Rhyme N Review

Cinderella’s Courage

An Essay By, Donna M. Monnig

We’ve all heard the story of Cinderella, daughter of a well-respected man, forced into servitude after his death by her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters, rescued by a dashing prince to live happily ever after as a princess in a palace. What little girl hasn’t seen Disney’s Cinderella and been enchanted by the magical story of the servant girl who becomes a princess?  What child hasn’t been captivated by her charm?

Some people today, especially staunch feminists, say that Cinderella represents the oppression of women and is a negative influence on young girls, that Cinderella never did anything worthwhile and that the story teaches our daughters to be dependent on men. That is one way to look at it; however, there is always more than one way to look at things. Another way to look at Cinderella is that she was a…

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Introduction to Shonen: The Idiot Hero

Welcome back to my Introduction to Shonen series! Here I’ll be covering the usual staples of a Shonen manga/anime and giving, what I hope can be, an opinionated and in depth analysis on these topics. I figure that with so many common things that appear in these series, it’s best to start with what’s probably the most common and that is the Idiot Hero.

Ahh yes, the Idiot Hero. What Shonen series don’t have you as the shining star? (Death NoteSoul EaterYu-Gi-Oh, Detective Conan, FullMetal Alchemist, To Aru Majutsu no Index, Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, Bloody Monday, Negima, Bleach, Fairy Tail, Nurarihyon no Mago, Ruroni Kenshin)

Well, anyways, the vast majority of Shonen series usually star an idiot as the central protagonist. He (and it’s usually a he) will be of school age and failing miserably, getting low grades and being hounded by his teachers and mocked by his peers. Some series have a justification for having such a person as the main character for example little Son Goku of DragonBall over here! Son Goku was a Sayian baby sent to Earth and at one point hit his head on a rock. Raised by his “Grandfather” Gohan in the mountains and being taught only language and martial arts, Goku is not the brightest bulb in the box although he does seem to get progressively smarter as the series goes on. Goku’s main deal though was that he lacked interaction with other people for most of his early life. Once Bulma showed up and took him away from his little mountain home, Goku started learning more about the world. In addition to this, once he began training with Master Roshi, he received some education from the old pervert in between his training. Goku’s stupidity also played into his main character flaw in the early series of being very gullible and susceptible to manipulation. Despite this, Goku remained pure of heart and ever the optimist who always believed that things would turn out right in the end and it also made him very enjoyable to watch. Goku lacked the social skills and street smarts of Bulma and Krillin but remained the one who’d always risk his life to save any and everyone he possibly could, even a rat. As stupid as he was though, Goku wasn’t foolish enough to not fully recognize a threat when he saw one, at least as the series went on. By the time DragonBallZ rolled around, Goku was able to recognize every single enemy that appeared and dealt with them without actually killing them himself. This is in stark contrast to his behavior in the original series where Goku was quite willing to kill those who murdered his friends or tried to harm innocent people.

The question is why? Why have a character like this? What’s the point? What does it accomplish? What does the reader get out of rooting for some dumbass who can’t even count past 12? How does it benefit the story and what kind of development, if any, can come from having a character like this? Well, let’s look at a few more idiot heroes and see of those questions are answered.

I guess it’d be best to just kind of answer these questions one by one or all at the same time for each example I give on this page. Hmm, well I’ll figure it out but once again back to those questions. Namely the first one, why have a character like this? Over the years, I’ve seen MANY Idiot Heroes but I’m pretty sure that America was exposed to one rather decent one during the 90’s!

You thought it was going to be Ash from Pokemon…didn’t you? Well I’ll get to Ash at a later point. The first example we’re going to look at for this example is Taichi Yagami/Tai Kamiya from Digimon Adventure. Staring a group of kids that got sent to an alternate world and paired with strange creatures called Digimon, Taichi was the most distinctive among the entire group it it won’t take you long to figure out why. One of the things I should’ve mentioned earlier about the Idiot Shonen Hero or the I.S.H as I’ll refer to them is that this character is usually more Western or American looking in contrast to the usually more Asian or Japanese looking Rival. There are exceptions to every “rule” and Tai here is one of them. At the start of the series Tai was a standard Shonen Lead character. Strong willed, impulsive, brash and always the first to voice his opinion on what to do next. Tai was also ALWAYS first when it came to having his Digimon digivolve whenever a new form was available. His reason for being an idiot? Well, Tai wasn’t really an idiot, not exactly. Tai was more naive, no, more…explosively emotional, if that. Tai was a fighter. He was the dynamic and action oriented leader that the group would later look to when in need of someone to make a decision. In the series Tai is often contrasted and foiled by Yamato Ishida/Matt who was the level headed over-thinker. This level head is something that Tai would later start to develop as he’d become a true leader, the glue that held his group of friends together. Generally, Tai would be the one to say and do what many of us watching the show would’ve done if in the same situation. Explore the island, fight the monsters, climb the mountain, beat the bad guys…whatever the decision was that needed to be made, lots of us were behind Tai when he made his. So maybe this is why we have the I.S.H. We’re meant to be able to relate to them and picture ourselves in their situations. But isn’t this somewhat the point of ALL main characters, idiots or not? Aren’t we meant to relate to them in some way from the start? Well let’s look at another example and see what we get out of it!

Now, this is probably scraping at the bottom of the barrel in terms of great shonen protagonits but, this is one that I really like. Shonen heroes are usually average kids thrown into strange or fantastic situations and part of the joy of watching them is to see how they react and adapt to their new life. Some take it better than others though as Tsunayoshi “Tsuna” Sawada from Katekyo Hitman Reborn is among the most unsuited progagonists to his story that I’ve ever seen. Now unlike Tai who could really only be called an idiot in part due to the overwhelming maturity of those surrounding him, Tsuna is a scholastic nightmare as far as most people are concerned. He has the worst grades, can’t do anything athletic to save his life and is overall a pathetic loser that only bothers going to school because of the girl he has a crush on and she barely even knows he exists before the plot kicks in. Tsuna’s life changes forever when a baby in a suit appears and claims to be his new Home Tutor and the greatest hitman to boot. Reborn, as the baby is known, takes an active an over the top approach to turning Tsuna into that which he is destined to be, the 10th generation heir to the most powerful Mafia family in the world. This includes physically beating him up on a daily basis and putting him through hell as well as shooting him with magical bullets that ressurect him with his dying will. Tsuna is likely an idiot because the writer said so. He’s more similar to a Harem Hero if anything. Well, scratch that, he’s actually very much like Shinji Ikari from Evangelion. He’s a coward with little to no backbone and utterly fails to stand up for himself. He’s indecisive and almost useless and not at all worthy of being a Mafia boss. Similar to Tai though, Tsuna has shades of being the normal one among his friends. Tsuna is always the one who wants to avoid fighting or confronting the enemy but always the first to put his life on the line for his friends and he brings a very humane element to his Family. Also similar to Tai, Tsuna is a character that I’m sure people can relate to. A useless wimp with no real talents when it comes to anything that suddenly finds out he’s destined to do something he’d never even dream of. It’s his compassion that makes him an endearing character but for Tsuna it speaks volumes for him as a person. He’s got no business trying to lead anyone but is so often looked to when shit goes down that he eventually becomes somewhat comfortable with his position enough to inspire his friends to fight battles of epic proportions. So maybe this is why. Regardless of what we start off as we’re fully capable of being greater than what we appear to be. We’re capable of rising up from the depths of our own uselessness and mediocrity and become something or someone worthy of leading a group of trusted friends to what could most definitly be certain death. We are meant to empathize and at the same time criticize Tsuna because as great of a leader as he becomes, its’ out of necessity and not a natural thing he just has from the start of the series. His idiocy and desire to distance himself from the life that’s already been chosen for him is a contributing factor to his being an idiot because he doesn’t want to be involved with that world. He wants to be normal which is something that many heroes like him also wish for but can usually never get. And now that I’ve mentioned them…it’s time to talk about the next kind of Idiot Hero.

The Harem Idiot Hero…GOD I HATE SOME OF THESE PROTAGONISTS! Never the less, I need to talk about them as I need to cover all kinds of Idiots in this post. This idiot is Keitaro Urashima from possibly one of the best Harem manga ever written by Ken Akamatsu, Love Hina. Staring a high school graduate that’s been trying desperately to get into Tokyo University to fufill some promise to a girl he can barely remember, Keitaro ventures to his grandmother’s inn and learns two things. The first is that its’ no longer an Inn it’s an all girls dorm and the second is that he’s the new manager. All guys reading this and thinking of how awesome it’d be, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! The life of a Harem Hero is among the lowest positions for ANY protagonist and Keitaro has it the worst. Why is Keitaro an idiot? Well he keeps failing to get into the school of his choice Tokyo University. But to but this into context for you, Tokyo University is the highest ranking University in all of Asia, the most prestigeous in Japan and 21st in the entire world. He’s basically trying to get into one of the GREATEST schools in the entire world and fails about 3 times in his attempt to do so before finally getting accepted. Why else is he an idiot? Because he’s the main character in a Harem series and they are bound by the constraints of their role as resident punching bag. Keitaro suffers from a nearly endless bout of bad luck as being the only man in an all girls dorm, no one is smart enough to lock the doors or make sure that there’s no way anyone can see you naked or walk in while you’re changing. It’s not so much that he’s an idiot, because Keitaro is fairly smart. It’s just that he ends up in stupid situations because everyone else in his life seems to conspire to make his life horrible. The point of a Harem Hero is roughly the same as the main character of a Visual Novel or a Twilight novel. Men are meant to plug themselves in and pick their favorite girl and then hope they can get with them in the end. It’s entirely obvious who Keitaro will end up with in the end if you’ve never read the series and decide to try it, but it’s rewarding to see how hard each character has to work in order to get the happy ending that they want. Unfortunatly polygamy isn’t legal in Japan to my knowledge so only one girl gets the gold and the others keep pining after him even on his wedding day but are otherwise respectful enough to not get in the way of his happiness. Character development is a MAJOR factor of this series and while the characters keep their basic personalities intact, they’re allowed and somewhat forced to mature due to the main focus of the series being love…and comedy. So Keitaro is an idiot because, of course, no girl wants a man that’s perfectly premade for them. They want someone who’s being pursued by several other females and despite all of his short comings, grows into a man worthy of their affections. It also helps to have a man that’s slightly immortal and later learns archeology and martial arts.

So by this point we’ve covered three very different but very similar characters and what questions have we answered? Well let’s ask those questions again. Why do we have characters like this? Probably to give us someone to relate to. Few people want a story in which there are no relatable characters and we especially want to empathize and sympathize and relate to the lead character. We see the world through their eyes and most of the time the world is fairly unkind to them simply because the plot says so. The three examples listed above are all examples of characters that developed significantly past their basic I.S.H. status. They became capable of holding their own and carrying a good portion of the story on their own backs. Now, let’s look at some more. These next ones will be a bit more…I don’t know. They’re typical but they’re not at the same time and my opinions on them are a bit more…well…here we go.

Ahh, the very epitome of a MANLY hero! When people speak of Team Dai-Gurren’s fearless badass leader…they’re talking about Kamina from Gurren Lagann. This little number came out of a studio called Gainax. Sound familar? No? Well what about Evangelion, FLCL and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt? Yeah, Gainax did those and this. In perfect honesty, Kamina is NOT the protagonist or even the main character of TTGL despite the fact that he’s the driving force behind nearly EVERY single action and he’s mentioned in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE OF THIS 27 EPISODE SERIES! Yeah, he also gets a statue and a city and seriously the most awesome pair of sunglasses and the most attractive male of this series so he must be important, right? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK HE IS?!  Well, Kamina is at first glace the typical Idiot Shonen Character. He’s LOUD! He’s PASSIONATE! He’s an IDIOT of the highest caliber with the drive and determination to lead and inspire others to do their absolute best. He fits the bill much better than our actual protagonist Simon who starts off as someone very similar to Shinji Ikari. Kamina will face a giant Mecha with a sword, peep on girls in the bath, and try to win fights with pure will power. He’s most definitely an act first, think later type of person…but he’s not. Underneath all that masculine badassery and overwhelming passionate idiocy, Kamina is a far more complex character. True, Kamina is an idealist and a determined manly badass, but the idiocy is more or less a facade to mask his more or less truly grounded in reality mindset. Kamina is a strategist and despite it not seeming so, he’s QUITE sharp. He merely acts this way so that the others around him, mainly Simon, won’t be too afraid to do anything when the shit hits the fan. His actions are usually dumb but at times he’s capable of brilliance that makes you say, “Hmm, that actually sounds pretty smart.” And so we’ve already answered the question of why Kamina is an Idiot. It’s out of necessity because his team needs someone with his foolish arrogance and unrestrained pride, willpower and determination to lead them out of the darkness and into the light of a new world and a new life. And I think that’s all I’ll say about Kamina before I get into spoiler teritroy.

Now he’s a story I’d have LOVED to see become it’s own spinoff manga. I mentioned earlier that Ruroni Kenshin was one of the few manga I’ve read that doesn’t star the usual I.S.H. but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a character like that in the series. I present to you Yahiko Miyojin as one of my interesting examples. At the beginning, Yahiko was just a bratty kid that Kenshin and Kaoru took in and despite my always liking Kenshin, Kaoru, Megumi and Sanosuke I always really liked Yahiko’s story lines and subplots. He was the kid character, the one that most readers were probably meant to relate to. As for why he’s an idiot? He’s a street urchin so it’s justified. As the series went on, Yahiko became a far more active character than his teacher Kaoru and was even able to take out some pretty heavy hitters along the way all by himself. At the end of the manga, Yahiko was 15 years old and the kind of character people wanted to read more about, well at least I wanted to read more about him. Sure, his happy ending was already set up. He got Kenshin’s reverse blade sword, mastered the Kamiya Kashin Style and even got Tsubame as a girlfriend in addition to being able to catch swords and break them with his knuckles! That’s everything you need for a continuation, but I guess that’s what fanfiction is for isn’t it? You know, I can see why Kenshin was a better protagonist than Yahiko and Sanosuke. Kenshin had a mysterious past and a troubled history. He was a former assassin and a complex character. But as I said in my review of the series, if this were a typical Shonen series, Yahiko or Sanosuke would’ve been the main characters. But now I feel like I’ve gotten off topic. Yahiko was interesting because he was the little kid character that wanted to be a man. He wanted to be taken seriously and respected and treated like he was a valued member of the team insetad of that kid that was just allowed to tag along for the ride and fight a few times. He brought that childish outlook to the series that made it a bit more enjoyable and he grew into a strong man when everything was all said and done. And I guess that’s why he didn’t get his own spinoff manga. Not only did we finish Kenshin’s story but in doing so we also finished Yahiko’s. We saw the little kid who wanted to learn swordsmanship grow into a capable man and that’s really all we needed to know.

First let me start by saying that I LOVE THIS PICTIRE! Second, we’ve reached…what can probably be described the Dork Age of DBZ with this picture. Yeah, I’d like to know what editor proclaimed from oh high, “We should put Gohan in High School!” Well, I think we can also agree that this was probably the worst arc of the entire series. So why am I even bringing it up? Well to start off I was searching the internet for a picture of Gohan going to school for about an hour so that’s one reason. And the second reason is that while I’m well aware that Gohan isn’t an idiot in the intellectual sense, he still can be described as an idiot in some ways due to his actions at this point in the story. See we all remember that Goku died trying to beat Cell ONLY because Gohan over here didn’t kill him when he actually had the chance to do so. Then Gohan killed him and we had a Time Skip! The point of this was that Toriyama felt that Goku’s story had finally come to an end and it was time for him to pass the torch to his oldest son, Son Gohan. This arc focused on Gohan going to High School and playing superhero to avoid people pestering him about his powers, you know simple shit that’s been done the world over by this point. Now to be perfectly honest…I LOVE THIS ARC! No joke, it’s probably my favorite arc of the entire series. Why? Well because we get to watch Gohan act like an idiot. We the audience are laughing at him as opposed to with him due largely to how near needless this arc is. In personal opinion though I still like it, even if it does make me feel embarrassed for Gohan at times. Gohan would’ve made for a rather decent protagonist had Toriyama decided to keep Goku out of the picture. The kind and gentle nature, the need to help everyone in need and the well of unused power resting within him makes Gohan a character that I’d enjoy watching go to high school and try to struggle with keeping his powers a secret while fighting increasingly powerful opponents as opposed to having Buu come in right from the get go and I kind of think that that’s what Toriyama wanted to do but I guess the world hadn’t gotten enough of his idiot father and thus the world got the goody goody that failed to kill pretty much any major villain throughout the entirety of the series. Now how does Gohan fit into this discussion on idiot heroes? Well Gohan has the same traits that I think a lot of more intelligent Shonen heroes usually suffer from. Gohan is smart and intelligent but he’s also socially awkward and like his dad, not very in touch with how the modern world works. He’s an idiot in the sense that he just doesn’t really use common sense. Any logical person in his situation would simply let the police or Videl handle the bad guys but Gohan being Gohan can’t allow any innocent person to be harmed or any wrong doer to go unpunished. So, he dons a colorful costume and makes a fool out of himself and it doesn’t take long for Videl to figure out who he really is especially in the manga where she discovers him the first time he uses his new hero identity. I guess one can also make the case that Gohan is an idiot for letting his father die during the Cell Games. Yeah, that might be a low blow but it’s true. Once Gohan finally snapped, EVERYONE knew that he was perfectly capable of killing Cell and ending this shitstorm. What did he do? He drew the battle out and played with his opponent like Vegeta and this is largely due to lacking two things that his father and Vegata both possess. Gohan lacks his fahter’s tactical battle skills, if you can call them that and the killer intent of Vegeta. This would’ve been a WONDERFUL chance to explore the potential problems these flaws could’ve caused but no. Goku comes back and the rest is history. Such a waste. Honestly, have Videl get kidnapped by someone or something with ACTUAL power, nothing like Buu but something challenging for the young hero and then let’s have this guy…wipe out a few major cities, kill some innocents and to cap it all off…mortally wound Gohan’s family and loved ones while still threatening his lady love. This sounds like something I’m sure some fanfic writer has come up with and out of the first 10 pages of the DBZ section on fanfiction.net only 10 stories focus on Gohan in high school and none of them seem to utilize that idea. Oh well, I think we’ll look at two more atypical examples of this before looking at the three that EVERYONE seems to love for some reason or another.

Now, as I’m sure you’re starting to notice, for these examples I’m not using the actual protagonists of the series. This is because of a certain trend I’ve noticed. When reasonably intelligent, level headed or outright average characters in a shonen series are in fact the main character, they’re often paired with an idiot. Why this happens is anyone’s guess but I guess I’m supposed to be the one to answer this question, aren’t I? Well much like in the case of Kamina, let’s see how these next three (yes three, hell I might even do 4) characters help to shape our lead.

 By far probably one of the best examples of being paried with an idiot charcater happens with Yugi Mutou from Yu-Gi-Oh! In his case, the small boy was paried with this guy, Katsuya Jonochi/Joey Wheeler. Joey started off as meerely a playful antagonist to Yugi at the start of the series. A more unlikeable and bullyish version of Kamina from Gurren Lagann. But Joey never physically caused Yugi harm or put him in danger…intentionally. Joey, for some reason or another, wanted to make Yugi a man and as previously stated, treats him in a similar manner to how Kamina treats Simon. But the thing that turns Joey into arguably the second most important character in the series among the supporting cast is when Yugi defends him and Hiroto Honda/Tristan Taylor from a bully. Joey returns the piece of Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle to him and the two boys become best friends. Now Joey is straight up stupid, no doubt about that. He’s headstrong, hot blooded and constantly rushes into thigns without thinking them through. He often relies on Yugi’s help to win duels against far stronger and mroe experienced opponents and when that’s not enouh, Joey relies on straight up dumb luck. Now why do I even bring up this character? Well, even if Joey isn’t the main character he’s still an idiot shonen character which is what this post is about. Since Yugi is the smart one in his group, Joey is the dumb muscle. But there’s more to him than just that. As I’ll cover in a later post, the power of Friendship is an important force in the land of Shonen and here it’s among the strongest forces in the universe. The bonds of Friendship shared between Yugi and his friends resonate strongest in his friendship with Joey. In Japanese “Friendship” is translated as “Yujou” which and is made up of the first sylables of both Yugi and Joey’s names. Their friendship is brought up constantly and is one of the reasons why Yugi is able to grow and develop into his own person. Because Joey was always there supporting Yugi, the boy was able to grow into becoming his own man…despite the fact that he also relied on the spirit of a 5,000 year old Pharaoh. Anyhow, the friendship between these two has been tested in just about every season to my knowledge and each time they’re able to overcome this obstacle and become even stronger which culminates during Battle City where Yugi confesses that he loves Joey from the bottom of his heart, not as a LOVER but as an irreplaceable friend that he’d gladly risk his life and die for. Say what you want about this show but you’ve got to admit that the Idiot made a Man out of our main…sort of. That and FRIENDSHIP!

Once again we return to Ruroni Kenshin for a supporting Idiot. Now here we have a rather…unusual case…in a way. Often when paired with the idiot supporting character, our lead will be of reasonable intelligence but lacking in masculity or a backbone. Thus the idiot will often be the most masculine member of the cast and the best freind to our main and will try to man him up. Not so much in the case of Sanosuke Sagara. Kenshin’s already a 28 year old man by the time he works his way into the plot and despite the protests of some that Bishonen characters aren’t manly for some reason just because they’re pretty looking, Kenshin is the established man with a backstory and everything. He’s the one with the vow to never kill and goes out of his way to save people. Suck it up, Kenshin’s more of man than Sano. Back on topic here, Sano serves to knock some much needed sense into our favorite former Hitokiri. Sano also served a similar role to Yahiko, being a character others could have an easier time relating to and he was also like an older brother to Yahiko. He was also the resident second badass and more or less second in command…if you could call him that. As the male character closest in age to Kenshin (for the first part of the story), the two were able to easily have conversations and bounce off each other so why is Sano an idiot? Well because of that personality of his. Sano was…I’d dare say at the lower end of intellectually average but he knew his way around the battle field. He was a support character and like Yahiko and Kaoru, he quickly realized that he was…not quite up to snuff and needed to get stronger during the Kyoto Arc. Like all the characters, Sanosuke got a significant amount of development. He started off as a simple fighter for hire and eventually became something of a wanderer himself at the end of the manga.
Just about the only really contributing side male character in a Harem series is Kotaro Inugami from Negima. Similar to the two above, he started off as something of an antagonist to the lead (are we seeing a pattern yet?) before switching sides and becoming Negi’s friend. Now of all the characters in this series why would I bring up this one? Because Kotaro has a much more obvious effect on Negi than any of the girls do. Kotaro was introduced in volume 5 during the Kyoto Arc (wow that’s two series with a Kyoto arc now) as an antagonistic obstacle in Negi’s way. Kotaro is a Hanyo or Half Yokai/Half Demon specifically an Inugami or a Dog Spirit and he makes it very clear that he has a hatred for Negi during their first fight because Negi is not only a male Western Wizard, but he also depends on a girl to protect him and do all the physical fighting for him. In his second battle with our main character, Kotaro is beaten by Negi who despite doing most of the fighting for himself still has to rely on the help of one of his partner’s with the ability to read thoughts. After the Kyoto arc is finished, Kotaro returns in volume 8 as a main reoccurring character and a friendly rival to Negi. Now like Joey and Sano, Kotaro is an idiot in the intellectual sense but he shines brightest on the battlefield. He might not understand things like philosophy but Kotaro has street smarts and battle experience and is an invaluable ally to Negi. Now, this might not be the best time to bring this up but when I say “in depth analysis” I mean I get what I get out of it. I’m no expert on this stuff so like I say, grain of salt. Back on topic, why does Kotaro matter? Well let’s look at what Kotaro is. He’s a Dog Demon. On the one hand, he sees himself as a lone wolf but it’s obvious that he’s more like a wounded street puppy. Kotaro has been shunned away from his family due to what he is (this is implied within the series). This makes Kotaro value the relationships he’s able to make with Negi and some of the other girls. In turn Negi, who up till this point has really only had female friends, values Kotaro as a playmate and a true example of what a male to male relationship is like. Kotaro inspires Negi to think a little outside the box and act like an idiot while Negi inspires Kotaro to become stronger and eventually become a Magister Magi himself. Kotaro is a rare character in Harem series because the males that do appear often fuck shit up as best they can which isn’t funny. They often give stupid advice to the lead male who takes it against his better judgement. Kotaro has no interest in romance. He often tells Negi to stop getting caught up in so many different relationships with girls and in a way kind of thinks them inferior to men on the battlefield in his first appearance. Kotaro is chivalrous though as he refuses to physically fight girls under any circumstances and is always there to help the girls if needed.

So, we’ve looked at three typical examples, three atypical examples and three supporting examples. The Idiot Shonen Hero comes in many flavors and the best part is that most times he doesn’t even have to be the main character. But now we’ve reached the three that just seem to roll right off the tongue. These are the last three examples before we wrap this up with my favorite Idiot Shonen Hero.

So for this one we’ll start with the new and go back in terms of series. Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach, is what happens when you take InuYasha and try to make him into a combination of Yusuke Urameshi and Kazuma Kuwabara and fail to do it the right way, if there is a right way to do so. He is practically those three characters all rolled into one scowling package. Unlike most Shonen heroes, Ichigo isn’t really an idiot in an intellectual sense since he ranks 23rd in his class in order to not get shit for his grades and natural orange hair. He’s troubled and he’s got a sad sob story that involves the death of his mother and he’s weird in that he can see ghosts and people pick fights with him because of his hair. He’s got friends, a loving family, good looks and an unusual talent so what’s his goal? Well, he doesn’t have one. Ichigo is one of the “normal” Shonen main characters that gets dragged into the story and has no set goal in mind nor any aspirations to do much of anything with his life. Ichigo suffers from what I like to call “Plot Power Disease” meaning he gains new powers for no logical reason other than “Oh yeah, the plot requires you to get stronger!”. Now many other Shonen series are afflicted with this disease but its’ not always a bad thing when the threat will be resolved in a timely manner. NOT WHEN THE VILLAIN MAPS OUT THE ENTIRE PLOT AND IS AROUND FOR THE GRAND MAJORITY OF THE SERIES! Sorry about that, I’ve got issues with this series. In many ways Bleach was off to a fairly decent start and the way it was structured wasn’t horrible, but very enjoyable! Even with the shitstorm of characters that kept flying out of Kubo’s ass and the walking abomination that is Aizen who makes Haruhi Suzumiya look like a stage magician in comparison to the power he wields. IF Aizen was killed…in like…2 more arcs after the Soul Society arc, I wouldn’t have minded him so much but no. And once again I’ve gotten off topic but not really. Anyways, Ichigo isn’t a horrible protagonist, not really. He’s just not a very compelling one when you get down to brass tacks. He fights for his friends and to save the world but…really what else? What does he get out of it? Why does he exist? Well, don’t ask me! I could care less! In a lot of ways I don’t have too many problems with Ichigo’s character or many of the other supporting characters either. My MAIN problem starts with Aizen and then the plot itself. It’s like it’s on this grand journey to nowhere but wants you to think that it’s actually going somewhere.

And now we get into uselessness territory. Naruto is the shit series ripped off of…I mean inspired by a series called Ninku and for some reason, it’s become like the Twilight of the anime world. You have the people that like it but can see all of it’s flaws and just don’t watch it (like ME), and then you have the people that ARE FUCKING OBSESSED WITH IT AND TREAT IT LIKE IT’S FUCKING SHAKESPEARE OR LITERARY GOLD WHEN IT’S NOT! IT’S NOT DAMNIT! Okay, I…I need to calm down. It’s just that this series ANGERS ME! Not because of how bad it is but because of it’s many many many many many many many MANY MANY MANY FLAWS THAT PEOPLE CONTINUE TO IGNORE FOR SOME REASON! IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS PEOPLE! IT’S STUPIDITY WHEN APPLYING IT TO THIS! Once again…I need to calm down. Okay, now where do I begin? Naruto is among the biggest idiots in his universe. He’s loud, annoying, idiotic and of course he’s got problems (don’t we all?). Naruto’s got a demon fox taking up residence inside his body and EVERYONE  in the village hates him for it 🙂 🙂 So Naruto wants to become the most badass ninja in his village because then people will HAVE to look up to him and respect him or else die (or something like that). So in his quest to become a great ninja, Naruto CONSTANTLY skips school and plays pranks! TOP GRADE NINJA, RIGHT FUCKING HERE FOLKS! I’ve got SO many problems with this series, it’s not even funny :(! First, the story is OLD AS SHIT! We’ve SEEN this story MANY times before, and we’ll no doubt see it MANY times in the future. Despite this, I liked the series when it first hit America. I liked the idea of Naruto becoming Hokage not for the GOOD of his village but because he was tired of being treated like shit and wanted some damn respect! I STILL like that plot! It deals with a character having to find his place in a society that neither wants nor cares for his personal well being. Sure, Naruto’s existence has saved the village but they all think he’s just the fox in human form. Naruto’s goal and plan to become the Hokage is a rather smart move and rational decision on his part as it would force the villagers to respect him REGARDLESS of the nameless monster fox living within him. I’m not going to really get into my reasons for not liking the series, or at least I hope I don’t because I want to focus more on the character rather than the shit series as a whole. Now part of my dislike for the series stems from the fact that Naruto still wants to become the Hokage but now is primary motivation is gone. The villagers already respect him and he’s among the most powerful of his class so what does he really have to gain by becoming the Hokage? What’s his reason for aiming that high? Naruto’s still stupid after the time skip, he wouldn’t make a great leader in a time of crisis or war! Now if the village still hated him even after he saved their asses from Pein that would be different. He’d still have perfectly reasonable reason for wanting to become Hokage but why does he still want to now? Does the Hokage make him a babe magnet? Will he become smarter? What’s his reason? If any of you can or wish to answer this question, PLEASE DO IN THE COMMENT SECTION! Now, I’ve talked about this idiot as much as I really want to without shitting all over it. Despite my MANY reasons for not liking it, I still do like it in a way.

Now we move onto my FAVORITE of these three series, One Piece and it’s idiot lead Monkey D. Luffy! Shit, even his name has “stupid” written all over it. Luffy is…an idiot in every sense of the word. He’s…he’s just an idiot but I still like him. Despite being stupid, Luffy still manages to be likable and the kind of person you’d be inclined to follow on an adventure across the seas. Like Naruto, Luffy also has a (Truly truly truly) outrageous goal in mind. He wants to be the Pirate King. He gathers his crew (most of which is smarter than he is) and sets sail for the Grand Line. As stated previously, I find Luffy to be extremely likable despite him being an idiot. Maybe it’s his childish determination, or that goofy smile he always has on his face or just the fact that YOU KNOW Luffy will get shit done that makes me respect him as a lead character. Why Luffy is an idiot is something that the world may never know and I don’t really care, to be honest. I know that I bitch and whine about there being too many idiot Shonen leads but that doesn’t mean that I hate all of them. Luffy here is my absolute favorite, to be honest. Who’s you’re favorite Idiot Shonen Character and Why and then who’s the character you hate the most and why?

In conclusion, idiocy is the thing that humanity is stuck with. We can become smarter but we all make stupid decisions at some point or another and we learn from those mistakes, do we not? Maybe this blog was a stupid mistake of mine. But back to Shonen, let us now return to those questions that I asked before we got into the examples. Why have a character like this? What’s the point? Well, I believe the point is to give the character a believable flaw. Their idiocy is their undoing sometimes but most times these characters are able to come away despite their stupid decisions. What do we get out of it? Well, humor for one. To be honest, I’ve never really seen idiocy played in a serious or tragic light where it REALLY has a devastating effect on the main character and as much as I’d like to see that, I doubt people would sympathize very well. Everyone has access to information with which to develop and improve their intellect so it’s a flaw that’s played for comedy and at times dramatic irony. SOME situations do exist where the character goes through a tragic ordeal because of a stupid decision they made but it’s never really too big of a thing. We the audience are able to connect with the character. As for possible development, LOTS cam come from having an idiot for a main character. Their idiocy may be a result of immaturity and as the series gets more serious, the hero must cast off that childish immaturity and idiocy and become an adult. I hope that this has been an informative and insightful post and I hope that in reading this you were able to learn something you didn’t already know. Join me next time for…I don’t even know!

Anime Argument Pointlessness: Dub vs. Sub

Hello friends, I’m back again with another entry and this time it will be me kind of venting at the world in general. The Anime community has long since been divided on a number of useless and pointless topics like Fanservice, Is Avatar an Anime and the always popular My Favorite Show is better than Your Favorite Show. But one topic, besides Anime vs Manga is always at the tip of everyone’s tongue so to speak and that is Subtitles vs Alternate Language tracks on Anime.

Of all the topics anime fans find to argue about I find this one to be the most idiotic, needless and idiotically needless topic of them all. WHY?! Why do YOU, random person reading this blog, give five flying flaming fucks about what language I watch my anime in? WHY?! WHY DOES IT MATTER?! WHY DO PEOPLE GET SO FUCKING UPTIGHT ABOUT THIS ONE ISSUE?! Well, I’m going to attempt to answer that in this post. Besides my Shonen posts, this will probably be my most opinionated entry on this blog and if I offend you I WANT you to leave nasty comments! I want you to flame me for my opinions this time because frankly it just proves how unbelievably STUPID our fandom is! Let us now begin.

Personally I don’t really know or care what the first anime to be dubbed in English was. I’ll assume it was probably Astro Boy or Speed Racer, as these are two of the oldest anime series that English speakers can remember watching. Personally the first anime series I ever watched was Pokemon or Pocket Monsters if you want to get on my ass about the original title as well. From there I was exposed to Yu-gi-ohDragonBall, DragonBall Z, YuYu Hakusho and Ruroni Kenshin. Not long after that the Fox Box caught my eye and I became interested in Fighting Foodons, Ultimate Muscle, One Piece (yes the 4kids version), Sonic X  and Shaman King. Some time after that I got interested in all the other anime that was being shown during the 90’s and 2000’s and I watched ALL of it…IN ENGLISH! What else would I be watching it in? I was in like Elementary and Middle School so of course I watched my anime in English.

This is actually a part of the argument. English Dubs exist for THE SOLE PURPOSE of exposing us to Japanese animation and then as we get older and discover that it’s from Japan we’re meant to make the jump from English to Japanese. This is something that both sides can partially agree on, English Dubs expose us to anime and make us crave more. But where is the dividing line and what does each side argue. Frankly both sides argue bullshit points with little merit and in the end it all comes down to personal opinion.

On the Sub side of things, Anime is an art. Yes, we’ve come so far as to put Anime like Naruto, Cardcaptor Sakura and Kiki’s Delivery Service in the same category as the Mona Lisa. My what progress we’ve made! No, in all seriousness Animation itself is an art form and the entire world seems to know this by now. Disney has produced some truly beautiful pieces such as this lovely little feminist nightmare!

Beautiful, isn’t it? If I may go on a bit of a tangent, which I can seeing as how the blog is mine, I love this movie. Of all the Disney movies, Cinderella is truly the best looking of the older animated classics with it’s humble little moral of “wait around and take your shit like a bitch and one day you’ll be rewarded” and runs with it all the way, but I’ll do a blog on this movie at a later date. Back on track, as stated before, animation is an art form and we know it. And that’s what get’s people’s panties in a bind about dubbed anime. They see it in the same way as someone would see painting a Hitler-stache on the Mona Lisa; it’s disgraceful and shameful and it looses the great artistic quality it once had. This is despite the fact that nowadays, subtitles come with the anime you buy and hell it’s not like we’re changing the visuals at all are we? Well, not any more unless it’s being watered down for little kids which will be another point for me to clarify in a little bit. Fact of the matter is that in the minds of the sub purists, they believe that since anime, which is translated by JAPAN as cartoon or animation in general, is Japanese it is intended to be taken in as such in it’s original language. I’ll say that this is somewhat true. After all, Japan does produce their programs with their own culture and what not already in mind. Us stupid Westerners aren’t the target demographic at all! Disney and the cartoons made in AMERICA are targeted towards ENGLISH speakers, ANIME AND JAPANESE ANIMATION ARE MADE FOR JAPANESE PEOPLE! Clearly it’s not made for us at all anyways so why should I even bother with writing any more of this? Because I can!

The next point that the Sub people like to bring up is that as I alluded to in the last couple of sentences, there’s a cultural thing involved with Japanese Cartoons as I’ll refer to them now. Japanese Cartoons are made with the intent that Japanese people will be watching them with their own culture and societal beliefs and practices ingrained in the product they’re pumping out. For this I’ll use an example of a Japanese Cartoon Movie, and two Japanese Cartoon series!

The saddest of the Stuio Ghibli movies, Grave of the Fireflies, is NOT something made with an American audience in mind. This was something made FOR Japan, more specifically the young people of Japan at the time this movie came out. Telling the story of a brother and sister that die due to the decisions of the brother, Grave of the Fireflies takes place in the latter days of WWII. It’s the greatest movie you NEVER want to see again simply due to how depressing it is but that isn’t the point of the movie. The movie is often seen in the eyes of non-Japanese people as an anti-war film and it’s not. Isao Takahata, the films director has expressly stated that it’s not an anti-war film but more of a message to the young people of Japan who were being extremely disrespectful to their elders at the time. The two siblings die and are meant to make the audience feel sympathy for their parents and grandparents who had endured what was arguably the darkest point in Japanese history. I saw this movie once in English and then I was advised to watch it again in Japanese which I refuse to do. I cried enough during the English dub, I don’t want to repeat the experience. And the reason I use this film as opposed o Miazaki’s Spirited Away is because that’s the film that EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER uses to illustrate Japanese culture in an animated format. It’s very Japanese, we know it, we get it moving on to the other examples of cultural differences.

This Japanese Cartoon is called Detective Conan and is basically Japan’s take on Sherlock Holmes in modern day Japan. Young Shinichi Kudo is a high school detective who gets turned into a small child and helps his girlfriend’s idiot father solve cases in his small state in hopes of turning back to normal. As easy of a concept as this is to just dub straight into English, FUNimation hit a few…snags in their attempt. First of all due to that other series, Conan the Barbarian, FUNimation was forced to rename the series Case Closed. In addition to this ALL the character names and locations were made into American ones and in the end they just dropped the series all together. What’s more this is actually kind of a tricky series to dub due TO CULTURAL DIFFERENCES! This is a mystery series and murder is it’s favorite mystery of all so dying messages pop up fairly often and are ALMOST ALWAYS IN JAPANESE. For those who don’t know, Japanese is a MUCH more complex language than English due to the thousands of meanings a single word or character can have. This was FUNimation’s biggest hurdle to jump and this was further complicated as half the time we didn’t know if we were in Japan or America of somewhere in between! Thank you FUNimation, for not giving the sub purists something else to bitch about. In all honesty though, the dubbed vocal cast isn’t bad at all, it’s TOP NOTCH! And even the English Manga uses the American names of the characters but the setting is definitely Japan.

This next series is one that I’m fairly positive will NEVER get an English dub simply due to HOW Japanese it is!

Urusei Yatsura, created by the one and only Rumiko Takahashi tells the story of the world’s biggest pervert Ataru Moroboshi who ends up engaged to an Oni princess named Lum after a game of tag in which the fate of the Earth was at stake. This series is DROWNING in Japanese culture and frankly, ONLY subtitles can get across the multiple puns and jokes this series contains. It’s a great series and all the movies are dubbed in English but the show itself as well as the manga remain largely untouched by America. Once again, this is a culture thing and watching it in Japanese shows and illustrates the culture being portrayed. So in a way, the Sub purists actually kind of know what they’re talking about. An English dub can’t always get across the differences between our culture and Japan’s. For some series, yes it’s much better and much more advisable to stick to the original language track because you’re getting the full product as intended and with all the cultural notes and whatnot left intact and explained. I’ve seen fansubs that clearly get Japanese culture across to me and I thank them for that. And this also brings up my next point which Sub purists just LOVE to remind us of. BAD ENGLISH DUBS!

Cardcaptors deserves an award for being the epitome of bad English dubs. Then again you can’t really blame Nelvana for the this. Unfortunately Cardcaptor Sakura had really too much in it that America doesn’t want in it’s children’s programming and this once again is a cultural thing. The premise of the show is perfect for America. Sakura Kinomoto finds a magic book and releases the 52 Clow Cards into the world and must now become the Cardcaptor and regain them. Sounds like a more childish version of InuYasha minus the demons and the jewel shards if you ask me. At face value it’s PERFECT for America. But then you get into the content and…you get CLAMP. See CLAMP LOVES love. Like, they love it more than DISNEY! And in CLAMP’s eyes True Love transcends ALL, including those pesky little obstacles known as age and gender. Let me see if I can map out all the romances in this. Sakura loves her big brother’s best friend Yukito, but he has a thing for Touya, the big brother. Li Shaoran, Sakura’s rival also has a crush on Yukito but he starts to develop feelings for Sakura and he also has a fiancee in the form of his cousin Meiling who loves him to death. Then you’ve got Sakura’s best friend Tomoyo and she’s in love with Sakura and they’re second cousins. Furthermore, Sakura’s classmate Rika loves their twenty something year old teacher and in the manga it’s implied to be reciprocal. And then there’s Tomoyo’s mother who loved Sakura’s mother Nadeshiko and the two girls were cousins and while she was still in high school Nadeshiko fell in love with her teacher and married him. This man was Sakura’s father. So…yeah, you can already tell what ended up happening when this was dubbed. But Nelvana went an extra mile. In addition to a shitty dub cast, they actually had the balls to start the series at episode 8 when Shaoran is introduced in order to make the show appeal to both girls and boys. Add to that that they changed all the names, as you do, and aired the episodes out of order, you can tell WHY this should get an award for the worst dub in the history of ever and frankly I’m surprised that this doesn’t get brought up when arguing Sub vs Dub in the first place. The point is that when anime is dubbed into English with the intent to air on television it’s often made FAR too acceptable for American audiences than what’s really necessary. The original spirit of an anime is often lost when it’s being made “child friendly” in America and frankly that’s just because we’re too damn sensitive over here. Violence and what not isn’t good for our children so we must spoon feed them lies and fantasies about how the world is a happy sunshiny place! Japan doesn’t do that. The dub that is often brought up is the 4Kids dub of One Piece and as bad as it is, I like the vocal cast MUCH BETTER than FUNimation’s…creation. It’s also a series I watch exclusively in Japanese so I’m throwing you people a bone here.

Now what else is often brought up on the sub side of things? Hmm…well there’s the people that like to bitch about who has the better performance between the English and Japanese versions. People on this side of the argument say that it’s an insult for some American to be voicing a Japanese character and how their performance pales in comparison to the original actor. And then there’s the point that most of them will jump down throats to get, I knew there was something I was forgetting. Watching Japanese Cartoons in ANY LANGUAGE BESIDES JAPANESE WITH SUBTITLES OR SOMETIMES JUST BESIDES JAPANESE IS LAZY!…Do you people hear yourselves when you bring this point up? I mean, REALLY?! This is your most often brought up point and YOU have the nerve to tell US to go LEARN AN ENTIRE LANGUAGE just to watch a cartoon? Hey do you hear that? IT’S THE SOUND OF PEOPLE NOT CARING OR TELLING YOU TO FUCK OFF! Honestly I really hate this point namely because it’s stupid. If I want to watch my Japanese Cartoons in English, that’s exactly what I’m going to do and no one is going to tell me otherwise. Why is this lazy? It wasn’t lazy when we were little kids and we didn’t know what the original language sounded like. Some people DON’T want to READ while experiencing a visual medium. Frankly we shouldn’t be expected to. It’s rude of you people to say this and you can kindly go screw yourselves. And by this logic seeing as how it is a visual medium and not a written one, the actions should speak for themselves and audio shouldn’t be needed.

In the defense of the sub side though, I can see where they’re coming from with the points they make. Watching a Japanese Cartoon in Japanese with or without the subtitles if you’re lucky enough to understand the Japanese language is a very rewarding experience. You’re getting the series as it was intended to be viewed and you’re learning about a new culture at the same time. English Dubs of children’s anime often don’t keep the spirit of the original Japanese version and frankly fall flat and are if nothing else laughable in an attempt to try to Americanize a series as much as possible. The original actors often have a true passion for what they do it’s often quite pretty to look at.

And now for the English side of things. It’s actually kind of hard to defend English dubbing of Japanese Cartoons or dubbing over their original language in any other language because it wasn’t created for anyone BUT Japan. English Dubs do something that Japan can NEVER do. They give us a new series from a different culture in our own native language and I think that’s probably one of the greatest things about dubs in general. Companies like FUNimation and Viz are known for doing (mostly) decent and some truly outstanding dubs and it’s because of them that we were able to watch the older anime that we know and love. I will always state that from a personal opinion YuYu Hakusho is the BEST English Dub ever done. I tip my hat to FUNimation for granting us this great series and making it SO MUCH BETTER! Watching YYH with the subtitles on while listening to the English dub shows just how much work FUNimation put into this. Not only are the dubbed songs beautiful and fun to listen to, but the performance of the actors in their respective roles is also bursting with personality and emotion. Also, the original version of the series is VERY blunt and direct. It tells you what you need to know and for the most part it’s the same as the dialogue from the manga and if i wanted to hear that, I’d read the manga to myself out loud. The English Dub frankly adds some more dimension and personality to the characters. They all come off as much smarter and craftier and they don’t engage in telling you what you already know. They treat you like an adult and it works.

In addition to this, ALL of us were exposed to Japanese Cartoons in English. Once again unless you’re from a Japanese family and lived in Japan or were somehow able to watch Japanese television networks as a child, if you lived in America you got hooked on watching Japanese Cartoons in ENGLISH~! To think that English dubs serve ONLY this purpose is frankly pretty insulting as you’ve now undermined the efforts of many talented people who’ve done their best to bring us something new and interesting. FUNimation, Viz and I think BangZoom are the few companies that specialize in dubbing and distributing Japanese Cartoons here in America because lord knows we can’t make this shit ourselves! Our best attempt so far has been Avatar: The Last Airbender and it’s gotten to the point that there’s some confusion about whether or not it’s an actual Japanese Cartoon which I believe is rather well placed because it shows that America wants to get in on this and has masked it so well people put it on Japanese Cartoon streaming sites. Granted it is one of the most Asian things America has EVER done. Other attempts to capture that lightning in a bottle that is the exotic Asian culture or whatever you want to call it include Jackie Chan Adventures, Xiaolin Showdown, Samurai Jack and Disney’s Mulan if you want to stretch it that far. The thing is that Cartoons made in Japan have now begun to influence our own culture just as we’ve influenced theirs. You’ll notice now that more action cartoons made in America have that Japanese look to them…sometimes.

Another point I like to bring up on behalf of the dub side is the fact that Subbed series don’t make much money in America. I guess it’s kind of dumb of me to bring that which makes the world go round (no, not Love!) into this argument but the fact of the matter is that once again, people want Japanese Cartoons in America and they want to make money off of it. It doesn’t do much good to import a series over here and NOT dub it into English because then you just don’t make any money off of it. You need to capitalize on it and dubbing makes money. Yes this is my weakest point in the argument and I’m sticking with it.

So if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably assuming that I like to watch my Japanese Cartoons in English, aren’t you? WRONG! I like both languages. For me personally it varies from series to series, for example I’ll watch One Piece, Detective Conan and Seto no Hanayome in Japanese because I like them better that way. I LOATHE the English dub of Seto no Hanayome/My Bride is a Mermaid simply due to the voice of the lead male being in TOO MUCH of FUNimation’s recent dubs and because they made Sun’s catchphrase sound stupid. I WILL watch Ruroni Kenshin, YuYu Hakusho and School Rumble in English because that’s how I first discovered each series, I saw them in English and I’ll stick to watching them that way. Also I think that a lot of fans are like this despite having a preference for one language over the other, they’ll make do with what’s avaliable to them and sit through it. I used to only watch my Japanese Cartoons in English but then I found Seto no Hanayome and Negima?! and I HAD to watch them in Japanese because they weren’t licensed yet.

This argument is positively pointless. Nothing can be gained and by actually going into it taking one side over the other you make yourself sound stupid. You can’t change someone’s mind simply based on your own opinion. People like English dubs because they’re easier to relate to and listen to and people like subs because they get to emmerse themselves into a new culture and learn some Japanese along the way. Feel free to insult me and bag on me in the comment section below to show just how immature you are. I gladly welcome people leaving comments why they like one over the other and also respecting that other people have their own preferences because we’re all Anime fans at the end of the day be it in English or Japanese.

Introduction to Shonen: An Opinionated Look

I’ve been writing on this blog for a few weeks now and of all the subjects I haven’t really touched on in depth as I would like to, Shonen series are the ones that I most wish to talk about.

Good old Shonen series…WHERE would we be without you and your many contributions to story telling? In a way I both love and loathe Shonen series. Most are basically the same with minor differences and few try to be really in depth and thought provoking…well the few of the series that I’ve read. Now keep in mind that I’m not a professional and my words should be taken with a grain of salt before moving on because from here I’ll be mixing facts with personal opinions. If I say something about a series that offends you in anyway you have two options. You can either leave a polite and intelligent comment explaining why you’re offended or you can shut the fuck up and go somewhere else! 🙂

Shonen series are usually marketed at boys aged 10-18ish and usually feature the following:

1. A cast made of mostly males

2. Plots that focus on action and humor

3. FANSERVICE~!

4. Few Female characters with notably defined and developed personalities

5. A main character with absurd hair, a brash personality, the intelligence of an old brick and a dream or goal of being something they currently are not

6. Running the length of more than 10 volumes

and finally

7. A main character who is the strongest in their given universe

These are the ingredients that make up many shonen series. It’s near impossible to determine what the very first shonen series was but the one that set the bar for most modern shonen series is one of, if not, the most famous series to ever come out of Japan.

Good old DragonBall! Written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama, DragonBall was inspired by the Chinese classic novel, Journey to the West  known in Japan as Saiyiki. Telling a story of epic proportions and spanning a length of 42 volumes, DragonBall focused primarially on Son Goku, a little boy with a big appitite, very little brain, immense power and a monkey’s tail. Goku lives in the mountains all by himself until he meets the blue haired beauty Bulma Briefs. She’s searching for magical plot devices/mcguffins called Dragon Balls and when all seven are gathered a Chinese Dragon named Shen Long/Shenron appears and grants a single wish. Bulma has a radar that lead her to the 4 Star Ball that Goku has and the two team up in order to collect them all. Over time the series moved away from it’s fantasy roots and delved into the realm of science fiction and also managed to stretch 5 minutes into TEN FUCKING EPISODES! But regardless of everything, DragonBall was EXTREMELY popular. This series is known throughout the world and it introduced MOST of us to anime. It also introduced Japan to a new way of writing Shonen fighting series. As I explore the demographic and the tropes that somewhat make it a genre in and of itself, I’ll also do articles on the staples of a classic and typical Shonen manga/anime. This is merely to serve as an introduction to these kinds of series and my opinion it as a genre which it has kind of become over the years.

Shonen series USUALLY follow a very basic plot line. Character X wants to be the greatest Y and is an idiot. He crushes on character Z while his rival, A, is better at most things than he is. Characters B,C,D and E as well as A end up forming some sort of team and continue on towards their goals. This makes up MANY shonen plot lines and is by far the most typical routes for shonen series. Because these things are usually found in Shonen series, I see it not only as a marketing demographic but also a genre in and of itself. A Genre is defined by Wikipedia as “the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, e.g. music, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones are discontinued. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions.” Because Shonen series generally follow a very similar set of criteria, I tend to look at it as a genre and a demographic despite it NOT being a genre. Like I said, take this with a grain of salt.

Now, how do I feel about Shonen series? Personally, I love and loathe them. I enjoy series that will make me think but that also have constant action. Shonen series OFTEN lack anything truly deep and substantive and often rely on and CONTINUE to bring up the Power of Friendship which often shines though and saves the day by reforming antagonists that later join our protagonists as allies. But the thing that most Shonen series USUALLY have are GREAT characters. Off the top of my head I can name at least 6 Shonen series that have great well developed characters but I’ll go the extra mile and try to name 10.

1. YuYu Hakusho

2. Shaman King

3. Rurouni Kenshin

4. Flame of Recca

5. Gurren Lagann

6. Rosario+Vampire

7. Soul Eater

8. Detective Conan

9. FullMetal Alchemist

10. One Piece

11. Negima

12. Saiyuki

13. Ranma 1/2

14. Love Hina

15. Katekyo Hitman Reborn

Okay I named 5 extra series but these are among my FAVORITE Shonen series. Now like I said, even though I consider Shonen to be a genre, it’s a demographic and it’s a marketed towards boys age 10-18. Now, why do I like Shonen series? Well, generally Shonen series have heart. There’s a passion for the stories being told and this shines though in the characters. What else do I like? I like the romance. Seldom seen are great romances in Shonen action series. Romance is often used in the Harem Genre, which I’ll also be covering in this category at a future point. Hands down, the best portrayal of an honest romance was in Negima, a Shonen Action Harem written and illustrated by Ken Akamatsu. Then again the one I’m thinking of is more of a one-sided love as we’re never given any resolution in regards to the romantic entanglements of this series. But if I had to pick a reciprocal romance from a shonen series, it’d be all the craziness of Love Hina which is also by Ken Akamatsu. I’ll cover that more later but since romance is rarely at the forefront of a Shonen series, I love it when there actually IS a romance to develop. What else do I like? I usually like the comedy. It’s usually well timed and doesn’t do too much to offset the mood. I also like the action. Most Shonen series have pretty good fight scenes which is another way of translating the emotion a lot of them have. Another thing I really like, most of the time, is exposition. I LOVE exposition when it’s needed and even when it’s not sometimes. I love learning about the universe I’m looking at and I love finding out how it works and why it works the way it does. But even I have a limit to how much exposition I can take in one sitting and this brings me to some of the things I LOATHE about shonen series.

First, I don’t like flashbacks. I understand how useful flashbacks are BUT I don’t like being treated like a COMPLETE IDIOT! A lot of shonen series will continually flashback to things that happened just a few pages/minutes ago! It’s annoying when you’re doing it just to pad the run time of your series! Second, FANSERVICE! I’ve begun to despise fanservice, which is usually when female characters are walking around showing skin or their boobs or stuff like that for no reason. Even fanservice has an appropriate time and place and even a proper use. Harem series generally tend to use fanservice in all the right places but when used too much it becomes stupid. I also don’t like characters being powerful with no justifiable reason. I don’t like repetition, poorly developed characters, and all around bad writing. I don’t like things being dragged out longer than they need to be and I don’t like copouts. Needless plot points, series with lots of characters that don’t get enough development, series that CAN’T pick a setting and stick with it without jumping into another world five minutes after getting back to their own world, pointlessly powerful main characters, main characters with LITTLE TO NO INTELLIGENCE, characters that are constantly hungry, characters that lack common sense, characters hell bent on revenge to the point where it becomes a horrible obsession, characters with needlessly tragic back stories, long speeches, long speeches on the powers of love and friendship, characters that are utterly devoid of selfishness or negative character traits, characters that are FAR too smart for their own good, typical struggles between good and evil with no grey areas, introducing romance into a series and NOT DEVELOPING IT AT ALL WHATSOEVER, characters that think they’re right when they’re not, characters like Vegeta who have NO redeeming character traits and only act out of spite and in an effort to boost their own ego, and much much MUCH MORE.

So, I hope you’re ready to join me on my quest through this strange world of Shonen. We’ll cover the following in no particular order:

1. FANSERVICE

2. The Idiot Hero

3. Female Characters

4. Bad Boy rivals or Bad Boy Characters in general

5. Revenge

6. Nakama and the importance of Friendship

7. Main Characters in general, The best and the worst

8. Harems

7. Tournament Arcs

8. Kidnapping/Rescue Arcs

9. Betrayal and the effect this has on the rest of the cast but especially the main character

10. Villains and Antagonists because they’re NOT THE SAME

11. Humor…or something along those lines

12. Death

13. GREAT Shonen series

14. Average Shonen series

15. HORRIBLE Shonen series and WHAT makes them HORRIBLE

and much much more! I hope you’re prepared to learn a bit about Shonen from my perspective! And I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know in the comment section if there’s anything specific or in particular that you’d like me to cover when it comes to Shonen series.

Shaman King Flowers Chapter 1 Review: Off to a decent start

Hello! I guess it’s a little bit late considering it’s been around for a few months now but I’ve decided to do chapter by chapter reviews of Shaman King Flowers.

Ah, the start of something great, I’m sure! Now I guess I should give some history on the original series before I delve any further into the review and summary of this chapter, shouldn’t I? It makes sense since while one probably can just start reading this without having read the original, I don’t recommend it. Shaman King Flowers is meant to tie into the original story while standing on it’s own two feet. As the series continues, I think that it should be able to effectively do this and come into it’s own story without relying on the last one.

The original Shaman King was written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei and focused on Yoh Asakura, a boy who also happened to be a Shaman, one who acted as a link between the Physical and Spiritual worlds. In this series Shamans are capable of interacting with Ghosts in a multitude of ways as well as doing battle with them by forcing them to possess their bodies or place them into an object which acted as a medium. Yoh was determined to become the Shaman King, a Shaman powerful enough to use God (yes, THAT God) as their Spirit Ally and effectively do as they wished for 500 years until the next Shaman King Tournament (unattainable goal, tournament arc…yep, smells like Shonen to me too!) Along the way, Yoh was joined by a colorful cast of characters but the main ones were Manta Oyamada, a small boy who could see Ghosts and Yoh’s best friend, Amidamaru, Yoh’s samurai spirit ally, Anna, Yoh’s deadly Tsundere fiancee, Ren Tao, Horohoro, Chocolove McDonnell, Lyserg Diethl, “Wooden Sword” Ryu and Faust VIII as well as their spirit allies. The simple tournament turned into a quest to save the world when it was revealed that Yoh’s evil twin brother Hao was also in the tournament and was planning to destroy most of the worlds population if he won.

The series was good, the characters were developed and enjoyable and the fights were plenty and awesome! Hiroyuki Takei’s art style is really what makes the series enjoyable for me since I especially love the way the characters are drawn. The manga was adapted into a 52 episode anime which was dubbed by 4kids and the manga was distributed by Viz so check them out if you want to. The series had a great ending…the second time. The Viz version of the manga, that being the original was ended in a way nearly identical to the Inuyasha anime. It has since been redone and reprinted into a 27 volume manga called Shaman King Kanzen-Ban which included the real ending to the series. Shaman King Flowers was announced in 2011 and it was announced that the series would focus on the child of Yoh and Anna. And that brings us to where we are now! So let’s dive right in!
We start off on a scene that’s identical to our introduction to Yoh from the first series.  This boy is Hana Asakura, our protagonist and the son of Yoh and Anna. Hana appears to take after his father in terms of where he chooses to spend his time and even in his overall appearance but it doesn’t take long to notice that he’s practically drowning in his mother’s side of the gene pool. Moving right along, Hana laments that he’s “sick of this shit” by which he’s tired of being called out by his school thugs and challenged to fights. After smiling like an insane serial killer and revealing that his Spirit Ally is Amidamaru, Hana presumably takes care of large thug army without breaking a sweat and goes home to be physically scolded by Tamao Tamamura, who runs the Funabari-Onsen Inn and has become the Anna of this series but of a more calm and elegant nature if that makes any sense. It seems that Hana has made a habit of using Amidamaru as nothing more than a tool/weapon in his fights and has broken Tamao’s rule against doing so. She goes on to say that it’s her duty to care for him and that he has a duty to preserve the house until the next Shaman Fight in 500 years. She comments that he shouldn’t be wasting his time and that it’d be troublesome if he was exposed while using his powers.

Hana handles this rather realistically by storming up to his room and complaining about why he should have to worry about something so far away and then asks Amidamaru why he’s even a Shaman in the first place. The samurai responds by saying that it’s all for his own good and that even if it’s his duty to serve Hana, he doesn’t appreciate being used for such trivial and careless fights. He philosophizes a bit and ticks Hana off by mentioning something that Yoh said. Hana is pissed because while his father and Amidamaru both have a lot of experience and were able to take part in the Shaman Tournament, he himself has nothing to look forward to in life.

Amidamaru thinks a bit about all the experiences he had with Yoh and the others and leaves to have a drink with fellow Ghost, Tokagero who seems to really understand where Hana is coming from. As Tamao and Ryu enter the small cart, Tamao says that she’s felt a strange presence and that while she has her Ghosts looking into it she also wants Amidamaru and Tokagero to be on guard as well. We then cut back to the cemetary where we see two people standing and talking.

They go into some cryptic exposition saying that it’s wise to assume Hana Asakura is using a samurai spirit if he was capable of taking out all those thugs by himself. They call him a “descendant of a hateful clan of legendary Shaman and legendary Spirits” and reveal that their ancestor is now King so they can “close the curtain on a fake history fabricated from fiction”. Turns out that these two are direct descendants of God and that they should be called the main line of the Asakura family. The boy uses his Over-Soul, the process of placing a spirit into an object and drawing out it’s power, to cut what’s revealed to be Amidamaru’s grave stone in half. When Hana comes by this the next morning he’s pissed since the grave was his favorite chair and assumes it was one of the punks from the previous night that did this as an act of revenge. Amidamaru then notices how clean the cut is, which prompts Hana to want to ditch school to hunt down whoever destroyed his chair. While yelling at Amidamaru, a boy comes up to him and asks him for directions to their school and reveals himself to be a Shaman, with a samurai spirit and the two boys prepare to fight each other. Back at the Inn, Ponchi and Konchi inform Tamao who’s responsible for the presence she’s been feeling. The names are Asakura Ruka and Yohane, from the other Asakura line that broke of during the Heian period and that they’re direct decendants from Hao. Tamao is visibly disturbed, as they were supposed to have died long ago and is told that the boy has made contact with Hana who he is intent to kill.

I thought that this was a decent way to start off the series and even if you’ve never read the original series you won’t be too lost. Sure I recommend it but the focal character in this is Hana and this is his story. The rest of the older characters that appear are important, yes, but at this point only Amidamaru and Hao have much bearing on the plot and the latter hasn’t even appeared yet. When I first read this chapter, I didn’t care much for Hana. I found him to be a spoiled and entitled little brat who’s in desperate need of a reality check. Reading the chapter again for this review, I found myself liking him a bit more. He’s not really spoiled since he hasn’t really had anything, other than his power, handed to him on a silver platter. He’s bratty because he’s bored and doesn’t have anything or anyone to properly challenge him or to properly prepare himself for. Looking at it from his perspective as opposed to someone still thinking of the last series, Hana was just born at the wrong time. Instead of reminding me of Yoh or Anna, Hana reminds me more of Yusuke Urameshi from YuYu Hakusho and that’s because both are extremely talented fighters who at the start of their respective series have really, nothing much to live for and no proper outlet for their strength. For fans of the original manga, coming into this somewhat startle you if you’re expecting Hana to resemble Yoh in overall likability. No, you’ll probably be looking at him the same way you looked at Anna because that’s who he truly resembles if we’re trying to match personalities from the last series. You’ll also be fairly surprised to see Tamao as she is now, no longer the shy little pink haired girl pining after Yoh.  Ryu doesn’t seem to have changed much and neither has Tokagero. The most interesting character from the previous series in this though is the samurai Ghost, Amidamaru. When paired with Yoh, Amidamaru was the experienced and dutiful samurai serving a lazy but kind and respectable lord. Yoh treated all spirits as equals and one of his defining moments early in the original series was his distaste for Ren Tao using and thinking of spirits as nothing more than tools and weapons. Amidamaru did anything Yoh asked of him because they both had a mutual and equal respect for each other. They were friends. His relationship with Hana is more reminiscent of Ren’s treatment of his spirit Bason at first. Hana seems to demand if not outright expect the utmost obedience and respect of Amidamaru but doesn’t give any back. Hana treats him like a slave at best and I really have to wonder if this is because Amidamaru is something of a hand-me-down from Yoh to Hana or if it has something to do with Amidamaru’s already established loyalty to Yoh and his servile nature. He tries to be a guide to Hana but gets yelled at and used for it and I have to wonder if Amidamru will continue to allow Hana to treat him this way or if he’ll ever set the boy straight and tell him that he’s not there simply for the boy’s convenience, he’s there to protect him and be used in times of need. I doubt it but I do hope it happens or else someone else can set Hana straight about how to properly treat a spirit. And now we get to the antagonists. I find it rather interesting that there was some unknown branch family to the Asakura clan with direct ties to Hao and I find it even stranger that these two are his possible kids. It kind of makes one wonder if Hao is behind this or if the kids are acting on their own free will.

Now there are already 3 chapters of this out online and if I don’t have a review of the second and third chapters up within the next few days, it’ll be over the next couple of weeks. Leave your thoughts on this chapter and the review in the comment section bellow!

Character Battle #5: Spirit Sword vs. Shaman

Alright! It’s been…what just a few days since I’ve done one of these, right? And so far the only comment is still on the Sakura vs. Sakura battle. The last one makes me feel stupid. With Magneto as powerful as he is, there’s no way that Toph would win. But this one might be a bit better. For this battle I put two people that rely on Spirit power in some way, either they use their own spiritual energy or else command some spirit and use their powers. In this one there’s one that I’d think would win, but honestly it could actually go either way. I present to you the 5th battle!

———————————————————Vs.——————————————————————

Just to let you know, YuYu Hakusho and Shaman King are among my absolute favorite shonen series. They had enjoyable stories, powerful conflicts and great characters. In fact, I think I actually like Shaman King better than YuYu Hakusho simply because of the differences in their very similar characters. One can easily draw parallels between the two series and the main casts of each and match each one up with who they’re similar to like how Kuwabara would be most equatable to Ryu while Ren would be Hiei. And don’t tell me that I should’ve paired Kuwabara against Ryu or Ren against Hiei. I considered that but then I remembered that Kuwabara is the only human combatant in YuYu Hakusho besides Genkai. I also chose this match up specifically because Ren is so similar to Hiei, the member of Team Urameshi that Kuwabara most wanted to beat the shit out of. Similarly, in Shaman King, Ren was the one with the most open disdain for the others mainly Horohoro, Ryu and Chocolove (yes there is a character in Shaman King named Chocolove…it’s weird to me too) and since Kuwabara is most similar to Ryu it also makes sense seeing as how the two were on somewhat bad terms during their initial interactions with each other. Okay, let me clarify, Ryu tried to use the place Ren was staying at as his “Best Place” in the manga and Ren sliced his pompadour off. Not sure if it counts as being on bad terms but I think it does. Also just to let you know…Ren is the little guy with the pointy hair. The big guy in his picture is a Ghost. Let’s get down to business now, shall we?

At the start of the series, Kuwabara was nothing more than a street punk. The walking Japanese Delinquent stereotype that ended up not only having a good heart, but an honor code and most importantly exceptional Spiritual Awareness. This meant that, in the context of the series, Kuwabara was sensitive to supernatural energies and able to see and sense things that others(regular humans) could not. This first manifested itself as Kuwabara’s self titled “Tickle” in the English dub. After Yusuke was brought back to life and went to work on his second case, he was surprised to see Kuwabara at Genkai’s temple. It was revealed that Kuwabara’s spiritual awareness was going nuts and came to ask Genkai to as he put it “turn the volume way down” on it. He made his way though Genkai’s tournament even drawing out his Rei-ken or Spirit Sword for the first time using the broken tip of a wooden sword. By the time of the Saint Beasts arc, Kuwabara gained the ability to materialize the sword at will as well as extending and retracting it as per his desires. During the Yukina case, he demonstrated what I can only assume was Telepathy which he used to communicate with her briefly. When training for the Dark Tournament, Kuwabara trained with Kurama and Hiei but more the former than the latter as Hiei was unwilling to go all out on Kuwabara while Kurama had no such compulsions. It was stated that the goal of the training was to allow Kuwabara to completely master manipulation of his Rei-Ken which he did but this didn’t stop him from losing to Rinku, being almost killed by the Ichigaki team, humiliated by both Shishiwakamaru and Suzuka(Suzuki in the Japanese version) and losing to both of them. Kuwabara won his match against Risho and the Elder Togouro using the Trial Sword given to him by Suzuka(ki) but failed to kill him. After the tournament, Kuwabara lost the use of his spirit energy, which most assumed to be a side effect of the Trial Sword but retained his physical abilities, making him second strongest to Yusuke but near useless for most of the Chapter Black saga until he was confronted by one of the seven psychics, Matari or Seaman. In that fight Kuwabara’s powers were awakened and it was explained by Genkai that his powers knew of the coming danger during the previous saga and began to undergo a metamorphosis. This granted him access to his powers again but also to the Jigen-Tou or the Dimension Blade which allowed Kuwabara to cut through dimensional gateways and barriers which made him a plot device for the duration of the saga. By the end of the series, Kuwabara was the strongest human, presumably, in the entire Human world. His powers revolve mainly around materializing his spiritual energy into a sword, the sharpness of which is unknown. He’s also able to do minor projectile attack by firing smaller blades of energy and he can completely manipulate the sword in general. When all else fails, Kuwabara is able to rely on his fists and feet and has the physical strength and stamina to knock out most human foes and even some demons. All in all, Kuwabara’s a force to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY when he’s angry.
Ren Tao is the kind of character type you can spot from a mile away by this point depending on how much anime and manga you’ve been exposed to. A sadistic little fuck from a sadistic family, Ren’s the quiet but snarky and sarcastic short one of the team with the dark and evil back story that involves being an antagonist that was redeemed by the powers of Love/Friendship and stopped using the powers of Hate. Born into an ancient and powerful family in China, Ren is a Shaman who followed a simple formula instilled in him since birth. “Destroy or be Destroyed”, kill the enemy before they kill you. Pampered and groomed but trained and conditioned for his destiny as future Shaman King aka ruler of the world for 500 years. With this mentality, Ren’s heart became dark and cold, hardly batting an eye or shying away from death or killing others with little to no rhyme or reason. As a Tao, he’s well versed in Shaman techniques mainly Hyoi Gattai, rendered as Integration or Spirit Unity in the dub which allows Ren to utilize a Ghost’s abilities by allowing the Spirit to more or less possess his body but while he still dominates his own mind. He fatally wounds protagonist Yoh Asakura but is defeated and begins to train for the Shaman Tournament. During the qualification process, Ren kills the Patch member sent to fight him and later appears to save Yoh from Faust due to their rematch being the next fight. Ren and Yoh tie and Ren is able to let go of some of his hatred and confront his father, defeat him and completely move on, breaking away from his old ways and becoming a better person. Even without his Shaman powers, Ren Tao is at the peak of his physical ability with a wide variety of martial arts under his belt. Ren is also skilled with old weaponry, his most used being the Kwan Dao and after that the Sword of Lightning or something along those lines. Combined with his Spirit Ally, Bason an ancient Chinese warlord who’s strength and abilities are all available to Ren, he’s quite deadly. He’s capable of striking as fast as lightning with his Kwan Dao, as well as summoning a multitude of blades from the ground when using the Lightning Blade as a medium for Bason as opposed to himself or his Kwan Dao. Finally, Ren is also in possession of the Spirit of Lightning which is one of the five Elemental Spirits.

Take your pick! I guess it’s kind of dumb for me to do this 5 battles in, but I’ve decided that you don’t need to explain why one would win even though I’d prefer it if you did. If you really want to, just leave a comment stating who you think would win, no need to go into specifics if you don’t want to. This is meant to be a fun thing and if it devolves into a popularity contest, that’s fine. Personally I think that Ren would win due to him packing more power than Kuwabara and due to his working with spirits and spiritual powers since he was a baby. Who do you think would win?

Character Battle #4: Master of Magnetism vs. Blind Bandit

So…yeah, I’m gonna keep doing this even if no one reads them. I think my main problem is that the match ups aren’t entirely all that interesting so I need to come up with better ones! That or I’m writing this as a blog and leaving it up to the viewers and not as a fanfic wherein I describe the happenings myself. If you’re looking for the latter, I’m not the right guy for you. I suck at describing action and fight scenes. It’s one of the things that I struggle with in my own writing so don’t come here expecting that. Come here expecting to see a proposed match up of two characters about to engage in battle and then be prepared to leave a comment in which you choose a winner and why. Anyways, when I popped this question at AX my roommates immediately launched into a nearly 5-10 minute long discussion on it so now I propose it to the rest of the internet!

vs

 Once again, yes I am proposing this match up. I think that this is actually one of the smarter ones I’ve done, maybe the smartest one I’ve done, due mainly to the differences yet similarities in their powers. Earth vs Metal or rather the Electromagnetic spectrum vs Earth and Metal. I find that’s a very fun one to imagine, more so than the previous Ranma/Korra battle which was probably decided the moment anyone bothered to look at it and thus the lack of comments. Once again, I’m going to make this very clear. I do not know very much about the Avatar series. I didn’t like it when it was on but I actually started to like it once Korra rolled around. Thus, my knowledge of the series is limited to what I can pull off of Wikipedia and other sites. On the Marvel Universe…at this point it’s like DC with it’s various worlds and universes so only basic things tend to remain the same between them all. I know that there are probably over 10 versions of Magneto floating around and for this, you’re welcome to use whichever makes you most comfortable. The one thing I DO NOT want to see are comments asking which version of the character I’m using. You are free to use whichever version of the character that you are most familiar with so that I don’t have to choose and therefore it’s a tad more open ended. But enough with that, lets jump right into this. Toph Beifong vs Magneto!

First off we’ve got everyone’s favorite metal manipulating mutant, Erik Lehnsherr who is most commonly known as Magneto or sometimes Magnus. Magneto is a powerful mutant with the power to manipulate magnetism which basically allows him to control metal. He is capable of lifting 30,000 ton nuclear submarines and asteroids though levitation, can create force-fields which selectively block out matter and energy and because of this field, he is able to survive in deep space and withstand most harm that comes his way. In short, Magneto is capable of manipulating the entire electromagnetic spectrum, more or less, at will. He’s able to project electromagnetic pulses, manipulate electromagnetic energies, turn himself invisible, manipulate gravitational fields, manipulating matter on a subatomic level and flying along with probably much more. Furthermore, Magneto is a genius and that’s about it.

Now with all that, one might think it stupid for me to even recommend Toph to fight him in the first place. Hell, even I think the odds are kind of slim but somehow I see Toph pulling out of it somehow. Toph is, for those of you who don’t know, blind. As an Earthbender, Toph can manipulate the earth around her, more or less at will, and “sees” by feeling seismic vibrations in the earth and this allows her to visualize her surroundings and those around her. Toph is the first Earthbender to bend metal and later bends sand and a meteorite.

Fuck, I just realized that even despite Toph’s great sense of hearing, she’s fucked if Magneto just stays in the air the whole fight. Then again, I’m sure she’d figure something out…I think. Looks like I picked another obvious win but oh well. I’ll do better on the next one…I hope.