Welcome to ATEs – Anime Train Excursions. This is another Analysis-&-Thoughts segment where I will string together bits and pieces of a certain feature in anime from various series. Unlike ACTs (Anime Concept Thoughts) or BLoTs (Blogging Thoughts), ATEs will not be analytical but simply fun digests.
I came up with this thought while watching (obviously) Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (Translated: Takagi-san the Master Teaser). I didn’t bother thinking of a better title, so I just ‘plagiarized’ the original source by Souichirou Yamamoto.
There are lots of ways for any two anime characters to interact with one another. Depending on their respective personalities, relative impression and attitude towards each other as well as the TPO (Time, Place, Occasion) setting, the form of interaction varies (or possibly unchanging even, because – reasons).
One of these interactions is the act of teasing. Without being too specific about its definition, we can regard teasing to be the act of poking fun of another character (again, because – reasons). Even in this category of interactions, there are many ways to tease a character. For this trip, I’ll be sharing a few of these… teasers as a… teaser… to the world of teasing in the aniverse.
To start off the train excursion, I have to pay tribute to Takagi-san for the inspiration to create this post (and also ATEs – nom!). Maybe some of you noticed the little easter egg when you came through the station gate and passed by Hachikuji. But she’s just a lingering apparition, and the actual trip begins here.
Takagi-san (Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san)
Part of the deal with teasing people is to ensure that you are not teased in return. Takagi-san isn’t just skilled at teasing Nishikata; she is equally adept at summoning a pokerface and disciplined (+ patient) enough, waiting for the right moment to surprise Nishikata with her jokes, and inflict critical humiliation damage to his ego (and naive self). Her teases are not the only thing that is adorable, but the laughter that follows are just as infectious.
Iroha’s kind of flirtatious to her beloved senpai, but the teasing that comes from it is sort of different from Takagi-san’s. Iroha preys on Hachiman by cornering him with words (and also physically being dragged away many times) and then aggressively (That’s just her personality, I apologise) throws in moe-moe-kyun actions to make her point clear. Well… … the rule of survival of the fittest applies in a harem so that probably justifies her type of teasing behaviour.
(I definitely prefer Takagi’s teasing though)
Holo (Spice & Wolf)
Those who know the blog well enough should know that this is coming. Economics is such a boring subject, and having to know different kinds of coins is equally (if not more) mundane and annoying. But it would be more entertaining to throw in some teasing even in the world of business and trade. Holo’s foxiness (pardon the rudeness while talking about a wolf goddess) is a lot for both Lawrence and traders to handle. She infuses her teasing nature with a bit of flirting and a bit of mysteriousness which sweeps Lawrence off his feet (literally!) and enchants (or threaten) partner and rival merchants. Also, there is an added sex appeal whenever she undresses or grooms her luscious tail. Holo does kind of falter a little in the teasing game, where her very personality can be her undoing, as Lawrence gradually figures out a counter to her tricks & treats.
Asuka (Hibike Euphonium)
When talking about Hibike Euphonium, Asuka Tanaka is the first character that springs to mind. Seen as the energetic and joker-ish senpai in the Music Club, Asuka is totally unrestrained (when not in her serious mode) with her teasing. She goes hyper when trying to pull in freshman students into the club; throws in sadism when teasing her band mates during club sessions; and then there are the unforgettable scenes where she just makes fun of Kumiko with the euphonium mascot. There’s quite a difference in Asuka’s type of teasing to most other characters’ mentioned here, because it is the kind with the intended effect to hold the club together. If I should elaborate, I’d say that her teasing helps connect her with her club members, to be aware of their problems and help or advice them where possible.
Some characters are just bad at teasing. Aqua is a teaser herself, but her teasing doesn’t get her far. Despite constantly teasing (mocking) Kazuma, her entertainment is short-lived thanks to her shortsightedness and her stupidity which Kazuma (and everyone aboard the meme bandwagon) ridicules in return.
Oh, and there’s a meta form of teasing here too, at least in the anime. Viewers are constantly teased with *ahem* compromising *ahem* camera angles of Aqua throughout the anime. Not that she is really bothered… She is pretty dumb after all…
Ene (Mekakucity Actors)
Teasing when overdone can get really oppressing, and that’s when we substitute it for the word ‘bullying’. We have Ene from the Kagerou Project who lies at the very edge of that boundary. While living with Shintarou in his phone/computer, she mocks and bulli him all day, repeating the words hikikomori and umm… virgin while prying into his secret folders and threatening to expose its contents to further ridicule him, despite calling him her Master. Well… it does sound pretty bad, but she justifies her behaviour to stabilize Shintarou (Spoiler Territory!). Ene gets teased herself quite a fair amount too, although they are all unintended much thanks to Haruka’s niceness while she was still Takane.
Seriously… What’s with characters whose names start with a Ta? Are they teasers by nature?
I cannot leave out the guys of course! First up is Yoake who constantly teases Kaizaki for both his klutz behaviour and his involvement with the innocent (and dense) Chizuru. There is nothing malicious about his intents, but Yoake’s teasing is the mask that maintains his secrets as a support/supervisor to Kaizaki. The ReLIFE experiment is confidential after all. Besides that reasoning, those teasing also puts the bromance cards on the table… Boyal Blush!
Sometimes the easiest way out of a predicament is just to laugh it off! (And bring some beers along too~)
12 (Zankyou no Terror)
Teasing can be a tool to hide secrets, but it can also be a reveal of one’s true feelings. Takagi-san has shown us that, creating a transparency that goes unnoticed (for fools). Twelve is also pretty open about it, and gets a little cryptic with his tease. We could say that he makes fun of (scaring & surprising) Lisa because she is cute, but he also teases the police force under the anonymity of Phoenix – because why not? They can’t catch him anyways (Sounds like Catch me if you can). He even hints to liking Lisa in one of his terrorist videos!
I definitely want to cover this one – teasing someone just for the cause of annoying them. Okabe ranks number 1 in my book for this kind of teasing, making fun of Kuuristiina whenever the two of them bump into each other. Understandably, part of the reason is their differing philosophies in the physics of time travel. Other parts of the reason involve Okabe being an immature jerk. Heck, on that note, Okabe even teases Daru and his otaku obsession.
Hasabe (Servant x Service)
Okabe’s teases target Kurisu’s name and her tsundere tendencies to evoke a reaction from her. There is one other person who does that in the aniverse, and I can readily recall that guy to be Hasabe. It probably started out as puppy love, Hasabe poking fun at Lucy’s height, hair and name (and her incredibly cute temper). He enjoys the process of incurring Lucy’s wrath and subsequently getting chased by her all around the office – before he officially chases her in return after many office ruckus.
Andou (Inou Battle)
青春 (Seishun/Qing Chun) – Youth, the word that has been used many times to describe high school romance and drama. It was highlighted once in Takagi-san, many times in Oregairu, and surprisingly none (? Please correct me if I’m wrong) in Inou Battle. We have, however, a lot of teasing in the literature club where Andou incessantly heckles his club mates everyday. In particular, he pranks Chifuyu quite a fair amount, and pounces on her friend Madoka. Oh, it turns out his teases are indirectly effective on inflatable whales as well…
Lawrence (Spice & Wolf)
If there is someone who can compete with Holo in the teasing game, that can only be Lawrence. He is a far cry from Nishikata. Making use of his wits, he is able to match Holo and learns to play along as he gets used to the wolf goddess’s playfulness. The nature of the teasing involved doesn’t stagnate. It develops as Lawrence himself grew emotionally – Starting off from cynical teasing, it gradually transitioned to intrigued teasing, until you could finally sense the romantic (in the sensual and companionship sense) flavour in his teasing.
That has been quite a long train! Maybe I should declare today to be smug day (83). Teasing in anime can be pretty fun(ny) and it is always motivating (?) to look at smug reaction faces. Aren’t they
cute simply delightful?
I didn’t bring along a bandwagon, but how would you like to add carriages to the train? Which other teasers and/or teased characters in anime and manga (live action works too!) did I miss out? Or what are your favourite smug faces and characters?
That’s what I have for today’s train ride, I’ll be back for another trip soon!