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;

Howl Pidgeon 1Howl Pidgeon 2

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…

Lelouch2

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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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

My favourite compilation AMVs: Part one

I decided to do another post about AMVs (anime music videos), and this time it’s not Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Well, not just FMAB, because it does feature it some videos. Instead, I thought I’d focus on compilation AMVs. That is, AMVs which feature multiple anime (and sometimes multiple media). I can’t even begin to imagine how much time and effort it takes to make these videos… picking the right scenes from the right anime, finding a uniting song or theme; it’s amazing! Some of these AMVs have also had some serious editing into them to make them as awesome as they are. If you’re into anime, you simply MUST check these out. They make me so excited about anime!

I’ve split this into two posts simply because it’s easier to navigate the seven AMVs, and because one of them is super long. Also, these are in no particular order 🙂

NOTE: Firstly, there may be possible spoilers ahead. I haven’t watched all of these series so I’m not 100% sure. Watch at your own risk. Secondly, some of these videos may induce motion sickness or epileptic seizures. Again, watch at your own risk.

 

Vivifx’s “Anime 101”

I’ve seen this AMV make its rounds on the internet a couple of times now. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out! It covers several things about anime including genre, common anime jokes, as well as many of the most popular series, all in a school setting! Be sure to re-watch it and pause to read all of the writing in the background… it shows how much thought has been put into this AMV! (Note: there are definitely spoilers about deaths in FMA/FMAB and Attack on Titan in this AMV).

 

sloken18amv’s “Fighting”

Two guesses as to what this AMV is about. There’s a nice collection of different fight scenes in this AMV. Although the song is not as intense as you’d expect it to be, I still like how everything fits together. A nice look at the whole “fighting for what you believe in” that you see in almost every anime. (Note: the first 26s is an introduction to the AMV, feel free to skip).

 

TsukuyomosAMV’s “Across the Line”

This is a relatively simpler AMV, but is a great example of “less is more”. It gets me so excited about anime when I watch it! I love how the scenes and lyrics match up so well, and how  I haven’t seen most of these anime, but it doesn’t matter, because the AMV is this good. All around it’s very clever!

 

Baka Oppai’s “Face Your Fears”

I thought I would finish up with something a little bit different. This incredibly clever AMV may not directly focus on as many different anime as some of the other AMVs, but it certainly produces one hell of an atmosphere. I love how the video shifts partway through from creating the horror feel of the AMV to showing off a couple of fight scenes. Videos like this get me really excited about what people out there can do with AMVs!

 

Stay tuned for part two next week… delaying it so I will hopefully having something written for the week after!

-S

 

[30 Day Anime Challenge] Day Twenty-One: Your favourite ‘goofy’ anime character

Tamki being dumb

I was going to write this as a tie between two characters, but then I realised that one beats the other. Just. Sorry Fruits Basket’s Ayame, but all hail the Host Club King! Tamaki Suoh is the definition of loveable fool. He’s outrageous, over-the-top, and all-around idiot. Naive, full of energy, and always curious, he’s a lot of fun to watch on screen. Next to Haruhi’s apathetic nature, he pops even more. Although I love him in the manga, seeing him animated is just so much better; wild gestures, exaggerated facial expressions, and enough sparkles and roses to last you all day. He’s funny, even when he’s serious, he’s gullible, and he’s certainly goofy. One of my favourite characters.

-S

[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

Ouran High School Host Club [Manga]: Cute and a lot of fun

Sorry, it’s a day late out of pure laziness! I recently finished reading this manga in a blur; reading the last 50 or so chapters in two night. This shoujo manga is 83 chapters long (in 18 volumes) and was created by mangaka Bisco Hatori (2002-2010). I actually watched the anime first, but turned to the manga for more. 

Manga Chapter 1

What’s it about?

Haruhi Fujioka is a “commoner” who got into the super-rich Ouran High School on a scholarship. She is looking for a place to study when she stumbles into the Host Club, run by six male students to entertain female students. She accidentally breaks a vase and has to work for the club to pay back the debt. Because she doesn’t take care of her appearance, the host club members mistake her as a boy, and when they see that she has natural talent with girls they decide to promote her to a host, allowing her to work off her debt even faster. When the boys do figure out that Haruhi is a girl, they decide to keep it a secret, leaving her to continue posing as a boy (which she doesn’t mind doing). Yes, it is another take on the ‘girl pretending to be a boy’ story, but this time most of the major characters know about it by the end of the first chapter.

The manga then follows Haruhi’s adventures at the school as she starts to befriend the boys. The other hosts include Tamaki Suou, the founder and “King” of the Host Club, as well as the “princely” type; Kyoya Ootori, co-founder and “Shadow King”, described as the “cool” type; the mischievous identical twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, whose gimmick in the club is their “forbidden brotherly love”; Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka, a senior student who is the “lolita-boy” type; and Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka, Honey’s cousin, senior student, and the “wild” or “strong and silent” type.

The Positives

I found most of the characters in this manga fun and loveable. It’s nice to have such a likeable and interesting female main character, breaking the mould from other shoujo. Tamaki is just the right mix of overly-dramatic, stupid and kind to be perfect. The twins Hikaru and Kaoru are probably the most interesting in terms of their personality, and I really liked reading about how they started to branch out from their own little world and learn how to connect with others. Initially I didn’t like Kyoya, but that changed when I learnt about his true nature in later chapters. Although Honey and Mori don’t play a major role compared to the other members, they transition into more mature characters that give out advice and observe the younger characters, and I thought this was a really nice touch. Main characters aside, a lot of the other characters are very likeable and appear in more than just one arc, as fitting for a school manga.

The Host club members; (R-L)

The Host Club members; (R-L) Tamaki, Kyoya, Hikaru (I think), Haruhi, Kaoru, Mori and Honey.

Because I found the main character(s) so likeable, it was easy to enjoy the plot of this manga. The pacing is very good, and I wasn’t bored even for a moment. In the first half there are a lot of fun adventures, and in the latter half there’s more exploration of the characters (although still plenty of adventure!). Throughout the whole series comedy reigns supreme; even in the more intense scenes there’s still comedy to lighten the mood, however, there are also a couple of places where I came close to shedding a few tears. The love story is sweet and cute, and drives the plot in the second half of the manga. I found the idea of the characters not realising their feelings for each other interesting, and I think the mangaka did a great job with the tension around the male characters realising how they felt. The climax of the manga (including, amongst other things, Haruhi’s confession), was incredibly well-written, intense, cute, but also a lot of fun. The ending of the manga overall… well… all I can say is that it ends in true Host Club fashion.

*begins to tear up again*

*begins to tear up again*

This manga gets a lot of its comedy from the fact that it doesn’t take itself very seriously, and likes to poke fun at its own genre. This is obvious in the archetype host members, but also when the manga deals with cross-dressing, yaoi and yuri themes.

A quick note on the art: yes, it is typical shoujo art, but I actually quite liked it, especially in the second half. What I really liked is the fact that the Host Club members dress up so often in many different costumes (resulting partly from Tamaki’s over-the-top personality and the fact that the manga doesn’t take itself seriously) that are visually pleasing and lovingly detailed.

The Negatives

I didn’t find too much to complain about for this manga. One thing that annoyed me is that a number of side characters get annoying when they (re)appear; namely the all-female Zuka club from a different school.

Thankfully they didn't come into it too often, but I really didn't like the

Thankfully they didn’t come into it too often, but I really didn’t like the Zuka Club

However, if you are not a fan of shoujo and all of its elements or you aren’t prepared to read far enough to really get into the psychology of the characters, you will have a number of issues with this manga.

Conclusion

Art:  8/10: A bit awkward at the start, but the mangaka pays a lot of attention to detail, and, by the end, is really good.

Story: 8.5/10: Great pacing, fun, and sweet.

Characters: 8.5/10: Yay for having Haruhi and not a boring shoujo main! The Host Club members are all well thought out, and even minor characters are well done.

At first glance this is just another silly shoujo manga, but its strength lies in its comedy and the fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The characters are all likeable, and the fact that Haruhi isn’t the “I’ll do anything for the guy I like!” female lead is a bonus. There is some interesting psychology going on with some of the characters and it is explored well in later chapters. Overall, this is a fun manga with a good pace, and I recommend it to all shoujo fans, as well as anyone looking for a sweet story; 8.5/10.

-S

Oh dear, Haruhi, looks like you're in trouble now!

Oh dear, Haruhi, looks like you’re in trouble now!