Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda Ep 12: The Fujoshi Zone

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 01.10.51.pngSoulmates, that is what Serinuma calls Nishina. They’re soulmates. Not lovers, not friends, but soulmates. It seems this grey zone between a friendly relationship and a romantic one if where Nishina stands in Serinuma’s eyes. Even when they are going on the date in Episode 12, Serinuma expresses that Nishina is “fun to be around.”

Actually, let’s take a look at her date.

For Nishina, this is her chance to express her love for Serinuma, and she does the whole set up right. She reserves a whole boat, plane flight, dress, all of it for a truly “proper” date. She is dressed to impress.

Her first line of dialogue is introducing the place. She’s rehearsed that. Serinuma needs to know where she is, after all, right? She even makes it halfway through her next line— “When I see such beautiful scenery…”

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And then comes yaoi pairings. She was so close to pulling a romantic line, but then it comes out as yaoi. I can reiterate the lesbian undertones of fujoshi culture a million times, but it won’t change that concretely, roleplaying and imagining male / male sexual contact is not the same thing as legitimately engaging in sexual contact.

Nishina had the lesbian fujoshi crutch— she was immediately the closest to Serinuma and attempted to use this fujoshi connection to grab Serinuma romantically. Yet ever since the kiss, Serinuma has persistently emphasized their friendship as fellow fujoshi over romantic interest, and before long Nishina found herself satisfied with being Serinuma’s soulmate.

By satisfied, I’m not implying Nishina only wants friendship, but she has convinced herself that she can’t have anything more. Do you know what this is called?

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Now, to be clear, one could argue the whole cast of Watashi Ga Motete struggles with “the friend zone,” but Nishina is the only one who actively perpetuates her friend zone.

Igarashi is the most vocally against the state of things. He repeatedly seizes opportunities to bond with Nishina and had a clear-cut goal of becoming her boyfriend.

Nana and Shinomiya are similarly romantically-minded— most of the things they do, while not as suave as Igarashi, have the same goal of impressing Nishina into falling in love with them. Nana achieves this impression through his charisma and situational decision-making, and Shinomiya succeeds through his adorkable failure to properly ‘man up’ to the situation.

Mutsumi, ever since discovering his love for Serinuma, is calm but clear. He has no difficulty expressing his love or his thoughts toward Serinuma, but is also fine with casually being with her. He would come closest to being a “romantic companion” as opposed to a “boyfriend,” if that makes sense.

He views his innocent companionship as an entirely separate issue and tackles his attraction to Serinuma by simply expositing her it.

And what is Nishina doing? Talking about BL? What happened, girl? You were her first kiss! You had such a great shot! And now you’re struggling to come up with topics?

Simply put, Nishina has done more than just put herself squarely in the friend zone. She has put herself in the fujoshi zone. Here, she cannot escape, for the only way she knows anymore how to express her interest in Serinuma is through pairings, thus perpetuating her friendship.

It isn’t a miscommunication, it’s a vicious cycle that Nishina has put herself in since she and Serinuma made up with their reversible pairing argument. Since Nishina’s strong point from the start was BL, she returns to it in an attempt to preserve Serinuma’s interest in her. Yet at this point, Serinuma has accustomed herself to this as a gesture of friendship, and Nishina finds her hopes of romance falling away.

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Think about it— the date wasn’t her only opportunity. She had the whole time at the hot springs! Heck, given how much she and Serinuma talk about conventions, surely they go to some BL places or at least traverse Otome Road without the others, right?

Of course this is all speculation, but these are par for the course for any good fujoshi friends. Yet in none of these situations has Nishina pulled anything on Serinuma. It’s because they are all BL-centered.

After she herself made it clear that she was serious and would take advantage of any opportunity to attract Serinuma, Nishina set the world of BL off-limits for her. After all, it was the foundation of the deep trust she had accumulated with Serinuma. At the start she had no issue putting it on the line— their fujoshi friendship was just a crutch. But as that friendship deepened, Nishina realized she had to separate BL and romance.

In fact, going back to Episode 6, there is the moment where Nishina’s mind changes. Her original intent with their competition was to assert her superiority and cut ties with the BL side of Serinuma and leave with only romance. Instead, she realized that these two— the BL and romance, were connected.

If she were to throw dirt in the face of BL-loving Serinuma, she would too be throwing dirt in the face of potential girlfriend Serinuma. This was not an option. Therefore, Nishina made it clear to herself that from then on she would not interfere with their fujoshi friendship.screen-shot-2016-12-25-at-02-29-42

This was all fine and well, but in doing so, suddenly their fujoshi friendship became a source of comfort. Sure, she could risk their net relationship by making a romantic move, or she could simply maintain their current state by continuing to be a fujoshi buddy.

Furthermore, in a place like Otome Road or at a convention, Nishina would have strictly been in fujoshi-mode. Therefore, her prime opportunity to change up her pace was ruined by her own conviction that fujoshi friendship and romance remain different issues.

What first excited me about Nishina in Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda was how she was the embodiment of Mizoguchi’s Reading and Living Yaoi theory. In her fujoshi rapport, she was able to establish an immediate (lesbian) sexual connection, and then leverage this by bringing that virtual lesbianism into material lesbianism.

Yet, by the canon of the anime, this has simultaneously been her downfall. Because Nishina established herself upon virtual lesbianism and not material lesbianism, in her efforts to stay with Serinuma she has reverted to a state of pure virtual lesbianism. Pure fantasy.

The difficulty Hato had with their relationship with Madarame was chiefly that they were uncertain of the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Their best times with Madarame were the times they were most real, most concrete. It is when Hato had a real conversation with Madarame, shooting the shit about whatever, or when Madarame really blushed at receiving Hato’s chocolates.

And, accordingly, it is when Hato was most in the world of fantasy that they were unsuccessful in wooing Madarame. The whole worry about “Hato x Mada” as opposed to “Mada x Hato?” Purely in the realm of theory.

It appears history has repeated itself— Nishina was most succesful when she concretely gave Serinuma a kiss, and she was least successful when she reverted to the fujoshi mindset to stay comfortable with Serinuma.

This is the fujoshi zone.

Bungou Stray Dogs S1 + S2, Baby Steps S2, Trigun, and Paprika

We’re doing another Things I’ve Seen Recently! Woo.

BY THE WAY, THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR ALL OF THESE SERIES HERE.

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!

Bungou Stray Dogs Seasons 1 and 2:

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So, since the end of Bungou Stray Dogs came out recently I decided to watch all of Season 1 and 2. First of all, this show is definitely one of the more normie anime I’ve seen. It’s basically an X-Men kind of world but with cooler powers and more of an appeal to younger audiences.

This strongly strikes me as something that 12 y/o me would have really loved. As it is, I definitely feel the effects of plot armor, crappy animation, and edgy characterization.

That said, it was still fun. The animation was kind of crappy, but I’m a total sucker for the over-saturated, near-KyoAni style of art. If I started thinking about the plot much, I kind of realized how flawed and childish it was, but the show was engaging enough that I didn’t think too hard about things.

I personally liked the first season more than the second. The strongest parts of the show, to me, were where Atsushi was going on an episode-long adventure with somebody. It also made it interesting to see how he battled paired up with different characters.

The whole second season’s story arc was more strongly present, and I don’t think the plot was grabbing enough to make me accept it in lieu of the more episodic adventures of the first season.

Oh, and the Agency boy who’s super strong reminded me a lot of Kousaka from Genshiken which made all of his lines way funnier than they should have been.

Baby Steps Season 2:

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I had originally seen all of Baby Steps Season 1, but I dropped the series part way through Season 2. My mother loves tennis, so since we’ve been watching anime together, we ended up watching through all of Season 1 again and then I got to see all of Season 2.

My biggest concern with Season 2 of Baby Steps I think is that it was coming out so slowly that I had forgotten it by the next time an episode came out. Rewatching it at a more rapid pace was really great, and I’m reminded of how good of a sports anime Baby Steps is.

The downright atrocious animation doesn’t do it any favors, but I don’t think any other sports anime is as realistic in its characterization nor as interesting in its story arcs as Baby Steps is.

Well, maybe Ping Pong, but that’s a whole different story. Anyway, now grabbed by the plot, I found myself really happy to see Natsuo’s confession scene and surprisingly engaged by how awesome Maruo got by the end of the show.

I love all of the emphasis on making tennis into a career the story has. The most inspiring stories, to me, are ones where someone works as hard as they can and are rewarded by becoming a professional in the career they want to pursue the most. That’s effectively what Baby Steps is about, and it does a damn convincing job in engaging me in its narrative.

I’m not expecting a third season given how little critical success Baby Steps has had, so I’ll probably pick up the manga from here on out. Good recommendation, though, Digibro!

Trigun:

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I loved the first arc of Trigun. Actually, my criticism of it is similar to that of Bungou Stray Dogs. In my opinion, the best episodes of Trigun are the episodic ones, and as a result the second half of the series suffers massively.

How the series goes full edgelord doesn’t help things, either, since I really get impatient with shows that try to be edgy. If it’s legitimately dark like Texhnolyze, that’s a different story. It’s a fine line, and I don’t think Trigun balances it well.

That said, I like the character arc of Vash in the second half. I don’t like the story, but I like the character. Vash confronting his own morality is an interesting subject and feels precisely like what I would imagine an immortal character’s story arc looking like.

The best parts of the show, to me, are by far where Vash is able to succeed in saving the day through his off-the-wall antics. I really was able to buy in to the comedy and I was largely satisfied with the upbeat mood of the show.

Paprika:

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Best for last. I loved Paprika. It’s by far the best animated thing I have seen in a while and has a really fucking cool plotline using the familiar dream device we’re already familiar with.

Honestly I feel like I can’t say much about this movie until I watch it again. It’s such a visual experience and delves into some really cool psychology. I’ll talk about it more at another time when I have more finalized feelings about it.

Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda Ep 11: Why So Surprised, Everyone?

So in Episode 11 of Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda, as predicted from earlier, Mutsumi-Senpai has now confessed to Serinuma! Oh wow! Shocker!

Wait a moment, why are they surprised though? Nishina already confessed!

Now the obvious answer is because aside from rearranging the order a bit, the anime is just adapting the manga page-for-page, but let’s take this seriously and consider the only thing that could be implied from this in the canon of the show: nobody is taking Nishina seriously.

Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 17.26.42.pngWhat happened, huh?

Actually, seriously, what happened, both in the manga and in the anime? Nishina makes it clear from the word “go” that she’s in it for hawt lesbo secks, but ever since here her relationship with Serinuma has seemed strangely platonic. The only place where the audience is even reminded she has romantic feelings for Serinuma is when Igarashi refuses to let her spend the night in the same room as Serinuma. That was several episodes ago, now.

Let me go out on a limb, having read the manga, and predict how they’re going to end the show. At the start of Chapter 22 it’s revealed that everyone confesses to Serinuma, so that was my bet from the start as to how they’d end things. That’s precisely why it was such a big deal that Nishina confessed first— in the manga canon, nobody wants anybody else to be the first and so they all confess their love together, but in the anime Nishina beat even Mutsumi to the punch by about five episodes.

But now, here, nobody should be so taken aback by Mustumi’s confession. He wasn’t the first, even. Maybe it was more offhanded earlier, but to dismiss Nishina’s “I love you” as just a friendly manner means that she might as well remove herself from the harem as a whole. I don’t know about anybody else here, but if I’m romantically attracted to someone, when I say “I love you” to them I don’t mean it in a friendship or familial way. Yet for Nishina, one must relegate her “I love you” in the anime to a mere indication of friendship and nothing more, which immediately eliminates her from the big question of “Who does Serinuma choose?”Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 17.23.04.png

(This isn’t to say friendship can’t develop into romance or that friendship love and romantic love are mutually exclusive, but typically romantic love is the route of “I love you”s over friendship love.)

Of course, there is one alternative. One that might make Nishina the most realistic character in the harem! Join me next time on Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda Episode 12 to find out what.

Thievery Corporation’s The Temple of I & I : What to Expect

As of the time of writing this, Thievery Corporation has released two tracks to their upcoming album The Temple of I & I.

They are both definitely not the music from Saudade, but this isn’t to say they’re falling back on a more classic style after the mixed response from the album. “Let The Chalice Blaze” sounds like the musical style we’re used to similar to anything from Culture of Fear or earlier, but “Letter to the Editor” is most definitely not. It’s a strong hip-hop track (and Racquel Jones is killing it) backed by a more traditional Thievery Corporation sound, which judging from the album cover and title is more what we can expect to come.

I & I, for those who don’t know, is a Rastafarian message of talking about equality— “me” and “you” are different words, so they’re innately in some fashion not equal, but saying “I & I” means we are the same. This stands with Thievery Corporation’s political themes (since Radio Retaliation, anyway) of favoring a more democratic and open system, and ‘fighting the government’ and so forth.

Saudade is by far my favorite Thievery Corporation album, I’ll be honest, because it is the most distinctly representing a culture. Prior to Saudade, most of their albums may have felt influenced by certain cultures, but it wasn’t particularly brought to attention in the fashion it was in Saudade. Or, perhaps more accurately, Bossa Nova and a Latin musical style was always prominent, but it was never the focus of a whole album.

Rather than feeling like a mix of styles swirling about in one album (particularly noticeable in Radio Retaliation), Saudade went directly for a specific style, a specific culture, and a specific sound. If Temple of I & I lives up to its directly Rastafarian title, that’s what I’m going to be looking forward to the most.

Also, I liked hearing more singing in Saudade. We’ve had plenty of tracks with some vocal work but emphasizing the Thievery Corporation sound over the lyrics (I’m thinking Heaven’s Going To Burn Your Eyes, Pela Janela, Stargazer), so hearing both a sound radically different from what they traditionally did and a much more prominent vocal track was refreshing. And, to be clear, I don’t dislike that prior style, but something different was welcome.

Now in The Temple of I & I I think we’re going to hear more of those parts that make Saudade great: noticeable evolution from past albums, more emphasis on the culture of their album, prominent vocal tracks. However, it brings it back closer to the instrumentation of Thievery Corporation we were accustomed to.

Anyway, this is just me being excited about their upcoming album and procrastinating on writing essays. Those are my thoughts on the matter. Tell me what y’all think!