Why am I alone?

Thanks to a wonderful review by Irina on her blog I watched the hilarious anime Watamote yesterday. Now, I guess the title can be confused with the term hilarious. This anime has wonderful notes of humor that directly relate to social anxiety and just the plain awkwardness of puberty. However, there are some pointed notes of the characters loneliness and confusion on why people don’t like her even though the audience may understand, the mc believes in her unique charms.

I took a lot of screenshots while I watched. I noticed after I finished with the last episode the moments I picked were mostly focused on the quiet times in the anime. The times where she began to doubt her wonderfulness and felt the keen loneliness of not having friends around her. It is easy to see myself in this character when I grew up I had a small handful of friends (who I am very thankful for) but there was always that need to feel “popular” to be the one that everybody liked since I believed myself to be a good person. I think I was lucky in the fact that I wasn’t a target for bullies. The only time I was was bullied was by people who didn’t even go to my school. (That is a story for a different day). This character isn’t bullied she isn’t made fun of she is just merely left alone.

In a way that can be just as saddening as being picked on. It is like she doesn’t exist to her classmates. I honestly really like the fact that she isn’t bullied and the classmates are not seen as the villain. In a matter of speaking the main character is the one who gets in her own way half the time. She comes up with these crazy plots to make people or boys notice her and they backfire in strange ways. Half the time she can’t even talk which over the course of the anime shows how crippling her social anxiety really is and you watch and you just want her to “SAY SOMETHING!” But she can’t it isn’t something you can just get over.

Time and time again she tries to get people to realize how wonderful she is but in the end she goes back to her room and plays otome games. That is the only way she can have that human and sexual interaction that she desires.

Also there are so many references to anime and otome games it is pretty fun to see if you can spot them all. Being and English Literature major I enjoyed this one a whole bunch.

There are some golden humorous moments with her parents during these times of her sexual awakening. One with her father that involved a personal massager and a BL otome game and one with a recording and her mother.

Kudos to the parents for just acting normal. I think that is a great moment of showing those lovely years where our parents don’t understand us, but then they still love us. The way the creators us the pauses for humor is on point and it gives laughter to a lot of moments that could be considered very sad. I think this is an anime that does very well with dealing with the tragic things of being lonely but adding in humor. In my mind it doesn’t make fun of her, but I think if it just focused on her loneliness it would be a very hard anime to watch.

These two image are from one of the moments that really begin to show her isolation. She wants to form a club and be with people in the first image it shows this dream happening. There are two other students who joined her club and they are having a peaceful moment just being together. Then after the song is over you see that she was having tea with her two stuffed toys all along. The club was never formed and she is still alone.

The sadness from her isolation shows up more and more towards the end of the anime. Now when I watched I really wanted for her to find that awkward friend that she could be with but I don’t think that this will be that kind of anime.

Given a choice she will always choose to be on her own. She finds these safe places where she feels at home and clings to them. It is hard for her to talk and meet new people. So when we see the funny. Moments of this anime we also get those moments that we can relate to as an introvert or a person with social anxiety. Some will never understand why we can just go and “make friends” it is never that easy. When we do step out of our comfort zone we have one thought in our minds…

I hope to see a season two for this anime. I hope to see some of her growth and still have the humor shine through. This was a great balance and if you had those awkward teenage years this will be very relatable… maybe more so for women, but I think most will enjoy this anime.

Sometimes I think that while we live and grow we have a habit of hoping that things will just happen to us. That change will be easy. We need to go out and do things ourselves and build those relationships with those close to us instead of hoping to be popular.

I wanted to end this post with a challenge. The way the mc is alone all the time really spoke to my heart. I know what it is like then and now to sit, eat, and be alone. It isn’t easy. So maybe this week if you see someone who is alone say hello, smile at them, maybe sit next to them if you know them. I’m not saying go forth and harass people, but there are those out there who go days without any meaningful human interaction. In this anime for a long time the only person who talked the the mc was the teacher who said goodbye to her at the end of the day. That moment meant something to her and trust me… coming from someone who is alone a lot… A hello can mean the world to someone. I’m going to do my best this week and I hope you all will reach out too.

Happy watching!

Why did I like MMO Junkie so much?

I had a short post on MMO Junkie about halfway through the short season and I found myself enjoying it so much that I declared it was my favorite (new) show this fall. Now that the season is wrapped up I want to reflect a bit on why I liked it so much.

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First, lets take an honest look at why this show wouldn’t be consider special by some standards. Did I like this show just because it was a break from all the killing anime this fall? Was I just in need of a fresh romance? You can look at the premise and some say “oh nice a female NEET we don’t get that very often,” but then it is still a slow moving romance where you are just like, “Come on! Just kiss her already! Tell him/her how you feel!” I can sense the frustration at the ending. Okay, they are going on a “date” is that all we really get? Yeah, I myself wished for a bit more from the end, but then if we get those romantic moments it would have destroyed the show. Let me explain…

Morioka seems to be suffering from social anxiety (let me play doctor here, sorry if I’m way off, Theatre major here, haha) and a bit of OCD (she cleans her rug with a lint roller every time she feels a bit anxious). If their relationship at that point would have went beyond the hand holding it would have been like “Oh yeah, I’m cured, you too can get rid of anxiety too my fellow NEETs!” No. It doesn’t work like that. This anime is special because the characters are true to how they were created. It can be painful to watch but that is what makes it so good if you give it a chance. An honest look at how people have miscommunication and are worried about everything in relationships. From getting that first response to your message to having someone text you something and you misread the tone.

Moriko needed the time to feel safe with Lily before she could let Sakurai in her life.

She has so much self doubt and the MMO game in a way saved her. When I watched the first episode again I realized that she came in on the last day of her job. I didn’t notice this small detail and it really put the whole timeline into perspective when she started the new MMO game. Just in the brief flashbacks of her at her work place you could feel her tension and and stress. The anime just touched a bit on this and I really really wish that we would have seen a bit more of this to flesh out her choice to become a NEET. I think that would have given a lot of watchers some closure on her backstory. However, we only got 10 episodes so they probably had a lot to squeeze in and the slow burning romance would have been lost.

The truest moment for me as a female was in the episode where Morioka went to get food with Sakurai and jumped to the conclusionnetjuu_02-1 that the female emploie thought that they didn’t belong together since Sakurai is so good looking. This is a theme throughout the anime since they met. She thinks she doesn’t deserve to be with someone handsome or so kind. She thinks she is useless since she is a NEET.  She is ashamed that the loves MMO games. She doesn’t understand why she is like this.

How many times do people put themselves down in life because we think we are imposters? That we don’t belong somewhere? A lot of us like anime, and I see often that we are judged just on that aspect in our life by those who don’t like anime or understand it. It is hard to go through the world and not think that people are judging us and sometimes get to the point where we don’t care about what others think. That takes some time and courage. Morioka is just getting to the start of her journey at the end of the season.

I do think this anime was a nice break from the killing anime this fall and from some of the really confusing anime also. Maybe that is part of what made it stand out so much for me. In a world of high school romance anime this one does stand out. It has a very honest look into problems that adults face when things at work can get to be too much and there is only the “suck it up” option. A nice side plot that you can find a family of oddballs online and they can turn into true friends. Sometimes us weirdos just need to find each other and thankfully the internet with blogs and MMO games lets us do that.

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I guess in the end I like this so much because I can just honestly relate to Morioka. I see myself in her and like her I keep pushing forward and I hope you do too.

I’ll get off my soap box and just mention that since I started this blog I’ve enjoyed reading and interacting with all you dear followers! Thank you for following me and thank you for reading. I do have my book deadline at the end of this month so I hope to be able to keep up the posts! Happy watching!

Kamisama Kiss

There are some great romance anime out there and I have a couple of favorites. Kamisama Kiss is probably one of the anime that I’ve watched the most. It is very sweet and has good character growth and if you read the manga the story does get a lot deeper and has a somewhat satisfying ending since right now there are only 2 seasons and so far it doesn’t look like a 3rd is coming since they did a few OVA’s. (side note, I watched this series in dubs and the voice acting is very good).

At the start of the anime you will notice right off that there is a quirky narrator. I haven’t quite seen something like this before in anime and sometimes it gives a nice lighthearted feel to the show. It gives it a bit of an old home video vibe sometimes.

When you meet main character Nanami she is sitting on a bench since she just got kicked out of her home. Her dad gambled away their rent money and now she is out at night without anywhere to go. Her back story is very tragic and she doesn’t talk about it much, the viewer doesn’t get an inside view of her story until almost the end of season 2. You get hints but not the whole story.

She meets a man called Mikage who is stuck up a tree by a dog, she “saves his life” and then in turn he lets her live in his shrine (and makes her a God). Here is a nice message to help others (haha) then you get promoted to Godhood! Not really, but that would be cool.

There at the shrine she meets Mikage’s familiar, Tomoe, who is a Yokia who has been “tamed” by having a familiar contract with Mikage and he serves the shrine. However, he is furious about a human taking Mikage’s place as the God of the shrine, and decides to go on a drinking binge in the underworld.

Nanami is trying to keep up the shrine without Tomoe but is failing miserable so the shrine spirits tell her that she needs to make Tomoe her familiar by kissing him. She goes to hunt him down in the other world and gets into trouble. The manga and anime differ a bit at this point but in the end she tricks a kiss out of Tomoe thus making him her familiar and now he has to serve her.0417965d7bcb51cc51d591070dc2c3ab--first-time-kitsune

One of my favorite things about this anime is Tomoe and Nanami’s dynamic. They are both snarky and sweet to each other making mistakes and having misunderstandings.  There are some great laugh out loud moments with these two and their banter.

This anime does have a bit of “Oh now Nanami needs Tomoe to come rescue her” which can get a bit old, but there is a nice character growth in Nanami where she recognizes her weaknesses and then is determined to grow and get stronger. She doesn’t want to just sit around and depend on Tomoe as much as he wishes she would. Nanami brings a lot of change to the God world and helps them relate to humans in a new way. She doesn’t always understand the traditions but is willing to learn and break old ones that are outdated.

If that last paragraph was a bit vague I apologize, I’m trying to avoid too many spoilers :).

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If you classify this anime it would be considered a reverse harem, in which there is one female character and a group of males are around her who do show romantic interest. The other “romances” are not the main focus of the story arcs which is nice. Otherwise, this would get too “Bella, Edward, Jacob.”

She is kidnapped by a familiar who lost his God and Nanami showed him kindness so then he decidescebe93b9b92f9565c067a96415f5128e to marry her… Which is a bit awkward. However, you learn a bit about his backstory and it is quite sad. In a later episode Mizuke becomes her familiar and him and Tomoe do not get along very well. In the manga there is a sweet scene with Nanami and Mizuke her familiar when he is afraid that he will be along again abandoned by his new God Nanami. It isn’t in the anime which is disappointing but I recommend the manga if you want to figure out a few of the plot holes that were left in the anime.

Tomoe also has a dark history of blood with him and his best friend Akura-Ou.tomoe_and_akura_ou_by_thepunk619-d8x0dcp

This story line hints at the past and Tomoe for some reason can’t remember any of it. All of this is explained in the manga. The anime hints at why he can’t remember, but the manga finishes the story line. He has to face a past where he was more of a killer than a protector.

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As the anime goes on the shrine filled with spirits, familiars, and friends. There is a sweet moment that reflects on the fact that Nanami always had to be on her own and care for herself and now she has a family. It is a nice moment for the main character to see her get a unique and loud family. A place where she belongs.

There are a few of what I would call “squee” scenes in this anime and I posted my favorite one and I may or may not have a zillion screen shots of this scene in my iPad…

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Sometimes the will they won’t they vibe of the romance can get a bit old and you just want Tomoe to admit that he loves Nanami. The wait is worth it and the sweet moments get you by until the end.

This is a very sweet anime if you like romance. I did wish that they had a third season, but check out the OVA’s and the manga. The manga also ties up the plot nicely. I do have one complaint that the last volume seemed a bit rushed, but I know how sometimes when a manga gets canceled they kind of shove everything into the last chapters.

Hope you enjoy this sweet anime like I did! Happy watching!

Recovery of An MMO Junkie

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One thing that is great about anime is that there are so many different types. There seem to be quite a few gaming anime’s but this one is only 5 episodes in and it has stolen my heart.

The main character is a NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) I first learned that term when I watch ReLife (which is also amazing and I see that season 2 will be coming in the spring). She is proud of her NEET life and protects it. There is a little bit of backstory that shows the viewer that Moriko Morioka did have a job at one point but we don’t know yet why she left that job. She is a socially awkward character which I think many people will relate too. Although I still have to go to my day job, but yeah it is tempting to stay at home all day and watch anime and read books.

She starts a new MMO at the start of the anime and she likes to play hot guy characters. I like this twist since sometimes the focus is on men who like to play woman characters in MMO’s and they forget that it does go both ways.

There is some alluding to an old game that she used to play which is basically cut scenes of the two characters laughing. As of episode five we don’t know the history of the last MMO she played or what led her to her elite NEET life.

Over all the main character is relate-able and there are a lot of funny moments. The interaction with the male characters makes you smile and yearn for the next episode. It is a very sweet anime so far and I look forward to the next episode. This looks like one of the better anime this fall so give it a try!

Bungo Stray Dogs

 

BungouI saw a lot of hype about “Bungo Stray Dogs” in my news feed and I put off watching it for a long time. I regret that. This anime has turned into one of my favorites. As mentioned in the last post I love strong characters and “Bungo Stray Dogs” delivers on vastly unique characters with really awesome magical powers.

When you watch the first episode it doesn’t seem unordinary then a few minutes the character Dazai floats in, hopefully you will begin to love him as much as I did. He in fact is my favorite character and as you watch there is an era of mystery about him. No one knows what he did in his previous job and there is such a slow build to this plot point and then when you hit season 2 there are 3 backstory episode just for him. They even have a special intro just for those episodes which are amazing and stand on their own.

I’m an English Lit major and their abilities, character traits, and names all have to do with classic authors in Japan and eventually other countries including the United States. How cool is that? I found myself pausing the anime so I could get a full description of their power and catch the authors name that they were referencing. It was a really cool use of mixing old authors with anime. Their powers were clever and the way their were drawn also references the authors work.

There are plenty of characters to love but it also has a rich world and the mystery behind why everyone is chasing after the main character, Nakajima. We won’t realize why until later in the season.

Nakajima at the start of season one has just been kicked out of the orphanage that had been plagued by a mystical white tiger. He doesn’t understand why he was singled out and throughout the anime he deals with the mental abuse he faced while he grew up. Nakajima tries to find worth in himself and then joins a motley crew that investigates cases that the police are not equipped for or can handle.

This is where you get to meet a rich assortment of characters that have different personalities and are lovable in their own way.

The art work is beautiful and the story is rich! I hope you enjoy “Bungo Stray Dogs” as much as I did!