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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My new role model is an anime character with blue hair 

I'm trying to decide if this period of my life will later be known as "when I was reading Zinn and MacLuhan at the same time" or "when I found a new role model and lived happily ever after."

If it works out, it will probably be the latter. But there are a lot of reason why it may not work out.

The last time I had a role model was 2001, when I was editor in chief, and then managing editor, of the Daily Sundial, the campus newspaper for Cal State Northridge in the San Fernando Valley. It was difficult to go from being a reporter to being in charge. I didn't always know what to do. So I thought of the great newsman, Lou Grant. And, faced with a problem I was unsure about, I would think, "What would Lou Grant do?"

It helped.

Lou always knew what to do. And I think Lou knew that it was better to do the wrong thing right away and just get moving than to sit around and try to figure out what the right thing might be. Learn from your mistakes. Apologize later, if not right away, wait until the end of the night. (And I apologized at the end almost every time I closed the paper. A general apology. Just in case I had offended anybody without realizing it.)

At the time, I was not thinking of the one-hour drama "Lou Grant" Lou Grant. In 2001, I hadn't seen it in years, not since it had been a first-run show in the late 1970s. I was thinking of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Lou Grant. That's on all the damn time. Great show!

I don't purposely emulate Lou Grant anymore. I think I just sort of absorbed everything from the character I needed, and I still call upon that when necessary. (It's kind of rusty.)

But now, I have a new role model.

(This is going to sound weird

Lou Grant was a role model for the newsroom (and perhaps for difficult situations in real life as well.) My new role model represents a way of living.

She is very serene and very forgiving. She is always smiling, very sympathetic, an understanding, ambitious, focused person

And she has blue hair.

Like Lou Grant, she's fictional. She's also a cartoon.

I refer to Kanade Jinguchi, the president of the Miyagami Academy Maximum-Authority Wielding Best Student Council (better known as Best Student Council).

"Best Student Council" is the name of the anime series. It's 26 episodes, and I have seen the first 18, and I'm hooked. I have never seen anything like this. It's all about the Miyagami Academy, an unusual institution, where a bunch of weird anime shit is always happening. The academy was created by Kanade Jinguchi, who is usually called Miss Kanade. She is 18 years old, and she comes from the very wealthy, powerful and mysterious Jinguchi family. I have an inkling of what the academy was created for, but I'm not going to spoil the many surprises.

The Best Student Council is the core group that, well, I guess they run the school, in some manner. They have more power than anyone on the rarely-seen faculty. The council is about twelve girls from around 7th grade to 12th grade. Each seems to have a secret, and many of them seem to have powers. Little by little, "Best Student Council" reveals these secrets. It's alternately funny and tragic and surprising and, sometimes, it's even a little retarded. (What would anime be without those Speed Racer moments?)

And Kanade presides over it all with serenity and joy. And I want to be more like her.

Kanade has a little help. Her protector and second in command is the rough and tough Nanaho Kinjo, known as Miss Nanaho most of the time. Nanaho kicks butt. She's the leader of the Assault Squad. (Did I mention that Miyagami Academy has an Assault Squad? They also have a Covert Squad, a photography club AND a paparazzi club, a 100-foot cannon (for scaring off boys who show up on aircraft to marry Kanade), a self-destruct button and a very special puppet named Puuchan.)

(Does an all-girls school really need all these accoutrements? Watch the show. You'll soon find out that Miyagami Academy really does need all this goofy shit. Remove one goofy element and the whole thing falls apart.)

Kanade needs Miss Nanaho around so Kanade can be her very special self. I hope I can achieve the state of serenity that Kanade has. Or I can be my own Nanaho. Or maybe I can attract a Nanaho by being Kanade, the way Kanade did.

Be the blue-haired girl.

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