The Anime and Manga Spirit

We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end

OK. That might be a little overly dramatic but we are not the sort of site to win awards on a regular basis so we might as well celebrate.

FiddleTwix from Anime Madhouse nominated us for a Free Spirit award. It is technically more of a viral writing project than an award proper but it is still an acknowledgement from a fellow blogger that they liked our work enough to tag us in the project. It is so very easy to feel like you’re shouting into the void when you’re blogging so little nods like this put a smile on our faces.

Speaking of which the topic that we were asked to write about was “Little things in life that never cease to put a smile on your face.”

We’re going to center our answers around anime and manga otherwise it will be a post just about hamburgers and being proven right. While that might be amusing on an abstract level we try to keep the blog as on topic as we can.

hisui_icon_4040 5. Discovering an Undiscovered or Unappreciated Gem

One of the reasons both of us started this blog was the fact that we wanted to dive deeper into anime and manga. You have shows that are mainstream hits like Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fruits Basket, and Cowboy Bebop. They are just juggernauts that have so much exposure even people outside of the fandom usually know about them. You may not like any of those shows but you almost certainly have an opinion on them. Then there are the series that are a bit more niche but are easy to find fans of like anything Gundam, Free!, Steins;Gate, or Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure which may not be on the tip of everyone’s tongue but have reverent supporters anywhere in the community. At this point shows like this can easily find their audience. 

One of the biggest joys I still find in this hobby is uncovering a show that does not have anywhere near that level of buzz around it but it still a great title. It this age of the Internet you have to do some VERY deep diving to find a show almost no one has seen. Conversely because the Internet gives people so many choices or what to watch and read it is vastly more likely for some real gems to go over looked because of all the talk over what is more popular or infamous. A title can amazing and primed to become a hit but never find its audience. You don’t really see people regularly talking about Daughter of Twenty Faces, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan, Galaxy Angel, or Guin Saga.

Whenever I find a diamond in the rough it always warms my heart. It is proof that there is still so much great anime and manga to discover in the past, present, and future of the mediums.

narutaki_icon_4040 5. Kabe-don

You know, the acting of smacking your hand on the wall next to someone. Well, that act has a cute term which English-speaking fans recently discovered. But of course it has long existed! I can’t actually put into words why I like this, and it isn’t as if it is always cool, but in the right moment it is a delight.

hisui_icon_4040 4. Learning Someone Enjoyed a Recommendation I Made

To build on my first point the only thing better than finding a hidden gem is being able to share it with others. When you find a show like Daughter of Twenty Faces you want to share it with others. So you shout about the show from the hilltops of your blog and in social media and wait. You might get a few fist bumps from fellow fans that have always watched the show a lament its underdog status. That is always encouraging. But it is nothing compared to the joy you feel when someone who had never seen the series tells you that they loved it but only experienced it after your recommendation.

One of the best parts of being an anime and manga blogger is being able to be a champion of the underdog. It is going to bat for a title that you know is great but other people have not gotten a chance to see. You talk about these shows and hope someone listens. When someone chimes back that they followed your advice and loves a show as much as you did it is a wonderful moment when you just feel remarkably validated. Your voice matters and it has brought joy to someone else’s day.

Shows like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Gintama had nothing more than a handful of fans for the longest time. Even One Piece was insanely successful in Japan but relatively unknown in the English speaking world. But word of mouth through devoted fans has distinctly cultivated those titles into having a far larger fan base.  Titles that seemed destined to remain obscure have gained a place in fandom thanks to the hard work of the people who love those shows. When you are a part of a story like that it feels great.

But even if you don’t turn the little title you love into a One Piece style hit every minor victory is still precious. Everyone person who enjoys a show you led them to is a wonderful triumph.

narutaki_icon_4040 4. Lovingly-Drawn Food

Any food will do, but most wonderful for me are series that feature pastries. The trend of overly drawn beautiful food dishes seems to have infiltrated every anime recently so the delicious danger of encountering mouth-watering food is high.

hisui_icon_4040 3. Finding a Connection

There is another little joy of blogging is one that can only be found through research. That joy is the wonder of finding the connection between two artists or titles that you never knew existed until you did some digging. When you discover that one of the mangka you read was an assistant under someone else you love or that a director of a certain anime was someone who worked on an earlier work that clearly influenced them it gives you a greater appreciation of both artists involved. When I found out that Kenjiro Hata and been an assistant to Kouji Kumeta was quite mind-blowing to me.  Some thing with Miki Yoshikawa and Hiro Mashima or Satoshi Kon and Katsuhiro Otomo. It lets you chart the progression of both artists, see what the student learned from the teacher, where their styles begin to diverge, and what makes both parties unique. You come away with a better understanding and appreciation for the people involved.

On a similar note it is also great to go back and find older more obscure works by the same artist. Finding an old prototype, a forgotten one shot, or unappreciated work by an artist you love gives you a greater view of their work as a whole. Knowing that Shinji Takamatsu was the director of the last half of Gundam Wing gave me a much better understanding of what he was trying to say in Gundam X. Reading Notes. Valkyria, and Clockwick canaan-vail gave much a richer view of Type-Moon.

These paths, connections, and histories are not always obvious but that are deeply nourishing to an eloquent enjoyment of the artist you love.

narutaki_icon_4040 3. 70s Shojo Faces in Modern Series

I am a big fan of the design aesthetics in 70s shojo (the hair, the eyes, the fashion) so when references to that era show up in modern series I get a big kick out of it. My favorite of all the tropes is the no-eyes-shock face.

hisui_icon_4040 2. The Manga of Kenjiro Hata

Choice one and two are probably deadly obvious to anyone who regularly reads the blog but since I’m sure were going to get some new readers thanks to the Free Spirit Award I will reiterate what might be old hat to others.

I don’t really have anything close to the most glamorous or rewarding job on the planet. It is certainly not the worst job one could have it never really fills me with any energy either. So when a new chapter of Hayate comes out it is like wonderful little oasis in the middle of my otherwise arid desert of a work week. Whenever a new chapter comes out I feel a refreshing wave of vitality wash over me reminding me that there is always something new to look forward to. I just feel better about myself, my place in the world, and whatever is coming at me next.

Hata is hardly the worlds smartest writer or best artist. It is just that Hayate the Combat Butler is just so in sync with how I think that it feels like it was written specifically for me. It is like that particular frequency that would wash other others without any effect but perfectly resonates with my structure as a human being. KenjiroHata loves so much of the same things I do and has a sense of humor very similar to my own really makes me grok his work in a way that other people may not.

Also Hayate is the sort of unlucky but genuinely sweet character that I always enjoy. The fact that he has a bit of a sadistic streak does not hurt.

Also since Ad Astra Per Aspera looks to be a mecha manga that only makes me happier.

narutaki_icon_4040 2. Good Delinquents

Some tough guys and girls are just misunderstood! Whether they are reformed, still love a good fight, or just have scary faces that get in them in trouble, delinquents with true hearts hold a special place in my own heart.

hisui_icon_4040 1. Type-Moon

And now the utterly least surprising part of the post. If I left out Type-Moon I think it was be genuinely shocking to most people.

While I am hardly anything close to the first English-speaking fan of Type-Moon although I did get in relativity early on in the fandom. The games were still untranslated and the anime of Tsukihime has not really endeared itself to long time fans or people discovering the studio for the first time. The Fate/Stay Night anime was on its way but was not quite out yet. It had a very small but dedicated fan base. Jump ahead to today and you see fans of the series all over. Whenever a new property (and there are quite a few every year) from the company comes out there is a good amount of coverage of the release as is has become a studio that people watch because of its robust fandom.

Like the work of Kenjiro Hata the games, anime, and manga from Type-Moon have always found a special place in my heart. Experiencing a great Type-Moon title always sparks a memory of my favorite table top role-playing sessions or beloved fantasy series. The fact that Kinoko Nasu writes in much the same way I would is merely icing on the cake. I also have always clicked with the characters, scenarios, and themes that are present in the greater Nasuverse.

I know it annoys certain Type-Moon fans but I deeply appreciate the fact that Saber continues to be the ever-present mascot of the studio. The fact that I will always be able to get some new Saber item fills me with a childish glee.

Now if they could only show that same love for poor Ciel. Hopefully the upcoming Tsukihime remake will giver her a second wind.

narutaki_icon_4040 1. Beautiful Design

I am mostly thinking of manga page layouts but this definitely extends to title sequence and many other details used to enhance the feeling of scenes as well as packaging.

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Now to tag and pass along this writing exercise with a new question “What are five mysteries of anime and manga you need the answers to?”

Ogiue Maniax

Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

Land of Obscusion

Ani-Gamers

All Geeks Considered

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