After some intense voting that ending in a draw with 171 votes each, Kare Kano and GTO will both be blogged. Kare Kano won the dice roll and is up first, and what a pair of first episodes. The writing is great, the background music appropriate, and the visuals have an interesting use of motion to them with some hand drawn sketch shots now and then. The basics: Miyazawa Yukino is the queen of her class, the best in everything, always smiling and cute, and willing to help out everyone around her. Except that it’s all an act, just a means to be the best and seize the attention and adoration of those around her. At home she lets her true face show: lazy, selfish, still wearing her gym uniform from middle school, and devious. So deliciously devious. But all her plans are disrupted by Arima Souichiro, the new boy in class who’s stealing her spotlight. He’s smart, good at sports, good looking, and friendly…exactly the role Yukino was intending to play in the class. All the world’s a stage and Yukino is not keen on being shown up or having attention diverted from her. But as we shall see, things take a bit of a different turn during their first week of school.
Yukino holds court over her class, offering help and dispensing patronage like an ancient Roman patronus to his cliens.
And she’s getting rave reviews from all her classmates.
Except that it’s all an act. She does all this simply because she craves attention and won’t rest in her desire to be the object of everyone’s affection.
The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne put it well. Had a kind of poetry to it, sir.
The daughter of thirty faces.
Rising like an Eva from it’s launch tube. Being made by Gainax around the same time, this isn’t the only moment where you’ll be having flashbacks to Evangelion.
The one messing up Yukino’s plans and possibly related to the relatives of Tohno Shiki. They never did mention if the Arimas had any children…
I’VE GOT A BURNING HEART!
All hail <strike>Britannia</strike> Yukino!
Rise, rise! Take your sorrow and turn it into anger! Yukino thirsts for the strength of her own self-obsession! Sieg Yukino! Sieg Yukino! Sieg Yukino!
Yukino redoubles her studying. Cue Death Note music.
Similar to Eva, but used more frequently, is the often seen closeups of traffic lights. In this show used to signal how events are about to progress.
I loved how everything was labeled. And you thought Angel Beats was doing something new, didn’t you?
The next day at school Yukino runs into Arima (I’ll use whichever names seem most common and right now he’s being referred by his last name) early before class and can’t stand to discover that he’s actually really nice. It just annoys her more that he’s nice to her and oblivious to her deep hatred and determination to beat him. But all that studying, practicing poses in the mirror, and other deceptions has taken its toll on her and she almost falls asleep with a pen in her mouth. While I doubt it was the life-threatening mistake that she characterized it as, after she freaks out for a moment she snaps back to her primary concern: whether anyone saw her. No one did…except Arima. They end up walking home together when he catches up to her at the end of the day, and he makes some long, but unnoticed, glances at her. The next day test results are in, and Yukino is victorious. She wishes to see Arima fall into the depths of despair and come crawling to her for solace, but again to her irritation finds him gracious in defeat and not really minding that he came in second. And this nonchalant attitude makes her question why and how she became so obsessed with getting attention. Arima’s arrival has been a series of unpleasant surprises for Yukino and definitely not keikaku doori for her, but yet another comes at the start of the next day. Before homeroom she literally runs into Arima, then when she tries to escape he catches up to her and confesses that he loves her!
While the show isn’t all that inventive in backgrounds or character design, it uses a lot of cool animation sequences like this one, revealing Yukino’s inner thoughts like cards in a binder.
She’s like a high school Cima Garahau.
And she has some of the best rapeface since Accelerator.
Apparently they attend Super Dimensional Fortress Hokuei High School.
Seriously, just look at the resemblance.
That or they had the same architect as the Frontier Fleet’s Mihoshi Academy.
See Kurumi, this is how to use CDs to get closer to your love interest, not by repeatedly pestering them about it. Offer, don’t demand.
The pen is mightier…
The hand drawn sketch shots, usually reserved for when a character is looking at or thinking of another in a romantic way, such as when Arima was walking home with Yukino.
Fangirls: Arima has them.
A rival waiting in the wings, me thinks.
Oh, she’s so much like my beloved Miwako <3
A more serious moment, where Yukino questions the point of it all. The emptiness of it minimally highlighted by the empty background.
That was fast. I hope the show keeps up this pace, there are tons of shows that take forever to even get to the first attempt at confession.
We aren’t shown Yukino’s response, but the show goes back to her at home, laughing about how she turned him down right away, and then maybe regretting a little that she didn’t even consider a relationship. But overall she’s enjoying the moment with her sisters before going right to sleep after they try to make her reconsider and think again about her situation. You can start to see where Gainax got some of the ideas it would use later in this show, like in the living room scene where Yukino’s younger sisters explain the situation and their thoughts in manga form, very similar to the much faster paced manga scenes in FLCL that would come two years later. The next day is a Sunday, and Yukino stays at home to loaf around while everyone else goes to see a movie. Then she hears a knock at the door, assuming it’s her sisters who forgot to take an umbrella. She charges out the front door in her old track suit in a flying kick…to find Arima there with the CD he said he’d lend her. Now her secret home life is out, but for a week afterwards nothing happens at school. She lets herself think for a moment that Arima and his rich family upbringing wouldn’t permit him to gossip, until approaches her and threatens to tell everyone unless she helps him with his myriad school and club officer responsibilities. While she can’t believe that she’s being used like this, she does start to admire him for being so responsible and for treating her to dinner one night.
The evolution of Gainax techniques, from this to FLCL.
<strike>Suiyou</strike> nichiyou ohaiyou. Nangatsu nannichi hare…
Yukino’s going for the Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge with Master Cloth medal.
Two can play at this game.
I’ll use you up and then throw you away like an old rag!
His kindness and concern for her is making things more complicated than just deception and blackmail.
People start catching on to that final thought Yukino had. Her classmates asking if she’s going out with Arima, her parents and sisters are suspicious too. And she’s stopped wearing her track suit at home too. But when her classmates tell her that when they asked Arima the question he just smiled, she starts to think that he thinks so little of her that he won’t even respond. She ends up staying late again, even though she only had a little bit of Arima’s paperwork to do when he walks in to check on her. Her feelings are showing more, and she’s tired of being tormented by the guy she likes, that she thinks for a moment she might be in love with, and starts walking out announcing that she doesn’t care if he tells everyone her secret. But he chases after her even when she starts running, and then she even jumps from the second story window outside to get away, such are her confused feelings of attraction and embarassment. He follows suit, and eventually they end up crashing into a bunch of athletics supplies and coming to a halt. She starts telling him that she’s truly selfish and petty, but he confesses that he likes her true self and that the blackmail was an excuse to spend more time with her. He also realizes within himself that he’s able to be more of who he really is when he’s with her. From that point on they become close friends and confidants, and the story is set up to progress from there.
Yukino’s parents are pretty typical anime parents: the cheerleading mother and the over protective ‘I love my daughter more than anyone’ father.
Rolled a natural 20 on her jump check.
Another one of the animation sequences that are used effectively in this show.
Yukino is feeling insecure about how Arima feels now that he knows her real self, but his feeling haven’t changed. If anything he only seems to like her more.
Mmm, I do have a thing for selfish, devious girls.
Such a nice couple.
One other visual technique used, a switch to negative at certain introspective moments.
The live action ending sequence on the left definitely seems to prototype or influence for latter 2/3 of the ending sequence to FLCL. While the preview format on the right reminds me of a live action version of how SHAFT did the episode previews in Bakemonogatari, with the two little sister characters goofing around and giving the preview hints.
Final Thoughts: – A great start to the series. The pacing was great, with tons of information thrown at you with the labels and internal dialogue without feeling overwhelming. No need to pause to absorb everything going on at once. I liked how everything was set up so quickly and neatly. The only thing not setup were the details of Arima’s background.
- Yukino is great, I’m definitely a fan. All that deviousness, plotting, and duplicity without even a hint of restraint or remorse. As Crusader said of Ami back when he blogged Toradora, “bad girls are so much more interesting.” She may question the end of why she’s being so ruthless and calculating, but never the means. And I like that. There are far too many female characters, whether in shoujo or moe or other genres, that are just cute and nice and non-threatening. While I like the ones like Sawako or Minori whose traits come from genuine sincerity that is developed on in the story, most are just cutsey and airheaded for no good reason (other than targeting demographics.) Yukino is smart, cunning, and has a believable mix of reasons and doubts involved in acting the way she does. And she’s just more fun.
- I really like the OP and ED songs, though I think the ED sequences thus far are interesting in concept but not all that fun visually after the first 20 seconds or so. The OP has a very cool compilation of all the characters though; I only wish the show had been made more recently to give it better visuals.
- A note: speaking of visuals, for next week I’m going to try to hunt down a more recent copy of the show that I don’t have to resize the images to MAKE THEM LARGER. That was a first, heh. For some reason my copy is at a resolution width of about 320. Already working on that, apologies for the low quality of screencaps.