FreezeFrame: All-Star Memorability
If you’re like me, you waited the whole year for the NBA All Star Weekend to come around – and while Friday and Saturday’s festivities were quite entertaining, were left a bit disappointed at the actual All Star game. There were moments – just a few brief moments – of excitement, but otherwise, the pace and excitement fell back as quickly as it had picked up. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, no problem, you didn’t miss anything besides LeBron embarrass himself with a failed off-the-backboard dunk attempt.
Anyways, I was bored to the point where I started thinking about the all stars in the current anime season. Yeah, the game was that bad.
Before I start tossing out names and series, let me explain my thought process a bit here. I’m not here to pick the most popular or most well-known nor the least known ones. As with
all most some FreezeFrame articles, I’m more interested in which characters are the most memorable. To some, that might mean the most occurrences of USO DA! or having the most variations of uguu, but to me, only the truly original ones are worthy of that recognition. It’s like how Asuka and Rei are still bringing in the yen after over a decade, or how Suzumiya Haruhi became an epic hit almost overnight – nobody had ever seen anything quite like them, and they were so masterfully conceived that any similar characters that spawned afterwards are seen only as pretenders to the original.
Of course, for purposes of legitimacy, I’ll only be selecting characters from shows that are/have been airing within the past 3 months. Or still have fansubs coming out. Y’know…recent ones.
So here they are, my midseason anime all stars as inspired by the uninspiring 2007 NBA All Star Game:
Point Guard: Aizawa Yuuichi, Kanon
I tried to make every excuse to keep Kanon and its hgame heritage out of any awards considerations, but I kept coming back to our man Yuuichi. You see, the point guard is typically the guy that controls the offense, getting his teammates involved by passing the ball around and setting his teammates up. A good point guard brings out the best in all his teammates – all of them – and I can’t think of anybody that does it better than the Maestro of
Melancholy Melodrama himself. Here’s a simple thought experiment: of all the harem animes you’ve watched, how many male leads can you name? Or even pick out of a lineup? Sure, I can remember some pet names (most of which are “onii-san”), but besides that, I’m drawing a blank. The guy in SHUFFLE seemed alright for most of the show, and then completely tanked it at the end with his “ultimate solution”…whatever. Yuuichi remains the only one with the personality and sanity to successfully navigate all the women in his life – and does it with the heart and passion of a true superstar. Who would have thought that a better male lead would be the element that pushes an hgame anime over the top?
Shooting Guard: Sara Werec, Soukou no Strain
Shooting guards put up the numbers – they are typically the highest scoring player on the team – at the same time, they might also be labeled as the most selfish, as the one who tries to do everything by themselves, sometimes at the cost of their teammates. Sound familiar? The thing that intrigued me the most about Sara is how real she seems – she’s full of weaknesses and faults, and makes a poor attempt at covering them by distancing herself, much like…a real person. Usually, we get some gusto renegade on some warpath driven by vendetta, Kira Yamato’ing his way through the enemy armada after popping their berserker walnut, but Sara, as skilled as she is, is nothing like that. To enjoy Sara is to suffer with her, and there aren’t many worse things than living in fear of the same beloved brother that once taught her how to dance and now blasts her peers out of sub-light speed. No wonder she has no friends, they all die before she can find any!
Small Forward: Noda Megumi, Nodame Cantabile
The small forward is typically the one that keeps the balance between the small guys and big guys on the court, acting as a facilitator to keep everything running smoothly. Nodame gets the nod at this position because of her ability to bring people of different worlds together – she seems to be the one free-spirited musician that excels in both technique and interpretation, whereas guys like Chiaki and Mine are on either end of the spectrum. The attraction to her craziness is similar to that of Morita from Honey & Clover, the difference being Nodame’s ability to worm her way into people’s lives on a much more personal level than Morita ever tried to be. Not to mention all the “mukya” and “gyapi” are pure win. Anyone know what “dachuno” means?
Power Forward: Matsukata Hiroko, Hataraki Man
As the name suggests, the power forward position involves a lot of tough, gritty, dirty work down inside. Power forwards have to take a lot of hard contact and abuse, and while those with sheer power may bully their way around for most of the game, it’s the crafty ones that always come out on top. Hataraki Man hasn’t turned out as well as I expected it to, but Matsukata is a spectacular character that continues to impress like a brilliant player stuck on a bad team. The way she handles the rigors of having her job, her boyfriend, and her nonstop life in general with grace and poise is truly a marvel to experience. Many people in her situation would say “my life sucks,” or just flat out quit, but Matsukata clings on and continues to claw her way up – just fabulous.
Center: C.C., Code Geass
Lastly and perhaps most importantly is the center position – still seen as the most crucial piece of a championship-level team. Entire teams revolve around a dominant center, usually the tallest, strongest, and toughest on the team. The thing with centers, though, is that even though they don’t have the ball in their hands most of the time, their very presence in the thick of things can affect the outcome of a game. And just like a dominant center in a tough game, C.C. remains the dominant force behind the scenes in this international struggle of the Elevens versus Britannia. She’s the one that gave Lelouche his power, she’s the one that cleans up the mess every time Lelouche screws up. And not once does she give off the impression that she’s Lelouche’s pet or possession, although her strait-jacket inspired pajamas might suggest otherwise. What’s more, she never asks for credit or recognition, perfectly content sitting on his bed collecting her Pizza Hut points. There’s just something about her – it might be all the wardrobe changes or that piercing look in her eyes, or maybe the way she endlessly and mercilessly talks down the guy who thinks he’s the king of the new world – I just can’t get enough of her. Awesome.
So there you have it, my starting five of the recent anime season – the characters that I feel break the generic molds and transcend into that hallowed realm of “timeless.”
How about you – have your own fav five?