Kirino versus Manami, no contest

Posted in Anime/Manga, non-fiction, non-non-fiction on January 21st, 2013 by duriel

Sometimes I have very strong feelings about characters. These feelings can be positive or negative, and they seem to come over me with no warning at all. Literature, film, anime, manga, games, all are common sources for characters about whom I feel very strongly. I suppose it gives me an outlet for some of the excess emotion I supress on a daily basis in my quest to be a rational human being.

A number of years back, when I was first playing Final Fantasy VIII, I recall becoming enraged when Rinoa was kidnapped. Not just angry, but enraged; I wanted to tear those bastards in Esthar apart. How dare they ship my goddamned girlfriend off into space? So I did not sleep until I rescued her. No compromise. My roommates could not use the TV; I did not go to class.

Some things are important. Very important.

When your girlfriend is kidnapped, it is time to take action.

My actual girlfriend at the time of course found this to be twenty-five times amusing, since I had Squall and Rinoa’s character names altered to ours.

Ah, youth.

This was only the incident that made me aware of this tendency though; I had exhibited similarly strong reactions much earlier, going back to the original Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy IV (Rydia!!!) as far as video games were concerned. Beverly Crusher was another one. Picard never got around to fixing that mistake.

I have a history of this behavior, is my point. Earlier this evening I was forcibly reminded of this when I saw someone talking about how wonderful childhood friend characters are in harem shows / dating sims. Now I will not make a blanket statement about all such characters; that’s dangerous and I know I can find exceptions I like. In this case, though, the example character was Tamura Manami, the disgustingly ordinary and dull megane childhood friend of Kousaka Kyousuke in Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! As may be evident from the previous comment, I loathe her.

I loathe Manami because she is a dishrag, a doormat, a clod. This would not be so terrible in and of itself, but she is set alongside Kousaka Kirino as some sort of competition for the romantic interest of Kyousuke. It would be laughable if so many readers and viewers didn’t love her. Also, she has the irritating tendency to take up valuable screen time that could be employed for worthier characters (i.e. Kirino).

Kirino x Kyousuke is not just an idle fancy of mine when it comes to Oreimo. It is the gospel truth. I am a shipper. It’s my OTP for the series. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the reason I watch the show. In fact, if the novels don’t end up that way I am going to be seriously pissed off and I will likely have to engage in some sort of fan delusion to make myself feel better.

I am not kidding. This is serious business.

So Manami is not just boring or bland; her fanboys (and girls) make her dangerous. By herself she is uninteresting, but she has the potential to wreck the whole series for me.

Why am I not enraged at the other girl characters? Partly because I feel that they have been dealt with to some degree, but mostly because they are interesting. I don’t want Kyousuke to end up with any of them, but I could respect his decision if he did; they’re pretty cool people (except for Ayase, who’s just insane – still interesting though).

Manami is not interesting. She is the fail option. The one who is there only by chance. I hate her. I hate that Kyousuke might choose such a boring life for himself. I’ll let this post in the thread I saw earlier say what I think, because this person really hit it for me:

peasant girl

Peasant.

That is a good way to describe her. Nothing romantic about her.

I loathe Manami.

I love Kirino.

I do not engage in fantasy to find a peasant wife. I engage in fantasy to find someone extraordinary. I want Kyousuke to choose the thorny path, the difficult one.

The interesting one.

I recognize that pursuing Kirino is not simple. She’s not simple. There will be trouble at every turn, really. But life is meant to be lived boldly, not fearfully. If our fantasies are pedestrian, what does that make us?

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” – Francis Bacon

Manami is certainty at the outset: a simple life, easily planned and easily executed. Comfortable and calm, a straight road with no turning.

Kirino is everything Manami is not. An uncertain future, shaky ground on which to build. But she is also vibrant, passionate, and unsure of herself. She has a great deal of learning to do, about herself and others. She is dynamic. She is active. Life with Kirino would be difficult.

Is adversity something to be feared?

Ultimately I do not hate Manami’s glasses, or her family, or her childhood friendship with Kyousuke. I do not hate her character design (although I do not find her particularly interesting or attractive on that front). What I hate is what she represents in Oreimo. Tedium and the life lived in fear.

To hell with that.

Kirino x Kyousuke forever. Bring on the slings and arrows.

What doesn’t kill you makes your relationship stronger.

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Regrets and Bourbon on a Chilly Evening

Posted in non-fiction on January 15th, 2013 by duriel

I’m sitting on my balcony right now, drinking a mixture of honey, Wild Turkey, and hot water; a sort of modified hot toddy. It’s a good night for it. Thermometer says 41F and 62% humidity, so it’s misty and chilly out here. The warm bourbon is nice.

I had work today, and then class. Afterward I watched the last half of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, which I had been putting off out of concern that it would end badly.

By badly, I of course mean telling the audience to put away the things you love and live life the way you are expected to live.

Fuck that. Happily, Chu2Koi said fuck that as well. It made me glad.

It has also made me pensive. I do not generally conduct my life in a way my family is pleased with. Oh. there are enough trappings to make it tolerable I suppose, but in the end I simply do not value much that they value. It’s awkward and a little bit uncomfortable at times, no matter how old I get or how far from them I am.

Family is a permanent reminder of the life you once lived. Whether it was good or bad, ugly or wonderful, you lived it on their terms to one degree or another. This is true of orphans as much as it is people in a suburb. We do not control where we are born and what we are taught.

As we grow, we live in a sea of advice. We take some and ignore the rest, and that is the way it is. It’s not a matter of taking less and making more of yourself. It’s a matter of doing what you want and sticking to it.

I never want to give up the things I love. I’m old enough now to say with conviction that I never will, even if I cling to them only by the grace of my own human stubbornness.

They can take it all away but they cannot make me regret any of it. That’s my choice.

I choose to regret nothing.

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History According to the State of Texas

Posted in non-fiction on August 27th, 2012 by duriel

This is a little foray into the assumptions of many folk in Texas and elsewhere who follow the ludicrous doctrine of American Exceptionalism.

Texas history of the space program and human advancement in the 20th century
-s-
Item 1: everything good and useful is due to capitalism

Item 2: there are only two systems in the world: capitalism, and non-capitalism, which invariably fails

Fascist nations and communist nations could never invent anything or allow any intelligent person to develop good ideas. This is borne out by history, since no good scientists and engineers came from fascist Germany and no space program was ever successful in the USSR.

In fact, it was the privately managed and funded, wholly government-independent NASA which launched Sputnik, which was actually named Coca-Cola-1. -/s-

Sadly, this is more prevalent that I really want to believe.

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Calvin Coolidge, words on investing and man

Posted in non-fiction, non-non-fiction on May 20th, 2012 by duriel

When I awoke this morning my first thought was of the address by Calvin Coolidge which I had been studying that evening. It had been dry at first, leafing through the pages of the society pointed out to me by my advising professor, but when I began reading his words I felt an immediate connection with Coolidge.

As I laid in bed, hearing things through my window, it occurred to me that there was no such document, that Coolidge died before the arbitrary date I was imagining, and that furthermore he would never have written such a thing. It made no sense. It did not exists.

It had been a dream.

Words from the document rolled through my awareness even as the majority fell away forever. I laid in bed a moment more before hurrying to write down what I remembered, to document the experience.

The connection had been real in my dream. My study, my excitement had been real. Those emotions held some of their color as I recorded what I could recall in the waking world. When I was done, the little I had required some expansion, some framing to be comprehensible.

Now it is done, and I can recall nothing more of the dream. Only what I have recorded is left alongside a profound sense of loss. I felt Coolidge’s words. They meant something to me. I studied them in my dreams.

What is left now? Only this.

—-

    Calvin Coolidge, words on investing and man

Written near the occasion of his death to his children as a last will and testament, delivered to the xxxxxxx society.

“Every man needs two goals, one from his head another from his heart,” – said the first yankee grandee of Spain.

“No one man owns production.”

“The anti-semite has a goal, true, but it is a goal founded in unreason and hatred, one which, if attained, would ultimately change nothing. There is no attaining hatred – hatred is forever.”

Children know that the world requires curiosity, that we are born with it, Somewhere along the way we lose it and expect things to simply be reasonable, to fit in a prearranged pattern that is handed to us. Neither markets nor men work this way in truth. The world does not make sense, markets do not make sense, and men do not make sense. You must make sense of all those things. A lifetime of study can get you to an awareness of many of the correct notions that humanity has managed to understand in its history – physics, chemistry, mathematics, grammar, poesy are all things one might try to master. None of these is complete, and more importantly none of them is natural.

The universe is not labelled in bright categories and subjects, bulleted and bolded for your convenience with the correct path clearly demonstrated. No, our knowledge of the universe is so labelled, so that we might all learn and understand the things which our ancestors taught.

This is correct as well as convenient, but never confuse this with the world itself. Knowledge of the world, even knowledge that is validated by experiment, is not the world. The world remains beyond our reach, a reach that extends by halves every generation. Like Zeno’s arrow, it will never actually hit the target; this does not mean that the target is the only goal here.

Indeed, the target is important for focus, but the other goal is the path itself. There is no destination that has merit on its own; it gains such by the travel required to go there. What of the now? What of the here? Remember this, as Newton and Leibniz discovered: there exists a here and a now only as abstractions of the flux, the flow of the measured world. We are at every moment a part of continuity, a great curve of existence along which our consciousness travels: here and now are points on the curve, meaningless without the curve itself.

Every moment is a destination, every moment is travel, all is in flux. No one will see the end of the curve, know everything about the universe. Only you can ever exist at this time, in this place, as yourself. Only you can recognize this.

Only you can give it value. Only you can build the frame of truth and hang it around what you see. Do not forget those things. Do not lose them among mankind and its markets and our collective retreat into ignorance and easy answers.

You are yourself, the only one of yourself. Make something of it, and be happy.

Thank you.

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