The First Ever Ogiue Maniax Contest…with a DVD Prize!

The 1979 Galaxy Express 999 film is my favorite anime (and favorite film) ever, so when Discotek Media licensed it for Region 1, I knew I had to have it. More importantly though, now others could have it as well.

I just so happen to have an extra copy of Galaxy Express 999 and its sequel, Adieu, Galaxy Express 999, and I figured, why don’t I let someone share in the love as well? That’s why I’m holding a contest, something which is entirely new to Ogiue Maniax. Whether you’ve never heard of it before and are looking for a classic to watch, or whether you’re already a long-time fan and just weren’t able to pick up a copy, this is open to anyone. Well, at least to anyone in the United States and Canada.

Here’s how you enter: Leave a comment below with an answer to the question below. From there, I will pick what I consider to be the best answer and that commenter will be the winner. There are no word minimums or limits, and I want to hear exactly. The contest ends on September 9th, 2011. I’m not going to give a specific cut-off hour because things don’t have to be that ridiculously strict. This is supposed to be fun!

THE QUESTION

What is your favorite example in anime/manga of a character growing up, whether literally or figuratively, and why?

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26 thoughts on “The First Ever Ogiue Maniax Contest…with a DVD Prize!

  1. I’m gonna start things off by selecting Tomoya from Clannad. Not only does he grow during high school by learning to help and connect with others, but he continues to grow after graduating, to the point where he is working hard for himself and Nagisa. I particularly like how he eventually (with help) pull himself out of the (removed for spoilers) and learn to love and live again (sorta).

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  2. Well, my answer might sound a little bit ridiculous, but I must say Sakura Kinomoto and Li Syaoran. The thing that got my attention was their romantic growth and development. Syaoran was a total jerk and during all the series We see his growth towards Sakura and at the end, He really cared about her and loved her at the end. Sakura on the other side, took a little bit more time to grow, but it was an interesting ride at the end.

    Even if I dont win the prize, the topic itself for this post is interesting…:)

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    • I would have to say my favorite example of a character “growing up” would be Alphonse Elric, from the manga and 2009 anime. It’s true that Al often plays second fiddle to his brother, especially since Al is kindhearted and prefers not to fight. He’s a softie with a bad habit of picking up strays. But looking closer, Al should be viewed as an equal to his brother — both Al and Ed train under Izumi Curtis, study human transmutation and together devise the array they later use in their attempt to resurrect their mother.

      Although Al doesn’t become a state alchemist and can’t perform circle-less transmutations at first, he slowly becomes more skilled as time goes on. Eventually, Al comes to realize that he is strong and capable of helping others. In fact, while at Briggs, Al accepts that he can do things that others can’t do because he has a steel body, such as travel through a snowstorm. Al is also the one who gains the alliance with chimeras, not Ed. Finally, we can’t forget that Al sacrifices himself in order to restore Ed’s right arm in the final battle. Ed is then able to defeat father with a punch to the chest…

      I know this is a bit of a stretch, but another reason why I think Al is a great example of “growing up” is because of the difference in character development between the 2003 and 2009 anime series. The first anime series starts the same, but then our Al becomes helpless when his body is turned into a philosopher stone. Ed is the one who sacrifices himself to save his brother, and in the movie, Al basically becomes a clone of Ed. I always felt a bit angry about this because it didn’t seem like the anime really gave Al enough credit as his own character. But in the manga and 2009 version, Al really learns to stand out on his own. He uses his body to help his friends, learns to use circle-less transmutation, and lands some serious blows against Father. In the end, it is Al who sacrifices himself for his friends, not Edward. Anyway, after seeing the 2003 anime, I felt like Al was really underrated and it was really great to watch him grow into his own in the new series.

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  3. As you know, I’m quite keen on Mecha shows. Especially Super Robots from the 70s. I find the whole mythology surrounding Super Robots fascinating. Take my favorite robot, Steel Jeeg. Not a great Super Robot. Not particularly well animated. But the mythology … the mythology is not only great, it’s unique.

    Now, a staple of the Super Robot mythology is there’s the pilot and there’s the robot. Banjo pilots Daitarn 3, the Jin family collectively pilots Zambot 3. When that pilot wakes up in the morning, he’s Kabuto Kouji. He has to ride the Robot to fight Dr. Hell’s robots. And it is in that characteristic Jeeg stands alone. Hiroshi Shiba doesn’t ride another robot. Hiroshi transforms into the giant robot. When Hiroshi needs to fight a monster, he becomes the giant robot. When he takes damage and is burned or slashed, he feels that pain. That’s his metal flesh being torn. What does Hiroshi, as a sentient free willed robot, do? He cries, runs away and is reluctant to fight.

    Steel Jeeg is Go Nagai’s critique on Mitsuteru Yokoyama styled robots like Tetsujin 28 and Giant Robo, who have no choice but to follow commands.

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  4. I think my pick would have to be Shinozaki Mikoto from Overdrive. At the beginning of the show, he’s just going through his life: however, he has no social life, hobbies or any friends and is the gopher for the local bullies. However, he’s completely satisfied like this, because he’s never seen any more than what he does. However, once he (is essentially forced to) joins the cycling club, he gains things he never had before; friends, a love interest (sort of), fun times and most importantly: a goal to become the top racer in the world. As he follows along to accomplish this goal, he looks back at one point, realizing how far he has come, and how much he wants to keep holding onto his newfound goal and ideals no matter what.

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  5. Interesting question.

    My answer is my favorite character from my favorite anime: Vash the Stampede from Trigun.

    It’s easy/common for characters to “grow” by finding out how wrong they were in their youthful naïveté. On the other hand, Vash doesn’t reject what he thought when he was younger; he develops an even stronger, yet more nuanced view.

    He goes through hell and finds out that there is still good in other people, and in himself.

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      • In Dragonball Z, we begin with Gohan being 3 years old. We end with him married, and having a 3 year old daughter.

        That’s my favorite example. Over that period we see him change profoundly, physically (of course) but also mentally.

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  6. I would have to say Yūta Takemoto from Honey and Clover. He spends the entire manga/anime searching for answers, the core of which to discover who he is and what he wants. He certainly wasn’t the flashiest character or even the most interesting in the cast, but it’s hard to forget his bike ride of self-discovery and what he took out of his love for Hagu.

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    • This has to be a hard question. Neon Genesis Evangelion would be my first one that I have watch and I would have to say that it is the best one.

      First off, you take Ikari Shinji, who in the beginning was living with his teacher because of not having any family to live with, basely alone in the world was called by Katsuragi Misato to meet her. He was then ask to jump into this giant machine and fight an angel. Going from living alone to save the world is a hard request; however, ever after saving the world, he still was not going to live with his father. Katsuragi decide that Ikari will live with her.

      Moving on, he had to grow and to trust people. Learning to work in a team, learning to not run away, and learning to be a strong person for others. I am sure everyone has one that is better then I have describe but I have enjoy this anime. With twist behind every episode and Ikari having to grow with each one of them.

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  7. Hi! I found a lot of character growth in Kaiji Itou from Ultimate Gambler Kaiji (anime/manga). He is thrown in a world were the rich and greedy prey on the weak/poor. Kaiji goes from ‘crying, i can not believe this’ to ‘I am crawling out of Hell no matter what’ mentality. Thanks for the great blog by the way.

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  8. I think a great example of an anime character “growing up” would be Rick Hunter (Hikaru Ichijo) from RoboTech/Macross. Rick goes from the opening episode where he’s kind of a punk kid visiting his sempai to eventually being a key character and leader in the defense of the Human Race. Rick faces the trials of love (Minmai) and Jealousy (Kyle). He has to deal with both one of his subordinate’s deaths to the loss of his Big Brother figure Roy Fokker. We watch Rick grow up and mature throughout the series and we finally see his maturity with his decision to leave Minmai and return to his duty. The Rick Hunter in the opening episode is a far cry from the Rick Hunter we see accept his role in the defense and future of the human race.

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  9. From a recent anime I watched, I’d have to say that Jomy from.. is a perfect candidate for this question. When we first meet him in the series, he is, like many sci-fi protagonists, a sheltered child in a dystopian world (only he doesn’t know it). Over the course of a 26 episode story (anTerra E.d an amazingly short 3 volume manga!), he develops from this child to a leader responsible for the fate of an entire race of people. Most intriguingly, this growth comes with all the troubling moral ambiguity of adulthood.

    As an adolescent, Jomy struggles with his unasked-for-power and its implied responsibilities to lead a lost tribe, whether he–or they–likes it or not. After all, Uncle Ben says it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Typical (but wonderful) sci-fi/hero movie fodder.

    Once he overcomes his frustration at his apparent loss of freedom and decides to accept his duty to lead, Jomy has to learn how to actually do so. Along the way, he finds that his decisions–or rather, indecisions–have life-and-death consequences that he cannot foresee. While he naturally places great weight on emotion and sentiment, he soon realizes that sometimes, these life-affirming things also have immense costs.

    His growth as a skillful leader, however, is not without repercussions. In fact, it takes him to deeply questionable places. At one point, he makes the grim decision to kill an entire squadron of surrendered POWs. Although it is clearly a difficult decision for him to make, we never see him waver from this decision or express regret. He internalizes the responsibility for this decision and forges on forward. To him, his charge to take his people to a promised land–a charge that has, in essence, been made for him by the sacrifice of others–has grown to something heftier than his own moral salvation.

    The story presents this aspect of his development without necessarily validating it. If anything, it raises the question of whether he has gone too far–whether the responsibility he feels towards those who have gone before him has taken him to a place from whence he cannot return. Without spoiling too much, at one point the audience is made to ask, “were all these struggles and decisions made on a false premise and for an false promise?” The terrifying retort, of course, is “What if they are? Can you still justify them?”

    Isn’t that a question that every adult needs to answer for his or her most difficult decisions?

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  10. Pingback: An answer to a contest question… | High on Celluloid

  11. For me, it has to be Kodai from Yamato. At the start, he is a vengeful, lonely young man who feels alone due to his famiky’s death. However, through journey to Iscandar, he grows up with the help of the captain and realizes that even Gamilusians deserve to live despite the horrible acts of genocide because they are human. The scenes where he fully realizes the position of genocide from the point of view of the oppressors is a wonderful scene filled with tragedy and an affirmation of the value of love.

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  12. The first thing that came to my mind in regards to growing up was Naota from FLCL. He’d probably be my favorite example. As with most things in FLCL, it’s not really brow beaten that the story is centered around him growing up. You notice it amidst the chaos of wackiness and crazy antics. Like in the first episode, Naota gets offered a sour drink second hand from Mamimi. He refuses it because he hates sour drinks and prefers sweet things. By the end of the episode however, he again gets offered a sour drink with signs of saliva from Mamimi and he downs it in one gulp.

    There are a lot of other examples I could type up, but I just enjoyed how subtle yet blatant his struggles with adolescence and growing up were portrayed in FLCL.

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  13. This might sound silly, but I’m going to go with Ed from Cowboy Bebop. When you watch that series, you can definitely see her mature and “grow up,” so to speak, as the show progresses. She starts the show in pure whackadoo fashion, bouncing all over the place and generally being over-the-top in her mannerisms and speech. Heck, her nickname is “Radical Edward.” This legendary figure is a world famous hacker, but she turns out to be so much more. As she begins her stint with the Bebop crew, she begins to see them as family and bonds with them in her own way, whether she’s painting Faye’s nails or working with Spike on whatever mission he’s embroiled in. By the time she’s ready to leave the crew and reunite with her father, she’s changed and grown more mature. I defy any of you to watch her last episode and not shed a tear!

    See ya, space cowboy!

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  14. Man. None of you must want those DVDs. I mean it is SOOO obvious how to win. The most correct answer is clearly to pick Ogiue and show how she goes from a self loathing misanthropic closet otaku to more vibrant and open anime fan through the course of Genshiken.

    Either that or just the single idea: Raoh never changes because he never needs to change. That would be regret and he does not know that that is.

    Feel free to use either of those answers and win.

    – Hisui

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  15. Pingback: Shinobu Miyake: Otoko nan te!!! « Reverse Thieves

  16. I think one of the foundational aspects of “growing up” is gaining something you didn’t have before. Thus, even though it has been said already, I gotta go with Naota from FLCL.

    Naota begins the story as a 12 year old boy looking for answers amidst a world of uncertainty. His opening monologue reveals that he’s sick of a town where “nothing ever happens.” He’s sick of adults who act like kids. He’s sick of being a kid himself. He wants, with all his might, to become like his brother. Thus he forces himself to do certain things. Things like skipping school to hang out with Mamimi, carrying around a bat even though he’s terrible at baseball, skipping out on play rehearsal because he thinks its “too childish,” or like the poster above pointed out, forcing himself to drink the sour drink even though he hates sour things. All in the hopes of transcending his “youthful” self whom he despises. Why? Because he feels as if he’s being left behind.

    Sounds a lot like a certain glorious nation once upon the top of the world economically but having now lost its status, doesn’t it? Naota isn’t just the typical Japanese anime protagonist, he is Japan personified.

    Thoughout the series, the people who surround Naota are all starkly different from eachother. These people are his immediate influences and they represent the different paths he could take in his “race to adulthood.”

    His brother Ta-kun represents American ideals, a heroic figure, good at baseball. Mamimi represents traditional Japanese ideals, left out of the group, in danger of being phased out. Ninamori represents the neo-upper class, modern, presentable, and financially sound. Then theres Haruko, the self proclaimed alien. Always hungry for Atomsk’s power, she’ll stop at nothing to attain it. Naota is nothing but a means to an end for her. She represents the path to chaos and destruction.

    It’s no surprise that Naota finds himself drawn to Haruko. After all, he compares her “swing” to that of his brother. With Haruko’s help, Naota believes that he can achieve his adulthood. He saves the city from destruction from the falling satellite in episode 4. He finally works up the courage to confess his love. He again saves the city from Medical Mechanica in episode 6.

    There are a lot of other examples of how Naota “becomes of age” but I think the final kicker in this story is the last scene. After having found out Haruko’s true intentions, Naota engages her in the climactic battle, finally confessing his love for her, and freeing Atomsk in the process. Que in “Little Busters” by the Pillows and the famous scene of Haruko gazing quietly at the sky knowing she has lost the power she sought yet again.

    For her, power was always the true goal. Thus she will continue to pursue Atomsk. She extends an invitation to Naota asking whether he wants to tag along. Naota remains silent. Haruko quickly retracts her statement, saying, “Forget it, you’re still a kid” and leaves him. The final monologue reveals that things have more or less returned to normal. Except this time, we see Naota with his friends wearing his school uniform and deciding once and for al he doesn’t like sour drinks.

    What Naota gains over the course of 6 episodes is the realization that he doesn’t HAVE to make a decision right now. He realizes that despite all his efforts, he’s still a 12-year old kid. There’s no need to hurry to adulthood. He can remain a child for while longer; gather experiences, make mistakes, learn from them, and let the events of the future shape him into the person he is to become. What Naota gains over the course of 6 episodes is Patience.

    In a way, FLCL speaks to all of us. Patience truly is a virtue, for individuals and even entire nations.

    Naota’s time will come. Japan’s time will come again.

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  17. Noboru Terao who is almost a cipher in HOSHI NO KOE. He realises that he has to go after her. Mikako Nagamine is already so damn evolved, that growing up is a category error if applied to her. Because I am still captivated by that short, bittersweet anime, because I am a romantic, and because it takes a lot to realise what is really important in life.

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  18. Pingback: Your First Ogiue Maniax Contest Winner « OGIUE MANIAX

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