The flavors of evil

Dolores Umbridge
Dolores Umbridge
Kyubey
Kyubey

Dr. J. recently commented that “… there was no more deliciously evil character than Dolores Umbridge.” In the Potterverse, that’s unquestionably true. Umbridge is one of the best villains of recent years. But so is Kyubey. (And yes, Kyubey meets the Weatherwax criterion: he is indeed quite evil.)

So, how do you like your villains, delicious or cute? ((I’m aware that Kyubey is delicious, or at least edible. No wisecracks, please.))

Remembering the memories

These are the nominations so far for the most memorable anime episode:

Angel Beats #1
Aria the Origination #9
Azumanga Daioh #10
Banner of the Stars #1
Dennou Coil #16
Divergence Eve: Misaki Chronicles #13
Haibane Renmei #1
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni #4
Kamichu #3
Katanagatari #4
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica #10
Mushi-shi #1
Mushi-shi #5
Mushi-shi #15
Mushi-shi #16
Mushi-shi #17
Mushi-shi #22
Naruto #22
Paranoia Agent #8
RahXephon #18
Serial Experiments Lain #13
Sugar, a Little Snow Fairy #24
Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech #18
Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann #27

Some other episodes were mentioned, though not actually nominated:

Angel Beats #5
Azumanga Daioh #18
Kamichu #5, #9 (“Yamato”), #12
Kino’s Journey #2, #3, #13

Surely there’s more. Where are Cowboy Bebop, Cardcaptor Sakura, Angelic Layer, Princess Tutu, Nadesico, Suzumiya Haruhi, Noir, Petite Princess Yucie, … ? Please make suggestions in the comments. Feel free to explain your choices in general terms, but be careful of spoilers.

When I post the poll, I’ll probably limit the number of candidate episodes from a particular series to two. For Mushishi, those will mostly likely be #5 and #16.

Research aids: Wham Episode; Moment of Awesome.

Call for nominations

Which episodes of anime series do you find most memorable? Which stay with you long after you put the DVDs back in their cases? Please mention them in the comments. If there are enough nominated, they will the subject of the next poll.

Some possibilities: the first episodes of Haibane Renmei and Mushishi; the last episodes of Serial Experiments Lain and Divergence Eve: Misaki Chronicles; the tenth episode of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica; the third episode of Kamichu; the eighth episode of Paranoia Agent.

You can nominate more than one episode from a particular series. The second, third and final installments of Kino’s Journey each pack quite a punch, and are all worth mentioning.

Feel free to explain in general terms why a particular episode sticks in your mind, but beware of spoilers. For instance, I could note that “Happy Family Planning” in Paranoia Agent is a perfect fusion of slapstick and horror, but I would not mention anything about the characters or what they do.

*****

If you haven’t yet voted in the current poll, please do so. I’m going to let it run a little longer and see how long the leading couples remain tied.

Heroines and heroes, and a new poll

Balsa (Seirei no Moribito) is the most heroic character in anime according to visitors to this site, followed by Simon (Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann), Homura Akemi (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Kenshin Himura (Samurai X; Rurouni Kenshin) and Vash the Stampede (Trigun). Others receiving votes are Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist), Nanoha Takamachi (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha), Nausicäa (Nausicäa), Rem Saverem (Trigun), Togusa (Ghost in the Shell), Allen Schezar (Vision of Escaflowne), Yoshika Miyafuji (Strike Witches), Yoko (Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann), Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist), Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke), Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop) and Eboshi Gozen (Princess Mononoke).

There is a now poll up: which is the outstanding romantic couple in anime? I’m doing this one in two stages. Vote for up to three in the first round. The top ten will advance to the final round.

I regret that I had to disqualify a few of the nominees for not being old enough. In a few years Syaoran and Sakura, Hayama and Sana, and Haraken and Yasako will be good candidates, but ten and eleven is a little young for serious romance, no matter what CLAMP thinks.

Is there in anime no romance?

Here are the nominees so far for the outstanding romantic couple in anime.

Jinto and Lafiel (Crest/Banner of the Stars)
Keiichi and Belldandy (Ah! My Goddess)
Giroro and Natsumi (Kerero Gunsou)
Kyouichi and Harumi (Shingu)
Ayato and Haruka (RahXephon)
Shichika and Togame (Katanagatari)
Kenji and Natsuki (Summer Wars)
Tomoya and Nagisa (Clannad)
Mikiya and Shiki (The Garden of Sinners)
Renton and Eureka (Eureka Seven)
Noboru and Mikako (Voices of a Distant Star)
Lawrence and Holo (Spice & Wolf)
Shuji and Chise (Saikano)
Shinra and Celty (Durarara)
Rosette and Chrono (Chrono Crusade)
Batou and Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell)
Ryuji and Taiga (Toradora)
Isaac and Miria (Baccano)

Surely there are more. I’m having trouble coming up with other couples, though — Marco and Gina (Porco Rosso), perhaps? There’s a lot I haven’t watched, and I have no special interest in love stories. If you know of any worthy anime couples missing from the nominations, please mention them in the comments.

Tristan and Iseult …

Romeo and Juliet
Porphyro and Madeline
Heathcliff and Catherine
Tracy and Hepburn
Ignatius and Myrna
Zaphod and Zaphod

These are a few of the great romantic couples of Western Culture. Who are their anime counterparts? Some possiblilties: Jinto and Lafiel (Crest/Banner of the Stars), Keiichi and Belldandy (Ah! My Goddess), Giroro and Natsumi (Kerero Gunsou), Kyouichi and Harumi (Shingu), Ayato and Haruka (RahXephon), Shichika and Togame (Katanagatari).

Who else? Please post your nominations in the comments. If there are enough couples, this will be the next sidebar poll.

A couple of arbitrary restrictions:

• No children. Syaoran and Sakura make a cute couple, but they’re way too young.

• Heterosexual couples only. No yaoi/yuri, please, and no harems.

The final round

Who is the most heroic character in anime? Vote in the poll at right. There was a tie for tenth place in the second round, so there are 21 finalists.

Heroes, round two

Ashitaka, Balsa, Simon, Kenshin Himura, Homura Akemi, Meia Gisbourne, Allen Schezar, Alphonse Elric, Rem Saverem and Hikaru Ichijyo advance to the final round. Round two is up now. Who of the twenty-two gallant candidates in the poll at right is the most heroic? Vote for up to three. (If you have trouble voting, please mention it in a comment.)

The most terrifying girl, and a new poll

Lucy/Nyuu is the scariest girl in anime, followed by Rena Ryuugu, Nanami Yasuri and Enma Ai. I haven’t see Elfen Lied or Higurashi, but if Lucy and Rena are more frightening than Nanami, they must be terrifying indeed. Despite her strong showing in the preliminary rounds, Kirika Yuumera received a single vote in the finals; apparently, lethal though she is, she is too sympathetic a character to be truly scary.

There are 45 nominees for the most heroic character in anime. I will run two preliminary rounds. The top ten in each round will advance to the finals. You can vote for up to three candidates in the preliminaries.

These are the nominees:
Aika Sumeragi(Agent Aika)
Allen Schezar (Vision of Escaflowne)
Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke)
Astroboy (Astroboy)
Azuma Tetsuya (Casshan)
Balsa (Seirei no Moribito)
Captain Harlock (Space Pirate Captain Harlock)
Eboshi Gozen (Princess Mononoke)
Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Hajime Murata (Shingu)
Hikaru Ichijyo (Macross/Robotech)
Homura Akemi (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)
Hotohori (Fushigi Yuugi)
Jack Hofner (L/R: Licensed by Royalty)
James Links (Zone of the Enders)
Joe Yabuki (Ashita no Joe)
Juuzo Okida (Space Battleship Yamoto)
Kenshin Himura (Samurai X; Rurouni Kenshin)
Maka Albarn (Soul Eater)
Masane Amaha (Witchblade)
Meia Gisbourne (Vandread)
Nanoha Takamachi (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha)
Nausicäa (Nausicäa)
Rem Saverem (Trigun)
Robin Sena (Witch Hunter Robin)
Rowe Rickenbacher (L/R: Licensed by Royalty)
Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakukra)
Sakura Shinguji (Sakura Taisen)
Sayaka Yume (Mazinger Z)
Shizuru Fujimura (Godannar)
Simon (Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann)
Son Goku (Dragonball)
Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop)
Susumu Kodai (Space Battleship Yamoto)
Togusa (Ghost in the Shell)
Tokine Yukimora (Kekkashi)
Vash the Stampede (Trigun)
Wenli Yang (Legend of Galactic Heroes)
Yakuta (Outlaw Star)
Yoko (Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann)
Yomiko Readman (Read or Die OVA)
Yoshika Miyafuji (Strike Witches)
Yoshimori Sumumura (Kekkaishi)
Yuki Mori (Space Battleship Yamoto)

Update: If you are one of the four people who voted earlier and could only vote for one candidate, let me know who the others you wanted to vote for are, and I’ll update the totals accordingly. 

Anime or not?

There are a couple of problematic nominations for the “anime hero” poll.

Samurai Jack was created in America by the same guy who concocted Dexter’s Laboratory. Does Jack truly count as an anime character?

Robotech was assembled in America from pieces of three separate Japanese series. “Rick Hunter” is the Macek-ization of Macross‘ Hikaru Ichijyo. Should Hunter be included in the poll, or Ichijyo, or neither?

Only fourteen?

Here are the nominees so far for my upcoming “most heroic character in anime” poll:

Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Homura Akemi (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)
Kenshin Himura (Samurai X; Rurouni Kenshin)
Masane Amaha (Witchblade)
Nanoha Takamachi (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha)
Nausicäa (Nausicäa)
Robin Sena (Witch Hunter Robin)
Simon (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
Son Goku (Dragonball)
Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop)
Togusa (Ghost in the Shell)
Yakuta (Outlaw Star?) ((The only character by this name I found was in episode eight of Outlaw Star, which I haven’t seen. Is that the one, or is there someone else?))
Yoshika Miyafuji (Strike Witches 2)

And that’s it. Just fourteen. Note that in previous polls there were 27 villains nominated, 31 scary girls, and almost 60 babes. Surely there are more gallant characters in anime than this.

Here are a few more names to consider:

Balsa
Gourry Gabriev
Priss Asagiri
Ayumu Aikawa
Pretty Sammy
Giroro

Addendum: Shep, from Interstella 5555

Would someone care to second any of these? Who else should be nominated? If I don’t get more names, I’m going to include Sailor Moon and Mao-chan in the poll.

Call for heroes

We’ve established through impeccable scientific means that Shinji Ikari is the most annoying character in anime and Light Yagami is the best villain. Current studies indicate that Lucy/Nyuu is probably the scariest girl. It’s time for a more inspirational poll. Who is the most heroic character in anime? Please post your nominations in a comment to this post. You can nominate more than one character, but don’t get carried away. Update: please mention the show the character is from; there’s a lot I haven’t seen, and I probably won’t recognize every name.

Note that “hero” and “jackass” are not mutually-exclusive terms. Few fictional characters exhibit such manly strength as Kamina, and fewer still are such damned fools.

Story or fanservice?

Which series will first be licensed for region one DVD: Fractale, Mahou Shoujo Madoka?Magica or Rio – Rainbow Gate!? (Haven’t been watching Rio? Neither have I, but Wonderduck has. You can share his pain here, here, here, here and here.)

Update: And the winner is Fractale. I suppose I should be glad it wasn’t Rio, but bleah.

New poll: who’s the most frightening?

I ended up with 31 nominees for the title of “scariest girl in anime.” There will be two preliminary rounds, in which you can vote for three. The top five in each round will advance to the finals.

Here is the list of candidates:

Bernkastel (Umineko no Naku Koro ni)
Chloe (Noir)
Diva (Blood+)
Dokuro-chan (Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan)
Eda (Black Lagoon)
Enma Ai (Hell Girl)
Eva-Beatrice (Umineko no Naku Koro ni)
Gretel (Black Lagoon)
Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Hitagi Senjougahara (Bakemonogatari)
Kaede Fuyou (Shuffle)
Kirika Yumura (Noir)
Lain Iwakura (Serial Experiments Lain)
LamdaDelta (Umineko no Naku Koro ni)
Lucy/Nyu (Elfen Lied)
Maria Ushiromiya (Umineko no Naku Koro ni)
Miyabi Aizawa (Great Teacher Onizuka)
Miyu (Vampire Princess Miyu)
Mylanndah Arkar Walder (Battle Athletes)
Nanami Yasuri (Katanagatari)
Punie Tanaka (Magical Witch Punie-chan)
Rena Ry?g? (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
Revy (Black Lagoon)
Rico (Gunslinger Girl)
Road Kamelot (D. Grey Man)
Ryoko Asakura (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Satomi Ozawa (Shadow Star Narutaru)
Shion Sonozaki (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
Tiriel (Shakugan no Shana)
Urumi Kanzaki (Great Teacher Onizuka)
Yomi Isayama (Ga-Rei Zero)

If there is someone missing whom you think should absolutely be on the list, mention her in a comment. I might be able to squeeze one or two more candidates into the second round.

*****

To nobody’s surprise, Cowboy Bebop placed first in the “best opening” poll, and Baccano did very well also. What I didn’t expect was Lucky Star‘s strong showing. I doubted that it would even make the finals, but for a while it looked like it would overtake Cowboy Bebop.

Here are the final standings:

Cowboy Bebop (23.0%)
Lucky Star (17.0%)
Baccano! (12.0%)
Haibane Renmei (12.0%)
Paranoia Agent (9.0%)
Higurashi No Naka Koro Ni (9.0%)
Last Exile (9.0%)
Serial Experiments Lain (4.0%)
Noir (3.0%)
Toradora (3.0%)

Here’s a list

Here are the nominees so far for the scariest girl in anime:

Aizawa (Great Teacher Onizuka)
Asakura (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Chloe (Noir)
Diva (Blood Plus)
Dokuro (Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan)
Enma Ai (Hell Girl)
Kaede (Shuffle)
Kansaki (Great Teacher Onizuka)
Kirika (Noir)
Lain (Serial Experiments Lain)
Lucy/Nyu (Elfen Lied)
Marie (Umineko)
Miyu (Vampire Princess Miyu)
Nanami (Katanagatari)
Punie (Magical Witch Punie-chan)
Rena (Higurashi)
Rico (Gunslinger Girls)
Road Kamelot (D. Grey Man)
Satomi (Shadow Star Narutaru)
Shion (Higurashi)
Yomi (Ga-Rei Zero)

Who else? Also, would someone care to nominate a specific Claymore?

Post script: It would be helpful if you name specific characters. I haven’t yet seen Black Lagoon, and I will probably never watch School Days, so I don’t know which characters are which in those. Thank you.

Call for nominations

Who is the scariest girl in anime? When Nanami smiled in Katanagatari, it occurred to me that the question might be worth a poll. So, which young women give you nightmares? Besides Nanami, some candidates might be Kirika and Chloe from Noir, Punie from Magical Witch Punie-chan, Yomi from Ga-Rei Zero, perhaps Lain Iwakura and Sailor Saturn. Who else? List your nominations in the comments.

*****

By the way, does anyone know how to get in touch with Lain and Kirika? My site was inaccessible from mid-afternoon until just now (10:30 p.m.), and I’m a wee bit irritated. According to the hosting service:

The datacenter in which [xxx].com resides, has blocked the primary IP of the server due to a phishing complaint for a client utilizing the IP. The issue has since been resolved. Technicians at the datacenter have been made aware of this and we are awaiting them to unblock the IP. Connectivity to WHM/E-Mail/FTP and Web services maybe interrupted for any clients that are using this IP until the block is removed.

I figure that Lain can easily determine who the culprits are, and Kirika can deal with them appropriately.

Vocabulary question

This has nothing to do with anime. It’s just a minor issue that came up at work this morning.

Vocabulary question

Here’s a little poll related to an issue that came up at work this morning.