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Otaku Talk: Kareshi Kanojyo no Jijyo

Hmm, since stumbling on the best and worst site on the internet, crunchyroll.com, I've been spending my entire time watching and re-watching old and new anime. I've found my new love, Victorian Romance Emma, all because of this site, and it also helped me remember my old favorites and my thoughts about them. When I watch an anime or read a manga series, I find it hard to read it lightly. If it doesn't hook me to serious fangirl status, I tend to find it boring and forget all about it. Kind of unhealthy (and scary?), I know, but that's also how I make my purse and my fangirl side happy at the same time. That's why, while I like to read manga and watch anime, I only know a few and prefer to keep my interests around that very few. Today's post will be Karekano, an old favorite of mine, but at the same time, a disappointment for me. Many people might think that I should be reading mangas more lightly and in a more positive attitude, but as I already explained, I find it hard to do so ^^

I started rewatching Karekano (anime) today, and I never realized how much I loved and missed it. I hated how the second arc of the manga went downhill quality-wise, and I quickly erased it off from my no.1 favorite series after being disappointed in irritated with volume 16. Don't get me wrong, I like angst, but the angst in the manga is...hard to explain but...kinda cheap? Everyone ending up very perfect and a genius in their hobbies or fields made it too much fanfiction-ish for me. Didn't help that I was following the series in the Lala magazine that time, and the Japanese forums and fansites of the series was also in a huge debate (well, most were not happy about the progress of the story and the characterization). So I guess the negativity then kind of help fuel the resentment that I was having towards the last parts of Karekano.

Rewatching the anime however, I realized the first part of the whole series was still great, and well, I realized that maybe I could come to terms with my feelings for the series (disappointment and sadness to what could have been the best shojo I'll ever read). I loved the first half because of Miyazawa Yukino. She was a girl that knew she wasn't perfect but still tried to be one (regardless of her intentions). Her characterization was very real, and the school setting was also something I could easily relate to. Her relationship with Arima was also cute and heartwarming. I'd never thought I'd see a sex scene so pure and beautiful. Arima's dark side was also interesting. I can't say that I wasn't fan-girl squealing  when he shows his possessive side over Yukino XD I can't list more things that I loved from that first arc because I don't have the manga right now, but all in all, I can say that I love the manga from volume 1 to 10 (never cared about vol.11 and 12).

About the second arc...I did like how the story was to be about Arima's dark side and past. I read up until volume 16 so maybe it could have been explained better (which I feel impossible after reading further reports from those who read it), but I really couldn't understand how Arima could be that dark with his very kind foster parents. Well, yeah, there's the situation with the other relatives, but I was screaming at Arima when he was complaining about his fate to remember about his foster parents. Didn't they at least should have left any good impact on him? I also mentioned that I found it hard to follow the story when everyone became like Super Talented No.1 Students you'll ever meet. I especially hated how Yukino became all psychologically poetic and psychic (especially the part when she was talking to Arima and supposedly opened his eyes and her instinctively learning about her pregnancy)...I felt it became too much like from a melo-drama. Soujiro's father was too much for me too. He became this poor disgraced hero of some sort. Errr-, another problem with a perfect character with random angst thrown at him to make him look like he has depth. Oh yeah, there was one not perfect character, Soujiro's mother, but call me a nitpicker, but she too became a melodramatic character. Put all the blame on one evil character to make everyone else look better. What happened to the father of her son running away with debts (as mentioned in the first arc)? She was not the only one to blame for what happened to her son, regardless of whatever reasons the father might have to leave his son almost dead and traumatized. The all-too-much supportive parents made me cringe too. Your daughter is not married, pregnant, and has not graduated from high school, and you're all smiles and that's it? No long talk before the support? And the mom is being psychic too. It's not only the story, but how it is written. Too big manga boxes just to fill a page(this I felt while reading Lala), and too much explanation in words without showing it in events. The series, at this point, became too much a bad fanfiction with super characters and unrealistic drama.

I stopped buying the manga after volume 15. I remember I was feeling so negative about the story while reading it in Lala magazine that I'd rather continue read the summary of what happened, then maybe flip through the pages of Lala to at least check what's going on. I completely lost interest soon and, after a few months, learned that the series ended, which sadly made me happy and relieved. I really loved Tsuda Masami and her first short works. I thought they were intelligent slice-of-life shojo manga, which was quite hard to find in the shojo manga world. The first arc of Karekano will be my favorite part in a shojo manga, and after watching the anime, I thought that maybe it will be better if I'll just ignore that a second arc existed (since I haven't finished it) or think of it as a doujin work. Maybe the second arc isn't really that bad and many people seems to like it too, but then it was entirely different from the first part, and maybe would have been better if it was a whole different manga series. 

Ok, it is becoming too depressing, but I guess that how it happens when I'm given a space to write thoughts that I had passion with. I'm still going to keep the manga since isn't that bad compared to many others, but once I'm back in Japan, I'll maybe read the rest in Book-off (a huge chain book store that sell used books, mangas, CDs, and other kinds of media. A paradise for the poor otakus in Japan since they let you read it for free and buy it in a very cheap price, when ordinary bookstores have the brand-new  mangas covered in plastic). Speaking of Book-off, I'll have to list down the new mangas that I want to check. I'll surely get Emma (which I can't wait!), then check Nodame Cantabile and Card Captor Sakura. Hope that the CCS manga is better than the anime because I found myself cheering for Eriol than for Shaoran both as a love interest to Sakura and simply as a character in the anime. Or maybe it's just because I like dark characters with a cool and interesting side to their characterization more ^^;