Bad boys listing

I’m going to make a theme with some cool bad boys in anime here. Bad boys are fun, and seems to be very popular too. When I started to watch anime that was a little bit surprising that the coolest characters sometimes were real psychos. Sometimes they are not, merely pretty villainous. But I came to appreciate the charm points of the bad boys more and more. I have a short list right now, but it will probably grow, or maybe change. I haven’t ranked them and will try not to put in too much spoilers. I will make a post about each of them and my idea is to write about what I ilke and enjoy with each of the characters (and some things about the anime and manga they are participating in) in the list.

The participants in my list so far:

Uchika Itachi in Naruto

itachi

Illumi Zoldyck in Hunter x Hunter

illumi

Ichimaru Gin in Bleach

Gin_ep_280

Light Yagami in Death Note

raito

Makishima Shogo in Psycho-Pass

makishima

Aizen Souske in Bleach

aizen

Hisoka in Hunter x Hunter

Hisoka_PR_Movie

Sesshumaru in Inuyasha

sesshomaru

Tyki Mikk in D.Gray Man

tykimikk

Kabuto Yakushi in Naruto

KabutoYakushi

Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass

lelouch

 

Ayanami in 07-Ghost

ayanami

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Unholy fathers or merely really cool ones

There are few things that cannot be incorporated and twisted around for fun purposes in anime. One used fairly often is western religion, mostly Catholicism. I can totally see why: the symbols, rituals and paraphernalia, the powerful but secretive organisation and not to mention the clothes: I mean, men in long flowing robes, funny hats, strange ornaments all that jazz. There are a lot of anime series with churchly elements, and I have only stumbled upon a few, but I like it a lot. And the priestly fathers I list here are hardly the meek and mild sort, more like seriously disturbing (or disturbed)…

Frau in 07-Ghost

Frau

Frau in his bishop garb with the cute little hat and perky veil. 

You could watch this for the clothes alone, if there was a best-dressed award for anime this one would take the cake. Everything from the stylish black uniforms of the imperial army with their gold trimmings, shiny boots and long coats, to the bishops’ even more sweeping robes and tiny hats with little perky veils is lovely.

Other things that makes this a great watch is the bishops’ fighting with magic through their croziers (bacculus)! And there is even a bishop’s exam where you not just have to know the Holy Scripture by heart – it’s not just one book, more like a hundred – but also fight the evil with your bacculus.

07_Ghost__Frau_by_OmgItsKarinFrau fighting.

Then, you might be a bishop and get a pretty back piece tattoo of a churchly cross. There are evil priests, and good ones, and quite a lot of grim reapers (western style) and then there is bishop Frau, who is hiding porn magazines in the church library, drives an airborne bird-scooter like a bat out of hell, smokes, flirts and drinks. He’s of course one of the good guys, and more than he seems (almost everyone in the story is). The anime is only 25 episodes, sadly enough, but the manga goes on much longer (and is much funnier too). And almost everyone is too pretty, even the bad guys, who are cuter, cooler and prettier than most. But none as much as Frau, who stays number one in my book (the holy bishonen one).

Abel Nightroad in Trinity Blood

Abel Abel in his priestly and vampiric forms.

Father Abel Nightroad is not only a priest; he’s also a (Vatican-enabled) vampire-killing “super vampire”. And in the world of this anime he’ll never get out of work, since vampires have taken over more than half the countries. This is a perfect mix of steampunk and religion. And then there’s the pope, a somewhat oblivious little cute boy, and his sister, the cardinal Catharina Sforza (!), who is wearing fantastic hats. Yes, sister. The normal biases of Rome does not exist here, or maybe it’s just going back to the historical roots where popes had children and conflicts often were solved with poison. There is intrigue, politics, powerful vampires, quite a bit of blood and fighting. I like the both the background story and the premises.

 

Marian Cross in D.Gray-Man

CROSSMARIAN.

It took me two attempts to really get this one. And I’ve re-watched it a couple of times since. Still don’t like the monsters, they feel too simplistic and crude and could be more demonic, at least in the beginning. Later on, they are maybe a bit too destructive. But the premises are ok. It’s steampunky, with lots of Victoriana, machines and such. The exorcist organization the Black Order working under the Vatican or possibly running the church, Japan completely overrun by demons, and whatnot. The most charming and unholy of the holy exorcists are protagonist Allen Walker’s drinking and womanizing master, General Marian Cross. He often vanishes, leaving droves of charmed women in his wake and his apprentice (Allen) has to cover his considerable drinking tabs or gambling debts (Allen got better at it when he learned how to cheat at cards). Marian also has a tendency to throw Allen into fights against huge monsters without helping him. The story also has cool magic, called “innocence” and a quite complex background story. And lots and lots of adorable characters, not least the cute protagonist Allen Walker, surly samurai Kanda Yu, hammer-wielding Lavi and his boss Bookman, who fights using acupuncture needles and about one million others. The bad guys are the Noah family, yes that Noah. I do love this, does it show?

Alexander Anderson in Hellsing

17426-439583_anderson_in_flight_super_superThat’s not a very holy look, father.

It’s been a long time since I saw Hellsing, and I don’t really remember much except that I thought it was really cool. But I hadn’t seen much anime by that time. I did remember that the church is a big part of this one too, except the Vatican are the antagonists in this series, and the main protagonist is Alucard, a vampire, working for the Hellsing organization, led by a formidably cool woman. And Hellsing is of course named for the old Dr. van Helsing of Bram Stoker fame. Anyway, the main antagonist is Father Alexander Anderson, who throws out bible quotes and hates Alucard almost as much as he hates protestants.

Genjo Sanzo in Saiyuki

sanzoAnger management through gunfire.

I could write books about my love for Saiyuki, and I did actually write a little bit more here. But this is about Genjo Sanzo. He’s a highly ranked Buddhist monk, but I think he’s comes out as something of an atheist too during the series. He’s a highly irritable, chainsmoking, drinks constantly and has a dangerous habit of shooting bullets in all directions to make people shut up or listen. He’s a darling, of course, somewhere down under the abrasive (but oh so pretty) surface there is a heart of gold. But he might threaten to shoot you or possibly swallow his own tongue rather than admit it. Or if he really likes you he might hit you over the head with a paper fan or tell you to get him another can of beer. 

Kevin Cecil in Makai Ouji: Devils and realist

KevinAngelic face.

The realist in the story is young William Twining, and it takes place in a British public school for boys. Kevin works at William’s estate, managed by his uncle since he’s an orphan. He also a descendant of Solomon who had power over 72 demons. William now has to decide the next ruler of hell, since Lucifer is asleep. Different demons come to William and try to make him elect them, some of them even poses as students. William, the realist, doesn’t believe in demons, even after eating really delicious cake in Hell, made by Baphomet, the goat-headed butler of the charming demon lord Dantalion. Kevin Cecil is not a real priest, in fact he’s not even Kevin Cecil. But he poses as a school chaplain. And there is nothing unholy about him, since his real identity is Uriel, the archangel of repentance. Why is he on this list? The angels are not the good guys in this anime, far from it. Uriel has only one wing; the archangel Michael, who seems more like the villain than the demons, ripped the other off. Of course the demons are not so good either. And Kevin seems to have a good heart, but does some pretty shady things in the name of heaven (or by Michael’s orders). When I look at my anime collection I think there will be an angels and demons anime list soon.

Making Manga – in anime

I like manga; I like drawing and work in the publishing business, so anime about making manga should be right up my alley, right? Most of the time it is.

This season I started watching Gekkan shojou Nozaki-kun, strangely enough, since seemed like a fairly typical shojou staple. But it’s about a mangaka, and that made me give it a go.

   Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun - 02 - Large 04 Mangaka and assistants.

At first it seems like the typical shojou school thing. A girl confesses to a boy he likes, but instead of running away/ignoring her/blushing or whatever they usually do he gives her an autograph. Then he invites her to following him home. When she does she realizes that he’s a popular mangaka, drawing shojou manga for a weekly magazine. She gets roped in to help him drawing backgrounds and gets to know the other people helping him. There is a bit of gender stretching (I won’t say bending, since it’s really not that), since the mangaka’s heroine inspiration is a boy and some of the other females aren’t exactly traditionally feminine (one is called the prince, for instance, and is fawned over by all the girls, well that’s not unusual, another is fighting and running away). One thing I don’t get is why the protagonist in this case is so smitten by Nozaki, since he’s about as charming as a block of wood, well he can draw, but that shouldn’t be enough. But he’s completely clueless in many ways and that’s a tad charming. Funniest thing so far, when Nozaki and his best friend stay up all night drawing a BL manga for the best friend of the protagonist in a dating game. Well, I guess you had to be there.

 

Sekai-ichi-hatsukoi Making manga, not all about the drawing stuff, mostly about the publishing side. I do work in the publishing business, and I can relate to much that is happening (the cyclical stress, the ranting on people not delivering the material on time or perfect and things like that).

sekai1 Realistic stress levels in publishing…

This is somewhat in the same universe as Junjou Romantica, one of my all time favs. Some of the characters show up in this one too, but only as extras. And yes, it’s BL (or Yaoi if you make that distinction where yaoi is more explicit). But as usual the manga is much more explicit. And like in some of the most enjoyable fanfic everyone is gay. Everyone on the shojou magazine staff is gay (well, one hasn’t been partnered off in the manga or anime – at least not yet). The mangaka. The only male assistant. The staff on the shounen magazine. The sales staff. The literature department. The CEO. Especially the CEO, Isaka, but we know that only because we’ve watched Junjou and his story isn’t included here. The people working in manga stores (even when they don’t know it). Everyone except the girls (well, they might be, but this is Yaoi, not Yuri).

sekai2This is what it’s all about

Well, I can’t say I watch this only for the portrayal of publishing, since I’m all about the BL, and the story isn’t called “the world’s greatest first love” for nothing, but the well thought-out industry portrayal is an extra plus in my book.

 

The mangaka and his assistants. I’ve watched half an episode and that was enough. I hated it, even though it supposedly is about making manga. Supposedly, since all I could see were tits and ass gags. Or tits and pants since this is Japan, where pants are more sexy than derrieres. PWP is a fairly common term in fanfic, for those short stories with lots of sex without any semblance of storyline, hence PWP, or porn without plot. This is worse. Pants without plot and more juvenile than any childish manga I’ve ever watched. I won’t give this a second chance.

mangaka_san_to_assistant_san_to___01___large_34Level of jokes in this anime

Bakuman – I can’t believe I didn’t find this earlier, since it’s by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, who did Death Note together, and Obata did draw another all-time fav of mine: Hikaru no Go. Well, I guess I’ve wanted Hikago to go on, and couldn’t really accept that the manga was over and by some stupid principle refused to watch or read anything later. But now I’ve changed that, and I’m glad I did.

Bakuman - 01 Making manga.

 In Bakuman the main character Mashiro Moritaka, called Saiko, is convinced to try being a mangaka by a classmate, Tagaki Akito – who happened to see his drawings. Saiko is very good at drawing and the classmate is going to write the story. There is some romance going on too, but not too disturbing, more on the cute side, actually. And he inherits his late uncle’s studio (the uncle was a sometime popular but later failed mangaka), which his grandfather has kept intact for three years, just waiting for the grandson to want it. The anime is about their struggle to get published and serialized in “Jack” (badly disguised Shounen Jump). And there are a lot of other quirky mangakas too (not the real ones, though), like adorable little wingnut Eiji, who, like several of the others, seems to have some kind of psychiatric diagnose. I think I have to do a chart… or a list of those soon. There are a lot of other manga mentioned, with real names, posters and drawings, not only barely concealed made up names (like in Genshiken, where I get less than half of the manga mentioned). Their editor, who at one point mentions that he’s taking over editing One Piece. And when they show the “Jack” issues there are lots of pretty covers with Ichigo and Naruto. This is one of those series where you seriously root for the main characters – and quite a bit for the others too. I like that it’s not super short: Three seasons with 25 episodes each is enough for a while, and probably very rewatchable too.

Magical Athletics

I am completely uninterested in sports. There are no words to describe how uninterested I am. That’s why it came as a complete surprise to me when my anime collection/watching started to include one sports-themed manga/anime after another.

I won’t count Hikaru no Go, or maybe I should, since that was the first one with a competition theme that I watched. But Go is an intellectual effort, not athletic, so I don’t count that as a sports-themed anime.

But then I got interested in Prince of Tennis, or PoT as the fandom names it (or Tenipuri if you’re a hardcore otaku). Normally it wouldn’t have interested me, I mean sports, yuck. But there were quite a lot of people I respected in my usual fandom raving over it (and since I was late in viewing it was really long, always a plus in my book). And the people raving over it were completely right. The characters were really likeable, if not loveable, and the story caught me and I couldn’t stop watching and I read the complete manga too. Of course it’s completely ridiculous in some ways, but that makes it even more likeable.

I wouldn’t want to watch something realistic (or actual sports) that would take seconds. I love the philosophy discussions, flashbacks, or explanations lasting five minutes while people are hanging in the air/rushing towards the ball/racing the last meters before the goal/drawing their swords.

And the magic sparkles and coloured auras always present when the characters do something remarkable. And that they name their own techniques and shout out their names whenever they use them.

I don’t particularly crave it, but it’s nice if some of the guys are good-looking. Or cute. I don’t mind cute. Some the best animes have cute protagonists. And they have to be fun to watch. I don’t watch anime with ugly characters, who are too chibi-like or badly drawn. Maybe that’s why I stay away from shojo in general (or maybe I’m too much of a hardcore fujoshi and at least want the possibility to find some BL fandom goodness in the things I watch. And there are plenty of opportunities for that in sports-themed anime. Lots of guys, sweating, locker rooms, fierce competition, adrenaline (& testosterone) flying. Phew, except from pure yaoi, could it be any hotter? Well, in some of the ones I’m listing there are mostly cute and adorable and budding friendship and so on. And it’s really all about the drawing.

I’m digressing. The sports themed anime I’ve watched and liked so far and liked:

pot gpTezukaZone

Prince of Tennis: Completely adorable characters. Extremely magical tennis with strange names and extraordinary talents. I think most of the things are real, except in real life they don’t jump 5 meters up in the air or glow in different colours. I like that you get to see the main characters outside the court though. If there is one thing I don’t like it’s the girls. I don’t know why they changed one of the few girls in the anime to be extremely bad at tennis, she isn’t in the manga.

KnBzone

Kuroko no Basque: This is maybe my favourite sports-themed anime so far. Basketball-themed to be more precise. And it has everything. Good-looking, loveable characters, magic movements, thrilling games, as well as psychological plotting and character depth. I’ve read all the manga too.

free-Anime-characters

Free: The first episodes felt more like fanservice than a real story, just showing off muscular bodies in speedos. Well, fortunately more of the long-legged kind than the minimal versions (the mini-speedos are one of the most unsexy things I can imagine whatever the one wearing them looks like). It really got me when one of the water-obsessed main characters took off his clothes in a department store and tried to immerse himself in a fish tank…) That’s the kind of silliness I appreciate. And the story got a little bit better too.

yowaPEDA

Yowamushi Pedal: Another completely unexpected favourite. I mean biking, what could be more boring? But it is totally compelling and I’m completely in love with the cast. I’ve learned a lot about bike racing as a sport, but I can’t imagine myself ever looking at races. This is not a bishounen anime, not however you stretch it, but it doesn’t matter. I follow the manga too, and it gets better and better. It’s got no magical tricks or things in it, just bikes. They do not sparkle or shine or change colour, but they do discuss things, talk, comment, and encourage each other in the middle of a race.

haikyuu

Haikyuu!! I think I started to watch this as a Kuroko substitute. It’s not really up to par with that one, but I enjoy it nevertheless. It’s not basket, but volleyball. Completely incomprehensible sport, but somewhat cute.