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AnaKhouri
02-20-2009, 12:45 AM
Since there seems to be a lot of anime fans here, I thought you guys might like to discuss a short post I wrote for the Asian pop culture site where I blog and write reviews (www.yellow-menace.com, if you're curious).

I was bored out of my skull at work today so I wrote this.

Enjoy! (?)

It’s a bit late for Valentine’s Day, but the passage of this consumerist free-for-all got me thinking about romance in anime and manga (incidentally, we spent Valentine’s night playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl…it was like any other Saturday night, really). I’m not usually a romance fan. My general rule with books and movies is: “If there’s no murder, I’m not interested.” Magical girls and harem comedies make me want to gag. But every once in a while I’ll see an anime/manga relationship that makes me haul my lazy ass into a sitting position and think, “Hmmm, interesting.”

Relationship # 1: Captain Harlock and Mime

Mime is a member of Harlock’s crew (that’s Mee-may, by the way; she’s not a mime), although ‘member’ is really an honorary term since she doesn’t have anything to do with running the Arcadia. Harlock rescued Mime when her native planet was overrun with flesh-eating plants, and Mime decided to be his loyal slave for the rest of her life. Harlock doesn’t seem to view her that way, though, because he never asks her to do anything. Are they in love? They don’t have a romantic relationship, but Harlock lets Mime hand around his ship, doing nothing but playing the harp and drinking all his wine. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Relationship # 2: Emma and William Jones

Hell, I’m still a girl, even if I am an uncommonly geeky and awesome one, and Kaoru Mori’s manga (and the anime version) won me over big time. Emma is a maid and William Jones is a gentleman in Victorian London, so their love affair faces all the usual costume drama obstacles. But Emma and William are so earnest-without-being-annoying that you can’t help but root for them. And there’s no Jane Austen ending here: by the end of the manga William and Emma are together, but they still have a ways to go before their relationship is accepted by their class-conscious society.

Relationship # 3: Subaru and Seishirou

This has to be one of the most fucked-up relationships I’ve ever seen in fiction (or real life, for that matter…thank God). It runs much deeper than CLAMP’s regular superficial angst. The pair start out in the manga Tokyo Babylon, and their fates are sealed in the follow-up series X (or would be, if CLAMP ever finished X…grrr) Subaru Sumeragi is a modern-day onmyouji in Tokyo and Seishirou Sakurazuka is his best pal. Except Seishirou is also an onyouji, and evil one. And he really wants to kill Subaru, or maybe be killed by him, which is weird because that is exactly what Subaru wants. And Seishirou really loves Subaru, but he hates himself for having any emotion and knows they can never be together so he would rather just be dead.

Maybe.

This entire thing is actually more complex and compelling and awesome than I made it sound, but it is just as confusing as I made it out to be.

Relationship # 4: Martin and Eva

The plot of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster is way too vast and intricate for me to try to describe here. Suffice to say that the story of Eva and Martin is only a tiny part of the whole, but it’s an episode that left me feeling it long after it was over.

Martin is a gangster, still racked by guilt over the death of his alcoholic mother when he was a kid. He’s assigned to chauffer the alcoholic Eva around (who up until this point has been presented as an uber-bitch…Urasawa does some great character development on her). Of course his protective instinct kicks in, and in his attempt to save Eva from herself, Martin ends up being shot dead. Now that’s my kind of love story.

Relationship # 5: The Major and Batou

With all the Ghost in the Shell fans on this site, did you really think you would make it to the end of this list without a mention of these two? Fat chance.

Here’s the deal: Batou is seriously jonesing for his boss, the Major, but her feelings for him seem somewhat…ambivalent. So he does the only thing he can: protect her as much as possible, even though she’s hella strong and could probably kick his ass without breaking a sweat. There’s a hell of a lot of tension in this relationship, but they each know they can trust the other completely- something many married people probably can’t say. But it’s alternately funny and heartbreaking to watch poor Batou, a massive combat cyborg, mooning around after his lady.

Shoulda kissed her in episode 25 of the first Gig, dude. Seriously.