AMV of the Day: Toradora! Rough Love (Grow A Pear)

So, finally back from a near week of anime and manga festivities at this year’s Anime Boston. One of the things I’ve enjoyed while attending these anime conventions have been the creative AMV’s which come out during the the event’s AMV contests. This year the crop of AMVs which won the different categories were very unique and inventive. One such AMV which seem to think outside the box was in the Best Romance category. This AMV combined the Ke$ha song, “Grow A Pear”, with the romantic comedy anime series Toradora! with an end result that was quite funny and charming.

The video took the give-and-take and very hostile early relationship between the two main characters in the series, Taiga and Ryuji. The song matches up pretty well with these early scenes of tsudere hostility from Taiga towards Ryuji but it does finally build-up towards the inevitable admittance from both characters of their true feelings for each other. This video had won the Best Romance category and could easily have won the Best Comedy category as well, but with the quality of romance AMVs being quite lacking during this year’s Anime Boston it wasn’t a surprise that this particular AMV won.

Song: Grow A Pear – Ke$ha

Anime: Toradora!

Creator: l33tmeatwad

Anime of the Day: Toradora!

The latest entry for Anime of the Day is the romantic comedy from Japanese animation studio J.C. Staff. I am talking about the quite popular anime series which had a 25-episode run in Japan’s TV Tokyo from October 2008 and March 2009. The series is Toradora! and is based on the light novel and manga by Takemiya Yuyuko.

This series is a romantic comedy and also one that is full of well-done drama. It’s an anime about relationships and stars two very atypical leads in Takasu Ryuji and Aisaka Taiga. Ryuji is the misunderstood highschool boy whose squinty eyes has labeled him a thuggish, criminal-type which causes some hilarious reactions from classmates and teachers both. Taiga is the doll-like tsudere-type who manages to scare everyone in her school due to her quick temper and improbable strong attacks. The two end up accidentally bumping into each other in the first day of classes and hilarity ensues from there.

Other characters such as Taiga’s friend Minorin (the weird, ditzy girl) and Ryuji’s best friend Kitamura Yusaku also lend their own personalities and relationship issues to the mix which ends up complication everyone else’s hook-ups. There’s also the kyuugere character in Kawashima Ami who is Yusaku’s very beautiful childhood friend whose attempt to hook-up with Ryuji causes other relationship complications which doesn’t untangle itself until very close to the end of the series.

Toradora! looks like the typical romantic comedy at first glance, but as one gets deeper into the series deeper layers in how the characters behave and their motivations for their earlier behaviors shine through. The comedy in the series actually begins to take a backseat to the complex romances in the show. We know from the beginning who should end up with who, but the journey the characters take to finally get to where they need to be in the end is the high point in the show.

For people new to anime this series is actually a very good starting point in the romantic-comedy genre as it takes the subject matter seriously and doesn’t pander to the usual easy hook of ecchi scenes and over-the-top comedy.

AMV of the Day: Toradora – A Thousand Miles

[spoilers within video]

Another AMV from the romantic-comedy anime series Toradora! is my pick for AMV of the Day.

There’s not much else to say about this series other than it’s a must-see. Unlike most romantic-comedy series this one actually tries to tone down the comedic aspect of the series, but not enough to give the whole thing a too-serious vibe. The characters have believable motivations and reactions to the goings-on around them. The series also dos a great job of matching up several characters initially only to have these matches re-done until the couples people want together end up together.

This particular AMV was created by Youtube user ChangitoLoko who also made four other AMV’s using Toradora! and its many characters. I will take a huge flying leap and guess that ChangitoLoko really enjoyed this series. The song he used for this AMV is Vanessa Carlton’s song, A Thousand Miles. This song has been used in many other romantic-based AMV’s in the last. I really liked this song as paired with scenes and characters from Toradora! though there might be spoilers for those who haven’t seen the anime so beware.

Creator: ChangitoLoko

Song: A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton

Anime: Toradora!

Highschool of the Dead: Episode 9 – First Impressions

yandere: A Japanese anime/manga character archetype, a character that is loving, sweet & gentle that can suddenly switch to brutal psychotic or deranged behavior

Why the quick brief lesson in Japanese anime/manga terms?

This brief lesson is due to the nature of episode 9 for Madhouse’s anime tv series adaptation of the horror manga title, Highschool of the Dead. This latest episode finally unleashed the dark secret one of the coolest characters in the series has been keeping to herself. For those who have been reading the manga on a regular basis already know of this secret, but for those whose experience of this title is only the anime this episode will open up Busujima Saeko.

The bokken wielding senior-class in the group has been one of the most level-headed in the group surviving since episode 1. Saeko never seems to panic and has shown to be expertly skilled in dispatching the unending stream of zombies with her wooden sword. Outside of the gun otaku himself, Kohta Hirano, she seems to be the one character in the group who has adapted well to the sudden and apocalyptic change in the world around them.

This episode puts her and Takashi Komuro (who is starting to gather quite the harem of hotties) on the run to find a way to the safety of Takagi Saya’s parents’ fortress compound. During their time running from the zombies to find a safe passage Saeko and Komuro get into all sorts of troubles with Saeko getting wet in more ways than one during their run. It’s during this time away from the rest of the group that we learn of Saeko’s penchant for just a bit of sadism.

A past encounter in her early highschool years convinced Saeko that she enjoys inflicting pain on those weaker than herself. This revelation becomes a huge 180 degrees from her earlier behavior. Out of the outside facade of being the cool-headed, elder student who never panics lies the heart of a sadistic yandere who has enjoyed killing “Them” with impunity. The changes in the world has allowed Saeko to indulge in her sadistic tendencies and maybe she’s in the right as it has helped her and her group survive the apocalypse, so far. Even Komuro has accepted this side of Saeko and sees it as a necessary evil in the days ahead.

The episode also hints at what could become a major love triangle (or is it quadrangle) as the relationship between Saeko and Komuro may have turned a particular intimate turn (before the scene faded to black). This episode has deftly laid the groundwork in what could become this series’ version of School Days and Higurashi no Naku Kuru ni. This new development in the series should quiet some of the nitpickers and naysayers (who still continue to watch despite their constant bitching about the series’ heavy fanservice) who wish for more character development and storytelling minus the constant oppai and pantsu shots.

One thing for sure, the anime has begun to take some liberties with details from the manga. This episode has changed the order of certain events and even changed the circumstances of how certain things occur. With four more episodes left in the season the question now is whether the series first season will end caught up to the manga (currently on chapter 26 or 27) or will it end on a cliffhanger that combines chapters 14-16 of the manga. Here’s to hoping that it’s the latter that way we get a follow-up season.