A Shout Out to Flamboyant Male Characters

Out of the various character stereotypes in anime, one of my most favourite is the overly-flamboyant/eccentric male character. I’m talking ridiculous mannerisms, grand speeches, and larger-than-life personalities, who strut around on-screen doing outrageous things. So, here are my four favourite fabulous male characters.

Howl

Howl’s Moving Castle was the first anime movie that I ever watched, and Howl remains one of my favourite characters to date. A fan of grand gestures, loud outfits, and bright, every-changing hair, Howl likes to take centre-stage whenever he can. His first meeting with the protagonist Sophie involves a gentle stroll through the air. That’s one way to (literally) sweep a girl of her feet! He later shows off his feelings by giving her a massive meadow of flowers. Smooth.

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I love Sophie’s appreciation of Howl’s nature, and one scene that really highlights this is where she is figuring out what disguise Howl will take to keep an eye on her;

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However, one of my most favourite scenes in Howl’s Moving Castle, and one that really illustrates Howl’s eccentric mannerism, is after Sophie cleans out Howl’s bathroom, ruining all of his hair products. Howl’s response? He throws a tantrum with more attention-seeking than the most-spoilt toddler, and more angst than any teenager…

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Lelouch Lamperouge

Considering that these flamboyant characters are usually found in shoujo anime and manga, you may be surprised to see a character from a mecha/action anime here. However, anyone who’s watched Code Geass knows that Lelouch can be just a little flamboyant at times. First up, check out the outfit of his alter-ego, Zero… impractically long cape? Check. Royal purple suit? Check. Annoyingly high collar? Check (like c’mon, how can you even see what’s beside you?). Unnecessarily-pointed mask? Check. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

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If Lelouch’s outfit doesn’t convince you, nothing can top his oh so pretty arm movements whenever he’s making a speech. That coordination. That precision. That drama. When Lelouch is making a speech, you know you have to pay attention. Fortunately for Lelouch, even if you’re deliberately trying to ignore him, his stage presence is so awesome and powerful, you will ultimately fail. But, hey, who would want to miss his flash choreography?

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Lelouch is also a fan of the occasional bout of maniacal laughter and grand gestures. He can also sulk just as well as any other male on this list (although, admittedly, his sulking is a little more deserving). To top it all off, we can all agree that Lelouch is gorgeous in a dress…

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Ayame Sohma

Getting into the nitty-gritty of shoujo now, we have Fruits Basket’s Ayame Sohma. Right from his first introduction on screen (in human form) he steals the spotlight for himself within seconds. Maybe it’s his pure-white hair, maybe it’s his cocksure confidence, or maybe it’s just his annoyingly-happy personality, but whatever it is, you notice Ayame.

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Like some of the other characters on this list, Ayame likes to catch other characters off guard with his unique preferences and quirks. One of my favourite scenes in Fruits Basket is when he is recounting one of his tales of being student president to the three main characters. His complete confidence in himself, and his delight in sharing an example of his wisdom is just awe-inspiring.

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Ayame loves to over-exaggerate and make up stories to make moments more grand than what they really are. I love how he tried to convince a teacher that the Gods had ordered him to keep his hair long, as well as him frantically telling an injured Yuki (his younger brother) not to die as they “swore to die together on the same day by the setting sun” (to which Yuki snaps “Who the hell swore! I didn’t see any sun!”). Plus, he also looks pretty gorgeous in a dress…

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Tamaki Suoh

Of course, who else is the most flamboyant character but the Host King himself? Ouran High’s Tamaki Suoh takes the cake when it comes to flashiness, eccentricity, and flamboyancy. His bright, childish, and never-stopping personality is apparent right from his first appearance, whether it be manga or anime.

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What I love so much about Tamaki is how he is constantly over-the-top and dramatic, no matter if the emotion he’s experiencing is negative or positive. When he’s happy, there’s jumping, shouting, wild hand waving, and extreme enthusiasm. Flirty? Roses, sparkles, and winks. He’s the kind of character that literally bubbles with excitement, jumps for joy, and cries tears of laughter. All of this energy on screen makes him very fun to watch!

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However, don’t think for even a second that Tamaki doesn’t put the same amount of effort into displaying his negative emotions as he does for his positive emotions. He literally falls down in horror, grows mushrooms in dark corners when he’s feeling rejected, and pulls some of the over-the-top faces ever seen in anime.

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This only scratches the surface of Tamaki’s flamboyancy; I haven’t even touched on his grand acts, (at times misplaced) over-confidence, or fabulous habits. There’s just too much Tamaki to fit into this post, so I’ll leave you with some of my favourite Tamaki gifs!

-S

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(Not-quite) Five AMVS that are just for fun!

You can get some really serious anime music videos (AMVs) that are wrought with emotion, invoking memories of the characters’ struggles and despairs, and, hopefully, eventual victory. And then you have AMVs that are the complete opposite; they’re silly, funny, and aren’t meant to be taken seriously… just like the AMVs in this post! What a coincidence! These AMVs make me laugh, and are a cool little tribute to the anime they depict, without getting into the angst and remaining light and fun!

My Anacadona Don’t (Free! Iwatobi Swim Club)

We need a moment of silence over here… this AMV has been blocked/deleted. It did depict the wonderfully cringe-worthy Nicki Minaj song with equally wonderfully cringe-worthy fan-service clips of everybody’s favourite all-male swim team to create a surprisingly watchable AMV (trust me, it wasn’t as tacky as it sounds). Unfortunately, it’s another clip lost to copy-right laws. Instead, here’s a link to another Fairy Tail clip that I wanted to include in this post, but left out because there’s already one here. This AMV is fittingly appropriate for the series, although I must put a language warning beforehand if that’s not your kind of thing.

She’s Killing Me (Anime Mix)

Although I’ve only seen one of these anime, I really like how the clips have been put together in this little tribute to tsundere characters and the like. The song by A Rocket to the Moon is appropriately equal parts sweet and funny, suiting the various clips in here really well. The AMV is neat and tidily put together- love it!

Hello Kitty (Fairy Tail)

One of my favourite, fun anime deserves to be on this list, and I really like this AMV using Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty”. This AMV uses a lot of fun clips from the series, and I really like the cute chibi art that is flashed across the screen as well. The song is fitting, although I’m surprised that the maker keeps away from the Edolas arc (probably to avoid spoilers concerning the Exceeds). There’s also a few clips used from OVA episodes as well, which is a nice touch.

Gives You Hell (FMAB)

Is this a thing? Do people ship Olivier and Mustang? If so, they’re totally wrong, because we all know it’s Royai all the way. Regardless, I like this short AMV for depicting the love/hate relationship between these two Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood characters (or is it a hate/hate relationship?). The song by The All-American Rejects suits the mood as well, and the different clips from the series have been cleverly put together.

Ayame (Fruits Basket)

Finally, I couldn’t resist this cute little tribute to one of my favourite Fruits Basket characters! “I’m strange, and I like it”  is the perfect catch-phrase for this crazy, one-of-a-kind character. The clips truly capture Ayame’s flamboyant, overly confident, and over-the-top nature, and with Skye Sweetnam’s fun “Just the Way I Am” blaring, it is all kinds of perfect.

Are there any AMVs that you like to watch because they capture the fun of an anime you enjoy? It’d be awesome if you shared them below 🙂

-S

My favourite compilation AMVs: Part two

Here are the last three of my favourite compilation AMVs! I still can’t get over how awesome these are… enjoy!

NOTE. As before, there may be spoilers in these AMVs. Also, some of these AMVs may induce motion sickness or epileptic seizures. Watch at your own risk.

Vivifx’s “Ship Happens”

Is there another name for AMVs that include customised music? If you know, please let me know in the comments! This AMV has its own music created by the maker and it is that kind of annoyingly catchy song that you know you’ll have in your head for the rest of the day. I love how this AMV focuses on that massive aspect of the anime culture… shipping! Although I don’t ship any of these characters, I still think it’s a fun AMV (and second one from Vivifx to feature!).
For the uninformed: Here is some terminology to help you along in this AMV; shipping = the act of romantically pairing two characters together (from relationship)- note that a particular pairing is referred to as a “ship”; OTP = one true pairing- the couple that are the ideal/best ship; cannon = the actual storyline (i.e. a ship that is cannon is one that occurs in the storyline); crack ship = a ship that is so impossible/unlikely that you must be on crack to ship it (usually refers to shipping between characters from different anime/universes).

Chinnapat Ponharash’s “Not Alone”

First up- this AMV is only four minutes long, not eight. The video repeats itself without the sound in the second half (probably to avoid copyright infringement on the song). Secondly, it’s FREAKING AMAZING. The scenes in this AMV flow so well. There’s such a big build up at the start and you know it’s going to be awesome. I love the range of anime in it and it evokes so many different emotions including excitement, sadness, and hope… even though I’ve only seen some of these series! That’s a testimony to how well it’s been put together.

Suction’s “Ai no Kakera ~Fragments of Love~”

This mixed-media AMV is one MONSTER of a video. I love how it features such a large number and variety of anime, as well as a visual novel and game thrown in. The build up and explosion of action in the AMV is awesome, as is the fade-out towards the end. Sure, it looses pace slightly in a couple of sections, but considering the video is twelve minutes long (!) I think that it’s remarkable that it can hold my attention for so long. The music also as a number of different cool melodies going on in it. Overall, it’s a pretty awesome experience.

Well those are my favourite compilation AMVs, I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Do you have your own favourite compilation AMVs, or perhaps one you’ve made yourself? I’d love to read about it in the comments 🙂

-S

[30 Day Anime Challenge] Day Twenty-Nine: An anime you wished was re-made

Fruits Basket

I am holding out hope that one day Fruits Basket will be re-made so that it follows the manga. A Fruits Basket: Brotherhood, if you will. I just loved everything that happened in the manga; how the story slowly got more and more complicated and darker as it went on, and then the sweet but suiting final resolution. All the character development, the revelations, the laughter, and the tears. Whilst there are other manga that I’d like to see re-animated (Ouran High School Host Club comes to mind), I think their anime adaptation is already pretty satisfying. But the Fruits Basket anime left so much to be resolved, not the least, the actual breaking of the damned curse. Furthermore, the anime focuses more on the friendship between Tohru, Kyo and Yuki, and the competition between Kyo and Yuki, which left it feeling a little silly… there is so much more to focus on! The manga is also so long, with so much detail, and I think a well-made anime could really do it justice. It’s not going to happen, but I can hope.

-S

Someone's pissed

All the drama!

 

[30 Day Anime Challenge] Day Fourteen: The anime you’ve rewatched the most

I couldn’t find a good quality clip of any of my favourite scenes from other anime, so have Izumi Curtis being awesome. Yes, she’s from FMAB. Shoot me.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. No surprise there. Also, Fairy Tail. I’ve watched both of these series through twice (or is it three times for FMAB?), however, I tend to watch select episodes from other anime more frequently. These are usually episodes that I found the most entertaining and funny, when I just need a quick fix to get me giggling or lift up my mode. Probably my most watched episodes are from the following anime;

Fruits Basket (mainly the episode where Haru and Momiji attend high school for the first time, and any episode where Aya plays a big role)

Ouran High School Host Club (the first episode, the “refreshing” episode, and episodes with Ritsu Kasanoda in them)

Cuticle Detective Inaba (almost the whole thing, but definitely not the trauma of episodes eight and nine)

And of course, I’ll rewatch my favourite fight and death scenes on occasion!

-S

Mini-Reviews: Fruits Basket, Ghost Hunt, Ouran High School Host Club [Anime]

So, I’ve already reviewed Fruits Basket, Ghost Hunt, and Ouran High School Host Club in their manga forms, but I also wanted to give a review of them in their anime forms. Instead of doing a full-length review and essentially repeating myself for the plot and characters, I decided to take a quick look at each one, point out the main differences between the anime and manga and give a very brief review and a rating. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket

The anime adaptation (2001) of this manga is only 26 episodes long and covers volumes 1-7. However, to get a more dramatic ending, the revealing of Kyo’s “true from” takes place at the end of the anime, when in the manga it occurs in volume 6. Apart from a few other minor changes, which you expect to see in such a short adaptation, the anime is fairly faithful to the manga. However, only covering the first 7 volumes means that the anime does suffer from missing out on the darker aspects of the story and the more in-depth focus on the characters. There is a stronger focus on the friendship between Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo, which, at times, makes the anime feel a lot sillier than what it should be. Having said, however, the characters are bought to life really well, and the bright colours of the art really suits the story. The soundtrack is quite good, and helps draw out the comedy elements of the story. I particularly loved the fanfare that played whenever Ayame’s intense personality came out. The opening and ending themes are cute, but nothing special, and the overall art style remains typically shoujo.

Conclusions. The anime is a lot of fun, but without the entire story being adapted, it feels a bit silly in places. However, the characters are bought to life really well, the anime is funny, and I like that the writers went to some effort to give the series a tied-up ending. Overall, I give it a 6.5/10.

Ghost Hunt

Ghost Hunt

Every case but the last one is covered in the 25-episode anime adaptation (2006) of Ghost Hunt (volumes 1-9). I’m a bit disappointed that “The Forgotten Children”, which is one of my favourite cases, wasn’t covered, but at least you miss out on the weird twist that is revealed at the end of the manga. Overall, the anime adaptation is very faithful to the manga, the characters are bought to life really well, and the scary scenes have the right creepy atmosphere. The art is very similar to the manga, which is a good thing, and the music really fits the spooky atmosphere. I particularly liked the starting theme.

Conclusions. This is a good little anime to watch, and is a really nice adaptation of the manga. Although the series is not really concluded, partly due to the case-by-case approach of the plot, it doesn’t matter too much. Even if you haven’t read the manga, this is a good anime to watch. Overall I give it a 7/10.

Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club

This shoujo manga was adapted into a 26-episode anime (2006). The adaptation is bit haphazard; volumes 1-5 and 7-8 are adapted, but with changes to the order of events and the combination of other events; volume 9 is adapted to the ending of the anime, with some aspects of volume 6, and the inclusion of a non-cannon character, Éclair Tonnerre, who is quite similar to Princess Michelle of the manga. All things considered, however, the anime is fairly faithful to the manga in the way in depicts the events and the character; it’s obvious the writers were attempting to make events more salient and give the series a better conclusion than what it would otherwise get. What I really liked about the anime is that the characters’ personalities are captured really well. Tamaki’s flamboyancy really comes out in the animation, and contrasts with Haruhi’s straightforward and apathetic nature. The emphasis of the anime adaptation is fun and humour; the sound effects and music during the comedic scenes highlights this well. Although the actual artwork itself is not super amazing, it gets the job done.

Conclusions. Overall, this is a pretty good adaptation of the manga. The focus on the first few volumes means that you don’t get all of the character development that goes on in the manga, but you do get the fun, over-the-top, Host Club atmosphere. A must-watch if you loved the manga. Given it’s such a short adaptation, I still think it deserves a 7/10.

 

-S

Fruits Basket [Manga]: More than what you’d expect

Alright! Time for my first manga review! I decided to go with the shoujo manga Fruits Basket (1998-2006). It’s the first manga I ever read to completion. I did try reading some others, but I had a hard time getting used to reading from right to left, and to follow everything that was happening on page. So, I actually watched the anime of Fruits Basket first, and because I had a good grasp of the plot, I then read the manga from the start, and stuck to it. The manga is 136 chapters long (in 23 volumes), written by Natsuki Takaya.

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What’s it about?

The manga follows Tohru Honda, a sickly sweet high school student, and her involvement with the cursed Sohma family. Through a number of events in the first volume, she goes from living by herself in a tent at the start of the manga to living with the prince of her school, Yuki Sohma, and his cousins Kyo and Shigure. Tohru finds out about the Sohma’s family secret; certain members are possessed by animals of the (Chinese) zodiac, and when hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they turn into their animal. Yuki is the rat, Shigure is the dog, and Kyo is the cat (not actually part of the zodiac, but it’s explained in the manga). Tohru is initially happy just to meet the family members possessed by the zodiac, unknowingly touching the life of each one. However, she eventually sets her heart on breaking the curse, but she has the family head, Akito, to contend with.

Full Zodiac

Tohru and the Zodiac members.
Full figure: Tohru
Left of Tohru: Akito, Hiro, Kisa / Kureno, Hatori, Hatsuhara / Ritsu, Ayame, Shigure, Kyo.
Right of Tohru: Yuki / Momiji, Isuzu / Kagura

The Positives

I’m going to start with what I think is the strongest part of Fruits Basket… the characters. It is very hard to find a character in this manga who has not been lavished with attention and detail. The manga is very much character-driven; the bulk of it explores their individual stories. And these stories are well-put together; it is obvious that the mangaka has put a lot of effort and time into them. All of the information about the characters creates a rich tapestry that serves as a background to the character interactions that occur in the plot, making them more meaningful than what might appear at first glance. Each character is wonderfully unique, with everything from gothic teenage rebels, plenty of prettier-than-a-girl boys, and even sarcastic down-to-earth characters. There is definitely a character for everyone to like.

Although you can probably already predict the ending of Fruits Basket just by reading its synopsis, the plot isn’t as straightforward as you’d expect, and manages to cover a little bit of everything. Being a shoujo manga, you have plenty of cute romantic scenes, all of which are done very well and are quite sweet and touching. Furthermore, the majority of these scenes feel very natural, and the relationships that result are believable and solid. You also get a lot of funny moments from the characters’ interactions and unique personalities… I loved it whenever I was reading about Shigure’s meddling and teasing, “Black” Haru, or whenever the overwhelming, flamboyant Ayame was present. However, Fruits Basket also manages to deliver an unexpected punch, in the form of psychological and physical abuse that is hurled at the zodiac members by Akito. The inclusion of this abuse makes the manga surprisingly psychologically heavy, and the reader is exposed to references to past abuse as well as explicitly drawn abuse.

Akito does some nasty things throughout the series.

Akito is pretty nasty throughout the series.

The Negatives

Now, I know this is shoujo manga, but the art… it honestly irritates me. The wide-eyed, pointy-nose, unable-to-tell-males-and-females-apart style is certainly not my thing, and this manga really exemplifies this. However, having said that, there is a massive improvement in the art style throughout the manga… not only does it become easier on the eyes, it works out pretty well because it does a great job of illustrating the ‘growing up’ of the characters as the mangaka’s style becomes more refined. Although I don’t like the art, even towards the end, I must admit that the meaningful scenes have a lot of attention given to them throughout the manga, and the characters are styled well (which is really an extension of the attention that each character gets).

A massive improvement in art style; Shigure in chapter 1 and 136.

A massive improvement in art style; Shigure in chapter 1 and 136.

Now, remember earlier how I mentioned that a positive thing about this manga was that every character is well-defined and thought-out, having a detail-rich back story? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding when I said every character… While you’d expect the members of the Sohma family to have this going for them, reading a whole section dedicated to the back story of the home-room teacher is certainly unexpected. Bear in mind that in this manga you have a large cast of characters; Tohru and her family, the Sohma family, school friends (and their family), members of the student council (and their family), and partners of previously mentioned characters (and their family), and so on and so forth. Whilst I did enjoy learning about all of the characters, the downfall is that the manga’s pacing is sabotaged; sometimes it feels like it will drag on forever. 

The only other real negative that others may find in this manga is the sweet, slightly cheesy ending, especially in terms of the characters pairing off romantically. Whilst I thought it suited the manga perfectly, and bought the plot around full-circle, I’m sure a number of people will roll their eyes and think ‘What did I expect?’.

Anything else I should consider?

Don’t let Tohru’s goody-goody character put you off this manga; there is a lot lurking just beneath the surface that will leave you wanting to know more.

Conclusion

Art:  6/10: I don’t particularly like the art style, but it does improve greatly throughout the manga.

Story: 7/10: Whilst the plot is predictable and drags in a few places, there is a lot that happens to keep the reader interested, and enough twists for a few surprises along the way.

Characters: 9/10: The characters are the strongest part of this manga, each being unique and realistic.

Whilst the overall plot ends in a fairly predictable way, the reader will absolutely love a number of the detail-rich characters, and will want to see what Tohru can do to help them, and if she will succeed in lifting the curse. I recommend this manga to anyone who enjoys romance or shoujo (especially if you don’t want something that’s too lovey-dovey). Furthermore, if you’ve never read manga before and want to start with something easy to follow, and well worth the read, this is it. Overall, I give this manga a 7.5/10.

-S

Kyo and Kazuma (one of the sweetest moments in my opinion)

Kyo and Kazuma (one of the sweetest moments in my opinion)