Annalyn’s Corner: Toxic Chocolate, Singleness, and Other Anime Valentines

In which a sleepy Annalyn rambles about sort-of-romantic anime things and asks you to do the same.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Okay, let’s be honest. I don’t actually care much about this holiday. I’d love to use it as an excuse to make and eat chocolatey treats, but I think by the time I get off work, all I’ll have time and energy to make will be dinner. So I’ll just eat my normal amount of chocolate chips and call it good.

At any rate, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to list five anime things I most associate with this holiday. This is a totally planned post and not at all a lazy excuse for a column resulting from poor planning, sleepiness, and limited anime viewing. I hope to hear what you think of these romantic (or chocolatey) anime things in the comments—along with your favorite anime Valentine moments.

Anime Valentine #1: www.Working!!

I’ve been thinking about www.Working!! a lot lately, because my primary concerns this time of year are chocolate and Googling the saint this day is supposed to celebrate. If you missed this show last season, you should know: one of the central ongoing jokes is that shift manager Miyakoshi is so terrible at making chocolate, those who eat it approach death and, if they survive, are forever changed.

Higashina hovers at the edge of death with St. Valentine. (ep 4)

I still think it’s cool that St. Valentine is actually included in their Valentine’s Day shenanigans, although it’s in a completely irreverent, joking way. Even Western TV shows, which you’d think have closer cultural ties to Christianity, rarely (if every) mention St. Valentine himself. That’s likely because very little is known for sure about the man… in fact, there are multiple St. Valentine legends out there, possibly about multiple men. I don’t have the confidence to say anything for sure, except that he was a man who loved God and did things to honor God. And he doesn’t exist in a limbo between life and death, talking to people poisoned by chocolate. It’s fun to imagine he does, though.

Anime Valentine #2: My 2015 post about Ore Monogatari, “Suna’s Love Story (and Mine)”

A couple things have changed since I wrote this post about singleness and supporting one another. I dated for four months in 2016, and the guy was wonderful, but our relationship confirmed what I wrote about how singleness is actually the best state for me. I feel more confident and happy with my lifestyle than ever. And I’ve become increasingly outspoken on the topic, to the point that I feel like the spokesperson for singleness in my family. This has led to great discussions about singleness, relationships, and the sexuality of a celibate, single woman.

Suna returns to homework after helping Takeo and Yamato to get over their insecurities and confess to each other (ep 3).

Many things have not changed since I wrote that post. Singles and couples alike need to support each other, encouraging healthy, God-honoring relationships. We need to learn more about friendship and non-romantic love, and to pursue these things more seriously. Honestly, I could get a lot better at this. Building and maintaining friendship is not my forte, and it needs to be.

Also, everyone should watch Ore Monogatari. I don’t remember if there’s a Valentine’s Day episode. There probably is, but it’s not what stands out to me. The entire series if full of sweet romance, admirable friendship, and cuteness. Even this cynic loved it.

(The featured image above the post is from this show, too—it’s of Yamato watching Takeo in episode 7.)

Anime Valentine #3: Vampire Knight

When I think about typical anime Valentine’s Day chocolate-giving, I think of this slightly creepy shoujo anime. Mostly because it was one of the first romance anime I watched, and I’ve seen the first episode, with the chocolate-giving, several times. To summarize: all the human girls at Cross Academy line up to give the vampire boys Valentine’s Day chocolate. There’s a lot of screaming and pushing involved, because, as we all know, vampire boys are incredibly handsome and you simply must give them chocolate.

I no longer remember exactly how Vampire Knight‘s love story proceeds, but I can say with confidence that you shouldn’t use Yuuki and Kaname as a template for your romantic endeavors. I know this show made me squeal as a teen, and it has made many other girls squeal, but trust me, you’re better off with Ore Monogatari.

Anime Valentine #4: Rakugo Shinjuu

I know, I know. Rakugo Shinjuu doesn’t have any Valentine’s Day references in it at all. But it does have romance, and it is on my mind today. The first season has dysfunctional romantic relationships that result in death for two and years of anguish for another. But in Descending Stories, the current season, we get to watch the next generation’s romance, and so far, it’s very different.

Yotarou, Konatsu, and the baby in ep 1 of Descending Stories.

Yotarou asks Konatsu to marry him after he finds out she’s pregnant. The child is not his. They haven’t really been romantically involved. But he wants to support her, to be a family.

I wasn’t sure what to feel about this proposal at first. I suspect Konatsu would have been just fine without marriage—she’d still have had his support and the support of Yakumo, and she’s a strong woman. And I suspect she knows this. Still, she does say yes. The resulting marriage is a little unconventional, but very sweet. Yotarou loves her son and claims him as his own, and together, they parent well. Yotarou might have more traditional ideas of chivalry, but he also prods Konatsu to do what she loves—rakugo—even as she protests that it’s traditionally a man’s field.

Basically, their relationship has unselfish love, partnership both in parenting and other areas of their lives, and various other squeal factors. It’s a joy to watch.

Anime Valentine #5: Working!!

The first Working!! series is one of my favorite comedies, so I can’t forget it in this list.

Inami and Takanashi in the third season, Working!!!.

The relationship between lover-of-cute-things Takanashi and androphobic Inami is humorous more often than sweet, but their exchange of gifts comes to mind when I think of Valentine’s Day. I remember Inami’s Valentine’s gift to Takanashi much less than I remember his White Day gift to her a month later, on March 14. He notices how much she enjoys wearing cute hair clips, so he gives her a bunch of new ones. I won’t spoil her response, in case some of you haven’t seen it yet.

Your turn!

So, there they are. The five anime things I most associate with Valentine’s Day. Now, it’s your turn. What anime things fill your head this chocolatey day?

Annalyn, known as Alexis to the outside world, is a lifelong lover of fiction. Growing up, books kept her attention, but anime stole center stage halfway through high school. If she isn’t consuming, writing, analyzing, or thinking about some form of story… she’s probably distracted. But she might be running, editing, or hanging out with family.
2 Comments on this post.
  • GoodbyeNavi
    14 February 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I’ve seen only two of the shows listed here “Ore Monogatari” and “Vampire Knight”, though I’m now interested in “Working!” because I love a good comedy. Ore Monogatari is perfect for Valentine’s Day because its such sweet and innocent love. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, either, but my husband seems to feel the need to give me a gift every year so I accept it. I do believe that there is something to be said for singleness and couplehood and both can work together. Though, it is important for those in relationships to stay away from single individuals that can be toxic for them and vice versa. If I had to do it over again, I would definitely have enjoyed my singlehood more. And I think more people should.

    • Annalyn
      14 February 2017 at 8:40 pm

      Working!! is a joy. I found it years ago, when I was still wary about comedies (live action comedies often embarrass or offend me, so I swore off the genre by the time I reached my teens), and it continues to be a favorite. There isn’t a ton of substance, of course, but I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something fun. The first anime series is better than http://www.Working!!, in my opinion.

      I haven’t had to deal much with toxic individuals personally, let alone make the tough decision to distance myself from them, but I agree with you there.

      Singleness is awesome, and I tell this to every single person I can, because I want them to enjoy it as much as I do. Marriage and romantic relationships can also be awesome, and I try to support that… I just can’t speak about marriage from experience, so I generally leave that discussion to others. ^_^

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