Character Spotlight: Hotaru Shidare

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Often in anime there are characters that are so over-the-top that they actually flip over from being annoying to downright amazing. Hotaru is one of those characters who’s just so crazy and random that you can’t help but enjoy her every second she’s on the screen. And when you mix her into an anime that is solely dedicated to the love of all things dagashi (cheap snacks and candies that kids could buy, usually between 5-10 yen), you get a show that ended up being so random that I couldn’t help but enjoy it, regardless of some boring episodes here and there.

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Hotaru is introduced to us as the daughter of the owner of a massive candy production company and aims to recruit the main character’s (Kokonotsu) father to work for her father’s company. To do so, Kokonotsu would have to take over the family dagashi shop, but at the current time of the anime, he intends to make a career being a manga artist. So now Hotaru takes it upon herself to convince Kokonotsu the beauty that is dagashi and that taking over the family shop would be in his best interest.

To do so, she employs a wide variety of tactics which includes constantly interrupting every facet of his life, to the point I’m not sure if he really likes her, so much as he just tolerates her, since he’s gotten so used to her constantly being involved in his life ever since she first showed up. Though her key strategy is to essentially teach Kokonotsu the origins and awesomeness of various dagashi snacks, going beyond in-depth in dramatical form of the history of certain snacks. While these moments began to get more and more stale for me, I have to say I’m impressed for someone to love dagashi so much, that she’s able to craft such a magnificently sophisticated imagination that can visualize all these origin stories.

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What really makes Hotaru unique is that there is no way to nail down what this girl’s “normal” is. There are times were she’s actually pretty composed and times when she’s all over the fucking place. Times when she’s super cute and adorable and times where she’s essentially a sex kitten, though we’re to assume that virginity’s still intact. She never really tips her hand, while the majority of time spent with her is her crazy dagashi-loving self, one could argue that it’s perhaps an act. After all, in the picture above, she’s “drunk” after drinking a candy that when you add water makes it look like beer, but it’s actually apple juice. So unless Hotaru is beyond stupid, it’s very possible that the entire time she’s over-exaggerating and by being this crazy young girl, she has a way to get away with constantly being involved in Kokonotsu’s life.

But I think it’s safe to say that it’s not that and she’s just your average crazy anime girl. She just gets the extra quirk of being possibly the biggest lover of all things candy in all of anime. The fact that even with a mouth ulcer, she was willing to eat pop rocks (was called Watapachi in the anime) and deal with consequences. It also lends more fodder to the “She’s stupid!” argument, but at the same time in the context of the anime, it’s purpose is to show how much of a dagashi lover she is, not willing to let anything keep her from eating was she loves to eat the most.

Which unfortunately for her, results in a few extra quirks about her that we see later in the show.

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Because for most anime watchers, having a show devoted to being about candy is a little boring…so the anime counters by having quite a bit of sexual innuendo at times. And because Hotaru is designed with F-cup breasts, she’s usually at the forefront of these things. The amount of times she bends forward ever so perfectly to present those breasts is very high, she’s had a couple of occasions where she either spills something on her chest, making Kokonotsu direct his attention to them, or is out in the rain and her top gets a little see-through. But the biggest example of her being ecchi fodder comes near the end of the season where she gets a massive dagashi snack shoved into her mouth as a “taste test contest” and looks a lot more like some ridiculous sci-fi hentai animation where a girl somehow doesn’t die after being raped in every hole imaginable by a massive…something.

It’s not to say that Hotaru isn’t worthy of such content, she is in fact a very beautiful woman (#8 on my Top 10 Sexiest Purple-Haired Anime Girls), though I could certainly do without the F-cups, I would’ve preferred just a little less, but hey that’s my personal taste and then again, anime is all about a lack of realism, so who am I to argue anyways? But if there’s anything about her that I’m weirded out by, it’s those eyes. If there’s one thing about the anime that gets to me, it’s how they do everyone eyes.

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But regardless of everything, the show was still a fun watch and having Hotaru as the central comedy character of the show worked almost perfectly. She’s memorable specifically for her over-the-top nature and pure unadulterated love for dagashi, but since this is anime, she will also be known for having a large chest and somehow being one of the only girls to not freak the fuck out when seen naked by a male character.

Seriously though…that giant dagashi being shoved in her mouth, what the fuck was that?! I can’t unsee that…

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