About Me

Newfoundland, Canada
I've been a big anime fan for about 10 years or so now. My five all-time favorite animes at this point are, in no particular order... Puella Magi Madoka Magica, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, Love Live!: School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. However, there are hundreds of anime shows that I like. The main purpose of this blog is to provide meta-commentary on anime, and the anime industry - to try to cast a critical, though appreciating, eye upon this entertainment genre that I believe has tremendous potential, but can also be easily wasted. I have always been a fan of animation in general - in the 80s, I grew up on western cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Through out the 90s, I was a hardcore comic book fan, for the most part. I'm also a big fan of Star Trek. Right now in my life, though, anime is my principal entertainment passion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Number 2: Katsuhiko Jinnai!

In my previous blog entry, I spoke of that great invention called fiction.

Fiction, however, usually entails more than just imaginative creation.

Fiction usually involves conflict.

In high school, I learned of the three basic sorts of conflict present in fiction...

Man vs. Nature

Man vs. Himself

Man vs. Man

Of these three, the one that tends to most convincingly completely capture the emotions of the player or reader or viewer... is Man vs. Man.

Seeing two personable forces locked in a struggle, be it a purely physical confrontation or a battle of wits or a challenge of ideas or some combination thereof, can truly draw in the viewer, and often force him to view the conflict from multiple perspectives. You don't identify with the blizzard, but you may identify with an antagonist.

Sometimes, this is best achieved through great contrast between the combatants.

And when such contrast is aimed for, you frequently arrive at one of the oldest and most tried, tested, and true character types of many a fictional story...

The Villain

The villain confidently swaggers, struts, and strides into the work of fiction, leaving an immediate indelible impression of antagonistic arrogant attitude.

The villain... many a good villain, in any event... simultaneously repulses you, but yet also beguiles you, with his abnormal morality (or complete lack thereof) and his breathtakingly bold brazen aims and goals.

And Katsuhiko Jinnai, my favorite anime villain of all-time as well as one of my three favorite anime characters period, is no exception.

Jinnai's willingness, if not exciting exuberant eagerness, to murder his greatest enemies is not morally defensible... but it does make for a cool clamorous conflict...

The ferocious frenzied feud between El Hazard's Makoto Mizuhara and Katsuhiko Jinnai is one of the most riveting feuds in all of anime, if not in all of fiction. It is a feud that reaches decidedly deeply down into the tormented psychosis of a man unhinged. Of powerful penultimate pride being badly bruised one too many times.

Jinnai's descent into malevolent manipulative madness, brought upon by the perception of a vexing foe that has been nothing less than a cancer upon his life, is truly a sight to behold. It is one of the highlights of the first episode of the El Hazard: The Magnificent World OVA.

It's ideological intensity is also reminiscent of some of the great feuds of western fiction, such as Superman vs. Lex Luthor, Batman vs. the Joker, and Reed Richards vs. Dr. Doom. Part of the feud between Makoto and Jinnai is their vastly different world views, and their respective senses of their places within it.

Makoto desires to help others, pursue knowledge for its own sake, live a productive but safe and simple life, and get along with others as best as he can. In most respects, he is an admirable soul, but he is also a bit of a meekly mild milquetoast of a character. Makoto is pushed along by the plot, often unwillingly and with whiney complaint, and only near the very end of the El Hazard OVA does Makoto begin to show real signs of trying to control his own destiny, so to speak.

Jinnai is the complete opposite...

Jinnai is the optimal outspoken opportunist, as he never fails to seize the moment, or take advantage of every opening or potential gain that comes his way. His desire for personal glory is insatiable, and his need to placate his sense of superiority is ever-present.

You can see it in his beady eyes, his hungry haughty hellacious grin, and in his dynamic mannerisms.

His ambitions, his drives, his lusts... they are akin to a force of nature. They are every bit as great as those of any contemporary anime character... yes, even including the likes of Kamina and Haruhi Suzumiya. In fact, in some ways, he is even more forceful than them! Because Jinnai is not driven by a sense of brotherhood, or by a desire to gain extraordinary friends... feelings that can be moderated by the moral guidance of a Simon, or a Kyon.

No... Jinnai theatrically triumphantly thirsts for no less than complete and total rule!

Yes, a triumphant thirst, as Jinnai moved at rapid pace to an unparalleled position of power and influence within a totally alien empire, and even through out an entire alien world. The statue above represents the zealous zestful zenith of Jinnai's lofty aims. How many fictional characters can say that an entire alien race of innumerable many, had come to adore and love and even worship him, so much that they make the grandest of statues in his or her likeness, even while he lives?!

And do you know what is absolutely astounding about this?

Jinnai is, at best, a physically normal human being. His only "super power", if you can even call it that, is his ability to communicate with the bugrom. His lone super power, as it were, would be rendered obsolete by a mere Star Trek universal communicator.

Everything Jinnai accomplishes is through sheer brilliance, cunning, guile, resiliency, and wits.

And incredible degrees of courage.

Don't believe me? Then perhaps the talented Deviant Art contributor who made this piece of artwork can add support to my words here...

Here is what the artist ~chad-spider has to say about Jinnai...

"This is Katsuhiko Jinnai from El Hazard, the ballsiest man in anime. I will explain why in case anybody reads this and does not know him.

Jinnai is a high school student--not a high school student who is also a ninja or an alien or a superhero, just a high school student. He gets transported to a fantasy world full of wacky stuff through means unknown to him, and is quickly discovered by a race of insect monsters at war with humanity. They take him back to their fortress, and their queen demands to know if he is the prophesied messenger who is supposed to lead them to victory in war. And Jinnai, without missing a beat, tells her that yes, yes he is. Then he takes over their army and spends the rest of the series at war with the human race to satisfy his own ego." (Emphasis mine)

Katsuhiko Jinnai could even teach Barack Obama a thing or two about audacity. ;) :D

Is there any wonder why Queen Diva is so enamored by him? ;)
A man that exudes such raw potency as Jinnai will obviously hold a massively magnetic masculinity for many a woman...

The picture immediately above is from a late 90s anime convention, and is a picture featuring the star of the show... Y2KJ... a fusion of sorts between pro wrestling's Chris Jericho and anime's Katsuhiko Jinnai.

Just look at the way women literally fall all over Katsuhiko Jinnai. ;)

But not only women are inspired by him.

One of the most famous anime music remixers in the business was so inspired by El Hazard's Katsuhiko Jinnai that he named himself after him.

I'm sure many an anime fan are familiar with DJ Jinnai.

It has to be said that El Hazard, as a whole, was a great classic mid-90s anime. In some ways, it's unfortunate that it came out the same year as Neon Genesis Evangelion, causing it to be overshadowed somewhat.

But Katsuhiko Jinnai is a character who's influence continues to be felt... not only through DJ Jinnai.

If Katsuhiko Jinnai was a brand new anime character, many would call him a mixture of Light Yagami with the CCP of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, or a mixture of Lelouch Lamperouge with Sunohara of Clannad. The general competence and lofty aims of the former displayed by the pratfalling yet flashy style of the latter. A well-groomed meticulous villain with a great mind and commanding presence... but also played for laughs quite frequently.

Many others would point to how his demeanour is the male equivalent of Umineko's Beatrice, as a previous blog entry of mine displayed.

I would argue that parts of Jinnai's character has inspired each of these other five prominent anime characters, and hence the ripples of his character's impact on the anime world is felt to this day. His uproarious famous laugh also reverberates well over a decade after the animes starring him finished production...

Jinnai is truly a classic anime villain for the ages. A character that helped make El Hazard one of the best animes of the 90s, if not one of the best animes of all-time.

However, I will admit that some of his strengths are also, in a way, weaknesses...

Personally, I have always found it impressive when a charismatic villain who has mastered the art of the dramatic entrance... is a physically normal human being, challenging dangerous metahuman protagonists. That does indeed take balls.

Lex Luthor putting his mind to the test against Superman's brawn.

The Joker often trying to get to Batman through attacking the vaunted Justice League.

And Katsuhiko Jinnai is like them in how he must deal with extraordinarily powered foes... all by sheer wits, and the military forces that he takes charge of.

This is a weakness, in some ways, though. There are not many grand one-on-one physical confrontations involving Jinnai and a protagonist. There is the swordfight between him and Makoto in El Hazard: The Wanderers, but there is not much more than that.

I can understand how this can be a negative for some... even though I think that Jinnai more than makes up for it with his overall strengths as a villain.

Others judge Jinnai harshly because, well... many anime fans have an unique liking for the sympathetic antagonist, I think. They don't like the unprincipled sociopaths that many villains are.

However, here I come to Jinnai's defense. For while sheer, unadulterated ego is what pushes him forward, there is a genuine and sincere camaraderie between him and the bugrom race. A good example of this is how Jinnai, for a short time, even adopted bugrom armor to create a greater sense of unity between him and his legions...

Another one of Jinnai's strong points; points that distinguish him from the totally insane and entirely evil villains, is how Jinnai actually aided in saving El Hazard... from Galus and the Shadow Tribe.

Jinnai doesn't destroy simply for the sake of destroying... he is a true and forthright conqueror, who wishes to rule over lands worth ruling; which means that they have to be left standing in decent condition. Jinnai clearly values pristine conditions, as we see in how tightly dressed and impeccably groomed he is...

Jinnai is, in fact, famous for always carrying a comb with him, and making sure not a signal hair on his head is out of place. And, judging by the following picture, his dental hygiene is above reproach as well... ;)

But don't let these good points fool you either... Jinnai is the ultimate laughing villain. He is equal parts Lex Luthor, Joker, Kane (of Command and Conquer fame), and Sunohara (Clannad).

That is what I love about him... he is The Villain.

A great villain, who quickly takes charge of almost every scene he's in; who's impact is felt loudly, if not literally, with his every charismatic entrance.

A 17 year old boy who shakes an entire alien world to its very foundations, and who leads a World War; very nearly winning it as nation after nation after nation falls to his relentless advances.

Jinnai's military genius is perhaps his greatest strength. His tactics... his strategics... his maneuvers... they are all applied with a magnificent mixtue of finesse with overwhelming force.

The best example of this is Wanderers' Jinnai's complex plot to capture Princess Rune Venus. That plot is hilariously named "Operation: Permanent Vacation!", complete with an outrageously funny jingle in the English dubbed version of the anime. It was a plot that met with great success, as Princess Rune Venus was kidnapped by Jinnai and the bugrom, and delivered into the welcoming hands of Queen Diva.

As far as Magnificent World's Jinnai is concerned, there is the method he used to reach Ifurita; a method that made complete fools out of his enemies.

All told, Katsuhiko Jinnai wraps himself in the timeless cape of evil overlord villainy, and wears it with such splendid spectacular style, that he has earned his joyous laughs...

Katsuhiko Jinnai is, for me, the greatest anime villain that I've ever seen.

So why, then, doesn't he solely win the spot of Number 2 on my Ten Favorite Anime Characters of All-Time list, or even come in at the very top spot?

Well, my previous blog entry went into great detail about the illustrious female character that tied him. She is not with out her charms either. ;)

To compare the two further... Haruhi Suzumiya is, in most respects, a nicer person, and perhaps a touch more realistic at a personality level (although I could imagine someone like Katsuhiko Jinnai actually existing in real life).

However, Jinnai is a far more focused character, and I do like that about him. Haruhi's energetic zeal roughly matches his, but its less polished and coherently channelled.

Katsuhiko Jinnai was, also, the ultimate gateway character for me, as he reminded me so much of many of my favorite comic book villains. He, as much as any anime character, helped me become an anime fan.

However, Haruhi is the character that keeps me interested in anime, more than any other. If not for her anime and character, it's unlikely that I would be writing this blog at all.

That makes it immensely hard to choose between them... and, in fact, I couldn't.

Jinnai is the villain that I loved cheering for, and could even relate to... I, too, was a Student Council President at one time, and I, too, was in a tight academic conflict with another particular classmate who was good at computers...

Whereas Haruhi is precisely the sort of classmate that I wish I did have.

Sometimes, it's the little things that count when evaluating a character, or trying to relate to him or her.

As for my No. 1 pic... in the end, The Hero defeated The Villain.

I wanted a hero, a true hero, to win this Top 10 race. A hero who I look forward to writing a great deal about. I hope that you'll join me for that write-up as well, my friends. ;)

However, I hope that I've done justice in speaking well of this often underappreciated anime villain. In anime, a decade can feel like a century, and hence even a character as great as Jinnai can become a sadly forgotten... or even never known at all... character.

But, I hope that this blog post can reflect the never say die nature of the man who kept fighting on, against all obstacles, in spite of the most horrendous of setbacks... a man who never lost his smile, who always kept his laugh, and who is forever etched in the hallowed history of El Hazard!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Number 2: Haruhi Suzumiya!

Fiction is one of the greatest inventions of the human mind.

It can creates wondrous worlds in our minds that have swirls of creativity as grand as a cosmic spiral.

Bubbles of ingenuity percolate to the surface of our thoughts, and pop with a sparkling light, like a Christmas gift unwrapping itself to reveal interesting intriguing ideas within.

Images intensely imprint upon the individual psyche, and give way to imaginations that exhilarate the human spirit, and captivates the human soul.

This ties into Haruhi Suzumiya in two ways; two ways that weave a mobius strip, as each way ties back into the other.

1) Haruhi Suzumiya is, of course, a fictional character. She herself was one of those bubbles of ingenuity, perculating to the surface of the thoughts of an excellent light novel writer by the name of Nagaru Tanigawa. She herself is an infinitesimally small piece of the puzzle of that human invention called fiction.

But... she is nontheless one of the more important such pieces, I would argue.

Every so often in the world of fiction, there is a new character that takes the world by storm. There is a character that defines, if not transcends, the fictional genres or mediums that the character becomes popularized within. This character so impacts the world of fiction that, for some people, it can become oddly difficult to imagine what life was like before that character even existed.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Alice in Wonderland.

Dorothy in Oz.



Mickey Mouse

Bugs Bunny


And, I believe, that a strong case could be made for Haruhi Suzumiya being to anime what these characters are to their own respective fictional genres and mediums.

Consider that an entire anime (other than her own) exists in large degree to spoof and promote her; that anime being Lucky Star.

Consider that even the most casual anime fans could recognize her by the slightest of glances.

Consider the memes that have sprung from her anime, such as the endlessly copied hare hare yukai dance, and the dreaded Mikuru Beam, killer of the likes of Captain Falcon and Perfect Cell.

Even something as broad as moe is said by many to have been popularized by the anime that is experienced though the thoughts and eyes of Kyon, but revolves around the melancholy and whims of Haruhi Suzumiya.

This, of course, is very much a mixed blessing.

Superman is beloved by many... but disliked by many as well. Some view him as the pinnacle of superhero comics. Others view him, and the trends that he created, to be holding comic books back.

Haruhi Suzumiya is much the same. And later on in this blog entry, I will look at the controversies that surround her like the various signs surrounding the SOS Brigade in the Super Driver OP.

First, however, I return to the mobius strip...

2) Haruhi is the creation of a real person's imagination... but her character is one with an immense imagination itself. The creation of imagination is the holder of vast imagination herself; fiction reflects back on reality.

This screen shot from the OP of the 2006 airing of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, features Haruhi gazing up into the enchanting nightime sky... searching with such longing eyes for... what? What is she looking for, or looking at, you wonder? And then an hand extraordinarily reaches down to grasp Haruhi's hand... and Haruhi's eyes and mouth light up in a blaze of white glory.

This symbolism reflects the interpretive talents of Kyoto Animation at its finest. As much as I've been critical of Kyoto Animation, it does deserve some acclaim for its moments of sheer ingenious brilliance.

But... all of this aside, what is Haruhi looking for or at?

With apologies to Star Trek, I would say that Haruhi is looking for the Undiscovered Country.

Above all else, Haruhi is a pioneer.

She craves the unknown... the uncharted... the unexplored... the untried.

This, I believe, is a big part of what drives her character.

She desires newness.

New areas distinct from the commonly known. New beings to interact with. Future or alien civilizations to become immersed within. Different kinds of existences represented by those that can slide through dimensional doors, and those with extra sensory perceptions... espers, to be short. ;)

And, in her frustration in not finding that (or so she thinks), she was going to destroy the world itself and remake it into something new, to achieve her whims.

But one man stopped her.

One man dragged her back from the brink.

One man is the anchor to her majestic sailing vessel.

That man is Kyon.

Kyon is (in)famous for constantly being led around by his tie. He appears to be whipped, some would say. But the truth of the matter is that his tie, and how Haruhi uses it, is symbolic of the bind that these two complimentray characters have forged for the benefit of each other.

An anchor needs a ship and a crew to show it new worlds... to drag it along even if it would rather go nowhere and lazily stay in place. And, over time, the anchor enjoys a more interesting existence because of it. Even when the opportunity arises for the anchor to forget about that demanding ship and crew, the anchor still longs to return to the voyage that it was already on...

And the pioneering voyager needs the anchor too. The anchor keeps the sailing vessel grounded when the passionate ocean waves grow too high and out of control. When tumultuous times and typhoons threaten to rip the sailing vessel asunder. The anchor then assures the sailing vessel of success, even when the hull is almost breached with the punch of angry waves...

Kyon is the anchor to Haruhi Suzumiya's sailing vessel and crew. Or, you could think of the rest of the SOS Brigade as the crew. This, I think, is at the core of Kyon and Haruhi's relationship. Kyon needs the adventure and excitement that only Haruhi can bring, and Haruhi needs the man who's generally grounded in reasonableness and sensibility to keep her vessel safe when the storms of her desires grow too great.

Deep down inside, I think that they both reliaze this, and that is why they are virtually inseperable.

Haruhi, I think, revealed as much when she openly questioned (to Kyon) the way that she was living her life, back in the episode Live Alive.

But... as important as the anchor is, it is still the sailing vessel that determines the course of the story. It is the sailing vessel that captures the imagination; that points and leads to brave new worlds and unpredictable adventure.

Haruhi is a creation of a real man's imagination, but she creates with her own imagination as well... and all the time, literally and figuratively.

The mobius strip is now complete... but that doesn't mean it always leaves a good impression...

From what I've heard and read, this picture above sums up a lot of the Haruhi haters criticisms against her.

Here's a funny story, to take a perhaps needed break from all the high-falutin' poetic language of this blog entry so far... ;)

This image above was two firsts for me.

It was, honestly, the first "motivational image" I ever saw. It was also the first image of Haruhi and/or Mikuru that I ever saw... before I was even introduced to their anime. When I first saw this image, I had no idea of who these two girls were. For all I knew about them at the time, I thought it was just one young slender lesbian Japanese teenager sexually forcing herself upon an unwilling weaker teenage girl.

I did know, however, that the image left me with some negative first impressions, to be frank...

Sometimes, inside jokes, and tongue-in-cheek self-depreciating humor, can be great. But it can be lost on the uninitiated, as I was at one time, as it pertained to anime.

And I think that this particular side of Haruhi... the side of the malevolent Mikuru molester... is what hurts Haruhi's image as much as anything does.

It's part of the reason why I actually disliked Haruhi quite a bit in the early going.

But, of course, as I watched further and further into the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and also when I read further and further into the Haruhi novels, I gained a vastly more complete image of the character of Haruhi Suzumiya.

And, one of those amazing aspects of Haruhi, is just how multifaceted she is.

Haruhi can carry herself like a great villain...

Haruhi can convey distressing disquieting displeasure...

She can be loudly cheerful and the life of the party...

She can be genuinely caring and sweet...

She can be surprisingly, smoothly, softly responsive...

She can help others in a culturally relevant way while still being true to her individual flare...

She can betray a piercing thoughtfulness that lies within an outer bombastic style...

There are many faces and sides to Haruhi Suzumiya...

And here's the key...

She has the eccentricities of the typical anime schoolgirl... within a look and overall personality just like that of a real life girl next door.

Haruhi has numerous anime trope features to her. I will not deny that.

She plays some tropes staight, subverts some tropes, and even does both with some tropes.

But the key thing is... the character incorporates tropes into herself; the tropes don't define the character.

That's a key distinction, and one that I want to raise as it pertains to "Haruhi is a tsundere" debate.

Let me make a confession here that may surprise people.

In the sense of tsundere as a trait, one of Haruhi's character traits is tsundere. Yes, I admit that.

But I wouldn't call Haruhi a tsundere as an archetype, becomes she's so much more than that alone. A tsundere is just a small part of what she is... it's one facet or side to her complex very well developed character.

There is also how she's very demanding, but also impeccably loyal, to all of her closest friends... not just love interests. ;)

There is how she longs for the extraordinary, yet embraces enriching exquisite cultural traditions and festivals.

There is a restlessness to her that, I will admit, is probably typical of many a teenage girl, yes.

And so, there is another mobius strip sense to Haruhi's character... the combination of the commonplace eccentricities of the anime school girl, with the commonly known features of the real life girl next door, to arrive at an unique character.

And by grounding those eccentricities in a girl that's drawn to look like the picture perfect presentation of pleasant but typical youthful femininity, those eccentricities don't make the character feel too unreal.

Haruhi feels a bit more real because her character design, and because even much of what motivates her and inspires her actions, is so simple, streamlined, and realistic.

And yet, while she is realistic, she often comes across as larger than life.

There is such exuberant electrical energy to almost everything that Haruhi does. There is a vigor of youth that simply explodes from her as each of her whims is instantaneously grabbed for, pulling by the viewer's tie almost hard enough to choke him or her.

And when you roll all of the above together, and you do it to the crisp and clean and sleek and anatomically refined and ideally lined and shaded artwork of Haruhi's 2006 episodes, you arrive at a subtle sexual sensuality that pivots and thrusts the character over the top...

Is it any wonder why beautiful cosplayers dress up as her?

Haruhi is a character that balances strength; real strength, with vibrant femininity. That can, of course, be very alluring to many men and women alike.

And speaking of men... Kamina and Simon had to find a way to channel chaotic spiral power, and to their monumentally mighty manly credit, they found a way to do so!

But while Kamina and Simon can merely seek to tap into spiral power... Haruhi Suzumiya is spiral power, personified. ;)

Most of what I've wrote in this blog entry so far comes close to the sum of the full appeal of Haruhi Suzumiya. I humbly hope that I have managed to do justice to this character, and to why so many like her, and love to cosplay as her (as even a cursory search for "Haruhi Suzumiya" at Deviant Art will show).

However, I also recognize that some may think that I've gone too far in speaking well of her; that I'm exaggerating her good points and downplaying her flaws.

If so, I understand why some would say that, and I even understand why many folks don't like her. Once a character reaches the prominence of a Haruhi Suzumiya, they tend to be "love or hate" characters. Again, I return to Superman... most either love him, or wish he wasn't there at all.

Cultural phenomena characters tend to be trend-setters and all-encompassing symbols for entire industries. They can feel suffocating, no doubt... just as suffocating as Mikuru Asahina no doubt often finds Haruhi Suzumiya. ;)

But, one of the good things about Haruhi is that it's her bad points that tend to make her entertaining and challenging (in a good way) to fully understand; while it's her good points that humanizes her and makes her feel more likable and real.

Ultimately, Haruhi is a pioneer, not all that much unlike a Columbus or a Polo, leading her committed crew and adored anchor to the desired undiscovered country...

Here in this blog entry I have outlined some incredible strengths for this character, and reasons for why she is tied for No. 2 on my Top 10 Favorite Anime Characters of All-Time list.

Why does she not hold that position alone, though, given this glowing appraisal? Or even come in at No. 1?

Well, while Haruhi has some significant pros over the character that tied her, as well as over my favorite anime character of all-time, she lacks some of their poignancy as clearcut characters with timeless roles.

I classified Haruhi as chaotic evil, but that was partly to fit in all nine moral alignments into my Top 10 list (to be honest), and also since she does in fact cause chaos and evil to others at times; occassionally even intentionally.

However, while Haruhi can play the villain she is not a "full-time" villain that is the best anime villain of all-time, in my opinion. Nor is she a great "full-time" hero or heroine that soars in the skies and conjures up images of the personality of Superman.

Haruhi is perhaps more complex than both, but because of that, she doesn't have quite the same straight-line, goose bumps-raising, impact during moments of intense conflict.

Haruhi merely wants to find the undiscovered country... the man who tied with her for No. 2 wants to conquer it.

Some people aren't looking for anything logical.

They can't be bought, reasoned, or negotiated with.

Some men... just want to watch their enemies burn... ;)

And a villainy as dark and twisted as that, especially in a character that you find yourself sympathizing with, can be a real sight to behold, and its a villainy like that which I will delve into in my next blog entry...

For now, though, I conclude this write-up on Haruhi Suzumiya, one of my three favorite anime characters of all-time, who tied for No. 2 on this Top 10 list.

For her sake, I hope that she finds her undiscovered country, and that its beauty trumps even this...

Friday, January 22, 2010

No 2: ...TIE! Haruhi Suzumiya & Katsuhiko Jinnai!!

The beloved rulers of the omnipotent Bugrom Empire in my
El Hazard of Haruhi Suzumiya

Top Ten Countdown - Number 2, Female: Haruhi Suzumiya

Moral Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Supporting Quotes - "I've decided that Mikuru is my toy!"

"Unleash the fires of hell on them!!"

Top Ten Countdown - Number 2, Male: Katsuhiko Jinnai

Moral Alignment: Neutral Evil

Supporting Quotes - "The law must serve my purposes!"

"Ha ha ha ha! Attack! I order you to crush them!!!

To many of my closer anime-watching friends, Katsuhiko Jinnai must seem to me what Troy McClure is to The Simpsons. ^_^;;

There's no question that Jinnai is an old and sustaining favorite of mine, and a character that I tend to put in a very large percentage of my fanworks. He's the only 90s anime character to not merely crack my Top 7, but also to come in as high as sharing the Silver Medal of Olympian levels of anime entertainment value, along with Haruhi Suzumiya.

And, indeed, these two are like the top pairs skating team at the upcoming Winter Olympics in my Great Native Land of Canada; how fitting that they could represent Japan together. ;)

I not only like using each of them, I love using them together. And, indeed, for two characters from two different animes of two very different anime eras (mid-90s and the last decade respectively), I find that these two have a lot in common, and serve as great complimentary and reflective foils to one another. Hence, why they're the co-stars of my largest fanfic ever; co-stars with a fair deal of chemistry and dynamism between them, I would argue.

They also appear in this AMV, which I think is a fitting tribute AMV for this dastardly dynamic duo sharing the Number 2 spot. ;)

At this point, many of my fellow Haruhi fans at Anime Suki who aren't familiar with the 1995 El Hazard anime may feel lost.

Well then, here's a few words from Jinnai...

KJ: Hello, I'm Troy McClur... er... Katsuhiko Jinnai. You may remember me from my role as the President of Kyoto Animation in these two spoof videos!

Yes, folks, when I compared the people at KyoAni and Kadokawa to a classic anime villain... Katsuhiko Jinnai is who I had in mind. ;)

Who else but the devious prankster Jinnai could concoct a scheme as incredibly bold as releasing eight episodes of Endless Eight? Causing such unstoppable pandemonium to force others to accept his every whim is very consistent with Jinnai's modus operandi.

Of course, this is also rather true of Haruhi Suzumiya, is it not?

Whereas I felt that the E8 arc shows that KyoAni's top dogs had the mind of a Jinnai, the Sigh arc made clear that Haruhi takes after the people who run KyoAni in how she handled the making of her movie. ;)

So, here, you have two magnificently megalomaniacal masters of conquest and victory, regardless of what computer nerds (be they Makoto Mizuhara or the CCP) need to be ran over when they get in their way.

Alas, both of them are set back by eyes... the Eye of God in Jinnai's case, and the ever-critiquing eyes of Kyon in Haruhi's case; each "Eye" causing critical catastrophes (or risking thereof) through giving rise to attacks on the targets of its displeasure. In Jinnai's case, it meant the almost complete annihiliation of his Bugrom forces. In Haruhi's case, it meant the almost complete annihiliation of her mood. ;)

However, neither of these two anime characters succumb easily. It didn't take much for either to recapture his or her spirits, and push forward in causing ever more problems for their immediate surroundings.

These two are also, in their own way, determinators.

They are both decidedly determined domineering leaders. They carry themselves as though they were royalty, sitting upon thrones or having pyramids outlining their rank of command.

And they certainly both love playing military commander...

They both know how to party when they win...

Perhaps most importantly, they both love bugs... ;)

Oh... and they both share the ability to point like Phoenix Wright... ;)

So... in conclusion a rather fitting pair to share the terrific Number Two spot on my favorite anime characters of all-time thread.

However... these two characters each deserve their own separate write-ups, for while there's a lot of characteristics that they share in common which I like, each also has his or her own unique appeal to me.

That, friends, is what I will delve into with my next two blog entries.

One will be a write-up on Haruhi.

The second will be a write-up on Jinnai.

I hope that you, faithful readers, will join me for both. :)

Here's a piece of commissioned artwork for my El Hazard of Haruhi Suzumiya fanfic which I think is fitting to close out this blog entry with...