Sunday, July 25, 2010

Koji's Top Ten Anime Women - Mio Akiyama

As I've been trudging through this list each week, I start remembering so many females that I've liked over the years. I feel like I am betraying them to an extent by not even giving them any sort of recognition, or I start to believe I am just that fickle. Like I've stated before, I really do believe my choices will stand for a long time, baring a few changes at the bottom. I was thinking about Melfina from Outlaw Star, Ryoko from Tenchi, and Urd from Ah My Goddess just to name a few. All interesting characters, but have otherwise lost their impact over the years. Of course I watched those shows early on, and I was as impressionable as the next fan due to the infancy of the obsession.

I do not see too many characters like the aforementioned anymore; I probably do, they have just gone through a renaissance like everything else. Anime goes through a renaissance from time to time, and the female leads are some of the changes we notice the most. That brings me to our current trend in anime, moe. I do admit that moe caters to the lowest common denominator when used most of the time. The same can be said about any type of gratuitous violence or unnecessary fan service. Wait, I'm sorry, fan service is always necessary. My point is that every one probably likes some type of moe, or is in denial. There is at least ONE girl that fascinates you in a show, and it's because she is adorable and innocent. I'm obviously no different. Like we have suggested a few times in the comment sections, we hardly can even define the lines. That being said let me introduce the current Queen of "Moe". (At least to me)

Number 07: Mio Akiyama

Show - K-on!

Background: Mio is the bassist and sometimes lead singer of the high school band Afternoon Tea Time. She is very proficient musician, a terrific student, and ridiculously shy. She is the rock and seemingly most mature out of the group, always suggesting to the other members the need to practice, or taking care of her academic responsibilities before everyone else. Early on she becomes a mentor to Yui because she sees how hard it is for her to have an intelligent thought, and she has to make sure to keep an eye on her wild best friend Ritsu. She might have them end up in jail or something. Because of Mio's shyness, she gets embarrassed very easily much to the delight of the other band, especially Ritsu.

Why she is on my list: Out of all the "moe" type of characters out there, she stands out among the rest. She's the cutest character in the entire show. Does she have amazing depth? No, but that's not what type of show K-on is. I don't want to see an emotional train wreck roaming around the halls with a guitar. I like K-on! the way it is. Does she exude qualities in a woman I'd want as a significant other? Sign me up. She's shy, smart, quick-witted, and when she gets humiliated she is pretty sexy. She is a very enjoyable character. Out of all the girls, I agree with Lonecow; Ritsu is probably the one who has the most depth, but that's only because she is volatile. The rest of the girls have to stand alone on their on archetypal personalities, and Mio does a terrific job. To me, she doesn't rely on her cuteness or shyness all the time though. There are some great scenes when Mio stands out because of her ever-changing personality, instead of a panty shot on stage. My point is that while she may not be the most developed, there is huge room for growth. Luckily, K-on is seemingly approaching on a 24-26 episode run (currently on episode 16), so there is more Mio to come.

K-on is not my favorite show of all time, but because my girl is on the list, I hate the detractors. They have blurred the lines between moe and slice of life. Only Ann Coulter's existence pisses me off more. K-on is a slice of life show with cute (moe) girls. It is simple as that, and I would gladly enjoy more for years to come. If K-on had multiple seasons, almost everyone would follow it. "Bro…K-on is up to it's fifth season bro, let's slam back this NO Xplode and start watching…it has to be good now bro." Meatheads don't watch anime. Anyways, with more seasons we get more depth. Lonecow and I have talked about this before, and a Ritsu/Mio spinoff would be an interesting idea.

I do not understand why slice of life animes don't at least entertain the idea of spinoffs. Cheers and Frasier worked well. I actually liked Frasier more than Cheers. Yes, I just said that. Wouldn't you watch a spin-off of Lucky Star with just Konata and Kagami? How about the idiocy of the Azumanga Daioh girls in college? I'm still waiting for more School Rumble! In America at times we are smothered by series that we wished bowed out gracefully. I'll admit, I really enjoyed the show Friends, but really…ten years? So in '94 we were made privy to the fact that Ross is a huge pussy and Joey is mentally challenged. Did anything change? And they gave Joey a spin-off!

Seiyuu: Yoko Hikasa

Yoko Hikasa began professionally voice-acting in 2007, and her first leading role was Mio from K-on. She listed her desire to become a voice actor after watching Sailor Moon. 2010 has been a busy year for Yoko. She has lead roles in, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin (Occult Academy), Working!!, and Seitokai Yakuindomo. All three shows I actually plan on following. Looks like playing Mio has paid dividends, and well deserved. I have really enjoyed her thus far and I'm looking forward to hearing her voice throughout the rest of year. She is savory.