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The Hits and Misses of Reverse Harems

utapri

Reverse harems, if presented well, can be very popular and entertaining. One such example is Uta no Prince-sama, whose popularity has been so high that a second season and  third season have been aired. Personally, I’ve only watched season 1. I would have been able to watch season 2 if it wasn’t for one of my friends who pointed out the cheesy dance moves and the ridiculousness of six guys liking one girl. (Seriously, I was actually fine with it before she told me that!) It’s funny how usual dramas and anime sometimes feature love triangles, but for Uta no Prince-sama Magi Love 1000%, there was a love heptagon. As if that wasn’t enough, the cat turned into a guy and it became a love octagon.

This post isn’t supposed to be a rant about Utapri, so I’ll stop with the criticism. It’s not that bad as it might appear in my writing. I know that the above points can be argued as I don’t like reverse harems in general. However, there are parts that I enjoy. There is a reason I completed watching season 1. If it really was terrible, I would have dropped it. I liked the songs in Utapri, especially the opening song, Orpheus. Other insert songs like Mirai Chizu and Nanairo no Compass are nice as well. I felt that the countdown part of the ending song was cheesy but hilarious. That’s the reason my friends and I used to sing it again and again, probably driving our other classmates crazy since they had no idea what we were singing. It was so fun. Also, there were funny moments in the anime like episode 6 where Syo tried to overcome his fear of heights so he could get the role he wanted, only to find out in the end that the role was being the main character’s little sister.

Final verdict: Hit

brocon

By the way, the one in pink is also one of the brothers.

Here’s an example of a reverse harem that is completely ridiculous. Brothers Conflict involves a girl moving in to live with her thirteen stepbrothers. That’s right. 13. That is no typo. When I was reading the synopsis, I initially thought it was a typo and it should have been 3 instead. But no. When I scrolled down, there really were 13 names. Who would have thirteen children now (if we consider developed countries) and even if one does have thirteen children, what are the chances of all of them being sons? BroCon makes Utapri look so realistic in comparison, other than having a cat transform into a guy. On a side note, if the insanity of all thirteen brothers liking their new stepsister isn’t enough, let’s add in a talking squirrel. Let me rant about how much I detest that annoying brat. It humiliates all the adorable squirrels in the world! Why is it even in the anime? Sheesh.

The reason I decided to try watching Brothers Conflict was a meme I saw on Facebook. It was a scene in episode two, where Yuusuke said, “Just when I started liking someone, she became my stepsister.” It made me think that the anime was only about the two of them so it seemed very interesting. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most ridiculous reverse harem I’ve watched. I dropped it after three episodes. One reason being I seriously wanted to strangle the squirrel, and the other being the fact that I could not stand the whole anime anymore.

Final verdict: Miss

amnesia

Is it just me or do they look very creepy here?

So yeah, why did I watch this again? Oh right, because of the animation. Compared to Brothers Conflict, Amnesia had better animation and fewer guys. The plot, however, was pretty jumbled up. The main character has amnesia but doesn’t tell anyone. Sometimes, she gets random visions when parts of her memories come back. I gave up after three episodes. To be honest I was getting fed up with their eyes. They have the oddest eye colours. It can’t be seen in the picture above, but in the anime, their eyes aren’t, for example, simply blue. It’s blue mixed with pink. My eyes hurt just looking at them, so I gave up on the whole series. Also, the amnesia thing was getting annoying.

Final verdict: Miss

kamigami no asobi

I’ve posted my first impressions on Kamigami no Asobi before, which you can read here. To sum it up, Kamigami no Asobi has succeeded in creating a strong main female character unlike many others. Yui is not weak and has an actual personality. She is not submissive to others and has the courage to raise her own opinions and discontent. That is what I really like about Kamigami no Asobi. However, a reverse harem will always be a reverse harem, and this is where my dissatisfaction starts. I find it ridiculous that flowery backgrounds appear every single time a new male character is introduced. I couldn’t stand it, which is why I’ve only watched one episode of this.

Final verdict: Miss

ouran

To end off with a more positive note, here’s a great reverse harem that you should watch. Ouran High School Host Club is more natural, in a sense. Unlike some others, especially those adapted from otome games, the main character isn’t some expressionless person. Now that I think about it, that’s what I hated about the main characters in Brothers Conflict and Amnesia. They were totally expressionless! Besides, I have no idea what they even did that made all the guys like them. At least Haruka from Utapri had talent! Back to Ouran, Haruhi is forced to join the host club to pay her debts for breaking an antique vase. The reason why I really like it is because of its comedy. I was so focused on its comedy that I never realised it was actually a reverse harem at first. Interesting characters, wonderful plot. I have no complaints for Ouran High School Host Club.

Final verdict: Hit

The above are all my opinions.  Feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me!

P.S. I wrote this post in 2014, but I have no idea why I haven’t posted it yet.


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Koe no Katachi

Rather than romance, the greatest themes of Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) were friendship and redemption. It tackled the complexity of people and the struggle to fix fragile ties in friendship.

Note: This post is a revised (spoiler-free) version of the one I published earlier on thechaserofdreams.wordpress.com.

Synopsis

Nishimiya Shoko, a deaf girl, transfers into Ishida Shoya’s elementary school class. After getting tired of helping Nishimiya all the time, the class starts to bully her, especially Ishida. However, when the bullying turns extreme, the class begins to bully Ishida instead. Nishimiya tries to help him, but he retaliates and they get into a fight, resulting in Nishimiya transferring schools and Ishida being isolated by his classmates and friends. The two do not meet after that, but in middle school, Ishida decides that he needs to meet Nishimiya again to make up for his past misdeeds and be her friend.

Opening Plot

The beginning of the movie was quite painful to watch. We see Ishida in the present, getting his pay, withdrawing his the money from his bank account, and the crossing out of the calendar. A flashback to the past explains Ishida’s situation and his complex behaviour in the past. While Ishida helped to stand up for Nishimiya when some of his classmates (Ueno and Kawai) were criticising her, and even suggested that she should try harder to communicate with the class, he turned hostile after Nishimiya indicated that she wanted to be his friend. That was the start of Ishida bullying Nishimiya, and it got more extreme when Ishida started snatching and destroying her expensive hearing aids. Ishida’s complex and extreme behaviour was baffling to me as he switched sides so quickly, and even became the greatest bully.

Theme: Redemption

The movie portrayed Ishida’s growth in maturity as he learnt that suicide was not the key to removing the guilt in his heart. He kept Nishimiya’s ‘For Conversation’ notebook in order to return it to her and learns sign language in order to be able to communicate with her. After meeting Nishimiya at a sign language school by chance, Ishida tried to be her friend. However, he faced the opposition of Yuzuru, who sternly told him to stop going over to the sign language class if he just wanted to make himself feel better by doing so. That threw a deeply disconcerting impact. One’s efforts to redeem oneself certainly could be seen as a selfish act – to do something good not for the person on the receiving end, but in order to comfort oneself. Despite that, it was significant that Ishida did become friends with Nishimiya. His growth was evident in how he faces others – no longer did he see ‘crossed out’ faces, but obtained the courage to move on and cross the boundary he draws between himself and others. Ishida’s social circle gradually increased involving his middle school classmates, starting with Nagatsuka.

Side Characters

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From right to left: Sahara, Nishimiya, Yuzuru, Nagatsuka, Ishida, Ueno, Kawai, Mashiba Source:https://cinema.ne.jp/news/koenokatachi2016091016/

Minor signs of redemption could be seen in the side characters as well, though these tended to be quite messy. Perhaps it was because this was a movie adaptation of a manga that some parts felt quite rushed. For example, the ‘strange’ group’s trip to the amusement park was really weird. Sure, Ishida going with Nishimiya, Nagatsuka, Yuzuru and Sahara was understandable because they have started to know one another quite well. Nagatsuka proclaimed Ishida to be his best friend. Ishida became friends with Yuzuru and (perhaps) Sahara because of their connections with Nishimiya. On the other hand, Kawai, Mashiba and Ueno did not really fit. While Ishida did start talking to Kawai, it did not feel like they became close enough to be friends. Also, I felt that Mashiba was a random ‘extra’, being somebody who only knew Ishida in middle school, and not really a friend. He just somehow joined the group because he was Kawai’s boyfriend.

Ueno was the second most complex character, with the first being Ishida. Although she wanted to help stand up for Ishida as an apology of her past betrayal, she still hated Nishimiya. As for Kawai, I was somehow always critical of her. She seemed really superficial and constantly acted as the victim, despite laughing along when Nishimiya was being bullied. I was critical of her all the way until the end, when she gave Ishida the cranes. Personally, I found Sahara’s character very relatable. She wanted to help Nishimiya but ultimately ran away by transferring schools when she was bullied as well. As Ishida later pointed out, Sahara was still a coward despite acting like she was now brave enough even to enjoy riding a rollercoaster.

Despite the drama, Koe no Katachi did not forget about humour. The funniest parts were Yuzuru’s identity, Nyan Nyan Cafe and Nishimiya’s failed confession. The first two garnered the most laughter in the cinema theatre I was in.

All in all, Koe no Katachi reminds us to come to terms with our past and continue moving forward. It is certainly very thought-provoking. The complexity of the characters reflect the complexity in ourselves, like how we sometimes struggle between doing what is right and wrong, and suddenly decide to shut everyone out at times. The struggles and fragile ties in friendship are beautifully played out, making the movie very relatable.

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/9aRexOtovXY 

Note: The names I have used are the family names of the characters because they are more commonly referred to that way in the movie, with the exception of Yuzuru.


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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

 


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Noragami Aragoto episode 11

<Revival>

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Reading what happens in the manga before watching it being aired in the anime often makes me judge changes made to the original version. The episode begins with additional drama between Kugaha (yeah, this annoying guy is back even with a severed hand) and Yukine. Kugaha taunts Yukine over how Noras are not actually despised, but feared because they possessed many names. A Regalia needs to know the name of his opponent in order to use a boundary, putting Yukine at a disadvantage. However, he succeeds after Hiyori assures him of Yato’s faith in him.

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Yato is still trapped in the underworld, and Ebisu asks Bishamon to help save him, before passing out. Yukine is unable to enter the underworld unless he goes as another god’s Regalia, making him a stray. Bishamon steps up and volunteers to save Yato on behalf of Yukine. Even so, rescuing Yato is not an easy task, and Kofuku faces the trouble of keeping the vent open. At the end of the episode, Ebisu awakes and announces a way to save Yato, with Hiyori’s help.

I feel that reading the manga version of this recently makes me slightly less enthusiastic about watching the anime, but that’s not to say that Noragami Aragoto is getting boring.

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 11 at https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-011


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Noragami Aragoto episode 10

<A Certain Desire>

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This is pretty emotional episode. Hiyori remembers Yato and Yukine after Yukine talks to her when she is on her way back home from school. She finds out that it has been a month since Yato has gone missing.

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Wow. Contrary to what I thought at first, Ebisu is not a bad guy. He didn’t create masked phantoms for his own selfish means, but for the sake of humanity. He wanted to be able to control phantoms so they could stop disrupting the human world, and a locution brush can help him. All the previous Ebisus have died trying to get one, and he hopes to achieve his goal. Unfortunately for him, the heavens have already decided on a capital punishment for him once he has been found.

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It turns out that Tsuyu isn’t a Regalia. It’s cool how she can communicate with trees, and because of that, she finds out where Ebisu is, and that a young god and a girl in white are following him, who Hiyori identifies as Yato and Nora.

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Failing to get out from the sealed exit, Ebisu feels like giving up, since he can reincarnate any time. Yato insists that Ebisu should make his own exit, which he eventually does, with the use of his newly acquired locution brush and the phantoms it can conjure. Unfortunately, in order to protect Ebisu, Yato gets caught by Iwanami, and is dragged back to her lair. At the same time, Hiyori and Yukine arrive at the entrance of the underworld, but are unable to enter it due to the seal.

The plot is heading towards where I stopped in the manga. Noragami Aragoto has 13 episodes, so it would probably end after the Ebisu arc. I can’t believe it’s ending soon after 3 more episodes! 😥

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 10 at  https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-010 


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Noragami Aragoto episode 9

<The Sound of a Thread Snapping>

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Yato enters the underworld with Nora and finds out that Ebisu is the conjurer. However, Ebisu is unwilling to get out, and insists that he needs to get the locution brush from Iwanami, the so-called queen of the underworld, who is extremely powerful. With that brush, Ebisu would be able to control his masked Phantoms. Apparently, Iwanami takes on the form of a person close to the person looking at her, which is why Yato and Ebisu see different appearances of her. It is quite funny seeing Yato and Ebisu initially bickering over the appearance of Iwanami, between a high school girl or an old woman.

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Iwanami says that in exchange for the locution brush, either Yato or Ebisu will have to stay behind to be her friend. Ebisu tells Yato to stay behind, and a fight breaks out.

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It turns out that this fight is actually part of Ebisu’s plan to distract Iwanami while one of his phantoms steals a locution brush. Enraged, she slowly reveals her true nature. It is surprising to hear Ebisu call Iwanami “Mother” at the end before he leaves. I’m curious to know why he is so keen on controlling masked phantoms. Is he hungry for more power, despite already being a god of fortune, and why?

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Hiyori is already forgetting the existence of Yato and Yukine. She goes on a “triple date” to Capypa Land with her friends. Argh, that ending. I’m so annoyed. I knew that Fujisaki was up to no good since he first appeared in the manga. Anyway, it’s time to catch up with episode 10!

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 9 at https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-009


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Noragami Aragoto episode 8

<God of Calamity>

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Takamagahara officially recognises Yato’s mini shrine (after he pestered the government office for days) and has granted him rights like access to Takamagahara and his own (extremely tiny) plot of land. Oh well, something is better than nothing right? noragami s2 8-3

Yukine is determined to learn invocation from Kazuma, which Bishamon had allowed. It’s nice to see him trying so hard, even though his first lesson ended in failure.

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A random schoolmate helps Hiyori when she trips on a can. Spoiler but this guy is not as kind as he seems! Yeah, Noragami is not meant to be a shoujo anime with flowery moments like these.

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Happiness is short-lived in Noragami Aragoto. With the Bishamon arc over, the Ebisu arc poses a much deadlier situation for Yato. Daikoku had previously raised questions of how a minor and unknown god like Yato has been able to survive for centuries. The title of this episode, God of Calamity, reminds us that Yato is a god of calamity, and he is now being forced to return to the darkness of his past. This is not uncommon, for Kofuku mentioned that Yato sometimes disappears for months, without informing his Regalias. Yato is forced to take up jobs that involves killing people, and has been gone for probably a month. When he flared up and protested that he wants to leave, ‘Father’ appears and grants Yato freedom once he completes one last job, which involves going to the underworld and rescuing a conjurer.

Oh gosh that snippet of the next episode… I remember reading that part in the manga! Indeed, absolute freedom is never granted without a price, and Yato’s new job will put him in the most dangerous situation he has ever been. Noragami Aragoto is here to bring more suspense and I can’t wait for episode 9!

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 8 at http://gogoanime.tv/noragami-aragoto-episode-8