The Cancer that is Killing Anime (Characters)

planetes 12 fee carmichael wins at smoking

I’m stuck at a particularly awesome episode of Planetes. Part of me doesn’t want to watch beyond this because I’m afraid it doesn’t become as good anymore. It’s happened to me while watching Overman King Gainer, episode 17 is beautiful and as winsome as anything I’ve seen from Tomino Yoshiyuki. But back to Planetes. Episode 12 shows Fee Carmichael do ridiculously extreme things to get her cigarette fix; risking her life, arguably to kill it all over again, slowly.

I can somehow relate because I am a smoker. Yes, I’m an unapologetic smoker. I’ve been smoking for the last 20 years, save for two separate 1-year stints of abstinence to win separate bets (yeah I won them).  Like most of the kids my age, I started out with Marlboros. But after decades of experimentation I prefer the very bland Winston Lights. Flavorful cigarettes I smoke on more special occasions.

planetes 12 fee carmichael GAR 02

Can someone who has spent significant time in Japan confirm this for me? A lawyer acquaintance claimed that 40% of the Japanese are smokers, and that number balloons to 60% when social smoking is considered. I mean, I know people who will smoke with smokers during nights out, etc., but don’t smoke regularly otherwise.

That acquaintance also told me that there ashtrays (and even air purifying gadgets) almost everywhere. This is amazing to me. I hate littering and it sucks when there are no ashtrays or garbage receptacles around. One of the great things I enjoyed about walking all over Hong Kong is how evenly distributed the ashtrays are along the streets. I particularly enjoy smoking while walking in the city.

macross gundam zeon minmay

In SDF Macross ep 27, which was originally intended to be the finale of the series, a big Minmay medley played — very similar to how the Ranka and Sheryl medley played in Macross Frontier 25. In the SDFM episode, Ichijo was making his entry to the atmosphere after taking damage from a Zentraedi missile salvo. At that point, Minmay hit the chorus of her song ‘Silver Moon, Red Moon.’

Silvermoon, redmoon

Tsumetai anatawa shahai dandy

You’re so cold, my shanghai dandy

Jitanno kemuriga mani shimiru

The smoke of Gitanes gets in my eyes.

Translation c/o Animefiends.

Gitanes! These are the same smokes Ichinose Takumi (Nana) prefers, and that is one fucking cool dude. I wish I knew where to get this brand locally. I used to be able to get Silk Cuts, and even Sobranie Black Russian cigarettes, but they’re a lot harder to find now. Gudang Garam is nice, but never good to smoke regularly. Part of me suspects that Gitanes would be the perfect import for me.

Of course, I understand that anime, manga, and all fictional characters don’t have to suffer any consequences of a smoking habit. I don’t endorse smoking here to those who aren’t smokers already, nor do I wish to prevent those who want to give it up from doing so. But for those who enjoy smoking as I do, I want to believe that there’s a distinct pleasure in watching characters we like share our habit.

Characters I’d like to have a smoke with: [You can’t view this slideshow in a feed reader, but you can if you go to the post itself.]

Right now, the best scene involving cigarettes HAS TO belong to Black Lagoon episode 07. Omisyth and I took some time to reflect on the scene:

This is the point where Rock completely gives up on his old identity and let’s himself become like the ragtag group he’s associated with. The antithesis of Revy and Rock is what makes their argument so great to watch. Revy ends up having to actually show some level of emotion beyond “FUCK” and Rock ends up having to stand up for himself. No matter what, be it getting shot, screamed at or punched in the face, he doesn’t back down until he gets Revy to acknowledge him: a real “rock” (excuse the pun). Far from what Rock says (“There’s no medicine for violent idiots”), the two are essentially what each other need to grow.


[Important Note: Omisyth’s contribution to this post isn’t representative of his views on cigarette smoking.]

Is the scene objectively sexy? The fuck should I know. But for a smoker like me, it’s badass sexy, incredibly so.

Who’d you like to have a smoke with?

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in fanboy, Guilty Pleasures, meta and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to The Cancer that is Killing Anime (Characters)

  1. Baka-Raptor says:

    Sanzo, from Saiyuki. A man of wisdom and violence.

  2. kluxorious says:

    Grimmjow from Bleach. I think he SHOULD smoke XD

  3. LostMarbles says:

    Gitanes! These are the same smokes Ichinose Takumi (Nana) prefers, and that is one fucking cool dude. I wish I knew where to get this brand locally.

    Resist the urge! Gitanes make you smell even more like ass than most other cigarettes.

  4. sadakups says:

    Those smoking guys from Honey and Clover, namely Hanamoto-sensei, Mayama and Nomiya. Nothing beats having a smoke with friends in and out of work talking about a lot of things.

  5. gaguri says:

    I loled at the last slideshow…great 6koma

    Black Lagoon was ‘ok’ for me, but that episode 7 blew my mind and I would put that scene as one of the best scenes I’ve seen in anime. The moment when they share ciagrette light, it was almost as if they were making out.

    And don’t fool yourself, planetes only gets better and better.

    • It was a kiss, that whole scene. It’s a proxy/analogy/metaphor for makeup sex. I feel the same way about Black Lagoon.

      I’ll get back on the saddle with Planetes, thanks.

  6. Etrangere says:

    As a non-smoker let me confirm : it is objectively sexy. Lots of smoke related sexiness in CLAMP’s X too… of course, it’s all very m/m :p

    Loved that Planete episode. Fee is made of awesome. Still need to finish watching that series.

    • I had finished watching Wong Kar-wai’s film In the Mood for Love, and like in 2046 (which I had seen earlier) Tony Leung smoking is wicked cool and sexy. There was a scene where Maggie Cheung, who is not a smoker, leaves a message to Tony by smoking one of his cigarettes in his room. Her lipstick on the filter was the message: I was here, didn’t catch you, please remember me.

      Sexy as hell.

  7. schneider says:

    The craziness of Fee in that episode is hard to top, and the show kinda becomes more serious in the late teens. Still, you have to keep watching!

    I don’t smoke BTW, but I appreciate the Revy and Rock scene.

    • Good for you! It just gets a bit awkward when non-smokers get militant on me.

      • redmaigo says:

        I’m not a smoker. Except for the mid to late 90’s vogue of smoking cigars — which I have since gotten over.

        However, I always feel if a militant non-smoker doesn’t like your lifestyle they can go somewhere else that suits them.

        Like to Hell!

        I was raised with older relatives and they smoked like chimneys and drank like fish so I’m okay with that. Tobacco is the new (insert name of illegal drug here) in the eyes of the politically correct.

        Actually, taking (demonized illegal drug) or some other contraband pharmaceutical may seem the lesser evil since, these days, tobacco is the devils weed. Any other illegal drug banned by the powers-that-be are just the big, bad government stifling someones constitutional right to destroy themselves.

        After all, these laws are simply made to drum up revenue (legal or illegal) in order to power the great machine that is yoke around our necks right?

        People can be so contrary sometimes!

        • What makes tobacco companies such juicy targets is because they are made of $$$$$$ and the greatest weapon in propaganda is to sic moralfags on the target(s).

          I don’t think tobacco companies are made of saints, they’re just as corrupt as any other corporation probably. They’re just easier to squeeze I think, due to said moralfaggotry and them being made of $$$$$$$$$

          Who wants to go after Lehman Brothers and AIG? Why would they? These firms are broke!

          • abitidi says:

            You don’t see people going after gun companies…I wonder whose products actually end up killing more people? At least if smoking kills me it was my choice to butt out (pun intended)

          • Sigh, yes. Maybe it’s because if you go after gun companies, the people who like guns can shoot you.

  8. lelangir says:

    Wow looks like America is ahead of the rest of the intelligent world in one aspect….

    • You have no idea. After all, the best tagline in cigarette marketing is:

      COME TO WHERE THE FLAVOR IS. COME TO MARLBORO COUNTRY (cue Magnificant Seven overture)

      America is the cigarette capital of the world, but makes sure that only the rest of the world smokes its shit.

  9. 2DT says:

    Confirmation incoming! 🙂

    In Japan, tons of people smoke. Men, women, old and young, even high school students do it not-so-secretly in train bathrooms. Public ordinances are slowly changing, but all sorts of places still allow you to smoke quite freely. You can light up indoors in a restaurant, which for a young American is shocking (and heavenly, from what my smoking friends tell me). You won’t be able to find a trashcan anywhere convenient, but you can’t walk down the street without tripping over a public ashtray.

    I don’t smoke, but I’ve always been fascinated by the mystique of smoking. What’s a femme fatale without a long-stemmed cigarette, or a scary commando like Balalaika without a fat, expensive-looking cigar?

    • Cigars are an acquired taste even for regular cigarette smokers. I like them, but not enough to go out of my way for them.

      Japan is some kind of smokers’ heaven. I can’t wait to visit. Thanks for confirming the anecdote!

  10. Crusader says:

    Objectively cool and sexy, but not so cool in reality and a terrible waste of money, not to mention a liability.

    Yes those are some cool characters but remember Master Asia did not use cancer sticks nor did Schwartz… You can smoke and maybe be cool, but you can not smoke and be THE KING OF HEARTS or UNDEFEATED OF THE EAST.

  11. Pingback: Most Tweeted Articles by Anime Experts: MrTweet

  12. Martin says:

    I find the Japanese approach to smoking really strange. In the UK it’s now illegal to light up in any enclosed public place (i.e. you can’t smoke in pubs, bars, restaurants, trains or in the stations). Most people accepted the new legislation without feeling annoyed about it, smokers included strangely enough.

    Japan struck me as the opposite: in bars and gaming arcades it was fine to smoke and there were even ashtrays provided, but I kept noticing signs on the pavements outside warning against dropping the butts on the floor (part of their wonderfully refreshing love of cleanliness I guess). I got the impression it was more acceptable to smoke INDOORS (where the ashtrays were), as opposed to being banished outside as smokers are over here.

    I quit shortly before the ‘no smoking in indoors public places’ law came in so shouldn’t really care about such things, but the difference was quite interesting. Another thing: if so many people in Japan smoke, why is their life expectancy so much higher than the UK? The great British love of pies must be sending us to an early, fat b*****d-shaped, grave or something.

    • I have no answers to the life expectancy issue. Maybe the Japanese quit after a certain age, but I wouldn’t know. I do think that ashtrays everywhere is brilliant. I love feeling welcome to light up — I promise you it is such a good feeling, to be made to feel at home.

      Interestingly, homes aren’t often good places to smoke especially in Asia where extended families live together — at least these days when there are more sensitive/indignant non-smokers than there are smokers.

    • Narkins says:

      Martin, self deprecation must have some negative affect on life expectancy. Though my Grandmother is happily smoking and drinking (heavily never get in the way of a widower and here booze. Thats one really effective way to shorten your life span) into her mid 80s without a care in the world.

      I started smoking as I left school which was the same time as the smoking ban came in. As I couldn’t go for a drink at the time smoking outside has always been the way for me.

      Though the fact it was the Irish who introduced the ban first is a rather amusing Irony for me. “What! we can’t smoke. In pubs….Pubs…. What the feck are we gonna do now then?”

  13. I am going to smoke one day. I fucking swear it.

    That scene from Black Lagoon is fucking classic.

    • May you not come to regret it.

      • abitidi says:

        such wisdom…i don’t usually comment but I couldn’t resist this post…and my deepest respesct for being “an unapologetic smoker”. i personally enjoy smoking outdoors, something about the wind in my hair and all that, and i can only agree with you that smoking + strolling = a winning combination. although i would love to have a smoke with Fee in space.
        p.s. (yet again) planetes only gets better.

        • I think Marlboro’s iconic advertising campaign has something to do with this. I can’t think of anything better than riding through the great outdoors all rugged and enjoying a cigarette to take in everything.


          • abitidi says:

            A cigarette just adds that much more enjoyment to ANY situation, that being said, even though they aren’t all smokers, having a smoke with the Genshiken guys (and girls) would be cool.

            Actually, if I remember correctly, I think Tanaka and Saki are the only smokers in Genshiken…but smoking in their clubroom would be pretty sweet.

            An afterthought…Jigen from Lupin III.

  14. Pingback: At 13, anime convinced me to take Tai Kwon Do. At 18, it is convincing me to smoke. « NOBUE MANIAX

  15. vendredi says:

    Part of the prevalence of smoking in Southeast Asia is that cigarettes are just dirt cheap; here in N. America cigarettes are relatively pricey for what you get. It’s not just social stigma but also a really big dent in your pocket change.

    Also, stick with Planetes! The series might at times feel like it is overreaching but it is absolutely masterfully executed; I can tell you quite clearly you will not be disappointed by completing it. You’ll definitely miss out if you let it slide.

    • I have every intention of completing it, I’m just stuck on 3 shows I want to finish, not least is the final arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena. I had just finished Mobile Fighter G Gundam so I may have the juice to pick this up again.

      USD 6.00 = 1 carton/ream of 10 packs (of 20 sticks each) approximately.

      • vendredi says:

        6$ USD for a pack of 200, if I’m reading that correctly? Good gravy. In Canada/US a pack of just 20 is around 5.00$ (CDN and USD are about the same currently exchange-wise). Britain comes out to rough 10$ USD for a pack of 20 from what I’ve heard.

        • Yes. When my younger brother who smokes more than I do had to spend two years working in the USA he had such a terrible time of it. It’s the taxes that really drive up the cost really. “Imported” (LOL) cigarettes here cost about 150% more, which is still only about USD 1.50 or so.

        • Joojoobees says:

          I quit smoking when cigarettes went up to USD 80 cents per pack. Personally, I don’t see why anyone would pay what you guys pay just for nicotine. You can buy anime with that money.

  16. omisyth says:

    I totally forgot about that, glad to see it up here. 🙂


  17. Canne says:

    I think smoking is one of many methods to add certain quality to the characters like self-confidence or maturity. Smoking makes some characters look cool 🙂

    btw, if you have been smoking for a long time, don’t forget to do annual check up that includes chest x-ray.

  18. drmchsr0 says:

    Episode 12 of Planetes only taught me one thing: When Fee wants a smoke, she gets her smokes. Even if she has to foil a terrorist plot, burn up her ship, and face all sots of paperwork the very next day.

    And as for Overman King Gainer? Don’t think. Just watch. It’s extremely ridiculous, but that’s it’s charm.

    Also, assuming that I don’t die from smoking or get cancer or all the bad stuff related to smoking (proven first by the Nazis, of all people, and then again, and again by pretty much every doctor ever), Oh fuck yes Jigen. (Don’t mind me, I just finished another Lupin the Third movie.) And Gain Bijou. And Fee. Definitely Fee. Totally want to hear that story about how she went to crazy lengths for a smoke. No really.

    Also, you finally finished G Gundam? Will you make a post about episode 45?

    • Will finish the backlog on hold depending on my mood. After all, I finished the rest of G Gundam in about 3 days while I thought it would take me the rest of the year to do so. There are maybe 3 posts related to G Gundam in the works, but nothing so specific to episode 45.

  19. Ryan A says:

    After reading, and trying to think of “smoking in anime” but the only flashes coming to mind are from films. D: I think at some point a better question wouldn’t be “who would you want to smoke with?” but “who [and in what situation] would you want to remember having a smoke with?” … subtle difference, but the latter has more appeal imo.

    I’m not a smoker, though I have smoked numerous times, but could never hold an addiction (typical of my personality). Who would I want to have a smoke with… those of the North American desert and plains who are no longer with us (srs answr).

    I think Bebop and Black Lagoon have some of the best to have a smoke with. Onizuka, definitely. You know who else was a smoker was Chiaki (Nodame Cantabile), although that’s not really a “bad ass” smoker. Benikawa from Xamdou, even Ryuuzou Takehara from Xamdou as well. Jin from Champloo smoked something, but not sure the pipe counts. Michiko (Michiko e Hatchin), Yuuko (xxxHolic), I really don’t know.

    Likely choices: Revy, Onizuka, and Yuuko… I suppose.

  20. TheBigN says:

    If I smoked, I’d want to smoke with Spike, but he’d probably wonder who the hell I was and why I’d want to do it. Either him or Reki from Haibane Renmei.

    But I don’t smoke. I still think it looks cool at least.

    • I wouldn’t really encourage you to smoke, but Spike would be very interesting to smoke with yes. I believe I’ve imagined conversations with us years ago. I think he got a bit upset with me because I brought up Julia.

  21. Pingback: Comments or? - aloe, dream

  22. Caddy C says:

    I only spent a week and a half in Japan, but yes, smoking was much more prevalent than I’m used to in the States. It was the same way when I visited Europe, albeit that was a long time ago. I was consistently surprised that smoking was allowed in public places where it has been long banned in the US.

    And, Spike Spiegel. Hands down. Wolfwood runs a really, really, really close second.

    • I’m not familiar with Wolfwood, but Spike to me is an obviously good choice.

      I suppose the smoky Parisian cafe or Italian bistro are cliches in themselves. Nonetheless, as a smoker I find these environments stimulating and filled with character.

  23. kadian1364 says:

    In Darker than Black (which I see you’ve dropped for some reason), the character November must smoke for his obeisance. He often goes into great detail about the health risks of smoking for the smokers and bystanders alike, but lighting up doesn’t stop him from being a cool cat; it actually quite enhances that aura. Now, a minor character later has to eat cigarettes for her obeisance, which is pretty crazy. Given the choice, I’d do neither. Nope, just give me April’s “obligation” of downing Guinness after every superpowered exchange.

    • Is this the same character who actually has to eat the cigarettes? Oh I think that was a female character… I liked DtB at the beginning and lost interest near the end. I don’t think it’s bad, just not as interesting as I hoped it’d be.

      The cigarette-eating scene was, however very powerful.

  24. glothelegend says:

    Revy takes the cake as the most bad ass female smoker, but the most bad ass smoker is definitely Afro Samurai.

    Personally, I’d love to have a smoke with Konata from Lucky Star….you can just tell by looking at her that she huffs down 3 packs a day.

    That being said, I rarely smoke. And by rarely, I mean only on occasion when I’m drunk which is not very often since I’m broke.

    • LOL If Konata is a smoker then I’d hit the town with her, and I don’t mean Akiba. I’ve had lots of good times with female friends who are just chill with a few drinks and a few tokes.

  25. Robert Weizer says:

    apparently Lupin’s favorite cigarette brand is Gitanes, dunno if that’s true or not

  26. Debbie says:

    my two cents goes to smoking with Saitou from Rurouni Kenshin… I don’t usually care for smoking but he could persuade me lol

  27. JDAM255 says:

    What about….Asuma from Naruto (Shippuden series)?? He always seemed such a cool personality to me, kinda like my dad but more laid back. My .2C

  28. Richard Garfield phd says:

    I’m putting this here for the good of man kind. D=

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s