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Your Best Nightmare
United States
I am a man who enjoys art with emphasis on anime and underwater art. I am also a big fan of Saver and Aster.

I've had time to look back on my tastes in fiction and entertainment. Recently, I stumbled upon an article in The Atlantic detailing the differences between children's stories from the British and American literary traditions that managed to make my mind dwell on what my entertainment tastes in general reflect about myself and how that compares to the tastes of my peers and society at large.

Here are some themes I have managed to observe in my entertainment tastes. Some of them are more covert than others, but I will try to summarize as best as I can. I should also state that I enjoy my entertainment primarily because I find it entertaining more than anything else, but there are still deeper undercurrents to my habits that I feel are worth exploring. There are brief spoilers for Persona 4 below, so proceed with caution:

The Triumph of Man: Throughout some of my favorite fiction and entertainment, a focus on the power of human action abounds. Put more clearly, man's power to overcome obstacles to his well-being. This can be observed in the story of Strike Witches, where the characters fight the extraterrestrial beings known as the Neuroi who are attempting to colonize the world. The Neuroi are faceless, machine-like beings that attack human civilization and establish hives over areas where seek to occupy. Man's last line of defense: the titular strike witches, girls who have magical powers they can channel to take flight with the aid of machines called striker units. The fact that man has a real hope in the face of a powerful opponent without a human sense of conscience is major in itself, but the animal familiars in the series add a new layer of symbolism - a kind of primal power behind the witches and their mission, an almost instinctual will behind their fight. However purely sylistic the animal familiars may have been in the conception of Strike Witches, there is still a palpable sense of power behind the animalistic symbols worth considering for the sake of this point.

Another strong example can be found in the Persona series of games, but especially Persona 4, whose theme is specifically about seeking the truth about the self. In Persona 4, all the characters gain their personas - symbolic representations of the self - by dealing with subconscious fears that they confront in an alternate dimension. The final battle of the game against Izanami encapsulates a different "triumph of man" than that seen in Strike Witches, but one that is just as inspiring: man controlling his inner world, rather than external circumstances such as the forces of nature. Izanami explains that she believed man would be comfortable avoiding and denying the parts of their subconscious that trouble them, which the protagonists refute, saying they desire the truth and that even painful truth about themselves is better than ignorance and denial of their true nature. It is this realization that fuels the final battle and leads to the victory of the protagonists, Izanami realizing their point and congratulating them on overcoming their fears before dying. Indeed, the act of coming to terms with oneself is quite an act of courage and can be quite daunting at times, but the sense of clarity that comes from such recognition is freeing and quite a triumph - not everyone is capable of handling such a tall order.

Modern popular entertainment is seemingly awash in dystopian tales that depict gruesome, hopeless worlds. From The Walking Dead to Gotham, from The Hunger Games to Game of Thrones, there is a definite cultural fixation on fiction depicting a world that is, as Thomas Hobbes might put it, "Nasty, brutish, and short." My enjoyment of fiction such as Strike Witches is, if only in part, a rejection of such bleakness - life may be replete with challenge and danger, but the single best solution is human ingenuity and a sense of purpose. That ending leads me to...

Personal Purpose: Of all the underlying patterns in my entertainment consumption, this sticks out rather overtly. When it comes to accomplishing goals, be they more individual or team-driven in nature, a personal sense of value for the end result is vital. If a wider goal means nothing to the individuals participating, there is little incentive to move forward. This is a reality I know quite well being a loner myself. In the face of social commentators such as David Brooks or politicians like just about anybody who ran for the major U.S. political parties this election cycle who view the personal as primarily a hindrance in pursuing such large achievements (see Brooks' New York Times op-ed "In Defense of Big Love" for a sampling of this mentality), I feel it is important to examine the sense of personal purpose in my personal entertainment since an appreciation for personal drive seems lacking when you look to the intellectuals and leaders of today, political or otherwise.

In recent years, plenty of my fiction consumption has revolved around the military - Strike Witches, Valkyria Chronicles, and Kantai Collection, to name a few. The military has historically been an institution known for involuntary assignment to its ranks through mechanisms such as the draft, so looking at the military as a backdrop for personal motivation for large-scale may not seem like the first option, at least at face value. However, the military fiction I am fond of still has plenty of room for individual motivation in fighting for a greater cause. Once again, Strike Witches provides an excellent example of this dynamic. While the witches may have the large scale task of defeating the Neuroi and making them leave Earth, they have individual motivations for doing so. Even just looking at the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, this is more than evident, some characters more than others - to name the most obvious examples, Barkhorn fights for her kid sister, Christiane, who was knocked unconscious during the Neuroi strike on Karlsland; Perrine fights for the chance of bettering the lives of children in her home country. Barkhorn and Perrine are especially noteworthy in this case because, while both have strong feelings of national identity, they also have a highly personal image of what they are fighting for, images more specific than the generalized and vague idea of national unity or national greatness.

To use another example with the Valkyria Chronicles series of games, the motivation for Welkin and Alicia is not a sense of Gallia being a country that is an end in itself, but rather the personal feelings attached to the town of Bruhl - it is hardly a coincidence that one of the major highlights in the story of the first Valkyria Chronicles is taking back Bruhl from the Empire after the then-recent death of Isara in the previous chapter of the game. For Alicia, Bruhl is the town she grew up in and the only place she has known her whole life. For Welkin, Bruhl is where his aunt lives and where he was raised as a kid. Likewise, looking at all the character profiles, the reasons for the characters you can recruit joining Squad 7 is often personal in nature, whether it is their business being disrupted by the Imperial invasion or for the sake of defending their loved ones. No platitudes of Gallia being a end in itself to be found.

This leads me to the last item...

A Deep Sense of Affection: This may seem like a vague thing to point out, but I have noticed that this is something I have sought out and appreciated more and more in my fiction consumption over the past year and a half compared to prior times. It is hard to pin down precisely what triggered this, but regardless, it has been a staple in recent times for me. A good friendship can go a long way in adding flavor to a work of fiction. There are plenty of examples here, so I will go through a few quickly.

Strike Witches has more than its fair share of close friendships, from Eila and Sanya to Shirley and Lucchini, from Minna and Mio to Yoshika and Lynette. The major focus of the Strike Witches series tends to be the interpersonal relationships between the witches, a facet that adds dimension to the world the series builds, not to mention personally appeals to me as a fan of the Slice of Life genre. Recently, Sword Art Online won back my fandom with its Mother's Rosary arc and how it both (1) develops and fleshes out Asuna's character and (2) has a beautiful and moving friendship between Asuna (who is dealing with her family's cold, aristocratic behavior and their plans for her) and Yuuki (who is chronically sick in the real world despite being a renowned warrior in Alfheim Online). The entire premise of the Love Live! series is an ode to hard work and friendship, the characters working to be pop idols for the sake of their school - as School Idol Project wore on, characters such as Eli, who starts out opposed to Honoka's plans initially, become friends with the others, everyone becoming closer by the end of it all. Overall, these close friendships are real pleasing to watch.

My favorite fictional friendship, however, is that of Aya and Chihaya, two OC's created by Aster and illustrated by Saver (wave-lens). Aya and Chihaya are cousins who end up forming a strong bond through freediving. For me, this is still the most touching fictional friendship I have had the pleasure of experiencing and is at the heart of why I so thoroughly enjoy the two both as individual characters and together as a pair. In fact, I wrote a journal back around the time I created my account (with their creator's permission) entitled "My Thoughts on Aya and Chihaya" where you can see more of an explanation as to why these characters capture my heart the way they do:
My Thoughts on Aya and ChihayaThis is an entry about my feelings towards Aya and Chihaya, OC's that were created by :iconaster144: and are well-known through the artwork of :iconsaverart:. It has been four years since I discovered Saver's work through finding the story "Diving Girls" on Aster's site, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the two lovely fictional ladies that have become two of my favorite fictional characters.
Over the years, Aya and Chihaya have captured my heart, more so than any other OC in the underwater community (though this certainly isn't to say the underwater community has no other good OC's!). I have wondered about why they've captured my heart the way they did and have come up with a few points.
Their Bond
Aya and Chihaya are very close to one another. The way they playfully joked around after surfacing in "Five Minute Summer" just before teasing the photographer and pushing him overboard has to be one of the most charming experiences I've ever had while reading fiction; it's r

I guess that's all for now. So, dear readers, are their any overarching themes you notice in your tastes in entertainment? Anything you wish to say about mine? Feel free to comment and tell me. :)
Whew, it's been a while since I've done a journal entry, what with life and all that...

Anyway, as many of my favorites may give away, I am a large fan of underwater art and a die-hard fan of anime and manga. Looking around the internet for the past few months, I've noticed many anime with an aquatic themes that are coming up. Needless to say, I'm excited! :D

Love Live! Sunshine is one of those shows. Like the first Love Live! anime, it focuses on a girl trying to form an idol group that represents her school. It takes place on a rural island and features a couple of characters in the main cast with aquatic sports that play a major part in the character's background: The cute second-year high diver You Watanabe who also wants to be a ferry captain like her father; and Kanan Matsuura, a third-year student whose family owns a scuba diving service on another nearby island. Also, the second single for this new Love Live! group is about going to an aquarium. I enjoyed the original Love Live! anime and am looking forward to seeing how this does. The anime will air this summer season.

On top of this, there has also been news of an anime adaptation to the Kozue Amano scuba diving manga Amanchu! which is scheduled to air this summer season. Kozue Amano also was the creator of the Aria series of manga and anime. The story focuses on Hikari, an enthusiastic girl who starts a scuba diving club which also has a teacher at her school and a friend.

All this, of course, is to say nothing of the currently-airing (as of this blog post) High School Fleet (or Haifuri as it is sometimes referred to shorthand). I have not been following it regularly as of right now, but I have liked what I have seen.

To round things off, here are some links related to the anime I just mentioned above. I do not own any of the content linked in this journal nor am I affiliated with any company responsible for the aforementioned shows (see bottom of the journal for copyright info). You probably knew that already, but I just don't want to get in trouble - after all, I am merely a fan who wishes to share some fun news.

Preview of "Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM" (Crunchyroll news artcle with video from Lantis YouTube Channel):…

Kanan Matsuura Character Introduction (Crunchyroll news article with video from Lantis YouTube Channel and English transcript):…

You Watanabe Character Introduction (Crunchyroll news article with video from Lantis YouTube Channel and English transcript):…

Amanchu! TV announcement with cast, preview video, and preview illustration (Crunchyroll news article):…

So guys, who's excited? Are there other anime with aquatic themes you're looking forward to seeing? Please comment and let me know what you think.
Copyright information:
Love Live! (c) Lantis, Sunrise, NIS America

Amanchu! (c) Kozue Amano, Mag Garden, Monthly Comic Blade, J.C. Staff
So, it's this site's 15th birthday and a bunch of people are filling out this questionnaire about their experience here. It looked pretty fun, so I thought I'd join in the fun! :D

1. How long have you been on DeviantArt?

I’ve been a member for only about seven months.

2. What does your username mean?

My username is a reference to Richard Childress Racing – the number 3 in the title is a reference to Dale Earnhardt’s number when he was still alive.

3. Describe yourself in three words.

Studious, observant, and smart.

4. Are you left or right handed?

I am right-handed.

5. What was your first deviation?

Do journal entries count? If so, while my first deviation was technically a brief introductory journal entry (and I use the term introductory very loosely), my first “deviation” besides my intro was a journal talking about a fictional auto racing series I have worked on offline. You can read it here:

2014 Zevia Truck Series Review: Aya and ChihayaUp front, I would like to point out that none of the characters in this fictional biopic are mine and I am not affiliated with any real-life businesses mentioned in this piece of fiction. Aya Isuzu and Chihaya Natori were created by :iconaster144: and :iconsaverart:, and all real-life racing teams mentioned are (c) NASCAR. See the bottom of this entry for more copyright information.
A Brief Primer - What is the Zevia Truck Series?
Since I was a kid, auto racing has been a creative conduit for organizing my entertainment interests. Which car certain fictional characters had or what role they took on in any given fictional scenarios I put them in was my way of loosely organizing my tastes in fiction based on various criteria from my opinion of them to their status in their original stories. These exercises also resulted in me looking up more information about characters to better understand how to organize my endeavors. The Zevia Truck Series - part of a larger collection of racin

6. What is your favourite type of art to create?

I don’t know to what extent my own writing can be considered art since it is often from a more concrete standpoint, but writing is my main stock and trade.

7. If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be?

I would want to master either the drawing skill of wave-lens or the writing skill of Aster144.

8. What was your first favourite?

It was the first part of a story called “Five Minute Summer” which features my favorite OCs of all time, Aya and Chihaya (who also are some of my favorite fictional characters of all time).

Five Minute Summer 1 0:00:00 by wave-lens

9. What type of art do you tend to favourite the most?

Anime-related and underwater art make frequent appearances in my favourites.

10. Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist?

wave-lens is easily my favorite dA user – I’ve been following his and Aster144’s artistic output for a little over four years now and have loved it.

11. If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be?

There are plenty of artists on here I’d like to personally meet, starting with wave-lens, Aster144, Son-Void, Aquaza, and jordanowen .

12. How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?

While this started before I was a deviant myself, the work of wave-lens and Aster144 played a role in an important part of my life to date; their work was a part of a major shift in my personal taste away from a more pessimistic worldview I held as a teenager. Later on, the impact of their art was further solidified when Aster144 positively commented on my journal entry (entries?) about his OCs Aya and Chihaya – it felt wonderful to have the attention of one of my favorite artists.

13. What are your preferred tools to create art?

Microsoft Word 2007 (yeah, my computer’s getting old) is usually what I use to compose my writing, so I guess there’s that…

14. What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?

I never really thought of that, though driving through my town can be pretty inspiring. I haven’t written anything while in a car or anything, but it still is more inspirational than my bedroom…

15. What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?

Communicating with Aster144 after I finished my two entries about Aya and Chihaya was my favorite moment on this site. It was especially uplifting since it helped me break out of a bout of depression I was enduring at the time.

…and that’s it, pretty much.

Well, I saw a journal entry by Son-Void where he answered questions and tagged anybody who wanted to participate. This is my first list of this sort and I'm curious, so I thought, "Why not try this out?"

Some rules that were part of Son-Void's little round of questions were:
  1. Answer the 13 questions asked
  2. Ask 13 questions of your own
  3. Choose 13 people to tag; tag-backs are allowed
  4. No rules against cursing, but please don't get too personal
Well, now that that's out of the way, on with the questions!

1. Who, in your opinion, is your most favorite OC (if any)?

If this question is referring to my own OCs, I don't have any, so I cannot answer from this perspective.

However, if we are going to talk about my favorite OC (or OCs) that other people created and own, then my favorites by far would be Aya Isuzu and Chihaya Natori, two characters created by Aster144 and well-known through the illustrations of wave-lens. These two characters are a joy to see together (as my prior journal entry here makes quite clear) and they are some of the most fascinating OCs I have heard about. The stories Diving Girls and Five Minute Summer really illustrate just how much fun and enjoyment a writer can bring their audience with their characters.

2. How does your favorite OC compare with your most popular OC (if they aren't the same)?

Well, I haven’t created any OCs myself nor have I adopted any, so I cannot say.

3. What about your least favorite OC - the last of your own creations you think about?

See the prior questions.

4. What was your very first real obsession? It could be anything, from games to movies, etc. ... 

My first obsession was Pokemon. Back when I was eight, Pokemon was my life, and I rekindled some of my love for Pokemon when I read the Pokemon Adventures manga (a.k.a. PokeSpe) in high school.

5. Do you watch teh JanTranz? :bademoticon:

Um…no…no, I don’t…

6. Have a favorite character in general? Again, he/she could be from anything. :meow:

I have a few favorite characters, really. Aya and Chihaya, the OCs I mentioned in question one, are tops. Other than those two lovely ladies, Akemi Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Riella Marcellis from Valkyria Chronicles 3, Strong Bad from the Homestar Runner website, and Mio Sakamoto from Strike Witches are big names from among the many fictional characters I love and can call a favorite of mine.

7. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would have super intelligence. That stuff is pretty awesome.

8. Are you an amiibo collector? If so, what do you do with them, if anything?

I’m not into amiibos. My gaming interests are firmly grounded in JRPGs and older sports sims and racing games like Madden NFL 2002 and most of the Need For Speed series.

9. Do you use emoticons at all?

Why, yes, I do use emoticons! Nod Giggle :D (Big Grin) =P (Razz) I am a dummy! 

I usually only use them here on DeviantArt, though...

10. What's your favorite...breakfast...cereal?

Cascade Farms Cinnamon Crunch is my favorite breakfast cereal. To be honest, though, I’m not the biggest fan of cereal in the first place. My forte is more in the realm of energy drinks and protein drinks. Hooray for RTD 51 and West Coast Chill! La la la la 

...and Son-Void didn't ask any more questions after that.

Now for my questions! :D (Big Grin) 

1. Who are your favorite heavy metal bands?
2. How do you enjoy your steak prepared?
3. Where were you when Dale Earnhardt died (February 18, 2001)?
4. If you were a tenured professor and your school asked you to come up with a new class for the upcoming semester, what would the class be and what would it cover?
5. In your opinion, what is the most underrated song so far this year?
6. Which fictional character would you be most likely to date at the first opportunity?
7. Mercedes-Benz or BMW?
8. What do you think would be the best presidential race ever?
9. If you saw Atlas, what would you have him do?
10. Which dead rock star would you be the most afraid of coming back to life?
11. Exercise, schmexercise, what do we have to eat around here?
12. If you could start a professional sports league, what would it be?
13. Who is your favorite kanmusu (fleet girl) from Kantai Collection?

I re-tag Son-Void and whoever wants to try this out for themselves.
This is an entry about my feelings towards Aya and Chihaya, OC's that were created by :iconaster144: and are well-known through the artwork of :iconwave-lens:. It has been four years since I discovered Saver's work through finding the story "Diving Girls" on Aster's site, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the two lovely fictional ladies that have become two of my favorite fictional characters.

Over the years, Aya and Chihaya have captured my heart, more so than any other OC in the underwater community (though this certainly isn't to say the underwater community has no other good OC's!). I have wondered about why they've captured my heart the way they did and have come up with a few points.

Their Bond
Aya and Chihaya are very close to one another. The way they playfully joked around after surfacing in "Five Minute Summer" just before teasing the photographer and pushing him overboard has to be one of the most charming experiences I've ever had while reading fiction; it's right up there with the scene in "Diving Girls" where Aya rescues and solemnly apologizes to Chihaya, giving all her air to Chihaya and passing out before Chihaya attempts to return the favor by saving her. Looking at these events in particular (not to mention the interview segments in Five Minute Summer) make my heart soar - whatever lovely qualities I see in them individually is only magnified when they're together. It is truly hard (and deeply sad) to imagine an event so devastating or malicious that it would separate them. Indeed, these two cousins have a deep sisterly love forged in seawater and it is amazing to see. :D (Big Grin)

Their Individual Selves
I don't know how, but both Aster and Saver have come the closest to creating fictional characters that match my ideal female companion: athletic, positive, fun, competitive, driven. This term does not mean a girlfriend per se and extends to friends and acquaintances, but could include romantic interests. Ever since I was conscious of what I like in the opposite sex, athletic girls have attracted me both physically and in terms of mentality. I like women with slim yet muscular builds and competitive spirit, the latter I can appreciate in anybody regardless of gender. We all have appreciation for people who can do incredible athletic feats, I'm sure, and I am no different. Seeing the girls exhibit their talent for freediving just fills me up with excitement and happiness.

I find both Aya and Chihaya attractive, though I am personally more attracted to Chihaya personality-wise with her generally soft, serene, reserved disposition. This, of course, is not to discount Aya - that playful positivity is enough to make anybody smile, I'm sure. :D (Big Grin) 

The determination both girls exhibit is also a big plus for me. Seeing how driven these girls are in both their stories when they are in trouble, I cannot help but cheer them on to success. Even individually, Aya and Chihaya's charm is infectious.

Environment - both the stories' setting and My Own Background
While I may not have experience with diving of any sort, let alone freediving, I do live near water - I hail from the state of Florida, which also happens to be a peninsula - and as such, aquatic sports are part of the culture where I live. Also, being from the Southern USA, there is a certain chic to the idea of the "country girl" that is conjured in my mind by the rural setting of both Diving Girls and Five Minute Summer. The simplicity of the setting is depicted splendidly and adds a genuine, organic feel to both the personality of Aya and Chihaya as well as their actions. This synthesis of environment and characterization is a large reason why the girls' charm resonates so deeply with me.

I also stumbled across Aya and Chihaya during a particular time in my life - that time where pessimism seems to be the default emotion of your life. They (along with Saver's art in general) helped ease me out of that phase and realize some kind of positivity. They were the first step on a larger path towards adopting a measurably more positive outlook on life that I have run with ever since - no small accomplishment given my capacity for cynicism from a young age. I suppose I was ready to move on to a better place mentally and just needed the right catalyst...

Finally, a message to Saver, Aster, Aya, and Chihaya: Thank you for opening my eyes and helping me find a way to evolve a bit emotionally. I will never forget what you helped me start.


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Nao1967 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the fave!
The3House Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2018
You're very welcome! :D
Nao1967 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:la: GIF animation 
Sarutamonkey Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you  for favorites!
The3House Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2018
You're very welcome :)
ArtimasStudio Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the 2:+fav:s :heart: :D
The3House Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018
Why, you're very welcome! :D
Nao1967 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the faves!
The3House Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2018
You're welcome, as always :)
Nao1967 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much!:lol:
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