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Name: Hiiragi, Kagami (柊かがみ)
Alias: Kagamin (かがみん), Hiiragii (ひーらぎー)
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Lucky Star
Hiiragi Kagami is a high school student and the older sibling to her twin sister, Tsukasa. Along with their friends Izumi Konata and Takahara Miyuki, the four spend their days playing games and engaging in idle discussion. Generally confident and assertive, especially compared to Tsukasa, Konata refers to Kagami as a “tsundere,” though Kagami does not exhibit fully tsundere traits as such. Kagami is introduced to BL, as well as the world of doujinshi as a whole, when she assists Konata in a Comic Market run.
While Kagami is not really an otaku, she is an avid reader of light novels and enjoys playing video games, especially those in the fighting game genre, though she can be over-competitive. To Kagami’s chagrin, she is often not in the same class as her sister or their friends, though she does have some good friends in her class, namely Minegishi Ayano and the eccentric Kusakabe Misao.
Kagami is an absolute beginner to the world of the fujoshi. Teetering on the edge, her first experience involved her barely being able to resist buying a yaoi doujinshi.
Hiiragi Kagami, alias HIIRAGIIIII, has emerged as the winner of 2008’s Anime Saimoe tournament. All the more impressive was that her victory was over her own sister Tsukasa, in what is sure to remembered as a fierce battle where blood was not thicker than moe.
Kagami’s status as the Moest means a few things. Remember that neither Kagami nor anyone else from Lucky Star took the title last year. Generally after the first year if your show is truly just a flash in the pan you don’t get much further, but here we see the Lucky Star cast drive down harder than ever. So Lucky Star may not be the most enduring show ever, but it’s not as ethereal as some might hope.
Also of note are the high placements of Kawazoe Tamaki (Bamboo Blade), who made Top 8, and Hinamori Amu (Shugo Chara!) who was a force so powerful she had to be stopped by the tournament winner Kagami.
I know a lot of people who might have liked to vote couldn’t due to some of the intentional barriers put in place, but I hear there’s an (arguably!) more important vote coming up in the near future…
A “Yamato Nadeshiko” is defined as the traditional ideal Japanese woman. These qualities include being loyal to their husband, putting family first, modesty, and being skilled in domestic matters. Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess is a prominent example in anime and manga of a Yamato Nadeshiko, and the fact that Ah! My Goddess has continued to run for many years indicates that this type of character is relatively popular today.
Of course, the spotlight in recent years has been on moe characters, and while some character traits reinforce the idea of the Yamato Nadeshiko, others defy them. Key’s heroine of heroines Tsukimiya Ayu has loyalty as one of her important traits, but is also a clumsy tomboy whose cooking ability is on par with Homer Simpson pouring cereal. Tsundere characters such as Hiiragi Kagami are strong, capable, and put family and friends first, but are independent-minded and are anything but submissive. Aisaka Taiga from Toradora! meanwhile is a clumsy tsundere.
I don’t think the intentional increase of moe traits in characters is, at the very least on a basic level, “progressive feminism,” but I think it’s worth taking a look at how these characters relate to a concept with a long history in the society from which their fictional media are produced. In American fiction, particularly television and movies, there are certain stereotypes for female characters, particularly when it comes to romantic interests. The Girl Next Door can be considered a reaction to the Bombshell (or vice versa). Any time there’s a shy girl who turns out to be highly sexual, it’s actually just a simplified form of “what you see isn’t always what you get.” Though they are now recurring, even stereotypical concepts in fiction, their basis is in the trends of what most people want in their entertainment, at least as it pertains to female characters.
Granted, otaku are not “most people” in Japan or any other country in which they (or should I say we) reside. And when non-typical people look at something typical, I think there’s often a desire for something “different,” though perhaps not drastically so. But the line between “different enough” and “too different” is a very personal thing, and I think it’s the area in which disagreements regarding the validity of moe characters arises.