Posts Tagged ‘Bleach’

The pride of the Quincy

Posted: July 2, 2011 in glasses
Tags: , ,
“Megane Danshi″
part 8: Uryuu Ishida and Ryuken Ishida

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

Uryuu Shida

Uryuu Ishida

Uryuu Ishida is a high school student in the anime Bleach. Beyond that, he’s also a Quincy, a human with spiritual powers. The main plot line revolves around the Soul Reapers, a more common race with spiritual powers, but they aren’t exactly human. They reside in a large town called Seireitei, located in the realm of the afterlife, but they were never once alive.

Quincys have all but died out; Uryuu is the one of two living Quincys left. His powers, like all Quincys, revolve around the summoning of a bow using an artifact on the hand or wrist. Their archery skills are far superior than anyone else. Uryuu uses a bracelet with the Quincy cross dangling from it. Through the varying arcs, Uryuu goes through the ordeal of losing his powers and getting them back, using variations of Quincy artifacts.

Uryuu loves to sew and makes dresses for dolls. What a weirdo, right?

Uryuu works his way into the main cast very quickly in the first arc. His fights are fun to watch, even though the cockiness is a bit annoying. While I loved him in the first arc of Bleach, the second “Bount” arc was absolutely ridiculous. The end of the first arc, Uryuu lost his powers. He spends the majority of the second arc being an emo tool. He befriends a female bount, which are a race of “soul vampires.” Well, she dies, and he get even more emo. Eventually, he gets his powers back, just in time for the third arc, solely on the use of a Quincy glove. Eventually, the glove stops working (yeah, I forgot how it happened; I just know he loses his powers again). And he’s forced to seek help from the other living Quincy: his father.

Ryuken Ishida

Ryuken Ishida

Uryuu’s father, Ryuken, is a doctor and owns a hospital. He comes across as a bit of a jerk, making Uryuu promise not to help Ichigo (the main protagonist) anymore in order to assist him in getting his powers back. He also nearly kills Uryuu, but we find out that was the only way for him to revive his powers.

Quincys have a bit of a feud with Soul Reapers, so it explains his dislike for Ichigo. It also doesn’t help that Ichigo’s father owns a rival hospital, even though its much, much smaller. Later, it’s revealed that the fathers actually know each other and actually team up themselves to defeat some bad guys.

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Laura Bailey

If you’ve watched any anime, you’ve probably heard Laura Bailey. If you’ve watched a lot of anime, you’ve probably heard her multiple times and didn’t even know it. Most voice actors can be picked out from one voice to another. There’s always a distinct sound to an actor’s voice that makes you think “I know who that is. I’ve heard that voice before.” I’ve watched a number of anime, and I’ve never once done that with Laura Bailey. Her voice is so unique from one character to the next, even if she’s playing similar character styles.

She just happened into anime voice acting, which is insane because a lot of people have that as a goal and never make it. Born in 1981, from Mississippi, Laura actually went to college for acting and drama. Since breaking into the anime world, she’s done an extraordinarily long list of anime, video games, cartoons, and movies. In this post, I’m only going to point out characters that I’ve seen.

It kind of goes without saying that she does quite a few young girl characters, generally they’re high school students.

 

 

Hiromi, Moon Phase

Hiromi, Moon Phase

Laguna Blue, Monster High

Laguna Blue, Monster High

Kanako, Ouran Highschool Host Club

Kanako, Ouran Highschool Host Club

Maka Albarn, Soul Eater

Maka Albarn, Soul Eater

Tohru Honda, Fruits Basket

Tohru Honda, Fruits Basket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maka and Tohru are the main heroine’s of their respective anime. Of all the characters that I’ve heard her do, these two sound the most alike. Kanako is a one episode-side character, but she has a distinct voice all her own. As for Laguna Blue, she’s from an American cartoon called Monster High. This voice intrigues me the most out of her “high school student” cast. Somehow she manages an Australian accent and a very unique tone.

 

 

Jaina Proudmoore, World of Warcraft

Jaina Proudmoore, World of Warcraft

Lust, FMA

Lust, Full Metal Alchemist

Halibel, Bleach

Halibel, Bleach

Anko, Naruto

Anko Mitarashi, Naruto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s done a few young women voices too. These characters have a generally more “sexy” tone to their voices, but again, they’re all distinct and unique.

Shinnosuke, Shin Chan

Shinnosuke, Shin Chan

Trunks, DBZ

kid Trunks, Dragon Ball Z

If that wasn’t crazy enough, she can even do young boy voices. Though I’m not really a fan of Shin-chan, I was crazy impressed that his voice was the same one that was once Lust from Full Metal Alchemist. And as far as trunks goes, he has a little bit of gruffness in his voice that I didn’t think was possible for a woman voice actress.

My favorite part about Laura Bailey is that she has her own official website complete with a demo voice reel. If you really want your socks blown off, take a listen on lizardbee.com. Most voice actors don’t display they’re demo reel to the public. Also, check her site for her character list. You’ll also notice that she’s been known to do multiple characters in a show or video game, because her voices are that unique.

Is this the first time you guys have seen her range? Crazy isn’t it? C’mon guys, tell me why you like Laura Bailey!

There are a number of couples in various anime who have canon building for them, either to end the series with inference, or leave you guessing. I personally ship these five couples and hope that they will end up together as their series continue to progress.

There’s one anime in the countdown that has already ended, but there’s enough canon to confirm their feelings, even if they never confess. That pair is #5 on the countdown, so let’s kick it off.

Luke & Tear

Luke & Tear

5. Luke Von Fabre & Mystearica Grants

This duo, from Tales of the Abyss, has a chance meeting when Tear interrupts Luke’s training in order to kill her brother Van, Luke’s trainer. In defending his trainer and clashing with Tear, the pair have a fonic resonance that send them flying into the enemy country.

Luke at this point is a bratty, self absorbed protagonist who goes through a huge learning process and emotional struggle with Tear by his side. He learns that he’s a replica of the real Luke, and has a hard time figuring himself out after that. Then he makes a brash decision to follow Van, who unfolds as the main antagonist, and ends up destroying an entire city.

Once he’s able to come into his own, and gain everyone’s trust back, Luke becomes a fascinating hero of the story. There is a lot of emotional tension between the pair through the series, especially when Luke makes a sacrificial choice that is slowly deteriorating his body. They have several encounters when they mean to confess their feelings, but it never happens. After one such encounter, when Luke is saying his goodbyes, she whispers back as he’s leaving, “I love you.” The final battle ends with Luke presumed dead and gone. I yelled at my screen after that, probably for an hour. Why couldn’t she just tell him?!?!

The end of the series brings the main cast of protagonists together two years later to celebrate Luke’s coming of age, even though he’s gone. Then a mysterious stranger appears who just happens to look like Luke and his original, who was definitely dead by that point, combined. And they left it at that; the series ended. I straight up cried. I’m am in full hopes that if the episode were a minute longer, she would have confessed, or him, or both.

Kyoko and Ren

Kyoko & Ren

4.  Ren Tsuruga & Kyoko Mogami 

What I love about this pair from Skip Beat is the evolution of their relationship throughout the series and their connections when they end up working on acting projects together. Ren is a twenty year old ace actor, already at the top of the A-List. Kyoko is a renegade 16 year old who broke into the acting business after her long time roommate and “friend” confessed to solely using her for his own gain. She dropped out of highschool to work several jobs and housekeep for Shoto while he launched his own music career. Blindly in love with him, she was mortified and sought to get revenge by becoming a bigger star than him.

Ren learns of Kyoko’s motive for getting to acting, just the revenge part, not on whom she wants the revenge. Their relationship is really abrasive at this point, as he frowns upon her method of using acting for revenge. Kyoko quickly learns that not only is she good at acting, but she actually loves doing it.

Ren carrying Kyoko

Ren carrying Kyoko

When she starts to get acting jobs, the pair tend to connect just by watching the other act. She got her first acting role because the previous actress was too much of a diva to take direction. Kyoko was, afterall, supposed to be that actress’assistant. Kyoko actually broke her foot, carrying her to the shoot after the van broke down and she refused to walk. Ren went back to find Kyoko and carried her to the shoot. That was when I knew there was something there for this pair.

With the role, she did a tea ceremony scene where she knelt down the entirety of it with her broken foot. She showed no sign of pain in the filming. It really impressed Ren. That’s kind of how the anime plays out, but there’s a deeper emotional complication to it. Ren has been chided for not being able to act in roles that involve being in love, because he has no experience to draw on it from. He begins to realize that he’s starting to have those feelings. Kyoko herself is in such a blind hatred because of the betrayal that she forgot how to love.

It also unfolds to the viewer that there is a good chance that the pair met when they were younger, and he had given Kyoko a fair bit of hope in the form of this Corn stone. I think Ren realizes it, but Kyoko still seems to be oblivious that he knew what the stone was called and where she was when she got it.

Then, there’s a string of episodes in the middle of the series in which Kyoko is Ren’s assistant. She nurtures Ren, making sure he eats (which he often doesn’t do when he’s busy) and admiring him on set. Then he falls ill and Kyoko does everything in her power to care for him.

Ren’s assistant, Yahiko, megane danshi and comic relief, is fully aware of their feelings for each other and often prods Ren into seeing it, but Ren denies it. Though they are getting closer in the manga, neither of them are any closer to realizing their feelings.

Ulquiorra and Orihime

Ulquiorra and Orihime

3. Ulquiorra Cifer & Orihime Inoue

From the anime Bleach comes probably the most controversial couple on the list, because though canon exists, its tough to read and could swing either way. Also, there’s been a number of inference toward Orihime and the title character, Ichigo, especially her confession toward him before she’s kidnapped. Ulquiorra is also an antagonist, which puts another strike in. And Ulquiorra also dies, so there’s another. BUT! There’s still some lingering hope!

Orihime has a spiritual ability that can reverse damage on allies by “reversing time” on their bodies, a power said to be greater than god’s. For this reason, the main antagonist, Aizen, tasks Ulquiorra with kidnapping her and being her keeper while she is Hueco Mondo. He gets pretty possessive over her. And I’m not sure if their little spat over making her eat is out of concern for her or as a prerogative to keep her alive for Aizen’s sake.

Later, Ulquiorra has the infamous “are you afraid?” chat and the “heart” questions, about whether or not she has one of those that all humans have. He doesn’t believe in human emotions of the heart, because he can’t see them. (Granted, if he just opened up one of the bodies of his victims, he could see it, honestly.) But instead he inquires as to whether or not he should crack open her body to see it. He doesn’t.

Then it starts to get interesting. Ichigo even comments that Ulquiorra appears to be more human, and that Orihima might have had that impact on him. Ichigo and Ulquiorra have their fight, and as Ulquiorra dies and disintegrates in the process, he reaches out to Orihime. He asks her if she’s afraid of him, to which she says she’s not. Then he realizes he has a heart; it was in his hand all along, and Orihime was at the other end of it.

So now there’s the question. Is he really dead, and is there more in store for the pair? My sister is a die hard shipper of these two, and she’s horribly upset that they aren’t #1 on my countdown.

Haruhi and Tamaki

Haruhi and Tamaki

2. Tamaki Suou & Haruhi Fujioka

Tamaki is the president of the Ouran High School Host Club from the anime of the same name. He is also the illegitimate child of the school board’s chairman. Haruhi on the other hand is a commoner who got into the elite Ouran Academy on scholarship. Since Haruhi finds herself mixed up in the Host Club, the two begin to expand their worlds into each other’s.

Haruhi, looking like a boy, accidently knocks over an 80 million yen vase that was in possession of the Host Club. She is then forced to join the Host Club to get 100 customers to request her in order to free her of her debt. Eventually they all figure out that she’s a girl, but they still go on with it, continually masquerading her as a boy in school.

When Tamaki goes below his status to help Haruhi dig through the fountain for her lost food card, it reveals a side of Tamaki that most “stuck up rich kids” don’t have. He’s very down to earth, albeit a little crazy, but he has an enormously generous heart, a genuine demeanor, and an infectious personality. He gets very upset with Haruhi for doing things on her own, but comes to realize that she’s been alone her whole life and manages to do everything growing up on her own. Her mother died when she was ten, and her father is always working.

The best scene ever is when Tamaki finds out about Haruhi’s fear of thunder and lightning. He crawls into a closet, and when he inquires as to why, she tells him that she’s always used to getting over stuff like this on her own. He throws open the closet doors, and she embraces him while he consoles her. He tells her, gently, that she never has to do anything alone. (Then the scene is kind of ruined with a whole S&M inference by the other Host Club members, because he gives her ear plugs and a blindfold to help. He’s then chided the whole rest of the episode. They should have just cut it after the embrace.)

Since Haruhi’s involvement in the Host Club, Tamaki took a genuine interest in “commoner” things such as stuff they eat, games they place, and even a products expo that he convinces the Host Club they need to take a field trip to. He’s also extremely overprotective of her, attributing it to his fatherly duties over her as her mentor. The rest of the Host Club think he’s an idiot, because he still hasn’t realized he’s in love with her, even though the rest of them have.

At the very end, I think Haruhi comes to realize how much he means to her as well. When Tamaki was set up by his loathing grandmother to take off to France as the fiance of some rich, snotty chick, Haruhi collapses and exhibits similar habits from when her mother died. Eventually she takes off in a rampaging horse carriage to stop them before going to the airport. While on a bridge, she loses control and falls out of the carriage while side by side with Tamaki’s car. Tamaki jumps out of the car to grab her, and pulls her into an embrace (which should have been a kiss scene!!!), before they land in the water (photo above).

The anime ends, after dancing with all the Host Club members, with her in Tamaki’s arms. In the manga, it continues, and Haruhi has come to full realization of her feelings. Tamaki, meanwhile, is still an idiot. It’s just a matter of time.

Temari and Shikamaru

Temari and Shikamaru

1. Shikamaru Nara & Temari

From the anime Naruto and Naruto Shippuden comes, hands down, my favorite couple who isn’t together (yet). Shikamaru is a Leaf Village (Konoha) ninja, while Temari is from the Sand Village (Sunagakura). The pair first meets in the Chuunin exams when they are put against each other. Though Shikamaru actually wins the fight, he forfeits before claiming victory.

Their relationship really gets bumped up when Shikamaru is put in charge of a squad to bring Sasuke home. Shikamaru ended up in a battle and was having trouble trapping her, because she could easily fight from a hiding spot. Then Temari shows up and shatters all the trees with her wind technique, which also deflected the music, easily defeating their enemy. After the battle, they return to Konoha find several of his subordinates in near death condition, including his best friend Choji. He blames himself for it, vowing to step down from being a ninja. Temari has a serious conversation with him, and Shikamaru accepts what happened and agrees to move forward. Then when he sees her and her brothers off, they have a quick exchange of words, after which he half smiles and she has a gleam in her eye.

After the time jump, Naruto returns to Konoha to see the pair walking around together. Naruto makes a comment about them dating, to which they deny. (It’s okay, we all know the truth!)

Shikamaru's proposed title screen

Shikamaru's proposed title screen

Shikamaru’s relationship with Temari is very much like his father’s relationship to his mother, which bodes favorably for them. There is a running gag that Shikaku, his father, is whipped, and that his mother is a force to be reckoned with. Shikaku says , “no matter how strong-minded a woman is, she will show kindness to the man she loves.” Which is funny, because Shikamaru mention that Temari is “as subtle as a Rhino” and is “scarier than his mom.” I think its fate.

And to stir the pot further, in an OVA at the end of episode 75 of Shippuden, we see something strange. Asuma talks about having the show named after him, and shows the title screen with the silhouetted of him and his lover, Kurenai. Shikamaru says that the show should be named after him, and as you can see to the right, the title screen features him and Temari silhouetted. Awesome, right? Shikatema ftw!

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

Both of these guys, while at first appeared to be totally awesome megane danshi, have done enough things to warrant snapping their glasses in half. Kabuto will have his own Megane Danshi post later, as I was a huge fan of him for years, until they decided 300 episodes in to start a transformation that is absolutely unforgiveable. Aizen, on the other hand, didn’t have much of a shot at anything, as he was revealed early on that he was full of pure evil.

Aizen Sosuke

Aizen Sosuke, Squad 5 captain

Aizen Sosuke started out in the anime, Bleach, as squad 5’s captain in Soul Society. While at first Soul Society was enemy territory to the main protagonists, Ichigo and his party, the end of the Soul Society arc reveals that a third party had organized a plot to make them think they were against each other. During this arc, Squad 5 captain, Aizen, was nailed, dead, to the side of a tower. At the time, my heart sank, as I was excited that there was a megane danshi character, only for him to be murdered several episodes after his introduction.

As it turns out, his corpse was a planted fake, and the real master mind behind the plot was none other than Aizen himself. He intended to capture an extremely powerful sphere, the Hogyoku, that was inhabiting a fellow Soul Society squad member. The sphere blurs racial lines between humans, soul reapers and hollows, enabling the ability to utilize powers one could not obtain on their own.

Aizen Sosuke

Aizen, after revealing himself as the main antagonist

The plot involved pitting the 12 squad captains against each other and the execution of Rukia, who had the sphere implanted inside her decades prior without her knowledge. After extracting the sphere, with Rukia still alive, Aizen retreats to Hueco Mondo, another spirit realm.

At this point, Aizen’s appearance changes, including the dissolving of his glasses (yes!). Now he just looks like an evil tool, which is fine by me, because that’s what he is. Mid way into the Hueco Mondo arc, I lot interest in Bleach. I guess I can only handle one ongoing anime at a time, and right now I like Naruto Shippuden FAR better. Bleach has become full of random battles in which it takes 12 episodes to finish, not unlike DBZ. They also keep bringing out new powers in each new battle that I’m completely confused as to why they never used them sooner, as its not like they did any extra training or research or whatever prior to it.

Kabuto Yakushi

Kabuto Yakushi

Kabuto, though revealed semi-early on in Naruto as being on the side of the main antagonist Orochimaru, was always hard to decipher. Though Orochimaru never doubted Kabuto’s loyalty, he always questioned his motives, as does the viewer.

Despite his stated alliance, Kabuto heals protagonists on a couple of occasions without being asked. The first time, Hinata was having heart issues that she never recovered from during her Chuunin exam match. Kabuto, disguised as one of Konoha’s police force, the Anbu, pulls her aside and completely heals her. The second time, he heals Sakura after Naruto hurt her in his nine-tails cloak state. He had witnesses, and he explained to them that healing her would mean more people to take out Akatsuki members, a third party organization that is enemies of both Orochimaru and Konoha.

The mystery around his loyalty and motives is part of what makes him intriguing. He’s also probably the best medical ninja in existence, because of all the experiments and research he’s been a part of for Orochimaru. He’s intelligent and mysterious, such a winning combination. For 4 years I watched Naruto and enjoyed his character, and he is one of my favorite characters of all time.

Then he goes and destroys himself.

Kabuto, after implanting Orochimaru's cells

Kabuto, after implanting Orochimaru's cells

Orochimaru picked a losing fight with Sasuke, and he died. Kabuto decided it was a great idea to implant Orochimaru’s cells within himself. At first, I was like, ok, so he’s just got scales over his arm and half his face, that’s not too bad. He is still wearing his glasses, and now we know he could have cared less about Orochimaru, so he’s still mysterious. He was also seemingly a fair bit insane at this point, after thanking Naruto for bizarre reasons. Usually he’s on the quiet and reserved side. Everyone was confused. No one had any idea what he was going to do, not even the viewer.

Then he disappeared.

For a long time, he didn’t appear in the manga.

Kabuto Returns

Kabuto, in his new form

Turns out, he had a whole plan brewing from day one, including hoarding the bodies of well known deceased ninjas. Then he reappears to leverage this with Madara Uchiha, the ultimate antagonist of the series.

And I wanted to cry when I saw him.

The entirety of his skin is now scaly and white. He’s got Orochimaru’s eyes and a snake for a tail. He even turns into a full fledge snake at one point. His hair is all shorter and scraggly, and he stays shrouded in a cloak with moth eyes on the hood. This, surely, can’t be Kabuto.

I have never been more upset with a turn of events in an anime. I do not accept this transformation, and for all intents and purposes, Kabuto is dead. He died when he let Orochimaru into himself (and you may take that phrase however you see fit). I don’t know who this new cloaked, snake freak is, but surely he’s not the intelligent and mysterious Kabuto Yakushi.

“Megane Danshi″
part 2: Szayel Aporro Granz & Dist the Reaper

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

Szayel Aporro Grantz

Szayel Aporro Grantz

Even though I think Mayuri Kurotsuchi of Bleach is probably the king of weird science, he doesn’t wear glasses so he doesn’t count. (hahaha.) He is pretty freaky looking, and at least these two are nice to look at. Who am I talking about? Bleach’s (and Mayuri’s enemy) Szayel Aporro Granz and Tales of the Abyss’ Dist the Reaper. I could also add Professor Stein in here from Soul Eater, but he’s is in a league of his own, and he’s not a flamboyant, pink haired weirdo like these two.

Both of these guys are hardcore into science and their research, caring little for others, and being quite sadistic in their personalities. They’re also both ego-centric and sport pink hair-dos.

Szayel is the 8th Espada in Aizen’s team of arrancars, or hollows who have obtained soul reaper powers. (Aizen’s an evil jerk, and I’m glad that he no longer wears his glasses after he became said jerk.) Szayel monitors enemies by planting bugs on fellow arrancar which record the spirit particles of their enemy during fights, so that he can analyze them in case he ever has to fight them. He also likes to keep his enemies’ bodies intact, especially if they have a special ability, for research.

Okay, that may be normal for science elites, but what about Szayel makes him weird? First off, he swallows his Zanpakuto (sword) to enact his abilities instead of fighting with it. He’s stated before he’s not much of a fighter in that way. Szayel also makes dolls of his opponents, by having them be swallowed by one of his “wings.” These dolls are basically voo-doo dolls filled with voo-doo organs that he snaps to do internal damage to his opponent. He can also asexually reproduce himself within the womb of an opponent, which makes him “the perfect being.”

Then he gets annihilated by Mayuri in a very epic battle. At least he was pretty to look at.

Dist the Reaper

Dist the Reaper

Dist the Reaper, or Saphir Ortion Gneiss, from Tales of the Abyss, is one of the 6 god generals (similar to Szayel’s position). He is a childhood friend of another Megane Danshi and scientist, Jade Curtiss. As partners, they were involved in a research project that was eventually abandoned and condemned by Jade, though Dist never gave it up. Because of this, his alliance changed.

He fights using robots, and never engages in combat directly. So why is he weird? His personality. He sits on a floating chair all the time, insists on being called “Dist the Rose,” and spends most of his fight scenes engaged in a hilarious squabble with Jade who refers to him as “Dist the Runny.” Eventually he is done in by Jade in a very sad manner. You can tell Jade didn’t want to, but it seemed like something he had to do to bury his past once and for all.

So which one do I like better? Sorry Saphir, I’m not into purple lipstick and feathered coats. Szayel takes the win.