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jenthehen



Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 760
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:44 am Reply with quote
I haven't read much of the manga, but the anime is one of my top favorites. Honestly, though, it took me YEARS before I finally gave in and watched it earlier this year ... and it was Hagu who turned me off. I couldn't help but think "Ugh, why is this about a girl who looks like a mentally challenged 8 year old that everyone loves for some reason?"

I'm really glad I ended up watching it, since there is just so much more to the story than that! Hagu eventually ended up being a character I love, too - I just really admire her passion and dedication to her art/career. You don't see that too often ... the bittersweetness of choosing your career and yourself over love. It really spoke to me.

I think you guys are glorifying Ayumi a bit, though ... she isn't without fault. She's just TOO desperately in love with someone who doesn't love her at all - you'd think she'd move on already! But she IS very real and human, I will agree.
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maaya



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 976
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:02 am Reply with quote
I believe that there are few readers and viewers who's favorite is Hagu ^^

I didn't care for her at all at the beginning. Sometimes I even disliked her for her unfriendliness, while the other characters were so nice to her. But from episode to episode this changed a little and at the end I also liked her as a character. In the anime you definitely see her point of view and her thoughts, in a very beautiful way (f.ex. the boxes).

I mostly agree with Sara therefore and I completely disagree that Hagu was meant as the portrayal of an ideal woman .... she is never portraied as perfect or an ideal to anybody, she is even extremely impolite and unsociable. And she herself isn't very happy in her situation. Slowly she opens up to her friends as the series goes on.

And what do you mean by, she gets all the boys? They're only two who fall in love with her, while one is a freak and the other one a kind of loser-typ. And I believe that is very simply to create a love triangle. If I remember correctly, all the other people might find her cute from far away, but she has no friends at all. Most are only interested in her work. And Ayumi becomes her best friend.

Ayumi is the one who can get any boy in school btw. She is supposed to be very beautiful and a very nice character, everyboy likes her. But she only sees one, who unfortunately only sees a different woman, who again only sees somebody else ^^ That's the complex relationship chart for the series, needed for the drama xD

Concerning Hagu's appearance, actually I believe it isn't all that weird to have an asian women who at 18 looks a lot younger. I've met quite a few, who were really small and at 23 looked like 15 and at 30 ... still looked like 15. I think she's not only cute, but it adds to her shyness, insecurity and difference, she's an outsider. And I think she has problems with people who are just taking her as "cute" and nothing more. Isn't Hagu even a bit jealous of Ayumi, because Ayumi is a real grown up woman?? But I'm not so sure anymore. My memory might also be failing me. Time for a rewatch, now that the DVDs are finally coming. ^^

Do you have any links to the interviews with Chica Umino?
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Mysticmidnightmaiden



Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 123
Location: California (Bay Area)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:31 am Reply with quote
I always saw Hagu as just a muse for the boys. After all, it's her appearance and presence that ultimately gets Takemoto to mature, both artistically and internally (spoiler[bike ride around Japan ftw]). The story was always about the boys anyways, to me. Perhaps this is why Umino's next series is seinen...

Surprisingly, I was more frustrated with Mayama and Ayumi, mainly because I felt their loves were slightly unrealistic. (Who holds onto love for that damn long? Seriously?) Then again, I've never seen or experienced that kind of love in reality, so what do I know?
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14548
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:10 am Reply with quote
What the hell? The one female character in a manga/anime who doesn't have big tits and who doesn't intentionally look underage to please otaku with emotional problems is the one the ANN reviewers hate?

Casey:
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This is not a seinen manga, so putting a moe character who hardly ever strings more words than three at a time together doesn't suit even fanservice purposes.


That's because she's not a moe character. And she doesn't talk much, because she's lived a sheltered life. That's the kind of thing you expect from (ex-)child prodigies most of the time.

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Vulnerable, fragile eighteen year olds who look like they're ten years old are not exactly stock characters of josei, or even shoujo, manga,


Um, what about Princess Knight? =p

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and I don't find her a particularly convincing character.


Then someone needs to visit more elite schools, because girls like Hagu exist.

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Also, the way that Morita pursues her is just ugly. I get it—he's a borderline sociopath—but his exploitation of her is played for laughs again and again...and I don't think, in real life, that this sort of thing is funny.


That gripe, I can get. But I think it just shows you who's the more "developed" of the two, even though he's had more experience with the outside world than Hagu.

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Given that the manga is going for a slice-of-life atmosphere otherwise, I think harassment for grins is inappropriate.


Perhaps, but it happens. There are always immature people out there.

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Nor do I find the way that this relation—I won't deign to call it "relationship"—is resolved helps matters any.


Haven't gotten that far, so no comment. Crying or Very sad

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I think we should judge Chika Umino and her work by a relatively high standard.


Did you see the new thing from her yet? I'm still hoping it gets licensed. *sigh*

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Is this really the sort of message that a woman writing for other women should be sending? This question may be posed on so many different levels. Is it true? Do Japanese women think it's true? Is this an implicit advocacy of being Hagu-like to attract men?


I doubt that's the message, as much as it's a reflection of her experiences being around certain types of people.

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And incidentally, other female characters, such as Ayumi, are at once less idealized, less attractive, and therefore perhaps more, well, human in their characterization.


Well, yeah. But I think that's part of the point. Mayama is chasing a dream he'll never have, simply because it gives him a feeling of control, but forsaking Ayumi, because he can have her.

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If the story were told from her perspective, and not from a boy who falls head over heels for her, I'd probably be much less critical of the character.


It's occasionally told from her perspective.

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It's a great place to start if you're interested in a manga that is unequivocally "un-Western."


Personally, I thought there could be no manga more Western than H+C. Yeah, there are cultural topics, but that's par for the course in the genre. The writing is still fairly American indie, compared to the stuff you normally see over there.

Sara:
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I see it almost as a commentary about what men seek at first glance in a partner.


Actually, for me, Hagu's generally "friend" material. But if I was younger, I could understand how I'd feel the same way as the males in the story, because I'd like the idea of someone I could impress with my "skills", too. Though, nowadays, I prioritize girls who take my feelings and needs into consideration. I'm over that "woo her" bullshit phase of my life. I'll be nice in the future, of course, but I'm not going to try to pretend I'm teh aw3som3 and then get shot down for someone with a bigger wallet or penis.

Bamboo: Yeah, I'll admit I don't get that "love at first sight" thing, either, but my guess is that the dudes' deep feelings come from not being the only male art geeks in their social groups. Everyone else at the school is "normal", compared to them.

maaya:
Quote:
Concerning Hagu's appearance, actually I believe it isn't all that weird to have an asian women who at 18 looks a lot younger.


There are plenty of white girls like that, too.
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 1906
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:18 am Reply with quote
I once read someone say somewhere that Hagu's appearance is just to emphasize her immature personality...but then I read a little bit of the manga, and she totally acts like a wee girl.

I only read a little bit of it, so I must admit that I might be missing something. I suppose I'll give a more full chance someday, given how much some people praise it.
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David.Seth



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 451
Location: near SF
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:06 am Reply with quote
Mysticmidnightmaiden wrote:
I always saw Hagu as just a muse for the boys. After all, it's her appearance and presence that ultimately gets Takemoto to mature, both artistically and internally


Thats exactly how I saw it. As far as liking/disliking, Hagu is somewhere in between. I found her somewhat cute, and her devotion to art was interesting, but other than that, she was kind of bland (and now that I think about it, its probably because of her lack of vocalization).

On a side note, H&C is "josei"? I didn't even know that josei existed! God, 10 years of anime watching and I'm still a noob Laughing

edit: thank you diligent sesame for showing me the error of my ways


Last edited by David.Seth on Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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maaya



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 976
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:10 am Reply with quote
David.Seth wrote:
On a side note, H&C is "josie"? I didn't even know that josie existed! God, 10 years of anime watching and I'm still a noob Laughing


Josei animes are really rare in fact, there are way more mangas. As anime I can only think of Honey, Nodame and Hataraki Man right now ... but all three are very much worth watching =)
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diligent sesame



Joined: 29 Jun 2009
Posts: 56
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:17 am Reply with quote
It's important to take into consideration the pressure from editors and the pressure to market a manga....but in this case I think it is important to chill out. If the characters don't seem to fit the norm then they don't. Do you think the story works? That's what's important.
Honey & Clover had to switch around magazines a lot and I can't help but think that helped it be such a free story, and that's kind of rare. I'm glad.

David.Seth wrote:

On a side note, H&C is "josie"? I didn't even know that josie existed! God, 10 years of anime watching and I'm still a noob Laughing

Just because I'm scared you'll still be calling it that in the future, it's josei. ^^;
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cultnirvana



Joined: 12 Sep 2004
Posts: 13
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:21 am Reply with quote
I never understood how anyone could take Hagu as a moe character. So she's small and cute; that doesn't automatically make her moe. And the guys love her not for her looks, or her "weakness" but for her passion, intelligence and drive. Second, there are girls out there who are shy and nervous in the same ways as Hagu; isn't she therefore as a character a comfort to them, just as the Ayumi character attracts women who have strong willed personalities. Not all women have to be tsundere types. True feminism is about all women being who they truly want to be, whether that is the leader of the country or a housewife.

@maaya - Hataraki Man is actually seinen.
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Shadowrun20XX



Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 1910
Location: Vegas
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:30 am Reply with quote
You girls ever going to make a podcast of Chicks on anime? I'd really like to listen to you, rather than read Blobs o' text!
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David.Seth



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 451
Location: near SF
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:31 am Reply with quote
cultnirvana wrote:
And the guys love her not for her looks, or her "weakness" but for her passion, intelligence and drive


Correct me if I'm wrong (it has been a while since I saw H&C), but didn't they guys have a "love/infatuation at first sight" kind of reaction towards Hagu? At least, that's how it appeared, especially with Takemoto.

Shadowrun20XX wrote:
You girls ever going to make a podcast of Chicks on anime? I'd really like to listen to you, rather than read Blobs o' text!


Great idea!


Last edited by David.Seth on Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 1906
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:38 am Reply with quote
David.Seth wrote:
On a side note, H&C is "josei"? I didn't even know that josei existed!

You fixed your spelling mistake! And I was going to post a Josie and the Pussycats image to make fun of you!
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Tamaria



Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 1512
Location: De Achterhoek
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:41 am Reply with quote
I think the currect moe trend has made some paranoid...

The problem with Hagu is that we barely know anything about her in the first few volumes or so. It takes some time to discover why she's the way she is and we also see her change as the story progresses. The girl has a lot of trouble finding her place in the world and dealing with other people's expectiations. She may look like a kid, but that doesn't mean she wants to be one. It's role people push her into because of her looks. It's difficult to change how people perceive you.

I think the guys were drawn to her not so much because they thought she was attractive/cute, but because she was an enigma with an incredible talent. Or do people seriously think "OMG moe!!" is all guys can think about nowadays?
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Dop.L



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 652
Location: London
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:08 am Reply with quote
I've always had the opinion that Hagu's appearance reflects her personality. While the (translated) manga hasn't got that far yet, later in the anime series (yes, I saw it in fansubs originally, but I am buying the DVDs and I'm only annoyed Viz made us wait so long for them!) there are scenes where she does look more like a young woman in her early 20s (at that time in the series) and develops a strength of character.

Takemoto's 'love at first sight' reaction was before he knew anything about her, and Morita at first saw her as an oddity (Korubokkur!) and only later as an equal in talent, and there are times you can see his reaction to her surprises himself.

But then I think people are creating their own stumbling blocks here.
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Kelly



Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Posts: 868
Location: New York City
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:27 am Reply with quote
I have to admit that Hagu really turned me off at first as well. As someone who to some extent really does look like her (I have a genetic condition called Turner's Syndrome), I started the manga extremely curious to see if she would be an accurate depiction of people our height. I was dismayed at how easily she fell apart when she didn't have someone around to help her out. I would hope that needing a stepstool more often than most people doesn't mean that you can't take care of yourself. I also thought she was quite spoiled and not an especially nice person. She has improved greatly, though, and I'm starting to like her a bit better now.

I'll give the anime a try once Season 2 Part 2 is also available.
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