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FreezeFrame: All-Star Memorability

Anime All Stars

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?

-jaalin

February 20, 2007 at 1:47 am
30 comments »
  • February 20, 2007 at 2:28 amJuvyniled

    My thoughts on C.C.:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • February 20, 2007 at 2:50 amquina

    lol weird article.
    Funny to put the center to be the immortal angel :3
    She can do even 1 vs 5!!

  • February 20, 2007 at 2:57 ambak3donh1gh

    wow i wonder how long he took to paste that together ;p

  • February 20, 2007 at 3:04 amAscaloth

    So, we have Aizawa Yuuichi, the point guard, is the guy that “controls the offense”, getting his FEMALE teammates involved by passing the ball around, and sets his FEMALE teammates up.

    Familiar dynamic, much? ;)

  • February 20, 2007 at 3:29 amquigonkenny

    Great post, but I think C.C. takes the symbolism a little too far by going out and getting an endorsement contract from Pizza Hut.

  • February 20, 2007 at 4:39 amMutio

    Interesting to analyse a character profile with such a methode.

  • February 20, 2007 at 4:48 amKenta

    i wonder if the ‘steals’ they get involve stealing people’s bfs xD
    and ‘rebounds’ is key to be successful in this league. lol.

  • February 20, 2007 at 5:08 amShippoyasha

    Matsukata Hiroko gets some recognition! I thought the anime turned out alright tho. Couldn’t ask for what essentially won’t be the most popular show on TV with its super-journalist story and all.

  • February 20, 2007 at 5:12 amjaalin

    lol kenta, now we’re talkin the same language

  • February 20, 2007 at 7:08 amRonin

    Really long article, but interesting analysis as well. :)

  • February 20, 2007 at 8:08 amTripleA

    Anyone that can take a bullet in a head and still eat pizza afterwards deserves to be a center. Nicely done.

  • February 20, 2007 at 10:13 amGStrike-

    haha nice article.. Yuuichi, Fight do yo!

  • February 20, 2007 at 11:27 amN

    Haha, this article is win.

  • February 20, 2007 at 1:03 pmAvisch

    Juvyniled: That’s a good theory on C.C. but she seems to want a goal completed in the world. So perhaps Lelouch is both her help in changing the world and lover.

  • February 20, 2007 at 1:05 pmAvisch

    Also Yuuichi FTW. He can make is own decisions and looks good while failing at his decisions (which is rare).

  • February 20, 2007 at 1:20 pmBladewind

    Just for kicks, someone has to line up an opposing team. And I will not use the 5 characters you already chose.

    Point guard: Mizuho from Otome wa Boku
    As you point out, “a good point guard brings out the best in all his teammates – all of them”. Mizuho, being the elder, leads by example. He has a very genuine kindness that have a positive influence on everyone around him. He is always ready to lend a hand when the situation calls for it. He is willing to stand up for his friends when he feels injustice (such as objecting the dress code rule from the student council). He is also capable at handling unexpected situations (such as carrying Shion to the infirmry when she passed out, or saving Takako from the 2 kidnappers by pulling a Bruce Lee on them). And he does all of the above while pretending to be a girl *trap* :P Regardless, the anime is fairly well presented that you will build a liking towards Mizuho despite the gender challenge issue.

    Looks like I am out of space, continue on next post.

  • February 20, 2007 at 1:48 pmBladewind

    Shooting Guard: Syaoran, Tsubasa Chronicle
    The Sakura-Syaoran connection is pretty well known in the anime world. In Tsubasa Chronicle, an evil wizard has scattered Sakura’s memories as feathers across different worlds. And our Syaoran is such a devoted and passionate guy that he will do anything to save her… even if it means giving up their relationship (as a price to pay for dimension travel). He will travel to any worlds, goes thru any hardship, for the sake of his most important person. To be able to accomplish something like this requires tremendous will power… and its something that very few people in the real world is capable of achieving.

    Small Forward: Shikamaru, Naruto
    Shikamaru is no where near as powerful as the big guys are in the series. But he is excellent at analyzing situations and devising tactics on the spot. And unlike Lulu from Code Geass, he is not a self centered egomaniac. He is willing to put his life on the line for the team, such as when he sacrifice himself to stop the group of sound ninjas while they were trying to catch up to Sasuke, who was after Garaa. While Shikamaru does not worm his way into other people’s lives like Noda Megumi, he earns his respect and trust from his teammates thru his reliability and amazing tactics.

    To be continued on next post.

  • February 20, 2007 at 2:25 pmBladewind

    Power Forward: Suzaku, Code Geass
    The brighter the possitive, the darker the negative… On the surface, Suzaku is an honorary Britainnian, an ace knightmareframe pilot, and Euphie’s personal knight. But beneath that steely exterior is a very traumatised child… at the age of 10, Suzaku did the unthinkable to end the war… he killed his own father, the late Prime Minister of Japan. He has no place amongst the Britannian, since he is just a number. He is hated by his own people, because he is considered a traitor by becoming an honorary Britannian. On top of that, he unknowingly became the enemy of his best friend. Desipite all of that, he still tries to achieve his best and change Britannia from the inside. He still tries to move forward despite the entire universe being against him… most people in the real world would just let depression sets in and even commit suicide. But appararently, Suzaku has the will to overcome it, and the gut to surpass it.

    Center: Rukia, Bleach
    When all else fails, and you need someone to beat some sense into someone else, Rukia takes the cake (and pizza :P). She couldn’t have done a better job in the last episode… when she reawaken the fighting spirit within Ichigo. She gave him back the reasons to face himself and get stronger.

  • February 20, 2007 at 2:37 pmFlareKnight

    You think the NBA all-star game was bad, should’ve seen the NHL one. Not a bad list though. Maybe after I really wake up I can come up with something good.

  • February 20, 2007 at 3:24 pmjaalin

    nice lineup bladewind! i liked the bit about shikamaru

  • February 20, 2007 at 3:40 pmKrashOmnis

    I don’t watch nearly enough of these shows to give out awards but I can say that C.C. and Nodame deserve their spots. The mystery girl with crazy power and the odd ball girl next door stole my heart right away XD

  • February 20, 2007 at 3:50 pmBladewind

    Yea, CC is hard to beat. In a 1v1, CC will beat Rukia hands down. However, Rukia comes closest in matching CC in certain simulatrities… such as CC gave Lulu the contract, while Rukia let Ichigo become a temporary Shinigami… How they both enjoy berating Lulu/Ichigo, and how they both go to great lenth to support their respective guy, etc.

    As for Nodame, I can’t stand people like her irl. :P

  • February 20, 2007 at 9:16 pmlinkinstreet

    jaalin wrote
    Anyone know what “dachuno” means?

    I think this is a combination of Nodame’s nonsense with ‘Kiss’ (usually CHU! in japanese)

  • February 20, 2007 at 10:00 pmRasmiel

    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

    That has got to be the best line I’ve heard all week. Kudos to you.

  • February 21, 2007 at 3:26 amFaust721

    interesting analysis. i’m liking your freeze frames. keep them coming

  • February 22, 2007 at 12:24 amKanki

    Wooh! Go C.C. xD

    Yup, she is a hard center to beat. My all time favorite character this season, no doubt about it, with Lelouch coming as a straggling second. I agree with you on the ‘not your typical generic characters’ thing. Good job -thumbs up-

  • February 22, 2007 at 1:25 pmShinSenshi

    “of all the harem animes you’ve watched, how many male leads can you name?”

    You forgot Tenchi (lol, my first ‘harem’ anime)

  • February 24, 2007 at 11:28 amtails

    Dachuno? “chu”, of course, is from chuuuu = kiss and da and no from Noda (Nodame’s last name)… Basic word twisting.

  • June 23, 2007 at 11:00 amrupan777

    I came here by accident looking for something else but can explain the “Dachuno” thing. It was a small comedy gag from a Japanese manzai/comedy duo called “Pirates”. I’m not sure how well you guys can read the language but here’s their Wikipedia Japan listing:

    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%91%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AC%E3%83%BC%E3%83%84_%28%E3%81%8A%E7%AC%91%E3%81%84%29

    Anyway, I don’t remember exactly when the gag started but I do remember that it became a “boom” in Japan around 1999 and EVERYONE was doing it there. Anyway, it incorporated that cleavage press that your anime character is doing so I’m sure it’s the same thing. “Dachuuno”, as a phrase, doesn’t really have any meaning – something like “here we go”.

    Hope that clears things up.

  • November 25, 2007 at 9:41 pmWilliam

    Nodame ftw