Character Study

Becoming Diana Cavendish — perception and visual framing in Little Witch Academia

Who is Diana Cavendish?

What makes her, Diana Cavendish?

Take away the prestige attached to her recognizable family name and the simpering sidekicks. Treat her like any other student at Luna Nova, albeit with similar magical talent but less training. Would she inevitably rise to the top of the school or would she become just another student as magic continues to fade from existence?

If she isn’t the last hope of Luna Nova and the art of magic, then just who is Diana Cavendish?

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Introducing Ringo Oginome — Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 2

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“I love the word ‘fate.’ You know how they talk about ‘fated encounters.?’ Just one single encounter can completely change your life. Such special encounters are not coincidences. They’re definitely . . . fate. Of course, life is not all happy encounters. There are many painful, sad predicaments. It’s hard to accept that misfortunes beyond your control are fate. But I think sad and painful things happen for a reason. Nothing in this world is pointless. Because, I believe in fate.”

-Ringo Oginome, Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 2

Ringo Oginome is a complex character, steeped in guilt, longing, love, and later, forgiveness. Her many facets make her not only tolerable within the scope of Mawaru Penguidrum, but wholly lovable, despite her introduction in the series’ second episode as the stalker of the Takakura brothers’ homeroom teacher.

She’s introduced with a grand speech about fate, rivaling the iconic opening monologue from Shouma Takakura in the series premiere and the equally passionate closing words of his brother Kanba that bookend the episode.

She’s also introduced with a toilet flush, stars wafting from the bowl like a lingering, undeniable stench.

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Yayaka’s World (and a few stray thoughts on Flip Flappers’ Pure Illusion)

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Yayaka is an intriguing character. Her story isn’t unique, but her presentation throughout the series leads to some of the most compelling scenes in all of Flip Flappers.

She straddles two worlds and is torn in opposite directions. She’s an odd woman out to Cocona and Papika’s burgeoning relationship but also a key part of their primary trio. She is a necessary catalyst in their Episode 12 reconciliation but in reuniting the two, sidelines herself in the process. At the end of the series, all Yayaka can do is cheer them on, physically restrained by Cocona’s pet rabbit, Uexküll.

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Knowing What She Knows: Tsubasa Hanekawa

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“You’re not happy because you’re not trying to be happy. Nobody can make someone who isn’t trying to be happy into someone that’s happy.”

-Tsubasa Hanekawa to Sodachi Oikura, Owarimonogatari, Episode 5

Had this line been spoken by anyone but Tsubasa Hanekawa, it would have rightfully been dismissed as a treacly platitude, meant to prod the recipient into action. Instead, it acts as a powerful summation of all that Hanekawa has gone through in search of her own happiness and self-acceptance. Hanekawa was in Sodachi Oikura’s figurative shoes not long ago, and remembers all too well how she blocked out vital parts of herself in pursuit of perfection rather than addressing her innermost desires and seeking out personal contentment.

Owarimonogatari‘s Sodachi Oikura offers not only a reminder of the Hanekawa of Nekomonogataris past, but additionally provides a mystery on which the new, self-assured Hanekawa can cut her teeth.

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Tippecanoe and Pariston Hill Too

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Following Chimera Ant – where Hunter x Hunter challenges humanity’s collective existential crisis in an arc that is equal parts uplifting and depressing – manga artist Yoshihiro Togashi knew exactly what his emotionally exhausted viewers needed. Someone to hate. Pariston Hill fits this role perfectly.

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