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Moe Check! ยป Kannagi – The Other Girl

Zange and Hakua in what must be a stock pose by now.

Upon the release and airing of a bishoujo anime, apart from the predictable flinging of excreta from the usual anti-moe factions, one of the standard questions tossed around the fanbase will invariably be "which character is your favourite?"

Yes, I know that this applies to most fictional works. It's just that when it comes to bishoujo anime, the question may well be interpreted as the more direct "which girl would you rather boink?"

Perhaps I am being unfair. In many cases, it's not so much that I lust after the character, especially if they're in the general age range known as "jailbait", but more that I find the character interesting enough that if they existed in Real Life, I'd be happy to be their boon companion. Boinking may or may not be appropriate; I can recognize "sexy", but what I often look for in a female character, aesthetically, is the quality of being cute. Cuddly, even.

There may be an equivalent in female-dominated fandoms with regards to bishounen shows. I have no experience in this, and thus cannot tell.

Most of the time, I go for the underdog characters, or at least characters who seem like they should be the underdogs. I suspect that subconsciously, I believe the main girl to have all the advantages already, what with having the most screentime. There are the obvious exceptions, and in the end it's a matter of which character manages to catch my interest the earliest and the most.

In the case of Kannagi, this ran into a rather large problem. Now, most people would see the choices for "favourite girl" as a three-way contest between Nagi, Zange, and Tsugumi. A few, believing themselves to be witty, affect ignorance at the existence of Tsugumi. Occasionally Takako and Shino are tossed into the running.

My answer? Hakua Suzushiro.

No, not Zange. I do mean Hakua, the girl whose body Zange currently inhabits. I'm not sure if it's because of her true personality (shy, lacks confidence), or because of her very angsty past, the sort which usually irritates me, but in this case seems mostly (with one exception) suitably tragic. It could even be the way she tries to get close to Jin (ie do what she wants to do), but can't quite follow through, and yet she knows she must. A character I end up rooting for is probably a character that interests me greatly.

And yet, in the anime, we see Hakua, but we don't actually see her. Instead, we see Zange, who wears Hakua's appearance, but not her personality. The manga is better at this, at least in the later chapters. The difference between Zange and Hakua is highlighted through artistic tricks: Zange has bright, confident eyes, looking at you straight and true, while Hakua's eyes are duller, shying away, and likely filled with tears.

Despite Zange and Hakua sharing a body, and thus (mostly) looking exactly the same, I don't especially like Zange. It's not hatred, or even dislike, but she just doesn't interest me. She's there, nice to look at, but not really registering. Whereas I keep hoping that Hakua will have more story arcs centered on her, just so I can learn more about her true self. This is probably a sign of something about me, although I know not what.

I'm sure I've had my Bishoujo Focus Attention latch onto characters even further in the background before, but I can't remember whom. It's hard to beat a character who does not technically have any screentime, though.

4 Responses to “Kannagi – The Other Girl”
  1. For a second, I read one of those tags as "Haruka Suzushiro." This is what happens when one gets too much Mai-HiME on the brain. In my case, one viewing of the series may have been more than enough.

    If Kannagi were available in English I'd read/watch it. Cuddly and cute godlike beings sounds right up my alley.

  2. Matt says:

    Cute and cuddly win the race, that's for sure.

  3. Sorrow-kun says:

    Haven't read the manga, but I think if you prefer "cute", it's pretty easy to find Zange's sexual assertiveness off-putting. Doesn't bother me, but I do think the other two girls are more interesting. Zange's almost there to be pretty much a gag character.

  4. DKellis says:

    It's not so much Zange's sexual assertiveness as her way of blowing off everyone else who's not part of her single-minded drive to get what she wants. Sexual assertiveness is not really a problem if it doesn't discard common courtesy.

    Then again, I could be biased by the manga version. I'm not sure if anime-Zange is, indeed, much more than a gag character.