Ask Sensei: End of the Semester Edition

For many of us, the end of May marks the beginning of summer vacation. While Sensei merely switches hats from teacher to researcher over the summer, I still notice a difference in the tempo moving from the semester to summer break. I trust all of you are already enjoying summer vacation in full swing.

Before anything else, I appreciate all your responses in my “Sensei Ask You” column. I assure you that I read all of them, and what is more, I think you have answered my question better than I could have done. Which is, of course, why I asked you in the first place. Unfortunately the end of the semester was ill timed with the development of that column and its responses, but I at least wanted to let you know I did follow along as best I could.

This time, we have some probing questions about my own anime watching experience. Via Facebook, Joshua Rubley asks, What was your most favorite surprise/shock point in an anime?” While anime continues to surprise me in all kinds of ways (I’d consider the goings-on with the sons of the original Major characters in Major 2nd to be as surprising as anything I’ve seen in the last five years), one moment that really stands out is when Fruits Basket’s Sohma Kyo says to Honda Tohru, “You didn’t have to love everything.” This is probably all I need to mention in order to avoid spoilers, as anyone who has seen or read this series knows the reference immediately. For now, I’ll just say that everyone else reading this column needs to drop everything and read the Fruits Basket manga. All of it. It is long, but the story is glorious, in every sense of the word. It is a scandal that the anime never got completed — so you may certainly watch the anime, which is reasonably well done, but be aware it ends at about the end of volume 7 of a 23-volume manga. So go read. Now!

Along similar lines, Lucy Forrest asks for my “favourite quote from any anime.” As you might guess, it’s hard to limit it to just one. Back in history, I gave my best effort at writing about my first favorite anime, and the first anime characters I loved (though I have loved many since then). Certainly the epic/mythic setting of Saint Seiya meant that characters often had the opportunity to drop particularly weighty lines, and I discussed several particular examples in that column. Around the same time period, in the first of my three-part series on Ookiku Furikabutte, I mentioned how team captain Hanai Azusa probably won the game with his mouth even more so than with his arm, when he called out from right field to his self-doubting but lovable pitcher, “Mihashi! Just throw your best ball, and leave the rest to us! No matter what happens after that, no one will complain!”

There were also good questions via Instagram about my perspective on college life and studies, and even my thoughts on chemistry itself. I will leave those for a later column, since one of them was about nanochemistry, which although I recognize it as a very important field nowadays, I’d like to be able to say at least a few more things other than “it’s the chemistry of really really small things.”

So until then, enjoy your summer vacation. Unless you’re taking summer classes. And yes, Shiraishi-kun, I’m looking at you.

R86

R86 is a chemistry professor, which is the sort of job that probably made you stop reading already. He teaches at Texas A&M University, also known to Austin dwellers as "Enemy Territory." In his spare time, he enjoys music (flute/saxophone/clarinet and MIDI/Vocaloid synthesis), gaming, and watching anime.

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