Anime Girls: UshioMay 28, 2008 at 10:00 am | Posted in Articles, Top Ten | 14 Comments
Tags: Anime Girls, Arina Tanemura, fangirling
Well, here’s the second installment of my currently running feature of my top ten favorite anime girls. Last week was Tomoyo as number ten and this week we go into number nine.
This week I’m going to go on endlessly about one of my favorite manga girls. I know the running title is “Anime Girls” but manga counts too. So, I’m introducing Amamiya Ushio, one of the main characters from Arina Tanemura’s Shinshi Doumei Cross (The Gentlemen’s Alliance). Before I go any further though, this probably isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of an Arina Tanemura character in this list.
Ushio is the only daughter of a rich family and attends the prestigious Imperial Academy. She is cold to everyone except her best friend, Haine, and even goes as far to say, “All I need is Haine.”
Spoilers from Shinshi Doumei Cross (AKA The Gentlemen’s Alliance) beyond this point.
Well, with Tomoyo and now Ushio, it seems I’m inclined to like girls who have crushes on their best friends. I’m not sure why it’s turned out that way. I think I just like the dedication and love they show toward their friendship. It’s touching.
So, I’ve always had a weakness for a friendship like Ushio and Haine’s. Where each girl is always so willing to do something for the other. Where two friends put their friendship before anything else. It’s too bad that friendships that deep are mostly an invention of shoujo manga.
*sigh* I’d kind of like a friend like Ushio. I mean, I suppose having your best friend be in love with you (or in Ushio’s case, having your best friend think she’s in love with you) would be really awkward and would cause a lot of problems but…
I do want a friendship like what Haine’s and Ushio’s ultimately ends up becoming. Through the whole series, Ushio is a good friend. She puts aside her own desires for Haine’s happiness (at least until that certain breaking point). And for that I adore Ushio~!
At least, because of her friendship with Haine and all that, I came to adore her.
To be perfectly honest, for the first…twenty-something chapters of ShinKuro I wasn’t even really that interested in Ushio. At all.
To me she was just there to fill the role of Haine’s best friend. She was cold, and too cool, and hated all other girls (and men too). I’m sure most people who know what sort of characters I like now must be going, “lol what?” because if a girl is cold in manga and anime, these days I automatically look for the good in her and become a giggly little fangirl.
I’ll give Ushio some credit for me becoming like that.
But in order to show how I came to love Ushio, let’s start at the beginning. Right from when she appeared.
My reaction was, “Ah! Tanemura-sensei! I adore you for making such love-love and emotional shoujo manga, but why did you fill in this stereotype?” I actually sighed out loud when reading Ushio’s introduction.
I’m not a naive “Arinachi” fan like so many others. I completely acknowledge the fact that she’s not the best and her characters aren’t exactly the most original. But back then I didn’t really like the whole, “I hate men” sort of characters. Or girls that are possessive of their best friend and get all jealous.
Oddly enough, I think it’s probably because I’m like that too. The extreme possessive-ness. So far I have hated every single one of my best friend, Ashley’s boyfriends. Not all of them are bad guys (though I stand by the fact that most of them were). Especially the guy she’s dating now; he’s in college, calls her regularly, has a steady job, and he isn’t possessive. But if she talks about him while we’re out I just automatically get in a bad mood. I’m like that when she talks about her other friends too. However, most of them are just genuinely bad people (spreading rumors and crap).
But at the time I was completely unaware of my bias. Though I’ve since learned it’s fairly common to dislike characters that have some of your own bad traits.
But luckily for me, even with my bias against Ushio, there was another person keeping me interested in her story.
Oh Senri~! You bad, bad man. Hitting on high school students.
Actually here, Ushio had another bias working against her. I generally disliked TeacherxStudent (or in this case School DoctorxStudent) relationships. They’re an overdone female fantasy that I didn’t get. I had no interest in guys that are older than me by more than three years. I just did not get it (I do now after a friend explained it to me).
But Senri was different. He made it fun. I have a weakness for guys who keep obviously hitting on girls even though they get rejected. It is my greatest weakness when looking at pairings to ship. So basically, it just trumped my bias against teachers being into their students.
Haha, if Ushio had responded to him, it would have failed. I guess that’s the first thing that brought me a little away from disliking Ushio. Since her cold and calm behavior was incredibly entertaining in those scenes with Senri.
Though even when I was first reading those scenes I kind of went, “Huh. That’s amusing.” and just moved on. (BTW, now I break down into fangirl giggles)
But Ushio’s story arc changed everything. There were a lot of developments in Ushio’s story as things went along, but I didn’t really pay attention to any of them until we reached Ushio’s arc.
I started out ready to hate the upcoming arc since when it began and ruined my, “OMG! Haine finally admitted she loves Taka-kun~!” high. I discussed it like I discuss everything, but I wasn’t really into it. Then the end of the next chapter came along. And with Ushio so happy that she was crying in Haine’s arms…my dislike of Ushio evaporated immediately.
Like I said, I love characters who love characters I love also. It’s just up until that point, Ushio was being all dramatic about her Haine love.
I was still all in denial about it, hoping the arc would end soon so I could get back to the Haine and Taka-kun love, but I was beaten. After finishing Ushio’s story arc I realized two things: A) Ushio and Senri were definitely one of my favorite pairings now, and B) I may be biased against cold girls, but I have a weakness for cold girls who overcome their problems and all that. the picture of Haine and Ushio smiling at the end made me an Ushion fan. Without a doubt.
Of course, as it turns out I was still all tsundere for Ushio and didn’t admit anything, even to myself, until chapter 42.
In chapter 42, seeing Ushio smiling casually and talking with all of the student council, that actually hit me more than the super drama events taking place in that chapter. I was just so touched that the cold Ushio from the beginning was saying things like, “All of us want to be together.”
It took that long for it to hit me how much Ushio had changed. And it easily secured her a place in my top ten. If a female character is being hated when she doesn’t deserve it, her rank automatically goes up, even if I was the one doing the hating. I have greater love for girls who get less love.
But if I needed anything to make my love for Ushio greater, her relationship with Senri made for some great drama and moments that made me go, “So cute~!” because I am a sadist and like to see my favorite characters suffer.
B-but! In my defense! It’s just because I can love a character more if I see their cute vulnerable side! That’s all!
I’ve read in places that tsundere was orginally for a girl who started off all mean and cold (tsuntsun) and then became all sweet and stuff (deredere). Haha, so Ushio is an original sort of tsundere, isn’t she? Because she starts off like, “Don’t touch me. Disgusting!” Then in chapter 41 we see her laying in bed sending Senri text messages about how she wants to see him.
So cute! >////<
I also liked that she called herself an “unpleasant woman” because if she realized that being relieved about Shouka being dead was bad, it didn’t detract any points from her. It added them. Girls who realize their faults are just wonderful.
Yup, the sad scene with Ushio would have been my favorite scene in chapter 41 if it weren’t for Haine-chan realizing her feelings.
Now, into super fangirl mode…I loved this scene so much.
It didn’t change how much I love Ushio or anything, and likely does not belong in this post, but the UshioxSenri fangirl in me commanded me to put it in here. I don’t know when I’ll get around to writing up a post about all my favorite manga pairings, so I want to fangirl a little bit here.
Because Ushio’s relationship with Senri is part of what made me like her, it’s completely relevant!
Despite all the awesome scenes in chapter 44 of the manga, this one was my favorite. There was even that reunion between Taka-kun and Shizumasa that I had been looking forward to for so long. This moment still beat it.
To get back to Ushio though, I think this scene showed how her character had progressed during the series. She went from loving only Haine, because she believed only Haine would love her back, to being able to loudly declare her feelings for the one she loves. It’s pretty amazing.
I’m still so glad to see how much Ushio managed to change. Declaring her feelings, stating very clearly what was bothering her instead of keeping it all locked inside for…years. Ushio might be the character that grew the most. Taka-kun and Haine grew a lot too though, so it’s hard to really say for sure.
The only thing I regret, now that the ShinKuro manga is coming to an end, is that we didn’t get to see much of Ushio’s family. I think her family history earned three pages and it felt like a lot was left unanswered. It would have been a little more…easy to understand her from the beginning if we had seen her being treated coldly at home all along. We just knew things about her family situation from how Haine and Ushio acted.
But, I adore Ushio now and I guess that’s all that matters.
Alright, time to wrap this up. I’ve gone on long enough (trying to make up for unfairly disliking her I suppose).
Ushio started out as a character I usually dislike: cold, loving only one person, and a subject of admiration. Because of how she changed, the sort of character I just described is now often the type I adore immediately. Of course, that’s only if I believe they can change too, or if they have a good heart deep down under neath all their ice queen posing.
And so, for making Ushio into a girl worth adoring, I will give my thanks to Haine and her declaration that she would free Ushio. She did. And now we all love the smiling Ushio that was almost never seen before.
*sigh* I just love shoujo manga girls. They’re great.
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