Kotoura-san Offers Friendship and Healing, But At What Cost

You’d think that by now I’d realize that Facebook is dangerous. No, I wasn’t drawn into a debate with relatives who don’t seem to understand that being an awful, ignorant person on all facets should not be a viable political platform. I was drawn, instead, to watching an anime. Usually those ripped video clips stuck between two white bars that say something to the effect of “When you break up with a girl in anime😂😂” don’t grab me, but this video did. Here, let me show you. (Content warning for child abuse and bullying.)

These are the first nine minutes of the 2013 anime Kotoura-san, and immediately after watching this I knew I had to look up the summary to see if it was worth investing any more time in. I had no interest in watching a series devoted to the further torturing of its protagonist; however, the summary wasted no time in saying that this series was a romantic comedy (what?) that focused on the titular Kotoura-san making friends and healing from her childhood trauma. What followed was, yes, that in generous helpings. But Kotoura-san was also filled with, in equal parts, a bunch of uncomfortable sexual harassment and an unsatisfying narrative resolution to parental negligence which only served to undermine the actual good things going on.

Spoilers below the cut. All the previous warnings still apply, with an additional one for incest. Continue reading

Why Natalia Takes the Crown as My Favorite Female Tales Character

Tales of the Abyss Natalia ChibiAs seasons go through their rotation and years pass, things undoubtedly change. However, I know that one thing never will: my hatred for stereotypical white mage characters. I’ve bemoaned the stagnancy of the white mage trope in JRPGs before. However, I do believe that, in some respects, the paradigm is shifting toward a less sexist portrayal and a more nuanced expression of healing magic. That’s not what I’m talking about today, though. Not explicitly.

Looking through the JRPGs I’ve played, I’ve come to terms with having a lot of favorites. And picking between them feels like picking between children: I love them all, how can I choose? But there’s one character who has stuck out in my mind as particularly memorable; partially because I hated her at first, but then because her arc was one of the most compelling in the entire game. Today, I must pay homage to one of the many queens of my heart: Princess Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvaldear.

Spoilers below the cut—if you haven’t played the game, I really urge you to do so before reading this. It’s an experience I wouldn’t want to ruin for you.

Continue reading