In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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On the good ship lolicon

Thanks to BakaBT's free leech period at the start of the year and continual slow accumulation, I've got ridiculous amounts of backlogged anime I've snagged yet haven't gotten around to watching. Part of the problem is that almost anything can be made to sound interesting when all you have is a short description to go on and I also know from personal experience that some of the most ridiculous premises end up being shockingly good.

Take Hikaru no Go for instance. It's a manga and then an anime about the game of Go. That's the asian game with black and white stones on a wooden board where you try to surround your opponent. If you've ever tried the game before you know that complex and boring doesn't even begin to describe it. While we can make computers which can beat chess grandmasters, it's predicted that it'll be decades at least before there's even close to the computing power that would be necessary to give a go title holder a run for his money. There are simply too many variables and degrees of freedom.

Anyway, imagine I told you that they decided to make a 100 episode cartoon about a boy who gets possessed by the ghost of a chess player from the 1700's and who then decides to learn to play chess himself and you're close enough to the mark. It sounds like an absolutely wretched concept but the anime ended up being spectacular. I even tried to learn how to play go while watching it I was so enamored with the presentation. After repeatedly getting my ass kicked online, I soon gave up the fancy. So if even 'boring' sounding anime can actually turn out to be good, then it's pretty hard to sort out anything without actually watching some of each series.

I put the plan into action several days ago, watching the first episode or two of a series until it bored me and I moved on. The first one to really catch my interest was Kodomo no Jikan. I was unaware of it at the time but there's actually a lot of strife and contention over the series due to its presentation and subject nature. It's basically the story of an 8 year old who decides she loves her teacher and then proceeds to do some quite inappropriate things. Imagine putting the mind of a dirty 25 year old into a little girl's body and you're not far off on how it seems at first. The series isn't hentai, but it's pretty darn ecchi, featuring varying degrees of panty-shots/nekkidness/adult themes. For some, I imagine it's pretty much the equivalent of animated pedophilia and I thought it was hilarious. It might not say much for my sense of humor, but the story was very well written, the characters are incredibly endearing, and the humor elements contrasted really well with the more serious counterpoint which popped up at regular intervals. What might also be surprising for some is that the author is female. I imagine all of us would picture some potentially dirty man being behind a work with such riske topics, but maybe this is just a sign the gender gap is closing.

The protagonist of the story is Daisuke Aoki who's just graduated from a teaching college and starting his new job as an elementary school teacher, substituting for a teacher who quit halfway through the year. The third grade class is barely controllable and he hardly has the experience to really get a handle on things. Even worse, he discovers early on that one of the students, Rin Kononoe, more or less bullied the previous teacher into a nervous breakdown by constantly harassing him. When Aoki says he's going to call her parents about it, she immediately threatens to start screaming that he tried to molest her. The thing is, she also tells him that she loves him and spends a crapload of time teasing and/or provoking him as well. He's basically baffled about what to do and wants to help her but has no idea how. He assumes that perhaps her behavior is indicative of past abuse, only to open up a real Freudian can of worms when he gets to know her family life. Along the way there are numerous plotlines with Kokonoe's two friends and the other teachers at the school which explore various topics such as homosexuality, puberty, relationships, love, etc.

I can understand how some people probably got freaked out watching the show or reading the manga, but in my opinion that misses the forest for the trees. This is not pr0n and frankly, I found the ecchiness less intrusive than that in Rosario + Vampire for instance. There, it was just constantly in your face for no apparent reason. How many panty shots does one person really need to see after all? In Kodomo no Jikan, everything is either funny or advances the plot, though it does get slightly more gratuitous as it goes along. Part of the reason I think this series is so endearing is it feeds right into the Moe trope, though more for its initial definition than what it's become. It's hard not to feel an emotional attachment to Rin and the other characters and wish you could help them. Maybe that's why Aoki is such a great protagonist. He obviously feels the same way but experiences the same level of helplessness in untangling what seems to be a knot of Gordian proportions.

I've finished watching all the episodes of Kodomo no Jikan that are out and moved on to the manga which is still ongoing. Normally I would avoid that since I absolutely hate waiting week to week or month to month for the next chapter to come out but I was enjoying the story so much I just had to have more. I caught up on the manga as well a couple hours ago and now all that's left is an infinite amount of waiting. In the meantime, I think I'll sample a few more first episodes and see if there's another diamond in the rough somewhere.

Just popped back to add something. If anyone does decide to watch this, at least stick around until episode 6. It's a tear jerker. If I could cry, I might have, though I'm pretty sure I've been on empty for years.

Not to mention the ending song for that one episode was especially beautiful.

Your casual reply
When I called your name-
I didn’t know
How much happiness it was

Because I believed
That these days would continue
Forever and ever

You narrow your eyes and laugh tenderly
I loved you
The slenderness of your shoulders when I embraced you
I remember your warmth and your voice, too

Things that I tell you, feelings that can’t form
Are overflowing from my chest even now
No matter how we can’t meet
I won’t forget the scenery that you were in

We should’ve been connected
Before I knew it, your fingers
Unclasped from me, and alone, I
Stood still

How should I
Make my words
And pray so that they’ll reach you?

Pieces scattered far and wide
Are sparkling and shining
The days that we spent together
Are more precious and tender than anything

In the flow of the dizzy time
Even if all of my recollections
Become faint someday
I won’t lose my feelings for you

You narrow your eyes and laugh tenderly
I loved you
Because you gave me irreplaceable thoughts
With your arms and with your voice

Things more certain than recollections
Are connecting us even now
No matter how we can’t meet
I won’t forget the scenery that you were in
Tags: anime club: hikaru no go, anime club: kodomo no jikan, anime club: rosario + vampire, anime/manga, bittorrent, music club: anime, video

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