(This is a reblog and edit of a previous Character Dive, because hey..this is a bit more relevant now!)
Some series are known for only one or two things. Breakout characters or jaw-dropping moments are often what immortalize a show in the minds of many. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve heard where people have said: “You just gotta watch this show for this character or this one amazing moment. Sometimes these characters become so popular and well beloved that overtake the series they are in, for good or ill. Fonze from Happy Days grew well beyond the show he was in. The character of Fraiser from Cheers found success beyond his first show. In anime, we have seen it in characters like Levi from Attack on Titan or the Gotei 13 from Bleach. Even characters who don’t overtake the show such as Dragon Ball’s Vegeta, or Naruto’s Sasuke Uchiha often find themselves elevated to a higher status because of their breakout.
Today we’ll be talking about just such a character, a character that not only completely dominates the entire show, but almost single handily can be credited for its success. I am course talking about Shimoneta’s Anna Nishikinomiya. Let’s get into it after the cut.
MASSIVE SPOILER ALERTS FOR THE PLOT AND TWISTS OF SHIMONETA, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
Man, where do I start?
Anna at her core is the representation and result of the entire conflict that is at the core of Shimoneta. Her initial self is the perfect model of what the morality laws want her to be. Upstanding, devoted to the cause, pure and innocent, and helpful to everyone. She loathes anything lewd and fights against it with all of her power (which she could give Goku a run for her money). This attitude has made her popular and she has the admiration of the entire student body. Okuma himself falls in love with Anna because of pure and upstanding nature, in fact, the entire reason he joins the student council is to be helpful to her.
But then we get to episode 4, and the other shoe drops.
Episode 3 ends with Okuma, after saving her from a creepy stalker accidentally falling onto her body and kissing her (a common anime trope). This ends making Anna…well, see for yourself in the clip below.
As you can plainly see, the kiss from Okuma literally awakens Anna into the world of sex and sexuality, and from there it just goes all to hell. Once the pure and innocent maiden, the example of everything the new moral laws wanted. Anna devolves into a sex-crazed yandere who lusts after Okuma to the point of obsession, and that’s putting it mildly. And since her body has been so repressed in terms of sexual awakening, this kiss literally opens the floodgates and has some interesting consequences. Check out probably the most infamous scene from the show as an example.
Yes, that’s right. Anna literally bakes cookies and adds her VAGINAL fluids.
This scene and the many, many, MANY afterward show the other side of Anna and the consequence of the morality laws. Anna has been so repressed and sheltered in regards to sex that she has NO idea how to react to a situation like this. Ayame says it herself in the clip above: she can’t tell the difference between love and lust. What was intended to help Anna maintain her purity and chastity have instead transformed her into the very thing that morality laws have been fighting against. It becomes so bad that Anna starts to believe that if she rids the world of sexual indecency, then Okuma will accept her love. The show takes this up to 11 throughout its run with Anna lusting after Okuma in one hilarious scene to the next, and the ‘love nectar’ never stops flowing.
Anna is a fantastic character, from concept to execution. Her design, animation, voice acting (both sub and dub) are all absolutely top-notch. Monica Rial, infamous for playing the ‘sweet and cute” anime girl is an absolute RIOT as the English Anna, and her Japanese seiyuu Miya Matsuki (who tragically passed away after this performance) was the first and ONLY person who could bring her to life for the original Japanese. She is everything that Shimoneta needed in a character to make the show work, and she is always at 100% when she’s either lusting after Okuma or fighting to crush anything sex related to earn his love. Every scene she’s in are laugh out loud hilarious and something you’ll be talking about for a long time after it’s over, and the show never lets it get stale or boring, it just keeps upping the ante over and over again.
But Anna also represents the overall thesis of what Shimoneta is. She is a warning to those who would try and police morality and sex, and what happens if you try to shut off and lock away normal, natural sexual maturity. While everything is played for comedy, they could have very well taken it seriously and shown the extreme dangers of children who have no idea what is happening to their bodies. In a time where sex and sexuality are being crackdown upon more and more, Anna is an example of the type of people we might create because of misguided morality. While the show may show an extreme (and comical) example, I admire their courage and genius for instilling everything into a single figure.
Anna Nishikinomiya is the character you will remember even if you don’t like the show. She will be the character you tell your friends or fellow fans about when they ask “Is there any really crazy and funny anime girls?” Anna takes what could have been a good, but disposable anime series and elevates it to a cult classic and something I would suggest to just about ANYONE, anime fan or not. If you take anything away from this show and my blog posts, is that Shimoneta is worth watching just to experience this character. Anna Nishikinomiya is one of the greatest anime characters created in the last ten years. Go and see for yourself, you won’t regret it.