What My Anime Collection Means To Me | OWLS “Happiness”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” For the OWLS blog tour’s fifth monthly topic of 2019, “Happiness,” I wanted to share with you all something that I rarely talk about, yet is one of the biggest things that defines me as both a fan and a person: my anime collection!

Happiness is subjective. We all have different definitions of what happiness means to us and we also feel happiness in varying degrees. This month we will be exploring several questions describing our happiness in our fandoms, communities, and hobbies. Why do we find enjoyment watching anime or reading manga? Why did we decide to join the anime or pop culture communities? Why do we blog about our hobbies or cosplay as our favorite characters? This topic is all about the passions we have for our interests and why they are important to us.

Oh man, there was so much I wanted to talk about with this prompt! But, I love getting to share any part of my collection with you guys, so I settled on that. Thanks Lyn for going easy on us this month and giving me an excuse to share my stuff!


 

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The Main Shelf

Ah, here we are. Welcome to my room, my little safe haven in this wild world we live in. The main shelf here houses most of my anime and even a few volumes of manga. Littered throughout the display are Nendoroids, Funko Pop figures, and even some fake succulents (cause #aesthetic). Across the top is my Evangelion collection, which became an instant favorite of mine immediately after my first watching and has accumulated over the years.

My room is pretty large, but even then I have a lot of stuff, so for Eva to maintain an entire row to itself goes to show how much it means to me. You’ll find that a show or franchise’s meaning is almost a direct determinant of its shelf space prioritization in my collection. That means Evangelion gets its own shelf, and the same goes for Fate, Danganronpa, Ghost in the Shell, Sailor Moon, so on and so forth. Ain’t that nice?


I’ve squeezed as many bookcases in this tiny space as possible. Being surrounded by books and magazines makes me feel calm. It makes the room seem wrapped in a layer of protection. As if nothing or no one can get to me.

— Angelo Surmelis, The Dangerous Art of Blending In


Each mini shelf is compartmentalized to a certain genre, my favorite shelves being the sci-fi section, the mecha shelf, the anime classics, and my magical girl shelf with Ms. Mami Tomoe there. Between categorization by genre, height, and color, there’s a mutual method to my madness (that probably only I understand, let’s be honest). Each little box contains so many stories, and yet each tell a larger a story all on their own thanks to how I’ve arranged them—according to my thoughts and feelings about each title.

And that’s one of the many wonderful qualities of my collection that makes it just that: a collection all by me, for me. It won’t carry the same weight for someone passing by, and that’s just fine. But to me, these shelves encompass my entire world, as well as chronicle my entire life.

New Shelves, New Room

This is one of those “right time, right place” kinda posts, as I just completed remodeling my entire room this past spring and BOI am I happy with it. Previously, all of my manga and light novels were housed on this old, handmade, plywood box shelf that had three compartments to store my books. Not only was it kinda ugly, but it was rough textured and offered limited storage.

So, four days of work and $150 later, I opted to finally remove the tacky padding from my wall, repaint it all, and build five new shelves of (with my dad’s help). And they’re cut from entirely REAL birch wood this time. Here are the results:

 

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I wanted to share that little story with you all because it is just once instance of me trying to upgrade my collection. My room is in constant flux; I’m always rearranging books, movies, games, art, you name it, just to find the right feng shui. I like to think that every change I’ve made to the shelves and how things are arranged are a step in the right direction—one step closer to the ideal image in my mind. That said, this was quite the leap forward, but I’m really thrilled with the results.

In fact, I loved it so much that I ripped padding off my other wall to do the exact same thing, although on a much smaller scale:

 

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This set of five three-foot boards supports my innermost interests. From Free!‘s impact on my own personal swim career and these other seaside delights to my fandom favorites like Todoroki ANYTHING and the Danganronpa series, this small shelf carries so much weight beyond a few Blu-ray cases and acrylic stands. It’s an expression of love, of dedication, and a way to give back to the series that gave so much to me. 

With these new shelves, I can showcase all my favorite anime, manga, novels, figures, and other merchandise—pieces which, individually, contain stories, but combined together tell one giant story. If you were to walk into my room, I could point to . . .

the DVD that started my journey,

the title that impacted me the most,

the anime that made me want to try new things,

the book that made me fall in love with reading,

the figure that reminds me all about a character’s hardships,

the art that inspires me to improve my own work,

and so many more emotions and memories that words alone can’t properly explain.


Inspiration can come from anywhere. 


Why Do I Collect Anime?

Anime is an expensive hobby. It doesn’t help that I’m also interested in manga, light novels, figures, soundtracks, games, art books, art prints, rubber straps, and more recently, acrylic stands, chirashi posters, and shikishi boards. I’ve sacrificed a great deal of money and physical space toward my collecting hobbies, which has led me to spend even more money in compensating for the collection’s gradually increasing size.

So why do I do it all? Well, of course it makes me happy. I wouldn’t pour this much time and cash into something that made me feel worse than I did before. I’ve always been a collector, whether for Pokemon and Yugioh cards or Bakugan and Beyblades. On that note, perhaps collecting physical anime and related media was inevitable.

But on the other hand, while I love collecting for my own sake, I also like being able to share my library with my family and friends. I can’t even tell you the number of hours my siblings and I have spent chatting with one another as we admired the collection and all the adventures it has brought us.

Also, if you couldn’t tell by the way I’ve stylized my blog, I’m an archivist. I take immense pleasure in experiencing something and then filing that experience away in some sort of physical form. All my school work from years past is neatly organized and archived, and my books and movies are no different.

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While outsiders may see my collection as a costly stack of movies and merch (to which they’re not wrong), I see a wall of memories. It’s a wall that has built up slowly over seven years, starting with my S.A.V.E. DVD of Funimation’s Negima!? and accumulating until now where my $75 Hajime Hinata figure from Danganronpa dominates my shelf. But even then, it’s all still there: most if not all of the series I have enjoyed have been archived in this wall, and the memories have only continued to amass.

No matter how I try to look away, my eyes always wander to the collection—to this gigantic three-dimensional photo album which comprises sounds and sounds, textures and thoughts, musings and memories. Wherever I gaze, I am transported into another time, another place where another me was living and experiencing yet another story. This mental time travel serves as a constant reminder as to where I’ve gone, how far I’ve come, and even where I’m headed next. It is simultaneously the past, the present, and the future.

Reorganizing my collection’s display is a passionate, artistic, therapeutic, and fulfilling endeavor. The many parts and pieces of my anime collection are symbolic of who I am as a person. But beyond owning these items or possessing all this stuff, merely knowing that this collection of thingsthis wall of memories—has shaped who I am today and where I may go tomorrow is a thought that brings me true and unfettered happiness.


A bookshelf is a reflection of its owner’s personality.


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Afterword

A seemingly simple prompt at first, this post somehow managed to pull everything out of me! Reflecting at what collecting means to me and physically writing it down has made me really appreciate the availability of these kinds of goods to us fans. I mean, we can get a hold of nearly everything and everything, and all because there are people who are willing to create, and more people who strive to bring those creations to us. Even if you can’t get a hold of that $200 dream figure or $300 Blu-ray import, we really are fortunate to live in the times that we do.

Do you collect anime, manga or content from other related mediums? If so, why do you collect what you do, and what started you on your collecting journey? I love talking about hobbies (if you couldn’t tell), so feel free to ramble down in the comments—I won’t judge! Also, if I made an Insta, would you be interested in seeing more close-ups of my collection through that?

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This concludes my May 21st entry in the OWLS “Happiness” blog tour. Flow (Den of Nyanpasu) went right before me with a post about the joys of anime sequel announcements and how much gaming means to them, which you can read right here! Now, look out for the lovely Irina (I Drink and Watch Anime) with, get this, a post about NATSUME (plz never stop writing about this show) this Wednesday, May 22nd! Thank you so much for reading, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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400 Followers Q&A Celebration (Your Answers!)

Hello all!

Welcome to Part II of my 400 followers celebration! We’re here today because of how awesome all of you are, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be doing what I am still if it weren’t for all your support. Today, I’ll be giving all the long-awaited A’s to your tantalizing Q’s that I asked for over in the previous post and on social media.

Thank you to all those who asked me questions!! I went ahead and divided up your questions based on subject manner. So, without further ado, let’s see what my friends had to ask of me!


Writing & the Cafe

Matt (Matt-in-the-Hat): Do you prefer your coffee cold or hot or both?

Matt’s starting us off with a classic. Personally, I see coffee as a dessert drink, so cold!

Moyatori (The Moyatorium): Since you own a cafe, I gotta ask: what’s your favourite coffee (and dessert pairing)?

Lately, I’ve really enjoyed sippin’ on a green tea frappuccino with a chocolate muffin ordered to-go. 🙂

Aria (The Animanga Spellbook): Since people are asking about coffee, what sort of cafe beverage do you most like (not necessarily coffee)? [Also] why is your online alias Takuto? When I think of that name, I think Star Driver, but I’m not sure if I’m right…

You can never go wrong with mocha anything, so I’ll pick that! As for where the name’s origin, believe it or not, it was actually from an anime name generator. How original, right? After plugging in my own name, hittin’ GENERATE, and swapping out a couple characters, “Takuto” was born, and I think the name actually fits me quite well, don’t you? (As a side note, LitaKino has persuaded me to watch Star Driver on numerous occasions—maybe I’ll make that happen this summer!

Karandi (100 Word Anime): Which anime characters would you most want to invite to your cafe (assuming they were all in the one universe and your anime cafe was a real location)?

Ooh, such a good question. Off the top of my head, I’d love to sit down with Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service), Chitanda Eru (Hyouka), Makise Kurisu (Steins;Gate), and Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Scientific Railgun). Why? Kiki for her fun-loving nature; Chitanda for her aloofness and ability to keep the conversation going through constant probing; Kurisu so we can at least talk a little science while we’re at the table; and Misaka because she’s just such a fun, supportive friend that I know would laugh at our jokes (even if they weren’t funny).

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7mononoke (Anime Rants): Hmm… *instantly thinks of half a dozen questions that you’d never answer probably like how old are you* *reconsiders* … How about this question. Was there a blog you once loved that, more than any other, inspired you to be a blogger?

What a powerful question. One that immediately comes to mind is Shiroyuni over at The Limitless Imagination. Shiroyuni was a great online friend and one of the few bloggers who supported me the most back in 2015 when I started all this. She was respectful and kind, and always included me in on various tag and award posts that were so frequent back in the day. As a result, I went on to meet so many new bloggers, many of which are still close with me today, thankfully. I think Shiroyuni got busy due to school (and life in general) and had to leave, but Crimson would know more. I owe a lot to Shiroyuni, and wherever you are, we miss you! And we hope you’re doing ok!

Irina (I drink and watch anime): Ok tell me the truth, is there a little part of you that’s weirdly miffed about not having received a hate comment? [Also] are you open for collabs? *cough cough* (Animated Andy asked the same question)

I can be quite the “peacekeeper” both here and IRL, and cause of this I wondered: What if I’m not taking as strong a stance as I should in my posts? What if I come across as being so “on-the-fence” all the time that nobody finds my opinions interesting?? AM I NOT BEING MEAN ENOUGH??? (In other words Irina, a bit, but it’s somewhat a good problem to have.) As for collabs, YES, hit me up! I’m an introvert, so reaching out isn’t a strong suit of mine, but I’d be thankful for the thought!

What’s my Favorite ______ ?

Mel (Mel in Anime Land): Top 5 favorite male and female characters from Seraph of the End?

Oh Mel, you always ask the good ones. In order from 5 to 1, THE GORLS: Mahiru Hiragi, Mitsuba Sangu, Horn Skuld, Krul Tepes, and Shinoa Hiragi. THE BOIS: Crowley Eusford, Ferid Bathory, Shinya Hiragi, Yuichiro Hyakuya, and Mikaela Hyakuya. (Picking best boi was so hard omg)

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Naja (Blerdy Otome): Let’s see burning questions… What is your favorite non-anime show?

Such a good question, but thankfully an easy one, too. Without a doubt, I’d go with Avatar: The Last Airbender. So many good memories with this show.

Ayano (Kawaii Paper Pandas): What are some of your favorite so-called “guilty pleasure” anime?

THIS question. Alrighty peeps, take notes! Seraph of the End, No.6, Negima!?, Haganai, Yamada’s First Time, DIVE!!, and DAKAICHI. For an extended list, hit up my DMs. 😉

Gigi (Animepalooza): What is an anime you like that no one else seems to? One you hate? What would you recommend for me to watch above all else (not necessarily me specifically, but that would also work)?

Interestingly, most of the shows that fall under this category come from my earlier days, including: Negima!?, Chaos;Head, Fractale, and Danganronpa: The Animation. These were gateway pieces for me, and although I do view them more critically now, I still love them even if they get the hate. One anime that I DID not care for (that everyone seems to enjoy) was Bungou Stray Dogs (although I am giving this a second shot). As for straight-up hate, look no further than Corpse Party.

For EVERYONE, I always recommend three: Attack on Titan, Code Geass, and anything Studio Ghibli. To all my veteran friends, however: Steins;Gate, Evangelion, and From the New World. (Gigi, I’m recommending Eva again to you cause you need to finish it, hahaha)

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Other Fun Stuff About Me

Keiko (Keiko’s Anime Blog): What medium do you enjoy other than anime?

For story-telling mediums, I like manga—light novels even more. But on a more artistic side I also love anime and film soundtracks, a passion which is reflected in many of the reviews I write.

Krystallina (Daiyamanga): If you could be on any game show (currently airing or not, doesn’t matter), what would it be?

Oh god, none of them honestly, ahaha. What’s the one where I pick either curtain number one, two, or three?

Jamie (Jamie Talks Anime): How old are you, and what was an anime you thought you wouldn’t care for but tried anyway and was majorly surprised?

I’m currently 20! (Need to update my bio!) Hmm, I really didn’t think I’d like Fairy Tail, BUT . . . I’m just over 30 eps in and enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

Last but certainly not least, I’ve got a SLEW of questions from Crimson (Read at Night)!

1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Flight! I mean, how nifty would it be to not worry about height as a disadvantage, or have the ability to soar in the clouds?

2. Would you be the main character, the villain, sidekick, other? Why? And what kind of series would it be?

I’d want to be that reliable badass who graces everyone with their appearance and saves the day without raising a finger. Whether it’s the heroic All Might, the impenetrable Lady Satsuki Kiryuin, the inspiring Kuranosuke Koibuchi, the fierce Captain Levi, or the ever-graceful Mami Tomoe, there are some characters whose mere presence on screen is enough to calm the viewer and make them feel that everything is going to be ok, and I respect that. I wish I could have that kind of effect on people, to make them breath easier knowing that I am there, just as these characters have done for me. Given the need for high stakes scenarios, I’d go with sci-fi, fantasy, or supernatural. (Regardless, it needs LOTS of action lol.)

3. What would your (blank – the answer to q2) theme song be?

I always liked how powerful and imposing Kill la Kill‘s Satsuki Kiryuin’s presence was with this theme, so I’ll go with that. Go give it a listen!

4. You walk into a public restroom and there are 10 stalls to your left and 10 stalls to your right, which do you choose? (if you choose urinal…they’re in the stalls)

Hmmm, we’re asking the real questions now. Assuming the restroom is empty, the furthest stall from the door.

5. What does your perfect sandwich consist of?

Turkey, lettuce, spinach, provolone cheese, cucumbers, green peppers, and a dash of ranch or honey mustard depending on the day.

6. You find out you’re going to die tomorrow! How did you find out?

Oh shit! Well then, I’d say it was a warning from the aliens—after all, they told us ALL that we were going to die, remember!?

7. What is your greatest food weakness?

Olives. They’re gross.

8. You have been invited to a wedding and the dress code requires guests to cosplay. What will you wear?

Suzaku Kururugi’s white knight suit and tux. Classy AND ready for battle.

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9. How is school going? You’re kicking its butt, right?

Is this the part where I tell her it’s kicking mine? No? Ok. Uhh, it’s fine—now that it’s SUMMER.

10. You have been chosen to represent the anime community as their singer in a singing competition, what song do you choose to perform?

ZAAAaaannKOOOKKUUUU NAA TENNSHHII—

11. Same question but for dancing! Oh, and you gotta pick a partner. Who?

I’d love to share a dance with Mako Akagi from Welcome to the Ballroom. It can be anything she’d like, too, as the soundtrack for this anime is FANTASTIC. Mako’s a sweetheart, plus she wouldn’t tell me if I were stepping on her feet the entire time!

12. You come home to find all your furniture has been moved, what happened?

I get bored easily, and I love a change of pace. Oh yeah, and amnesia’s a b*tch.

13. It’s been days and you’ve been digging into the Earth nonstop. What have you found?

OMG it’s a core drill from Gurren Lagann! BRO, LET’S COMBINE!!

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And there we go, I hope you learned a bit more about who I am and what I do! Thank you all for celebrating this milestone with me. It’s not 500 followers, but since I missed out on 300 I figured I’d have some fun with this one. With uni out for the summer, regular content should be back on schedule, if you’ll allow me just a bit of time to settle into a routine. Until the next post, thank you so much for 400 followers! ‘Till next time!

– Takuto

My (Belated) Spring 2019 Simulcast Line-Up!

If you’ve followed me for even a month, you’d know that tardiness is a characteristic that I excel at, unintentionally.

Hello all, how have you enjoyed the spring anime season so far? Despite my not announcing it, I am following a couple shows this season. What might that be, you ask? Well—one month later than planned—let’s take a look!

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Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2

Y’all already KNOW I’m loving the return of AoT. Two episodes in and I feel like we’ve already covered so much ground, story-wise. Looking forward to more kickass Sawano, more epic cinematic animation, and more mysteries unveiled. So glad to be back in this universe—for me, any wait, no matter the length, is worth it for more AoT.

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Fruits Basket (2019)

Alright, I haven’t actually started this one on account of trying to finish the OG first. That said, I only have four episodes left, so I can’t wait to jump in on all the fun. While I really like what I’m currently getting with the old FB, I absolutely love what I’m seeing of the new stuff on twitter!

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Wise Man’s Grandchild (Kenja no Mago)

Sooo, it was pretty much the poster visual that convinced me to watch this series. (It reminded me of Negima!, which inspired me to revisit the Negi manga.) And while I want to lump it in with the rest of these generic stuck-in-another-world garbage heaps we’ve been getting recently, I’m honestly having too much fun with Kenja no Mago‘s story to really care. Its innocent, self-aware comedy timed with a magical world that pulls the viewer in makes for an entertaining enough combination.

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Carole & Tuesday

Oh man, Carole & Tuesday. Of all the titles here, I anticipate this will be the one that’ll squeeze the life out of me and leave me out to dry. As one of the few people who was actually looking forward to this anime before seeing the duet scene (which you should totally watch even if just for that), I have really high hopes for it (as in wreck me, plz).

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Sarazanmai

. . . And here’s one that I had absolutely no intention of watching, yet can’t seem to avoid no matter where I go. EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT THE GAY IKUHARA COP SHOW, and we love a conversation. This might turn into a spring leftover for me, but I’ll still dare to try.

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Sounds of Life (Kono Oto Tomare!)

Man, this spring really is full of pretty people, isn’t it? Last but certainly not least is Sounds of Life, a music drama anime that I’ve been looking forward to ever since the first promo came out. Not much to report on it, as I haven’t started (and unfortunately, not many are talking about it), but aside from Fruits Basket and Carole & Tuesday, if there’s one other show that’ll be going around and breaking hearts this season, you can bet it’ll be this one.

Other shows I may pick up as leftovers: Fairy Gone, One Punch Man 2


And there you have it, my highly anticipated line-up for the spring 2019 season! Are we following any of the same titles? If we’re not, is there something I should be watching? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Thank You For 400 Followers! (Ask Me Anything Q&A)

Hello, my friends!!

While I’m a little late to the celebration (21 and some-odd email goons behind), I still would like to extend my greatest thanks for following Takuto’s Anime Cafe! We’ve done it, we’re past the 400 threshold, and the road to 500 is on the horizon, yippee!!

From every view, like, comment, and follow, I sincerely appreciate your support. There’s nothing that gets me going more than hitting that publish button and receiving the notification flow (my phone doesn’t get many calls, if you couldn’t tell). You guys are my social sphere, my fellow mates who I’d die on the battlefield for (so extreme!), and would certainly sit down and share a cup of tea with.

Real quick, I’d like to boast one thing about my fellow cafe-goers that I’m sure not many blogs get to gloat over: I have NEVER received a single hate comment from anything I’ve written in all my four (nearly five) years of blogging. (Not even from spam, which is a miracle!) I’m dead serious, you’ve all been so kind and supportive, and I’m truly unworthy of your friendliness and goodwill.

Lastly, if you’ve had any burning questions about I, Takuto the host, feel free to ask them now—I’ll be throwing a casual Q&A celebration for any willing takers, so ask away! My A’s to your highly anticipated Q’s will be dished out in a subsequent post, so fear not if I don’t answer you properly in the comments section.

I could go on about how lovely you all are, but I’m sure you already know that. Since 2019 began, my return to active blogging has been met with nothing but positivity and support, and I look forward to sharing more about my journey as an anime fan and as a human in future posts to come. There’s a lot on the plate, and I just can’t wait to serve it up!

Thank you for 400.

Humbly yours,

Takuto

She Flies Again! The Stellar Women of Space Battleship Yamato 2199 | OWLS “Feminine”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” For the OWLS blog tour’s third monthly topic of 2019, “Feminine,” I’ll be veering far off the path of my usual writing format to hone in on one particularly stellar aspect of this classic sci-fi remake: the incredible women aboard the Yamato and the challenges they persist ad astra per aspera, or to the stars through difficulties.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the OWLS bloggers will explore the concepts of femininity and feminism. We each have our own definition of these two terms and we will explore our definitions using “feminine” characters from various pop culture fandoms. We will discuss how these characters are “feminine” or show signs of a feminist agenda. We will also share our personal stories about the amazing women that supported us in our lives as well as sharing experiences involving women’s rights, oppression within the patriarchy, and/or issues of growing up as a woman or having a feminine persona.

Although seemingly simple, March’s theme has proven itself to be one of the trickiest ones yet. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer, and thanks again Lyn for the challenge!

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A brief, spoiler-free discussion on the female characters of the 26-episode 2012-2013 OVA series “Space Battleship Yamato 2199,” also localized as “Star Blazers 2199,” animated by Xebec and AIC, directed by Akihiro Enomoto with story by Yutaka Izubuchi, and based on the original 1970s television series created by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto. 

Hope Lies 148,000 Light Years Away

The year is 2199. Our once magnificent blue and green mother Earth has been reduced to a radioactive desert wasteland by unyielding attacks from the hostile aliens of planet Gamilas, her remaining population forced into underground cities. But a glimmer hope arrives in a message from a distant peace-seeking planet of Iscandar, whose queen sends along with her sympathies the blueprints to build an admirable spaceship capable of making the long trek to Iscandar and the technological device to power it. What lies on Iscandar will supposedly help clean and restore Earth to her former health.

With haste, the United Nations Cosmo Navy resurrects the long-sunken battleship Yamato by installing the mysterious Iscandarian technology to its core, transforming it into the titular vessel: the Space Battleship Yamato. Collectively placing what little faith and courage persists in the crew and its leader, the distinguished Captain Juuzou Okita, the Yamato departs Earth in the quest to receive Iscandar’s aid.

As she sails throughout space experiencing numerous technological issues and dealing with the onslaught of Gamilas fleets, the inexperienced crew of the Yamato must summon every inch of their resolve if they are to survive the storm of hardships and complete their mission: to save humanity before its estimated remaining time of 365 days expires.

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Feminist Strength Aboard the Yamato

Strength manifests in many different forms for many different people. For some, it’s physical might; others possess unwavering character and moral sets. With this post specifically, one of Yamato‘s greatest appeals is its approach to gender equality in crafting a well-rounded crew. Men and women alike share all kinds of important duties, be it navigation, operations, the fighter squadron, or the medical force.

But not all of these leading ladies got their roles handed to them—let’s take a quick look at how four of the main female characters define strength by their own values.

Lieutenant Yuki Mori

Leading with the Heart

Responding to Iscandarian expressions as if she were one of their own (or is she . . . ?), the Yamato‘s operations division head is always willing to meet discourse with a cup of tea. Literally. She feels deeply into the Iscandarian’s ultimate pursuit of life—that is, the salvation of all intelligent life in the universe—but is equally willing to stick up for her fellow comrades in arms, even when under scrutiny by said comrades for suspicious origins. Personally, I find that part to especially require guts.

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Lieutenant Mori’s approachable nature suits her well, her charm pulling in the admiration of both men and other women alike. Despite a rocky start with main character Lieutenant Susumu Kodai, we find that Yuki guides the Yamato’s course with compassion, sensitivity, and care for all life, and her ability to empathize and immediately form genuine connects with others serves Yuki as her greatest strength.

Kaoru Niimi

Willingness to Pursue Curiosity

Lieutenant Niimi is a bit of a tough nut to crack. Possessing a multi-faceted intelligence in technology and the sciences, Niimi’s many responsibilities as information chief and ship counselor kind of lie all over the ship. Although knowledge is her game, Niimi’s a dreamer. Having run the calculations herself, she sees very little chance of Earth ever rehabilitating, even with foreign aid. As a result, she finds herself drawn to stopping off at every Earth-like planet capable of sustaining life throughout their arduous journey (which, by the way, stirs a lot of good drama later down the line).

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In a way, Niimi uses her skills and impressive brain to benefit all of mankind by thinking in the long run: I mean, let’s face it, we can’t live on Earth forever, not if we keep acting the way we do. But unfortunately for her, Captain Okita and most of the crew is dead-set on reviving Earth. Her duty as the guardian for mankind’s future is a noble one, but also a very lonely one, and as frustrating as her decisions can be at times, Niimi goes beyond all of the ship’s crew in one crucial area—weaponizing her failures to fight on the side of good.

Melda Dietz

Valuing Honor in One’s Craft

Without spoiling too much about this next admirable female, Lower Storm Leader Melda Dietz does indeed fight on the side of Gamilas, but not in the way the other Gamilan soldiers do. A fighter pilot for the enemy, Dietz originally enters the Yamato as bargaining chip, but quickly becomes a wartime buddy on the front. A warrior for justice, Dietz realizes the corrupt ways of her homeland and commits herself to the side of righteousness. It’s a valiant thing to go against one’s mother country when you know it has deteriorated from what she originally stood for, and that’s what makes Melda Dietz a figure worth remembering.

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Did I also mention that of all the pilots, she’s also one of the most admirable to fly in the black abyss of space? Dietz values pride on the battlefield, as well as capability, independence, and the willingness to deter from the norm. Being bold just comes second nature to this wild red baron.

Akira Yamamoto

Embracing Diversity

Last but certainly not least is Ensign Akira Yamamoto, an often unsung heroine with arguably the biggest feminist energy going for her. Even though her elder brother fought bravely as a pilot for Earth, Yamamoto was assigned to accounting because of her status as a woman. She also suffers from occasional discrimination for being the only Martian aboard the ship. But what does she do with these differences of hers? How does she quell the warrior’s spirit residing within her?

She cuts her long silver hair, steals a fighter jet, and proves her self-worth on the battlefield. Now she’s the best fighter pilot the Yamato’s got, and nobody’s complaining. What a badass.

Yamamoto uses her rare talents to the best of her ability, not letting anyone stop her from applying her unique origin and skill set to the betterment of the entire crew. She knows she’s an exception to the rule, but she nonetheless embraces these differences as her core strengths, driving her to become a fully realized character.

Embracing her diverse nature as her greatest strength, Yamamoto transforms societal disadvantage into an inspirational force for militaristic equality. And if that’s not the feminist spirit, I’m not sure what is.

The Future Looks Bright

With all of these old sci-fi series, it’s becomes somewhat disappointing to look back and see a male-dominate crew with perhaps a few token women (usually used more for fanservice) or female nurses. But not Space Battleship Yamato 2199. The cast and crew is as expansive as the widening universe, and as we go along creating more wonderful works of fiction, our scope only becomes more diverse—our focus becomes more about real people as opposed to idealized standards. Sure, there are a few carbon copies here and there, but that only goes to show that the struggles that women face are universal issues felt by all.

The Space Battleship Yamato franchise revolves around themes of brave sacrifice, noble enemies, grandiose ideological feuds, resilience, and the respect for heroes lost on the battlefield. But it also ventures to the far edges of space to prove that no matter where you are in the universe, there will always be struggles concerning gender—and that there will always be courageous heroines out there willing to fight for our equality and our integrity.

Men read science fiction to build the future. Women don’t need to read it. They are the future. — Ray Bradbury


Afterword

There’s so much more to be said on 2199—so much so that I may make it the focus of my next OWLS post given that the theme for April just might fall under the same lines . . . ‘Till then, let’s celebrate the wonderful women of the Yamato along with the remainder of this tour!

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This concludes my March 13th entry in the OWLS “Feminine” blog tour. Kind of a shorter OWLS post from me, but I know the lovely folks running the monthly live-stream will appreciate it, haha! Aria (Animanga Spellbook) went right before me with a post on the leading ladies of Zombieland Saga, a series that from what I understand is equal parts bizarre and sheer fun—so check it out! Now, look out for my good friend Crimson (My Fujoshi Life) with a post on finding a voice in a special category of music this Saturday, March 16th! Thank you so much for reading, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

The Biggest Anime DVD Box Set I Own: RahXephon Limited Edition | Unboxing

Hello!

I’ve got a bit of a different post today. Believe it or not, unboxing and haul posts are some of my favorite to write because once the pictures have been taken, all I have to do is write a couple sentences and upload, easy-peasy.

Specifically though, I’m writing this post because, like any well-researched collector, I wanted to know whether this was the edition of RahXephon that I wanted to buy. But when I began scouring the web for pictures of this box, I found nothing. Now, maybe someone will be able to find security and satisfaction in this A-grade product.

Because oh man, what a fantastic set this is.

I’m gonna boast for a minute here and hail the RahXephon limited edition as the biggest anime DVD box set I own. I know these kinds of box sets have been around in anime for quite some time, but this is my first foray into the classic anime collecting scene (where you’d supposedly spend $30 on a DVD containing four episodes and do this seven times until you eventually roped in all 26-odd-some episodes), so let me have this one.

I was lucky enough to buy from a seller who not only sold it for just $45, but kept it in mint condition. Seriously, this beast is IMMACULATE—and it’s over 15 years old!! Proof that there are good collectors out there who take care of their stuff. And they packaged it so nicely too, bonus points! Really happy with this find.

But you just want to see this beautiful box, don’tcha? Alright, me too, so let’s go!


(NOTE: All of these images are placed in slide shows, so you might have to change browser to view them fully.)

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Here’s the box’s exterior: the front, back, top, and sides. I love the holographic foil printing on the logo (which is consistent on EACH of the DVDs as we’ll see here in a bit. The artwork is also particularly exquisite, capturing the mysticism of the story with these divine pieces worthy of framature in any museum. It’s really cool to see all 8 of the DVD spines together as well. Each is consistently laid out and color-coded, almost as if they were meant to go together or something!

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Onto the DVD cases themselves, each one contains key art from the series on a pristine white background overlaid with that holo-foil logo. Each set matches the color dot on the spine, which is a nice touch. Also included in this set is a hefty artbook for the film, Pluralitus Concentio, which makes the 8th DVD in this complete 8-disc set.

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The backsides of each DVD maintain the same white and color-coded schema. The designers also utilized the series’ theme of music to tie in clever phrases to each progression of the plot, beginning with the prelude and ending, of course, with an encore. I LOVE IT.

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Cracking into the DVDs—if you thought this set couldn’t get any better—you will find a miniature artbook for each set. The cover and back pages have the art printed on a specialty paper with a parchment/wax-like texture, which adds to the classiness of this set. Each pamphlet includes approximately 10 pages of character information, as well as art of the various robots and Dolems that appear throughout the series.

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Want a closer look? So do I! Here’s each DVD set complete with its disc and art pamphlet, as well as the film artbook. I really like the landscape art included on the inside pages of each little book. When you think about it, I guess this is what each DVD contained when it was individually purchased back in the day.

Again, this seller kept the box and its contents in such spotless condition that it truly feels like I’m owning a product that just came hot of the press, let alone an artifact from well over a decade ago.

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So to any fellow anime collector out there looking for a proper review of this set, I hope this post helps. If anyone is wanting an even closer look than I provide here, feel free to ask me in the comments. When I was still laying out my purchase options, it came down to either the thinpack (and then I’d buy the film for a separate $10) or this mammoth set, and I’m glad I stuck with the latter.

Will I buy more boxes like this in the future? Hahaha, good question, if my shelves can support it I guess. RahXephon was a special case given that its main accessibility from a physical standpoint was this, the thinpack, or a couple other thinpack-like options. Only time will tell, I suppose.

That’s all I’ve got for this one. In case you missed it, I watched RahXephon as part of my annual V-Day marathon and enjoyed it so much I also reviewed it on my blog (which you can read right here)! I’d be delighted if you checked it out. Friends and fellow collectors, ’till next time!

– Takuto, your post

 

 

The End of a Lovely Month! (Keiko’s Nomination)

Hello all!

As the title indicates, to wrap up this month of love and affection I’ll be responding to the “One Lovely Blog Award” that Keiko (Keiko’s Anime Blog) nominated me for back in, what, November of 2018? Yikes, little behind, but better late than never, right?

I always enjoy chatting with Keiko, and I particularly like seeing what she’s been up to reading-wise in her “Weekly Reads” segment. She’s also currently at the end of the 28-Day Shoujo Challenge for February 2019, so now’s a great time to catch up on what she’s been up too. Thanks for nominating me Keiko!

Rules:


1.  Display Award.

2.  Thank the person who gave you this award (and include a link to her/his blog).

3.  Share 7 things about yourself.

4.  Nominate 15 bloggers (I won’t be doing this part just because it’s been way too long lol).

7 Things About Me:

1.  I recently wrote some poems about memory for a cognitive psych class and the professor(s) approached me with an offer to print them in the updated version of the course textbook! I’ll keep you posted if they decide to move forward with that.

2.  Even though it’s winter, I don’t actually own much of a winter coat. Instead, I prefer to wear layers of light jackets.

3.  My most recent hobby collecting obsession is acrylic stands of anime characters. I never thought I’d buy one, and here I am sitting with three with a fourth on the way. It’s an obsession that came fast and without warning. Perhaps I’ll save the rest of the story for a Cafe Talk . . .

4.  I love buying anime for my collection, but I like buying anime for siblings and friends even more.

5.  Believe it or not, all of my blogging work is done on a tiny hand-me-down ASUS tablet/laptop thing. I’ve never owned a desktop set-up, and while I never plan to, I do wish to upgrade to a nicer laptop sometime this summer. ^ . ^

6.  Recently, I’ve seriously picked up healthy eating and daily exercising to lose weight for cosplaying. The scale may not be giving me lower digits, but I certainly do feel better about myself.

7.  Spring is my favorite season. Like New Year’s, it’s a time for cleansing, revival, and of course, spring cleaning. With the warmer weather coming soon, I plan to strip down my old wall fabric patterns and put up a new bracketed shelf system for all my anime, manga, light novels, and other related items. It’ll be a lighter colored wood, which will be a nice change from the dark browns and blacks of my current furniture. Excited for spring!


And that’ll be all for this one. I hope you all enjoyed your February festivities. Thanks again Keiko! ‘Till next time!

– Takuto