Posts Tagged ‘naruto’

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

No. Really. HUGE spoilers here. I read and am completely up-to-date on the Naruto Shippuden manga. So, if you’re strictly an anime watcher, you won’t get to this part for awhile. Tobi has been a mysterious figure since his first appearance. The most popular speculation are Obito and who he actually claims to be, Madara Uchiha.

First, I’ll explain the “Obito is Tobi,” or OiT, theory. It’s pretty self explanatory. People who champion this notion do, in fact, believe that the main antagonist of the Naruto series, Tobi, is none other than a side character from Kakashi’s past, Obito Uchiha. Tobi started off as a goofball member of Akatsuki, a group bent on retrieving all nine of the tailed beasts to resurrect the “ten tails.” Eventually, he became the last man standing in the group and revealed himself as Madara Uchiha.

Now, this is bizarre, because Madara was friends, and eventually enemies, with the first Hokage who was rumored to have destroyed him. That was like, over a hundred years ago, so speculation started to swirl on how he could still be alive so long.

As far as Obito goes, he was a former team mate of Kakashi’s who was very much like Naruto. He valued friendship and the safety of team members over the success of the mission. Obito and Kakashi’s third team member, Rin, was kidnapped during a mission, and the pair ended up saving her. In doing so, however, Obito was crushed by a giant boulder. Before he died, he had Rin, a medical ninja, transplant one of his Uchiha eyes into Kakashi (who had previously suffered an eye injury) as a thank you for going along with him to save Rin.

Tobi and Obito

Tobi and Obito

To sum things up, both Madara and Obito are dead. In fact, every member of the Uchiha clan is presumed dead at this point except for Sasuke. Sasuke’s elder brother, Itachi, wiped out all the members of the Uchiha clan, except Sasuke, several years prior to the start of part 1 on orders of the third Hokage. Itachi later dies in battle with his younger brother. But, even after Tobi reveals himself as Madara, the OiT theorists have remained ever vigilant. Here’s why:

1. Obito and Madara are both Uchihas, a clan of people who are able to wield an eye power called the Sharingan. Tobi is also a Sharingan user, as seen through the one eye hole of his mask.

2. When Obito died, he had given his left eye to Kakashi. Tobi has a single eye hole in his mask, over his right eye.

3. Both have similar spikey haircuts, and Tobi appears to be too young, and his hair far too short, to be the wild Madara.

4. Their names are very similar.

As convincing as this is, there’s a problem. Obito was just like Naruto, ultimately good and valued friendship. What could have possibly happened, if Tobi is Obito, to have turned him into the picture of pure evil?

And, another hole in the works, during Tobi’s fight with Konan, his mask breaks and though you don’t see his whole face, he is shown to have both eyes. Both Sharingan eyes. So is he really Madara then? And here comes the major spoilers: according to the newest chapter of the Naruto Shippuden manga, perhaps not. Unless, of course, there’s other unforeseen circumstances at work here that we are unaware of yet at the present.

Madara Uchiha

Madara Uchiha

Kabuto finally reveals his trump card, the body in the casket that made Tobi nervous, Madara Uchiha’s body. It is made clear that it is, in fact, Madara, and he is unmistakably dead.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Naruto plot line from the past couple of months, here’s a short recap. All the major ninja villages have banned together to form the joint shinobi army against the forces of Tobi and Orochimaru infested Kabuto (it’s a tender subject. Look for my other posts on Kabuto). Kabuto has perfected the Impure World Ressurection Jutsu that allows the user to utilize dead bodies with all their powers. The bodies are back “alive,” but they have no control over their actions and are bent to the will of the Jutsu user. Madara is being used under this Jutsu.

So if that’s the real Madara, then who the !@$% is Tobi?! Sure, the OiT theorists are probably celebrating right now, but I’m not convinced for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. Then what’s going on? Your guess is as good as mine, and I invite you to share your thoughts. But, here’s what I’m leaning toward. Tobi is probably someone related to Madara, such as a son we don’t know about, or his younger brother Izuna. Maybe Madara wasn’t the strongest son after all. Again, this is just a guess here. It could be something completely out of left field here for all we know.

Now that the real Madara has stood up, I can’t wait for Tobi to be completely unmasked.

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

So, I am two states away from my home town, because a good friend of mine is getting married today! Yay! Congrats Tim and Ana! So to preemptively celebrate (I’m going to be far too tired after all the dancing I’m going to do at the reception), I’ve decided to compile my list of Top 5 favorite couples who are together, as seen in the anime/manga from where they came. This post comes in conjunction with another post of mine, the Top 5 couples who are not together (yet).

5. Bulma and Vegeta

Bulma and Vegeta

Bulma and Vegeta

Who can take on the cold, heartless Saiyan prince, with a temper of an Irishman and the arrogance and personality of prize antagonist? A woman.

Bulma is the daughter of the founder of a technology company called Capsule Corp. She’s got a bit of a hard edge, and doesn’t let herself get easily run over by others. In a “night of passion” Bulma got pregnant with their son, and my favorite DBZ character, Trunks.

Though Vegeta is ruthless and potnetially volatile, his relationship with his (now) wife and his son makes him a bit more civilized.

4. Duck & Fakir

Duck and Fakir

Duck and Fakir

I find this pair, from the anime Princess Tutu, to be the most fascinating in how they came together through the events of the story. From the beginning, Duck (Ahiru), as an actual duck, became enamored with Myuto, the lonely prince who was missing his heart.

Myuto is a prince from a story by an author named Drosselmeyer, who had the ability to make his stories real. Drosselmeyer never finished the story of the prince and the raven before a fearful group cut his hands off. The prince, Myuto, and the raven emerged into the real world where Myuto shattered his own heart to seal away the raven. Drosselmeyer sees how how much Ahiru wants to help and gives her a pendant that transforms her into a girl, enrolled at the same ballet school as Myuto. The pendant also allows her to transform into Princess Tutu, a character from Drosselmeyer’s book that restores the shards of the lone prince’s heart.

Through the majority of the anime, the viewer, as I did, roots for Duck and Myuto, as she restores his heart with the mising shards. Fakir, Myuto’s overprotective roommate who is fully aware of the story, being a magical writer himself, comes off as a huge (I prefer a more expletive term, but I will settle for a pg-13 rating here) jerk-face. Fakir, and the Raven’s daughter, Rue, or Princess Kraehe, tries to foil Tutu (Duck)’s attempts to gather the shards.

But somewhere toward the last quarter of the anime, a series of events begins to unravel between Duck and Fakir, and the viewer starts to realize that Myuto x Duck completely pales in comparison to Fakir xDuck. The two’s bond is eventually how they manage to save Prince Myuto from the Raven, and he ends up living happily ever after with Princess Kraehe who was not actually the raven’s daughter, just a girl who had been kidnapped by the raven. The pair go back into the story. Duck returns to be a duck again, and keeps Fakir company while he writes, unfortunately. I wish she could have kept the pendant and stayed with Fakir as a human.

3. Minato Namikaze & Kushina Uzumaki

Kushina and Minato

Kushina and Minato

One of the more tragic love stories is these two from the anime and manga of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. The pair are actually the title character’s parents, which isn’t revealed until way late into Shippuden. Minato, the fourth hokage from the Leaf Village, fell in love with the Kushina, a ninja from the Whirlpool Village, which has close ties to the Leaf. Kushina was the current carrier of the Nina Tails demon fox.

Before they started dating, Kushina was kidnapped, and Minato was able to rescue her by following bits of her red hair that she had left as a trail. It was love at first rescue. Most people found Kushina, like Naruto, to be annoying because of her fiesty-ness and a speech tick that both of them share. She was aso made fun of for her brilliant red hair, often being compared to a tomato. But after the rescue, Minato told her that he loved her red hair, and she started to let it grow extremely long.

After being married, the pair were expecting their first child, Naruto. At childbirth, Kushina would become vulnerable to Nine Tailed fox, so they went away to have the baby in secret. The main antagonist (that we know of so far in the series) got wind of it and broke in mid-delivery. Minato and Kushina were able to seal away the Nine Tails within their baby, in exchange for their lives. They also incorporated memories of themselves into the seal, so that if Naruto were to ever try to remove it, they would reveal themselves to their son.

2. Dominic Sorel & Anemone

Dominic and Anemone

Dominic and Anemone

In Eureka 7, even though these two were on orders of the antagonist, you couldn’t help but root for the pair. Anemone was the only survivor in an experiment to alter bodies to that of a Coralian, in order to pilot one of the ships. In her drugged state, she’s a fearless killer and appears bloodthirsty. The side effects of the procedures and drugs give her massive headaches, as well as an unstable mental capacity.

Dominic starts off as her caretaker, but eventually finds himself sympathetic toward her, and even falling in love with her. Eventually, actually pretty much at the end of the series, she comes to realize that not everyone is lying to her, and she feels for him back. Just before this realization, a rebound attack from her ship causes enough damage to Dominic’s ship to cause him to fall out of the sky. She is ejected from her own ship to save him. That’s when they kiss! *squee!*

The pair are together ever after.

1. Winry Rockbell & Edward Elric

Winry and Ed

Winry and Ed

I loved Full Metal Alchemist, until the very end, when Ed and Al enter an alternate dimension. I was convinced that Ed and Winry belonged together, and to separate them like that was an absolute outrage. Then I saw the movie, my hopefulness crept back in and I watched with bated breath. Then it ended. Still in separate dimensions, and I was furious. Though I thought FMA was a fantastic anime, I couldn’t help but feel cheated that they did not end up together after all they had been through.

Winry is an ace mechanic, and she specializes in automail, which she outfits Ed with after he lost his arm in an alchemy spell that went awry. Continuously throughout the series, she admonishes Ed for doing risky things, and it is blatantly obvious that she cares for him. He takes comfort in her affection and it always feels like he’s home when she’s around.

Chapter 108

Chapter 108

Several years after I had finished the series, I had stumbled onto something interesting. There was an ongoing manga, and I had only discovered this when the manga site I visited announced that the FINAL CHAPTER had been released. Though I didn’t know what had been going on, I clicked through the final chapter to see what happens at the end. Somehow Ed and AL got their bodies back intact, and their father passed away. But best of all, an end photo showed Winry and Ed together, with two kids. My life is complete.

Winry and Ed

Winry and Ed

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.

Almost every anime has that one character that makes you want to punch them in the face or stop watching altogether. They could drive you nuts with a single catch phrase, an extremely annoying personality, or just the way they talk. Of the anime that I have seen so far, this is my top 5, plus 1 runner up.

Naruto Uzumaki

Naruto Uzumaki

Runner Up: Naruto Uzumaki

The title character of the anime, Naruto, he starts off as a 12 year old mischievous boy on the verge of failing out of ninja school. He was basically a dumb kid with crazy ambitions and a catch phrase that would make any die hard anime fanatic want to shoot themselves. If it hadn’t been for Japanese subbed episodes, I would not have made it through the first arc. “-ttebayo” is FAR more tolerable than the english half-translation of “BELIEVE IT!” after every sentence.

When he finally masters a move, the shadow clone jutsu, it’s exciting. And then he uses it, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over…. and, he’s still incompetent. And it repeats; every new move he learns, he uses it over and over.

The reason Naruto is runner up is because, after the two and a half year time jump into Naruto Shippuden, Naruto redeems every annoyance of his. He has a variety of moves, actually strategizes his attacks, and has an intelligence when he fights that he did not have before. He progresses to the level of Sanin, can finally control the kyubii inside of him, has a huge emotional growth and gains a level of maturity to that of a superior ninja. His morals and motivation have been said to be on a higher level than most Jounins (highest ranking ninjas).

Uryuu Ishida

Uryuu Ishida

#5: Uryuu Ishida

Through the first arc of the amine Bleach, Uryuu was a fascinating character and my favorite one at that. Then the Bount arc that followed brought out a side of Uryuu that made me absolutely cringe. He became a total defenseless emo sap.

Uryuu is one of two Quincys that still remain, the other being his father. The Quincys are a race of humans who have a spiritual awareness and utilize bows instead of swords like soul reapers. They also pull spirit particles from their surroundings to power their weapons, while soul reapers use their own spiritual energy. Quincys have a pride for themselves and their power and see themselves as superior to soul reapers.

By the end of the Soul Society arc, and into the Bount arc, Uryuu has lost his powers. He then gets himself entangled with a Bount (vampire like humanoid), who, shortly after, is sacrificed. He goes into this unwitting depression that seems completely out of character for him. He is a freakin Quincy! He has a pride above any soul reaper, and he mopes about powerless and miserable for an entire arc.

Thankfully, he finally snaps out of it, thanks to the help of Nemu and Mayuri giving him a Quincy artifact that restores some of his powers.

Light Yagami

Light Yagami

#4: Light Yagami

From the series Death Note, Light is an extremely bright student and the son of the police chief. He comes across the Death Note and decides to use it to purge the world of evil. Eventually his mind warps to the point where he thinks he’s a god and that he’s going to be the god of the new world.

His most annoying attribute? His ridiculous schemes in which he has to cover his tracks, manipulate people, and kill people who don’t deserve it. He uses any and all loop-holes to his advantage and concocts complicated and downright crazy plans to keep the police off of his trail. He plants the Death Note on unsuspecting people, killing them after they get themselves captured, uses Misa’s love to his advantage by getting her involved, and even kills the most awesome character in the entire show, L.

Light wasted his brilliance in trying to cleanse the world and hide his identity as Kira, and the best part of the anime was when he kicked the bucket, in my opinion.

Rosette Christopher

Rosette Christopher

#3: Rosette Christopher

It’s been years since I’ve seen Chrono Crusade, so bear with me as I recall the details of the show with a little help from Wiki. I do, however, remember why this main protagonist drove me absolutely insane.

Rosette is a 16 year old exorcist in the Order of Magdalene. Her partner, Chrono, is a demon whom she has a contract with, that, in turn for his power, shortens her life. Because of her shortened lifespan, she constantly lives in the moment. Through the anime, Rosette is searching for her missing brother Joshua.

She has the most annoying voice in the entire world. No offense to her voice actress, Hilary Haag, because I’ve seen other works of hers, like Riku from DNAngel, and it didn’t bother me at all. Its been four years since I’ve seen the anime, and the only thing I can remember is “JOSHUA!” “JOSHUA!” UGH! It makes my ears bleed.

Black Star

Black Star

#2: Black Star

Episode 2 of Soul Eater introduces the second of three sets of main protagonists,  Black Star and Tsubaki. Black Star claims he’s an assassin, but the episode, and most of the series, proves otherwise. He’s brash, loud, immature, and horribly arrogant. He also has a few catchphrases including, “YAHOO!” and “I’m going to surpass god!” Somehow, his weapon partner, Tsubaki, puts up with him when she should just strangle him with her chain and get it over with.

He always thinks he’s on a stage, in a spotlight, and that everyone wants to see him and hear what he as to say. His arrogance gets himself into trouble in battle. He recites the steps to being an assassin as he attacks, but 80% of the time his pride gets the best of him and starts announcing himself. He’s also constantly picking fights, being uncooperative and short tempered in team battles, and doing stupid things, like stealing Stein’s test and subsequently getting nailed to the chalkboard (literally). It’s not until the last stretch in the anime, and three battles with ace samurai Mifune, does Black Star start to have a nobleness behind his arrogance. But I still want to strangle him.

I almost stopped watching Soul Eater at episode 2. Luckily, the rest of the cast and the story rock to the point that it masks his unbearable selfishness.

Aisha Clan Clan

Aisha Clan Clan

#1: Aisha Clanclan

As a member of the Ctarl Ctarl race in the anime Outlaw Star, Aisha is a humanoid with tiger attributes and the ability to turn into a beast depending on the strength of the moon. She has a run in with the main protagonists when their ships almost collide. She makes it her personal mission to find them and make them pay.

I stopped watching Outlaw Star for almost two years after she joins the main crew, halfway into the anime, just because I couldn’t bear to hear one more “Ctarl Ctarl” out of her mouth. She says those words far more than Naruto says “Believe it!” and that’s really saying somehting.

Coupled with her massive ego, either because of her racial pride or just plain arrogance, she talks almost constantly once she gets going and tends to be way overzealous. Her voice isn’t easy on the ears either, and she pretty much sounds like a cat being strangled, which wouldn’t be a bad idea for this tiger descendant.

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.

honorary megane danshi badge“Honorary Megane Danshi″
part 2: Gaara

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

Gaara, who starts out as a minor antagonist in the first 80 episodes of Naruto, becomes a major protagonist and icon by the time Naruto Shippuden rolls out. The dark rings around his eyes qualify as glasses, right? Haha, he’s honorary anyway.

Back in 2006, I had just come home from a long summer of being a camp counselor in August. I was watching television with my twin sister when we stumbled upon this anime, Naruto. The episode was the start of the chuunin exams when they take the test, and we were both hooked. (Thankfully that was my first experience with it, had I started from the beginning, I might’ve never got that far in, thanks to Naruto’s annoying tendencies.) At the time, I was sporting a look of shorter, red hair and I always had my signature ring of eyeliner.

Gaara

Gaara, age 13, toward the end of Naruto

When I saw Gaara, it was like love at first sight. He physically looked different than the other characters, and his almost silent and creepy disposition made him something of an intrigue when I watched. He also reminded me of Sydney Carton (my favorite literary character of all time), from A Tale of Two Cities, and his line “I care for no man, and no man cares for me.”  As I continued to progress with Naruto, a whole backstory filled in for Gaara that made my heart ache for him, and his tranformation makes him one of the most dynamic round characters I’ve ever seen.

Like the title character, Naruto Uzumaki, Gaara was implanted with a powerful tailed beast (before he was born). Because of this, his mother died giving birth, and he was raised to be something of a weapon for the Sand Village, Sunagakura. He was given the name Gaara, which means “self-loving carnage” or “demon who only loves himself,” as a testament to her hatred for the village.

Gaara, age 6

I’m not sure if he couldn’t control his power and sand manipulation abilities, or if he just didn’t know how, but he constantly terrified the villagers and other kids, no matter how good his intention were. At the time, Gaara lived with his uncle (or aunt, depending on translations, but I’m convinced its his uncle) who harbored a hatred for Gaara for the death of his sister, Gaara’s mother. Also, because of the sand’s protectiveness (which is said to be infused with his mother’s protection), Gaara has never felt pain before, as the sand continually shields him prior to any injury. And the tailed beast that resides in Gaara makes him unable to sleep, hence the dark rings, so his personality is extremely unstable.

Such a combination made Gaara an uncontrollable threat by the time he was 6 years old, so much so that his father hired assassin after assassin to kill him. One night, Gaara discovered that the assassin was none other than his uncle, who revealed his hatred just before he suicide bombed himself (Gaara remained untouched, thanks to the sand), and it destroyed him. Everything his uncle taught him about love and caring for others was shattered, and Gaara etched the kanji “Ai,” meaning “love,” on his forehead as a proclamation that he can only love himself. Unlike Naruto, who faced a similar lonlieness and resorted to mischief for attention to prove his worth, Gaara decided that to prove his own worth, he needed to kill anyone who crossed him.

Gaara, age 12

Gaara, age 12, during Chuunin exams

As a 12 year old in the start of Naruto, Gaara is a monster, and he’s absolutely insane. He wants nothing more than to throw down with Sasuke to prove he can not only beat, but destroy him. He mercilessly annihilates three shinobi with a single sand attack during the Forest phase of the Chuunin exam. In his battle with Rock Lee at the third phase of the Chuunin exams, he crushes all of the bones in Lee’s right leg and arm, making him unable to fight for an extremely long time. The night before the final Chuunin exam battles, he murders a Sound ninja without even a thought.

After Orochimaru murders the Fourth Kazekage and parades as him in disguise, he tries to use Gaara as a weapon to destroy Konoha. The plan backfires when Gaara can no longer contain his bloodlust and the tailed beast makes its appearance too soon. At this point, he’s engaged in a fight with Naruto, who musters all of his strength and some of his tailed beast’s chakra, to take down Gaara. He explains to Gaara, as they lay unable to fight, that the two of them have had similar childhoods, and that love is what validates your existence, not killing, and fighting for those you care about makes you strongest of all. Defeated, and moved by Naruto’s words, Gaara’s personality does almost a full 180, starting with a simple apology to his team mates and siblings, Temari and Kankuro.

Throughout the rest of Naruto (before Shippuden), Gaara is seen helping Konoha in their battles, namely Rock Lee’s battle with Kimimaro (top most image). He and his two siblings also become ambassadors between the Sand and Leaf villages, and work with them to help set up a ninja training school in the Sand village. He sites Naruto as his inspiration and strives to uphold the same ideals.

Gaara, age 15, as Kazekage

Gaara, age 15, as Kazekage

At the dawning of Naruto Shippuden, 15 year old Gaara has replaced his father as the Fifth Kazekage. He defends his village brilliantly when it is attacked by Akatsuki. Unfortunately, Gaara is kidnapped and killed as his tailed beast is drained from him. After Naruto rescues his body, he is so upset about Gaara’s death that he lashes out at the Sand villagers. He blamed them for implanting the tailed beast and being responsible for all the time he suffered. His rant touched the heart of a Sand village elder, Chiyo, who had long abandoned the Sand village because she hated the way things were done. She used a forbidden puppet master’s jutsu to resurrect Gaara, in exchange for her own life. Upon waking up, Gaara is shocked to see the number of people who were excited to have him back, including his whole village. For the first time, Gaara felt loved in return.

Now as the shinobi world has been enveloped in a world war, Gaara rose amongst all the Kages to become the leader of the Joint-Shinobi army.

He was created as a weapon, feared and neglected for his power, and he turned to a life of hate. His encounter with Naruto ignited a spark that changed him into the most revered figure in the entire shinobi world. Epic win.

“Everything you need to learn in life, you learn from Anime”
Part 2: Naruto & Naruto: Shippuden.

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

Most anime have a central theme, but Naruto and its continuation, Naruto: Shippuden, seems to have several, and rightfully so with its 400+ episodes and counting. Let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Never give up.

Naruto Uzumaki

Naruto Uzumaki

Everyone who’s seen the English dub all agree on the annoyance of Naruto’s translated speech tic “Believe it!” But essentially, that is how the title character, Naruto Uzumaki, lives his life: in the light of dreams to happen.

His ultimate goal since episode 1 has always been “I’m going to be Hokage some day!” For those of you not absorbed in the Naruto sphere, the -kages are extremely powerful ninjas who are the leaders of their respective villages. In the beginning, 13 year old Naruto was a trouble maker who could hardly do a simple clone technique. Fast forward to Shippuden and 15 year old Naruto has already succeeded his master as one of the legendary Sanin (3 Sages), saved his hometown from the destruction of Pein, and has now launched himself to take part in the Great Shinobi War after learning to control the Kyubii inside of him.

His true strength doesn’t even come from a ninja technique, even though he’s perfected a fair few, one that even his Fourth Hokage father had created. Naruto has an uncanny ability to relate to people, having lost his parents as a baby and being tormented for the better part of his life. This ability turns enemies into new friends and allows comrades to put their complete faith in him. After Pein destroyed his village, it was not his Sage powers that defeated him, though they did a pretty good job of taking out his 6 rinnegan puppets. His conversation with the “real” Pein, aka Nagato, not only changed his thinking, but made him want to repent by using his last rinnegan path to reverse the death toll he created. Had Naruto just outright defeated Pein, hundreds of people would have remained dead, including some of whom Naruto was very close to. But Naruto identified with Nagato’s pain and wanted to bring closure between the two of them.

Naruto and Gaara

Naruto and Gaara

His ability to change people has been the central focus throughout most of the arcs and fillers, including:

  • He convinced Tsunade to become the 5th Hokage, by not backing down from Kabuto and throwing himself in front of Tsunade when he tries to finish her off.
  • He showed Gaara, another tailed beast carrier, that he’s not alone and inspired him to strive to protect people, like Naruto, enabling Gaara to eventually become Kazekage. (more on Gaara in a later post, he’s a soon to be honorary megane danshi, as I find him one of the most dynamic and provoking characters in Naruto)
  • After Gaara’s death, Naruto becomes so upset, lashing out at the sand village for having burdened Gaara with the tailed beast and blaming them for his childhood pain. Chiyo, an elder who had distanced herself from the sand village, moved by Naruto’s genuine emotion, ends up giving her life to resurrect Gaara, confident that the ties between the two gives hope that the future generation is well off.

Naruto has a very mature thought process for a 15 year old, and as his skills keep exponentially improving, its not so farfetched that Naruto will one day become Hokage.

2. The healing that being acknowledged by somebody does, and fighting for that person closest to you makes you a stronger person.

Iruka and Naruto

Iruka and Naruto

This is the theme that I think resounds the strongest in the entire series, and if I had pick a single theme for the series, its this one.

Naruto was alone most of his life. His parents died at a young age, and the habitation of the kyubii inside his body made him an outcast from the rest of the villagers, including his classmates. Causing mischief became his MO for attention, but for the most part, Naruto was an abandoned 12 year old boy. Then someone believed in him.

Iruka was Naruto’s teacher, and the two formed a bond. From then on, Naruto no longer felt rejected, and he fought hard to grow as a ninja. He cites his ties with Iruka for being the very foundation of the change in his behavior. From there, he obtains more friends: his team with Sakura, Sasuke, and Kakashi, as well as his other peers, then Jiraiya. After Sasuke abandons Konoha, Naruto spends most arc and fillers fighting to retrieve his once “friendly” rival and team mate. Aside from becoming Hokage, this becomes one of his greatest goals, ever since he made a promise to Sakura.

Zabuza and Haku

Haku (left) and Zabuza (right)

Aside from Naruto and his connections, other pairs or groups of characters have made their appearance throughout the series who fight to protect their special someone, mostly in fillers and movies. The most notable pair from the series is Zabuza and Haku. Zabuza, a legendary swordsman of the mist, happened upon an orphaned Haku and decided to keep him as a tool. Over time, their bond strengthened, and even though Haku was not inherently evil, he followed the ways of Zabuza who was very dear to him. In Naruto’s team’s battle with them, Haku gives his life to protect Zabuza. Zabuza follows after shortly when he is mortally wounded. Naruto’s team leader, Kakashi, respects the pair, and reiterates that respect when the two make their appearance again in the Shinobi World War.

And now a direct quote from the anime. Right in episode 79 of Naruto, the 3rd Hokage himself says, “I have taught you (Orochimaru) before, that when you protect something important to you, a ninja’s true strength will manifest!”

3. The atrocities of war and the never-ending cycle of pain.

Pein's "Deva Path" through Yahiko's body

Pein's "Deva Path" through Yahiko's body

This theme mostly revolves around the trio of Nagato, Konan, and Yahiko, but is touched upon in many arcs and fillers. The cycle goes like this: two enemy shinobi engage in battle, and one of them dies. A loved one of the dead shinobi seeks revenge, and once fulfilled, is sought for revenge by the loved one of the person he killed. It continues in that manner, people’s loved ones dying in a never-ending cycle of hate.

As children, Nagato, Konan, and Yahiko were orphaned during the bloodshed that occurred between two warring countries who happened to host their battles in the neutral Rain country. Naruto’s master, Jiraiya, took pity on the three and took them in for a period of time and taught them ninjutsu and how to care for themselves. With Nagato’s rinnegan abilities, Jiraiya praised him as the savior to the ninja world, the one who could truly bring peace.

Sometime after Jiraiya left, the three were caught in an ambush by Hanzo, the leader of their country, and Nagato was forced to kill either Konan or Yahiko. Yahiko killed himself, telling Nagato to continue on with Jiraiya’s dream. Nagato, having witnessed the deaths of his parents, his dog, and his best friend, felt even more strongly about bringing peace, but his methods changed.

Feeling abandoned and victimized, Nagato began using his six paths of pain via his rinnegan and started calling himself Pein. He hatched a plan to wipe out everyone, to start form scratch and break the cycle of pain. He used Yahiko’s body to host one of the paths, and his “new identity.” If you google Pein, that’s the face you get, Yahiko’s.

Then he came face-to-face with Naruto, after having leveled Konoha (Naruto’s village) and killing hundreds of people, including both of his sensei’s, Jiraiya and Kakashi. Instead of finishing Pein off, he figures out where Nagato is hiding and seeks to speak with him in person. He confesses to Nagato that he wants nothing more than to get revenge for slaying his town and loved ones, but he knows that it won’t fix anything. Naruto reveals that he was named after the “savior” Jiraiya wrote about in his book, and that Jiraiya had entrusted him now, not Pein, to find peace.

After proving himself, Nagato relents and uses his last path of life and death to reverse the death he had caused that day. Nagato, just before he dies, puts his faith in Naruto that he really is the savior that Jiraiya had mentioned.

4. The “king” to protect is not the leader, its the future generation.

Asuma and Shikamaru playing Shogi

Asuma and Shikamaru playing Shogi

In an analogy of Shogi (chess), Shikamaru and his sensei, Azuma, have a deep discussion about why shinobi fight. They both agree that all pieces move to protect the “king.” At first Shikamaru thinks that the “king” refers to the Hokage, and Azuma tells him that that was what he had thought at first, too. Azuma decides he’ll tell Shikamaru at a later time.

And later does come. As Azuma lays dying, his last words to Shikamaru were who the “king” actually is: the unborn and the children that make up the future generation. He learned this after his lover, Kurenai, became pregnant with his child. Shikamaru vows to protect Azuma’s unborn child, and plans to be the child’s sensei in the future.

Chouji Akimichi, Manga chapter 533

Chouji Akimichi, Manga chapter 533

The future generation theme is also carried out via other characters, namely Shikamaru’s best friend, Chouji. This part has not made it into the anime yet, but it is in the manga, actually it was last week’s chapter. *SPOILER WARNING if you’ve finished the anime to date (4/23/11)  but not the manga. So if you don’t want to know, dont read the next bit *  Team 10 has to face their re-animated and mind controlled sensei, Azuma, and Chouji is having a hard time with it. Chouji has flash backs to when he became a chuunin. His dad talks to him about becoming the head of the 16th generation of the Akimichi clan, to which Chouji is very scared and reluctant. Now after having nearly died twice to protect his son at this point, Chouji finally breaks through the fear, defeating the shell of Azuma, and claiming his title as the present generation. *END MANGA SPOILER*

The theme of protecting one’s future generation goes hand in hand with the theme of having a special person or persons to fight for (see #2 above).

So to sum it all up, here goes. Loneliness creates a despair that the person is useless, shrouding them in darkness, and the reaching out of a friend makes all the difference. Having a purpose means to be able to protect someone close to you, including the future generation. War creates a cycle of hate, because people fight to protect the people they care most about, and if they fail, revenge breeds more revenge. There has to be a way to peace, through the understanding of pain.

Now to end on a quote from Gaara, “Love? Is that what makes him (Naruto) so strong?”