Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Ani-Mother's Day 2010!

Happy Mother's Day! Welcome to my blog, welcome to my madness. Last year, I did a list of mothers and mother-figures in anime that I liked. This year, I thought I'd talk about a specific mother in an anime with an English dub that I can talk about in a bit more detail. So I'm going to examine an anime mother in a series many fans would like to see more episodes of licensed. Chigusa Sakai from Shakugan no Shana, played to perfection by the talented Lalainia Lindbjerg.


Chigusa Sakai is a gentle but opinionated woman who displays a level of understanding of the heart and the nature of love that appeals to me. The first season of Shana is the only one available right now that's dubbed but it also has wonderful examples of this loving mother's wisdom. What makes Chigusa a great mother is first and foremost the level of trust she shows for her son Yuji. She accepts his explanations for things quite easily and gives him the best advice she is capable of giving at all times. Her personality is actually a nice contrast with the tsundere nature of Shana. Throughout the series, she always treats her son with caring and respect. Given her son's situation, her constant warmth is a comfort.


In a way, Chigusa becomes a surrogate mother-figure for Shana too. The most important scene to me that illustrates this is her explanation of a kiss. The English dub handles this quite well in my opinion, managing to give the discussion a serious feel without coming across as preaching. Chigusa's words illustrate a deeply personal opinion being shared rather than a "listen to me little girl" moment. Chigusa manages to really get across the idea that kissing isn't something to be taken lightly (and it is much more serious in Japan than in most Western countries) while also encouraging Shana to make her own choice on the matter. Another moment comes when she encourages Shana to wear a yukata for the city festival. Essentially this moment is a clear blessing by Chigusa for Shana to have a relationship with Yuji.


As Shana's father-figure, Alastor becomes concerned that she might be encouraging Shana to move too quickly toward emotional/phsyical relationships. When he talks to Chigusa, he ultimately comes to the conclussion that her advice was in fact good overall and her wishes for Shana were more or less in line with his. Having a Crimson Lord's approval can't be considered a minor thing! Considering Alastor's presumed age, his approval of her wisdom is quite telling.

Chigusa Sakai provides a loving environment and stability for Yuji, helping him to feel more human despite his situation. There are times where a viewer might wonder if perhaps she suspects quite a bit about her son's situation. Her response to his martial arts training especially seems to indicate she at least thinks there's more to it than just "she's teaching me." Knowing Chigusa, she probably saw the romantic subtext easily. I mean, she's quick to help Shana get in touch with her girly side.


Lalainia Lindbjerg brings Chigusa to life in the English dub with a voice that really helps to cement that hot shounen mom character trait. Her voice is just lovely in this role and so different from other roles I've heard her in like Yukio Washimine in Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage and Anew Returner in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Honestly, there's just something I love about her voice in this dub. She sounds so warm and gentle yet with a feminine will. Very motherly, very good.

What I like most about her voice though is how the smoothness of it feels similar to the way Yuji's English VA sounds. The two voices compliment each other in a way that enhances the mother-son dynamic.

As mothers in anime go, Chigusa Sakai is in the top ranks and Lalainia Lindbjerg plays her very well. It's a shame we haven't gotten the second season of Shana over here in R1 land yet. Even more of a shame that even if it's licensed, it might not get a dub. Still, you can at least get a taste of the English dub at Funimation's video portal.


Well, that's it for this edition of Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover! Show Chigusa your love by considering buying the set for Shakugan no Shana and show you're own mother, grandmother or motherly figure some kindess this year. Remember, we all come into this world only because our mothers love us. So long as your mother isn't an abuse monster, try to show her some respect and affection.



  1. Yay Shakugan no Shana! Yeah, I so wish the next season of that could come over... (complete with Ocean dub cast returning)

    Chigusa was always a nice character, I feel she's right up there with the kind mothers you see in the Key titles Kanon and Clannad.

    On another note, I find it funny that her eyes are open in only one of the pictures you put up, lol.

    But yeah, Happy Mothers Day!
    Good moms are cool, abuse monsters are not!

  2. She is an interesting mother figure. I kinda of forgot, since I haven't seen Shana S1 for over a year and S2 for almost a year. So if this post seems off, sorry. She is a good mom.

    So is a good mom, I do wish they would show more parent and kid relationships. It's interesting to see them.

    Happy Mother's Day to any mothers out there.

  3. @ bal-anime: Chigusa does have her eyes shut a lot but I didn't realize I'd used mostly closed eye pics. Couldn't agree more on wanting the Ocean cast back.