Still Not Done With HatoMada

I think in order to truly be HatoMada fan, you really have to embrace brevity and transience. The gratifying moments of a fan of this pairing are short, far between, and riddled with “ifs” and reasons why they shouldn’t happen. I think that’s partially what makes them so wonderful together— they’re such an unlikely pairing. Two individuals who, by default, had assumed they could never be attracted to someone who is biologically male (Madarame may be fine with “traps” (quotes because it’s kind of an offensive term but also that’s what they’re called; it’s distinct from being trans or being a crossdresser so you gotta call them that) but he obviously has to come to terms with the gap between what he sees in fiction and in his imagination, and the reality of the nearest approximation of this), both find themselves forced to acknowledge the fluidity of their sexuality. They’re the underdog pairing without a doubt, which just makes the few moments of sweet, sweet relief all the better.

To the two years I’ve spent already shipping HatoMada, it was my assumption that the goal was them to, naturally, be in a relationship. Obviously in an ideal world all time would cease and they would be together in this way— the part about their relationship that is so, so viscerally affecting is how perfectly I can project myself onto Hato and feel the desire to care for somebody and find appreciation in traditionally negative qualities (lack of self confidence, poor life decision making skills, etc), feel the desire to care for somebody outside the gender of people I had thought myself to be attracted to, all of this I can do because yea, Madarame is so perfectly and lovably that, and Hato is the true appreciator of this, and, conversely, I can completely relate to Madarame— why is this person interested in such a loser as him? Hato picks up on all of Madarame’s wonderful qualities instantly— his acceptance of others no matter what, his legitimate caring and traditional, borderline chivalrous romantics, his entirely self-serious humility. He’s really a great guy underneath this guise of “loser,” and Hato invites the reader to appreciate all of this about him. Through it too, though, we see all there is to appreciate about Hato. Their ability to notice these things and take the steps, the painfully slow and realistic steps natural for such a person, their commitment to changing and overcoming how they previously viewed themselves. Not many people even with all the time in the world could come to accept not just being attracted to a man as an otherwise straight-assumed person, but being attracted to this man for some of his masculine qualities and being willing to take on a (admittedly binary) traditionally feminine role to seduce this man. Hato is the ultimate temptress, but they are a temptress that I can’t not see myself in. If the world were perfect Hato and Mada would be happily married and settled down together, but in the reality they live, this idealized and romantic lifestyle must be replaced with the sensual, pheromone (and alcohol) induced peaks of pleasure, so their connection resonates not as a flowing stroke of a bow, but the quick, staccato motion of a plucked string. If it were not for all this, the poignancy of their relationship would be lost, and seeing !Hato and !Madarame having sex in Spotted Flower would be turned to mere fan-pandering from this intimate, meaningful intent. And, that’s why I’m entirely satisfied with them having sex and there being few hopes for a relationship that lasts beyond this. Hato, the ultimate temptress, has led Madarame down the path of adultery. Their purpose has been fulfilled.

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The All-Gender Gaze (also Chapter 22 of Spotted Flower)

I’m sure somebody has made this point before, but I thought of it on my own so whatever. Genshiken the original focuses more heavily on the male gaze and how the largely male cast observes female anime characters as objects of lust. It doesn’t take long for Ohno to be introduced, but she’s kind of the outlier as a general nod to “Not all Otaku are male guys!!” Then we get Ogiue, who really expands the perspective of Fujoshi and clarifies that it’s not just how this one creepy girl really likes butch men but still lets herself be objectified to fit in with the dudes. By the end of Genshiken the original there’s a pretty even split between showcasing the straight(?) male and female gaze while still existing under the construct of a male-dominated Genshiken where by default, the girls are being objectified most (see: cosplaying).

Genshiken Nidaime initially sets itself out as “just a reversal” of this by having the female-dominated Genshiken where by default, the male are being objectified most (see: literally the entire fucking manga they’re shipping the past male members of Genshiken). We’re given our token male character, Kuchiki, who, while happy to view himself as the member of a harem (ironic, isn’t it, that he’s the only “male“ character of the Genshiken who doesn’t in Nidaime?), is only viewed a component of the fujoshi’s shipping. (As you totally-not-alt-right youngins would say, get cucked!) But besides this and a fu”danshi”, it’s just doing the opposite of before, right?

Heh. Heh. Time to pull out my large, round spectacles and kale smoothies, my friends. It’s queer time. I’ve probably said it before, think about it for two seconds and you can understand, but Hato exists largely as a fujoshi, not as a fudanshi. It’s fucking spelled out for you by like, the fourth chapter or something, I’m sure you know the explanation by now. If not just ask me and I‘ll make a separate post on it. Anyway, Hato kind of is this catch-all of gender and sexual exploration. Don’t say they aren’t… come on. They literally prefer to live as male and female part time in Nidaime and !Hato presents as female in Spotted Flower and has gotten a boob-job to boot. There’s your gender exploration. Now how’s about the big question that becomes the central plot of like, a few volumes of Nidaime about how the fuck is it possible for somebody who reads that much yaoi to not find themselves a little bit attracted to men. Tada!! Queer representation, guys! Y’all straight people can do it too, you know? Just don’t make it a super negative representation and have a good grasp on how pronouns work… maybe have done some research about discrimination queer people face… yea, okay, fair enough, I see why you don’t, but Kio did and it makes me happy (disregard the pronouns bit; I’m not sure how common gender-neutral pronouns are in Japanese so he gets a pass). Anyway though, Hato’s purpose is largely to demonstrate how fucking interesting a queer perspective of traditionally binary objectification in manga can be. I know it takes some research, but it makes your story so much more interesting.

Spotted Flower, I don’t even know what the fuck it does. It’s 4D chess or something. (It doesn’t help that my translation of what Chapter 22 says is provided by Google Translate.) Muda-kun has probably covered this better than I can already, but lemme do my best. I’m only like, four months late to the hype train. We were talking about the objectifying gaze, but let’s just address the elephant in the room.So basically !Madarame is making !Hato an option, he’s letting himself be seduced by them, because he’s been weighed down by all the responsibilities of marriage and having a life and garbage like that. He says (according to Google Translate anyway), that he doesn’t want to make his wife embarrassed by his childish interests and behaviors, but also how this in itself is childish behavior, letting himself be changed by his desire to please the woman who pleasures him. And Hato, ever the beautiful succubus, asks if he wants to become a dirty adult. Not only this, but they’ve prepared. They’ve always been waiting for this moment to happen (and they fucking say it too). They’ve researched all about how two penis-havers actually do it (not like all that yaoi shit). Madarame (shit, sorry, I meant !Madarame) realizes partway through that he really is a sou uke at heart (It was always meant to be HatoMada. You know it. MadaHato was just the excuse so he could maintain face of still being straight. Now that Hato’s got boobs though, he can handle getting fucked in the butt.) and Hato’s TRUE POWER LEVEL IS FINALLY SHOWN. YEAAA!!! They become God, literally, and satisfy the dream they’ve had for like, the past 10 years or however long it’s been since Genshiken (shit, they’re separate timelines guys, okay?!) about being THE REALEST BOI!! Google Translate may not be much, but I understood the part where they say “I will love you with all my body and mind… relax and let me do it… (p 25).” I don’t think there’s much lost in translation there. (Also in the next chapter they literally say they did more giving than taking. I’m pretty sure it was Hato’s dick in Madarame, okay?)

Um, was I going to analyze something here? Oh, right. So Spotted Flower said fuck you to the traditional notion of male / male yaoi (Imean, they are both biologically male, but that’s about it). Instead it embraces the more gender-neutral satisfaction of shipping two characters, not to appeal to fujoshi, but to appeal to fans of HatoMada. Actually, let’s be real, it’s probably just to piss everybody else off. I’m sure some HatoMada fans are pissed too since their love is only satisfied in a kind of disgusting affair (dude, your wife just gave birth and you’re cheating on her. That’s pretty fucked), but you know what? I was depressed on a likely clinical level after it dropped that Madarame wasn’t going to pick Hato and once again when Madarame picked that fucking bitchass twat Sue. So to see HatoMada come to fruition in any extent pleases me greatly. Not to mention, this is undeniably Madarame’s fault here. Like, say what you will about Hato being guilty for preying on him, but Madarame called them over, Madarame asked them for sex. It is his fault 100%. And you know what, I’m not a fan of HatoMada because I sympathize so deeply and truely with Madarame. It’s because of Hato. Even beyond this too, Hato makes the extra good boi move of telling Madarame he shouldn’t and that it’s betrayal et cetera. So, you know what? I’m pretty happy with this.

Also, you know what, fuck you Angela! FUCK YOU! You said that Madarame sou uke was fiction and this was reality, but you know what the real reality is? IT‘S MADARAME GETTING THE D BOIIIII!!!! AHA!!! I WIN! HATO WINS! IT’S THE BEST!!!!!!! Madarme fucking asked for it. HE ASKED FOR IT. All you faithless, weak-hearted sorts didn’t believe, but I did. I never stopped believe in HatoMada. Ask my friends, even, I’ve had debates over death of the author being used to the extent of not accepting the last volume of Genshiken as canon. I ALWAYS KNEW AT HEART THAT HATOMADA HAD TO BE TRUTH.And if this is all that happens— if the two never fuck again, I’m still satisfied. I don’t need a relationship even. I just needed to see HatoMada be true once. And oh boy it was, in gratuitous detail. The irreverent, non-hyper-sexualized, non-pornographic even, tone that it takes only makes it better. After all, I’m too much of a queer boi to be turned on by such normal interests as penis-in-butthole sex pumping back and forth.So basically woohoo! We’ve got our queer representation of sex in !Genshiken. Something about the queer gaze … I guess it goes that Hato is queer and they lust after Madarame, male (though as the traditionally feminine role in yaoi, which in itself is interesting, since the original intent of yaoi was for the uke to be relatable to the female reader and further satisfy the male-dominant, female-submissive cultural notion where the man takes what he wants and the female is helpless, but here Hato is, undeniably serving the  role still as a fujoshi and yet lusting and relating to the dominant position… is it somehow because they were assigned male at birth?), but also after women (as evidenced by the fact that their partner is Yajima), but they kind of exclusively read fujoshi-oriented manga i.e. male-male yaoi. It’s almost as if Kio knew about how the uke is supposed to be what “straight” women “project” themselves onto and also about how fujoshi really don’t project themselves onto either character per se but rather just take the truly position of power by being just an observer, a powerful observer, who derives sexual and non-sexual pleasure just by seeing how it all goes down. And also about how by fujoshi sharing their fantasies they occupy this virtual lesbian state (see: Akiko Mizoguchi’s “Reading and Living Yaoi”). And also about… you know. Point is he gives a good representation of fujoshi and shit. It’s pretty cool.

Also, Get Rekt You Dumb Bitches

I just saw the comments section on Bato.to for ch 22 and 23. I truly can rest in peace now. NOW THEY ALL FEEL THE PAIN I ONCE DID, THEY UNDERSTAND. Some have turned to reject the canon of Spotted Flower, just as I once did. Many are despairing, just as I once did. I must now wonder, will they create their fanfics where this never happened? Please do, pitiful ones. Please do so, it will only strengthen the reality that HATOMADA IS. I HAVE WON! I HAVE WON! I HAVE WON!

OH SHIT

(Spoilers for Spotted Flower and Genshiken and stuff)

Hey. Remember how I legitimately went through a month-long phase of depression after Madarame didn’t pick Hato?

Well, Kio Shimoku, ever-pandering in his spinoff series, Spotted Flower, has brought peace to my soul. It’s not out in English yet, but I know what I’ve seen. I know what has happened. Sure, they aren’t officially the same characters, but… it’s happened. It’s real now.

I’m the happiest person in the world right now. I am sobbing tears of joy. I am rethinking my entire life. All my life has been for a good reason up until now— to grant me this amazing gift.

There’s no analysis to be made. There’s no deep thought to be said. It’s just… what it is. I’ve been sated. I love everything.

Made in Abyss

HEY GUYS I HAVENT POSTED IN LIKE MONTHS BUT IM GOING TO NOW BECAUSE MADE IN ABYSS IS THE BEST THING EVER HOLY FUCK MAN ITS SO GOOD I LOVE IT HYPE LEVEL IS LIKE MADAHATO BUT ABOUT SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY WILL HAPPEN CANONICALLY BECAUSE ITS THE BEST THING EVER. (THAT MEANS SPOILER WARNING)

Speaking of Genshiken is Reg becoming Kuchiki? He’s starting to get a harem of hot babes but instead he wants to fuck all of them and none of them want him except Faputa but we don’t know her yet. Anyway, this manga is fucking amazing.

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Best part of the manga goes to the third volume and Nanachi’s arc. Like, to say that I cry every time I read it defiles the greatness that is the third volume. Tears are not enough to express the fucking incredibly story. Nanachi finally liberating her best friend from childhood from an eternity of pain and forcing herself to believe in an afterlife so that she can believe she’ll one day be united with Mitty? HOLY FUCK MAN.

AND AND AND HOW ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE COOL DINOSAUR NAREHATE BRINGS UP MITTY WHAT IS IT POSSIBLE SHES STILL ALIVE WHAT THE FUCK????? HOLY SHIT MAN. NANACHI IS THE BEST.

NANACHI IS THE BEST.

Faputa’s also pretty cool so far tho too.

BUT NANACHI IS THE BEST.

HEY. THINK ABOUT THIS. We all think of Nanachi as being a girl and use she/her pronouns because her design is more feminine, but there’s no confirmation of Nanachi’s gender. Think about how Nanachi being a guy re-contextualizes fucking everything— now Nanachi’s love for Mitty has a more romantic tone (Imean maybe lesbian couple but Made in Abyss is already the best manga it doesn’t need anything else to make it even more amazing) and her relationship with Mitty becomes a more direct parallel to Riko and Reg, with Riko taking the place of Mitty. A bit more ominous now, right?

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Have I mentioned how this is literally perfection of art? This author dude Tsukushi Akihito can super grotesque and horrifying shit but also create SOME TOP TIER ADORABILITY. HE CAN DRAW ANYTHING.

Oh also Ozen’s pretty cool. I appreciate that Tsukushi-sama took a seen-before archetype and made her into A FUCKING BADASS HOLY FUCK MAN.

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Ok… If you can’t tell I have nothing legitimate to say about this. I’m just really fucking hype.

Princess Nine: Carving Its Identity In Male-Dominated Sports (Anime)

Princess Nine comes in just below my favorite sports anime of all time, Ping Pong the Animation. What puts it above more popular titles such as Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basuke?

Simply put, girls.

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Obviously a huge part of the show has to revolve around the fact that it’s a girl’s baseball team, not softball team, but the extent to which Princess Nine capitalizes on its all-female protagonists is amazing. Princess Nine highlights and then conquers the patriarchal perspective on sports in general that women are inherently worse.

Before you call me a bra burner, let me clarify something— yes, it is true that women will tend to be worse at sports and be less physically strong because of biological constraints and societal pressures, but this does not mean that a best-of-the-century female baseball player cannot go toe-to-toe with male baseball players.

The underlying conflict of the show, particularly throughout the first half, is not Ryo versus her opponents or herself or anything like that, but overwhelming individual talent versus biological and societal differences between men and women. The Kisaragi Joshikou baseball team is comprised of multiple girls who possess amazing talent worthy of rivaling many of the top male baseball players, and at their head is Ryo, whose ability is equaled only by her pitcher-of-the-century father, and it is their struggle against the patriarchy (smash the patriarchy!) that lies as the backdrop to its narrative.

When they are given the opportunity to participate in Koshien, this conflict largely becomes relegated to the background as we are hit with a level of inter-character drama that I can’t say I’ve seen in any other sports anime to such an extent, but which really makes me question how much Princess Nine truly is a “sports anime” in the way we think about. With the first nine episodes of Princess Nine going without actually seeing a baseball game, and beyond that only showing four baseball games across about six of the twenty-six episodes, Princess Nine makes its clear priority the romance and drama over the sport itself, something that comes both as a welcome relief since so many sports anime concentrate so purely on the sport, and as a hindrance to the gravity of the games themselves, since they are built up so little as to make their ultimate outcomes seem, at times, predictable and/or unrealistic. It is a wonder that the impairment of the Kisaragi Joshikou baseball team being all girls is not enough already, and that they have the time between practicing to have so much drama at all. The combination of these two makes Princess Nine seem, at times, a bit too “anime” in its presentation of the overall story, but this is largely unnoticeable by the effectiveness of the drama that is taking the place of the sports.
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This kind of storytelling, which balances being undeniably about a sport with being overwhelmingly not just presentation of that sport, is incredibly distinct— if it has been done before to the extent it is done here, I have not seen it, and generally I’m a huge sucker on gender commentary stuff sooo you know go that.

Speaking of being a huge tsundere toward feminism because I totally am a liberal cuck while pretending to not be one, I have zero issue with the arc of Ryo and Izumi playing worse because they are lovesick at the ending. This is because, A. People are lovesick in real life, regardless of gender, so it’s believable, B. It’s kind of awesome to see a sports competition come to a head with romance, because this wouldn’t be possible without there being an openly same-gender relationship or having a female team competing against a male team on even ground. It’s fucking great.

Being done on the subject of freshmen in high school, it isn’t surprising that Princess Nine is largely a coming of age story. Izumi’s ultimate decision at the end to give up her pretend-relationship with Hiroki and to admit defeat in the battlefield of romance to Ryo, is a powerful demonstration of character development, maturity, and the strengthening of her friendship and rivalry with Ryo. She, ultimately, is nearly as much a main character to Princess Nine as Ryo is, largely because her character growth is so intricate in contrast with Ryo’s fairly common arc of becoming strong without any man to help her and just becoming strong in general really. Because her and Ryo’s screen time overwhelm those of the other girls, it would already be difficult to fault the show for making the other teammates so cliché and seemingly unsuited to baseball.

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However, giving them their own spotlight, I have only criticism to give. After all, how is it remotely possible that an aspiring fashion model with no pension for physical fitness could, even after a couple months of intensive training, come close to the aptitude that the best baseball teams in the nation have? How is it possible that a girl whose time is largely spent pursuing academics and who has repeatedly been turned away from baseball by her father, can still be one of the best catchers on the team? I’ll believe that Mao got good because we saw her training at catching really fucking hard, but it seems all Yoko had to do to prove herself as a worthy teammate was take baseball seriously for one moment. For that matter, though, I think it would’ve been nice to see everybody, Ryo included, training a little harder than they did. Izumi seems to be the one putting in the most effort in training and it was also shown that she was an extremely fast learner and already physically fit, so how did she ultimately end up as just a heavy slugger and not by far and away the best hitter on the team?

There was a storytelling technique I saw here that was never precisely predictable, but extremely awesome to pick up on. Whenever one conflict is happening, another is, always. They come in pairs and they come strong. When the press come at Kisaragi Joshikou and Ryo because of her father’s scandal, she ends up hospitalized too. Both the conflict with Kisaragi and Ryo are happening at once. When Ryo and Izumi are hung up on Hiroki, Koharu also struggles with her father’s poor health. This is constant throughout the show, and something I may try to use myself.

This has no cohesive point about Princess Nine, as you can tell. I just have a lot of specific thoughts that aren’t worthy of their own posts but that all make me excited about Princess Nine in general. Cheers!

P.S. Can you tell by the pictures etc that I really love Izumi?

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