Fanart Friday returns, disappointed that "survival of the fittest" is no longer the mentality that California takes with fireworks. Last week, we visited the land of milk and honey extra-curvy anime and game characters, but this time we're allowing the dudes to play too. No, not the "hot guys" edition that's coming at the end of the month, but the promised All-American installment!
Yesterday, Scott showed off Pixiv's top 50 4th of July tributes, but there were a hell of a lot of just one character: Hetalia's America! Here at Fanart Friday, we believe in variety, so not only will you get America, but plenty of other American characters from all over anime, manga, games and more! Putting together this installment, I notice that Japan has a very... unusual view of Americans...
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Of course, who better to lead the charge than Captain America? Despite being a blatantly American hero, Cap embodies something bigger than America itself: he's a literal symbol of freedom and liberty, and will even take on the United States government in defense of that. This speech sums up his character perfectly.
In a comedy anime, the American character is often the weird one, while the stoic Japanese characters' stoicism is dialed to 11. Not so with Lucky Star--Patty is just as oddball as the rest of the cast.
I'm still absolutely baffled that Metal Wolf Chaos never made it Stateside. It's such an overwhelmingly American game (made in Japan) about the President of the United States hopping into his combat mecha to battle the traitorous Vice President of the United States. Oh yeah, and it was released for the Xbox instead of the much higher-selling-in-Japan PS2. So why didn't it come out here again?
So all I know about Kaleido Star's Layla Hamilton is that she's the "established star" character of the circus-based series, which happens to take place in southern California. Does this mean that she's resentful and scarily competitive? I'm not sure, I actually have to watch the series and find out--a friend's been recommending it to me for years.
My goal in life is to have an entire conversation using just Terry Bogard quotes. Two friends of mine came close, but it apparently came down to just "GET SERIOUS!" "...but I am serious" "GET SERIOUS" "...but I am serious" for like five minutes straight.
While they never explicitly state that Red Garden takes place in America, the city the girls live in has to be New York. In a nice nod to American animation, each episode of Red Garden was animated after the voice acting was recorded--usually in anime, it's the other way around, for faster production!
Superman is another character who really is more about "the American ideal" and less about America itself, despite being a defender of "truth, justice, and the American way"--not to mention that he was actually created by a pair of Canadians! Edit: Actually, this isn't true! Turns out one of his creators was Canadian, but things changed when they moved to the States. Turns out Wolverine is still the only Canadian superhero people care about.
YES CHIBODEE, YOU ARE NO1 CHAMPIOM! TIME TO FIGHT AT GUNDAM FOREVER! G Gundam had it spot-on with Americans, though--we all surf, and box, and play football. And we say "You see?" at the end of sentences.
There are two unique, distinctly American settings: the Wild West, and Prohibition. While I have yet to see an anime that takes place in the actual American West, Baccano! was able to tell a dark, stylish story about alchemists and a very long train ride that happened to take place during the rowdy, violent Prohibition era.
While it also took place during Prohibition, Chrono Crusade was less about the era of Prohibition and more "sexy nuns shoot at demons with Tommy guns."
You'll always see a character like this in sports series--the American who effortlessly achieves what the Japanese characters have to work incredibly hard for. Eyeshield 21's Panther only slightly subverts this, because he trains just as hard as Sena and company to be an expert football player and a lightning-fast runner, even though he has a lot of inborn talent.
Then you have the evil American sports characters, like Hajime no Ippo's Bryan Hawk and his hilarious Matrix-style dodging. Racist, unsportsmanlike, and sadistic, Hawk is the kind of villain you absolutely love to hate.
Yeah, yeah, "IN AMERICA" and all that. Isn't it kind of sad that we know more about Bandit Keith from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series than the actual Yu-Gi-Oh! anime or manga?
Kinda nice to see Black Lagoon's Revy not looking like a homicidal maniac. Born and raised in New York City, Revy's as mean and unforgiving as the streets she grew up on, but she has a real soft spot for Rock, the newest addition to the Black Lagoon's crew.
Looks like Guile went through hell and back to go get McDonalds for his friends. Now just imagine if one of them had some petty, stupid complaint, like their burger had pickles when they specifically asked for no pickles. You think Guile would wade back through a sea of blood and broken bones to get their order fixed? He probably would, because Guile is nice like that.
I've always been kind of sad that we never got an actual series for Gunsmith Cats, no matter how cool the OAV was. With one of my other favorite manga, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure finally getting a TV anime, I can still hope for the pistol-packin' adventures of Rally Vincent, Minnie-May and Becky as they blast their way through Chicago's underworld.
Speaking of JoJo, I hope the TV series is an adaptation of Part 2: Battle Tendency, which featured tremendous badass Joseph Joestar and his (actually a Nazi) pal Stroheim fighting the forces of evil in an Indiana Jones-like adventure. OH! MY! GOD!
Big Boss may have turned his back on America, but it didn't come lightly--he had to hunt down and kill the most important person in his life, being told the whole time that she was a traitor and a lunatic when she was anything but. Snake Eater and Peace Walker were much more grounded, melancholic stories than the usual Metal Gear craziness... at least until they introduce the weird singing AIs in Peace Walker.
Betcha forgot that the God of Death was American! Yep, Gundam Wing had an American character too, and while he was more flippant and relaxed than just about anyone else on the crew, he was a much darker and more serious combatant than Chibodee up there. Makes sense, really--there's no room for comedians in the world of Gundam Wing.
Double-blind character select in fighting games is important--it prevents counter-picking and other shenanigans. But to be honest, whenever somebody would pick Ken Masters in Vanilla Street Fighter IV, I would pick Dan--and usually win. Does that make me a bad person?
And there's the man of the hour! Hetalia's take on America is a junk-food binging, gambling gun nut who doesn't know how to take it easy when he's playing catch with his "special" little brother Canada. That... sounds about right, sadly.
Funny story--I was actually looking for fanart of Air Gear character John Omaha, but couldn't find any that I liked. I ended up looking for art of our current President, and found, well... Barack Rock Shooter. Then I proceeded to laugh for like a minute straight. I actually need something else to finish up this installment, so how 'bout another of Captain America?
Ohh, so that's why nobody messes with Texas.
And that's all for this week, folks!
As always, your art is welcome here, so send me a PM with a link to your work and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! Also, make sure to swing by next week as we pack up our inner tubes and bring lots of sunscreen as we celebrate summer with a beach theme!
Who are some of your favorite American characters? Keep in mind that I only have so much space and haven't watched every single anime (or played every single game) ever, so I know I missed a few! Sound off in the comments, and if you have requests for next week, make sure you mention the character's full name and the series they come from!
Thanks for checking out Fanart Friday, and we hope to see you next week!