Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cute Anime Couples

One of the most standard parts in anime are the cute couples. Actually, maybe it's an unwritten rule that every anime have to have some sort of love story in there somewhere. But what makes a "cute couple"? Is it the cute moments where you just want to go "Awww"? Or is it the moments where you just KNOW they belong together? I asked some friends of mine who they thought were the most adorable and amazing Anime couples, and here are the results; including some of my own:

Daisuke and Riku
"I loved this romance because it actually developed and wasn't painfully obvious from episode one! To be honest, I thought Riku was going to e a jerk in the beginning, an obstacle for Daisuke to overcome in order to get to the woman he loves. But no, as the series progresses, Daisuke realizes that he is not in love with Risa, but her identical twin Riku (yeah big step there). But the realization of his love isn't about looks or him never being able to get Risa, it's because his personality and comfort zone are much closer to Riku. At the end of the series I found myself yelling at the computer screen, ordering Daisuke to kiss Riku or I would kill him. I believe he got the message."

Lawrence and Holo
Spice and Wolf
"I honestly loved the chemistry between Lawrence and Holo in Spice and Wolf. Granted I didn't see much of Spice and Wolf but, of what I did see, there were a few great scenes between the two where there was so much tension.... the notion that traveling companion falling in love has a lot of plausibility to it."

Hagi and Saya
You have a girl who has lived a really long time, and a man who does anything to serve the girl. Throughout the series, their relationship begins to grow, as Saya starts regaining some memories, and we see Hagi recall some of his own. From those flashbacks, we understand how important they are to each other. Are they cute together? Not in the literal sense of the word, but they do have a very nice relationship. Did I mention Hagi steals a kiss from Saya in the very first episode?

Miroku and Sango
"I like Miroku, he's my favorite character in that whole story. He never changes to the detriment to his character, but also to his aid. He has an ethical code to Sango of basically, 'At the end of the night, I'm still gonna be yours." It's..... twisted, but shows that he does want to put his feelings for her first. Like a shrine or special place set aside specifically for her. Sango is a very traumatized character, arguably the one with the most to lose in the whole series. Her entire clan is dead at the hands of demons, and her brother has one of the cursed shards in his body, and Naraku forces him to fight her. To save him she must kill Naraku. Because of her singular focus, she's unaware of Miroku's feeling for her until later in the series. Later on, she realizes that he likes her, but they both agree they can't afford the relationship right now. There is too much at stake for the both of them, at least until their (seemingly never ending) quest to kill Naraku is finished. Their relationship, both romantic and as traveling companions has something that sells it for me: AUTHENTICITY. Miroku is a lecherous douche cookie, and he shows that Many MANY time RIGHT IN FRONT OF SANGO. By all rights, she should completely forget his stupid ass, and to hell with his "devotion to her" when he's clearly planning to single handedly impregnate the other half of Feudal Japan. And yet his devotion to her, despite his failings, wins her over."

Zoro and Nami
One Piece
This is certainly one of thise couples that I might get in trouble for, but I can't help falling in love with this pair! They are probably a couple of the most mature member of the Straw Hat Pirates (Robin being another one. I haven't seen the two newer members yet). They have serious conversations about certain problems and situations, and are very funny at times. Mostly whenever Nami reminds Zoro of the debt he owes her for buying new swords. Ahh, blackmail at it's finest....

Meier and Charlotte
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
"This romance is beautiful, hated, and remarkable in my opinion. I think out of every anime couple that 'loves' each other this is the most amazing one that I've seen. It's tragic and forbidden, and it's slightly dangerous but it's still beautiful to see how much the two of these characters love and adore one another despite everything else. As an aside, the movie is beautiful and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it."

Chrono and Rosette
Chrono Crusade
"They are a very good couple because while they are not over the top lovey through the series, their relationship is obvious and an important undertone throughout the series. They bring it to the point where their lives are literally linked, to which if one dies they both do. This is for a different reason, but I see it as another innuendo for their love for each other. Not to mention that the ending of the series was one of the most bittersweet and very heartwarming things I've ever seen in anime. I won't spoil the end though, I'll jst say it's adorable."

Naruto and Hinata
Again, I might get shot for even thinking about putting this one on here, but these two seem to be at the top of a lot Anime Couple lists. And I can see why. You have shy Hinata, who wants to tell the guy she likes how she feels. And then you have Naruto, the guy who doesn't even notice anything and just wants to focus on his goals. It does make for a funny relationship they go through..... But you just want to yell at Hinata for not telling Naruto right out..... Or at Naruto for his own damn stupidity.

Rini and Peruru
Sailor Moon
"Why? Ahhhh..... young love."

Shiro and Saber
Fate/Stay Night
This relationship is certainly an interesting one. You have Saber who wants to fight and win the Grail War, and Shiro just wants to protect those he cares. But as the story progresses, Shiro starts developing feelings for Saber and actually want to use the Grail to try and keep her with him. In the end, Saber does admit her feelings to Shiro just in time for her to leave and return to where she came from. It's a relationship that just goes back and forth but ends up in good terms in the end.

Those are just ten of the many amazing and cutest couples in anime. I know there's even more, but it would take a very long time to talk about them all; and I don't really have that luxury. So, until next time, every story has some love in it we just have to enjoy; no matter the kind of relationship.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

xxxHolic Review (English)

"There are many unusual things in this world. Every day, events occur that cannot be explained. Bizarre phenomena that often go unnoticed because people close their eyes to what they don't understand. But the truth of the matter is, there are many unusual things in things in this world. And People.... People are the most mysterious of them all."

xxxHolic, a Supernatural/Comedy, is based off the manga by Clamp. The english manga is published by Del Ray Manga. The anime was produced by Production I.G. and is licensed by Funimation, having twenty four episodes. A spin off anime called xxxHolic: Kei is produced by Production I.G. as well and has thirteen episodes. This series has not been licensed in America yet.

Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student, is plagued by yokai and ayakashi, spirits with a strong attraction to him. The spirits are invisible to others and encounters with them are extremely troublesome. When he stumbles into a shop that grants wishes, however, events in his life promise to become more unusual. The shop is owned by Yuko Ichihara, a mysterious witch of many names and esoteric renown. For a price, she offers to grant Watanuki's wish to be rid of the spirits. The price, according to Yuko, must be of equal value and so, as payment, he temporarily becomes Yuko's part-time employee. Watanuki's job consists of small errands dealing with the supernatural and household chores. His love interest, Himawari Kunogi, and "rival", Shizuka Domeki, occasionally join him in his work as per Yuko's request. The three become increasingly close despite Watanuki's annoyance with Domeki. Although Watanuki becomes happy with the new friendships he makes, he becomes concerned about Yuko, promising he will try and grant her wish.

This looks fairly well done with nice animation, however, this anime suffer from what I like to call "lazy animation syndrome". There are points where the animation and the look are as if the animators decided to cheat a bit or slack off with the series, and it shows on occasion. The style of the show, in some ways, reminds me of a Romance/Drama style. You can get it from the overall look, the music, and how the characters are portrayed.

The story doesn't quite have a distinct plot. You would think the plot was Watanuki trying to get his wish granted by Yuko, but it's actually mentioned very rarely throughout the series. Of course it's brought up a lot in the first episode, but then, I think, it's only talked about once in another episode; but only briefly. So, instead, there isn't a consistent plot; just one more mistake that didn't quite occur in the minds of the oriducers. And the last episode of this series is literally labeled: "Side Story: Reminiscence". Yeah...... I'm going to correct myself a little bit....... THERE IS NO PLOT!!!! It's pretty much a bait and switch here. You watch the first episode and think "This is gonna be a pretty awesome story. I might enjoy this", and then you keep watching it..... And watching it......... And watching it............. And watching it.................... And watching it..................... AND THERE IS NO STORY!!!! That is just a complete disappointment for people who want a story, who want a plot, who want.... SOMETHING to happen!!

I know what you're thinking, "What else is she about to say that will destroy my hopes in ever watching xxxHolic?" And, well, I can actually say that there are some pretty good redeeming qualities in this anime. Obviously, the look of the show is pretty and also can be dark at times. The use of color and design is used well and that is very noticeable.

The other redeeming quality is the cast. For a show that doesn't have a real story to it, the English cast balances it out with enjoyable characters and some actual character development. A couple to certainly mention are Todd Haberkorn as Watanuki (Soul Eater, Baccano!) and Colleenn Clinkenbeard as Yuko (One Piece, Trinity Blood). And, just like in Paranoia Agent, Carrie Savage seem to have some fun playing little Mokona. What is it with Carrie Savage and playing rather cute and very interesting characters?

To sum things up, xxxHolic is an enjoyable anime with a good amount of screw ups, but with some little fun parts to make up for it. If you're the kind of person who wants to watch something fun then it's certainly one to watch. But, since I'm more into stories and actual plot, I don't really recommend this anime. But there's some hope for the story lovers! There's still the spin off show, xxxHolic: Kei! Maybe it'll be ten times better then its predecessor......... Please let it be better........
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