Monday, June 28, 2010

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women - Ritsu Tainaka

Lists of beautiful women, 2D or 3D, are a dime a dozen on the interwebs, and I have no qualms about going down the self-indulgent route of making one myself. However, my goal is to bring something a little bit different in the way of content then some of the other lists out there.

I intend to take one girl from my list, starting with Number 10, and go into some background on the character, the series they hail from, and what I hope will be unique to this feature, the voice actress (seiyuu) that brings the character to life. And I'll do my best to keep away from phrases like, "Wow bro, check out the curves on this bodacious babe!"

This feature will replace my Tsundere Tuesday feature, as most of my picks will most likely be Tsunderes. So let's get started shall we?

Number 10: Ritsu Tainaka Show: K-On!

Background: Although she might not seem it at times, Ritsu is the single founding member of the high school group Afternoon Tea Time. After all the previous members of the Light Music Club graduated, she took it upon herself to make sure the club didn't meet an untimely end. She knew she wouldn't have the motivation or drive to keep the club alive herself, she she called on her best friend, Mio, to help her get the group established.

Ritsu is the drummer for Afternoon Tea Time, and not surprisingly her biggest inspiration is the erratic drummer from the classic rock band The Who, Keith Moon. While Moon was much more on the lunatic realm of the spectrum, it is clear that Ritsu takes a lot of cues from her idol, just short of utterly destroying her drum kit on stage.

Why she is on my list: When I was deciding on my picks for this list, I wanted to set some boundaries for myself. My main rule was that I wouldn't include girls from shows that were made to be drooled over. What I mean by this, is that most Ecchi shows and Moe shows got voted right out. I couldn't include anyone from Queen's Blade, Strike Witches, or Ikki Tousen. Or at least this was the plan. I stuck to my guns with the Ecchi shows, and most Moe, but I kept going back to K-On, and the characters there.

I know there is a lot of moe haters out there, and I've defended K-On in the past for being a really good show, that happens to be covered in moe stickiness, so I won't go into all that. I read on a blog somewhere, where someone made the declaration, that if you take an anime and then change the gender of the main characters, if you would no longer watch the show then it isn't a good show.

I disagree that this is a valid way to judge the merits of any work of fiction, but in the case of K-On it doesn't work. K-On starring an all male cast would still be a good show, because it would just be me and my friends in high school. The main reason K-On appeals to me is that all the girls are simply female versions of me and my friends in school. One friend was the quiet popular one, another was a brainless guitar player, one was the rich kid who wished he wasn't, another was the overtly serious realist, and I was Ritsu, the slightly erratic, oddball who would do a barrel roll into a room for no good reason and be ignored by the rest of my chums.

I realize that was a round about way as to why Ritsu is on this list, but it is because I relate so much to her and her personality that makes me instantly drawn to her character. If I had been born a Japanese moe school girl, I would be Ritsu. I have no shame in admitting that.

In my opinion she is the stand out cast member of the show. All the other girls fit more traditional stereotypes, where Ritsu seems more real, and certainly much more flawed. She get jealous, and pouty. She gets frustrated with her music and abilities, but always tries to remain upbeat, but is not always successful. She wants to be a famous musician, but is also incredibly lazy. It is her contradictions that makes her real, and more human. Of all the K-On characters, she would have the most success as a spin off character. I'd love to see a show with just her, and maybe Mio (as her foil) in college trying to make it.

She is a unique jewel in the vast, overflowing sea of moe, and for that she earns her spot on this list.

Seiyuu: Satomi Sato

Nicknamed Sugar, due to her last name meaning "sugar" in Japanese, she was born in 1986 in the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan. She began professionally voice acting in 2007, mostly as additional voices and background characters. Her big break was in 2009 for, not surprisingly, K-On!, and since then has slowly started to voice other main characters in shows such as Asura Cryin' and To aru Kagaku no Railgun.

She won a Seiyuu award in 2009 along with the other K-On! actresses for Best Song.

In the future I hope the Seiyuu section of these articles becomes a lot more robust then this week. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of information on Miss Satomi Sato, as she is still in the "fresh upcoming talent" category of voice actors. But I don't think I am alone in my anticipation, seeing what new characters she will voice in the future.