Well, here we are again. I'd like to thank all of you who commented on my last article. I enjoyed reading all the feedback. In the last piece, I listed 20 couples that have meant something to me over the years in terms of my Saturday morning/animation/video game/cartoon/entertainment life. The only parameters I set for myself were that I, personally, remembered them fondly and hoped that in some way they would find happiness somewhere out there in storyland. When I was asked by a few of you for a sequel, I wasn't sure I had any couples left to talk about. But,I took some time, thought about it, and it turned out there were several more. Some are those you all reminded me of. Others are all mine. But they are still couples that meant something to me with no exceptions (e.g. I barely saw more than an episode or two of G.I. Joe (the ones where COBRA brought Serpentor to life), never read the comics, and never played with the toys so none of those couples are here.) So, continuing under these parameters here it is for your reading pleasure: Happy Ever After? II.
Again, the couples are listed in no particular order.
1. Youta and Ai from Video Girl Ai
Video Girl Ai (created by Masakazu Katsura and produced by I.G. Tatsunoko) is an anime about a teenage boy, Youta Moteuchi, secretly in love with his fellow female student, Moemi Hayakawa. But Youta is shocked to hear Moemi declare her love for Takashi Niimai, a handsome fellow student of both. Things become more tangled as Takashi expresses no interest in Moemi.
That night, feeling rejected, Youta rents a video from Gokuraku (a video shop). In the video, a girl appears. She introduces herself as Ai Amano. Suddenly, Ai pops out of the TV screen after she declares she will take care of Youta. As the story progresses, Youta must choose between his fellow student, Moemi or the strange video girl, Ai.
The reason this couple stands out for me is because the anime in which they dwell contains one of the most symbolic scenes I've ever come across in an anime. In it, Ai, rejected by Youta (at least in her mind), returns to the video world. Youta goes in after her. Once there, the powers the be say he can only have her back if he climbs a giant flight of stairs to reach her prison. Simple enough, except the flight of glass-like stairs are a direct tangible representation of Youta's feelings for Ai: strong in some places and brittle in others. The stairs crack and break and threaten to let Youta fall to his death as Yotah works his way up on his hands and knees. The shards from the stairs cut Youta's skin. He's a mess of tears and blood by the time he's half way to the top and the video world spirits have been mocking him at every step. I do not know how this couple wound up as I ran out of bootleg episodes before I found out. However, I haven't looked at a flight of stairs the same since.
2. Dirk the Daring and Princess Daphne from Dragon's Lair
Lead on adventurer! Your quest awaits! How many of us arcade junkies responded to this call to arms when it first shook the walls of our local arcade? I know I did. Dirk and Daphne were the most fun you could have with a joystick and a single button marked SWORD. It was also one of the most expensive games to play: 50 cents to $1.00. According to Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp, Dirk and Daphne had a very large family as well. So, I guess they lived hapily ever after, save the fact that Dirk's mother-in-law, also in Time Warp, didn't like him. Man, she could give Fred Flintstone's mother-in-law a run for her money. And I thought Synge the dragon was bad news.
3. Pebbles and Bam-Bam from The Flintstones
And speaking of The Flinstones, who could forget these charming little toddlers? They made enough of an impression on me that, years ago, when I heard they were going to do a Flinstones' TV movie centred around their marriage, I had to tune in. I'd seen too many Flintstones' episodes to let it pass.
4. Bob and Dot from Reboot
WARNING! INCOMING GAME! When I saw the first season of this CG cartoon, I thought it was cool, but not as cool as it could be. There was a bit too much cute. Alpha Numeric? Com'on. Then, Mainframe Entertainment got their act together in the second season and Reboot suddenly had game. Bob and Dot were a great couple and we followed the adventures of this Supercomputer Guardian and his workaholic woman all the way to Reboot 4.0, which ended on a cliffhanger almost as bad as Season II when Bob got shot into the web. Let's hope Mainframe Entertainment makes Reboot 5.0 to finish the job. I need closure.
5. Enzo and AndrAIa from Reboot
And, of course, you cannot talk about Bob and Dot without mentioning these two sprites. We all shuddered at the end of the Reboot episode where a giant purple game cube with Little Enzo, Little AndrAIa, and Frisket trapped inside announced: GAME OVER: USER WINS! It happened because Enzo got his guardian-wannabe ass handed to him by a fighting game boss that looked like DIABLO. This led us into another season of Reboot where Enzo and AndrAIa, having survived by copying themselves onto the game Enzo lost, had their growth accelerated by the game and Enzo became MATRIX, the brutal aggressor-man. MATRIX was one part Wolverine, one part Cable one part Punisher, and all parts awesome! AndrAIa became a Hottie and Frisket was, well, still Frisket. At least I think he was. I can't remember. The point is, this couple will always be remembered by me because they were an amazing example of cute and annoying transformed into kick-ass cool! The user may have won the battle, but not the war.
6. Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson from the pages of MARVEL COMICS
Yeah, I know, I should have added this couple to Happily Ever After? part one, but better late than never, right? The funny thing is, I never really collected Spider-Man as a comic, except when he swung over into a few of my titles. But, even so, even STRANGELY so, I always had a general idea of what was going on in the Spidey books. I guess you cannot really collect comics without knowing about what Spider-Man is up to, either directly or indirectly. Anyway, may Mary and Peter find happiness. Rest in Peace, Gwen.
7. Spider-Man and Black Cat from the pages of MARVEL COMICS, with thanks to ACTIVISION
On the Simpsons, while she was debating whether or not to join a gymnastics class, Lisa asked Homer: "Who wants to wear tights and get screamed at all the time?" Homer replied, "Hookers. And Spider-Man." Heh. Now, as I said, I never read much Spidey directly. But I do like my video games. And Activision's game based on Spier-Man 2 the movie posed an interesting idea: If Spider-Man gave up being Peter all together, women like Black Cat would be waiting for him. Would that be so bad? The fact that this romance did not work out in the end shows that superheroes need their non-superpowered women. It keeps them grounded and helps us relate to them. After all, none of us could score a super powered mate. Well, alright, fine, maybe me, I'll give you all that one.
8. Archie, Betty and Veronica from the pages of ARCHIE COMICS
We have all heard of an isosceles triangle, right? Well, I offer you this group of characters. They are the corners of the infamous neverevergonnaberesolved triangle. That said, you have got to give Archie credit. He's made out with both Betty and Veronica, without really getting a permanent injury from either one of them for being caught with the other. And these ladies keep coming back for more. Maybe Archie should just move Betty, Veronica, and himself to one of those countries where they allow multiple wives. Hey, then even that red-head Cheryl Blossom could get in on the fun if she wanted.
9. Optimus Prime and Elita1 from The Transformers
Optimus Prime. He is the greatest leader of all in toon/anime town. If all the cartoon/anime heroes of the world got together to fight a common foe, I strongly believe Optimus Prime stands among those who would deserve the honor of leading them. A bold statement to be true, but one I stand by. And surprise, he had a woman on Cybertron waiting for him to come home. Elita1 showed up in only one (maybe two) episode as far as I know, but she and her fellow female Autobots sure were a nice surprise for us all--energon eye candy. Furthermore, it was nice Hasbro finally let us know what team Prime was playing for, Autobots notwithstanding.
10. Springer and Arcee from The Transformers Movie
And, of course, you can't talk about female Autobots without mentioning this couple. In fact, I think I knew about Arcee before Elita1 and her ladies in waiting. Anyway, cheers for these two Hasbro. Arcee clearly had a thing for triple-changers. And she gave The Transformers Movie just what it needed: a woman's touch.
11. Alex and Luna / Hiro and Lucia from LUNAR I and II adapted and translated by Working Designs
I put these two couples together because they are near and not so near copies of each other and they belong to a pair of games I will always consider the best console RPGs I have ever played. Their story and characters spoke to my soul. I have yet to find their equal. I don't think I ever will.
Lunar I and II were games made for the now defunct SEGA CD. They have been re-released for the Playstation, but they have been altered in ways that would make us true fans both happy and upset and I will not go into that here. Anyway, when I first had the opportunity to buy the first Lunar I found it on a bargain shelf at Blockbuster Video and I did not buy it until I had purchased all the other SEGA CD games there because when I looked on the back of the box, I thought the graphics and gameplay looked stupid. I was very, very, VERY wrong. When I die and forget why I have to spend a time in purgatory before entering heaven, I am sure God will remind me by saying: "Remember when you thought Lunar sucked simply based on the box cover?" The memory will hit me like a ton of devine bricks and I will say. "Oh yeah, right! I'll wait here then. No problem, Big Guy." True Lunar fans, you understand this more than anyone. This one is for you.
12. Fred Jones, Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley
Com'on Fred, it's not that hard of a chioce, is it? We all know you want Daphne. That's why you always paired up with her when you decided to split the team. And we all know you named your van the "Mystery Machine": because "Love Machine" was already taken. In fact, Fred, the only reason I included Velma in this picture was the main reason that (besides the fact that she was smarter than you) you kept her on the team: pity.
13. Ren and Tula from The Pirates of Dark Water
I always watch this series when I'm not feeling very well. Its rich mix of adventure and great characters makes me forget what ailes me. In it, the alien world of Mur was being devoured by dark water. Ren was charged with finding 13 treasures to save it. Unfortunately, the TV gods only gave him time to find six. Seven, if you count Tula. The fact that she was both a warrior and an ecomancer only added to her pricelessness. I wish this show had gone the distance. It had true elements of adventure at its core. That, and I wanted to see if my prediction would come true: Ren and Tula would rule New Octapon together as king and queen and, perhaps, have a little world-saver of their own someday. Always the quest!
14. Mario and Peach from Nintendo
After Mario left his old flame Pauline (even Donkey Kong lost interest in her) and a career in carpentry, he decided to become a plumber. Why he chose toilets over timber we will never know, but it was clearly the right choice because not only did his adventures become grander, but so did his new girlfriend. He went from Pauline's tired looks and monkey-torn dresses to Peach's pretty face and princess attire. Also, Peach didn't always just wait around to be rescued like poor Pauline. Sometimes Peach got in on the game too. Good for her. She has proved time and again she's not just another pretty face. However, before they tie the knot, if they decide to, Mario will have to sit Peach down tell her that he did let Pauline hold his hammer once or twice.
15. Ryo Saeba and Kaori Makimura from City Hunter
Mokori! Who thought a man who is an absolute skirt-chasing pervert in his off hours, could be one the the coolest gunmen on the planet and make the change from one to the other in an instant? Ryo and Kaori are easily one of the most interesting couples on this list because the only thing keeping them from getting busy is a promise Ryo made to his dead partner, Kaori's brother: to take care of, but never lay a lusty hand on his sister. Well, that, and the fact that Ryo is afraid to let Kaori get too close because he might end up dead one of these days. So, for now, they must be content simply working together: Ryo putting bullets in the bad guys and Kaori keeping Ryo's incredible sex drive in check as he tries to unleash it on their attractive female clients and female supporting cast. Maybe someday they will put the past behind them, throw caution in the wind, and try to make a future as a couple.
16. Pepe Le Pew and those poor black cats from Looney Toons
Pepe Le Pew has all the qualities of a great lover. He is a born romantic. His enthusiasm knows no bounds. His ego is as big as the Eiffel Tower. He showers les femmes with flowery come-ons, champagne, and gifts. He purrs. He coos. He cajoles... All in that entrancing French accent.
But like all great heroes, he has a flaw: his natural, er, "perfume." That skunk stench has been known to make flowers wilt as he walks by. Buildings clear out the moment the amorous Pepe enters. Marble statues which have survived hundreds of years of rain and wind melt in his presence. Worst of all, that stench makes the ladies run away from Pepe in horror. Love may be blind, but its ability to smell is A-OK. But luckily for our olfactory-challenged lover, he has one other abiding quality, perhaps his best: He won't take no for an answer. Perhaps Pepe Le Pew would have less trouble with the lovely ladies if he stuck to his own species. Until then, black cats beware when Pepe crosses your path.
17. Sora and Kairi from Kingdom Hearts Final Remix
A friend of mine convinced me to buy Kingdom Hearts. I was reluctant because Disney and video games have never gone very well together in my experience. I am pleased to say that I was wrong this time. Kingdom Hearts is easily one of Squaresoft's best works and the adventures of Sora and Kairi belong up there with Disney's finest stories. Let's hope this couple finally gets together in Kingdom Hearts II.
18. Roger and Jessica Rabbit from Who framed Roger Rabbit
Roger Rabbit and several of our favourite toons stepped out into reality for one major motion picture. Thank goodness he thought to bring his wife with him. People must have thought more than just Roger's foot must be lucky since he managed to land a woman like Jessica. But in truth, she loved him for his sense of humor and so did we all.
19. Miaka and Tamahome from Fushigi Yugi
Junior high students and best friends Yuuki Miaka and Hongo Yui encounter a mysterious book, THE FOUR GODS OF THE EARTH AND SKY, while at the library. The opening lines of the book explain that it is the legendary story of a young girl transported to a faraway land, and that it is also an incantation to make the story real. Once they read past this introduction, they are instantly transported into the world of the book, ancient China and one hell of an anime with 52 episodes begins. Tamahome and Miaka are the couple we find ourselves hoping will have a happy ending in this wonderful story. If you haven't seen it, stop reading right now and get to it. You won't regret it. Okay, well, maybe finish reading.
20.Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, Green Arrow and Black Canary, and Huntress and The Question from the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited Animated Series
I know very little about these couples outside the JL and JLU animated series. That said, I enjoyed all of them in this medium and I know all the fans, new and old, were glad to see Bruce Timm and his cronies take a stab at them and bring them to the small screen. N.B. Having "Green" in your name goes along way to helping one make the dating scene in the Justice League.
21. Garfield and Irma from the pages of Garfield
Who says fat guys cannot get dates? Garfield managed to do just fine with his on again off again girlfriend Irma. She could use the space between her teeth to whistle loud enough to break glass. Now, who wouldn't want that in a woman? Yep, even if you eat lasagna everyday, have a gut, and hate Mondays with a passion, you can still get some tail.
22. Rick and Lisa and Max and Mirya from Robotech
Looking for some serious anime action and romantic complications? Don't worry. Robotech to the rescue! This was the first animated series I watched where people actually died. I remember Roy Fokker died in Claudia's quarters. I remember Ben Dixon not getting back to finish his steak. I remember when Khyron the Backstabber crashed his ship into the SDF 1 and 2 and killed Captain Gloval and his entire bridge crew save Lisa Hayes. War is brutal no matter where it is fought, space or otherwise. But at least we know two good things came out of it all: these two couples. Who could forget Rick finally letting Minmei go in favour of Lisa? Who could forget Max trouncing Miriya in the Macross city arcade and then asking her out on the spot? Then, after she tried to kill him in the park, he proposed to her? The great moments in Robotech are so many it would take forever to list them here. But I will say this. Iif you are a Robotech fan and you haven't read the Robotech novels, get to it. The anime is good, the books are better.
23. Prince Pyrus and Lady Zera from Shadow Raiders
I didn't see all the episodes of Shadow Raiders, another CG series by Mainframe Entertainment, but I saw most of them. However, it's been so long, I don't remember much save this opposites-attract couple. A creature of fire and a creature of ice attracted to each other, what a concept.
24. Chrono and Marle from Chrono Trigger
I played and finished this game last year. I loved the wedding scene SONY decided to add with the re-release. I hated the fact you could only use three characters at any given time. Playing Chrono Trigger was like playing a watered-down version of Lunar, but it definitely had its charm. What ticked me off was a true sequel to this game was never made. Chrono Cross, does not even come close. Why some companies think making a sequel to a game that is almost completely unrelated to the first is a good idea, I'll never know.
25. Kermit, Piggy, and Gonzo from the Muppet Babies
Kermit and Piggy end up together. We all know this. However, one thing that makes this infantile love triangle stand out for me is that Gonzo was an example of many of us who liked the popular girl, but didn't have a chance in hell of landing her. Further, Gonzo reminds me of Link from the Legend of Zelda animated series (see Happily Ever After? Part 1) in that he kept trying to get a kiss from Piggy but always came up short, save once. And Kermit, well, he was the guy we all wanted to be when we were young in one form or another. The frog had charm, talent and natural leadership ability. Unfortunately, Gonzo, the weirdo who nobody seemed to understand, was who we were.
26. Cyclops and Jean Grey from the pages of MARVEL COMICS
Apparently, this couple is having problems these days. Or, at least that's what some feedback about my last article suggested. Anyway, this couple will always have a special place in my mind because they were the main characters in the Phoenix Saga, one of the greatest X-men stories ever and a story I greatly enjoyeed.
27. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon
Moon Crystal Power! Well, here is a couple that needs no introduction. They were very prominent in the 90's and still are today depending on who you talk to. The great thing about this couple is it brought alot of young women into the animation demographic, more than their had ever been before. And, they pretty much helped make Japanamation a household word. Serina with all her faults and Darien with all his gentlemanly maturity struck a chord with young men (including myself) and women everywhere and they will always be a welcome sight when people seek truth justice and love. Well those, or a woman dressed in a sailor style school uniform that offers to punish you.
28. Haku and Chihiro from Spirited Away
I didn't know what to expect as I prepared to watch Spirited Away for the first time. What I got was a magnificent story, with great animation. In Spirited Away, Chihiro moves to a new town away from her old school and friends. She takes a sudden detour into the spirit world where, at an enchanted bath house, she finds her true-love and he's a young magic wielding water spirit that can turn into a dragon to boot. Haku is easily one of the coolest characters I've come across in a fantasy anime. I hope a sequel to Spirited Away is made someday.
29. Hitomi and Toshi from CatsEye.
I watched this entire series in Japanese with no subtitles: 18 episodes each with three or four episodes a piece. The language barrier was sometimes a problem, but not enough to keep me comig back for more. Created by the same folks who created City Hunter, I was glad to have another opportunity to enjoy their work. The strangest thing about this anime was that Toshi, a police officer hot on the traill of the three thieves that made up CATSEYE, never realized Hitomi was a member even though she never wore a mask and her face was always in plain sight. The mang/series writers went to extrodinary lengths to create circumstances where, for one reason or another, Toshi was never able to see Hitomi's face when she was doing the crime thing, even when they were right next to each other. It does become a running gag through the entire series. One i thouroughly enjoyed. The kicker was that the Cats Eye girls, Rui, Ai, and Hitomi owned and operated a coffeshop called "CATSEYE" in their crime-off hours that Toshi frequented. He never made the connection. This series is a true example, beyond even Superman and Lois, of just how blind love can be.
30. The Flintstones and The Simpsons
I think this is a fitting group to end my article on. Fred and Wilma (Rubbles notwithstanding) and Homer and Marge are the longest running animated couples in North America. If you haven't heard of them, well, I'm not going to help you here except to ask: Where have you been the last 30 plus years?!
Once again, I hope you all enjoyed this trip into my Saturday Morning/animation/video game/cartoon/entertainment life. Now, I'm pretty sure, regardless of wether you liked this article or not (again, sorry G.I.Joe fans), you all agree I need to get out more. Well. I'm going to do just that.