[OWLS Blog Tour] Losing Sight

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Archi-Anime’s stop on the March edition of the OWLS blog tour.

Wow. It’s certainly been a hot minute since I’ve posted here. As you’ve noticed, things have also changed around here in terms of layout. I recently downgraded my site due to inactivity. I’m going to try to change that by kicking off again with an OWLS blog tour. If you’re not familiar with our group: we are a group of otaku bloggers who promote 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’ll be talking about “Devotion.”

When we talked about fandoms, we show our appreciation and support by buying merchandise, cosplaying, writing fanfiction and etc. In fact, our appreciation can end up looking like a sign of religious worship. For this month, we will be talking about how certain characters express devotion to others, objects, and values. We will also be discussing how devotion can turn into an unhealthy form of passion and obsession and the implications of that.

It should be of no surprise, but if we’ve interacted during the last year and prior, the reason I took a bit of hiatus was because I got very deeply involved in the My Hero Academia series and it’s fandom. And, you know, maybe it’s time I started writing more about the series again on my blog, but time is always a heck of a factor.

But, the moment I saw March’s prompt, I had to jump onto it, because while I have my own level of devotion (read as obsession) to this series; more specifically to it’s main character Izuku Midoriya and the most current antagonist of the current season Overhaul, these two both express their devotion to their values.

Kai and Izuku are two sides of the same coin. They ultimately devote themselves to ideals they believe are for the benefit to themselves and to their community. However, while they both have good intentions, one is considered heroic while the other is villainous.

Izuku Midoriya & All Might

Izuku is a hero fanatic, but nothing beats his fanaticism with All Might. All Might is his inspiration to be a hero since he was a child, and the one person that gave him the motivation and reassurance that he too could be a hero.

Izuku’s not able to yield One for All at 100%, his body is not yet equipped to handle it as is, and due to his time limitations to get a feel and own it, he’s pushed into it and do his best with what he can use.

The thing about idolization is the need to be like that person, to emulate them and mimic them. Because it was given from All Might, not only did he feel the need to emulate him, but to carry on All Might’s legacy, and in order to do that he felt the need to mimic his fighting style completely. Yes, some of his moves also came from studying Katsuki, but that was mostly maneuvering than fighting.

For Izuku, inheriting All Might’s power and having studied him so obsessively made him narrow minded in what he could do with the ability of One for All, he even copies the names of all of All Might’s moves, and inevitably it only does damage to Izuku’s arms, to the point he could loose function of them if he continues to put strain on them.

Which brings us to the Provisional License arc, in which Izuku had to develop a special attack as his own, and finally came to the realization that he doesn’t have to copy All Might, and develops his own style using Shoot-style which inevitably becomes Izuku’s new fighting style.

Overhaul & The Yakuza

Overhaul, or, Chisaki Kai, was not a bad guy from day one. It was something he morphed into before taking on the moniker ‘Overhaul’.

Kai was an orphan when ‘The Boss’ adopted him and raised him. At the beginning too, we can see that Kai wasn’t adverse to physical touch, as he welcomed ‘The Boss’ giving him a head pat as a child. This later on changes as Kai hates being touched and develops mysophobia. Kai also views quirks as a disease that needs to be eradicated.

But, as time passed and the rising of heroes and villains with quirks, the Yakuza took a hit and essentially faded into obscurity. His entire life Kai has always felt thankful for having been brought in and a sense of pride for ‘the family’.

In an effort to bring the Yakuza back up to their original position of power, Kai schemes ways for them to earn money and establish their role as formidable adversaries.

When Eri comes into the picture, he sees her as the opportunity to bring the Yakuza out of obscurity. However, ‘the Boss’ shoots down the idea, saying going down this route will be the end of his humanity. Kai fully believes in his idea and that this is the key to help the yakuza out. Because ‘the Boss’ doesn’t want Kai to pursue this and is completely against it, Kai is convinced he is right and that he will prove it, so he uses his quirk on ‘the boss’ which puts him in a coma.

Unfortunately, this is when Kai develops the persona Overhaul, to be more menacing and intimidating. He becomes heartless and cruel in his misguided mission to not only bring the Yakuza back up but to erase quirks.

In the end, Overhaul’s devotion to his cause doesn’t bring glory back to the Yakuza like he had hoped, inevitably losing to Izuku in their battle.

Conclusion

Kai had good intentions, but the ends did not justify the means. His devotion became skewed and he became a deplorable chracter at the end.

Izuku, on the other hand, took him awhile to accept that he didn’t have to follow All Might’s footsteps to a Tee. Izuku now thrives after breaking from the shackles he put on himself in emulating All Might. He’s making the quirk his own, by creating his own style and adjusting every time he ups his power level.

We can see through both characters how devotion can bring upon your utter downfall, but if you can break from and realize how blind you are to it, you can work past it and thrive.

What did you guys think of Izuku and Overhaul’s levels of devotion, whether in manga or in the anime? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, don’t forget to read Matt’s post  found here.

And don’t forget to check out Nyan’s post tomorrow 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.

[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

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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.

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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.

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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.

[OWLS Blog Tour]: Growth in Tandem

Hello friends and welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on the January Blog Tour.

Our January theme is: Metamorphosis

A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favorite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become. Lastly, we would like to say “Happy New Year, everyone!”

The Fall Anime season brought around one of my year’s favorite anime. It took a break over the holiday’s and now it’s back in the new year for the second half of it’s series. Yes, I’m talking about Run With the Wind. 

This show has really grown on me from the beginning. A ragtag group of college students, that were randomly (supposedly) chosen to run the Hakone Ekiden. I honestly believe that when Haiji was recruiting roommates he was looking for people with certain traits. But, that’s a theory and I could be totally off. But that’s besides the point of this post.

When I thought about the prompt, I had to talk about two of the characters on the show and one specifically that has been the talk of my small ani-blog community:

Akane “Prince” Kashiwazaki & Kakeru Kurahara

The relateable otaku of the series; Prince really emphasizes the idea of “metamorphosis” on two levels; while Kakeru has his own in tandem with Prince’s.

Prince’s Physical Metamorphosis – Butterfly Symbolism

This is probably a stretch, but when we first see Prince running, his pace is slower than the butterfly he happens to chance upon. Butterflies are one if not the most popular uses of a metamorphosis when it comes to symbolism. And, for a butterfly to be associated with prince is so fitting. Of all the character’s in our beloved cast, Prince is the one that’s had to make the most changes to become a somewhat decent runner.

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screencap via source

When Prince starts off, we see that he runs around like a zombie: hunched over and his hands at weird angles. He also, is the character with the least interest in running. To be fair, that could probably be said about a lot of the characters in the dormitory. But Prince sticks out more because he’s an introverted otaku. He sits in his cramped room surrounded by manga and reads.

While everyone tries to actively run outside, Prince decides he wants a treadmill to help him; solely because he can accomplish more reading if he’s mostly stationary; this is his way of training, at least he can do what he loves by multi-tasking.

Unfortunately, Kakeru Kurahara is in the mindset that absolutely no one, especially Prince, is training enough to even consider being able to compete in the Hakone Ekiden.  It’s this episode where it comes to a point that Kakeru’s frustrations are literally running him ragged. Haiji has to pull him off the next race because he wants Kakeru that running isn’t just about speed.

Kakeru has the realization of the “team” and supporting his fellow runners. So, with that in mind, he decides to approach Prince first – because he’s the one lacking the most. The two try to understand one another and in the process really grow in tandem. They grow together as individuals and as teammates, and the episode that highlights this was actually one of my favorites.  They don’t have much in common, but they try to find a common ground, In the process they do become friends that spend time together.

During one of their hang-outs, Kakeru tries to understand Prince by picking up his hobby of reading manga. It’s in that moment, that Kakeru realizes as he watches Prince on the treadmill, that his posture is much better here than when he’s actively running, and it’s literally because of the way Prince holds a book while he’s on a treadmill.

running posture.PNG
screencap via source

Kakeru develops a theory for Prince when they go for their morning run, realizing that his hunched over posture and arm placement was stuck due to muscle memory of holding and reading manga. Kakeru only realizes this because after he has a fight with Prince that he forces to stick by his side to train. That’s when he realizes the difference in his posture by holding a book. By making a few adjustments Kakeru straightens Prince’s posture which helps him run a little better. Prince also realizes he needs to tie his hair up in order to see.

Slowly but surely Prince had been passing that butterfly on his runs; and while he’s still the slowest of the bunch, he still hasn’t given up. The change in running stance and posture has helped Prince improve his running tremendously, and honestly it’s great. He looks so much more determined to improve once he and Kakeru start to have a better understanding of one another.

Prince’s Mentality Shift

I love Prince’s change of attitude towards running; another metamorphosis. Although Prince was manipulated into running (Thanks Haiji!) I found that his mentality towards running to be really inspiring.

It’s so easy to say, “oh I hate running,” or “running just isn’t for me.” For someone as introverted as Prince, I had expected him to say he didn’t care for it and he’d be one of the people that would be against the idea of creating the running team. But, he took me by surprise. He still went along with it despite his reservations. And I think Haiji really ignited a spark in him by quoting a manga to him when they first started.

But spending time with Kakeru and fixing his running has really been helpful for them both. Prince learns to face forward and really aims to be a better runner and he makes such an effort.

And as for the latest episode. Seems like I chose the perfect date to talk about Prince as there are no words, to how emotional prince made me in this week’s episode. Prince is the LAST person who needs a qualifying time to even get him to the qualifier. With only two track meets left; he can definitely feel the pressure and you can feel the weight of being the last one standing radiating off of him the entire episode. He misses the qualifying time on one of the two; meaning he really only has one more left; everything is riding on this last run. So he ups his training game (which Kakeru also wants to help a somehow).

What really got to me was his drive to finish his run. He knew he couldn’t let down his friends, his teammates, and ultimately he didn’t want to let himself down. He’d done the work, he put in the time. As he gets ready for his last run, he can see everyone is just as nervous as him to finish. He then asks everyone to write something on his arm – to keep him motivated to finish.

“When they look at me like that, how could I not do my best?”

forward
screencap via source

They write forward on his arm, something that Kakeru has also been saying to him since they fixed his running posture. With running, there is only one thing to do: keep looking forward; keep moving forward and dammit if that scene didn’t hit you in the feels when he crosses that finish line with the official record he needed.

Prince has truly embodied a metamorphosis in his entire being, and that can also be said about Kakeru and his outlook towards running.

Kakeru Kurahara

I won’t say too much about Kakeru, but I found his character development to happen in tandem with Prince’s.

As stated before Kakeru and Prince had a fight – clearly about how Prince just isn’t cut out to be running. Due to the fight ( and Haiji fainting) the two try to repair their relationship with Kakeru taking the initiative and trying to get to know Prince and his tastes by taking up reading manga.  And it’s because of the time spent together that they fix Prince’s running stance.

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screencap via source

Kakeru has always always been running ahead of the pack and has never looked back at his teammates. It’s not until Haiji takes him out from the race and makes him observe from the sidelines. That’s when he realizes that everyone HAS been trying their hardest to train – he can see it in their faces, and he never understood the urge to cheer on his teammates because he’s never been seen it with his own eyes. After spending time with Prince, he even sacrifices having the fastest time in order to encourage Prince to move forward and not give up.

Conclusion

For Prince, we saw the physical and mental metamorphosis that changed him from being someone dragged into running to being someone that truly decided to make a conscious effort to get better. He took his running time from 29 minutes to 16 minutes which was probably in a span of a month if not a few weeks.

Kakeru had changed from someone that was solely focused on being the fastest runner and looking ahead to someone that really learned to care about his teammates and learned to look back and give a helping hand to those who need it.

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Screencap via source

Episode 10 was truly a great turning point for both Prince and Kakeru in their relationship with one another, their relationship with the team and their relationship with running. They’ve come so far and it’s only halfway through the season. I can’t wait to see what happens to these two and the rest of their teammates as they make it towards the Ekiden.


What are your guys’ thoughts on Prince and Kakeru? Thoughts about Run with the Wind in general?

Let me know in the comments below!

Also, don’t forget to read Mel’s post about Kirishima from Boku no Hero Academia found here.

And don’t forget to check out Karandi’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.

 

[OWLS Blog Tour]: Thank You, Stan Lee

Hey Owlets! Welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on this month’s tour.

I had something planned already for today; but I’ve decided to shelve that idea because of the news that broke earlier today: one of the most influential creators in the world, Stan Lee passed away today at the age of 95.

Our November theme this year is “Thankful”

Here at OWLS, we are pretty thankful that we are able to come together as a community and share a love and appreciation for anime and manga. This month we will be showcasing our appreciation by giving a shout out post to our favorite manga artists, creators, production companies, and writers who produced some of our favorite works. We will be discussing our favorite works by these creators and our reasons as to why we appreciate them.

My obsession with heroes surprisingly did not start with My Hero Academia. My exposure to the world of super powers/mutations and secret identities came at a much much earlier age. Not to mention, my Godfather was the biggest Marvel nerd growing up and has influenced that on me as well.

As a child that grew up in the 90’s my all time favorite cartoon growing up was: X-men. I tuned in every Saturday morning to catch this series. I LOVED Gambit (best boy) and I loved Storm. Looking back, I wonder if the appeal of storm was because she was a woman of color or simply because she was a bad ass. I loved Storm so much I used to go outside and pretend I was her controlling the weather and wind.

But I digress.

Stan Lee was a juggernaut in the entertainment industry. Having been the founder of the Marvel franchise, a comic book writer and editor, Stan Lee leaves behind quite a legacy. A lot of us saw him as the invincible superhero as time went on with each movie cameo he was in. The news shocked a lot of us today, his death hitting some of us harder than most.

I, for one, am saddened by the loss of such an amazing creator. He had a huge hand in the creation of so many of our beloved Marvel characters; co-creating Spider-Man and X-men, and also co-wrote Thor and Iron Man (my personal favorite) alongside his brother. Looking at his career; he was a major figurehead in so many aspects of the under the umbrella of comic books. He was also incredibly dedicated to this vision he had as he was an editor to majority of the comics during Marvel’s ‘revolution’ in which he had taken the superhero archetype and molded them into characters that were imperfect humans that were somehow relatable. He was always looking at new projects and new ways to contribute to the comic book world.

He’s even drabbled in the creation of manga; by collaborating with  Hiroyuki Takei, Viz Media and Shueisha on a project called: Karakuri Dôji Ultimo as well as a series that was serialized with Square Enix called Heroman.

His influence and accolades are incredibly vast and inspiring to say the least.  This trailblazer was a prime example of how cool a geek can be. And with that I leave you with this quote:

“[Being a ‘geek’] has become a badge of honor. It’s geeks who really make or break a TV show or movie or video game. They’re the ones who are passionate about these things and who collect [the paraphernalia] and talk about them. A geek is really somebody interested in communication and entertainment and [finding] the best way to avail himself or herself to it..” – Stan Lee, The Washington Post.

So fellow otaku’s and ani-bloggers and other content creators out there keep on pushing on and create the things you’re passionate about.

Thank you Stan Lee for giving us your vision of the world of superhero’s and the impact of entertainment. I hope the rest of the world strives to follow the path you have blazed.

Excelsior!


(Header image taken from: esquire.com)

Thanks for stopping by Archi-Anime! This was a spur of the moment post, so I felt like I should have kept it short and sweet.

What are your favorite Stan Lee quotes? Favorite Marvel characters? How has he influenced you? Let me know in the comments below!

Be sure to check out Irina’s OWLS post from over the weekend and be on the look our for Z’s post up next on our blog tour 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.

[OWLS Blog Tour] Architecturally Grotesque

Hello Archi-Anime lovers and friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in the OWLS blog tour! So without further ado, let’s look at our October prompt!

“Grotesque”

In honor of Halloween, we will explore what we find vile and ugly in pop culture.  For this month’s topic, OWLS bloggers will be exploring characters or aspects of the grotesque in a piece of media and how it is a metaphor or allegory for society, human nature, or some other philosophical or humane idea.

I’m not exactly the biggest fan of horror, I’ve got a weak disposition over it. It takes me days to get back to a normal sleeping routine after watching a horror movie. So, I just try to avoid them as much as possible.

While I’m not familiar with the genre, I can at least appreciate the aesthetics of the “grotesque” in terms of Architecture. When, I first started at my beloved alma mater SCI-Arc, I was really intrigued by one of the professor’s work there as he is exploring the term “grotesque” in terms of architecture.

Grotesque in Architecture

In the architectural world, the grotesque is correlated to the gargoyles you see in Gothic Architecture, or chimera’s that are considered to be decorative sculptural pieces, atop buildings from the medieval ages.

However, the aforementioned professor at SCI-Arc, Hernan Diaz Alonzo, took the meaning of grotesque and tried to apply it to the buildings themselves, as a way to challenge the surroundings. I should probably note, that he was very much inspired by the horror genre.

While the historical grotesque is denoted by sharp edges attributed to Gothic Architecture, Hernan’s work was more fluid in it’s shape, to the point some of the imagery can be unsettling.

Context

Architecture alone can be iconic, but what really helps architecture be iconic is the context of it. Context meaning the place surrounding the building. Integration into its surroundings (to me) creates something more than just a pretty building. Like Hernan’s work, it’s really how the architecture reacts to what’s around it.

The following scenes in anime, not only pose a lot of implications in the building itself, but really add to the context of the scene or the environment.

Berserk (2016), Tower of Conviction

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screencap via crunchyroll

In Berserk’s season 1, the main setting is the Tower of Conviction, and the surrounding site. It looks to be a fairly simple, straight forward tower, but let’s be real, what happens inside the tower is pretty heinous. The tower is representation of the imposition of religion. The heaviness of the tower, due to it’s materials also creates a daunting atmosphere that is intimidating.

Attack on Titan, Trost/ Shinganshina

attack-on-titan_ep1_shinganshina

In the vast realm of Attack on Titan, one of the most unsettling points of the series is the fact that along the perimeter of the walls, there are small pockets of towns in which majority of the population is gathered. They say that Titans are attracted and drawn in by humanity, hence the pockets allow for the Titans to be concentrated in these areas.

Again, the architecture itself isn’t unsettling (despite being filled with sleeping titans) but the fact that humanity is caged within 50 meter walls in these pocket towns is an unsettling thought, as they’re literally bait for titans.

Voltron (Clone planet, cemetary, organic planet) *

Voltron has several episodes that exemplify the unsettling and grotesque. My favorite example is when Pidge searches for her Father and Brother, and ends up on a planet that’s solely dedicated as a cemetary.

It’s my favorite because, it was depicted as a beautiful landscape, especially when Pidge actually arrives on site. She arrives as the sun is going down, often known as “The Golden Hour” a time of day that has perfect natural lighting.

Its a beautiful planet but gosh, is it unsettling to know that such beauty can be found with such despair.

*sorry guys, I cannot provide images for this particular example due to being unable to 1. find images of it online and 2. screenshots are not allowed via phones. please forgive me!*

Psycho-Pass, Sibyl System HQ

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screencap via crunchyroll

The room in which the SIBYL system in itself is inherently grotesque. Basically a ton of brains store in one room run the entire  city of Tokyo. If you haven’t seen Psycho-Pass, I just gave away the major plot in the anime. Honestly, the whole layout of this room kind of makes me laugh, as I’ve had to design a lot of Data Centers at my job, and the fact that this room looks exactly like a data center, is kind of ironic.

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screencap via crunchyroll

The image above is the exterior of where the SIBYL system is housed, and the exterior is eerie in that the pipes make it look like it has legs like a living breathing organism; a perfect reflection of what the system really consists of.

By the way, I have to plug an oldie but a goodie. Irina did a wonderful post on how to build your own SIBYL system, which is creepy in it’s own right, but in good fun. You should drop by and check it out here.


What are some unsettling, “grotesque” scenes featuring architecture that stand out to you in an anime? Again, the grotesque doesn’t necessarily mean horror, but rather unsettling in it’s theme, context and maybe even some of actual architectural elements.

Let me know what you guys think of grotesque architecture, in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out Matt’s post coming up next.

And in case you missed it, check out Megan’s post 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.

[OWLS Blog Tour] Learning Through Understanding: Eijun Sawamura & Chris Takigawa

Hey friends and fellow ani-bloggers! Welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on July’s blog tour.

July’s theme is: Mentor

“Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.”

When I thought about the topic, sports is what came first to my mind, and there were several mentor mentee relationships that I thought about and considered writing about. More often than not we see mentee’s choose their mentor’s because they were inspired by them; they wanted to be like them.

However, the more I thought about it, the more one stood out a bit more.

Today I want to talk about Eijun Sawamura and Chris Yu Takigawa of Ace of Diamond. This mentor, mentee relationship was more than just a mentee acknowledging the skills of their senpai. This relationship was actually akin to a two-way street. However, the road to get there was full of obstacles, of pride and stubbornness.

Eijun starts out as our typical shounen sports protagonist. He’s naturally talented, but has zero skill and finesse to make him a force to be reckoned with. He’s bold, brash and in your face. He’s also overwhelmingly positive in the face of adversity. He once had the opportunity to pitch to the team’s best catcher, a second year, Kazuya Mikyuki, which was a main factor for him to join this particular highschool as he wanted to form a battery with the former.

When Eijun makes the team and is finally allowed to practice, he’s not paired with Kazuya, as the coaches see it fit that he be paired with third year Chris, who is just a back-up pitcher. Eijun makes a big fuss about being paired up with Chris as there are rumors circling the latter about how he ruins peoples careers in baseball.

Communication is Key

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image via source

Eijun is quick to assume that Chris isn’t serious about basketball and is content with just being on the second string. He even has the audacity to tell Chris that he’d never be like him; someone that’s given up and has settled for second best. Chris’ demeanor changes here, before he decides to agree with Eijun and says “Yeah, don’t be like me,” and walks away.

Eijun also believes that Chris is antagonizing him by giving him tons of regimented work-outs just to spite him, while Chris gets to leave practice early. Yet, he completes them despite his negative feelings towards it. Chris has yet to acknowledge Eijun because of his poor attitude to being paired with him.

During one of Eijun’s rant sessions about Chris’ ice-cold personality and his lack of passion, Kazuya gets really angry and tells him he doesn’t know anything. With that, Eijun suffers a rude awakening and is sent off to find out why Chris leaves so early from practice.

The Big Picture

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image via crunchyroll

Turns out, Chris’ life had revolved around baseball. He’s smart in creating plays, good in both defensive and offensive tactics. However, due to over-exertion Chris has a severely injured shoulder that has taken him out of the game for over a year. He’s undergoing rehabilitation for his shoulder, which is why he leaves practice so early. Chris was also the team’s best catcher prior to Kazuya taking his spot. How the entire team doesn’t realize this yet assumes and throws rumors around about him being cursed is beyond me.

Eijun feels rather foolish for assuming to have thought Chris was uninspired, as someone who was just passing time on the team. He gets pissed off at himself for being so callous. He apologizes to his senpai, and decides from there that he should just shut up and listen to his elder because his baseball foundation is non-existent.

He also later finds out that the regimented workouts were not just created to piss him out; but rather to strengthen his body and to prepare him to be the best version of himself, but more importantly were designed to help Eijun train in a way that would help him prevent injuries like Chris’.

Turning a New Leaf – Inspiration goes both ways

After those turn of events, Eijun does whatever he can to re-gain favor with Chris. Chris had done nothing but deserve respect from him. Even when Eijun was mouthing off and saying stupid things, Chris never corrected him, and just let him run his mouth. If the kid couldn’t work with him, then he wasn’t worthy of a mutual respect.

He follows Chris around and follows his training schedule religiously, even asking for more workouts for Chris to acknowledge him. Eventually his positivity and assertiveness break down Chris’ resolve, and this is when the duo’s relationships evolves into a mutual inspiration, gaining and learning from one another.  Under his tutelage, Eijun’s pitching starts to grow and blossom into something that could be a formidable weapon.

 

image via crunchyroll

It’s important to note that throughout the beginning of the series and the development of their mentor mentee relationship that Chris was rather cold and is depicted to have a blank lifeless look in his eyes. It’s easy to see where Eijun’s misunderstanding of Chris’ passion lies – he had been off the first string for over a year under a managing capacity. while he recovered. But by helping train Eijun, the spark and desire to return to the field have sprouted again due to Eijun declaring that he wants to form a battery (a pitcher and cathcher combo) with Chris before he graduates, as proof to show that his teaching had not been in vain. It has be to be Chris because that’s his mentor, his inspiration, the one person that really has his best interests at heart. The desire to get back on field to play a game had never been extinguished, and it’s because of Eijun’s persistence and respect for him that he decides to get back on the field post-injury, even if it’s just for one game. His passion is re-ignited and you can literally find life being brought back to his eyes.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing to be learned is that sometimes mentors can be found in the least likely of people. That it’s important to be open to those that are willing to teach and advise you to get you where you want to be. That the mentee has just as much influence as a mentor does. Mentoring doesn’t have to be a one-way street, but is much more dynamic when one can learn more from the other.


That just about wraps up my July blog-tour! Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Let me know in the section below!

And don’t forget to check out Taku’s (Takuto’s Anime Cafe) OWLS post on The Royal Tutor here.

And look out for Carla’s post on her site: Pop Culture Literary

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

[OWLS Blog Tour] Pride Goeth Before a Fall: Katsuki Bakugo

Hey hey hey owlets! Welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on this month’s blog tour. As you know, I’m still kind of on a semi-hiatus. But I had to participate in this month’s tour! Especially when I’ve been completely engrossed in the Boku no Hero Academia universe; I had the perfect character for this month’s theme.

June’s theme is Pride”:

In honor of “Pride Month,” we will be discussing the word, “Pride” and its meaning. We will be exploring pop culture characters’ most satisfying and joyful achievements or skills that they possessed and whether or not these qualities could be seen as a positive or negative aspect in their personal lives and/or society.

This character choice was a no brainer. The level of pride he exudes has irked me from the get go. For as many times I’ve watched the series; the numerous discussions I’ve had with people about him.  I still struggle for the life of me to understand him; but I’m definitely trying my hardest to. Also, light spoilers, but nothing incredibly revealing to the plot overall.

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Katsuki Bakugo of Boku no Hero Academia is a character I struggle to get behind. I’ll be honest, I’ve disliked Bakugo very heavily because of his violent personality, his haughtiness and most glaringly his inflated ego. How does a character become so full of himself?

Ascension

Katsuki’s pride is a byproduct of his upbringing. In the very early flashbacks of his childhood we see that he and Izuku had been really good friends, and spent quite a lot of time together. Through Ikuzu’s eyes we witness the “greatness” of Katsuki. He’s a natural born leader – he led around the neighborhood kids.  He’s smart – he was one of the first in his group of friends to start reading. He’s charismatic – he’s literally the coolest kid on the block  Katsuki is just so naturally GOOD at everything that you’re drawn to him. Classmates are constantly barraging him with praise him for being talented and cool.

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His personality begins to warp with the introduction of his quirk; and it appears he’s the first in his kindergarten class to get one. Both peers AND adults alike start to shower him with relentless priase in pre-school. He starts to notice the stark contrast between Izuku and himself.  Why can’t Deku do this or that?  Why doesn’t Deku have a quirk? And being a 4-year old what other explanation can you give yourself but “Ah, of course! I’m just the best! Better than everyone here!” Hence, the bullying of Izuku begins.

The praise and admiration he receives goes unchecked by anyone, something his parents have realized, especially his Mother. She realizes her lack of teaching Katsuki how to be humble and how actions affect others has caused Katsuki’s pride to balloon to the point of no return. She only hopes that UA can help him where she failed and could not.

Katsuki not only exudes an alarming amount of pride which is considered to be the original and most serious of the deadly sins and yet, his pride is the culmination of a few other deadly sins: wrath, envy and greed.

These “sins” serve as the foundation of Katsuki’s pride. I wanted to look at the other sins and how they’ve built and affected Katsuki’s overwhelming prideful demeanor. In some cases a lot of these sins can be pointed to a source: Izuku. The feelings/emotions that these two feel towards one another are so complicated that they’ve lost the ability to communicate with one another.

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Greed

“An inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs.”

Katsuki has several types of greed. In the beginning of the series, the most apparent greed for wealth is apparent as he proclaims he’ll be the richest hero to his middle school class. Aside from the obvious materialism that is associated with Greed, Katsuki is also greedy for power (strength). Whenever he see him fight or watch All Might, he always makes a comment about how strong he is, how powerful he is; especially in the final exam in which he’s unwillingly paired up with Izuku. He idolizes All Might, so of course he want’s to be like All Might, so there’s a definite Greed to be better, to need more power, more strength. Lastly, Katsuki has a strong desire to be the best, to be the indisputable number one, so much so that he’s often seen as maniacal. Take the Sports Festival for example. He’s hell-bent on being number one, but an indisputable, unquestionable number one.

Greed is often associated with selfishness, and the need to take, take, take. Katsuki’s greed has come from the amount of positive praise he’s received over the years that inflated his ego into making him believe that he’s just the most amazing person in the world.

Envy

“a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”

A lot of Katsuki’s complicated feelings are centered around his childhood friend and envy is one of the traits that is brought out by Izuku. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m associating Envy with someone like Katsuki. This might be more of an interpretation of Katsuki, but let’s take a look back to the day of the sludge villain attack. Despite all the capable licensed heroes, Izuku was the only one to rush in to try to save him before All Might ultimately rushed in to save the day. From that day forward Katsuki never bullied Izuku again, even Izuku was quick to make not of it.  I think that Katsuki had realized that Izuku had a true sense of heroism, which is something that Katsuki himself lacks. Later on in the series, envy will become more apparent, but for the sake of this post I don’t want to post spoilers. But you bet you’ll see more Hero Academia posts around my blog that will most likely touch on Katsuki again.

Also, last but not least, let’s not forget that he despite being strong he envies All Might’s strength. He knows that’s the pinnacle of strength and what he needs to be. He envies that strength because that’s what it means to be number one.

Wrath

“an intense emotional response usually involving agitation, malice, or retribution. It is an emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and hostile response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat.”

Katsuki has a bristling personality, there’s no question about that. He’s really rough around the edges, and exhibits a ton of agitation specifically towards Izuku.  He takes out a lot of his aggression on Izuku and what he represents as stated previously in ‘envy’. It should be noted that due to Katsuki’s physical nature, it can be inferred that this is the only way he can express himself rather than communication and words. 

His wrath is a reaction of his inferiority superiority complex. Meaning, he’s covering up his glaring insecurities by acting brashly towards Izuku by putting him down, mentally and physically, while exuding an air of confidence and praising himself. As Katsuki watches Izuku learn to control and use his quirk at alarming rate, I’d say it’s clear that his insecurities of being the best are being threatened, especially when those around him start to recognize Izuku as strong and start to look at him as the worthy rival versus him.

Another important point to note as part of Katsuki’s wrath (this is the part I struggle with) is that he’s so blinded by it, he doesn’t realize that Izuku has ALWAYS admired him and looked up to him as his hero next to All Might, if anything Katsuki is the closest he could emulate and look up to. He takes Izuku’s concern to be disdain and ridicule, because how could someone as strong as Katsuki ever need the help of someone weak and quirkless, so he reacts by bullying him. He’s also so blinded by his wrath, he doesn’t listen to All Might’s advice and concern during the Final Exam because he’s too focused on his anger towards having to work with Izuku and anger that he’s not strong enough to beat All Might.

Izuku was once the weak and the poor defenseless friend that trailed behind Katsuki all the time. But now that “friend” is slowly but surely closing the gap between them with each conflict that arises. Katsuki is afraid of Izuku passing him up and being the one left behind, and that makes him feel nothing but rage, because he’s supposed to be the strongest and the best between the two of them.

Cracked Armor

Hairline fractures are slowly starting to form in Katsuki’s pride the moment he starts classes at UA. First he loses in the mock battle against Izuku because he was so blinded by his wrath to think coherently. Then he starts to realize that he’s not as amazing as he thinks. He takes note how stupid his strategy was, and how strong Shouto Todoroki and the rest of his classmates are as well. He’s starting to realize not the special kid he thought he was.

But the biggest crack in his armor is Izuku. Izuku is a double-edged sword for Katsuki and I’m pretty certain of that. Izuku’s weaknesses had bolstered his pride, because they were so drastically different from one another; they were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Yet, coming into UA they’ve switched roles. Izuku is well received, popular, and everyone seems to take inspiration from him. Izuku is acknowledged by others for his strength and pure-hearted heroism and reluctance to give up. They recognize him as a worthy rival, overlooking Katsuki.

However, Katsuki doesn’t realize is that he has everything needed to make a great hero. Everyone has acknowledged his natural combat skill, his intelligence and his drive, but his prideful personality holds him back from becoming someone likeable, relateable and inspirational.

These fractures have slowly been building since the day that Izuku came to save him from the sludge villain. His pride continues to grow and it grew exponentially worse in the Sports Festival Arc leading into the Final Exam. His pride is hitting its maximum level and the small fractures are on the verge of breaking him completely open.

But what will happen to Katsuki after the fall? Can he change for the better? How will he change? Or better yet, WILL he change? Can he truly acknowledge his faults and become the true hero that he’s meant to be?

Final Thoughts

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Katsuki, is a character I dislike because of his treatment of Izuku. But, I won’t give up on him. I’m not turning my back on this character. Just like Deku, I won’t give up on Kacchan. I know he’s bound for greatness, he HAS to be. He and Izuku have a pretty good idea of how the other works, it’s almost innate because of how long they’ve known each other. Honestly, when Katsuki does express emotion it really is only in front of Izuku, and to me that speaks volumes about their relationship. Only Izuku has seen Katsuki be vulnerable. For the life of me, I want them to patch things up. I want Katsuki to apologize to Izuku, and for them to repair and rebuild what was lost. Can Katsuki find redemption?

The answer is…. maybe? I’m teetering the edge of love and hate for Katsuki Bakugo, but I’m leaning towards yes.  If he can learn to humble himself and learn to take responsibility for his actions, which he slowly but surely is in the manga, he has the makings of a real hero, and paired with Izuku, they could definitely be The Wonder Duo

Katsuki will have to hit rock bottom and address the sins that plague him. In order for that to happen, his pride will have to fall.


Thanks for stopping by Archi-Anime and checking out my post on pride! I am completely enamored with BNHA, so much so that I am planning to make a series of posts related to this series/fandom and Katsuki again.

That just about wraps up this month’s tour here at Archi-Anime. Thoughts on Katsuki? Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave any in the comments!

And don’t forget to check out Mistresses (Yaoi Playground) OWLS post on My Brother’s Husband here.

And look out for Karandi’s post on her site: 100 Word Anime.

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