So with that bit of housekeeping behind us:
Happy Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day has a long and storied tradition going back much farther than the commercialized version many deride in modern times. However, I'll let you my loyal readers discover that on your own. Rather than blog about the past, I'd like to post some adorable Valentine's themed anime pics, comment on a featured couple and generally act like a man who is a hopeless romantic at heart.
Love is a theme in story-telling that transcends almost all others as a timeless element of the human condition, so it comes as no surprise that it pops up in anime. It is also no surprise that countless fans can find evidence of love in the interaction of characters. From casual talk of nothing to fierce arguments, there's no moment in anime or any story-telling that can't be parsed out for subtext and innuendo. Not even brutal fights between characters who appear to hate each other.
Of course, sometimes fans will ship a side character with a main one or even invent their very own character from that pitch dark nightmare known as the mind of the fanfic author. Tremble in horror at the thought.
The cute so adorable it terrifies the world! Fear the Pika love!
Whenever exercising one's imagination, please try to avoid the creation of yet another demonic Sue. Remember, whenever a fanfic author creates a Mary Sue character, God does a face-palm. The Creator is having migraines as a result. Please, think of the Creator.
Fanfic authors and anime writers can sometimes get on the same page though. Some series see the addition of new subtext and even obvious shipping elements to cause a character relationship that started out more ambiguous to become more romantic/emotional. Often this occurs as a result of anime writers either having their own opinion on the ship or simply misunderstanding cues from the source material.
Seriously, they're just friends. The manga already picked Orihime for the OTP. The anime writers may have missed that memo though. (I know I did. Actually, I think a lot of fans did.)
When discussing shipping of any kind on any level, remember that while emotionally investing in the love between two (or more) fictional characters is fine in moderation, it can be taken to extremes. Advocating violence against opposing shippers or equating them to mustachioed Austrians is rarely the best way to debate someone, even if it can be quite amusing.
Now for a brief talk about our featured couple:
Domon Kasshu and Rain Mikamura!
Recently I've been watching G Gundam and frankly I really admire the relationship writing in the series. Sure, as an entry into the deep and often highly complex universe of mobile suit wars, G Gundam isn't exactly the deepest or necessarily the best written anime ever.
However, there is a depth to the love story of Domon and Rain. It is as if the writers decided that since the series wasn't going to involve as many plots and deep thoughts as a typical Gundam franchise entrant, they'd devote themselves instead to portraying the complexities of love. If that was their goal, they succeeded.
At first, the viewer can't be sure that Domon really does care about Rain. He starts out far too driven and angry. Yet every scene between them carries something, even if it is just a small gesture or glance, that shows just how deep their love goes. One scene from the first Bandai box set that struck me is when Rain is trying to repair the Shinning Gundam while feverish. At first, Domon does as she asks and lets her work alone but when he sees how much trouble she's having, he has her direct him to make the repairs. In a short time, they're finished despite earlier scenes and dialogue making it clear that the repairs were going very slowly and Domon isn't very good at fixing the Shinning Gundam alone. Another scene before then had Domon and Rain work together in a fight and as a result unleash a bit of Domon's true power. Together the two are just better.
Later scenes of Domon desperately begging for Rain's life or the two of them spending time together emphasize it but there are no scenes where you can't sense the love they have. For a series that is quite a bit silly at times, G Gundam has perhaps the best written love story of any Gundam series, at least of the one's I've seen.
In closing, Valentine's Day isn't something to cynically write off as a commercial waste of time. It's a day for reflection on the heart, a time to remember love or seek love or declare love and a brief moment when you should be able to ship without feeling embarrassed. Anime fans need moments to ship without embarrassment.
Remeber to vote in the poll if it is still working! I'll announce the specific prize anime in a later blog post. I'm not quite sure exactly when I'll be able to buy them. (Remember, I have no sponsors for prizes! It'll all from my pocket right now!)
I'm happy to remain your blog navigator, Richard J. Hopefully, I'll be around for a long time to come even if my posting is a bit sporadic. (I am WAY too lazy.)