’s something very wholesome and relaxing about this series, especially in these uncertain times, that I find soothing. I like good-natured teasing, so I get where Takagi’s coming from, plus she knows Nishikata so well. I prefer subtitled anime, but the dubbed version of this one is pretty good. https://myanimelist.net/anime/35860/Karakai_Jouzu_no_Takagi-san
  • Special A : Super smart students have their own elite class, called Special A. This anime follows the group of friends as they navigate high school adventures. In addition to always studying to stay at the top of their class, they have to be on alert because there are haters lurking around every corner. Hikari Hanazono, who works incredibly hard and always does her best, is a great character. As skilled and talented as she is, cooking escapes her grasp (much like myself). And her rival is Kei Takishima, who makes everything look easy. Because Hikari is always focused on studying, it seems she’s missed the very obvious signs that Kei is in love with her. His swoon-worthy qualities include sincerity, intelligence, work ethic, dry humor, and kindheartedness. If you’re looking for shoujo anime, check this one out! It’s also got some great comedy. https://myanimelist.net/anime/3470/Special_A
  • Kaichou wa Maid-sama / Maid Sama: Misaki Ayuzawa is class president at a school that used to be males only. She works extremely hard at school and also at her part time job at a maid cafe. Her father abandoned her family leaving a lot of debt, so she helps her mother with the bills, and her younger sister enters a lot of contests to win prizes that help them sustain their living. Misaki means well, but comes off abrasive to most of the male students, and has the nickname Demon President. Despite her temper, or because of it, Takumi Usui is enamored with her and spends as much time as he can at the maid cafe. He genuinely cares for her and helps her overcome some of the hurdles that keep the student body divided. Her strong leadership is better received and the school grows to appreciate her, and how she always stands up for them. Takumi, much like Kei from Special A, is a gentleman, loyal, funny, and authentic. His personality, while different from Misaki’s, compliments her perfectly. In addition to the cute romance, it is a pretty funny series, with some poignant quotes. https://myanimelist.net/anime/7054/Kaichou_wa_Maid-sama

Haha me too guys!

  • Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue / My Roommate is a Cat : If you’re looking for cute and wholesome anime, then you have to check out My Roommate is a Cat. Half of the episode is in the perspective of Subaru Mikazuki, and the other half is from the perspective of Haru, the cat. Mikazuki is a major introvert, who would rather stay at home and write, and is socially awkward. Haru helps him open up more, and to enjoy the world around him. Given the special circumstances of social distancing, it may be interesting for people to see the introverts who generally enjoy spending time at home (granted we also have a need to get out from time to time, but for the good of our country and the good health of all, let’s stay at home until it’s deemed safe to leave). There are moments that this anime tugs at the heart strings. Mikazuki, who lost both of his parents, finds a new family connection with Haru. If this series, albeit cute, becomes too heavy perhaps consider watching of the other recommendations. https://myanimelist.net/anime/38145/Doukyonin_wa_Hiza_Tokidoki_Atama_no_Ue

More recommendations coming soon! Stay safe, healthy, and well my friends!

Heartgasm

I’ve been watching Lovely Complex on Crunchyroll/VRV. It’s an anime full of comedy and romance. Some episodes are almost too awkward to watch, but each have funny moments. Otani and Koizumi are fun, they have comedic banter, and are friends that truly care for each other. They have wonderful friends that always cheer them on. I’m only on episode eleven, so I’m hoping it’ll work out for them. I’m definitely rooting for them!

I like that the message is, it doesn’t matter about your looks, or your negative perception of your looks (because we all know at least one person, if not ourselves, who is fixated on some flaw no one else notices or other people actually like), what really matters is on the inside and your chemistry and how you vibe with someone. Here are some moments of hilarity from this episode, including a video game Koizumi was playing and a shrine visit (where Koizumi was praying extra hard).