12 Days of Anime #3: Yoko Littner

I mentioned in my previous 12 Days of Anime post that I watched Gurren Lagann for the first time this summer. You probably don’t need me to tell you it was awesome. So I’m not going to.

Instead, I’m going to tell you how awesome Yoko Littner is. Let’s get the obvious point out of the way first: that is one hell of a character design. She’s easily one of the best-looking females in anime. I also appreciate that she constantly carries a very large gun around. I’m not entirely sure why I developed such a strong attraction to girls with guns (I suspect it has something to do with Sigourney Weaver crafting that assault rifle/grenade launcher/flame thrower in Aliens), but Yoko appeals to that fetish in a hilariously exaggerated fashion. I mean, look at that railgun. It must be really heavy, yet she can carry and even aim it from the hip with ease. That’s fantastic.

But what I really like is that Gainax cared enough to give her a great personality, too. Her usual mood can be summed up as confident and fiery. But there’s more than that. She’s perfectly comfortable showing affection (unlike certain annoying tsunderes I can think of), she’s intelligent, she isn’t impulsive (unless she needs to be) and, as we see in the second half of the show, her fighting prowess is not her defining characteristic. Yoko can put on glasses and live the peaceful life of an elementary teacher and not lose what makes her a fun and likable character. You know what else is cool? We actually get to see her mature from a teenager into a young woman, and her personality changes to reflect that.

And, frankly, it was nice to see a supposedly strong female character actually be strong. She’s not like those pansies from Samurai Girls who fret about a simple kiss. Yoko’s the only character in the show who fights alongside Simon through the entire series, and she loses two boyfriends in the process. But does she ever blame him? Yell at him? Complain that it’s not fair? No. She mourns their deaths, but understands they sacrificed themselves for a higher purpose. And then she moves on with her life.

12 Days of Anime #4: Salvation From Hell

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt was easily one of the most anticipated anime of the fall season. Conceived under the influence of excessive alcohol by the brilliantly insane folk at Gainax, it had the creative team behind Gurren Lagann mixed with artistic inspiration from Jhonen Vasquez and Genndy Tartakovsky. It was a match made in heaven! And after the borefest known as Hanamaru Kindergarten, everybody was eager for Gainax get back on top of their game. We expected something incredible, something that would sear our eyeballs and burn our brains. We wanted another Evangelion, another FLCL, another Gunbuster.

Perhaps because of our high expectations, PSG was a disappointment at first. Sure, it was frenetic and fun, but the comedy was incredibly one-note. The whole ‘barrage of lewd humor’ bit had been done far better in other anime, including this summer’s Mitsudomoe. So we wound up with a show that was pretty to look at and had a kickass soundtrack, but was otherwise unremarkable. People were starting to lose faith. Had Gainax laid another egg?

Then, salvation came from the most unexpected of places… the fiery pits of hell!

Yup, these devilishly sexy villains managed to singlehandedly save PSG from the purgatory of mediocrity.  The Demon Sisters brought a sorely-needed vibrant energy to every episode they starred in with their forceful personalities. This was a turning point for PSG; instead of an endless barrage of tired sex jokes, we got actual story and clever parody. Of course, there was the occasional off episode, but on the whole it was a vast improvement. It’s no wonder why these two hellish vixens have gained such widespread popularity… perhaps even greater than that of the protagonists themselves.

12 Days of Anime #12: My Summer Crush


Now that final exams are over, I’ve decided to participate in the 12 Days of Anime project. It’s kind of a ‘back to basics’ anime blogging challenge, in which we count down the days until Christmas by writing about 12 anime-related moments from the last year that were particularly memorable or influential. I don’t know if I’ll be able to come up with 12 things to talk about though, so I might let Dusty fill in some of the blanks. Anyway, here goes!

I have an unusual perspective on fanservice. In my opinion, those promiscuous girls with the giant, floppy tits from Highschool of the Dead or Samurai Girls aren’t sexy in the slightest. Perhaps my overexposure to internet porn has made me jaded, but those kinds of blatant attempts at titillation tend to bore me. That’s why I always evaluate fanservice-heavy shows so cynically; I’m always looking beyond the breasts, hoping for some worthwhile character or unique story. Sometimes, my patience is rewarded with hidden gems like Kiddy Grade. Most of the time I just wind up disappointed.

But, this summer, something special happened. My first memory of her is during a school meeting, held in the massive marble hall of Occult Academy. Her father had died, but she wasn’t sad. She just sat there in a metal folding chair, impatiently tapping her fingers as if annoyed by the whole spectacle. This was a girl who carved her own path in life, and everyone else be damned. Even her clothes, sexy as hell itself, asserted a fierce individuality. This wasn’t another feckless fanservice female or mild-mannered moeblob. No, this was a woman with fiery passion and an icy heart.

Her name was Maya Kumashiro. And I had fallen in love with her.

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Top 10 Best Sailor Mars Fanart

The people have spoken! You, the readers of this site, have chosen Sailor Mars as the best planetary Senshi, a choice I wholeheartedly agree with. After all, who could resist this fiery vixen’s siren call? To celebrate, I’ve put together a small gallery of my top ten favorite Sailor Mars fanart, as found on deviantART. I’ve also included my brief thoughts on each piece. Now, please keep in mind that I am neither an artist nor an art critic. These comments just represent my layman’s perspective as a *ahem* Mars enthusiast.

Check out these fantastic pictures below the break, and be sure to visit the artists’ DA pages and express your appreciation of their hard work. Enjoy!

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Past Masters: Daicon III and IV

This is the inaugural post of our new Past Masters column. Here, we hope to explore those classic (and not-so-classic) anime productions that are ten years old or older. This will give us a chance to reminisce about the anime we grew up on, and hopefully introduce the newer generations to the series, OVAs and films that helped define modern otaku culture.

To your average otaku, mentioning “Gainax” might bring to mind such iconic series as Evangelion, Gunbuster, FLCL and Gurren Lagann. Without a doubt, Gainax is one of the most recognizable names in the anime industry. But where did this legendary studio get its start? Let’s turn back the clock and find out…

The year is 1981. The Nihon SF Taikai convention, a gathering of Japanese science fiction fans, is set to take place in Osaka, under the name of Daicon III. For the opening ceremonies, the organizers of Daicon ask a group of college students from the Osaka University of Arts to create an animated promotional video. Among the students are such future luminaries as Takami Akai, Hiroyuki Yamaga and Hideaki Anno. The 5 1/2 minute-long 8 mm film they create, which came to be known as the Daicon III Opening Animation, was to become the first of Gainax’s productions.

Daicon III features a young nameless girl, who is tasked with using a vial of water to a revive a dried-out daikon radish. As she journeys to the radish, she encounters and battles a variety of opponents, including a powered armor suit from Starship Troopers, several kaiju including Godzilla, a Star Destroyer, the space battleship Yamato, the starship Enterprise, an RX-78 Gundam, and many other iconic science fiction-themed enemies.


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Microsoft Creates Official Windows 7 OS-tan

As stated in the previous post, many of you are probably familiar with the OS-tan meme, which delights in portraying Windows operating systems as cute anime girls. Originally from 2chan, this meme has become extremely popular, spawning thousands of pieces of fanart, as well as flash videos, internet communities, manga, doujinshi, and even its own wiki. The Japanese branch of Microsoft has realized the huge marketing potential of this concept, and decided to create an official OS-tan for Windows 7, by the name of Nanami Madobe. This name is, naturally, a pun: “nana” is Japanese for “seven”, and “mado” means “window”. Images of Microsoft marketing featuring Nanami can be found below.

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What If Starships Were Girls?

Many of you are probably familiar with the -tan meme, which delights in portraying various inanimate products such as Windows operating systems as anime-inspired moe girls. These -tan girls have been created for a variety of technology-related items, from popular gaming consoles to mobile suits, and usually come in one of two body types: buxom beauty or luscious loli. Recently, blogger Jonathan Wong posed the question “What if starships were anime characters?”, and answered it with four pictures depicting various starship-tan girls based on famous ships from the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises. When I saw this, I thought, “Hmm… what a lovely excuse to test out our new lightbox plugin!” Ulterior motives aside, enjoy the images!

First up, we have Enterprise-tan, based on the USS Enterprise design from the new Star Trek film.

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Favorite Japanese Fetishes

430415affde79e9c944e9837590ee4dbWhat Japan Thinks recently posted the results of a survey of Japanese men, which asked them about their favorite “secret fetish”. The top result, unsuprisingly, was zettai ryouiki, which is Japanese for “absolute territory”; in other words, that glorious bit of flesh between the top of a girl’s thigh-high socks and the bottom of her skirt. I must say, the Japanese have fine taste.

Now, purely for the purposes of scientific analysis, I’ve included some examples of thigh-high-wearing women below.

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