Harry Potter’s Final Scene Destroyed Me

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(Apologies for the slightly-clickbait title.)

Through the last month of two, I watched the entire Harry Potter franchise for the first time with my brother. Only Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix stood as films I’d consider above average; indeed, I did not care for this series. The writing always had this simplicity to it that was almost mocking of how dark and serious its tone wanted to be after the second film, along with random twists to add to the flavor of predictable narrative formula. But this post isn’t a critique on the Harry Potter franchise. It is the result of a powerful emotional response to the final scene in the last movie of the series, a response so sudden and overdramatic that it drove my brother to fits of giggles. Only fitting that a film franchise that left me with little emotional immersion would save its most fitting performance for last.

It was the shining star that guided me to demoting The Deathly Hallows Part 2 to an instant 1/10. Also, huge spoilers ahead.

19 years later

The above image made me scream. It made re-enact the worst scene in Star Wars Episode III. It made me leave the room mid-scene. I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t believe it. Hyperbole aside, it is among the most eye-roll-inducing ending scenarios to any story of all time… at least in my opinion. And I’ve encountered it many times, as I’m sure plenty of others have. The (normally) “Happily ever after” scenario that tells the viewers exactly what happens with all the characters and/or scenarios that matter and wraps everything up in a fancy little bow.

Harry Potter and co. have grown up, had kids, gotten married to one another, and are sending their kids (all conveniently the same age) off to Hogwarts for the first time. All is well and happy. Even Draco Malfoy, the giant dick in every film, is married and has a kid and looks relatively happy. Everything is happy. This happened to that guy, she is now this. We are given all the information we could possibly need, so dreaming and imagining the sorts of scenarios that occur after the fact are now dead.

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Trying to explain this to my brother proved moot, as he wasn’t able to comprehend why I felt this was so insatiably daft. It also would have helped if I wasn’t in a state of emotional unrest, as my explanation turned into a parade of full-on mocking bravado towards this scene and any other story that employed it. In my current self, one that is hot off the heels of seeing Lady Bird, I am clearly in a reasonable presence of mind, and am confident that I can accurately explain (to those willing enough to comprehend) why these kinds of endings make me shudder.

It’s just, like, a creative handicap, man. I have always found that leaving things in the dark is a lot more fulfilling and impactful in a story than leaving everything out in the open. When everything is open and expected, the trail becomes familiar, obvious, self-indulgent. The wink from the author to the reader as though their word is the scripture with which the reader absorbs all happiness from. From my choice of words, it’s easy to digest that my disdain for this type of ending is a more personal quirk, rather than through a well-thought-out analysis of why it hampers a story. Aside from it being predictable or an easy-out. Even done in a more depressing way, dependent on how vague the future thus becomes, it still comes off as meandering to me. Or happily. I suppose the whole point is that I don’t want everything spelled out to me, like a soccer mom casually giving me hints of a surprise birthday party that I don’t want.

So maybe I’m too cynical about it. Maybe I was too expectant of a supposedly great writer in J.K. Rowling. Whatever the case, the otherwise monotonous franchise of Harry Potter ending on an incredibly sappy and conflict-less note made my skin crawl. And shriek. And produce the urge to murder—and rewrite Harry Potter in my own image, such that I can satisfy my own interpretation of what the Harry Potter franchise could explore if it wasn’t written for children. That, in and of itself, may have been the unintended consequence of an otherwise emotionally-gratifying final scene. It at least made me feel something.

An Ode to Vinesauce

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For those unaware: no, that is not the 1-Up Mushroom.

This is the Vinesauce mushroom, the icon for a team of video game streamers since somewhere back in 2012. Founded by a lone jabroni by the name of Vinny, it eventually took off with the rise of Twitch as a collective online pastime. Of course, Vinesauce isn’t just a team of video game streamers. The group is most notable for their variety of game-breaking shenanigans, corruptions, and highlighting of fan-made games which, inadvertent or not, capitalized on the meme-y nature of online interactions. Vinesauce, as a whole, is more of a collection of normal people trying to make ends meet, surrounded by fans wanting to see shit hit the ceiling.

While some members have come and gone, the current team consists of its founder, Vinny; Joel, Mentaljen, Rev, KY, Limes, Imakuni, Direboar, Potato (or Darren), Hootey, and Fred. Some are more popular with viewers than others (some garner three to six-thousand viewers a night while most others barely top a thousand), but all play a part in making the Vinesauce community what it is—a friendly, albeit obnoxiously chaotic collection of dedicated fans. This becomes more prominent once a year, during the annual Vinesauce Charity Stream.

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Depending on the individual streamer, the selection of games vary dramatically, as every streamer is interested in different things and have their own schedules to adhere to. Vinny, Fred, Direboar, and Limes tend to stream most days in the week, while the rest are prone to sporadic absences. Aside from Vinny, who tries to keep a balance of serious and non-serious games, the rest of the aforementioned named are pretty apt to sticking with one game, usually serious, from beginning to end. Debatably, this type of streaming is likely why they aren’t as prominently known, but their dedication to their schedules and their personalities are the tools which help them succeed. Those who have yet to be mentioned in this paragraph are those who stream only semi-often (or rarely), with Joel being the one singled out for his tendency to create new memes with every stream (some of which are featured on channels such as SiIvaGunner).

Description overload out of the way, my personal experience with Vinesauce dates back to early 2014(?) when my brother introduced me to a certain video. Marathoning a number of related videos later, I was officially “onboard” the Vinesauce hype train. At that time, I was only aware of Vinny and Joel, completely unaware of the collection of other streamers which stream under the Vinesauce name. When I finally found out that it was more than just two people, and that they had their own functioning website dedicated to them, I was quick to peruse the merchandise.

I have experience with every single streamer on the site, but to absurdly different degrees. Vinny is far and away the streamer I watch most often, even now when my schedule is much tighter than before, while I’ve only spent a single stream with MentalJen, Rev, and KY; none of those lasted more than ten minutes or so. This isn’t to say I don’t like the streamers themselves, but their selection of games and infrequent streaming isn’t of huge interest to invest my time into. Some streamers can carry through an uninteresting game through character alone (Joel, Hootey, Imakuni), although the perfect blend of interesting games and enthusiasm is what makes for an effective and immersive streaming experience. Vinny is normally very good at this, as well as Joel and Limes. Frequency is the issue at hand for every streamer, too, as like any aspect of life, people can have off days.

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Vinesauce is also to thank for a variety of different purchases—and to some extent, revival of interest—of video games in my lifetime. I first learned of Axiom Verge during a Vinny stream. I bought Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 on a whim after seeing Joel fuck it up on-stream. Similarly with Fred and Megaman & Bass (except he was just losing a lot). These are but a few examples after years of watching the Vinesauce team. Who would have thought that all one needed to regain their interest in video games was to see one having fun with video games? And the creativity (and memeness) that goes into a variety of fan-made projects is so tempting to do for myself (except I have no motivation or time). It would make sense that my favorite streams of all time were both from Vinny, playing Sonic Dreams Collection and the Super Mario Bros. X Contest.

Yet the memeness of the team isn’t necessarily the only enjoyable aspect. The manner at which streamers continue through a game one at a time can be gratifying in and of itself, to be able to experience the journey with them. I recall being bored one night sometime in 2015, when I saw Darren streaming Dragon Quest VIII(?). I popped in there and spent the next few hours talking with members of the chat, with the occasional comment to Darren, and watching as he ground for experience and struggled with some casino game. To this day, it was one of the most enjoyable streams I’ve ever been a part of, simply because the chat was quiet (which is a rare feat, let me tell you!), the content was interesting, Darren was charming, and I felt I was part of the collective experience. That sort of ultimate immersiveness is what I live for when watching someone stream. It’s always fun to watch someone react wildly to crazy things onscreen, but it’s the little things, like a streamer acknowledging your question/comment, the passive lethargy of video game intake, and being able to be a part of the streaming process without being lost in the sea of “LOL’s” after a funny incident that lead to truly memorable pastimes. I really enjoyed Vinny’s recent playthrough of Final Fantasy VII and Darren’s playthrough of Final Fantasy IX because of this.

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Due to my former job requiring me to turn in early, I didn’t end up watching many streams during the latter part of 2016 and early parts of 2017. For a time, I thought my interest in watching the members stream live had passed, that was until just a couple weeks ago, when Vinny and Imakuni joined forces to play Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which was such a wonderful stream that I’m kicking myself for not being able to watch the entire thing. Their chemistry was fantastic, and Imakuni’s knowledge of the franchise compared to Vinny’s complete ignorance was such a treat to watch play out as the stages continued. Once again, my interest in the Vinesauce brand was reignited with the aid of a single stream; how mystifying that it can happen that way. As a side note, I would absolutely recommend one watch the highlight video of their collaboration.

I don’t watch many people stream, at least not anymore, but Vinesauce has been a constant in the last three to four years of my life. Should I be privileged with riches beyond my imagination, I would gladly support every member without a second thought. The team has brought such a wide array of fond memories that I feel almost indebted to them, yet I do not have the means to compensate them. All I can do is continue to watch, share, and write giant “Ode” posts such as this one, singing praise and sharing personal stories. Vinesauce means a lot to me, not just because it pertains to a major interest of mine, but because the people who inhabit it seem like good people capable of good things. For that alone, I would recommend it to any fan of video games in general.

Top 10 Most Nostalgic Newgrounds Animations

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Who needs Youtube when you have Newgrounds?

Introduced to the animation-based site back in the mid 2000’s by my cousin showing me the infamous Numa Numa Dance (not on this list), it provided years of humorous comfort for my pre-teen-esque brain to indulge in whatever video game parody animation I wanted. A lot of time and a lot of videos I saw back in those days, by creators who have long left the Newgrounds life for the boring reality, encouraged me to pursue my own horridly embarrassing OC series. They are all gone now, so don’t look for them.

This list is dedicated to the particular videos on the site that exuded the most memorable and endearing qualities that I, as a child, found captivating. Said videos don’t necessarily have to be Newgrounds-exclusive to make the list, only that I first watched them on the site. And with all lists I plan to incorporate nostalgia with, only a specific timeframe is allowed; in this case, anywhere from before I was first shown the site, roughly around 2006, to 2010.

A quick clarification: this list is not dedicated to quality. Only the impact of nostalgia.

#10: Sonic: Uncut 2 – HyperactiveYouth (2004)

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If you asked yourself why I felt the need to put that little disclaimer up there, this is the reason.

Sonic: Uncut 2 is the second “episode” of a three-episode series that takes the Sonic series of characters and puts them in real life situations (kind of). Put frankly, the animation is incredibly stiff, the voice acting is questionable, the comedic timing is atrocious, and the humor overall is somewhat juvenile. What lands it on this list is the fact that it is Sonic in a way I never would’ve imagined him at the age of 13. And for that almost alone, I adored it.

To give it credit, there are a few memorable lines and situations, most notably with the entire chaotic process of going on vacation to (a very stereotypical) Mexico. I find myself quoting Pablo’s “Sometimes I dream of free-dom!” line from time to time. It’s possible that the entire series was enough to get me to remember many of the moments from this particular episode, it being my favorite of the three, that it found itself in my brain only because it out-muscled the others. Whatever the case, it didn’t stop me from watching it a million times, so I have to live with knowing it essentially like the back of my hand.

#9: Rokémon! – DragoonFenix15 (2004)

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Pokémon combined with Mega Man? Nice.

A little bit of animated flare, a little bit of crossover madness, and a lot of creativity in what should probably not be sanctioned in a traditional Pokémon battle, Rokémon! is a one-off animation (though a sequel was supposedly planned) showcasing the fun of pure turn-based battling with no limits. Some harmless fan service never hurt anyone.

I remember this animation specifically motivating my desire to create my own Pokémon (Again, gone. Don’t look for it), rather than take copyrighted characters/enemies and give them evolutions and such. It would have been nice to see this turn into a full-fledged series, as while I wouldn’t trust their narrative chops, they’re more than capable of making individual attacks look, in internet slang speak, “epic af.” I don’t have nearly as much experience with this as the one listed above, but rewatching it brought a wave of unexpected nostalgia that made me warm and fuzzy.

#8: Dumbass Luigi – Bigfoot3290 (2006)

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The first creator on this list that had another project that very well could’ve made this list. Bigfoot3290 was also responsible for Mario’s Castle Calamity, which was also something I enjoyed during my younger days. What took the cake was an earlier work: Dumbass Luigi, and how it’s basically three-hundred times better than the original work, Dumbass Mario.

While not necessarily all that funny, the one thing Dumbass Luigi has going for it is tone and memorability. Remember Weird Al’s Alternative Polka? I first heard it here. Another scene showcases a lone boo following Luigi around, only to have Luigi lift up a container of salsa to his mouth like a crane. He stops midway, as an automated voice tells the boo the “insert one coin to continue.” The boo then shits out the coin. This process repeats until the boo spins around Luigi and shits out a barrage of coins at him like a machine gun. How the fuck do you think of things like that?

This was an easy choice for this list, though I’m somewhat surprised by how low it is. I remember it being bigger and better than what it really is, but alas, it’s only enjoyable on merit of originality. It’s not nearly as funny as it once was.

#7: Sonic Riders in 3 Minutes – RogerregoRRoger (2006)

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Oh, another Sonic video? Gee, it’s almost like I loved Sonic as a kid or something. Huh.

Let not the scary-bad design strike fear unto thine heart. It’s an intentional quirk to a series that just wants to go fast—much like the series it parodies. Complete with sped-up, chipmunk-like voices and hyper-fast vocal quips, it’s almost like Teekyuu! before Teekyuu!. I thought the video was hilarious as a child, and it still holds up quite a bit today! Well, except the fart joke.

The creator of this video is one of the rare Newgrounds artists to still be going with a signature series. One is more likely to find him on Youtube than Newgrounds, but his “[Sonic title] in [number quantity] minutes” series is still ongoing to this day—a series he started over ten years ago on a humble animation site.

#6: 4 Swords Misadventures (Eps. 1-3) – HadoukenDude (2004-2006)

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This one’s actually more popular outside of Newgrounds, but the site is its home, and that’s where it gained its following. The reason for specifying the episodes on this list is that the series is still ongoing, and I remember the first three episodes the most fondly.

Much like Sonic: Uncut 2 (though not as significantly), 4 Swords Misadventures is, at times, not very good. The first episode specifically is a giant bore, and sequences in both the second and third episode are largely so, as well. What makes this series charming is the level of ambition HadoukenDude has taken to make his parody series more than just another one-off project. Fully voiced, a somewhat original plotline, and over a decade of dedication to the project, 4 Swords Misadventures is almost like The Simpsons of Newgrounds classics.

What makes the series so memorable to me is, without repeating myself, seeing a different interpretation of an established classic. Each Link has a different personality dependent on their color, and their dialogue with others and each other have a charm that makes up for the sacrifice of consistent entertainment. It has that “homegrown” appeal, almost like being proud of something simply because you did it and you had fun with it. Such can be said for many of the videos on this list, but 4 Swords exemplifies this perhaps the most of any of them.

#5: Almost Anything by Egoraptor (2006-2010)

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Have you ever heard of Game Grumps? Y’know, that insanely popular Let’s Play group on Youtube? One of the creators of that is a man named Arin Hanson, also known as Egoraptor. You may not know this, but before playing video games for a living, he used to be an animator.

And he was fucking great at it.

Should I pick any particular video of his, it’d probably be closer to sniffing #1, but I decided to sacrifice a high spot on this list to expand his library for the world to see. It still ended up #5, anyway. It all started with Metal Gear Awesome 2, which is, to this day, still one of my favorite videos on Newgrounds. But it didn’t end there. Awesome Center Redux, Awesome Cracks Down, Awesome Crossing, Awesome Reach, and 3rd Grade Transformers are all great pieces of animation. He really had a knack for it. It’s only unfortunate he doesn’t have the ambition to continue doing so.

Should I not have any integrity, many places on this list would have an Egoraptor animation. For the sake of variety, however, his works are all jumbled together in one spot. Don’t let that be an indication that none of his works are good separately, but that all of his works are so good that I can’t leave them all off. Egoraptor himself basically holds this spot.

#4: $00pah NiN10Doh! – Kirbopher (2009)

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(WARNING: Link is NSFW.)

Another quick clarification: The author is Kirbopher, but the video is a collaboration between many different creators and artists. Listing them all would make the number line awfully long.

As with many collaborations, there are highs and lows, but with this particular collab, the highs are tremendously high. You ask me to point you in the direction of one of the most quotable animations on the internet and I’ll show you this video. There is a lot, a lot, of passion for the “art” of animating and the world of Nintendo present. Many franchises are represented, as well: Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Wario, Kirby, Earthbound, Excitebike, Pokémon, Game & Watch, and more. Originally presented, at least to some extent, in celebration of the latest Super Smash Bros., the collab took on a life of its own that spanned a number of sequels; this being the first sequel.

There’s simply too much here for me to describe in full, as many of the skits are between five and thirty-seconds long. Notable favorites include the Star Fox sequences, the Warioware skit, the Kirby vs. Meta Knight skits, and the Tetris scene. Nostalgia included, it’s an entertaining, if not stimulating, watch.

#3: ‘Zelda: Don Keyote’ Series – TX2 (2005-2006)

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Not technically an animation, not technically any good. Don Keyote nevertheless tells you all to fuck off and let it live.

Forget what I said about 4 Swords Misadventuresthis is the most “homegrown” video (series) on this list. It’s literally just a guy with a capture card recording gameplay and voicing over it, making up a story as he goes. But by the good grace of God, he’s actually funny. Such memorable lines as “A disturbing need to roll around in the dirt,” “Ma’am, are you aware that crime is a criminal offense in this area,” and “Taaaaax exemptioooooons!” are some of many quotable lines in this Kung Pow-esque parody series. It was also one of the very first parody series I had ever seen on the site, too, so that helps.

Don Keyote stands as one of those very rare cases where one really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The quality is garbage, the technical aspect is laughable, it’s one guy voicing every character, and the entire project feels inherently embarrassing. Dialogue and an infinitely oozing amount of charm is what makes this series so dear to me, despite its off-putting ineptitude. Even now, this is what I think of when someone mentions Don Quixote. Every time.

#2: There She Is!! Step 2 – SamBakZa (2005)

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Hello, inner weeb of my former self that refused to acknowledge your existence. This gave you all sorts of urges, didn’t it?

While the classification of this video and its parent series as anime is debatable, what one can’t deny is that this series is cute, cuddly, and harmless. Until Step 3, but that’s for another time. I remember watching this again after several years around Christmas of 2015, and the flood of nostalgia hit me at full force. My heart shivered, my skin crawled, my eyes blinking incessantly. My own body was reacting in defense to my emotional splurging! Needless to say, it was a feeling I wasn’t accustomed to; that feeling in and of itself, in response to this short, makes it special to me.

The opening statement is directed towards the style of animation, one that I found myself charmed by, and still do. While it may or may not be anime depending on who you ask, it was absolutely inspired by anime, seeing as the creator is based in South Korea. I was a little too drawn to the, as I felt at the time, feminine design that I only enjoyed it at a base level. What I didn’t deny, however, was the song that accompanied the video, which I adored then and adore now. A little tame, but it matches the mood of the animation wonderfully and holds up even without it. The combination of good music, decent animation that appealed to my inner interests, and cutesy romance that has become a guilty pleasure of mine, There She Is!! Step 2 becomes a treat with every viewing.

There She Is!! was only hampered by having a slightly worse song. It’s nearly as good. Watch that, too. Watch the whole series.

#1: The Ultimate Showdown – altffour (2005)

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Aside from porn, this is the most viewed video in Newgrounds history. For good reason.

This is Newgrounds. This is everything that Newgrounds hopes to achieve with its site, its creators, and the fun of the internet. Everything about this video is absolutely perfect in that context. Almost like the “Crazy Frog Dance video” on Youtube, this is the kind of perfect creative absurdity that a normal ol’ bloke from wherever, who cares could achieve with a little thing called “passion.”

The Numa Numa Dance was the first video I saw on Newgrounds. The Ultimate Showdown was the second.

It is also my favorite video on the entire site.

Honorable Mentions: ‘Final Fantasy Day Care’ SeriesDad’s HomeShao Kahn Party.

Entry #22: Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (SoA 2017)

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(Recommended by Shokakakakakamoka.)

It’s a light novel adaptation. I could end it there, but I won’t.

Inubato!‘s appeal lies within the studio that produced it: Studio Trigger. I’ve said enough in the past about how Trigger seems to have a magical approach to animation that makes them stick out from the rest, notably through overexaggerated reactions and spastic movement. With this in mind, I wanted to know if Inubato! was capable of harnessing the power of Trigger’s bombast. Short answer: not really. Long answer: only in very rare instances.

Certainly gifs of this show’s brighter moments are available online to some capacity, but that’s really all that can be said about the studio’s influence. Aside from those moments, I don’t think anyone would note that this series was done by Trigger. From the designs to the movement to the behavior, Inubato! is a by-the-numbers example of what I noted somewhat earlier about the stereotypes of light novel adaptations. There isn’t anything really new here, and the synopsis of the show is a blatant attempt at cashing in on the chuunibyou craze partially started by Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!. This could be excusable if they did, well, anything with the concept, but instead employ a cookie-cutter, episodic structure of developing each girl in the harem while making the male lead look good by saying the right things at the right time… then say something stupid to reinforce the chuunibyou aspect. Screaming of repetition and basing one’s work off the success of others, a particularly foul taste is left in the aftermath.

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Points can be distributed through some process of creativity, as the premise of a chuuni male lead, who believes he has superpowers, surrounded by non-chuuni individuals who suddenly acquire superpowers, could be something worth some solid development. It’s just not done in the way that could ultimately be seen as taking advantage of the potential. I’m sure some will applaud it for the way it actually goes and develops the characters, as each female member is given an episode and change to show what they’re all about and what the male lead means to them. It’s the way that it’s presented that feels so hollow, so within the formulaic confines of light novel-adapted anime that one can’t help but feel slighted. This episode is red-head’s episode, then the next is the blonde’s, then the next is the dark-haired girl’s, and so on. And then there’s this strange subplot about one female member’s brother, who is also hardcore chuuni (how convenient), where he apparently has a group of mythical beings that fights against bad guys or something? That was all lost on me, and really didn’t amount to anything in the end, so it may as well have not even happened. Rather, the brother shouldn’t have even existed.

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The inclusion of one character’s chuuni brother is only one aspect of the anime that seems out of place. The fact that the characters have superpowers at all doesn’t amount to anything. They almost never use them and aren’t brought up as if it affects their lives whatsoever. Why even give them powers if they’re not going to use them? Why are all of the characters so perfectly-moraled that one of them can’t think, “Hmm. I wonder what I could get away with with my power to FREEZE TIME?” That’s the kicker; these aren’t just dumb powers, either—they’re amazing powers that could give them the ability to change their lives for the better (or worse). The blonde girl can create anything! Are you serious?! Create a trillion yen! Become rich! Help the homeless! End world hunger by making a million McRonald’s! The sheer magnitude of what they’re capable of is lost on them, and what could have been an incredibly appealing narrative of what they could do with their powers is wasted on some fart that says a lot of stupid things being nice to them and making them realize that all boys have to do to be loved is be a nice guy. Sorry, my prejudices came out.

Just a horrible waste in potential, though I didn’t expect much from it regardless. It’s as the very first line states: it’s a light novel adaptation. The stereotype stands and sucks yet another product into its void of emptiness.

Personal Score: D+

Critical Score: D+

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Entry #9: Teekyuu (Seasons 1-8) (SoA 2017)

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(Recommended, once again, by not-so-plain pasta.)

As many different ways as one can tackle this series, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: Teekyuu is pretty eccentric.

It’s short.

It’s fast.

It’s random.

It’s absurd.

It’s energetic.

It’s explosive.

With only two-minute episodes, this rambunctious short anime series is dedicated to cramming events that would normally take half an episode into bite-size portions.

Charming through sheer force of will.

Anime on crack; there’s little else to say about it.

Scenes fly by at the speed of sound.

Characters are little different from one another, but have little quirks that differentiate them aside from hair color.

Almost as though the series was inspired by WarioWare or Elite Beat Agents.

The series is like candy: small, sweet, and not very filling.

It could also make your head hurt.

(I’m still recovering.)

Typically basic entertainment, though sometimes very witty.

Each season is basically the same.

Marathoning this is a bad idea, but with short spurts, this short series is almost recommendable.

If only for its absurdity.

Seriously, the shit that’s shown in this series.

Holy hell.

Personal Score: D+

Critical Score: C-

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Creating My Perfect Waifu

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WARNING

This post is going to be dumb.

It’s Valentine’s Day, people. The day to express one’s appreciation, and on occasion rampant sexual desire, for their loved ones. This is in response to Valentine’s Day’s origins: the massacre of St. Valentine. What better way than to disperse violence and ill-will than with love and tolerance for all? And chocolate? And sex? And commercialism? All truly romantic.

Because I enjoy making a big deal out of holidays, I decided to write up a dumb post chronicling what it would take to create my perfect “waifu.” Of course, I technically already have a waifu, but it’s fun to fantasize about all the qualities of a woman I enjoy with characters (and real people). These are the qualities of a lovely waifu candidate that speak to me on a level that transcends my cynical mechanism.

Independent

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Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, now. Independence? Is that sexy? Is that moe? Anything is moe, but really? Independence? Yes. Independence.

The norm is that men are strong and women are weak, with the latter depending on the former for protection. There are exceptions to this, but generally this is how things carry on, especially in anime. Studio giants a la Disney are trying to “correct” this by continuing to cast strong female leads in their films, however the long-standing tradition will take a lot of time to be seen as anything other than “pandering” or “progressive.” I’ve always had a weak spot for girls who can take care of themselves—not so much that they act masculine to compensate for their lack of femininity, but are capable of doing as much (or more) than anyone around them, not just men. I find the aspect of being able to handle any situation with grace or level-headedness to be a very appealing strength. I’m often bothered by useless people, whether girls or boys, which plague a number of shows or, let’s face it, real life areas.

As odd as this may sound, I’m a pretty competitive guy, and being able to stand toe-to-toe with a woman on a subject I’m proficient in is as attractive as physical beauty. And I’m not perfect. Sometimes I need someone to rely on, as well. Having a woman be able to compensate for my weaknesses is a security both practically and emotionally therapeutic. I liken myself to being the man of a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man.

Characters that fit this mold: Revy (pictured above), from Black Lagoon. Yoko Littner, from Gurren Lagann. Ryuuko Matoi, from Kill la Kill. Michiko Malandro, from Michiko to Hatchin.

Playful/Sense of humor

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Again, I’m a competitive guy. I like having little, useless debates with people that involve wit and quick thinking. Of course, I’m never serious with it, and to have a woman play along with me is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Someone who can trump me gets my blood boiling, too. In a good way.

I try my very hardest to be funny. Perhaps followers of my Twitter have noticed. Some don’t get my humor, but those who do are instantly on my good side.Women who employ this same humor are often doubly so. It gives me a sense of open-mindedness and creativity and intelligence flowing within. Y’know how often I find this in anime? The answer is much closer to never than often.

It’s the rarity of this that makes it more appealing to me. I suppose when one is depraved of something they enjoy, the appearance of such a thing becomes more memorable and impactful. Like drugs. One can also note this by my Favorite Characters list on MAL, which has a number of women who exhibit this quality.

Characters that fit this mold: Togame (pictured above), from Katanagatari. Holo, from Ookami to Koushinryou. Takagi, from Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san.

Affectionate

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This goes double for tsunderes, as a certain someone made me quite fond of them.

Along with being goofy and amusing, I’m also a very affectionate person. Indeed, the guy who complains and criticizes everything he feels is beneath him is actually a teddy bear at heart. Thanks, Mom. So to have someone be just as affectionate as I am, whether through their words, actions, or otherwise, is a quick way into my heart. I enjoy praise and I enjoy the mushy, sweet stuff that comes with this holiday and any other holiday. I’m a self-proclaimed romanticist, after all.

Some may be a tad confused to see Taiga as the poster of this trait, as she’s most often referred to as “Bitch” or “TsunTsun” or “The worst character.” I, however, like to look between the lines and judge her based on her actions. And her actions include sticking with the characters she grows to love and going through with improving herself for the sake of others. She’s often roped into doing things she doesn’t want to do, but if she didn’t really want to do them, she wouldn’t. Instead, she has that loyalty to her friends to help them out any way she can. In actuality, she’s very caring, and very affectionate, but in her own way. This aspect (and more) is what makes her my favorite anime character ever.

Sometimes it’s not just about saying “I love you,” but showing that love for someone.

Characters that fit this mold: Taiga Aisaka (pictured above), from Toradora!. Eris, from Asobi ni Iku yo!. Marin, from Umi Monogatari. Papika, from Flip Flappers.

Opinionated

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Yes.

I almost thought about putting “Cynical” here, but that isn’t quite right. I’d prefer if someone were pungent enough intellectually to see through the vapid attempts from the world to use them for their will, but not a constant debbie-downer. That’s not to say cynical people are always like so, but that’s the generalization. In a nutshell, I like people who aren’t easily pleased, people who aren’t going to walk into anything and everything wanting to enjoy it. People are a lot more interesting when they have some complexity. Having opinions makes them infinitely more complex, especially if they have justifications for said opinions.

I don’t know a lot of opinionated women, personally. And I certainly don’t know many opinionated female characters in anime or otherwise. Hikigaya really is the perfect choice for this trait, though he’s the more generalized aspect. Always spitting poison and wanting to be away from all the fake people around him. This is exaggerated for the sake of appealing to a certain demographic, but I feel a balance between this cynicism and his potential for growth could make him ripe with waifu material.

This plays a little into my interest in people and their opinions, as I enjoy talking to people about what makes things good or bad or otherwise. Having a partner to discuss these things at length for long spurts is incredibly attractive, and gives me a scope of their personality and tastes. In a sense, it almost feels apathetic of me to want to learn of people from a scientific viewpoint, but I’m also listing qualities of what I would want in a “Waifu.”

Characters that fit this mold: Hachiman Hikigaya (Pictured above), from Oregairu. Haruhi Suzumiya (Maybe?), from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu.

And that’s what it takes to create my perfect waifu. If anybody would like to make a recommendation of who fits this mold closest is free to comment. Have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day, and I hope this post didn’t make you want to throw up.