A couple of things are becoming apparent as I go through the days; I’m getting more wordsy and there’s been a lot more personal reflection on my part than I’d initially thought would go with creating this series of posts. Today probably won’t be any different because I’m picking my favorite anime moment of 2012 for this post. In the real version of the 12 Days of Christmas song, the fifth day with it’s gold rings always seems to get the most attention so I thought I’d put my favorite moment here.
The very best anime seem to always have the very best characters. There’s exceptions of course but overcoming the challenge in making believable, interesting, characters seems like a key dry run for the creators in the creation of good anime. Sometimes it takes the entire series to fully develop a character’s personality and sometimes it takes a single blinding moment of insight to do so. Since we’re talking moments, you’re probably guessing that I’m going to talk about a case of the latter and you’d be right.
Hyouka started off a bit slow. Many thought it was because the mysteries were so uninteresting but I felt it was because the characters didn’t feel like real people. Slowly the characters had opportunities to express themselves as individuals and slowly Hyouka got better. By the conclusion of the School Fair Arc almost all the characters had gone far beyond the limited set of characteristics they were initially except of Chitanda. We knew she was curious about everything but there had to more that made her tick and there was.
It took Kyoto Animation crafting an anime-only final episode to give the series a sense of conclusion for us to learn about Chitanda but it was worth the wait.
Chitanda asked Houtarou Oreki to help with a ceremony at the local temple and the ceremony went off perfectly after a couple small Hyouka-type problems were fixed by Houtarou and Chitanda. On the way back Chitanda stops Houtarou and says this to him –
“Take a look, Oreki-san. This is my place. All that’s here is water and soil. The people are growing old and tired. I don’t think that this place is the most beautiful. I also don’t think that this place is full of potential. But … I wanted you to see it, Oreki-san.”
I felt a shot pierce my head and my heart; I suddenly knew who Chitanda was. I knew because I know the exact feelings that caused her to say that; they’re the same feelings that I feel for my hometown – even down to how I’d describe it, though I’d swap ‘water and soil’ out for ‘rusting buildings and broken concrete’ to be 100% correct.
If it was me, I’d show the empty lot where my elementary school used to be, the CVS drugstore that was built over the local grocery store that as a kid I’d walk to when my Mom needed a gallon of milk, the Hungarian church that I mentioned two days ago which was closed last year when the new bishop didn’t see the need to have small ethnic parishes, the empty houses of baby-boomers now either dead or living in nursing homes, the scrubby, vacant fields where the steel mills once stood, but also the park which happens to be the second largest urban park in the US, the Italian-American church I now belong to downtown (without being Italian either) which somehow is still thriving, the university with it’s beautifully landscaped grounds slowly expanding, the convention center that has made the downtown more lively then it’s been since the mid-1970’s and offers a glimmer of hope that there’s still a bit of potential in this old steel town. This is my place and, just like Chitanda, I love it.
I know this moment hit me harder because I could relate so much to it but this is supposed to be a personal list and Kyoto Animation did do a stellar job with the scene; so, this is the moment I’m picking from Hyouka (there were other great moments as well) and also today’s moment.
And, to pick up from yesterday:
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a love powered mecha.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a wake up call.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a unique form of culture shock.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a masterpiece to savor.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a shock to the heart.
Tune in tomorrow to see what’s next.