When Obsession Gets the Better of Me

Being content creates simplicity in life.

~John Heider~


I guess by now it’s no longer a secret that I’m an anime/manga freak. Sometimes I immersed myself in the otaku world too much.

One Piece has always been my favorite. Oda-sensei is known to use real characters and places as the basis of his drawings. So when I got the chance to go to Spain in June 2014, I had decided to visit the world that was used as the setup for the current arc in One Piece, Dressrosa.

For those who haven’t known, Dressrosa was based on Park Güell in Barcelona. It was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. So as a big fan, I was really eager to go to the park.

But the problem was, I had only 2 and half days to spend in Spain (yeah, it was a very very short vacation). A must visit place for me was the Mezquita in Cordoba. And also I wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace. It would be a waste if I didn’t go there.

After balancing the pros and cons, I decided to go to Granada instead. If I wanna brag to someone, Alhambra would be more convincing than Park Güell, aye? 😛

So I took a bus from Cordoba to Granada. The journey wasn’t really nice because the guy next to me was asleep the whole time. Sleeping was not a problem but occupying my small space and falling to my side each time the bus drove through a corner was not acceptable at all. Could you imagine that I have to push him all the time for 2 and half hours?!! I felt like the most happiest person when we reached Granada bus station, as if I had successfully gone through a terrible ordeal.

On the way to the city, my eyes caught something very interesting – the Bull Ring! I knew straight away what it represented in the One Piece world – Corrida Colosseum. I wish I could stop but I had to follow my schedule.

bullring

I kept on thinking about the ring. Well, if there is a will, there is a way. I really wanted to see the ring up close. Luck was on my side. I finished the Alhambra tour at 4.30pm. My train would be at 6.00pm. There would be more than enough time for me. Since many Spanish could not really speak English, I asked my tour guide to instruct my cab driver to make a quick detour to the bull ring before dropping me off at the train station.

The cab driver just went around the ring so I could only manage to snap the photo from within the cab. Even so, I was happy enough. But does it really worth it? I could not really say for sure. All I knew was if I didn’t follow my heart at that time, I would definitely regret it ^_^.

十人十色 (10 people, 10 colors)

Life is like the dice that, falling, still show a different face. So life, though it remains the same, is always presenting different aspects.
~Alexis~

Complaint, complaint, and more complaint. That’s what I’ve been doing almost everyday since I came back to Malaysia about a month ago. Adjusting to this new life after almost 8 years in New Zealand is not easy, though I was born and raised in this country.

Apart from Malaysia being super hot (that’s a mother nature thing), there are a lot of man-made difficulties. The implementation of GST is one of them. I don’t really mind about it. The percentage charged in New Zealand is more than double the percentage in Malaysia. But I haven’t seen a $2 shop or a mobile pre-paid charged with the GST. Only in Malaysia?

The other thing that drove me nuts today is the online shopping in Malaysia. Or should I say the user friendliness of the website?

A mobile provider’s website for example. Since I just purchased my number a month ago, today was only the second time for me to reload my prepaid online.

The first time the website was okay. I managed to reload and looked for the data plan that I want to subscribe to. I guess after that the provider made a make over to its website. When I went to the site again to understand more about the plan, the information I was looking for was hardly attainable. I wanna know more about the plan but there’s not much detail.

Today, when I was trying to reload from the site, the ‘reload now’ button didn’t even direct me to the correct page. In fact it didn’t even navigate out of the current page. Seriously? I have to google for the way and click the link from within the google itself!

facepalm

This might seem like a small problem but in terms of customer’s satisfaction, this is really frustrating. In a business world, this could spell ‘loss’ because it’s driving its customers away.

It would be a long list if I were to name more. Rude drivers. Unfriendly customer service. A pushy seller. Bad services. Yada yada.

A country with more sheep than humans, more nature than infrastructure could provide a better service to the mankind. Why can’t we? I guess the key is to talk less and more actions. And of course less selfish ^-^

An Ideal Manga/Anime Heroin

“Listen well, Sōma, the secret to becoming a great chef is… meeting a woman that will make you want to give all the food you make to her…”
~Yukihira Jōichirō~

Reading heaps of manga and watching a bunch of anime made me question this a lot: what kind of heroin would I be rooting for?

A hero is normally (by Jump standard) over powered from the beginning. It’s hard not to admire this type of character. But a heroin is a different story.

Take Shokugeki no Soma for example where the story has two main female characters: Nakiri Erina and Tadokoro Megumi. Erina is portrayed as someone who is very gifted in cooking, nicknamed as the God’s tongue and hence a bit cocky. She is whom Soma wants to defeat the most.

Megumi on the other hand is a nice girl with a low self-esteem, a great cook but always failing because she’s panicking a lot, until she meets Soma and finally gains self-confidence.

heroin

In its first character popularity poll, Erina ranked 2nd whilst Megumi is 3rd. A lot of readers were not happy how Erina could rank 2nd given her tsundere personality and a lesser scene time than Megumi. Many thought the vote was influenced by her beautiful character design.

Honestly in my opinion, her personality is what makes her stand out more. People (at least me) would remember her more than Megumi. If I were to describe Megumi in one word, I’ll say she’s boring. She’s a nice girl, yeah, who struggles to find her way in the academy but that’s so cliche. What’s new? She’s just like every other ordinary girls.

While it is true that we haven’t seen much of Erina, who has a less character development for now, but she’s started out strong. That’s normally how a great mangaka would do when introducing a character that will play a greater role in the future. Oda sensei does this a lot (and not to mention his female leads are somehow peculiar – Nami and Robin). I’m pretty sure we’ll see more of Erina’s background story and her awesome cooking skills.

Let’s take another look at a similar setup: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – Yukino Yukinoshita vs Yui Yuigahama. Yukino is an “Ice-cold Beauty” with a twisted sense of thinking whilst Yui is another ordinary cute, cheerful character. I would definitely root for Yukino simply because she’s different.

Are nice, cute, cheery characteristics ideal enough for a manga/anime heroin to be? As a female myself, I hated that concept. I want a heroin who is likeable, but at the same time not boring and forgettable. I prefer a female character who can compete with the over powered hero, not just as a cute supporting character.

To be honest, a lot of potential great stories I discarded from watching because the heroin is either boring, a bit “slutty” or rely too much on her fan service or cuteness: Dungeon ni ai wo motomeru (Goddess Hestia) for example.

But I guess that’s how it is. Having this type of cliche heroin is a trend. A factor to gain popularity (although to me sometimes this factor just ruined the story). Like the Fate/Stay Night series. Both Saber and Rin are awesome characters but Sakura? Another pretty face with a lusty personality that has to be there as one of the leads.

Well, maybe it is just me who could not understand the greatness of this type of heroin?