One thing I love about Japanese pop culture is how we can sometimes get life advice from anime unexpectedly. One show I’m enjoying this season is Seishun Buta Yaro wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume wo Minai, aka Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, a fun show about a boy who helps various girls around him (his sister, a disappearing bunny girl, another a girl with social issues) deal with mysterious physical phenomena he calls “adolescence syndrome.” It’s kind of like the Monogatari series but with slightly more bunny girls.
One girl he helps in the show is Tomoe Koga, who’s obsessed with wanting to be liked by everyone. When she moves to the Yokohama area from Fukuoka, she aggressively works to hide her non-standard accent and obsesses about having just the right clothing and hairstyle to maintain her standing among her friends. “I want to be liked by everyone,” she says.
The Japanese word for this is 八方美人 happo-bijin or “a person who projects a beautiful face in all eight directions,” meaning someone who tries to be liked by everyone. It’s a word Mrs. J-List taught me back when we were dating when she pointed out that I had a tendency to do this, fretting if anyone I encountered didn’t like me for some reason. I took her advice and stopped caring about how every person in the world perceived me, and have been eminently happier. I’m pretty sure people like me more than they did back when I cared what they thought, too.
Modern anime is always set in actual locations to add realism and help viewers connect with the story better. Like Something Else!, created by the same writer (who also gave us Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo), Seishun Buta Yaro is set in the pleasant Kamakura/Fujisawa area south of Yokohama, and both feature date scenes set at Enoshima Aquarium. If you ever plan on making a trip to Japan, scouting out these “anime holy lands” ahead of time can be a great way to add enjoyment to your visit, since you can literally walk in the footsteps of your favorite anime characters!
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