February 14: A Requiem

And this is definitely outside the normal paradigm of Valentine's Day episodes

Valentine’s Day in anime is usually portrayed in about four different ways. I’d would call these apprehension or aggression on the female side and hope or fatigue on the male side. There are variations on these of course, but they generally go within this framework on the decision on type of chocolate the girl gives to a boy or whether the boy gets anything at all. White Day, on the other hand, may as well not exist.

From the School Days Valentine's Days OVA, Sekai and Otome have Makoto in a bind over chocolate
Not too unusual for fights to break out in this way over chocolate

Apprehension on the girl’s side is not too unusual. There’s the giri/honmei debate first of all. The fact that it seems to be general knowledge that making it on one’s own is somehow better than simply buying it. With that in mind you get situations like girls queuing up for store-made chocolate in the first episode of Happiness!, or a segment in the Minami-ke OVA. In addition, there is also the cliche factor in seeing a girl missing the chance to hand it out only to get an opportunity at the end of the episode.

Is it not better to be an obligation than to just be completely ignored?

That is not to say there isn’t any conflict in the process of giving it out in the first place. In harem anime it can turn into absolute war with the Valentine’s Day OVA of School Days being the textbook example. Makoto has his life deservingly made difficult by the mass of women chasing after him demanding he try whatever they made as chocolate over anyone else’s.

Of course, there's mistakes in all of this too

On the male side the equation is usually pretty simple. Main characters will get none, one or far too many to consume depending on the type of character and genre. Everyone else doesn’t really matter at all. There’s a little angst over it, but it’s more that there really wouldn’t be anything to write about.

Tsuchida sits in a park by himself
Now this is what I associate Valentine's Day with

So why bring all of this up. The first half of this week’s episode of Hanamaru Kindergarden had me thinking a whole lot about this topic. Basically, Anzu and company follow Tsuchida around on a Sunday and find that he doesn’t really do anything with other people. Content to play games until the small numbers of the afternoon, going to convenience stores to look at those magazines on the top shelf, ogling waitresses, littering and more; those watching him realize that he has issues with his private life.

Everything Else Update

Dance in the Vampire Bund was filled with angst, and when the didn’t work they put in some cliched writing, and when that didn’t work they went back to angst. Durarara!! introduced actual Dollars members in the otaku quartet. An internet based gang with a password of “baccano,” seems like a curiously interesting concept there.  ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト introduced us the real jobs of the main cast in illegally trafficking liquor. There was also the whole 2 story lines converging aspect like Durarara!!, but it didn’t quite come off as well. Ladies versus Butlers! is still in the character-specific episode stage and this week it was Daichi who got to dress as her normal gender, but Akiharu ignores the blatantly obvious and nothing really changes by the end.

Winter 2010 Ranking So Far

  1. Durarara!!
  2. Ladies versus Butlers!
  3. Hanamaru Kindergarden
  4. ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト
  5. Dance in the Vampire Bund
  6. Ookami Kakushi – Dropped Episode 5
  7. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – Dropped Episode 2
  8. Chu-Bra – Dropped Episode 1
  9. Omamori Himari – Dropped Episode 1
  10. Seikon no Qwaser – Dropped Episode 1