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23rd October 2012

Text with 33 notes

The Importance of Nuzzling - Illustrated by Madoka/Homura

Madoka Kaname and Homura Akemi nuzzle it out. From the trailer to "Puella Magi Madoka Magica Part II: The Eternal Story".

At least this is 1000 times cuter than Kyubey nuzzling it up with either one of them.

Looks like MadokaxHomura ship train just keeps chugging along in full speed. This extremely memorable piece of art from the trailer for the 2nd Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie captures Madoka Kaname and Homura Akemi nuzzling each other. You know that fans got a kick out of it when so much fanart of the Madoka/Homura scene starts popping up all over the Net. Kinda makes you think about how nuzzling is important for one’s mindset.

Nuzzling/cuddling helps reduce stress by increasing the oxytocin hormone (which is known as the “cuddle chemical”). That hormone helps to relieve stress and makes you feel good. You want to know why we get excited and giddy after physical contact with someone we like? That’s oxytocin working its magic on you.

The fan reaction to the Madoka/Homura nuzzle is just a firm reminder of how powerful the sense of “touch” is for everyone. As much as we can get inspired by words, they don’t always go through. A person of important value to you who physically shows his/her affection has the ability to unlock many emotions inside you. An intense snuggle from someone says more than a speech would. Actions speak louder than words, right? 

The scary part is that there are people out there that never had physical affection and it has led to cuddle therapy practices. You might think that it sounds crazy, but there are those who just want to cuddle. The world we’re living in is making us more and more isolated these days.

Man, that Madoka sure is providing more intriguing critique, isn’t she?


Tagged: Homura AkemiMadoka KanamePuella Magi Madoka Magicaanimeanime characteranime psychologynuzzlingpsychologypsychology of nuzzlingcuddle therapyoxytocinpower of touch

14th September 2012

Text with 11 notes

DBZ = Life: A Review of “It’s Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide”

Cover to "It's Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide" by Derek Padula, author of "The Dao of Dragon Ball".

Ever thought about how Dragon Ball Z can play a huge role in growing personally as an individual? Here’s the e-book that you are looking for. Derek Padula, author of The Dao of Dragon Ball, has released a quirky read in "It’s Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide". He takes a look at the overwhelming popularity of the “It’s Over 9000!” meme, its origins, how it has transcended boundaries to stay relevant, and what we can learn from the series-long conflict between Son Goku and Vegeta.

The first thing I will say is that I am amazed at the detailed recap of the lives of both Goku and Vegeta. Derek provides an extensive look at how both individuals grew while being in direct conflict with each other. He brings out some great comparisons between the two Saiyans using the “nature vs. nurture” argument and “East vs. West” in terms of thinking. Another interesting insight is how Derek suggests that Vegeta had his mind opened after his first battle with Goku. If you think about it, Vegeta does go through a huge mental growth spurt afterwards and it heavily influenced his rebellious actions against Freeza. Derek also talks about Vegeta’s inner struggles with his ego and his constant need for attention, which was pretty enlightening. 

Perhaps my favorite part of the book was Derek’s emphasis on the Scouters. After all, the Scouters are the reason the meme exists. Derek points out that the Scouters reflect society’s tendency to view things by appearances. In real life, it’s not even funny how people continue to underestimate others and how the school system forces adolescents to go by appearances (similar to how Freeza teaches his warriors) as if they are the answer to everything.

I think the Scouters also reflect how society is so consumed with technology to the point of overload. People are worried that excessive technology use stagnates personal growth and it does to a certain degree. Derek talks about how Freeza and his men were obsessed with technology to the point that it led to their downfall. It made me think of Goku opening up Vegeta’s eyes as someone with an spiritual/outdoor nature telling an Internet addict, "Hey, get off your smartphone/laptop/tablet/desktop/video game console for an hour or two and go outside! You’ll feel healthier and learn a few things about yourself along the way! 

As someone who works in marketing, I was also impressed with Derek focusing on what the meme popular in the first place. You can’t get anywhere without a visually engaging story and that’s what makes DBZ the juggernaut it is. He talks about how the combination of both visual content and Internet culture has made “It’s Over 9000!” the pop-culture phenomenon it is today. We are living in a world where images and video are dominating eyeballs everywhere and more companies have to understand that for future success, like how FUNimation responded to fans who loved “It’s Over 9000!” by using the phrase in their marketing (which Derek mentions as well).

One minor flaw I found were the lack of images. Maybe it’s just me, but a e-book about one of the most popular anime/manga series of all time should have a few notable images to compliment chapters of the book. Though I do understand that there might be copyright concerns. Another thing was when Derek mentions Vegeta’s growth throughout the series, he didn’t really mention Vegeta’s rage against Cell for killing Trunks. I felt this was a really important moment as Vegeta truly showed the first sign of how much living on Earth changed him. Hell, he even apologized to Son Gohan for being an idiot and was the real hero by distracting Cell for Gohan! 

If you are a huge Dragon Ball fan, you owe it to yourself to read “It’s Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide”. It’s very well-written and will definitely get you thinking about how to apply Dragon Ball into your life. Ryo Horikawa, a man we should all thank for being the voice of Vegeta in Japan before DBZ’s rise in America, said that DBZ is like the Bible. If that’s the case, hallelujah and praise Kami-sama (or perhaps Shenron) for giving us Derek Padula and his amazing-thorough knowledge of what will always be THE “world-class” anime/manga series.

Review copy and cover image provided by Derek Padula. You can buy “It’s Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide” and his other book, “The Dao of Dragon Ball” at his “Books” page.


Tagged: Akira ToriyamaDerek PadulaDragon Ball ZIt's Over 9000!Son GokuThe Dao of Dragon BallVegetaanime characteranime psychologymanga charactermanga psychologyIt's Over 9000! When Worldviews CollideGoku vs. Vegetabook review

9th August 2012

Text with 15 notes

Shirokuma Cafe’s “Rin Rin” - Can You Love Animals Too Much?

Love. It comes in many shapes and forms. We talk about how love is something that can help inspire us. At the same time, it can do us harm and too much love often leads to disaster. Shirokuma Cafe (Polar Bear’s Cafe) takes a quirky look at human-animal love with the exploits of Rintaro “Rin Rin” Hayashi. He is a florist who just happens to have quite a huge fascination with pandas, especially the main character, Panda. Rin Rin’s behavior towards Panda begs the question: are some people focusing too much of their attention towards animals instead of human beings?

When we are first introduced to Rintaro, he is shown giving Panda support and is admired by many of his female customers at his flower shop. While Panda was working full-time for a week at a zoo, Rintaro sent flowers every day to him under the guise of “Rin Rin”. Panda believed that Rin Rin was a girl and becomes motivated to do his best every day at work. After finding out that Rin Rin was a man, Panda becomes dejected and frightened. The second time we see Rin Rin, he was delivering flowers to Panda’s house much to his excitement. He gushes in glee over seeing Panda’s family and even tells Panda’s mother that the flowers would be free of charge. Rin Rin’s obsession knows no bounds as he even asked a high school girl with a panda keychain (who had a crush on Rin Rin) to go with him to the zoo, just to check out Panda. He freaked her out to the point where she ran away from him after listening to his long diatribes about Panda. Man, what is it about pandas lazing around and eating bamboo that gets us flustered? 

Rin Rin gets his photo taken "with" Panda at the zoo.

Is it possible that people love animals more than human beings? Of course. After all, animals aren’t “evil”. They don’t bar any ill will towards human beings if not provoked. Though at the same time, it is possible that animal lovers start to become too emotionally attached to them. Those feelings could become those of one who has zoophilia, which then becomes a huge ethical issue. You can say love becomes completely misguided in a sense.

Here is another fun fact about Rin Rin: it is shown that he has posters of Panda all over his home. You can argue that he is suffering more from attraction than love. Attraction is extremely magnetic as it pulls you in without giving you the time to think. Rin hasn’t even built a legitimate bond with Panda, yet he tries to build one. Unfortunately, it seems like his brain is wired to Panda’s physical appearance like how some people lose focus when noticing the physical appearance of others. Sending Panda flowers is a clear sign that Rin is not thinking rationally to the best of his ability because of his fascination with how cute Panda is. 

Fan art of Rin Rin's love for Panda.

What’s scary is that Rin could be a borderline zoophile. You can argue that his character is a criticism of those who have this mindset about animals:

“Animals can’t object if we mischaracterize them in our minds. There’s something very comforting about that.” - Lori Gruen, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University. (New York Times, “The Creature Connection”, March 14, 2011)

If you mischaracterize animals as emotional support, you’re in for a world of hurt. Animals don’t really express sympathy and empathy towards humans. There are limitations to how much they can comfort you. You can’t expect an animal to tell you how to do well on a job interview/relationship/exam/work project or how to cope with depression and anxiety. 

A lot of people have been been flocking towards animals for comfort these days and I think Aloha Higa, the mangaka for Shirokuma Cafe, had this in mind with Rin Rin’s creation. How do we ensure that enough love goes out to both humans and animals equally? Perhaps we need to relieve the social anxiety present in those who love their adorable creatures a little too much. While animals do help ease tension, there’s nothing like experiencing the compassion of an unselfish and emotional human being. 

Empathy + cuteness = the sexy and inspiring combination to rule them all, wouldn’t you say?


Tagged: Aloha HigaFlowers MagazinePandaPolar Bear CafeRin RinRintaro HayashiShirokuma CafeShogakukananimal loveanimeanime characterjosei mangalove addictionmangamanga characterpsychology of animal lovepsychology of love addictionzoophilia

3rd August 2012

Text with 5 notes

Yukito Ayatsuji’s ‘Another’ - Why August Is Terrible

When you think about August, it’s usually a month that represents getting away from the normal routine of your lives. It’s a time of rest and vacation. For the students of Class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Middle School, their normal routine revolves around a curse that haunts them every year. It is one that is filled with constant death. To break the curse, the class would go on a summer trip in August to find a solution. What they didn’t expect were some shocking revelations, drama, and a multitude of deaths. Welcome to the world of Yukito Ayatsuji’s much-hyped horror series, Another, where non-existence and death continuously impose an iron will on a community. Do the events of the summer trip necessarily imply August is not a month viewed highly by a majority of people? Let’s find out, shall we?

Read More


Tagged: AugustKadokawa ShotenKouichi SakakibariMei MisakiYukito Ayatsujianimeanime characteranime psychologyAnotherworst month of the yearmystery horrorpsychology of calendar monthssymbolism of August

25th July 2012

Text with 52 notes

Abuse or Love? The Shinji/Misato Relationship (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Shinjo Ikari and Misato Katsuragi, the "unique couple" of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

There’s a belief that the more you’re attached to someone of the opposite sex, the more you start to let romantic feelings get in the way. What if you are a 29-year-old woman who is secretly frustrated with life? What if the person who can help ease your pain is possibly a 14-year-old boy? When you look at the relationship between Shinji Ikari and Misato Katsuragi, it is probably one of the wackiest relationships in Neon Genesis Evangelion. What happens between the two poses interesting debates on gender stereotypes and empathy towards good people that commit unethical acts. 

The relationship between the two all started with an interesting photograph of Misato posing and arrows pointing to her breasts. Misato sends the photo as an “invitation letter” to entice Shinji into joining NERV. They would eventually meet in person and live together under one roof. Both shared a common issue as they have conflicted thoughts about their fathers. An interesting development was that Misato had feelings for a man named Ryoji Kaji, who was on-and-off with her. Although she was interested in Kaji, Misato jokingly flirted around with Shinji from time-to-time. A key moment in the Shinji/Misato relationship occurs after Kaji dies. Misato decides to offer herself to Shinji to comfort him. He refuses her advances as he sees Misato as a “mother”. In one of the most memorable scenes near the end of EVA, Misato would kiss Shinji and tell him "That’s an adult kiss. Let’s do the rest when you come back." before she ends up dying.Theories and speculation have been thrown around about Misato’s true desires. To this day, what to make of the Shinji/Misato relationship is still somewhat subjective.  

Misato kisses Shinji near the end of EVA.

You know, the Shinji/Misato relationship is similar to a problem that just seems to be growing by the minute: female teachers getting into relationships with their male students. Most of you may have heard recent stories about female teachers being extremely aggressive with underage boys. This leads to a question that should be asked: are there boys like Shinji who don’t see “getting with an older woman” a turn-on?

Although it doesn’t seem like it, there are boys who do feel vulnerable. The problem lies in the gender stereotype that men are supposed to be invincible and dominant. There are times where boys may not see themselves as the victims. I mean, getting with an older woman is a dream come true for a younger guy, right? That’s what society encourages them to seek. However, psychologists have argued that young boys tend to become emotionally unstable when an adult interferes with their sexual curiosity.

The infamous photo of Misato that was given to Shinji.

Would you argue that Misato is a pedophile (abuse) or a very caring person (love)?  It is noted Misato uses sex as a way to solve emotional problems. She does possess a few of the traits of a pedophile. Misato once admitted that she wanted Shinji to be around her because she was lonely. Pedophiles usually think of only satisfying their own needs. They also have a history of emotional (usually sexual-related) issues. However, Misato does recognize she’s not the best person to be a role model for Shinji. 

A couple of questions to ponder: what if Shinji didn’t refuse Misato’s offer back in Episode 23? If Misato survived, would a relationship have materialized a la many various fanfiction covering the two?  It depends on how much Misato would be willing to further push the boundaries. After all, she’s the older individual and technically has a superiority advantage over Shinji. Though you also have to consider the idea that Misato may have kissed Shinji to give him a sense of hope and confidence. In real life, Misato would be branded a criminal because of the kiss and any reasoning she gives for her actions will go unheard. Depending on the circumstances, should we be a bit more empathetic towards perpetrators of certain acts and not just the victims? They’re victims too and some probably want to change their ways for the better. 

An ensuing argument between Shinji and Misato.

Perhaps the moral of all this is to never put two emotionally insecure people of different age gaps together without proper supervision. You know how people tell you to get along with people who are just like you? This is one of the few exceptions to the rule. A big, costly exception that can blow up in someone’s face and becomes a slippery slope to potential ruin. 

But, boy, those relationships sure do get juicy and enticing to gossip about….


Tagged: Hideaki AnnoMisato KatsuragiNeon Genesis EvangelionShinji Ikarianimeanime characteranime psychologyfemale pedophilialovemangapsychologypsychology of sexual abusesexual abuseShinji/Misato relationship

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