The Fujoshi Files 45: Aoba Tsugumi

Name: Aoba, Tsugumi (青葉 つぐみ)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens

Information:
Aoba Tsugumi is a high school student with a long-time crush on her life-long friend, Mikuriya Jin. Upon seeing that Jin was living with another girl (his half-sister supposedly), Aoba has made a much more concerted effort to express her feelings for him. Knowing firsthand about Jin’s troubled past, Aoba is always looking out for him, even bringing over meals prepared by her mother. For this reason, Aoba also learned to cook,  though she has a very limited repertoire, her best two dishes being “fried eggs with vegetables” and “vegetables with fried eggs.”

Aoba is a sweet, practical-minded girl, though she can also be a bit of a romantic. She can often be seen fighting with her imagination, both in terms of things not to think and things not to say. A newbie to the world of BL, Aoba was suddenly introduced to the genre by Kimura Takako and Ookouchi Fujino of the Art Club. It is not an active part of her life, though.

Fujoshi Level:
At first shocked by the content of yaoi doujinshi, Aoba very quickly asked for more. In addition, her reborn consciousness has allowed her to view the close bond between Jin and his friend Daitetsu in a new, corrupted light.

The Fujoshi Files 15: Kimura Takako

Name: Kimura, Takako (木村貴子)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens

Information:
With a spontaneous personality and a level of energy to match, Kimura Takako heads her high school’s Art Club as its president while also acting as a member of the Nagi-sama Fan Club. As president of the Art Club, Takako’s keen eye for aesthetics is matched by her interest in imagining the possible relationships that could potentially  occur among the male members of her club, particularly that of gentle giant Hibiki Daitetsu and “too pure pure boy” Mikuriya Jin. Her best friend is Ookouchi Fujino, whose calm and even personality acts as a foil to Takako’s exuberance. Takako is very enthusiastic and curious, but is also intelligent and wise when she lets herself be.

Takako has a very mature look about her, and when not wearing her school uniform can easily be mistaken for an office worker. Takako also possesses an extreme talent for karaoke, and is able to deliver blisteringly professional and sugar-laden performances on par with the greatest young idols out there, though her cutesy act combined with her adult appearance can create a mental disparity in those watching that can be difficult to reconcile.

Fujoshi Level:
Kimura Takako is most amazing in that she is a naturally occurring fujoshi, having never even heard of the term before being inadvertently introduced to it by Art Club member Akiba Meguru and yet still exhibiting all of the traits of fujoshi to a very high degree with no outside influence aside from Fujino. It should also be noted that Takako’s fondness for seeing same-sex relationships is not limited to men, as she has expressed a strong desire to see cute girls in cute clothes (and not because she wants to wear them herself).

The Fujoshi Files 14: Ookouchi Fujino

Name: Ookouchi, Fujino (大河内紫乃)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens

Information:
Vice-president of her high school’s Art Club and member of the Nagi-sama Fan Club, Ookouchi Fujino is a fairly quiet girl who prefers to observe more than she does to take action. As such, Fujino strikes a contrast with her more energetic and aggressive best friend and Art Club president Kimura Takako, and can often be seen either tempering Takako or encouraging her habits depending on the situation. Fujino gives off an air of knowledge and authority that makes her both easy to approach and hard to disrespect.

Not much is known about Fujino’s family, except that she has a younger cousin named Miyuu and that the women of her family are bad with sunlight. Fujino also has an impressive figure, but chooses not to flaunt it, and rarely ever opens her eyes, the main exception being when she sings.

Fujoshi Level:
Ookouchi Fujino is able to make astute observations about her male friends and the “closeness” of their companionship, but rarely do her reactions get out of hand. She also appears to know a decent amount about anime and manga, but not to the extent one would expect of a fan. If ever there was such a thing as a low-key fujoshi, then Fujino is it.

Studying the Realism in the Fujoshi Character Design

Ever since the mid-2000s the fujoshi character has seen an increase in overall presence in anime and manga, as evidenced by my Fujoshi Files, an ongoing project where I catalogue fujoshi characters. While comparing various fujoshi characters, especially in seinen manga, I began to realize something interesting about their portrayal, and that is the fact that they are often the characters closest to how a Japanese girl would actually look: dark, straight hair, possibly wearing glasses.

There are series such as Genshiken and Zetsubou-sensei where the fujoshi characters having dark hair is not unusual given the rest of the cast also sporting dark hair. My discussion focuses on those shows where characters’ hair styles and colors tend to be the anime rainbow stereotype.

When you look at Lucky Star as a whole, you’ll see that bespectacled fujoshi Hiyori is the only female character to sport straight, dark hair. Contrast this with Konata, who is the biggest otaku in Lucky Star and her unrealistic blue hair. Patty, while a fujoshi, is an “American” character first, so she’s blonde. Again, I want to mention that Hiyori is the only example of a character with a realistic hair color and style mainly because of how much the rest of the cast isn’t. In a world where bright pastels rule hair colors, the fujoshi is the exception.

Similarly in Kannagi, Takako is also a dark-haired glasses-wearing fujoshi, though her hairstyle is arguably more unrealistic than most of the other characters. However, it cannot be argued that most of the rest of the cast, especially female characters, have hair colors that do not occur at all or much less commonly in reality among Japanese girls.

Meanwhile in Mousou Shoujo Otakukei (Fujoshi Rumi), the main character of Rumi also stands out as being much plainer than the other girl characters out there and even a lot of the guy characters. Part of this has to do with the fact that she is the main character and that this visual plainness is a part of the story being told, but it speaks to this desire to make her a more realistically accessible character even if it’s only at a shallow level at first.

“There’s plenty of characters who look like that who aren’t fujoshi!” you might be saying, and you’d be totally right. The dark-haired, straight-haired glasses girl predates the fujoshi character boom, and arguably falls into the same category as the “iinchou” class representative character. Adachi Hana from Yankee-kun to Megane-chan is a character who is actively trying to achieve that iinchou look, even going as far as to wear fake glasses. She also bears some resemblance to Asai Rumi from Mousou Shoujo. So in a sense, the author of Mousou Shoujo, Konjoh Natsumi, and the fictional character, Adachi Hana, are attempting to reach the same goal: design a character with the look of a realistic Japanese girl. The main difference of course is that the iinchou is characterized by an ultra-clean look and  responsibility, while the fujoshi is characterized by being somewhat disheveled and a tad irresponsible.

You might then be saying, “Ah, but that’s really how fujoshi look.” But then I have to ask, why is it that in these shows where all other characters are not beholden to reality that the fujoshi ends up being how fujoshi “actually look?” And why is this occurring in comics targeted towards guys?

Most other character types in moe or moe-ish anime tend to be fantastic versions of possible real-life people: childhood friends, reticent girls (tsundere), little sisters, etc. Everyone knows that little sisters in anime are rarely like actual little sisters, and even if you compared the imouto character in an h-game to an actual incestuous younger sister the two images would not line up. In this sense, a fujoshi character can be as unrealistic as the others but it is often the case that a certain sense of realism is desired in fujoshi characters in a manner different from other character types.

Looking back at tamagomago’s essay for which I provided a translation, one line in particular jumps out at me: “No matter how realistic it gets, it’s still a fantasy,” or in other words, no matter how realistic a female otaku character may be, they are still just a character in fiction. What this sentence implies is that there is to some degree a push to make female otaku characters have a sense of relatable realism, perhaps more than other character types, and fujoshi fall into this category by extension.

Perhaps the answer to the question of “why are there these realistic aspects in the fujoshi design” is that having a member of the opposite sex also be an otaku makes them more accessible, gives the male otaku a glimmer of hope brighter than previous. Also, by making them a fujoshi instead of just an otaku, a useful distinction is created. And of course, if applied to actual reality with real girls, it is not in itself a realistic goal as long as the male otaku does not confuse his image of 2d and 3d girls.

A Maiden’s Virginity: Is it as “Necessary” as We Believe?

Recently there’s been some controversy among otaku on both 2ch and 4chan regarding Nagi from Kannagi. A recent manga chapter, or perhaps the minds of the otaku reading it, have posited the idea that Nagi is not a virgin. And this is apparently tainting Nagi in the eyes of some of her fans. However silly you think this to be (in my case very), it brings up the question of how valued “virginity” is for idols, fictional or otherwise.

Idols in Japan are not supposed to have boyfriends to give the illusion that any fan has a “chance.” Is this the same ideal that surrounds wanting an anime character to be pure and virginal? Both the real-life idol and the anime character are for all intents and purposes unattainable by the fans, but notion that a female idol will retain her virginity for her fans is futile at best. Maybe that’s part of the appeal of the anime-character-as-virgin, they can maintain the status forever.

(Actually, in some cases, I don’t think the fans mind. Momoi had a concert where she was already pregnant, and she was still loved by her fans.)

I was in contact with Ogiue fans in Japan back when Ogiue first lost her virginity in the manga. What’s odd, relative to this whole Nagi thing, is that Ogiue entering a clearly sexual relationship did not turn off her fans. It did not push them away, or cause them to call Ogiue a “slut.” It only made them love Ogiue more, not because she had sex but because it was a result of her finding happiness. Perhaps the place where it differs is that Ogiue’s sexual relationship was pretty much the resolution to a story while Nagi’s is background information?

Dithering While Breaking the Speed Limit


A few weeks ago made a post concerning dithering and its place in this current age of advanced visuals.

Here, the Kannagi anime is using exactly that effect to give the impression of otaku seeing the two girls as if they were characters in an erogame.

Though with using dithering when this is clearly supposed to be a modern pc visual novel, I have to wonder if this isn’t the visual otaku cousin of those scenes in tv shows where you hear bleeps and bloops as someone is supposedly playing a video game.

PS: Takako is wonderful.