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Alethea & Athena
Stuff about stuff 
28th-Nov-2015 04:09 pm
I'm so glad Uniqlo already shipped our Heattech order. I'm soooo coooooooold! (It's 65 degrees out. I know it's pathetic.)

Anyway, we had something to say about the latest episode of Noragami... What was it again? Right. You can't translate "fast ticket" to "fast pass" because Fastpass is trademarked. Of course, it's possible that they could get away with it anyway, by putting the space there (like why the Tinker Bell movies spell her name as two words; I seem to remember reading somewhere that that was for copyright reasons), or with fair use laws or something. But Tokyo Disneyland uses fastpasses just like American Disneyland, so there's a reason they're called fast tickets in Capyper Land. And why in the Say I Love You version they're called speed passes. But the sad thing is, that episode condensed all the super awesome Capyper Land stuff into just one episode, and took out all the best parts! There was no posing on the drop for Splash Slider! Why!? Whyyyyyyy!?

But enough about that. We talk aaaaalll about it in our review of Noragami 8, which review will be released on Wednesday. As for volume eight itself, it's in stores now! Pick yours up today! (Or, if you're not reading this until after the bookstore closed or on Sunday, pick yours up on Monday!)

Right, I had something else I've been wanting to talk about, too, and that! is UQ Holder!. The other day, we actually read a review of one of the print graphic novels, and we were like, "Whoa, people are actually reviewing the series." There is one blog that reviews it every week when a new chapter goes up on Crunchyroll, and we always go into it knowing someone (the reviewer, a commenter) is going to say something to make us sigh in exasperation, but we read it every week anyway because we're desperate for validation or something.

But the point is, everyone seems to hate the main character, Tota Konoe, except for some people who seem to be mostly indifferent, and that bums us out, because we think Tota is pretty awesome. So I wanted to come onto LJ and talk about what makes him a good main character, and not a stupid one.

First of all, Miyu Irino has a really great voice for Tota. (Bear with me; it will make sense later.) Miyu Irino's voice is made of sunshine, which is probably why they cast him as Apollo in a video game about mythological deities. And he would be perfect for Tota, because Tota is bright and sunny, but the greatest part about it is that Tota is a vampire. That's right, he's a bright sunny vampire who loves walking around in the sun.

Come to think of it, I guess I can see where that would make him annoying, since he defies your expectations in a neutral way, and if you like dark, brooding, angsty vampires, then you might hate him as a traitor. People do tend to dislike having their expectations betrayed, after all. But that's okay, because Tota being a vampire doesn't really come up all that much. At this point, it really just seems like the author's way of letting the audience know he's not going to die, or at least not without fighting some seriously skilled and knowledgeable bad guys.

But back to Tota's cheery disposition--it has a very important side effect, in that he's not jealous at all. In fact, he's constantly seeing other people do cool things and saying, "Whoa, that's awesome!" And he's not afraid to tell those people, either.

Here's an odd thing we've noticed about people: they're always trying to impress other people. And that's fine, but it's tricky, because everybody wants to be the one impressing everybody else. They don't want to be impressed by you. So the best way to impress people is to let them impress you, be a good audience. And that's what Tota does! He's always talking about all his friends and how awesome they are.

And speaking of Tota and his friends--he wants to be friends with everybody! And not in a "I wanna have a lot of friends so I can impress people with how popular I am" sort of way. He just genuinely likes everybody. That's really hard to do. But Kuromaru is a great example. (This is from chapter three, so it's kind of spoilerish, but it happens early on.) Kuromaru is a vampire hunter, so as soon as he realizes that Tota is a vampire, he's like, "Welp, I gotta kill you now." (Only Kuromaru doesn't talk like that at all.) So they start a battle and Tota's like, "Well, okay, I can fight you, but if I win you have to swear to be my BFF." And of course Tota wins because he's a shonen manga hero, and then! Kuromaru doesn't want to be friends with him, but Tota actually made him sign a contract. If you look at the Japanese version, you can see the handwriting on Kuromaru's signature looks like Tota was holding his hand and making him write it.

...So maybe Tota's a little overbearing, but it's revealed later that Kuromaru's actually more powerful than Tota generally, so if he really didn't want to sign the contract, he could have resisted more.

And anyway, I'm not always so good at talking about why I like stuff, but the point is, Tota is great!

Today I'm thankful for getting a shipping confirmation from Uniqlo, having time to practice the piano today, getting most of our to-do list done by now (we still have to exercise), getting to try new Townhouse Focaccia crackers (they're a little too intense), and Tota Konoe.
29th-Nov-2015 02:57 am (UTC)
This isn't totally OT, but it's late, and so I don't feel too competent about replying to your whole post, but I did want to give you a laugh (hopefully?)

I was skimming your post and I somehow read "fast pass" as "fat ass" and I thought, "Whaaaat? She doesn't usually talk like that!" So then I went back and re-read that part and went "Oh, okay." *laughs*
29th-Nov-2015 10:29 pm (UTC)
Aaah ha ha! We always knew speed reading was dangerous!
2nd-Dec-2015 08:07 am (UTC)
Do these people who hate Tota Konoe happen to mention whether they hate also Naruto? Because Tota reminds me a lot of Naruto. They're both relentlessly cheerful, happy-go-lucky guys who basically want to be friends with everyone, but can also be pretty clueless. I think the main difference is that at the beginning of Naruto's series he's set up as such an oppressed, unpopular underdog (virtually everybody in the village except his teacher hates him and thinks he's a loser) that you'd have to have a heart of stone--or at least a total lack of affinity for shonen manga and/or up-by-his-own-bootstraps coming of age stories--not to root for him. It was later on, after Naruto's position had improved a bit by becoming part of Team Kekaishi and helping save a bunch of people, etc., that I sometimes found his personality somewhat one-note and tiresome. This could be partly due to the occasionally rather un-nuanced performance of the English-language voice actress in the anime, which I saw on Cartoon Network. But I think it's also partially attributable to the fact that for a while Naruto's personality just stayed too simplistically predictable (it got pretty tedious watching him try to flirt with the obviously uninterested Sakura for the zillionth time, or inevitably reacting to any slightly complicated verbal explanation with "I don't get it"), while mangaka Masashi Kishimoto kept introducing more and more other characters who seemed less simple-minded and more inherently interesting. It wasn't until Kishimoto got better at focusing on how the unsinkably straightforward Naruto played off the more conflicted and complex supporting characters--for instance, in Naruto's big confrontation with fellow unloved jinchuriki (demon vessel) Gaara--that the way the title character was portrayed really started working for me again.

Anyway, I think the fact that at the beginning of "UQ Holder!" Tota appears to be a pretty ordinary kid with a pretty decent, albeit somewhat ordinary, life, may have made some readers more inclined to write him off as too dull and/or dumb to be an engaging protagonist. (In one review I read of volume one, the reviewer, who was a fan of "Negima!", specifically expressed disappointment over how unintelligent Tota was compared to that series' protagonist, Tota's grandfather Negi.) Frankly, I wasn't terribly impressed with Tota myself until his life got turned upside down by the revelation that he'd stopped growing because he'd been bitten by a vampire, and instead of going all emo he just freaked out briefly over being deprived of the prospect of growing old along with his village friends, then settled down and started focusing on how this might alter his plans to go to the big city and, eventually, outer space. So Tota's cheerful determination and semi-unflappable ability to quickly adjust to any situation and find a way to move forward are some of his most appealing characteristics as far as I'm concerned, along with the unstoppable friendliness toward everybody you've already discussed.
2nd-Dec-2015 02:08 pm (UTC)
Most of the people we know about who are reading UQ Holder! don't seem to be Naruto fans, but on the other hand, they DO seem to be fans of Fairy Tail, and we don't hear any complaints about Natsu (possibly because we don't read their Fairy Tail reviews).

"Clueless" does seem to be one of the biggest complaints about Tota, but we're not sure why. It's true he doesn't act like much of a thinker, but he's pretty perceptive. ...Come to think of it, I seem to remember people being unhappy with him never bothering to ask questions about things like Magia Erebea, so maybe they're blaming him for the fact that they're not getting the answers they want right away (because as we all know, the BEST stories never leave the readers in any kind of suspense whatsoever ). We definitely agree that his "failure" to go all emo over being a vampire is a definite count in Tota's favor.
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