Character Spotlight: Kou Yagami

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Last week, we shined the spotlight on my favourite character from the recent anime, New Game!, Hifumi. This week, we take a look at the girl above Hifumi and the other character designers and my second favourite character from the show, Kou Yagami.

So take off your pants, get comfortable and let’s talk about this blonde beauty!

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At the start of the series, we look at Kou in the same way main character Aoba does, as a legendary character designer well-known for being a part of some major JRPGs released over the years. She also looks like a very normal, nice girl, the kind of boss you wish you had. If we left it at that, she’d be a fine character, a nice, caring boss who while wants to be strict with her employees, has a tough time doing so.

Instead, she gets a gimmick that really fleshes out her character (pun intended) and makes her an extremely memorable character, not just in the series, but throughout all anime. What’s that gimmick, you say? She doesn’t like to wear pants.

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While she understands that you don’t do this kind of shit in public, Kou is the kind of girl that wants to feel comfortable and liberated whenever she can. So it’s safe to say that at home, pants are not an option. But in the studio, she puts up with it and wears pants or a skirt. But when she’s staying overnight to get more work done and it’s just her in the office, those pants come right off. As she explains to her best friend and producer of the game they’re working on, Rin, she really does feel liberated when able to work and walk around in her underwear and as we see later on when Rin takes her advice and tries it, it’s certainly the case.

Now a lot of people probably looked at this as a sad excuse to have a girl in her underwear a lot, like Kou was decided as the girl who would get the majority of ecchi scenes in the show. But in my opinion, I don’t think that’s true, especially the latter part. Yes, Kou during many points of the show has the camera focused on her butt when her pants come off and yes, she has a shower scene, but there are other opportunities that she doesn’t get involved in. She could’ve easily been with the girls when they went to a bath house, but she wasn’t there, she could’ve been seen changing when they were getting their checkups, but she wasn’t. Her ecchi moments are the majority of the time, tailored to her specific gimmick and desire to not wear pants and as far as I’m concerned, that makes her character not a source of ecchi material, but a legitimate character with a real-life desire. She’s not the only person in the world who enjoys being able to walk around without pants on, hell I said it in my New Game! spotlight, if I lived alone, I’d totally do that in my own house as well!

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Kou also plays a major part in the entire series, she’s not just the token panty shot character. She fleshes out three separate characters for sure in the lead, Aoba, her best friend, Rin and even the girl she loves to piss off, Umiko. While Umiko’s isn’t too major, as realistically their relationship serves and comic relief (and Kou getting shot several times with a pellet gun), her relationship with Aoba and Rin both really have a lot of significance to the show.

With Aoba, Kou serves like a mentor to her. Granted, it’s a mentor that scares the hell out of her sometimes, as for some weird reason Aoba has a fear of being forced to take her pants off while at work because of Kou’s lack of hesitation in taking hers off and often being found asleep with the blankets failing to cover up what they needed to. When not freaking Aoba out with panty nightmares, she serves as the guiding hand for Aoba in her new career as a character designer. She’s very tough on her in the early going, making her redo several 3D models again and again so she doesn’t pick up any bad habits from the start and also so her transition later on is smoother for her and she doesn’t have to worry about any issues when that happens. It’s nice to see Kou in almost a big sister sort of role with Aoba, though it’s arguable that at some points Aoba looks at her as far more than just a mentor and an idol.

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But when it comes to a potential love interest, the only one that for sure has some merit to it is with her relationship with producer Rin Tooyama. Taking away the scene where the two of them were caught by Aoba both without pants on (Aoba’s worst nightmare), there are a ton of moments where there’s hints here and there of these two being more than just friends and colleagues at work. They’re constantly around each other, both taking care of each other when the other’s down, as Rin happily takes good care of Kou when she gets sick. What really grabs my attention though is just how comfortable they are with each other, especially Rin when it comes to Kou and her pantsless shenanigans. You could argue that it’s because she knowingly doesn’t feel any sexual attraction to Kou that causes Rin to deal with her gimmick with ease, but I think it’s more due to her seeing it so many times before that it’s not a surprise to her anymore. I truly do think that off-camera and in the future of the series beyond the show’s existence, these two will become a couple, if they aren’t already secretly.

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Kou is a fantastic character in not just New Game!, but anime in general. Despite what the average feminist or SJW may think about her character, I truly do look and Kou and think she’s not a subject of ecchi content and an endless supply of panty shots. She’s a real-life representation of a young woman who transcends the average girl who’s just supposed to look pretty and be a strong girl. She has those two things, but she’s also her own person, she’s a free-spirited girl who doesn’t shackle herself with what society expects from her. She’s living in a time where anything sexual is now suddenly offensive and yet she doesn’t care. While she doesn’t view herself as a sexual character, she does enjoy a kind of lifestyle that the idiots out there would look at as being overly sexual, when in reality she just thinks pants aren’t that comfortable and would rather not wear them.

Which I can get behind, jeans fucking suck!

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