tosh: toe-shh (n. adj. adv. v.) Any positive definition imaginable.

Category Archives: The Otaku Files

Harry Potter and Naruto are two series that I love a great deal.  They’re both imaginative, relatable, and full of suspense.  They’re both long, they were both a part of my childhood and still are part of my life today.  But the similarities run deeper than that.  Let’s take a look at the similarities between the main characters (p.s. this contains spoilers):

Childhood

Death of the main character’s parents

Harry Potter series:Harry Potter’s parents, James and Lily Potter, were killed by Voldemort when Harry was only a year old.

Naruto series: Naruto Uzumaki’s parents, Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki, were killed in the process of sealing away the rampant Nine-Tailed Fox on the day of Naruto’s birth (it’s very complex but that’s the gist of it).

A mark left by the attack

HP: Harry has a lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead from when he withstood Voldemort’s Avada Kedavra.  Voldemort also can’t touch Harry later on because Harry is protected by his mother’s sacrifice.

N: The Nine-Tailed Fox that was unleashed upon the village was sealed away inside of the newborn Naruto.  As a shinobi, he is able to harness the Nine-Tailed Fox’s chakra.

Horrible upbringing

HP: Harry lived with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, the Dursleys, before he was old enough to attend Hogwarts.  The Dursleys treated Harry like scum and wanted nothing to do with him, making him stay in a cupboard under the stairs.  He grew up with no awareness of magic or that he was famous in the wizard world.

N: Naruto grew up completely alone.  He was shunned in Konohagakure (known as the Hidden Leaf Village in the dubbed anime) because everyone feared the Nine-Tailed Fox inside of him.  Naruto didn’t know why no one would talk to him, and misbehaved, causing people to hate him even more.

Discovering their true powers through rage

HP: Mysterious things happen when Harry gets angry.  This is when he first notices that he can do magic, but he can’t control it at all yet.

N: The Nine-Tailed Fox’s chakra kicks in when Naruto is in a dangerous situation, or when he gets mad because somebody hurts his friends (see: the Zabuza arc, the first time training with Jiraya).

Adolescence

Friends

HP: Initially has none.  Makes friends with Ron Weasley, a goofball and Hermione Granger, a know-it-all bookworm.  Harry makes friends with a ton of people at Hogwarts also.

N: Initially has none.  Assigned to be teammates with Sasuke Uchiha, a cool guy and an excellent ninja, and Sakura Haruno, a know-it-all book-smart girl.  Becomes friends with the Rookie 9 plus Lee, Neji, Tenten, Konohamaru and company, Gaara, Temari, and Kankuro, and other random people that they meet (like my personal favorite, Sumaru).

The similarities here are the know-it-all close female friend and the making tons of friends because of having a magnetic personality…also, perhaps you could say the way that Ron and Hermione end up together: Sakura has a crush on Sasuke, and we don’t know how exactly it’s going to end yet (But it should be noted that Ron and Sasuke are nothing alike).

Popularity

HP: Famous in the wizard world, and pretty much everyone loves him before they have even met him.

Yes, this picture pretty much says what I need to say.

N: Famous in Konoha, but, um, everyone really hates him and shuns him.  BUT after he saves the village…he’s a hero!

Umm…ok, I don’t know when this happens, it’s in the anime…so… yeah.

Mentors

The Wise, Old Leader That Dies And It’s Tragic

HP: Albus Dumbledore – leader of Hogwarts

N: The Third Hokage (Hiruzen Sarutobi) – leader of Konoha

The Aloof One – But Really Cares About The Kids And Is Passionate When It Comes To Things That Matter

HP: Rubeus Hagrid (for passion, see: the Buckbeak thing in Prisoner of Azkaban)

N: Kakashi Hatake (for passion, see: Make Out Paradise) (just kidding but not really) (see: really any time Kakashi’s in a fight, like the Zabuza arc or when Itachi first appears)

AND they both have crazy hair!

The Slightly Crazy Father Figure Who Is Actually The Kid’s Godfather And Very Powerful In His Respective Universe That Again Dies And It’s Tragic

HP: Sirius Black (Ok, so Sirius himself isn’t that crazy, but his circumstances)

N: Jiraiya (the Pervy Sage…that pretty much says it all)

The thing with the popsicles is just so cute.

The Plot

A coming of age story

HP: The series begins when Harry is 11 years old, and ends when Harry is 17 (not including the epilogue).

D’awww

N: This series begins when Naruto is 12, and we don’t know the ending yet, but right now he should be about 16 or 17, since he was away for 3 years starting at (probably) age 13, and it’s been a while since then.

Bad guys

Big Boss

HP: Voldemort

N: Orochimaru (Part I), Madara/Obito (Part II)

Interesting how Voldemort and Orochimaru both have a thing for snakes.  They’re also both totally freaky.

Flunkies

HP: Death Eaters

N: Akatsuki

Little Bully

HP: Draco Malfoy (he has a good guy/bad guy complex in the end)

N: Sasuke Uchiha (he ALSO has a good guy/bad guy complex in the middle/end(???))

Both of them are widely regarded as good looking and also are generally among the most proficient students.  Also it’s interesting how Harry himself is more like Sasuke than like Naruto in certain ways – for one, Harry is a parseltongue (he can talk to snakes) and Sasuke can summon snakes.  But Sasuke is also a bit like Malfoy, with the way Sasuke’s always calling Naruto a loser in Part I…

“The Chosen One”

HP: Harry is the only one who can stop Voldemort.  As such, the Death Eaters and Voldemort always try to stop him…

There is nothing greater than this .gif

N: Naruto is the vessel (“jinchuuriki” if you will) that contains the Nine-Tailed Fox spirit.  The plot of Part II/Shippuden is essentially “find Naruto to get the Nine-Tailed Fox.”

Values

HP: Protect the people you love, loneliness, good triumphs over evil, friendship, working together (see: Dumbledore’s Army)

Literally, see it! You see it, right here!?

N: “I never go back on a promise!” (“Cause that’s my nindo! MY NINJA WAY!” Admit it, you read it in his voice), also, protect the people you love, loneliness, good triumphs over evil, friendship, working together (see: Allied Shinobi Forces)

The themes of “friendship” and “working together” play huge roles in these series.

So, what do you think?  Naruto and Harry Potter are pretty similar…surprising, right?  Not like fall out of your chair surprising, because it’s mostly because of allegories and tropes and stuff, but maybe enough to make Harry Potter fans at least try Naruto.  And if there are Naruto fans who haven’t tried Harry Potter, they must live under a rock or something.

– K-Tosh


Ouran High School Host Club is nothing like what I thought it would be.

I do not read shoujo manga.  I just glanced at my manga shelf.  Shonen Jump on Shonen Jump on Shonen Jump.  I subscribe to Weekly Shonen Jump’s American edition.  I read all of Fullmetal Alchemist and watch Cowboy Bebop late on Saturday nights.  My knowledge of the HST is at the very least satisfactory (not to mention, I know what the HST is).

So why did I start reading Ouran?  Well, it’s all because of J. Coco.

When Coco told me she was watching an anime, I flipped out.  I probably jumped and screamed and everything because I was really excited.  I have been trying to get this girl into anime and manga for years because she loves to read, and watch television, and she becomes so invested in series!  It’s so perfect for her!  But she refused every time.

“Pritz!” I refuse, says Joanna.

I guess she just needed to warm up to the idea…she says she doesn’t like the way you read from right to left… Which I guess explains why she started with an anime.  And once again, we have Netflix to thank for something good in our lives.  First, she told me she was watching Clannad: After Story.  Well, I’ve already seen Clannad so I told her to start with the beginning (a.k.a. not the After Story) and after several occassions full of feels where I tried to relate to her the power of that series, she told me she was also watching Ouran High School Host Club.

I have to say, I judged her instantly for that.  It’s like a cliche that people who like shoujo must be fans of Ouran High School Host Club…and it’s got “host club” right there in the title.  Plus “high school.”  I had to wonder what exactly Coco was getting herself into.  Innocent little Coco…

But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ouran isn’t about a morally questionable lifestyle filled with entertaining/exploiting women for money…but then it kind of is.  Ha…  I thought I would be dealing with cheesy flirting and the awkward modesty of the Japanese when it comes to romance…but then I totally am.  To use what might be English’s oldest expression, you cannot judge a book by its cover.  I’m literally talking about a book and its cover.

It’s the kind of thing I would avoid wholeheartedly if I saw it in the store.

Here’s the thing: I was so excited about Coco liking an anime that I started reading the manga (at the time I couldn’t find the anime on the internet for free.  No Netflix for me. D’: #firstworldprobs).  I was a bit hesitant…but I did it anyway…

And Ouran is AMAZING!  Even though it has all those things I have disliked in shoujo manga before…they’re presented in a way that doesn’t make the story boring, or sexist, or gushy.  I’m pretty sure it’s actually making fun of shoujo manga.  So I didn’t get any of this, or this, or this (I actually own volume 1 of that…ay caramba…), but I did get this:

And Coco gave me this on my birthday

The characters are developed so well.  The timing of the comedy is impeccable.  And the plot that develops is strong, honest (dare I say realistic?), and gripping.  I could talk in detail about the reasons I love it, but that’s another post.

In the end, I think I’m still prejudiced against shoujo.  But I tried Ouran and liked it.  I can’t wait to watch the anime, now that I’ve almost finished the 91 chapters of manga and found the episodes on Hulu.  And I tried it because Coco tried it.  So maybe this extends past manga.  Putting a little effort into starting with something outside your comfort zone might very well be worth it.  Hot guys might be involved!

To think of what I would have missed out on…

Boyfriend? Psh…nah, I have Tamaki-sempai. 😀

– K-Tosh


Hey friends! It’s K-Tosh again with the fifth installment of the Otaku Files! What’s that? What are the Otaku Files, you say?? You thought I discontinued those long ago, forsaking my promise to bring to the masses a Back-to-School edition?!? Oh, no, folks, you’ve never been more wrong.

Well, it’s not exactly a back-to-school edition anymore. The school year is halfway over now. But this is when things start to get tough! Or not. I needed this at the beginning of the year. But I digress.

After spending a long summer break winter break watching anime, catching up on your favorite manga, rewatching the same anime, rereading the same manga, drawing fanart, training Pokemon, and thinking about more manga, you might have some issues when you go back to school. For one,

“I don’t understand why I failed that test! I read the book…” *thinks about it* “Wait… that might have been The Prince of Tennis.”

Unless you want your grades to suffer, you have to accept the fact that you can’t just spend time doing whatever you want. I know, it’s sad. But it’s life. Life doesn’t accommodate for our obsessions. After school, you should study. Right? Riiight??? And think about what you would be going through if you actually were in a manga. You would be going to juku!!! JUKU! I mean, I wouldn’t, because I’m too old….. But if you’re a middle schooler… I, on the other hand, would be preparing for university entrance exams! That’s no fun either. (Sket Dance 198-200, anyone?) So strict in Japan. Now that you have a bit of relief (sorry if you’re reading this from Japan…), here’s a suggestion to help you get through this tough time:

  • Read one manga chapter or watch one episode of something each night.

That way you can get your fix and not flunk!

*sitting in History class* “I miss Sasuke sooooo much…He’s soooooo hot…..Unlike David Petraeus or whoever the @*$%!$# that is…” 

The phenomenon of animated characters being attractive always provides a riveting discussion (“Zuko’s hair length is directly proportional to the size of his muscles, but inversely proportional to the size of his ego” and so on), but let’s save that for another day. This section explores coping mechanisms for the painful separation anxiety experienced when you have to stare at pages and pages of words with NO PICTURES except boring ones:

Did you know that the Tang dynasty’s famous poet, Li Bai, wrote in a playful, easygoing style? More importantly, did you care? This page even has a picture of a cartooney boat!! Just to remind you of the fact that Naruto was on a boat once, and exciting stuff happened! Geez. But remember, you have to be there. So what do you do to make things a little more… interesting?

  • Let your teacher know just how much you’ve learned from manga. Feudal lords…you know about that from Naruto! Meiji era? You know about that from Rurouni Kenshin! It’s not just for history. In science, Fullmetal Alchemist references abound with the knowledge you have gained regarding the Law of Conservation of Mass! It’s great for religion classes too; you have characters named after all 7 deadly sins there, in case you weren’t aware. And “pander” was a vocab word…I found it in Bakuman and got extra credit in English, like a boss.
  • Use anime/manga related school supplies! Folders and things are relatively easy to find. Borders (RIP) used to sell pencils, notebooks, and the like… I use FMA and One Piece pencils.
  • Better yet, design your own. I made this for my history class:

IMG_0114

  • DON’T become a distraction/be distracted. It’s pointless to waste your time at school if you’re not learning anything, so don’t read in class when you’re not allowed, don’t sneakily play games in class, etc.

“Ugh. I hate it when I have to try and wear actual clothes to school. I don’t even own one single Hollister top or pair of Pink sweatpants…”

Why are you trying so hard to fit in? If you like Hollister tops and Pink sweatpants, more power to you. But there is no reason why you need to let others decide what is or is not cool to wear to school (as long as you wear something…there are some serious boundaries here). Because embracing what you love instead of hiding it will make you happier, and it’s how you can find true friends, who like the real you. So if you go to a school where you can wear anything/fairly liberal dress code:

  • Wear t-shirts and sweatshirts with your favorite characters on them! This Pikachu sweatshirt from Hot Topic is so stinkin CUTE! 😀 And yes, I own one. I also have a Naruto shirt and a Durarara shirt that I can’t wear to school even on non-uniform days, because it has a guy smoking on it, and some stupid rule forbids drug-related imagery on clothing…so yeah, watch out for that. Weapons too.
  • On a side note, if you go to one of those schools where people don’t even carry a backpack (although if you’re reading this you’re probably a nerd and get lots of homework), you can get a cute bag with anime characters on it! Like the Pikachu one from Hot Topic…
  • If your school does have a uniform policy then you’re practically in an anime or manga! They always wear uniforms in the ones that feature kids in school!

“People will make fun of me if I do that stuff in public.”

This is an issue I’m pretty passionate about. Right now, I go to a school where people are very accepting of others’ obsessions – we have massive Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Pokemon, and Avatar fandoms – but I didn’t used to. It can be really hard to be happy doing what you love when other people make fun of you or tell you that you’re too old for it. This topic probably deserves its own Otaku File, but here are some suggestions in brief:

  • My best advice is to ignore them. There is seriously nothing wrong with being passionate about something you enjoy. You don’t have to be dancing Pat Monahan passionate, but you know, showing your interest in manga or anime is just a part of who you are. Also, expose yourself to people who approve of, share, or at least tolerate your interests (Right Stosh, Coco!?? *secret: J. Coco is into Pokemon now. I’m exploding with joy).
  • If somebody is making fun of you and it really, truly troubles you, even though you try to tell yourself how awesome I know you are, tell an adult. Please. Things will be better off if you get help in solving the problem. Nobody even expects teenagers to do everything on their own, even though it seems that way sometimes.
  • Watch this guy’s videos. His name is Chris, I discovered him through Pokememes, and he makes some seriously good stuff. It’s funny and he can relate to your struggles. Plus, he loves Pokemon!!! He’s like my hero.

I hoped my advice could help make your school year a little better! And hopefully the wait for Pokemon X and Y a little shorter!!! *fangirl scream* See you next time, in the sixth installment of…The Otaku Files. *theme song plays ominously*

– K-Tosh

P.S.: Abra used teleport.


Seiji Amasawa Seiji Amasawa SEIJI AMASAWA!!!!!!!

That’s Seiji Amasawa of Whisper of the Heart fame, for those of you who don’t know.

Seiji Amasawa is an amateur violin maker/player who aims to become a professional.  The movie is technically about the girl, but honestly, Seiji is the most interesting thing about it (it’s a really good movie though – I would recommend it to people who like Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro, but it’s not fantasy).

I technically didn’t discover him, I saw him on Disney Channel.

One more picture, just because I think this movie is cute:

I love it that they’re singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

– K-Tosh

*P.S.: Americans – don’t forget to vote!! And we’re praying for everyone affected by Sandy!!!


I’m supposed to be studying for 2 or 3 tests right now, but something has come up that is more urgent than all of that!

I just found out that one of the most amazing anime series ever, SKET DANCE, is ENDING.

<crying>

Rather, it already has ended, but you see, I don’t pay to be a premium member on Crunchyroll and all that. So for me, it’s going to end next week. NEXT WEEK. 7 DAYS AND IT’S ALL OVER.

How can you leave me, Sket Dance, when I need you most of all?

It’s not really over though, because I suppose I’ll have new chapters of the manga……..

Every good thing has to end some time, and unfortunately those of us in the anime/manga world experience that all too often. So how should we deal with it? I’ve come up with some foolproof strategies:

  • Watch the second to last episode (while crying my eyes out the entire time).
  • Begin reading the manga online. Probably even from the beginning.
  • Re-watch the entire anime from the beginning. It’s only 77 episodes. *sheds a tear*
  • Relive my favorite moments. For example, I’ll sing “Quettion, Quettion, I am Enigman!” every time somebody says the word “Question.” *sheds another tear for nostalgia*

  • Constantly refer to the series in question. ……..Quettion, Quettion, I am Enigman…..*bawling*
  • Create a set of Sket Dance (or, insert any series that is leaving you) school supplies! (I did once promise a Back To School Otaku Files, and I didn’t forget about it)
  • Eat, drink, breathe, dream SKET (again, insert what you want).
  • Most importantly of all: Set aside a special time to watch the last episode.

This is something I’ve gone through before, of course (Fullmetal Alchemist, anybody?), but it seems hard every time. I mean, I was just getting to know you, Sket Dance! Why are you leaving me so soon, Bossun, Switch, Himeko!? What will happen to you!!??!

This kind of heartbreak is the persistent nemesis of the otaku, so I knew this topic was an absolute necessity for the so aptly named Otaku Files. I would venture to say that this happens to everyone with an obsession. I just wish it didn’t have to come so soon! And don’t we all… It’s ok, we’ll get through this together, guys~!

……….*tumbleweed*

– K-Tosh


Just trace it.

In honor of our Art Show, this edition of the Otaku Files is all about drawing. As you might know, the theme for our art show is “Things you are obsessed with.” And obviously, given my self-proclaimed title as an otaku, I have several obsessions. The thing I’m obsessed with right now is a show called You and Me, or some people might know it as Kimi to Boku.

As a fellow otaku, I find it easy to relate to the glimpses of Yuki Asaba’s life shown in “You and Me.”

I mean, I’ve watched two seasons since Friday.  And all but one episode of season 2 within the last two days. People have told me they finished a 24 episode series in a shorter time than that, but for me that is pretty fast.

So yesterday,  I wanted to try drawing some pictures from the show. The drawings are simple, and the characters are fun. One small problem: I have a tendency to get frustrated with my artwork. Drawing free-hand takes me forever, and I am rarely happy with the end result. So, I relied on the same trick of the trade I’ve been using for years: tracing.

A lot of people disapprove of tracing. I do too, when people trace something and then try and take credit for that as if they designed it themselves. But when you’re just drawing something for fun, why not? Not everyone who has passion for something has the talent for it. As for myself, and probably a lot of otakus, I love manga and anime with my whole heart, and I spend hours enjoying it. But, I can’t just pick up my pen and draw something amazing. I would be lucky to pick up a pen and draw something mediocre.

People could say, “So why don’t you practice?” It’s simple. I’ve accepted (reluctantly, it’s a long process) that I’m not going to be a professional mangaka (a manga creator). Of course, I could steal a notebook and refuse to give it back to the talented artist I’ve been spying on until he draws my story (see Bakuman, chapter 1).

Yep, it works out just like that.

Or, I could not pursue an insanely ambitious career. Yeah, I think I’ll go with that option.

But I still think drawing is fun. Here’s what I drew traced (admit it like a man!) yesterday.

First off, the sketches:

Passive older twin Yuta Asaba; flowery, caring Shun Matsuoka; and serious, studious Kaname Tsukahara.

Noisy newcomer Chizuru Tachibana and younger, lazy twin Yuki Asaba.

All of those hands were hard to draw. The pictures had words covering them up, so I had to draw them myself.

These are from that series You and Me. I like to trace the outlines and then make photocopies so that when I color it, the pencil lines don’t smear. Plus, if I mess up on the coloring,  I can just make a new blank copy.

Now here’s the fun part, the drawings in color!

His hair is not that red. And, their tie colors don’t even match! But oh well.

I think I did the best on Yuta. Yuki’s not terrible either, if you ignore his right arm.

I had so much fun doing these, and to me, that’s the point. Since I thought it was pretty hard work just to trace and color these, I have such great respect for mangaka, who literally devote their lives to their art. Thank you for your hard work!

– K-Tosh


After that heavy dose of sarcasm, and the other heavy dose of deep thoughts, it’s time once again for your favorite silly segment, the Otaku Files! In this second edition, we’re going to talk about stuff.

Literally, stuff. Those things you buy, because you love it, but everyone else likes to call it “junk” or, at best, “stuff.” The other day, I bought some of these:

Image

Zatch Bell trading cards. Don’t tell me you don’t have any trading cards of some sort…a lot of them are or have been a huge deal. In fact, 98% of Americans have at least one Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh card in their house (and 73% of statistics are made up). I got them at the dollar store! I bought two packs because they had them in two colors and they were, of course, only a dollar each! First edition! (“Because they only ever made one…” says my mom)

But then it starts:

My mom: “Are you six years old?”

Me: “Why?”

Her: “Why do you need Zatch Bell cards? You already have some of these.”

Me: “Because Zatch Bell is awesome, and I don’t have any of these.”

Her: “Whatever. It’s your money to waste.”

Sigh.

Anime toys and things tend to be labelled, at least in my house, as “wasteful.” But they’re not wasteful to me. They’re my treasures!

And it’s not about the things themselves. It’s about their meaning. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. When I see my Rock Lee action figure, I think about the episodes where he was in the hospital and kept sneaking out to do push ups until he passed out. And all those Naruto and Zatch Bell trading cards, their pictures remind me of similar inspirational or exciting scenes. I’ve been collecting Pokemon cards and any other cool items I found (oh goodness, the Happy Meal toys) since I was really young, and those always take me back to my childhood.

My Lee action figure

Every otaku has his or her collection, and every item in it, even the ones that look like junk, has special meaning to that person. Full of memories of good times, like a souvenir. Before you mock somebody’s treasures, thing of your own special “stuff,” and you might appreciate his or her collection a little more.

– K-Tosh