[insights]


I have this ridiculous idea. I may not have been watching anime, but I’ve been catching up on The Big Bang Theory up to the end of its fourth season. There’s a new season, I know, but it’s still currently running and unfinished at the time of this writing. I couldn’t help myself from comparing that serial comedy with Honey and Clover, especially in light of the later seasons. It wasn’t obvious during the earlier seasons, as there was only Penny, but it showed its similarity to H&C when Bernadette, Amy, and Priya appeared. I said similarity because there is no actual competition among the characters in both series. They know who they love, and they love as best as they could, but don’t actively compete with their friends for the hearts of the people they’re interested in. Just as Penny spites Priya, she bears down on her emotions and respectfully gives Leonard and Priya their space after Leonard and her talked about it, Yamada whines about Rika but doesn’t actively go against her because she also recognizes the capabilities of Rika.

People have complained about the tone of TBBT to have become more serious, but I actually praise it. Instead of mere scientific laughfests from caricatures the viewer is increasingly made to appreciate the humanity of the characters that make up the show. While the comedy remains the focus, the emotions that underlie and that seethe beneath the terse sentences and the unsaid expressions make the show more colorful for me. It’s actually the jarring transitions that make me more endeared to series like this and H&C. Though it’s stomach-crampingly funny at one point, it immediately becomes a trigger for tears when beneath the laughs lie the emotions that the characters feel.

A great way to illustrate this is the awkward presence of Penny at the time when Leonard, Priya, and the rest of their friends were having dinner at Leonard’s apartment. There was witty banter throughout the occasion, but it was enlightening to see how Penny reacted to the aptness of the relationship between Leonard and Priya: both of them were highly intelligent and capable of holding a conversation. They were even able to recall a humorous scene in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.  The aftermath, of course, is that Penny broke down into tears after Leonard and Priya were gone.  (season 4, episode 16)

It is this surprising and jarring transition that makes the comedy all the more funny and the sadness all the more grave, because it is unexpected and yet apropos for the occasion. I think I’ll get back to this later on: my point is that it is the background of comedy that illuminates and gives gravitas to the serious occurrences in the show, especially because the seriousness is unexpected. The seriousness jumps out at the viewer, and erodes the foundation of emotional stability because it precisely is jarring. Compared to series which are consistently sad, or just really fun-fests the series that are bittersweet are for me the ones that are more memorable because of this surprise element. The tears are jerked out of you.

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Let me be totally frank: I have not watched anime ever since the fourth episode of Blood-C, and probably won’t do so until near the end of this month, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I am not running away or eschewing anime, mind you, but I am trying to enjoy what amounts to my last academic year of medical school before I go into the wards as an errand boy or bitch. If I’m lucky, I’ll just be an errand boy; if not, I’ll be a bitch and bitched that certain day. It was with this thought that I am hoping that my faithful readers (you) could forgive my temporary absence and intermittent updates because I’m really trying to seize the last year of formal schooling and enjoy it to the best of my abilities. I will probably never return to formal school after this year, and I don’t want to live my life being regretful.

We have, of course, been quite busy the past month: there were tons of examinations, but two weeks ago was the final medicine week of our lives. I simply had to enjoy it. While I failed being the three-peat champion in chess, I was able to contribute a bit to our basketball team and win the championship for the third straight time. I was also able to enjoy being the champion and winner to what is tantamount to being the last quiz bee of my life, and until now I still feel really good about it, because I was the one who was able to answer the difficult questions that widened the gap between us and our opponents. I also competed in big-ball volleyball, and sang for the first time in front of a crowd. While my grades may be teetering between mediocre and average, I have been trying my utmost to enjoy real life, and have been quite successful to an extent.

I am not happy that I have seemingly abandoned my blog, but it has been a week or so since animeblogger.net was down, and it’s really been a while since I have wanted to update. Rest assured that I will never stop being a fan of anime, and will always support anime as a medium just as creative as television series and movies. I do think that my temporary absence from the blogosphere rendered me lost in the plethora of discussion of new anime and individual episodes, but I’ll come back stronger, if not in a few months, then in a year from now (God willing).

I have no regrets, however: it is really endearing and cathartic to win the final quiz bee competition in your life, and to do so in your final academic year of medical school. I have competed in the past years and have been on a gradual rise, only to take it all in my final year, and for that I am extremely grateful. I’m still around, don’t worry. Cheers!

I am an honest guy for the most part. Yes, I do lie once in a while, although I can argue that I don’t lie as voraciously or as desperately as Satou from NHK. As I said in the previous post, I’d rather be honest with myself and admit that I’m an otaku, or whatever people like to call me, than dwell in a shell of lies and cowardice. Some people write me off as somebody helpless; they write me off as nothing more than an idiot. Some people, however, care to know more on why I like anime as a medium and why I love it more than most things (family excepted). (more…)

I don’t know if I’m simply ranting or not, but I think that it’s better to simply be one’s self. I don’t know much of the guys I talk to online, much less know who they really are as people, but I guess this idealized view of them from their words alone makes me much more contented with them that with the hypocrites I see everyday in real life.

I think I’m smart at the very least, and my grades when I’m a little bit serious reflect that, as well as people telling me from different walks of life that I really am smart (and no, I don’t pay them anything, they just pay compliments). I’m happy when people say that to me, because I personally think it’s true, but it always helps when people affirm what you believe in. Being lazy and being contented with being called smart may not be the ‘best’ way to live life (according to the ‘elders’), but it sure beats hypocrisy. I have, for example, an acquaintance who studies perhaps every day it is possible for him to study, and he’s arrogant, because he believes he is ‘smart.’ I don’t think intelligence can be quantified with diligence or persistence: simply put, it is inherent – it is talent, and if you are one without talent, you’re nothing more than a social climber: you are nothing more than a hypocrite. Incidentally, no one tells him that he’s smart, and despite the perseverance he has given to studying the previous semester, we ended up with the same grades. (It perhaps has been a crushing blow to his ego. No matter how much he’d top me for the next years we’re in university, I can always say that though I didn’t exert as much of an effort as he had, we still got the same marks. I love silencing hypocrites.)

What, then, does this have anything to do with anime?

In real life, I admit, I am a hypocrite. Admitting that will exonerate you from the guilt of hypocrisy because you know you are and you know you have had been one. With this, I can propel myself forward by being true to myself, and that is what I find missing among anime enthusiasts. In the school, to be entirely honest, every single one of my classmates know that I love anime and despite the fact that it sometimes irks them when I keep on trying to let them watch episodes of Tsukihime or Honey and Clover perhaps, I don’t stop with my plodding, and I don’t stop being proud as an otaku. It’s because people misinterpret what anime and otaku-dom is all about. Simply to be a beacon in the darkness, an engulfing, beguiling, maddening darkness, is enough for me – despite society’s castigation and intense questioning on why I like anime even as an adult. I always reply that it’s simple. Most anime aren’t even for children.

So whenever people ask if you’re otaku, and you are, say yes! Ask them how they define otaku, however, and correct them whenever possible. Because despite otaku having negative connotations in almost every country in the world, education always helps. We shouldn’t be trying hard to disguise what we are not. That would be the greatest sin.

I’ve read a lot of the pertinent posts at AnimeSuki, and those made me realize that my ‘quasi-summary’ wasn’t even half as insightful as their posts. To make up for this, here’s an intensive disquisition of what ep4 of Honey and Clover II really was. I think it’s going to be somewhat long, so please bear with me. (more…)

So many good things happened today for me. The most important good thing, however (make it excellent), was that I was able to download Honey and Clover II – 04 after a long wait. First of all, I’ve learned how to play Pugna (the Oblivion in DotA) more or less masterfully, and he’s arguably among the more difficult heroes to control. I was contented with myself back then. (more…)

Whereas in tj han’s blog the Bible is Last Exile, in my blog, the Qur’an is Honey and Clover. If you don’t like it I’m going to declare jihad on you, and I’m much more austere than tj han is (in case you didn’t get it, this was a joke). As you may have noticed, I’m probably going to wax lyrical about H&C for most of the time, but that’s not why I mentioned it in this post. I’ve mentioned why I like H&C in my other posts, but to stress a point, the biggest reasons as to why I really love it is because of its grit and humanistic realism. Stressed also in my other posts (H&C was spattered around in a commentary supposedly about [insert anime here]) is the fact that unrequited love exists in this series. How many romance series have you watched where the main leads don’t end up happily? There’s only quite a few of them. How about a romance series where you know someone’s going to end up alone? To date, only Honey and Clover is the only anime where you know that someone will be alone by the end of the series because there are more girls than guys, and despite the fact that they all are close friends, they also are the same competitors for the love of a guy or a girl inside that circle. (more…)

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