Why I can't read Full Metal Alchemist, but love Azumangah Daioh; Or, a (very) brief exploration of Great Pyrenees in japanese popular culture.
So, Full Metal Alchemist is fabulous, but every time I even think about it, I think of these two, Nina and Alexander. Alexander is, according to the FMA wiki based on something the author once said, a Great Pyrenees. They are SO adorable together, but they possibly the most tragic storyline in any anime or manga I've ever seen or read. And trust me, Japan does tragedy, but these two go right over the top.
Right about the year I first saw the original FMA anime, this is who was running around in my back yard:
That'd be my daughter Kajsa, and Lina who most definitely was a Great Pyrenees. And they were absolutely the best of friends, spending pretty much 24/7 together. When Kajsa went to nap, Lina would be sleep across the doorway so nobody could get in. That's if they didn't just curl up together in a pile of girl and dog under some furniture somewhere. Pretty much from the day she was born, until she started preschool, they were constant companions. Lina taught her how to walk (by letting her lean up against her and then slowly standing... beats those wheeled walker chairs any day :).
Luckily manga redeems itself with the most adorable Azumanga Daioh. Which also has a cute little girl with ponytails named Chiyo, and her Great Pyrenees, named Tadakichi-san.
Azumanga is a simple, humourous little series of comic strips that became a rather famous series of short anime episodes too. It's about a bunch of mismatched girls at school, and the quirky weirdness they get up to. For instance, Chiyo, although only 10, is a genius and already at high school with the rest of the crowd, but is by far the smartest of them. She's also very much an 10 year old, and quite silly and still into little girl things and the results can be quite hilarious: she likes to bake cookies, but turns the entire thing into a massive chemistry project. There's another character who is obsessed with cats, and loves them, but every time she tries to pat one, it tries to kill her. Until she somehow ends up adopting a wild cat (Iriamote cat, which may as well be a bobcat, but is very sweet and loving to .. well just her). Me and my girls always thought it was bust out loud funny, so if you can stand the cute, definitely worth checking out in either book or anime form (it's only 5 minute episodes, no big commitment :).
Anyway, we lost Lina not so long ago, and seeing the FMA posts scrolling up my dash put me in mind of her. She was almost 15, and for a giant breed dog that is a very ripe old age, and when the time came, she was ready, even if I wasn't. But it hurt a lot.
To be honest Grim, if you're reading this, don't worry, I really did finish watching the original anime, even if the Nina and Alexander story was horrible and almost put me off. But I don't think I could do the books. And it inspired me to dig out some happy Pyr manga and anime, and they just don't come happier than AD.
So here's a clip of what happens when everyone is worried that Tadakichi san might get eaten by the Iriamote cat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMyvvI21kp8 since the embed doesn't work on the dash, only on the post.