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October 1 is designated as “Glasses Day” by the Japanese Ophthalmic Business Association. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fans of glasses-wearing characters then took this date as a yearly occasion to express their love for the characters they like. Conveniently, October 1 is also designated as the birthday of my favorite glasses-girl character, Noe Kawashima from Taisho Baseball Girls. Thus, I’d like to take the occassion to write about why Noe is a particularly special glasses-girl character for me.

In Taisho Baseball Girls, Noe Kawashima is a classmate of main heroines Koume Suzukawa and Akiko Ogasawara at Toho Seika Girl’s School. When they initiated making a baseball team to challenge the baseball team of a boy’s school, Noe was one of the first to join them in founding the team. She is the team’s strategist, promising to think of plans to defeat the boys’ team from the get go. Although her physical skills are lacking compared to others, she played an important role in guiding the team to practice and improve their skills.

Kawashima Noe speed learning

Characters with glasses are stereotypically portrayed as the “smart” or “intelligent” person, and Noe is no exception. But there’s a difference between how Noe’s intelligence is portrayed compared to other glasses characters like Lucky Star‘s Miyuki Takara, for example. When it comes to characters like Miyuki, their intelligence are usually demonstrated merely through possessing an encyclopedic database of knowledge; they know a lot of facts. Noe herself also demonstrate an exceptional memory, able to memorize all baseball rules just by reading them in one or two days, for instance.

Kawashima Noe taking notes

But there’s more to her intellectual prowess than just gathering and storing knowledge. She is also adept at analyzing the data she gathered from observing her teammates’ capabilities and the play of the opponent team. And from there, she can formulate strategies and even specific practice programs for different team members. Here, she demonstrates capability for higher order of thinking, processing the knowledge she had obtained to produce something new.

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Next, glasses-girl characters are also quite often being portrayed as painfully shy. But Noe, on the contrary, is a strongly confident character. She put herself forward to join the team and be the strategist since the beginning without being asked; assuring Koume and Akiko that they will need her help to win. She also doesn’t shy away from instructing her teammates on what they should do in practice or how they should play.

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With her advanced thinking capabilty and her confidence, Noe’s role is really crucial in improving the team. And she performed her role with utmost dedication and diligence. These are the characteristics that made her such an awesome character. Though young, Noe Kawashima appears as an admirable character that you can look up to.

But Noe is not without her flaw. Her highly calculative method can comes off as rather too strict to her friends; such as when she restricted Tomoe from attempting to hit a home run that she so desired. For the most part, this strategy works as Tomoe’s regular hits are more reliable than her attempts at hitting a home run. But in a pinch late in the game, Tomoe demonstrated that in sports, sometimes it is necessary to take risks rather than strictly sticking to the calculations and planned strategy like Noe did. By having a flaw, though, Noe’s characterization feels more whole and humane, and it makes her more interesting as a character. Noe Kawashima is a character that can admired for her amazing skill and diligence, while still believable with her flaw.

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Now how about you Kaorin? Do you also like glasses characters, be they girls or guys? What glasses character feels most special to you, and why?

The Indonesian Anime Times | by Halimun Muhammad

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