Category Archives: Character Spotlight

Character Spotlight: Ikta Solork

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As you’ve probably noticed from the number of Character Spotlights I’ve done over this year, there’s almost zero male characters that get this treatment. That’s because well, let’s be honest…most male anime characters when it comes to the shows I enjoy watching, they’re dumb as fuck. They’re usually not that interesting.

Ikta from Alderamin on the Sky, however, he might just be one of the most interesting male characters I’ve seen in a long time!

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Yes, there is total bias because this guy is an intelligent young man who is all for science and could care less about religion. I love the fact that for the first time that I can remember, there’s an openly atheist character in anime. If there’s more, let me know in the comments below, but I can’t think of any others off the top of my head! That’s crazy to me!

But it’s Ikta’s intelligence is what really separates him from so many characters. Generally speaking, most males are portrayed as badass warriors, guys capable of the largest kill counts. Ikta is a lazy piece of shit that wants to do the least amount of work possible and still win. How does he operate on the battlefield? He makes opponents go into certain places, he creates forest fires to prolong the battle, he does whatever it takes to do the least amount of work and create the least amount of deaths. As we see through this first season, we’re watching as he earns his moniker as “The Lazy General”.

For Ikta, everything is like a chess battle. His tactical prowess is incredible, guessing enemy movements, positioning his troops in unlikely places that even the brightest tacticians wouldn’t guess. Hell, he’s got a poker face like no other, he bluffs the fuck out of people at times!

But aside from his tactical ability, Ikta still can’t escape a classic trope for male characters:

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Ikta is a giant womanizer. Of course he is. It doesn’t bother me, because I’m not easily offended, but it’s perplexing as to why someone so intelligent is still so candid about his sex life. You’d think with all that intelligence, he’d know when to keep his mouth shut once in a while. He makes no bones about it, he’s gotten himself in many beds over the years and yes, he slept with another girl’s mother that he talks to in the anime at one point. What a guy!

But in the end, that’s just filler space, the real Ikta we see is just a young male who didn’t want to be a military man, got dragged into it anyway and is doing everything in his power to avoid as much fighting as humanly possible. He’s a kind man, he wants the best for his soldiers. He doesn’t want them to die, he doesn’t want them to get seriously hurt, hell he doesn’t want them to risk their lives at all. He wants to find ways to win every battle without doing too much work and avoiding as many casualties and injuries as possible.

Not dying and not doing much work? Now that’s a guy I can get behind!

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!

Character Spotlight: Hifumi Takimoto

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Tomorrow the Anime Spotlight will be shined on my favourite anime of the summer season this year, New Game!, but since the Character Spotlight comes first, let’s talk about my favourite girl from that show and my favourite girl of the entire season: Hifumi.

Hifumi is a part of game developer, Eagle Jump’s character design team. And what makes her so great is her shyness, her absolute fear of directly talking to people and even making eye contact with them. So while she puts in the work, the only way to communicate with her, at least without turning her face bright red and causing smoke to rise from her head, is to message her over the company’s instant messaging system, which she is shockingly light-hearted and lively when speaking on there, lots of emotes being used.

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It’s when she’s at her shyest that Hifumi is at her best, I don’t know if there’s a character in anime that I’ve fallen in love with more due to her aversiveness and her immediate over-the-top reactions to being spoken too directly. Hell, the first time she smiles to main character Aoba, she tries to pay her off so she’ll forget what she saw. The pure ridiculousness of Hifumi’s shyness is what makes her so unique and so memorable, every moment she’s on screen, you take notice and you remember her, whether it’s her evasive nature, or her super adorability that you know she’s trying ever so hard to hide.

And then you mix that with her pet hedgehog, Soujirou and it just adds onto things. It’s so fitting that Hifumi’s pet is a cowardly hedgehog, who hides in a little cave in his cage whenever Hifumi tries to speak with him. They’re a match made in heaven. It’s when she talks about Soujirou though that we see a side of Hifumi she suppresses, where she’s very calm and sweet. But that’s not a side you’re going to see very often.

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On top of her adorable personality, Hifumi is still designed to be an extremely attractive girl. Depending on what you’re into, Hifumi’s either at the top of your list when it comes to the most attractive girls on the show, or she’s damn near close. She dresses very cute, her normal outfit is very nice, but the skirt really adds a sexy edge to her. Then you take into account her cosplaying and she also has that nerdy sexy vibe to her, though at least from what we see in the show, she’s not cosplaying in skimpy outfits, she leans towards more badass looking cosplays.

But in terms of her body, she’s arguably designed to be the hottest girl on the show and that’s saying something when Kou basically has the gimmick of not wanting to ever wear pants. But Hifumi’s designed to be super cute in the face and then super hot in terms of her body. She’s got one of the largest busts on the show and she’s really the only “sexy” girl of the entire cast to be in the bathhouse scene of the show. Kou isn’t there, Rin isn’t there, it’s Hifumi, Hajime (who’s designed as a tomboy, regardless of her large bust) and Aoba and Yun, who are both smaller girls. So in actuality, the focus in that scene is solely on Hifumi when you really think about it.

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As much as I loved girls like Kou, Rin, Umiko, Aoba and Hajime during the entire season of New Game!, Hifumi was the standout on that show and by a large margin, no one came close to her and that includes Kou, who I absolutely adore as well. That’s just how great a character Hifumi is, she’s impossible not to love. I can only hope more characters in future anime will follow her example, because as far as I see it, the best girl award at the end of the year is already decided and it may be a while before anyone takes Hifumi off her throne.

Character Spotlight: Nayu Hayama

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In a world where generally speaking the average anime girl would freak out (and then some) if anyone caught them holding a pair of underwear, let alone seeing them wearing underwear, you would think a show all about underwear would be an endless supply of slaps to the face, right?

But then you see the main character isn’t male and everything goes topsy turvy. Enter female main character, Nayu Hayama.

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Unlike the usual anime girls, Nayu has absolutely zero shame when it comes to underwear. With her older brother being a women’s underwear designer, she was exposed to various kinds of underwear at a young age, wearing underwear that you wouldn’t see girls wearing until at least high school, before she even became a teenager. So because of this, Nayu was looked at as an oddball by her classmates. Hell, some of them brought down the ‘indecent’ hammer on Nayu, because how dare she wear pretty underwear that isn’t just white panties with a ribbon on it or a teddy bear on the back!

It goes back to my old article about my own experiences in elementary school and how after years of wearing “tighty-whities”, that the norm suddenly changed and you’re looked down upon for not falling into that norm. Granted, my case is more of a not changing with the cultural norms whereas Nayu’s situation is more a shaking the foundations kind of change, I still feel for Nayu and the idiotic opinions that the girls had of her, which I truly do believe that in real life would’ve actually happened.

I’ve said it before, we especially here in North America have a real problem when it comes to sexuality and sexual content in media. Underwear is no exception to this, we almost try to hide the fact that we wear them sometimes. It’s funny when malls are littered with La Senzas and Victoria’s Secrets and other such sexy underwear stores, but there’s still that connotation of being ‘slutty’ if you wear a certain type of underwear. And this falls into Nayu’s situation in the anime, many other girls think she is just that, because she doesn’t come to school wearing plain old white bra and panties, she wears frilly underwear, striped underwear, skimpy underwear, all that jazz.

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What I really like about Nayu the most though, is her carefree attitude. She doesn’t allow the ‘norm’ in society to alter how she lives her life, she’s more than comfortable in the skin she’s in, even if that skin is considered by many to be tainted and impure. She wants to wear what she wants to wear and not only that, but she has no problem letting you know that this is how she is. It’s to the point that she begins the Underwear Club at her school, the main focus of the show’s plot and conflict. She doesn’t care that people will look at her differently because of it, this is what she wants to do, this is what she loves and this is what she believes in. She’s willing to take the consequences, believing that in the end, she’ll come out better for it.

And this goes beyond just talking about underwear, she goes above and beyond the course of duty. Granted, going up to a classmate she’d only just recently met and sticking her hands into this girl’s bra to show her how the girl’s current bra is too tight for her and why that is. Obviously the anime is going this route because what straight male wouldn’t be interested in watching high school girls groping each other, but putting that aside, let’s assume this is Nayu’s true persona and she has no real boundaries for this sort of thing. It’s not out of the question that she might be overstepping her bounds just a little bit.

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In the end though, I think beyond her very likely pervert side, Nayu’s genuinely trying to help all the girls out there, because she knows how important it is for girls to have underwear that is not just cute, but comfortable. Through her own experiences and through what she’s learned from her brother, she’s really just looking out for all her female classmates. That’s it, she’s not trying to turn them all into slutty girls, she’s not trying to get her hands down the pants of all the girls in her school, she’s just trying to help them.

She doesn’t do the best job of showing that by squeezing girls’ breasts all the time, but hey, no one’s perfect.

Character Spotlight: Vash the Stampede

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This might be a shorter article, specifically because there’s only a certain part of the entire Trigun series that I really enjoyed and that’s the goofier first half of the anime series. The more dark and serious half of Trigun was not my forte nearly as much. And that’s large in part due to the show’s main character, Vash the Stampede.

When the first episode kicked in and we see Vash for the first time looking all badass, it sets the stage for a massive twist when you see what really happened. Did the man with the 60 double-billion dollars bounty on his head once again wreak havoc on those who tried to assassinate him and claim the bounty? How did the Humanoid Typhoon do it? Did he blast them all away with one shot? Did he fire one headshot for each enemy in a matter of seconds? Nope! He aimed his gun, fired and realized he forgot to load the chamber and then freaked the fuck out anime-style and ran off screaming.

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While I still did enjoy the entire series, it’s this part of Vash that really drew me into Trigun. I was thinking when my friends first showed me the show it was going to be some super serious Western anime (I was half-right in the end), but the moment that facial expression showed up on Vash’s face, along with that “GAH?!” he screams out, I was sold on the show. In anime form, I prefer comedy over drama because it suits anime so much better, at least in my opinion. So between super serious Vash and super goofy Vash, there’s no contest between the two, it’s super goofy Vash all the way.

I mean, what isn’t there to love about the guy? He is the most passive, unserious person in the world. Even when faced with death, he acts like it’s like it’s nothing. To be fair, he acts the way he does in attempt to hide his true identity from people, but there’s gotta be some part of his personality that’s actually like that. It’s just so hilarious to watch him and his shenanigans, whether it’s being a lecherous guy trying to peep on pretty girls and such, his over-the-top love of doughnuts, or just his fighting tactics in general, like messing with a grunt soldier by having him shoot a picture of himself in the rocks.

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His objective of not killing anyone also opens the door for so many more silly and ridiculous possibilities for how he manages to get out of all the sticky situations he’s in, whether it’s whipping a pistol yards away to drill a soldier, trying to pretend he’s a fellow soldier by somehow hiding behind an unconscious soldier he’s propping up around, or simply pointing his finger from under his trenchcoat to make it seem like he’s got a gun pointed right at his enemies. It makes every moment with Vash unpredictable, you never know what you’re going to get with him.

I’d talk more about Vash where it’s about the more serious side, but truth be told I don’t recall that much about it, I’ve pretty much set aside that part of Vash’s history. Once the goofy stuff started to fade away in the anime, I remember less and less of the show. Even through re-reading the plot of the anime version of the series, I completely forgot about characters like Rem and Wolfwood, amongst others. My core memories of Trigun lie with Vash, Meryl and Milly and the various characters they come across in the more comedy-based sections of the anime. So I feel like talking about the more dark, depressing and lonely side of Vash really wouldn’t add much, because I’m not an expert on it.

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It’s not to say that part of his character isn’t important though, from all accounts from my friends who loved the entire series, they all think he’s a very well-developed character with a real troubled past and many different sides to his character because of all the things that have happened to him over the years. It just a matter of preference for me, I really like the comedic side of Vash and didn’t make much of an effort to recall the more lonely, dark side of him.

He’s still a fantastic character though and I wouldn’t trade anything away when it comes to him. Because of the first half of the anime being as goofy as it was, he remains one of my favourite male characters in anime. I love his design with the hair, glasses and trenchcoat, his flamboyant over-the-top personality is so goddamn funny and he’s just overall a person you can’t take your eyes off of, he’s just so interesting.

And come on, how can you not be interested in a character with a crazy laugh like Vash has?

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Character Spotlight: Cayde-6

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I’m a huge Destiny player. So in honour of the new Rise of Iron expansion that just came out on Tuesday, I thought it’d be a great idea to gush about my favourite character in the series thus far, Cayde-6.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Cayde-6 is an Exo, a race of humanoid machines. He’s also the Hunter Vanguard, aka the leader of all Hunters in the game and the person you go to for quests and gear after completing them. But what makes this robotic being so goddamn special? Two words:

Nathan fucking Fillion.

Okay okay okay, that was three words, I know, but come on! It’s Nathan Fillion! How is that not awesome?! It’s like having Nolan North or Peter Dinklage as your Ghost, or as my personal favourites, Shohreh Aghdashloo (Shala’Raan in Mass Effect) as Lakshmi-2 and Crispin Freeman (Alucard in Hellsing) as the Awoken Male. They’re awesome voices and they’re a part of a badass MMO shooter! How could you not be ecstatic about that?!

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Unfortunately in the early stages of Destiny, Cayde-6 and the majority of characters that aren’t you don’t really get any screen time. They all have lines of dialogue but they’re more limited to just background chatter. Unless you’re Peter Dinklage as your Ghost getting the majority of screen time, or the odd scene with The Speaker (played by Bill Nighy), pretty much all the minor characters that you see at the Tower, they don’t say much.

It wasn’t until The Taken King expansion that we really saw the true colours of these characters, in particular Cayde-6. I don’t know if these lines were recorded before the game came out, but if they weren’t, it feels like Nathan Fillion walked into that sound booth with a chip on his shoulder and intended to blow his sections out of the water. Every single scene, every single line of dialogue is spoken with full-on Nathan Fillion sarcasm and that smug attitude he’s known so well for in Firefly and Castle. There’s a certain line that he’ll echo over the Tower PA that really gets the gist of the Cayde-6 character:

“Hello, this is Cayde-6 of the Vanguard. I realize that this is an abuse of the Tower PA, but whoever took my Sparrow (vehicle), I will find you. And you’ll wear a sign that says you stole…n-never mind. It’s right here. Sorry.”

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I could go on and on about how much I love Cayde-6, but I’ll limit myself to this final bit. Cayde-6 is a fantastic example of what happens when you take a side character and pair him with a voice so perfect for his character that it turns the character from a side character, to a marquee character in the minds of the players. Nathan Fillion absolutely crushes the rest of the voice cast, in particular during The Taken King when he has the screen time to do so. The majority of Destiny players will agree that there is no better character in the entire game that Cayde-6 and it’s not even a close game between him and whatever character is in second place below him.

Character Spotlight: Seishirou Tsugumi

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I don’t know how the core audiences in Japan are when it comes to anime and the various cliches and plot devices that are used in various shows. But I feel like if there’s any cliche in anime that I don’t understand how it gets drawn up like it will totally fool people, it’s female characters that are first introduced as a “boy”. They’re dressed like a boy, they “act” like a boy, they “talk” like a boy and they “look” like a…okay, no. Anime, I don’t know how dumb you think your audience is, but in my case specifically, I haven’t fallen for this once. I can call these cliche characters a mile away.

Not that it matters too much, because I love those girls. I always have. And recently, I got exposed to one of my new favourites, Seishirou Tsugumi from Nisekoi.

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Pretty boy? Check. That’s the first giveaway for a female character in a male disguise. Feminine voice? Check. That’s the biggest giveaway, something I don’t get why anime doesn’t try and have a masculine voice in the early going at the very least put me off the trail.

In the early going, Seishirou comes to us as a hitman from the Bee Hive Gang, the mafia that Chitoge is the next in line to be the head of. “He” is overly protective of Chitoge, as “he” promised Chitoge that “he” would protect her and is under orders to do so, the belief that main character Raku has Chitoge forced into a relationship with him.

But as all romantic comedy harems go in anime, when there’s a boy challenging the main character, there’s only one possible outcome…

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Turns out to be not only a girl, but a girl with the largest breasts on the show? Ding ding ding! All the checks! Upon the shocking revelation that Seishirou is actually a woman, this is when the show is at its best. I actually believe that the addition of Marika and even Paula and Haru overdid it when the idea of Chitoge vs Kosaki was already in full swing. Having Seishirou into the mix at least had one person (without a key) on the outside looking in, so there was that extra piece in there. Not only that, but Seishirou finished the triangle of characters, Kosaki the sweet, shy girl, Chitoge the violent tsundere and Seishirou as the secret tomboy. For me, that’s all I could ever want from a harem anime.

Because upon the addition of Seishirou into the mix of the harem already being heavily fought between Kosaki and Chitoge, the story had a chance to separate people at random now, instead of it being forced like Raku and Chitoge constantly were in the early going. With Seishirou, her flippant multiple personality breakouts could happen at any moment and pull Chitoge out of there so Kosaki and Raku are alone, or by pulling Raku away from Chitoge, now Seishirou’s alone with Raku. And as the anime shows us, at least in my opinion, those are the best moments.

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The initial scene where Seishirou’s true gender is revealed (in the most shocking fashion *sarcasm*) is really good from the standpoint of being from a minor ecchi harem anime. After a duel where Raku surely would’ve died, he manages to somehow knock Boy Seishirou unconscious by jumping into a pool (that part doesn’t make as much sense, but whatever) that’s conveniently placed not far from a classroom window so no one suffers broken legs. Upon fleeing into the boy’s changeroom with the unconscious Seishirou, Raku decides that undressing the boy is the best option now, so he doesn’t get a cold. Of course, upon taking his pants off and undoing his shirt…something is amiss! To make matters worse, not only has SHE woken up and is about to freak the fuck out, everyone looking for him is about to enter the changeroom so Raku grabs her and they hide in a locker, that must be double the size in terms of width to any locker I’ve ever seen. While in hiding, Seishirou completely removes that badass male attitude she had earlier and goes full-blown embarrassed and humiliated young girl. To cap off the scene, Raku calls her cute and that completely throws off Seishirou, fully completely her transformation into an adorable young lady.

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Anything Seishirou does from that moment onward is incredibly adorable. Regardless of the fact that she tries so hard to get back her tough guy image that she sort of had going in, it’s immediately destroyed any time Raku says anything remotely classified as nice to her. She drops her entire badass attitude and starts blushing madly and denying everything under the sun. The longer the anime goes on too, the more we see of her in a more girlish light, we see her wearing cuter clothes, we see her liking cute things, we see her being herself, the part of herself that she kept hidden for so long because she had to keep her image as the best hitman in the Bee Hive Gang as prevalent as possible. No one was to know that she was a woman, so naturally the main character had to be the one to literally strip her down to her true self.

And I’m more than happy that he did, because it gave me one of my favourite female characters in quite some time.

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Character Spotlight: Zombina

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I had no idea how much I was going to love Monster Musume when I watched it. I pretty much assumed that the show was going to be a terrible monster girl harem anime and that was that. Turns out, it was probably one of the most entertaining shows I watched that entire season and offered a ton of characters that I really liked when I thought there would be zero. But out of all the girls that I put at the top of my list, the main cast are not where the #1 spot goes to. That goes to a member of the Monster Ops: Neutralization (M.O.N.) and one of the more minor characters, Zombina.

Basically the commando of the M.O.N., Zombina is well…a zombie. She’s sewn together all over the place, including yes her breasts which come right off, and she even makes the main character sew one back on her after messing with him. The cool bit though for me is how on her face, there’s a darker shade of skin sewn above her nose to make it look like she’s wearing goggles, which just looks badass on her. But with her zombie form, she’s a front line fighter because well…she can’t die, so she’s the bullet sponge essentially, both metaphorically and literally.

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Zombina is easily the most entertaining of the girls, because her personality isn’t designed in mind with needing to have an undying (pun intended) love for Kimihito, the main character. While she does mess with him a little bit, aka pulling off her breast and having him sew it back on, she doesn’t exactly fawn over him like the majority of the girls do, she sees him more as a friend and someone she can have fun with in terms of joking around and pranking him. So when she’s on-screen, it’s a lot easier to fall in love with her character, because she’s not spending every second she gets trying to get into the MC’s pants, she’s just a charismatic lover of violence.

And that’s what really separates Zombina from the rest, her penchant and almost craving for violence. She is a gun fanatic, lovingly dual-wielding SMGs. She is so addicted to violence that in the show when she’s tasked with protected Kimihito from the potential killer, D, she ges super bored because she’s sitting around doing nothing, fully believing D was never going to show up. She’s clearly the type that doesn’t like waiting, she gets bored very easily, which I don’t blame her, standing around gets me bored pretty quick.

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But despite her violent persona and despite the fact that, well…she’s a zombie, a member of the undead, Zombina actually manages to still be a very cute girl, all things considered. Take away her undead status and the stitches, she’s a very pretty girl, red hair immediately grabbing my attention, she’s very athletic with quite the bust on her and then of course there’s her very notable heterochromia with her yellow and green eyes, which begs the question if she had those eyes while she was still alive, or if she replaced one eye over the years as a new look for her. In the few moments she gets a little caught up in Kimihito’s niceness, she gets a little blushy, but again I don’t think love has any part in it, more she’s caught off-guard by her sexual humour and pranks not eliciting the over-the-top reaction she was anticipating. Either way, a blushing Zombina is an adorable Zombina.

So if you haven’t watched Monster Musume…I’d say check it out but it’s still a slippery slope of an anime to watch. There’s so much sexual content in there and yet all but one girl in the show is not a human being, rather a monster girl. Some are a little more human than others like Zombina, Manako and Doppel, but then well…there’s Rachnera. But if you can get past the loads of monster girl ecchi, there’s actually a reall fun show in there. And there’s also fantastic female characters in there, Zombina-chan being my favourite of them all.

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Character Spotlight: Ako Tamaki

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A show that I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was last season was And You Thought There Is Never A Girl Online. There were a number of reasons for its success with me. It was a great comedy, a hilarious over-the-top representation of the normal daily lives of high school students who are deep into MMORPGs. There was a lot of realistic emotion along with the over-the-top nature anime normally gives to anything that it breathes life into. And of course, I won’t hide it, there was some great ecchi moments in there as well.

And out of any of the characters that were memorable and thrusted their way to the front of the screen, there’s no doubt that the one who did it best was the reclusive NEET, Ako.

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Right off the bat, I have to note how only in anime can they have a bunch of girls who are shut-ins and do nothing but play video games all day and yet they still look like models. Especially Ako, who clearly has no care in the world for the outside world (and hates “normies”), yet it’s clear that she must spend a lot of time with her hair and makeup and certainly pays attention to her figure as well. But I’m nitpicking anime logic, so it’s a lost cause.

Ako herself is really the extreme of all extremes when it comes to shut-ins, NEETs, however you want to describe them. She throughout the series has a legitimate psychological issue with separating the game world of Legendary Age and her real life, to the point that when she marries the MC in the video game, when she sees him in real life, she clings to him like they’re married in real life. However, to make things even more complicated, she initially doesn’t speak to him or address him as his real self, rather calling him Rusian, after his in-game avatar. It gets even further complicated when Hideki actually confesses his love for the real Ako and she refuses it, because she’s already given herself to Rusian and wants to keep it at that.

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It’s a weird dilemma to say the least, I can’t imagine how I’d react to that, a girl who I have legitimate feelings for and she doesn’t accept them, but yet continues to lovingly hang around me and treat me like a husband because my in-game avatar is her husband? How fucking confusing would that be for anyone and only in anime could a guy accept that and not get the fuck out of there. On the flip side, I can almost understand why Hideki is willing to hang in there with Ako and try his best to slowly work away at her psychological issues. When Ako isn’t acting like a child or being the biggest airhead in all of existence, you can see an amazing side of her where she’s super cute, super caring, the biggest ball of sunshine you could ever hope to have in your life.

Not only that, but going back to what I said earlier, the girl is beyond gorgeous, regardless of the fact that there’s no way she’s eating well, there’s no way she’s exercising and there’s no way she cares that much about her physical appearance to take care of her hair and makeup. Granted, the show goes out of its way to really accentuate her with a large chest that only Kyou can beat, but Ako in her own right is an absolutely gorgeous girl who if she wasn’t such a basket case, any guy would happily take as their significant other.

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I can’t talk about Ako without mentioning the moment that I remember the most from the entire show, something that I died of laughter from. After having a bit of a falling out with each other, Hideki visits Ako at her home for the first time ever when she hadn’t been going to class for a few days. After an awkward conversation with his mother where it’s clear she’s willing to let anything go if it means breaking her daughter out of her shut-in attitude (either that or her mother really wanted to fuck with the two of them), he gets a key to Ako’s room and leaves the house completely. So when he goes upstairs and knocks on the door, Ako is shocked to hear his voice and doesn’t want him to come in, but not because she doesn’t want to see him, but because she wasn’t dressed and Hideki discovers this after unlocking the door and coming in, Ako barely covered up with half put on underwear. Hideki slams the door and apologizes as you’d expect from a standard harem ecchi scene and then Ako assures him that everything’s fine now and he can come in. But instead of what we were all expecting, which would be a long conversation about things and making up with each other, Ako’s now completely naked and on her knees like a servant, telling Hideki “to be gentle with her”. I died laughing.

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All I can say is that holy shit am I going to have a difficult decision on my hands if Ako ever ends up in the Waifu randomizer for Tuesday’s articles. She’s a tough one to crack, that’s for damn sure, but at the same time she’s such a pretty girl and has a very fun personality when she’s not at her psychological worst. But then again, for an anime character, that’s what makes her so interesting. Because she’s not normal. And Ako fits the bill perfectly.

Character Spotlight: Chinatsu Kuramoto

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I absolutely adored Flying Witch last season. It was the show that I went to when I wanted to just wind down, kick back and relax as I watched a nice, calm and fun anime. The show is full of great characters, adorable personalities. But no one in that show remotely eclipses the most adorable child character I’ve seen in an anime: Chinatsu-chan!

Chinatsu Kuramoto, younger sister of Kei and the cousin of main character Makoto. Nine years old and she rules the screen whenever she’s on there, quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in anime. When we’re first exposed to Chinatsu, she’s very much your average young girl, she’s very shy at first and then once she’s gotten comfortable around you, she’s just a giant ball of adorable energy. If she’s smiling, there isn’t anyone on the screen with her that is as happy as she is and it is absolutely infectious.

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Throughout the course of the anime, while the show never really delves into anything of a sad note, whenever the show has a quiet moment, or at the very least a moment where you’re not smiling as you’re watching, Chinatsu-chan is the one who breaks that streak and sends you back into an infectious smile with her pure innocence and happiness. And it’s not even limited to when she’s being a cute little girl and waving her arms about as she’s super happy about something, you still smile like crazy when she’s making her silly dumb faces when she’s faced with disgusting vegetables, or her over-the-top freaked out faces when the Harbinger of Spring shows up for the first time. Whenever she’s on screen, no matter what she’s doing, you can’t help but smile when she does it.

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But what really makes Chinatsu so notable is that she has such a staying power for a character that isn’t really part of the main cast, though I suppose that can be arguable. But as a child, she’s more like a background character amongst the other older characters like Makoto, Kei, Akane and others. I find that her role isn’t to be the center of attention, but to enhance everything going on around her through her reactions and expressions. When something silly is happening on screen, her reactions to what’s going on enhances the comedy of it. When something adorable is going on, her reactions enhance how adorable it is, after all how can you not think something’s cute when a nine year-old gives it her stamp of approval?

She has a sort of story arc through the show, though it’s not really character development per se, as no one in the show really goes through that in the entire series, the show is more just a “here’s a bunch of characters, here’s a setting, here’s them doing stuff.” kind of show, there’s no huge character arcs or plot twists or anything like that, it’s just a series of normal events and the odd witch-related event and their reactions to it. But as the series goes along, Chinatsu plays with the idea of becoming a witch herself, the same way we as kids wanted to become astronauts, or athletes, or firefighters. And like everything else she does, it’s freaking adorable watching her innocent mind go through the motions of wanting and trying to learn witchcraft, even though it’s near impossible for someone not born into a family of witches.

As if Akane could say no to mentoring this cutie
As if Akane could say no to mentoring this cutie

There’s not a whole lot more I can say about Chinatsu-chan that goes beyond “She’s so freaking cute!!!”. So instead of boring you further with the same sentences over and over again, I figured I’d end the article instead with a gallery of images that just show you why Chinatsu is exactly that. Freaking cute.

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