[OWLS Blog Tour]: Misplaced Adoration

Hi everyone, and welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on the February edition of the OWLS blog tour. If you’re not familiar with our group: we are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability.

We emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being. Even though we come from all walks of life, each and every one of our amazing members are dedicated to our cause.

This month we’re finally talking about something related to Valentine’s Day! It only took about 3 years to do so, but this year we’re looking at the theme: “Adore”:

In February, we will be exploring love and romance. The word selected is “adore” because it has two main connotations: to be loved and respected or to feel worshipped. We will analyze characters that give us a feeling of admiration and explain why we love those characters. We will also be exploring different forms of love (familial, friendship, and even self-love) and how those types of love influence our lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Winter 2018 brought about a wonderful anime that was easily one of my favorites of the year. After the Rain ran for 12 episodes following a high school girl named Akira and Kondou, the manager of the cafe she works at.

At first glance, After the Rain appears to be about a teen pining after an older man, and perhaps the older man also reciprocating those very feelings in return. However, I personally found that this show was so so much more than that. It went beyond the superficial romance that it advertised it to be. To me, it was an incredibly crafted story about misplaced adoration and the idealization of romance.

Akira’s Adoration
akira_shoujo_sparkles.PNG
screencap via amazon

Akira is shown pining after her boss due to a moment of kindness shown to her during one of her lowest days.  After suffering what seemed to be a career-ending injury, she was shown at a doctor’s office having it looked. On her way home she stops by Garden cafe to escape the rain and to essentially mope over her predicament. The manager gives her a cup of coffee on the house; the warmth of the gesture strikes a chord with her and this is how and why she gets attached to Kondou.

She confesses obviously, and while Kondou doesn’t think it’s appropriate; she’s a bit adamant in wanting to get to know him; to the point she really does want to date him, and this is when those idealizations of romance come to mind, which I’ll go into futher.

Kondou’s Ideals & Regrets

Kondou is a 40-year old man who’s been divorced and has a son. In a lot of his employee’s eyes he’s viewed as a loser. The thing is, Kondou really is a man of passion; though it’s become more of a hidden passion due to it becoming one of the things that causes his marriage to fizzle out. Kondou once had dreams of becoming a writer, and is an avid reader. He feel’s like he’s not amounted to much in his life in comparison to his friend that’s turned into a writer.

Because of his predicament, Kondou appears too eager to please and a bit spineless and clueless to his surroundings. Reading the air of his employees for one thing is definitely not his strong suit. He also prefers not to get involved romantically after his divorce because of this weakness – he’s essentially afraid of getting hurt and that extends to everything in his life.

However, Kondou doesn’t exactly try to push Akira and her advances away. I mean, if he really hated the attention; he could easily put an end to it. But he entertain’s her whims, despite his conviction that there’s just no way this girl could really be into him.

Fulfilling the Void

I found that by the two spending time together; the adoration they think they have for the other is just fulfilling a void. They’re both trying to deal with something they’ve lost in their lives. Honestly it almost feels that Akira could be exhibiting depression and latches on to Kondou.  Kondou’s kindness soothe’s Akira’s heartache with the warmth he exudes in his day to day efforts of becoming a better manager and the way he tries to care for his employees. Akira’s youthfulness and innocence sparks old feelings for him when it comes to some of the things he regrets in life. It’s only when he emphasizes that Akira’s still young and should not give up on her dreams of running that he realizes he probably should be following his own advice.

The symbolism of the rain was indicative of their moods, and often times those moods were lifted in those flashes of vivid colors and bright lights because in each other’s company they found warmth that seemed to be missing from their life. This warmth spurs on affection which could lead to attraction and the feeling of “love”.

Idealization of Romance

There were a few scenes that really hit home this idealization of romance. It clearly varied between the two of them.

With Akira we saw the typical shoujo effects that we see when a girl has a love interest. The soft focus, the pining from a far, the sparkly bubbles in the atmosphere when she thinks of him. This “shoujo filter” is something we view her love life through. We see her idealized romance; what could be. What would be if they were to happen to cross that line; if she could have the courage to cross that line.

akira_shoujo_scene.PNG
screencap via amazon

On the other hand, Kondou’s approach to looking at Akira is viewed from a nostalgic point of view. The “attraction” he has to Akira is not so much the physical, but that he’s reminded of what could’ve been. A reminder of what he had. When Kondou looks at her; he usually imagines his younger self talking to Akira, not his current self.

kondou_imagination2.PNG
screencap via amazon

In the image above, is the one of the few times he imagines his younger self talking to a beautiful girl, but later on in the scene, the vivid colors melt away as he’s shocked into reality when Akira talks about his son; effectively killing his daydream.

I found the contrasts in how they see one another really great. Akira is something that’s not really feasible to Kondou. He comes from a pessimistic jaded pointed view of love. While Akira looks at him like he’s the world. Due to her inexperience in love, she has ideals on what love and relationships should look like, and it only took one act of kindness  to draw her in.

Rekindled Passions

As the two spend time together, especially with Kondou finally laying down the fact that Akira doesn’t know anything about him and yet can claim to like him things get a little tense. The two start to turn towards the things they love after coming to terms with that emptiness that they feel in their lives. Akira rekindles a friendship that had been in disarray since her injury, and she finds that there is hope to getting back to her original running form with some therapy. After Kondou reconnects with an old friend that is a novelist, he comes to terms with the fact that he misses writing. He returns to making an effort into his writing again by dedicating his evenings to crafting stories.

After the Rain did such a fabulous job in exploring how these two found some kind of solace and inspiration from one another, despite their relationship having started from misplaced adoration.


Did you watch After the Rain? What did you love most about the show? There’s so much to talk about regarding this show and the symbolism but that will be for another day.

Also, don’t forget to read Taku’s post about on Go for it, Nakamura! found here.

And don’t forget to check out Megan’s post over at her blog also found here.

Also, if you haven’t don’t forget to follow us on facebook as well as our twitter @OWLSbloggers and our official blog as well as our YouTube channel! And if you’re interested in becoming an OWLS member, you can contact us here.

[Fanfiction] My Hero Academia | What He Left Behind

[Title]: What He Left Behind
[Author]: Ive_Ben_Writing
[Category]: General
[Rating]:  Teen & Up
[Fandom]: My Hero Academia | Boku no Hero Academia
[Characters]: Bakugou Katsuki + Class 1-A
[Status]: Completed 

[Synopsis]:
Two weeks after Midoriya “Deku” Izuku defeated the dreadful successor of All for One and disappeared, the Hero Class of 1A tries their best to cope with their sudden loss. And just when the weight of their grief proved to be too much, they discovered that Deku lives on in a manner they didn’t expect.


Angst, angst angst. So. Much. Angst.

Ive_Ben_Writing writes a 7 chapter story on how everyone copes with the loss of Deku in their lives. They’re all still students in this fanfic, and if you’re not caught up with the manga, there’s a slight spoiler as there’s a character that is new and they’re a prominent figure who is deeply affected by Deku’s death and does not cope well.

We all know that Deku and Kacchan have known each other since they were kids, and we all know that Deku believes in Kacchan. They have a special bond, but their layers of miscommunication and misunderstandings have left their relationship in tatters. We also know that they’re trying to rectify the chasm between them and trying to restore some kind of relationship. These things are evident in the show and the manga.

What He Left Behind is a heart wrenching story that literally had me crying in every chapter. This story mostly comes from Katsuki’s point of view, and how he copes and deals with his newfound role in the wake of Deku’s death.

We see the effect that Deku had on each of their classmates, and how each of them are coping with the loss of their friend. They use his death as self-reflection and as a source of inspiration. The fact that he is able to move each of his classmates souls in a way no one else could post-mortem, is really mind blowing, and god, this just really pulls on your heartstings. And for those who aren’t coping or grieving as they should, well, you can only guess who’s there helping them along the way, because at the end of the day, what would Deku do?

This fic is such a ride, especially with Kacchan as the lead. Tasked with being the support, because a certain nerd believes in him, was the most emotional part for me. How he deals with being there for his “friends” and classmates, and as a stand-in for Deku is a great exploration of his character.

I seriously hope you guys give this one a read. It’s fic’s like this that make me understand and love Kacchan’s character and the potential that he has.

Happy 2019! Goals and Updates

Happy 2019 everyone! As you all know, I’ve been MIA for most of 2018. I’ll get more into some of the details, and it looks like “Where in the World is Zel?” might become the replacement of my Sunday Salutations post. It’ll be more of a quarterly update.

Looking back at my last post like this, I was obsessed with My Hero Academia. I’m still very clearly NOT over this phase, as I’m still very very active in keeping up with it. I also was heavily invested in Hakuouki. Unfortunately, I have yet to finish all the routes of the both of the games, but I plan on getting into it again, but I have been invested in some things as of late….more on that soon.

FanFiction

Since my fall into My Hero Academia I’ve actually delved deeper into the fanfiction fanbase and am also in contact with a lot of content creators in that regard as well. I was also very heavily into HakuoukiI haven’t finished those games, but I have written quick one-shot stories based on routes I’ve finished.

I have mainly tried to stay anonymous with my fics due to their very NSFW content. But you know, the more I get involved with the fic community, the more I’ve realized it’s hard to make the correlation between my work due to use of username. I’m in a debate to keep pushing this pen-name or creating a pseudonym from that main account. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of the content I create. I like what I like, and really, no one in real life knows much about this blog much less my interests outside of architecture.

I really love creating stories, even if they’re not original characters of mines, taking those personalities and placing them in different situations and finding out how they react in in these alternate settings has been so fun to create and explore. This and my Hakuouki writing has really shown me, that I LOVE to write stories. That my mind is full of these alternate worlds that just want to be written. Even when I’m listening to music, songs will pop up and I’ll imagine a scene unfold, or an entire story. So I write. I’m always coming up with ideas; but sitting down to write them. That’s something I really want to do this year.

You can find my Hakuouki fic here on the otogehanami website: (I’ll be posting it to my ao3 account soon as well)

“With You There is Only Spring” by Zel

My latest fic, is actually about BakuDeku (NSFW) and has by-far been my most popular of the three that I’ve posted regarding my favorite ship from the series. If anyone is really that interested, it’s called “Sober” and can be found here:

“Sober” by erza_mikazuki

I’m currently in process of writing two multi-chapter fics that I want to focus on this year featuring BakuDeku while the other focuses on KiriDeku. The stories are so different and the world building has honestly been interesting to say the least.

It All Leads Back to You

The moment Izuku Midoriya’s name fell from Tomura Shigaraki’s lips, Katsuki’s urge to protect kicked into overdrive. Protecting the love of his life was non-negotiable, even if it meant breaking both of their hearts.

For every action there is a reaction. As the two live lives in parallel, everything Katsuki does in life is in correlation to Izuku’s. At the core of everything Katsuki is: it has and will always lead back to Izuku.

Basically an alternate universe in which Izuku remained quirkless and Katsuki learned what it really meant to be a hero. It’s got a lot of angst and heartbreak in it, as I’ve found myself crying over certain scenes.

Under the Shadow of the Sun

In the midst of war and political unrest, samurai Eijirou Kirishima serves as Daimyo Overhaul’s retainer. Eijirou could not be more unhappy with where his life has taken him. But that all changes when the most beautiful and most rare of Geisha’s appears and leaves him breathless.

I’m collaborating with a friend on this because I wanted this story to be more than just a love story. We’re still trying to figure out where to pull our historical references from but it’ll obviously have its own BnHA spin to it.

Art

Over the summer of 2018, I had started doing a sketch a day as many of you saw on my twitter feed. I’ve decided to carry that on in 2019. I’d really like to get better at my skills, so I’ve decided to take on at least one fully realized digital drawing per month. Since my friend and I have been really invested in our Geisha AU, we thought it’d be a good exercise for me to draw our BnHA boys this year in some form of a geisha. So, that being said, I hope to create some great portraits, paintings that do our boys some justice.

Career

I have a lot going on in terms of content creation, and trying to be more active on my blog again. But once again, I may be off and on here just because I really need to spend more time studying and passing these exams. I had promised myself to get licensed before the age of 35, and honestly I’ve only gone 2 years to go. So, wish me luck in that regard, geez.

Otherwise, I’m going to try to get one post a week out somehow or other, somehow schedule some things in advance. I will have to really try to stick to some kind of schedule.

Other General Housekeeping

Otherwise, life’s been good. I’ve been working on my health since last summer and can officially say I’ve lost 20+ pounds since I’ve embarked on my weight loss journey. I don’t think it’ll be something I account for on the blog, but last year I just felt really really shitty about my appearance and how I felt in general. It’s gotten better, and the doing something about my weight was definitely a key factor.

I’ve also started up a new bulletjournal for the year, so I may just have a follow-up post regarding those layouts? Don’t really know if anyone would be that interested.

My cousin and I are also picking up photography together, trying to master and really get the most use out of our fancy camera’s.

And another cousin and I literally just signed up for Japanese classes today, so that’s another thing I’ll be looking forward to doing this year!

Looks like there’s lots to do in 2019. It’s another busy one, and I hope I accomplish half the things I’ve written here. I figure by speaking it into existence it should happen.

Looking forward to another great year with all of you, and thank you so much for sticking around!! ❤

[My Hero Academia: Two Heroes] To the Future!

Hero Academia has laid claim to a special place in my heart. quickly becoming a beloved series in which I have invested a lot of time (and money) in. It’s also the first series in which I’ve really encountered a series’ “fandom” and the toxicity that lurks in the darkest corners of its universe.

But that’s another topic for another day, let’s talk about the movie. I’m gonna be honest, this is probably going to be straight biased because this series is so near and dear to me. You’ve been warned.


image sourceC

Tuesday, September 25, was the premiere of My Hero Academia: Two Heroes movie out here in the bay area of the sweet sunny state of California (you like that homestate plug?)

I’m very fortunate to be 10-15 minutes to any theater that decides to show any of these anime films. Funimation’s outreach in the bay area is really great; I wish I could say the same about Crunchyroll’s Movie Night events (those are really hard to find, and I’m not about to trek an hour out to see it).

That being said, I almost missed the opportunity to catch Hero Academia because 1) I should’ve just bought the tickets the moment they were released and 2) I shouldn’t wait to get a response to see if anyone wants to go.

I decided to catch both the subbed and the dubbed versions. The dubbed was Tuesday night, and it was a solo night for me since the theater was so close to work. Subbed was Wednesday night with my cousins (also Hero Academia fans). It was midway through the subbed version when I realized, one time would’ve sufficed. LOL.

Set sometime after Season 2 before they go to their summer training camp, a lot of our cast heads to the moving I-Island, an island full of the brightest minds in the world, as guests to the I-Expo.

A Solid Core

Now, I’ve seen my fair share of off timeline movie spin-offs, and have always felt rather disappointed by just how far off they veer from their original content. However, Two Heroes does this incredibly well. The core of what I love about Hero Academia is not lost in this film, if anything it blends well with the main story line, and is a great supportive piece to the series. The campy humor of Uraraka’s jealousy and Bakugou’s outburts were there but didn’t overpower the scenes they were in. It was more like boom, there it happened now let’s move onto the next thing without having repetive jokes throughout the film. It just kept moving with no stalls. Of course my best boy Izuku was just splendid to watch, especially his moves and fight scenes, it’s such a progression from what we see in the series, and am glad to see such massive development in fighting style.

Memorable Characters

Another thing I found rather enjoyable about the film was the introduction of the our second lead next to Midoriya. Melissa Shield. She’s a student on I-island and her Father is a rather famous scientist, whose won something like a Novel Peace Prize. and All Might’s niece (not by blood) and she had so much to her character, that I really hope they would somehow tie her into the main storyline, but it’s unlikely because there’s already a character like her in the main cast (I’m looking at you Hatsume!) There was just a lot of depth to Melissa, that she quickly became someone I really loved in the span of the film. She was the more calm logical scientific type of person when it comes to support items, a far cry from Hatsume’s mad scientist ways.

The Future of Heroes

My takeaway theme of the film was embedded in the idea of the future. With the next generation underway in becoming the future great heroes they’re supposed to be, it was very heartening to see the bright future that could be led by Izuku and Melissa if they were to work in tandem at some point in their careers, much like All Might and David Shield. The parallel’s to the two pairs were really great; past and future, and the development of a great working relationship.

Overall the theme of “passing the torch” was prevalent to the film and was incredibly relevant to the series as a whole; especially with All Might’s impending retirement.


So, did you guys get to catch the film at the closest theater near you? What did you guys think of the film? Did you agree, or disagree with what I’ve said so far about the film?

I tried to not spoil the story for those who are anticipating a Crunchyroll release like Bungou Stray Dogs’ Dead Apple (I’m really hoping Crunchyroll does get it).

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂