Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Koji's Top Ten Anime Women - Nino

I apologize for missing last week’s entry, so I am going to make up for it this week. There has been sickness and overall business complicating things. I’ve been trying to finish Arakawa Under the Bridge so my pick doesn’t seem premature, but I can’t help it. I just hope she stands the test of time.

Number 8 – Nino

Show: Arakawa Under the Bridge

Background: Again, I can’t honestly give an adequate background to Nino since I haven’t finished the series (a few episodes left), but I’ll give it a shot. Nino is a homeless young girl claiming to be from Venus. Great so far huh? She lives under the Arakawa Bridge along with an odd assortment of like-minded weirdos. As she is fishing off the side of the bridge, she runs into the male protagonist Kou. Through a series of unfortunate events, Kou becomes indebted to her. Nino comes to the conclusion that the only way she feels that Kou can pay her back is to love her. Kou strangely commits because of his overwhelming need not to owe anybody anything, and is thrust into Nino’s world as a dweller under the bridge.

Why she is on my list:

Nino is good-natured, simplistic, and most importantly, quirky. Her quirkiness sells it for me. It leaves me laughing every single time. With every episode we get a little morsel of her personality, and I have deeply enjoyed everything about her thus far. I had my doubts about her initially. First off, some of the anime community labeled Arakawa under the Bridge a romance. (Along with a variety of other titles) While it’s obvious at times by the nature of my posts that I like shoujo, I needed variety, and I wanted something different. Without a doubt, the romantic element with Nino and Kou is the source, the pivotal moment to which the viewer is guided into “life under the bridge”, but because of the style, and importantly Nino as an intriguing and always developing female character, we are not subjected to the classic and redundant shoujo roles. Luckily, the romance label is but a facade bringing to the forefront a slapstick anime with some of the most hilarious characters I’ve watched in a long time, including Nino. Stuffing my britches with blood and sand, lets get back to her.

I love the way she looks. That’s not even in a “saliva dripping from the corner of my mouth” type of way. Her physical normalcy oddly enough leaves a lasting impression. That was probably the point. She is is not busty, moe, tsundere etc. She is not wearing a schoolgirl outfit. Better yet, she is dressed in perhaps the most aesthetically unappealing outfit. It truly does fit her personality. While I can guarantee within the hundreds of animes out there, there are probably some “Ninos” circulating about, but I’ve seen a lot of anime, and I haven’t seen anyone like her yet. One of the best things about Arakawa under the Bridge is the fact that there is such a large surplus of interesting characters. What helps is that if you are paying attention to Nino throughout the series, even when she isn’t the focal point of a particular scene, she steals it. I always want to look for her and figure out what she is doing or reacting to, and often times, I’ll be laughing at the result. Her idiosyncrasies carry her over plenty of other characters that I’ve enjoyed over the years, and I proudly give her the number eight spot. I'm confident now, she will definitely stand the test of time.

Seiyuu - Maaya Sakamoto

Maaya has been a mainstay in the voice acting community for awhile. She made her debut in 1992, and is well known for her role as Hitomi Kanzaki in the overrated anime Vision of Escaflowne. She also voiced one of my favorite characters of the past few years, Haruhi Fujioka in the hilarious series Ouran High School Host Club. Most importantly, and because I'm an Evangelion lunatic as well, she lent her talent to Evangelion 2.0 as the voice of Mari. Much Gratitude! Like many other seiyuus, she is a successful triple threat, participating in anime, stage, and music. Her body of work speaks for itself.