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WO's December Top 10: Confusing Things

Wow, I feel like I've abandoned my blog for a while here, but not to fear, I've returned with another entry; granted it isn't the big one I've been working on, since that one will take a lot of research, but anyway, here it is.

I figured it was time to make another WO's Ten, and see what's on the menu for this month.

I chose Confusing things, not because I really need an explanation as to why there are there, but because, for what ever reason, these top ten things just irk the hell out of me.

So, without further ado, I present you with Western Otaku's Top Ten for December.

10. The Main Character Is Always In School
It isn't bad enough that most of the Manga and Anime features a High School setting, or a Middle School environment, or at best a College scene; but after so many series using the same settings, it seems that there is absolutely nothing to do in Japan EXCEPT go to school!

Now I'm all for education, but seriously, why not break the mould every once in a while and introduce us to a character that is maybe an adult, and does something besides interact with kids. There are a few good shows and manga out there, like Black Lagoon and Kiddy Grade to name a couple, that are both highly entertaining, and edge of your seat, and do not over use the cliche of school as a backdrop for the story.

09. They'll Never Be Forgiven!
It never fails, you have a scene in a story where the main bad guy, and we're talking a real doozy of a bad guy does something appropriately evil and bad, and the only thing that our valiant hero can come up with is... "I'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!!!"

I shiver with fear at that every time! It's like the ultimate comeback to his dastardly deed, it's the epitome of retorts, the crowning jewel of counters, the Ernest Hemingway of rebuttals!!! NOT!

I mean honestly. What the crap does that have to do with anything? He/She is the BAD GUY! Unless this was all just some sort of terrible misunderstanding, then I doubt you really have to worry about forgiving them. Or were we planning on going out later and having a coffee, and chuckling about how we almost took over the world?

What a load of garbage!

08. Southern Discomfort
It's true that Japanese people from Osaka have an interesting way of speaking, and in fact have something of their own dialect, much like the difference between regions of North America, where we from the South call thing by one name, and those in the North call it by a totally different thing altogether.

It's always been interesting and confusing as to why every character from Osaka is either represented by a Southern American accent when dubbed, or portrayed as a hillbilly hick that stumbled out of the thickest part of the forest and into civilization.

Don't people from Osaka care that they are portrayed like back-woods ignorants? I mean, just because I'm from Texas doesn't mean I go around spouting "Yup" and "Y'all" every few seconds! Seriously people!

07. Hammer Time!
So you're watching an anime or reading a manga, and one of the characters, most likely a main character — a girl — pulls a giant paper fan, or a toy hammer from nowhere, and commences to thwack the living crap out of the immediate nuisance.

Now, it's not that I don't know about "Hammer Space", but typically that has always been something of an American cartoon thing; and it isn't that it isn't appreciated when I see it in a popular series, but every once in a while, it seems sort of out of place.

One has to wonder why it's used as a gag in more serious titles, but then gags in anime and manga don't always have to make sense logically. The real fact that we are still laughing at this stuff is a testament to our nerdism.

06. That One Tooth Is Showing
Okay, so in even some of the most popular shows, there are some characters that have that one tooth showing when ever they are doing something sort of either devious, dastardly, defiant, or a little obtuse. But at what point has that one tooth become the standard for the idiot block-head girl... notice I didn't say boy; because most often this is gonna be a somewhat hot girl that is way beyond ditz, or one or two french fries short of a Happy Meal.

So, I guess at some point we should start looking for real life girls that have a giant ignorant tooth showing when ever they do something sort of crazy. Also, does it help that a few of these giant toothed girls have an obsession for big boobies? Maybe boobs and teeth go together.

Regardless, it's one of those things that I know has a gag point, but the origins of which I can't even begin to fathom. Oh, well moving on.

05. Their Appreciation Is A Little Too Obvious
Sometimes you watch a show, and there is this character that is beyond cool, we're talking massively awesome in almost every way, and despite our impression of their awesomeness, it seems that some of the characters in the show feel the same way.

Well they don't just feel the same way, they manage to take it to all new heights of appreciation all together, which seems to borderline on erotic lust rather than mere hero worship.

It's possible that the lines of reality for the Japanese have blurred badly regarding hero appreciation, and just down-right wanting to do the nasty with them — seriously wow! I know I have a few heroes and icons that I look up to, but if they were around, or still alive I wouldn't be all hot and bothered and wanting to get it on with them.

You can see this sort of thing in popular shows like Shinryaku Ika Musume and Azumanga Daioh and there is even two examples of it in the classic Cardcaptor Sakura!

04. Bento Paradise
Maybe this is another example of culture clash, and I really hope that is the case. But at what point is it commonplace for a girl to provide all this food to a guy, just because she likes him? I know that my fiancee likes to cook for me, but for this sort of thing to start so early in people's lives.

First of all, wouldn't the girl's parents be a little miffed that she's using up their family's food supplies to make an extra bento box-lunch for a boy? And what about the guy? Why the heck doesn't he get his lazy ass up early and make his own damn lunch?

No, we have to see that love and affection and hard work went into every single bite of that acursed bento, as he salivates over scrambled egg omelette and sausages that are sliced to look like little squid.

I'm think that this sort of thing might not fly to well in America. For one thing, we have this whole prohibition of PDA. Which makes it a miracle for two kids to ever date to begin with. Let along make lunch for each other.

I don't exactly know how I would have handled a girl making me lunch in school. I might have been offended, thinking she figured I was poor or something and couldn't afford a proper lunch. Oh well, it would have probably tasted like crap anyway, knowing my luck.

03. Manga Piffle
Depending on the artist determines on the amount of chatter they manage to put in their manga. For those of you unfamiliar with manga piffle, or Mangaka Banter, let me explain.

In most manga that have been collected together into tankobon (volumes) and published as a book, there are usually some select pages here and there that have the mangaka's scribbles and commentary entries. Sometimes these are interesting, and sometimes they are a complete waste of page, expecially considering they take up a side of the page! Or the entire bottom half!

Often you get very smart mangaka that have been in the biz for a while and don't like compromising the page space for running commentary and trivialities, and save all that nonsense for the end of the volume. But the fact that it exists in the chapters, and clouds up my view of an already tiny amount of letters, art, and action makes me wonder who the heck started this. They really need to be slapped like crazy!

02. Beware of Somy!
Sometimes in American movies and television you might see what is called product placement, and to the casual untrained eye, it's just everyday things used in the film, or show. But not true, companies often will not let a product be used without their direct approval, and even then, they are pretty picky about this product placement.

Well, apparently product placement in Japan is harder to do, because out of over two hundred anime titles, and hours of viewing, I've only seen one show that has actual brand products. Of course I'm talking about K-On, they managed to get permission to use the real names and images of all the instruments the girls in the music club use.

Now aside from this anomaly, what we usually see when we watch an anime or read a manga is the most famous brand of TV in the world of Japan. Somy!

No, you will not be seeing this brand at Wal-Mart, or Target, or even Best Buy... this brand is exclusive to the fictional worlds of anime and manga. Which begs me to ask the question... Why?

Is it such a cultural taboo for a show to get permission to use a product? I mean if they did, then maybe they could get some more money from this advertising to make a better quality anime or manga.

01. Get Wardrobe STAT!
The biggest thing that confuses me, is that now with the progress that anime and manga has made, it seems there are still a few titles out there that are stubborn with regards to clothing for their characters.

What I mean, is that despite how long the series lasts, the character wears the exact same ****ing thing every single day! I don't know how it works in most manga and anime fantasy lands, but the rules in real life say, that if I wore a garment that much I would either be one smelly dude, or I'd get my ass kicked over and over again for being a retard!

Is it that the artist can't draw any other clothes? or that they just look cool only in that particular set? Please! Give me some variety here! First of all, it's not believable, and it detracts from the titles credibility.

Possibly my greatest disappointment with the series Black Lagoon was that Revy didn't change clothes until about a handful or so episodes from the end of the whole series, and that was only because her character left Japan and went somewhere cold.

I know it may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it's these little things that irk me to no end, and make me want to tear some hair out.

So all in all, there are always going to be some really confusing things in anime and manga I imagine, and even though they we may never fully understand their necessity, it certainly is part of what makes this entertainment medium what it is.

If we were to remove the giant tooth from the ditz girl, or axe the whole school scene from teenage comedy and drama, then we've pretty much tore everything we love about anime and manga out, and leave only sifted crap.

Personally, even if they get on my nerves, I wouldn't want my anime and manga any other way.


  1. Good call on the wardrobe complaint. I'm guessing that for many characters, their attire is part of what makes them stand out.


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