did everyone check out that sweet fight between Sasuke and Deidara? not going to ruin the fight scene for those who didn't see it, but it was pretty awesome. check it out here! Also don't forget to check out how many achievements you've accumulated just by doing simple little things here on CR (these are mine)! I wonder who has the most out there..??
Let’s take a moment and consider what makes a shōnen series. By definition a shōnen anime series targets a predominantly male audience between the ages of 8-16, focuses on strong-willed male protagonists, illustrated with a simplified art style and is injected with enough steroid-induced action to get your testosterone pumped up to unhealthy levels. Dragonball Z, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Reborn!, and Code Geass are just some of the thousands of shōnen series that have become well known in the USA. Look through any issue of Shōnen Jump and you’ll understand how all these epic battles and fast-paced storytelling can appeal to any young male who happens upon it!
Yet, there seems to be a shift in the trends and demographics, revealing an influx of fangirls.
Yes, you heard me. Girls go crazy for shōnen. As a male investigating the world of fangirls subculture, it initially sounded insane. However, after careful observation and being knee deep in anime fandom, then the reasons for such strong female following slowly became clear. I hypothesize that there are two prevalent factors that attract fangirls to a shōnen series: the beefcakes and storyline.
First is the beefcake: fanservice for the girls. Everyone talks about how for guys, all it takes is a pretty girl in a short skirt to draw them into a new series. Well, the exact same can be said for the ladies! We all know that anime is much more than just pretty characters moving about, but it's an undeniable fact that characters and their gorgeous mugs provide that initial spark of interest. What straight Prince of Tennis fangirl didn’t want to gaze lovingly upon the Seishun Academy Tennis Team? What Reborn! fangirl hasn’t gotten into an argument with another fangirl over which character they thought was hotter? What Death Note fangirl hasn’t wished Light Yagami would grace her with his presence, even if it meant certain death thereafter? It seems that every time I find a shōnen series with a large cast of male characters, a fanclub for each character is sure to follow. Sometimes, I can even guess which character will get the most fans based solely on his looks and disposition (Case in point: Sasuke. Come on ladies, don’t deny it). Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Visuals draw us in and the prettier the characters are the more likely we’re able to stick around. Given the sheer size and diversity of most shōnen casts, it’s easy to see how fans can pick their favorite to root for and even fantasize about. Just keep those thoughts about what you want to do with Vincent Valentine to yourself, and we’ll get along just fine.
However, visuals are only one half of the equation. When you compound a great looking character with a deep personality, you also need an intriguing storyline to gain the loyalty of the fangirl population. It takes a pretty face to draw the girls in, and a rich character development to seal the deal. Shōnen series excel at this particular quality, whether it be throughout multiple story arcs or even just a few humorous scenes. These deep storylines that intricately interweave character history and real-life issues, allow fans to break from what would otherwise be a mindless action trip from beginning to end. Fangirls out there tend to gravitate towards series that show this kind of depth. After all, looks aren't everything. Now of course, it also tends to fuel a myriad of fantasy fanfiction, but let’s not get into that for now.
On the whole, it appears that there is still much for me to learn and understand about the mind of a fangirl. Though I can always theorize why shōnen series always attract a strong female following, perhaps it is meant to be an ever present mystery amongst the fandom.
Unless of course the fangirls themselves can explain this to me better.
Slam Dunk, the popular basketball-based anime series with 101 episodes and four movies, still holds onto its fame over a decade since it first aired in 1993. To this day, hardcore fans and casual viewers alike, wonder how it can maintain its fame in the anime world over such a long period of time.
Perhaps it's the typical shonen, sports storyline that lures fans and casual viewers? At center court we see Sakuragi Hanamichi, a young, hyper-active, over-enthusiastic male, who doesn't know the meaning of "giving up." He has a large amount of raw talent, and picks up what he is taught quickly. He is constantly ridiculed, and called an idiot by his companions. He is self delusional, boasting whenever he makes a small achievement. He believes that he is the greatest that there ever was, and no one can contend with him. The rival he has chosen is Rukawa: calm, quiet, and "cool". The complete antithesis of who he is. Truly one of the most skilled players in all of Japan, Rukawa refuses to acknowledge Hanamichi's potential, only adding tension between the two. This battle between the two carries on as they travel together with their team to the prefectural tournament.
Yes, sports and shonen perfectly blended together. But this can't be the only reason why it's popular.
Perhaps its long standing popularity stems from its influence on a burgeoning, disenfranchised generation hungry for something that they can relate to. As we know, Slam Dunk centralizes around a high school student who is seen as a 'troubled youth' that fights gang members, beats up his friends and deals with his anger in unhealthy ways. Finally there exists an anime that can connect with the youth and their issues so poignantly, while also instilling a sense of direction and hope. Those who grew up contend that Slam Dunk was the voiceless voice of their youth, iterating the importance of club sports and how it can help develop an identity, friendships and provide them with the means to express themselves in a constructive, healthy way.
Definitely a probable theory to its enduring success.
But perhaps it's still popular today because it is the benchmark to which all sports-based manga/anime brands are created. Basketball was just a lower-tier club sport, constantly in the shadow of martial arts and baseball. But in 1990 when Slam Dunkthe manga was first published, with a stroke of fate and luck, Slam Dunk would be propelled into the echelons of fame and popularity. One year after its release, Michael Jordan - one of the world's biggest icons - would break records in every category in basketball for his position and lead the Chicago Bulls to 6 national championship titles, all with a span of eight years (1991-1998) sweeping the world into a basketball frenzy. Japan was now obsessed with basketball as people flocked to join every basketball league, and pick up every issue of Slam Dunk, whose premier character happened to share a suspiciously similar jersey as the king of basketball. Now basketball set the shadow that baseball and martial arts would reside for the greater part of the 90s. In later years after circulation ended, Prince of Tennis and Eyeshield 21 would follow in the wake of Slam Dunk creating similar success.
Today, the artwork of Slam Dunk may seem a little dated, and dry, but the comedy helps draw you in long enough to get involved in the story. Yet the most compelling reason why this series has endured for so long is because you can feel the passion that inspired the creation of the show, and can revel in the sucesses and failures of the protagonist. Styles and trends change, time goes on, but passion perseveres through it all. So too will Slam Dunk.
I don't know about you, but there's something really attractive about a girl who knows her hardware. When you meet a girl who knows how to ground her electronics and can effortlessly navigate herself through a CPU, that's sexy. So perhaps it's that aspect of Charger Girl Jûden-Chan!! that seemingly caught my attention. Having a mixture of ecchi, plus elements of electronics and hardware - can someone tell me if this show isn't a godsend for us men, or what?
Charger Girl Jûden-Chan!! follows the exploits of Plug Cryostat, a denizen of the parallel world "Life Core" and employee of the estrogen-filled corporation Neodym Inc., which exists to aid the humans of our world by "charging up" weary souls that are on the brink of depression. And how do they do this, you ask? Why, by sticking huge electrical plugs into them and infusing them with electricity, of course! Though these Charger Girls are able to hide their activities from humans with the use of stealth technology, one Sentou Oumi has the unexpected ability to see them, and thus learns in on their job and the existence of a parallel world.
I know that this sounds a little silly, but it doesn't stop there. Besides the eccentric plot, a lot of the elements of comedy are distinctly fetish-oriented, giving the ecchi elements a somewhat "raw" feel. You name it, and the show has it: lolicon, kyonyû, petanko, cosplay, moe, urophilia, and SM just to name a few. If you didn't understand half of what I just said, don't worry... watch the show and you might just figure it out. Though it seems at this point that Charger Girl might not be the best thing to watch while at work or in the presence of your parents, let it be known that there's a reason why it airs as a late-night anime in Japan in the first place. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Crunchyroll patrons, you can still enjoy the show in its censored form while still getting a good dose of ecchi that the show promises to offer.
But as far as ecchi shows are concerned, you have to contend with stereotypes. Charger Girl Jûden-Chan!!, in this respect, doesn't fail to deliver. Airhead and tsundere are present and accounted for. Busty superiors? Check. Big brother with little sister complex? Yup. Childhood friend falling for male-lead character? Bingo. But what sets the show apart is, perhaps, its interesting infusion of practical lessons and real-life issues that turns the show up from just another fan service nightmare, like Kanokon, into a well-oiled work of art.
Of these real-life issues, stress and depression are pretty serious themes that the show decided to pick up - even more so in the context of an ecchi show. Instead of being a dismal topic, the show takes the themes and presents it in a bubbly light, refreshing and invigorating the viewer despite the otherwise dreary notion of stress and depression. This strange contrast gives Charger Girl Jûden-Chan!! a unique flavor that balances out the comedy, eye candy and drama in one neat little package. Even issues like corporate duties versus personal convictions are brought up in the show, and are amusingly resolved with practical lessons and pleasing plot outcomes. For what it's worth, the show is perhaps one of the more "upscale" ecchi anime I've seen in a long time, and sends out a little ray of hope in this oftentimes shunned genre.
However, it still doesn't erase the fact that the show is, first and foremost, a product of fan service and all things moe. In many cases, the visuals may either be far too distracting for one to appreciate any decent story, or they may just simply scare off the conservative viewer altogether. Like I've said, this is an ecchi anime we're talking about - it's pretty much expected. In the end, you can't hate the show for having the "bare" essentials of a good ecchi show, plus the added bonus of good comedy sequences and well thought out plot scenarios. However if fans and viewers ever find a reason to develop a distaste for this show, it might be the fact that it has the look of an older anime show that needs the more refined animated elements expected of shows in this day and age. Suffice it to say that aside from this little flaw it still is a great piece of eye candy to enjoy.
All in all, if Charger Girl Jûden-Chan!! were the plug, and I were the socket, then watching the show feels just like getting hooked up and juiced to the max with an electrical surge of everything the show has to offer. It's somewhat tingly, and at times a little hard to take in all at once, but in the end shockingly refreshing and addicting to the core.
Under Kakashi’s command, the Leaf ninja set off to find Itachi. Using Kakashi’s ninja hounds, they gather as much information as they can on Itachi. Meanwhile, the members of the Hebi also scatter to look for information on Itachi. Led by the ninja hound tracking Sasuke’s scent, Sakura arrives in town and draws near to Karin.
At last, Gintoki and his friends confront the Great Archfiend. While the Leukocyte King can’t lay a finger on the Great Archfiend who has taken Tama’s form, Gintoki attacks without giving a damn. Angered by his reckless impudence, the Leukocyte King turns on Gintoki...
Lee-leng sustains a gun wound in a failed attempt to rescue Rumaty. Unsure if his tactics may work, in a last-ditch effort, he tries to leverage his position as the leader of the Huang group to pay off the men who were hired by Raginei. Though the men are shaken by his offer and waver from deep inside, they bring Rumaty and Lee-leng on board their boat, one step closer to being handed over.
Word of the Day
Taihen (大変 - たいへん) : When used literally or within a sentence, it holds the definition of: tough, difficult, terrible or disastrous. However, when used alone it can mean: "We have (That's) a problem," or "That's too bad" or "What a difficult matter...".
昨日の夜のパーティーがどうでしたか。 (How was the party last night?) 大変だよね。。。(It was problematic/tough)
(First, I lost my homework, then my bike broke, and I got mud all over my shoes...this is the worst morning ever...)
Person2: 大変ですね。 (wow, that's awful!)