Thursday, March 27, 2014

Always Remember How to Dream!

Gemini remembers how to dream, you should too!

Hello again! I feel like this post is something I should have addressed a long time ago, especially with regards to the name of this blog. I would just like to tell anyone who is reading this, that they have the power to accomplish their dreams, but what good is this advice when you're already given up on believing? If you've given up on your dreams due to some silly notion that you'll never be able to achieve them, please keep reading.

Before I created this blog I already had a few big dreams. Wanting to go to Japan is a huge one, as many people are just hoping to find a job in the future that provides them with decent pay. Yet for me, living the simple life wasn't enough. I wanted more from life than money and a basic job, I wanted to go to the place that had everything I loved.

 So what did I do? I began researching and desperately trying to learn Japanese, but I never got really far. It was hard for me to learn without any sort of guidance, and I had no one to lay out a set path for me to walk. It didn't help that along the way discouraging words were tossed at me. It's easy to ignore things for so long, but in time the wounds start to scar.

Eventually I realized I didn't need a fixed path, and I didn't need to follow in the footsteps of anyone else. I needed to create my own path. While there were people out there to help me, there were some who wanted to hurt. Though again, this didn't make me bitter, it didn't make me feel like giving up, it made me want to continue even further.

I continued to hold onto my dream of Japan, but instead decided to let life help me there. As a heavy reader, I began to take an interest in blogging and started writing on my experiences and lessons from life. This was great fun for me, but it wasn't enough. I thought, if I can write about our world, why not write about the many worlds that exists within anime?

Again I didn't have anything or anyone to guide me in this matter, but I didn't let it stop me. I looked at other anibloggers and learned from watching. I noticed that a good majority review anime and manga, but don't go much further than that. I made my blog thinking that I'd like it to be different than the others.

Eventually it was named Shooting Star Dreamer, as I love looking up at the stars and dream, and I feel that if everyone would shoot straight for their dreams like a meteor, there would be more happiness in the world. While this was not originally in my plan, it led me closer to Japan than before.

Even disregarding the blog, I've had the same experiences in college, eventually ending up in a Japanese class. By not rushing my path to Japan, but by going at a moderate pace and enjoying life day by day, I began to move closer to my dream. Some people may think this is merely giving up, but I don't think it's like that. If I had stopped and become a bitter, cynical person then I would have given up on my dreams. I simply kept them but didn't allow my dreams to blind me in the pursuit. By remembering how to dream, is the reason why things started to fall in place.

As a reminder for my readers, I want to tell you to keep dreaming if you haven't stopped and if you have stopped, don't panic. There's no such thing as being too far gone; anyone can come back. Even if your dreams have been stomped on and crushed to dust, somewhere inside of you they must still remain. All it takes is finding someway to relight the fire in your soul. So don't give up, keep dreaming! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

One of the quotes I live my life by:

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”~ Iain S. Thomas

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why I Don't Follow Anime Archetypes

Hello everyone! As a follow up to the last post on the many different types of deres, I'd like to express why I have somewhat of a dislike for labeling characters based on their archetypes. I'd like to agree that some categorization may sometimes be a necessity, because it might be hard to explain the numerous traits of characters in such fine detail, when slapping a label on one is a quick and easy process that is understandable, especially for readers. However, similar to my belief that anime is more than a rating, characters are more than label.

Perhaps I should go into more detail why I  don't believe in this. When a creator writes an anime/manga/gaming character, it's easy to see why we have many typical tsunderes, yanderes, and such floating around. The archetype can be a building block for the characters, a simple way to start if you have no clue what you want to create. With this, a writer can easily take one of those archetypes and change it just a little bit, maybe create a tsundere who lacks red hair, or a yandere who may be crazy, but only to a certain extent. Yet, this doesn't really give the character a uniqueness that makes them stand apart.

Don't count out Sonico before you see her anime!
On the other side of this issue, I've seen characters who suffer from being too unique. Not that being unique is bad, the fact that they're trying so hard to not be like anyone else can make them hard to relate to. Again this goes back to my comment on why archetypes should be used sometimes, adding another supporting point; not everyone can produce a miracle character from thin air.

So as we examine these different types of characters, and the archetype that is associated with them, it seems like a natural process to put both together and clarify characters just by their outward appearances in personality and lifestyle. Still, anime characters to me hold as much merit as humans, and by judging them and marking them with labels we're treating them the same way we do humans.

Great anime characters, take time to get to know them.

Following this, I tend to see calling a character a tsundere the same as branding someone in real life as a nerd. Yes, the subject may have aspects that allow them to fall under this category, but they should not be defined by this definition. The same applies to anime characters; that girl may be a tsundere, but there's more to her character than that. We don't exactly know what the creator was thinking when he or she designed her, or the future development that might take place.(In most cases anyways.)

For this reason I try not to label characters by these. I'm not saying that it's bad to do so, just explaining my reasoning for not doing it.

If anyone else has different views or thoughts I'd love to hear your voice!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Wide World of Deres

Since I recently did a post on the common tsundere, I wanted to take the time to make a post to inform people that there's quite a few other categories. I understand this type of post has been done multiple times, but I'll be going further than the well-known four categories. As the amount of anime increases, the amount of classifications for characters also tends to grow. On to the list!

The Big Four

Asuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Tsundere: First up is the ever so popular tsundere. Basically when the girl (or guy) hides their feelings for their love with very contrasting attitudes. They're prone to switching between affection and later anger. They often stutter and become embarrassed which is accompanied with a bright red blushing face.
(Extra) Tsunshun: Similar to tsundere, but reasons are not typically romantic. They're very violent and angry, but this is not because of love; it's usually due to underlying emotional reasons such as depression.
Kotonoha Katsura (School Days)
Yandere: Imagine someone who is really attached to a person. They appear to be nice, soft-spoken even, and kindhearted. However, when something comes between them and that special person, they tend to snap. They become very psychotic and violent, very quickly. This is a yandere.
(Extra) Yangire: Similar to yandere, but usually their craziness comes from a resource that isn't romantic, unlike the yandere.

Hinata Hyuga (Naruto)
Kuudere/Dandere: For me these two somewhat go hand in hand. Neither do a lot of talking, but the reasons are different. Kuudere is more like an introvert of sorts, eventually talking and warming up to certain people. Dandere does the same, but usually due to something like shyness. Kuudere somewhat puts on an act of being "cool" like the name implies, but is caring inside.
(Extra) Hajidere: When a character tends to blush or get red-faced easily. This makes it difficult for them to confess their feelings to the person of their affection. Unlike dandere, hajideres become shy around only certain people, while danderes tend to be this way around mostly everyone.

Lesser Known

Musubi (Sekirei)
Bakedere: The type of character who is somewhat clumsy, isn't too bright, but still cheerful and happy. You'll usually see them tripping over things and falling into other people, falling in love with others easily, and ending up in troublesome situations that they got into unknowingly. The type of person to act without thinking things through.

Ricotta Elmar (Dog Days)
Deredere: Someone who is always caring and straightforward with their feelings. Usually a cute character. They maintain the same personality at all times unlike tsunderes that switch between cold and caring. Common in moe anime.
Kyouka and Keiichi Kanejou (B Gata H Kei)
Himedere: Basically acts like a princess/prince, expecting everyone to respect them. Usually accompanied with a very beautiful or wealthy looking appearance, they can somewhat crossover with any of the other deres. Usually someone from a wealthy family.

Tokisaki Kurumi (Date A Live)
Mayadere: A character who starts out on the opposing side of the protagonist, but eventually warms up to them and changes sides, usually do to some form of love or affection. The former evildoer that's distrusted by the group.
Ayato Naoi (Angel Beats!!)
Kamidere: Claiming to be a "god" which is the meaning of the word kami, they're somewhat similar to the himederes, except they look down upon everyone. (Sometimes with a few exceptions.) Can be simplified to someone who has a God-Complex.

Holo/Horo (Spice and Wolf)
Teasedere: Yes, this actually exists. Somewhat like a tsundere, but not as extreme. They spend their time teasing the person they have feelings for, like the name implies. 

Ami Kawashima (Toradora!)
Kanedere: A character who becomes attracted to some with wealth or status. They focus less on personality and other traits, but tend to look for those who can provide them with something.

Fun and Games

For those reading this who are wondering what type of dere they are, there's a few resources you can use. Don't take these seriously and stay true to yourself, these aren't meant to classify you as a person or tell you how to act. They are in no way a representation of you fully.

Hope You Enjoyed!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tsundere Examination: Eclair from Dog Days

Once again I'm going to try something new and delve into a character analysis. I'm not going to go really deep, but after watching both seasons of Dog Days, a certain tsundere stood out to me because she developed a bit differently than the rest. This post may contain a few spoilers, but I'll try to keep them to a minimum.

"For those who aren't aware, a tsundere (ツンデレ?) (pronounced /(t)sɯ is a Japanese concept of a character archetype which describes a person with a conceited, irritable, and/or violent personality that suddenly becomes modest and loving when triggered by some sort of cause (such as being alone with someone). It can also describe a contradictory personality which is good-willed on the inside, but with a harsh attitude on the outside."

For a summary of Dog Days you can check out this link

From what I've observed tsunderes are really popular in media. A few common examples include, Kōsaka Kirino, Makise Kurisu, Minase Iori, Misaka Mikoto, and Shana. (All Pictured Above) They're frequent users of phrases such as "B-baka!"

From super tsundere to finally being true to her feelings.

So heading on to the main subject, there's a tsundere in Dog Days by the name of Eclair. She is a very serious and level-headed individual, and is somewhat contrasting to the protagonist, Cinque, who is lighthearted and comical. However, around Cinque she begins to act tsundere much like the characters above.

As the series progresses we can see she has feelings for the hero. This situation can easily be related to a childhood crush; the young girl has feelings for a boy and hides such emotions by treating the boy coldly. In anime, usually this same pattern continues throughout many episodes with the male taking abuse physically, verbally, or sometimes emotionally. This situation is not only applicable for females, but also males.

So as Dog Days progressed their relationship continued this way, while maybe not as harsh as others, but still following the usual tsundere style. Moving quickly to the second season, we finally see some of her feelings getting to her. While she puts on a tough act and hides her feelings from others, it proves to be detrimental to her own being.

This is shown when she is challenged by Leo in the games, and fights a terribly one-sided battle. While bottling her emotions up, there was absolutely no way for her to stand a chance in this fight. I feel that the anime is trying to make a statement about being a tsundere, and that by doing so one is not being true to themselves or their feelings and is therefore hindering their own progress. I haven't payed much attention to tsunderes in other anime, so I cannot say for sure that Dog Days is the first to make a statement like this. Yet, it was the first to bring this to my attention.

As long as Eclair maintained the same actions and mindset, her progression would be limited and would prevent her from growing as a person. Thanks to Ricotta, (who served as a wake up call) Eclair was able to finally be true to her self and be honest with her feelings. She then expressed that she loves her country, people, Ricotta, and the hero, and then proceeded to win her battle.

I found Eclair to be a really interesting character despite being tsundere. I don't really like tsunderes, and I believe people should always be honest with themselves and others, because honesty is best, but I loved how Eclair developed as a character and how she gained such strength through simply changing her mindset.

I hope to see more anime do the same!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Depressing Anime: A Battle Between Light and Dark

 Spring back has ended, college has started, and I'm back from my short hiatus. Over the break I got to spend a good amount of time observing others, and looking at the anime community as a whole. Something I've noticed is that a lot of the things that fans seem to idolize and make well known is the depressing side of anime. Even when scanning the top anime I see a lot with more serious and solemn plots. Why is this the case?

Since I have no clue of answer to this myself, I decided to speak with a few friends about this topic. The responses I got were mixed, but the ones who enjoyed such things said that "Anime that were cheerful or lighthearted were boring, due to their lack of anything really bad or serious going on." So the only way to make something enjoyable is to have something serious and perhaps deadly happen to the characters?

This answer didn't really satisfy me, so I took a look back into my history of anime. I never watched anything too bad, but there were a few series that could be considered dark that I enjoyed. However, when looking at them again they don't really provoke a good feeling, unlike series such as Naruto. I'm aware that Naruto has darker parts, such as the Uchiha Clan massacre, Pain's attack on the village, and certain deaths. (Pardon spoilers.) Yet, these things happen for a reason, and we're provided with ways to fix them. In a way it provides inspiration as it shows, despite the bad one can pull through.

When it comes to other series that aren't as happy, I'm left with a horrible feeling, one that makes me think the world is a horrible place. It doesn't make me feel energetic, it doesn't excite me, it doesn't make me feel like doing anything. This is a large assumption, but it makes me wonder if I can link this feeling to the situation of hikikomoris, one who does not want to exit their house. Could similar feelings in large amounts lead to the conclusion to not leave one's house?

Perhaps it only works this way for me, and not other people. I noticed that some people find inspiration or comfort in these types of situations. Is it because they've experienced similar, or do they really feel the world is such a dark and horrible place? Thinking about the minds of viewers and the ones of people who've created things like this, it is kind of scary. If I compare myself to others, my thinking is a little bit different. I start to wonder if it is because of the things I view is why I think the way I do, or is it the other way around?

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying people shouldn't be able to create things that are extremely dark and twisted. (Like Higurashi.) I just wish that cheerful, lighthearted anime would be seen in a greater light. I recently watched Angel Beats and loved it. Though people might say it's sad, in my eyes it was very inspirational. Dog Days was also another one of these, the anime was pure, (disregarding the fan service) and I was left with a great feeling after watching. Which brings me to the point where I think, why would you want to feel bad, when you could feel good? I just don't really understand.

I understand that we have this notion that light is boring, and dark is exciting...but why?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Anime Challenge: AniMarch

Hello everyone! I'm currently fighting exams and trying to balance school and writing. Despite this, I'm  participating in something known as a 30 Day Anime Challenge. (Or 31 days in this case.)  If you haven't been with me since the beginning, you may not know exactly what this is so here's a brief explanation.

Basically every day you're prompted with a question. It has something to do with anime, and is usually one that makes you think about anime in ways you haven't before. It's very interesting, because not only do you get to have fun and talk about yourself, you get to meet other people who have similar likes and dislikes.

The one I'm taking part of is AniMarch. For more info about it, please check this link. I encourage people to participate, even if you don't have a blog of your own. Share with your friends and have fun!

If you're curious please check out the Tumblr version of this blog using the link above! Thanks!