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Old 2012-05-31, 02:15   Link #21
Hiroi Sekai
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Haha if we only made it halfway, so be it. That's kind of an ironic analogy for many university students either way, isn't it?

I could really care less about how the class handled things, but I do like to hear what people like, why they do, and for what reasons they hate certain things. It's foolish to analyze humans as a whole, since we're so unpredictable at times and so very predictable at others. Everyone just needs to like what they like and respect the stuff other people like.

With that note, there are stuff that is universally hated, but someone out there likes it, no doubt. So for that one person, it's what they like, so I can dig that.
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Old 2012-05-31, 02:44   Link #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
Interestingly, I think this might be a case of deconstruction of one's own work. As I understand it, the "proto" version of Gunslinger Girl was a) a lolicon H doujin and b) apparently involves Henrietta's handler betraying their employers to save her. Now, I haven't read the thing but based on those factors I'm guessing it's lighter and has more heroism (and sex with underage girls).
Oh god, really?

Well I'm glad GSG didn't go that way since it's one of my favourite series (both manga and season 1 of the anime) of all time.

Quote:
I'll also note that I came very close to participating in a Gunslinger Girl-verse online RP one time before deciding against it due to lack of time. Why am I bringing this up? Because I was going to play a female handler with a couple screws loose and a passion for dressing her charge up in cutesy gothloli outfits. Analyze that.
Someone get this Mari Okada-wanna-be outta the house!
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Old 2012-05-31, 04:28   Link #23
0utf0xZer0
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Originally Posted by DemiSoda View Post
Oh god, really?

Well I'm glad GSG didn't go that way since it's one of my favourite series (both manga and season 1 of the anime) of all time.
Normally I don't rely much on TVtropes as a source, but:

Quote:
Sadly unsurprisingly, the action manga Gunslinger Girl started out as a series of mostly loli doujin (by the same artist), and the final chapter of said series was an epilogue where the characters who were the prototypes for the eventual protagonist and her handler run away from the agency together and have gratuitous, statutory [sic] sex.
I'd heard a few things of similar effect on a GSG forum too. Using Google Translate it looks to me like Japanese wikipedia has a list of appearances in a doujin publication prior to the commercial manga launching, including some adult content. Though I get the impression we're "sketches and short stories" here.

Just prior to the commercial manga launch he also did the character designs for Minori's first eroge, Bittersweet Fools. Which according to VNDB involves Italy, an ex-hitman, and lolis.

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Someone get this Mari Okada-wanna-be outta the house!
Me or my character?
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Old 2012-05-31, 04:40   Link #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemiSoda View Post
Someone get this Mari Okada fantasy-wanna-be outta the house!
FYP.

In all seriousness, I found the Ghost in the Shell movie kinda dull. Well, the series as a whole is very intriguing, but when you compress all of its world in depth into 2 hours, you can only explore the superficial surface of things. Style over substance, but it did inspire The Matrix...

And To Terra... umm, I only saw the anime adaptation, but the general vibe I got was that war is crap and violence is pointless. It did a good job in showing the pointlessness of the conflict between the two factions, but on the other hand, the whole thing became pointless to me. I felt that it dabbled into deeper territory but never went far enough to create something of real substance. But I can't really be perfectly objective on the issue as my attitude towards the cast varied from fairly neutral to outright obnoxious, and thus I felt the whole thing was too detatched. Well, I guess the female characters were sorta just there... I just didn't care, and felt that stuff like Zeta Gundam does this kind of thing more effectively.
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Old 2012-05-31, 04:57   Link #25
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Originally Posted by papermario13689 View Post
It hasn't been reduced, that's just the main target audience. It's good to see exceptions, so be sure to mention the little bits as to why you think it works for you.
I wasn't arguing about its target audience it's Shoujo obviously it is aimed at young girls.

I was arguing against reducing the series to a mere romance series about finding a mate. That is definitely not how I would describe the series and it does a disservice to it.

And I only pointed out that Fruits Basket was definitely popular outside its target demographic of young girls even though it obviously did well with its target group too (read reviews on the Internet).
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Old 2012-05-31, 05:00   Link #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
I wasn't arguing about its target audience it's Shoujo obviously it is aimed at young girls.

I was arguing against reducing the series to a mere romance series about finding a mate. That is definitely not how I would describe the series and it does a disservice to it.
Ah, I understand. I guess it's my fault in that aspect; I should have mentioned that we only had time to look at the first three volumes (especially since TokyoPop went under). I'm afraid it's an incomplete observation that isn't exactly fair, in all honesty. I'm sure you've got a much better understanding of it than I do, and I wasn't trying to reduce it in any way.
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Old 2012-05-31, 05:07   Link #27
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Originally Posted by papermario13689 View Post
Ah, I understand. I guess it's my fault in that aspect; I should have mentioned that we only had time to look at the first three volumes (especially since TokyoPop went under). I'm afraid it's an incomplete observation that isn't exactly fair, in all honesty. I'm sure you've got a much better understanding of it than I do, and I wasn't trying to reduce it in any way.
Well your post wasn't the only one that said this hence I felt the need to defend the series a bit. Not that Fruits Basket is perfect but I still think it is one of the prime examples of Shoujo.
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Old 2012-05-31, 07:10   Link #28
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Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
I'd heard a few things of similar effect on a GSG forum too. Using Google Translate it looks to me like Japanese wikipedia has a list of appearances in a doujin publication prior to the commercial manga launching, including some adult content. Though I get the impression we're "sketches and short stories" here.

Just prior to the commercial manga launch he also did the character designs for Minori's first eroge, Bittersweet Fools. Which according to VNDB involves Italy, an ex-hitman, and lolis.
The line between Mangaka and H-Doujin creators is a very thin and porous one.


In truth, if you want interesting things to look at. The best thing is to go for indigenous japanese manga/anime genres that don't have an equivalent in the US. The best examples I can think of are "healing" anime, like Mushishi, Natsume Yuujinchou, Aria; and Mecha anime (Gundam, Macross, Code Geass).

Can't say much about healing anime, but mecha anime have always struck me as Science fiction versions of classical chinese epics, particularly Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The idea of mecha themselves allow the world to be plausibly oriented around chivalric single combat, with pilots functioning much like medieval warriors or knights. Likewise, the plots usually imply a war of unification, where the main forces have ambiguous morality, the heroes are virtuous, and the primary unification force has "evil" leaders. This is very similiar to Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where it's a war of unification (to unify China), and the main unification force is the villainous Cao Cao's kingdom of Wei.

Mecha anime also quite frequently use 2 or 3 faction setups, which fits quite well with a RoTK analogy.

Mecha tends to be more peacenicky then RoTK though.
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Old 2012-05-31, 08:17   Link #29
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Haven't seen Aria but Mushishi & Natsume also deal with concepts not familiar with Western audiences.

Natsume deals directly with the concept of Youkai & Ayakashi (and Mushishi was obviously heavily influenced by Japanese folk lore.)

But when I try to explain the term Youkai to some of my friends they don't fully grasp it, especially when you use translated terms like demon & spirit which have different meanings here. I tend to just say they are creatures from Japanese folklore but even still I find for some people not being familiar automatically turns them off.
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Old 2012-05-31, 08:42   Link #30
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I would actually say there are western equivalents of Japanese Yokai stories.

Namely (undisneyfied) fairy tales. Fairy tales represent the mixture of horror, benevolence and fear of the unknown you see with yokai. Fairies and yokai both basically occupy the space of minor deities, with superhuman(but not omnipotent) powers, and petty desires. The story of rumpelstiltskin read plenty like a youkai story.

Likewise,a fair number of greek myths also fall into a similiar category, namely anything that concerns nymphs and minor deities with normal people, and not gods and heroes. An example might be the story of Baucis and Philemon from ovid's metamorphoses.

I'd say this genre was basically killed in the western world by a century of puritan victorians, rewriting and morally "scrubbing" them, with the final nail being put in by Disney.

Likewise, in the Middle East, you have the thematically similiar "1001 nights". In this case Djinn are usually the minor deities.


However you look at it though, there are no modern equivalents in popular culture, of "healing" anime. Healing anime is as much about tone as content. Not all healing anime contain Youkai (or equivalents), though many do. It's more of a relaxed, unrushed pace, creating a feeling of peace.
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Old 2012-05-31, 08:55   Link #31
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I'm going to interrupt a bit and elaborate briefly on the "meta-structure" of any kind of worthwhile analysis of an art form. I speak from my background as a former student of literature and the humanities.

There are essentially two parts to any kind of serious critique of art and aesthetics:
(1) The examination of the state of the craft, that is, the techniques of storytelling used in the art form.

(2) A study of the historical and sociological context of the story, to gain an appreciation of how it reflects the fears and hopes of its time.


Applying point (1) to poetry, for example, a student needs to be able to identify and evaluate techniques such as rhyme and rhythm, poetic meter, themes and imagery, and many other minutiae. In the case of anime, one can borrow much from the language of film and media studies, where students delve into esoteric subjects like cinematography, the use of lighting and camera angles, the choice of film, the use of colour, screenplay and acting directions, etc.

For the uninitiated, this is the "boring" aspect of analysis, what DonQuigleone dismissively brushed aside as pointless jargon. I can see where that opinion comes from, because that was how I once felt before I studied literature seriously. It can sometimes seem as though critics are pulling interpretations out of thin air, while being pompous and pretentious to boot.

One may as well as ask if there's any point in studying art. After all, it's just meant to be entertainment, isn't it? Why are we wasting time on something so trivial when there are more important things to do, like building roads and bridges, managing a globe-spanning business, feeding the poor and fixing all other kinds of social ills?

One is not entirely wrong to feel that way. I can only say that if art were easy to explain, it wouldn't be art. It's a bit like assuming that "justice" is common sense, only to fumble hopelessly when asked to explain its meaning and applications in day-to-day life.

Why study art? Because art is what makes us human. It is about us participating in deliberate creation. It is about our innate desire to seek meaning in our lives. Through art, we tell the stories that shape the way we relate to, and influence, the world around us.

And the attempt to encapsulate and enunciate that endeavour forms the entirety of point (2), the reason it is pointless to talk about "critical analysis" of anime without also studying the historical and sociological (and very Japanese) context behind it.

What we call popular culture today will one day become, quite simply, "culture" to our descendants in the future. When we study Shakespeare, for example, how often do we recall that his plays were to his contemporaries what TV dramas and sitcoms are to us today?
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Old 2012-05-31, 08:57   Link #32
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Yeah that is why I tend to say they are creatures from Japanese folklore instead of using the term demon &/or spirit (which is how these terms are generally translated in the west)

That being said I think you are taking for granted that just because someone grew up with their own folklore & fairy tales they can accept someone else's. I found this is often not the case.

As for myself I always been interested in international folklore so maybe that is why I latched onto these type of series when I became an anime fan (Inuyasha was one of the first series I got into as an anime fan)


Edit: Can't quote well on my iPod but this was a response to Donquigeone's post.
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Old 2012-05-31, 10:09   Link #33
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...and to add to my earlier post, I observe that we've been mainly quibbling over the classification and definition of genre, which, to be frank, makes for boring, shallow discussion.

If I were the lecturer or moderator at the sessions — and since we're so engrossed over gender issues — I might invite the class to think about this, for example: To what extent is Japanese society misogynist? Discuss with examples from Gunslinger Girl, Fruits Basket, To Terra and Ghost in the Shell.

========

One more point about the "jargon": Think about it as the vocabulary you need to learn to describe what you enjoy about any form of art.

Not being a music student nor a musician, and being more than a bit tone deaf, the most I can say about U2's seminal I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For is that it rocks. A more informed and educated critic might be able to tell you how the song "exhibits influences from gospel music" and how its lyrics "describe spiritual yearning". A musician would be able to describe the choice of chords and scale at much greater length, for example.

Not being a wine connoisseur and, worse, being anosmiac, the most I can tell you about a glass of red is that it packs a delicious kick. An expert might, on the other hand, be able to tell at a whiff whether it's a merlot or a shiraz, along with its country and year of origin.

In short, don't be disdainful of the jargon. People who make use of it aren't necessarily trying to belittle you. Rather, they're trying to describe what makes an anime or manga special, why it works better, or worse, than its peers.

In the realm of animation, for example, there are tonnes of techniques to consider. What makes animation good? Animation student and forum member C.A. could describe in great technical detail why the vast majority of anime represents very sub-par animation quality. These are things most fans and viewers don't even consider. Indeed, many would even take offence when the weaknesses of anime are pointed out to them.

Which brings me to my last point: In critique, be open-minded. There is no right or wrong answer, only interesting discussions.

Have fun.
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Old 2012-05-31, 10:32   Link #34
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Oh I agree a lot of anime is weak in terms of animation/movement but I think a lot of fans put more importance on things like art, story & characters & even atmosphere.
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Old 2012-05-31, 11:01   Link #35
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Applying point (1) to poetry, for example, a student needs to be able to identify and evaluate techniques such as rhyme and rhythm, poetic meter, themes and imagery, and many other minutiae. In the case of anime, one can borrow much from the language of film and media studies, where students delve into esoteric subjects like cinematography, the use of lighting and camera angles, the choice of film, the use of colour, screenplay and acting directions, etc.

For the uninitiated, this is the "boring" aspect of analysis, what DonQuigleone dismissively brushed aside as pointless jargon. I can see where that opinion comes from, because that was how I once felt before I studied literature seriously. It can sometimes seem as though critics are pulling interpretations out of thin air, while being pompous and pretentious to boot.

One may as well as ask if there's any point in studying art. After all, it's just meant to be entertainment, isn't it? Why are we wasting time on something so trivial when there are more important things to do, like building roads and bridges, managing a globe-spanning business, feeding the poor and fixing all other kinds of social ills?
Jargon for technique is not my primary criticism. For instancy I see nothing wrong with talking about metres, assonance, alliteration or themes. That's like engineers using stress, strain, energy and mass (with their specific meanings that differ from regular english). You need the words to specify what you mean.

However, sometimes so much jargon is used as too make it difficult to impossible to understand what is exactly being said, Like here:

Spoiler for Excerpt from an academic paper:


I understand bits of that paragraph, but I find it very difficult to get what the whole thing means.

Now pretty much all academic papers are guilty of this kind of poor difficult to understand writing. But I would expect English academia, who study the good use of the language, to be better.

Generally, humanities academia are guilty of the following:

1. Poor use of language: over using latinate words, and under using simpler, easier to understand germanic ones. And generally writing in an obfuscating (hah!) manner. If I had been writing well, i would have used confusing, obscuring, or bewildering. Which mean the same thing, but are more common.

2. Making something out of nothing, or seeing what they want to see: I have seen too many stupid theories come out of humanities explaining something that isn't there. Particularly anything that concerns modern art.


When we look at criticism of anime/manga, there are particular issues:

1. Western Superiority complex: I've seen instances of academics (and pseudo academics) look at anime as an innatelly inferior form to western art. Likewise, I have seen stupid pet theories about anime characters looking western because secretly the Japanese "want" to be western caucasians. This is complete nonsense.

2. Make individual titles representative of the entirety of Otaku, or sometimes Japanese culture as a whole: saying Ranma 1/2 is representative of Japan's fear of emasculation is a bit silly. Likewise, taking one extreme hentai example of hentai as being representative of all mecha, is equally silly.

3. Stating the obvious, or obvious mistakes: They state things that any one who has spent even a few weeks in the fandom would know about, or would know is false.

4. Missing the point: They think mecha is about male sexual power fantasies, when it's really a lot more complicated then that (and there's actually very little, if any sexuality in it). Or they might look at magical girl as some sophisticated feminist empowerment narrative, when in fact, it isn't.

Really, most of this stems from the fact that most academics who write about anime, haven't sat down and immersed themselves in japanese media culture, or watched enough. Talking about foreign media without first familiarizing your self with the media culture, is bound to result in bad research. All 3 could be improved upon if they just "lurked moar".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
Yeah that is why I tend to say they are creatures from Japanese folklore instead of using the term demon &/or spirit (which is how these terms are generally translated in the west)
Yes, there is no good translation for Yokai. But there are certainly equivalents. That said, we don't translate djinns, fairies, trolls, elves or nymphs into an english term, despite all occupying similiar places in folklore, so I see no reason to translate yokai either.
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Old 2012-05-31, 18:09   Link #36
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Yes, there is no good translation for Yokai. But there are certainly equivalents. That said, we don't translate djinns, fairies, trolls, elves or nymphs into an english term, despite all occupying similiar places in folklore, so I see no reason to translate yokai either.
I guess I agree with you that not translating Youkai makes the most sense (although I often do see it translated). I think it is not translated in Viz's edition of Natsume Yuujinchou which I am happy about.

But I am not really sure if those things you mention are really equivalents or at least Youkai seems more foreign to people not familiar with the concept.

Should they be able to understand Youkai because they know what faries & trolls are well yes in theory it makes sense but it is not what I am seeing from my own observation.
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Old 2012-05-31, 18:43   Link #37
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Most people are not familiar with what fairies and trolls are really about because, as I said earlier, the proper conception of this folklore was basically destroyed by the victorians sanitizing them out of existence in order to be fit "for children", with the final nail being Disney.

In the Victorian era, these stories were considered folklore, and not true (the people who thought they were, were ignorant farmers). The Japanese system of state shinto, on the other hand, maintained the idea that these entities did, in some way, exist. The same is also true in China, with chinese folk religion.

Western fairy stories were the remnant of the long battle between christianity (enlightenment thought, later), and paganism.

Certainly, the modern era of scientific thought is not a fertile ground for maintaining this kind of consistent folklore, except as a means to entertain children.

The closest thing in the modern world to Youkai stories are the ghost stories that get traded on halloween, alas these are rarely particularly sophisticated.

You could say that Western society has lost it's sense of the supernatural. Since it's destruction we've been attempting to refill it with the occult, glamourised horrors, and snake oil like astrology. Recreating a tradition in such a short space of time is a hard thing to do.

I believe other parts of europe have managed to preserve their folkloric traditions, particularly scandinavia. Apparently a fair number of Icelanders actually believe elves exist, in some way.
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Old 2012-05-31, 19:56   Link #38
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I'll leave this little post here to try and weave a better topic description.

This isn't meant to be a gender study, but rather to be a medium in which we can see why certain series work for some people while it doesn't for others. Using an earlier example, maybe K-ON didn't work for you, but it sure did work for many others, and that's fine. The conflicting thoughts aren't the focus, but it's to know why exactly we favour or shun series overall. I think that we can definitely get into more detail than "the plot is good" and "the visuals are nice". Don't get me wrong, those are definitely important aspects, but there are other deeper thoughts put into creating a genre. If we could just throw money at a good writer and animator but don't focus on what people are looking for overall (maybe a character they can latch onto, or something that offers a release to a problem in one's life, etc.), it won't have the same effect.

So basically, I'd like to know what your favourite and least favourite series are, and why you think you like/dislike them so much. What about the characters irk you, and what sort of message do you think you're getting from the creator(s)?

I do apologize since my initial post was kind of focused only to the introductory stages of the class I'm taking. We're jamming a semester of work into 2 months as it's a summer class, but we hadn't gone into too much yet. Needless to say, we're already getting into historical interpretation and other mediums. However, the class isn't what's important- it's the idea of finding out why we like certain things. Some of us watch anime for the mindless entertainment, but for those who have their own reasons for choosing preferences, it's good to know why we do.

P.S. Let's all have a laugh at my expense! The first three journals weren't good in the least and I scored about 4-6/10 on all of them. Lucky those were practice ones and only worth completion marks.
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Old 2012-05-31, 20:55   Link #39
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
You could say that Western society has lost it's sense of the supernatural. Since it's destruction we've been attempting to refill it with the occult, glamourised horrors, and snake oil like astrology. Recreating a tradition in such a short space of time is a hard thing to do.
Yes I think this could be a very real reason why the concept of youkai is harder for some people to accept here even more so than the fact that is foreign.

I don't know if you ever saw Kurosawa's Throne of Blood but I was thinking how well the witches from Macbeth fit into a Japanese setting.
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Old 2012-05-31, 23:08   Link #40
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To answer what the more-or-less original question was of "what do you like and why do you like it, and dislike what you dislike"... well, here's a look into my tastes and my two cents:

First and foremost, I generally prefer harems. Some of my favorite series are Daimou, IS, and the classic Tenchi. The reason I'm draw to harems is because you have cute girls surrounding one guy. The other part of that is that I enjoy another factor often associated with harems, the ecchiness (though I'm not at the level of members like TheEroKing or mangatron). This I suspect has to do with wishing to escape RL circumstances; i.e. being a single guy whose luck with women is not the greatest. Which also also why I also enjoy just regular romance, single-pairing anime

However, the above-mentioned harem series also have one other trait in common, and why High School DxD, once I watch it, will probably be added to the list. Courtesy of the old shounen stuff on TV in my younger years, I like a strong male lead... hence why even though i watch tons of harems, half the time they end up becoming "watching to say I watched it" (for example, I've forced myself to go through series such as Freezing and Magikano, and will force myself to go through Maken-ki, where the male leads are pathetic until the final episode). The idea of strong male leads is, even though they may not be my favorite shows, are why I like stuff such as Needless, Sengoku Basara, Chrome Shelled Regios, Darker then Black (first season only- second was HORRIBLE), and am currently getting back into One Piece... and stuff that pretty much has guys kicking a lot of ass.

(on a side note, I absolutely despise/hate the anime abomination of my favorite manga series, Rosario + Vampire, since it falls into...)

Now, the stuff I generally dislike... is funny enough, half the harem shows I watch, because it's always the girls kicking ass as the guy does absolutely nothing. Call is sexist or chauvanistic, but I'm of the philosophy that the guy should be at least on par, if not better, than the women who're around him, i.e. able to take care of his women if something goes horribly wrong. Other stuff that I dislike in general is the trope of "cute girls doing cute things", one of the sides of moe (on a side note to this, I'm going to go through both season of K-On anyways, just to see what all the fuss is about)
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