Making Anime Cool Since My Tweens

This screenshot motivational poster is Pro-Sesshoumaru, Pro-Inuyasha, Pro-Ayame, Pro-Shuran, Pro-Hakkaku, Pro-Ginta, Pro-Shunran, Pro-Ichise, Pro-Ran, Pro-Kiba, Pro-Cheza, Pro-SessAyaInu in the OT3 sense, Pro-ShuHak in the BroTP sense, Pro-GinShun, Pro-IchiRan, and Pro-Kiza in the OTP sense. Sit back, relax, and soak in how much my most favorite characters from Inuyasha, Texhnolyze, and Wolf's Rain signify to me. Furthermore, this is my contribution to this year's Red Ribbon Reviewers' month.

As an anime-loving millennial of twenty-eight years old, I did grow up with the likes of Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, Gundam Wing, Voltes V, Ninja Robots, Ranma 1/2, Fushigi Yugi, YuYu Hakusho, Flame of Recca, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Outlaw Star, Akazukin ChaCha, and, yes, even Digimon and Pokémon, even though I do not care for the latter at all, whether I caught them when I was living in the Philippines, traveling to the United States or even caught a couple of them when I was in England. However, when it came to anime series that appealed to me, took me a little bit more seriously as a viewer, and made me completely immersed into their universes to the point where their staying power was extremely potent, Inuyasha, Texhnolyze, and Wolf's Rain do that for me in their own special ways, as they were the series that made me fully appreciate what anime had to offer in terms of the characters, the stories, the visuals, the voice acting, and the overall memorability.

If I were to break them down to what great qualities they all boil down to, I would confidently state that Inuyasha has great nostalgic value in the characters I really love as well as making Japanese mythology and folklore very accessible to me even though many other anime series could pull that off better, Texhnolyze has qualitative value when it comes to the writing, the plot development, the character development, and how it took me seriously as a viewer unafraid to have my views of morality and the nature vs nurture debate challenged, and Wolf's Rain has aesthetic value found in its well-detailed designs, mesmerizing visuals, fantastic world-building, and hauntingly gorgeous atmosphere.

Inuyasha: A Flawed Hot Mess but Still Memorable and Quite Awesome After All These Years
Inuyasha was my personal gateway drug that helped me become the full-fledged anime fan I am today. Sure, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon did commence all of that, especially where DBZ was concerned, but Inuyasha helped me to appreciate anime a lot more.

Ever since I first tuned into it as an eleven-year-old fifth-grader visiting family friends in Minneapolis alongside my maternal grandma, I was utterly spellbound by how formidable and strong Inuyasha was, especially in his full yokai form when he tore Goshinki to shreds with his own bare hands. When Sesshoumaru first entered the scene, I was at first antagonistic towards him because I first thought he was one of the villains. However, repeated viewings made me realize that he was neutrally sided.

As time went by, I found myself being the biggest fan of Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha to the point where I mainly watched Inuyasha for them. Of course, adding in other characters who I believe needed more love such as Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran made me convinced that they also deserved so much more character development.

The other characters such as Miroku, Kouga, Sango, Kagome, Shippou, Hachiemon, Myoga, Totosai, and Kaede did not matter one bit because they were pointless at best and aggravating at worst. Kaede, Miroku, Kouga, Sango, Kagome, and Shippou turned out to be the characters I hated the most because of their gaping flaws as Inuyasha's "allies" and they were unfairly antagonistic towards him. Where Kouga was concerned, I hated the fact that he got away with murder and I would have loved to have Ayame know the truth of his horrible deeds and have him be executed by Sesshoumaru. As for Hiten, Bankotsu, and Kagura, they at least proved themselves to be worthy adversaries of Inuyasha in their own special ways, despite the unforgivable deeds they committed. Finally, Kikyou did deserve a lot more appreciation because of how unfair her treatment was at the hands of a lot of hardcore InuKag shippers and I wished she had gotten her happy ending with Suikotsu.

Aside from characters I did not care for, there were character relationships that did not gel well with me at all. I hated InuKag so much because of how Kagome used Inuyasha as if though he were her pet puppy and not his equal in terms of their relationship. I hated KogAya because of how much of a failure Kouga actually was and someone as brave and strong as Ayame did not deserve him. It also says something that the likes of Kohaku and Souta were far more likable than their poor excuses of older sisters. Speaking of which, I also hated the fact that Miroku was a faithless pervert who sought every opportunity to impregnate various women. Overlooking certain toxic characters and certain toxic character constellations, there were also times where the story did drag, most notoriously after The Band of Seven saga and certain occasions, and did not really have a satisfactory ending in Inuyasha: The Final Act.

Despite all the issues I had with Inuyasha, I still appreciate it because it managed to help me find the good aspects in this anime. The message I managed to obtain from Inuyasha is to never give up in spite of all adversity, always fight the good fight, and always keep a determined mindset no matter how tough occasions may be. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. The characters I thought engendered that mantra were none other than Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran. Sure, I also love Toga the Dog General, The Wolf Elder, Kuranosuke Takeda, Toran, Ayumi, and Karan to bits, but these seven characters were the ones I have always cherished with all of my heart. Inuyasha even taught me how to think outside the box, which was what I managed to do for Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran where I made them the main focus of my AU headcanon being engendered as The Splendid Seven, which is what would happen if you were to put The Justice League and Seven Samurai in a blender.

Each of these characters taught me seven important lessons. Sesshoumaru taught me to stay focused, determined, and unwavering at the bigger prize and never settle for less. Inuyasha taught me to never ever let my hindrances get the best of me and find the courage in me to tackle obstacles head-on. Ayame taught me to be courageous and fight the good fight. Shuran taught me to let it rip when it comes to doing any type of job. Hakkaku taught me to not always panic at the small stuff. Ginta taught me to stay positive. Shunran taught me to find a balance and never take things way too seriously. Ergo, The Splendid Seven were my biggest role models during my years as a youth, which also helped the fact that they were also teenagers ranging from 13 at the youngest and 19 at the oldest.

To this day, I am so proud that I have made Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran unite as not only one badass superhuman team of warriors but also a strong family. Shipping-wise, I am proud to have found a lot of possibilities for Ayame being in a three-way relationship with Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha, especially where their family is concerned, Shuran and Hakkaku being happy single dads, and Ginta and Shunran being in a harmoniously loving relationship.

Texhnolyze: Stylistically Mesmerizing and Substantially Thought-Provoking About Human Nature
I caught this anime when I was a 12-year-old sixth-grader on Animax and I was really haunted yet amazed by what this series had to offer. Nowadays, as an adult, I still appreciate how much it was able to take me seriously as a viewer and let its themes of man vs machine, the complexities of human nature, nihilism, and its futuristic dystopian universe whisk me away into a foreboding world where no one comes out alive be it man or machine. On an irreverent note, I wish Texhnolyze had aired on Adult Swim because it seemed like a show that can be an extremely welcome addition to the anime airing on that block.

There was a reason why I placed this as second place in my initial favorite anime list only trailing behind Cowboy Bebop and ahead of Welcome to the NHK. Its implementation of image, atmosphere, ambience, and philosophical values make me root for this series from beginning to end. It also made me feel compassion for Ichise who started off as a young prominent underground fighter but was whisked into a ruse by a Texhnolyze prostitute and ended up having one arm and one leg amputated by a gang. There were also hidden depths as to why Ichise was the way he was when he lost his mother at a young age and he had to survive in such a cruel, unforgiving world. Complimenting the compassion I felt for Ichise was the fascination I had with Ran as an enigma as well as the prophetess of Lux. Her demure nature as well as her composure made her someone I was fascinated with. The other great facet about Texhnolyze also had something to do with minimal dialogue. That is what made me respect Texhnolyze at such a profound level because there was a lot of substance to be found in the stillness and in the environment that inhabited the dark city of Lux.

This series may not have stopped me from being an Ichise x Ran shipper, but I enjoyed pairing them up because of the profound connection they had with each other. They are both young people who have found themselves in such a cruel world, considering that Ichise was 19 years old and Ran was 14 years old. Considering they were teenagers in the duration of this series, it made me develop a lot of compassion for them when I was at that tender age of youth. Granted, there was little to no obvious romantic connections between Ichise and Ran, but the subtlety of their connection made me root for them so much.

What Ichise and Ran taught me as a person was to be a lot more critical of the world around me and to be intrepid enough to question certain principles. Through them, Texhnolyze as well as other shows such as Samurai Jack and what we recently have with Primal all taught me that minimal dialogue and maximum atmosphere can make a viewer immerse themselves into the themes offered by creative installments such as them as well as provoke them to find profundity in these works. Furthermore, they taught me to never ever pander to the lowest common denominator, as that would mean alienating my viewers and insulting their intelligence. I could not ask for a more hauntingly phenomenal anime like Texhnolyze, especially engendered in Ichise and Ran, to do that for me.

Wolf's Rain: Glorious Style, Fantastical Imagery, and Mythical Beauty Incarnate
Much like my experience with Texhnolyze, I initially caught this on Animax also as a 12-year-old sixth-grader. I even caught some bits and pieces of it on Adult Swim in the United States as well as online when I was a young teenager. What made me fascinated by Wolf's Rain was its usage of imagery, atmosphere, mythology, legends, and folklore to emit a sense of wonder from this series. Even when certain parts of the final episodes were on the messy side, I could forgive all of that, as the stylistic consistency of Wolf's Rain sufficed for me to keep rooting for it.

There is no doubt that I love Tsume, Hige, Kiba, Toboe, Blue, Cheza, Hubb, and Cher because each of them had their own fascinating characteristics, but I really love Kiba and Cheza the most. Kiba because he is a determined, single-minded, and darkly charming individual and Cheza because she is a kind, sweet, mysterious young lady with something more profound than what viewers were led to believe. I have also compared this to Texhnolyze to the point where I would have loved to have a crossover between these series because of the similar themes of human nature, a dystopian future, and a dark atmosphere are concerned. It also helped that both of their animation styles were aesthetically beautiful, considering BONES and Madhouse are some of my most favorite anime studios next to Production I.G., Gainax, and Kyoto Animation.

I am fully aware that there are people who are indifferent to Kiba and Cheza as a couple at best but cannot stand them as a couple at worst. However, I have always been a hardcore Kiba x Cheza shipper ever since I was a twelve-year-old lad because there was a nice and stress-free connection with them. I did not spot anything volatile about them and I will always keep rooting for them as a couple.

What both Kiba and Cheza taught me as a person was to always look at the positives of certain occasions, especially where Kiba taught me to keep on going forward and never look back and Cheza taught me to not always focus on the negatives. They also taught me to appreciate the beauty of this world, which Wolf's Rain managed to make my eyes and ears open to.

In conclusion, I am utterly ecstatic to have had these three anime series and the characters inhabiting them play such a big role in my life as an anime fan and as an overall artist. If I can make a crossover between Inuyasha, Texhnolyze, and Wolf's Rain, I would certainly make Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Hakkaku, Inuyasha, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran welcome Ichise, Kiba, Ran, and Cheza as part of their Splendid Seven family. Furthermore, all these eleven characters were the definition of cool for me in their own special ways and I wholeheartedly thank them for that.

I hope you all enjoyed this and I will see you in the next submission. Take care, stay safe, and Happy Holidays, everybody.

Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran from Inuyasha belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Sunrise.

Ichise and Ran from Texhnolyze belong to Hiroshi Hamasaki, Chiaki J. Konaka, Yoshitoshi ABe, and Madhouse.

Kiba and Cheza from Wolf's Rain belong to Keiko Nobumoto and BONES.
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