The Anime Zodiac
Tigers, rabbits, and dragons, oh my!
Happy New Year! Yes, 2005 officially began in January, but in February a whole different kind of new year begins: the Year of the Rooster. The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, with each year represented by an animal. Aside from being a way to keep track of time, each animal has its own traits and characteristics that are passed onto people born in that year. Curious about what traits that each sign possesses? You don't need to look much farther than your own anime collection to see the Chinese zodiac at work.
Take for example, Conan Edogawa from Case Closed. Being more intelligent than everyone around him is not only an advantage when solving a mystery, it's also a key trait of those born in the Year of the Rat. Just like how people underestimate Conan because of his small size, people often underestimate the rat's cleverness. However, when it comes time to reveal who the criminal is, they quickly realize just how sharp the rat can be.
Next on the Chinese zodiac is the strong and steady ox. The ox is a lot like the wandering samurai Kenshin Himura, who inspires others with his leadership and ideals. Though the ox may seem calm and thoughtful, when it's time to act the ox will be the first one there.
Inu-Yasha may have more in common physically with the canine family then any other animal, but personality-wise, he's a tiger. Hotheaded, stubborn and emotional, the tiger can be a little hard to get along with. Just ask Kagome. However, Inu-Yasha and most other tigers really do care about the ones they love, even if they have trouble showing it.
After the tiger comes the bunny rabbit. The connection between Chiyo from Azumanga Daioh and bunnies should be obvious: they're both cute! Chiyo-chan's hair even looks like the ears of a lop-eared rabbit. Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are enthusiastic and clever, but they have a tendency to do too much too soon, like entering high school when they're only ten years old.
Yukino Miyazawa from His and Her Circumstances/Kare Kano is the perfect example of a dragon. They're charismatic and natural leaders, but they can be a little overwhelming for some people. Though she no longer tries to be a perfect student (being able to re-invent themselves is another skill that most dragons have), Yukino is competitive and likes to be the best at whatever she does.
A distant relative of the dragon, the snake comes next in the zodiac. Snakes are spiritual and deep-thinkers, often meditating. Motoko Kusangi from Ghost in The Shell has many things in common with those born in the Year of the Snake, including a philosophical outlook on life. Snakes make for great teachers, philosophers and Section 9 agents.
Naruto has much of the same traits as those born under the horse sign. Horses are independent and hard to tame, and they have to be on guard against thinking too highly of themselves. On the flip side, they're friendly and like to be useful to others. Naruto is an energetic and freewheeling guy, but he is also happy to use his ninja skills to help those in need.
The sheep (also called the goat) comes after the Year of the Horse. Li Syaoran from Cardcaptor Sakura might have been born in this year, as like most sheep, he tends to make a bad first impression, as when he picked a fight with Sakura just minutes after meeting her. Once you get to know him however, Syaoran is actually a kind and thoughtful person, as most sheep turn out to be.
Intelligent, playful, mischievous and talented with a magnetic personality: those are the words used to describe people born in the Year of the Monkey, but it also fits the thief Lupin the III. Monkeys can either be fun and entertaining or a pain in the butt with their vain antics. In Lupin's case, it depends on which side of the law that you're on.
Lord Ilpalazzo from Excel Saga was definitely born in the Year of the Rooster. A flashy dresser with high ideals, he fits the description to a tee. Roosters are known for starting big projects, only to scale back when it gets too hard, which would explain why Ilpalazzo's plan for world domination was downgraded to conquering the city.
The next animal on the zodiac, the dog, is a lot like its real-life counterpart: faithful and honest. Ichigo, the blunt protagonist of Bleach, may have been born in this year. Though he tends to say whatever that is on his mind and to be slightly cynical, Ichigo is extremely loyal to those that he cares for.
The last sign in the Chinese zodiac is also the most laid back. The pig (or boar, or hog) enjoys life and takes his time to do so. With his peace-loving personality, Vash the Stampede from Trigun embodies many of the pig's attributes. Both pigs and Vash are sincere about their feelings and accepting of others, yet slightly na´ve, since they expect everyone else to do the same.
The Chinese Zodiac is not that hard to figure out, and once you do, you'll be seeing roosters, pigs and dragons in every anime you watch.