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3rd May 2013

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Down in the Dumps of Happiness

Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket. A poor girl with abundant happiness.

If there’s one mantra that’s always told to everyone, it’s that money can’t buy happiness. There is some truth to all of this. An interesting article I read at World of Psychology focused on garbage pickers who are very optimistic about life despite their living standards. Folks who go around collecting trash don’t seem to worry too much about food or money. They have good relationships and believe that the future will be bright for them.

Reading this article made me think about poor characters like Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket), Hayate Ayasaki (Hayate the Combat Butler, before he was taken in by Nagi Sanzenin), Jin Kanzaki (ZETMAN), the Yorozuya (Gintama) and many others. All of them have gone through situations where they struggle to get by, yet still enjoy the nuances of life.

Yes, being poor isn’t the greatest thing in the life. But neither is being rich. When you have people being pressured to act like complete big shots just to stay ahead, you wonder if it really is worth it to make a lot of money. 

For anyone who’s poor, you’re more motivated to take on your dreams. Do you really have anything to lose? Not much, given you have nothing to begin with. You also get the best thing money can’t buy: emotional support. Almost every poor anime/manga character out there has a wonderful supporting cast of characters that push them for the better. Of course, there are exceptions, but those characters develop and gain a better understanding of what truly matters when everything is all said and done. One great example is Gintama’s “cell phone” story and its critique on how the joy of technology that may not be affordable to many can affect relationships to a huge degree. 

Isn’t it time to get some dirt on your hands and grow an inner garden for your soul?


Tagged: animemangapsychologypsychology of happinessrich versus poorWorld of PsychologyFruits BasketGintamaZETMANHayate the Combat Butlerpositive psychology

18th December 2012

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Crave Mental Stimulation? The Psychological Manga Gift Guide

Artwork from the Neon Genesis Evangelion Omnibus, published by VIZ Media.

With another holiday season here, it’s often time to take a look at what manga series make good gifts. Though let’s get a bit more specific. What if you want someone to read titles that presents characters plagued by personal issues and the stress of the worlds they reside in? Have I got some ideas for you. Here are some of today’s top awesome English-licensed manga that dives deep into the recesses of the mind.

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Tagged: Death NoteDurarara!!Fruits BasketHunter x HunterNaoki Urasawa MONSTERNeon Genesis EvangelionPandora HeartsTakehiko Inoue REALmangamanga psychologypsychological mangapsychological themes in mangapsychologyOsamu TezukaOsamu Tezuka Black Jackmanga gift guide

14th August 2012

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Smiling For The Heart - 10 Characters Who Smile To Ease Their Pain

We all know smiling does wonders for people, but a recent study revealed that smiling actually helps your heart. Even if it’s not genuine, grinning and bearing it during hectic moments lowers one’s heart rate and reduces stress. It might make you wonder which anime/manga characters smile to get through the day. Here are 10 notable characters that, in my opinion, use smiles to cheer up their psyche. 

Misa Amane (Death Note)

Misa Amane (Death Note) - While she has a smile on her face and a cheerful disposition, Misa has had a rough past as her parents were killed by a burglar right in front of her. Because of this, she has strong feelings of hatred towards criminals and turns to Light Yagami as her ray of light.

Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)

Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto) - When your whole childhood has been marred by the fact that you’re hosting a powerful demon inside you, smiling probably has to be one of the main ways to keep yourself going. 

Gin Ichimaru (BLEACH)

Gin Ichimaru (BLEACH) - If you want to mess around with people’s emotions and hide your true intentions, a wicked smile sure helps to get your message across. Though it might not redeem you in the end.

Seta Soujiro (Rurouni Kenshin)

Seta Soujiro (Rurouni Kenshin) - The story behind Soujiro’s smile is probably one of the most tragic stories I have ever read (and also one of my favorite moments in RK). It’s hard to blame him for smiling constantly though. How would anyone feel if they experienced a situation such as his?

Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)

Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece) - He always seems to find a way to smile even in the worst of moments. It must be fun to be a dreamer.

Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket)

Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket) - Underneath her smile and kindness towards others, Tohru was perhaps a little too obsessed with honoring her deceased mother and it took her a while to move on.

Lenalee Lee (D.Gray-man)

Lenalee Lee (D. Gray-man) - A character that secretly hated the organization that trained her. She had a mental breakdown while being forced to be an Exorcist against her will. Who knows what would have happened if her brother, Komui, didn’t come back into her life and fuel her growth.

Kyoko Mogami (Skip Beat!)

Kyoko Mogami (Skip Beat!) - She’s one the best examples of taking it to the chin and kicking butt despite being knocked down. Most of her life has been spent pleasing the people around her and trying to win their approval. Kyoko’s determination is relentless as she takes on the world of show business.

Tamaki Suoh (Ouran High School Host Club)

Tamaki Suoh (Ouran High School Host Club) - For someone who appears high-class, charismatic, goofy, and confident, he has relationship problems with his grandmother. This is mostly due to Tamaki’s grandmother never getting along with his mother. Despite his pleas to be accepted into the Suoh family being constantly rejected by her, Tamaki still treats his grandmother with love and is happy to be accepted by his Host Club mates. 

Orihime Inoue (BLEACH)

Orihime Inoue (BLEACH) - We can talk about her bouncy…personality all we like, but she doesn’t believe in herself when it comes to helping people. Seeing her sometimes makes me wonder if certain people feel that way when it comes to being useful to others.

I know there are many other characters who smile to calm themselves (i.e. characters in Neon Genesis Evangelion), so who would you guys put on your list of “smiling to keep it together” characters? >;)


Tagged: BLEACHDeath NoteFruits BasketNarutoOne PieceRurouni KenshinSkip Beat!character listmangamanga charactermanga psychologypsychologypsychology of smilingsmilingOuran High School Host Clubd. gray man

28th July 2011

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The Character In Charge of Sexiness - Isuzu “Rin” Sohma (Fruits Basket)

Isuzu "Rin" Sohma from Fruits Basket.

"A bond may seem like a beautiful thing from the outside…but if those involved see it as a burden, it’s nothing but a shackle."

Normally, I don’t read too much shoujo manga (even though I should give the gems a read). But, Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket caught my eye because of its immense popularity among anime/manga fans. I first heard about the series from a friend who followed the manga about 5 years ago, but I never gave it much thought until I posted up the guest entry on Kyo Sohma by Ricky Alvarez. With this month’s Manga Moveable Feast focused on the shoujo classic, I wanted to take a look at one of the characters that appeared only in the manga, Isuzu “Rin” Sohma. She is considered the most independent character of the series & one who took a lot of pride in trying to accomplish her goals by herself.  

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Tagged: Chinese ZodiacFruits BasketHatsuharu SohmaIsuzu Rin ShomaManga Moveable FeastNatsuki TakayaRin Sohmamanga psychologypsychology of independence

27th May 2011

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Mental Health Month: The Life of Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket)

Kyo Sohma, the main male lead of Fruits Basket.

(The following is a guest post by Ricky Alvarez. You can read his blog here. Thank you, Ricky, for the great article!)

May is Mental Health Month, and as a person who suffers from depression, I find mental health to be ignored by the general populace. I know so many people who walk around on a day to day basis thinking that they are normal, but show obvious signs of anxiety, depression, etc. My belief as to why people accept mental issues as the norm is the popular use of mental illness as a gimmick in popular media. From music to movies, you see people with mental issues being idolized as either the “bad boy” or the “fixer upper.” Because of this, I’d like to bring to light a mentally distraught character from the series Fruits Basket, Kyo Sohma. Kyo is accepted as the bad boy of the series, but shows obvious signs of mental stress from the get go.

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Tagged: Fruits BasketKyo SohmaMental Health MonthNatsuki TakayaTohru Hondamental healthmanga psychologypsychology of depression

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