Archive for March 23rd, 2008

The Mysterious Enigma of Why I Like Nena Trinity (when no one else does)


It is a mysterious enigma, though. She’s been compared to Fllay Allster from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, on the basis that they’re both, pardon my French, crazy-ass bitches. Really crazy-ass bitches. The Colossus of Rhodes of crazy-ass bitches. Yet Fllay didn’t get my engine revving in the “oh god this girl” department, and Nena is not only revving the engine, but shoving me out of the driver’s seat into the passenger’s side, disengaging the parking brake, and gunning it full-blast down the street. Yes. That kind of “oh god this girl.”

So why the difference? First, Fllay and Nena aren’t the same kind of crazy. Fllay was meant to be a cruel manipulator of emotions, someone you despised and detested throughout the series. That didn’t stop some people from proclaiming her the best character in SEED. From the perspective of a character, Fllay was effective in being enough of a cruel manipulating bitch to tease out more interpersonal drama all throughout the series. I’d have to watch the series again to be a better judge of how effective the writers were using this for added melodrama power (I seem to remember her plotline getting a bit forced towards the end, but that may just be hazy memory), but I do remember that she very effectively made the viewer loathe every moment she was on the screen. It was like Madoka from Full Moon o Sagashite all over again: every time you see her face, you shake your fish at the screen and shout “Go away!” at the top of your lungs (thereby waking up other members of your household/apartments, because this is without a doubt occuring at 3am on a Saturday night/Sunday morning). She’s a character you loathe.

Nena Trinity, on the other hand, is potentially even crazier than Fllay. I mean, she blew up an entire wedding for no reason, because she felt like it, and it amused her. She, too, isn’t a character you’re supposed to love–but she is one you’re supposed to love to hate. Unlike Fllay, she’s deliciously crazy–she’s extremely impulsive and impatient, she takes great delight in killing (although not as much as the late and [un?]lamented Michael, who was also crazy, but he isn’t a girl, so I don’t care at this juncture), and so forth. The thing is, even though yo’re supposed to hate her, and love hating her, Mizushima still manages to make you feel sorry for her when both her brothers are killed in front of her eyes. Or, well, at least I felt sorry for her; I’m rather biased in this regard, so your mileage may have varied. She isn’t a character without viewer sympathy. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste, but I think Nena is much, much better in the likability department. She’s inhumanly crazy, but that just makes the shock of her brother’s deaths even more horrifying. I have the nagging feeling that Nena wasn’t killed for a deeper reason than Mizushima not wanting to kill off a character voiced by the one and only Kugimeister, but rather to keep her around to redeem her character through her subsequent actions. We won’t find out until this fall, sadly, but as long as she still lives, there’s hope for her to become a better person.

There’s this, and then there’s the fact that I suffer terribly from Kugimiya Disease. There is no cure. Tread carefully in the waters of anime, my friends: it’s highly contagious.

Ghost Hound: Miyako Counseling Peep Show

I can only imagine the sorts of saucy introspective conversation that’s going on at this moment.

Ghost Hound continues to impress. What it may lack in terms of being a crazy screw-you-up-in-the-head series (while I, personally, don’t think it lacks this, some do), it more than makes up for in terms of characterization. I’ve heard it bandied about that Tarou is a bland character, which isn’t really true. He is a rather bland sort, but I think, more than anything else, it’s because of his status as a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder. What’s worse, his traumatic stress came at a very early age for him, and I can only imagine the shock of being kidnapped and watching your sister die in front of you (or be eaten by a giant black blob-man, whatever actually happened) at such an early age would leave lasting shockwaves throughout your entire personality. It’s entirely possible, then, that what is perceived as Tarou’s blandness is actually how his mind managed to cope with the traumatic event of kidnapping. PTSD affects different people in different ways, and it’s possible that, in order to avoid dealing with the horrors that he’d experienced, he generated a bland, lifeless, apathetic personality to evade having to deal with further trauma. He doesn’t show much emotion in the series, either positive or negative, which, to me, speaks of shock more than poor designing on the behalf of the writers.

Masayuki is a much more colorful personality than Tarou, yet even he still has his own issues. Here, rather than confront his own trauma of leading to the death of a classmate, he instead immerses himself in virtual reality. Similar to Tarou, he’s escaping his past, although unlike Tarou he puts on a good front of being completely calm and at ease with his past. Except, of course, for the early episodes, where he was still terrified of heights, the curing of which being the  original purpose the virtual reality games were to serve. There, even the normally calm, suave Masayuki betrays his own inner doubts and fears. He claims to have moved past them, but is that truly the case?

Makoto is still something of an engima at this point, yet episode 14 gave us tantalizing glimpses into his personality. We see him recalling his youth, where he stabs an innocent frog to death, evidently for the sheer fun of it.  His fate is locked in to being the successor to his grandmother, and, resentful of this predetermination of his life, turns to a typical rebellious teenager form of rebellion: rock. I think, however, that the end of episode 14 served to explore further his character, seeing his reactions to the proclamation of Miyako as the successor to his grandmother, his subsequent command to the god resident in Miyako (I can’t remember its name at the moment) for his grandmother to die, and then running home to find his grandmother dead. We don’t know that much about him yet, but obviously there’s something unspoken under the surface here.

Despite the merits I see in Ghost Hound’s story and overall mood, without the characters, I don’t think this would be nearly as good a series as it could have been. I’m not a fan of Ghost in the Shell, as I mentioned before, but Ghost Hound is making me reconsider the abilities of Shirow Masamune in the writing department (but not in the artistry department; I’m glad they hired someone different to do the designs for the series). I still don’t know whether or not I’d like other series in this sort of genre, though, but there’s nothing left to do but try them!


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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March 2008