Hourou Musuko Episode Seven

I love this girl.

Really, how could you not?

Anna is, to me, indicative of the difference in quality between it and many other anime floating around out there, particularly those with large female casts. In another show, Anna would be your run-of-the-mill tsundere. She certainly demonstrates some of the attributes of that trope, after all. However, Anna’s actually got characterization, and I would never think of calling her a tsundere because of that. Yes, she’s fairly taciturn. Yes, her behavior toward Nitori warms up. And, yes, she does get mad at Maho when she makes accusations of romance between the two. But she’s a fully rendered person; this isn’t a walking piece of moe-bait.

I find myself enjoying the NitorixAnna romance more in animated form for some reason; I suppose the sweetness of it just comes across more clearly when the characters are actually moving and have voices. Yui Horie is doing a fantastic job as Anna – she’s been in a lot of roles I haven’t been crazy about, but her work here and on Aoi Hana (where she voiced Kyouko) has been quite impressive. She’s gotten typecast a lot, but I think these sorts of roles actually display her talent much more effectively.

I think the anime makes it look like Takatsuki has a crush on Nitori where the manga did not. Since the anime is extremely unlikely to hit the point where Takatsuki does have her first crush, I suppose it doesn’t really matter, although I’m not thrilled about it.

Speaking of Takatsuki, I just wished to comment on how she definitely seems to be the least… not mature exactly, of the bunch. It isn’t that she’s immature, given the negative connotations of that term. She’s just not as aware as the rest of the core cast seems to be. Her behavior with Saori makes that clear, and my citing of that also would’ve made the use of the term ‘mature’ problematic, since Saori isn’t exactly being mature herself. She’s mad ’cause her crush likes this girl! It really does serve to remind one of the fact that Saori, for all her calmness and seriousness, is still a thirteen year old.

Saori’s rash decisions also point out that she’s an adolescent. Not going to school because her crush got a girlfriend? And telling her mother that she’s just going to quit altogether? Along with suggesting that she can become someone’s mistress? If that isn’t a teenager in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.

I found the bit about the retention of the personal pronouns they use out of habit to be an interesting bit. One of the things I enjoy about the Japanese language is the variety of ways to say “I”. I like looking at the choice of pronoun can say about the person, and the ways in which people consciously opt for one versus another. A friend of mine always uses わたくし (watakushi) when she speaks Japanese. I tend toward 我 (われ)(ware) (in my case it’s borne out of the fact that I studied Mandarin previously, and the pronoun is 我 read as ‘wǒ’; I liked the character’s appearance itself and was reluctant to part with it… it drove my poor professor insane, because she insisted I sounded like an old man by using it). SEMANTICS. IT’S INTERESTING.

私 (watashi) has a bit of a range for it’s femininity vs. masculinity quotient, although it is much more often used by girls and women. 僕 (boku) on the other hand? Eh, not so much. When women or girls use it, its usually because they are a. tough or trying to project a tough image, b. consciously trying to be different, or c. masculine. Amusingly enough, Ayu from Kanon used ‘boku’, although it was supposed to strike us as cute – look at this short, adorable girl! And she’s using ‘boku’! Moeeeeee! So Nitori in girls’ clothing will probably strike that cord to most, so long as his voice doesn’t start sounding too manly.

Moving along, I’ll note that the OP single, Itsudatte by Daisuke, came out March 2nd. I actually like the OP better than the ED, surprisingly. A bit ‘meh’ on the B-side thus far, but I’ve only listened to it twice; it may grow on me/I may appreciate it more when I’m not trying to do a million things at once.

Oh, and all the blushing everyone does in this makes me finally see why some people are apparently into SaorixTakatsuki. Still don’t really find it much myself, but I can at least understand where they’re coming from with it.

For those of you interested in more about Japanese personal pronouns, Wikipedia has a pretty good chart.

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9 Responses to Hourou Musuko Episode Seven

  1. I think I reached another level of crazy for this show after this ep. I certainly did not expect Nitorin to have a girlfriend at this point, not a chance. But daaaamn, Anna is really fine… and I love how straightforward the thing went down.

    This made it possible for Saorin angsting up the joint in her awesome way. Quitting school and wanting to be someone’s mistress is probably pathetic entertainment if coming from some fail ditz character… but Saorin is intelligent, and always applies herself, so it’s comical.

    • TheBigN says:

      If you’ve read the manga, you find that she’s done this sort of thing before as well. 😛

      • adaywithoutme says:

        Although, even though she has, her generally serious affect prevents it from ever seeming totally over the top and ridiculous, if that makes sense.
        It’d be nice if there were more Annas out there in anime. Pretty sure, though, that if she was in a show like Kimi no todoke that it would tear a hole in the space-time continuum of that show.

  2. Elineas says:

    Oh, come on. How could you not ship SaorixTakatsuki after that last scene? 😀

    All jests aside, I’m very impressed by this turn of events. No anime cliches to mess with this development, just a simple and realistic example of moving on. Messy hair and angsting Saori is <3, and Mako's eavesdropping was hilarious. There's also more tension in those two bathroom scenes than the entirety of a lot of shows.

    I do believe the word you're looking for to describe Takatsuki is naive. She's not immature, which we associate with childishness, but she's rather direct with what she thinks and doesn't consider them too deeply. It's merely a form of brutal honesty; she believes in things like mending relations and admiring people without considering too much. Saori, by contrast, is immature, but she's not naive. Her introverted self knows things all too well, and she is rather blunt, she seems to keep a lot of things to herself.

    I also didn't know ware was 我, which is rather interesting. As a Mandarin speaker that word is just so colloquial that I have a hard time associating it with formality unless it's constructed with other formal phrases. Then again, Japanese is the language where 步 is walk and 走 is run, so I guess I should know better than to make associations.

    And did I say that unruly hair Saori is <3?

    • adaywithoutme says:

      You’ve got it exactly; Takatsuki is incredibly naive. I couldn’t think of the word for some reason… It’s a good way of describing the two girls in contrast to one another.
      I would argue that it is more accurate to say that ‘ware’ isn’t simply formal, but also fairly old-fashioned. You’re just not going to hear it used. Its plural relative, 我々 (wareware), however is still used a bit.

  3. TWWK says:

    I absolutely loved this episode – but then again, I think I could say that about every single one. I’ll be sad once the season ends, I think, but I’m excited, too, because at that point I plan on reading the manga.

    Anna is a wonderful character. You’re absolutely right – one of the amazing things about this show is how such a large cast is full of characters who are multi-dimensional and somewhat realistic.

    Anddd, I’m a huge Yui Horie fan (Minorin!!). I enjoyed the voice acting for Anna, and it wasn’t until after this episode that I looked up her VA and realized why. 🙂

    • adaywithoutme says:

      The manga is excellent, and there’s a LOT of it to enjoy. It is also still running, so it should keep you busy for a while!

      I am not myself a huge Yui Horie fan, but I suspect that if she did more roles like this I would like her work more =)

  4. Alice says:

    I definitely like Anna x Shuu more in the anime, but I think part of that has to do with knowing what we do now that they cleared up what happened in the manga. I no longer think of her as Shuu’s strange rebound from Takatasuki but understand both of their feelings better which makes watching their initial courting cuter to watch.

    Also next episode we get their “girls with glasses” date! If there was any scene I would love to see animated, them running into Chiba and Takatsuki and then the karaoke would be it.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Maybe that is it? Hmm, not sure. I think that I just find Anna more compelling in animated form, for whatever reason.

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