2019 will be remembered for many things, one of which is the brilliant selection of anime released that year. One of these brilliant titles is Ore wo Suki Nano wa Omae Dake ka yo? (ORESUKI), a school-based slice of life comedy that definitely earns itself a high score for its humour, uniqueness, and witty nicknames for characters!
Each character in ORESUKI has a nickname or alias and the best thing about their nicknames is that they all have something to do with flowers! Some of their names are excellent puns that need to be seen as a fun layer that ties the show together. Most of the characters’ nicknames are based on actual flowers, while “Joro” is a watering can. Each nickname makes the character more interesting, but also gives them some kind of metaphorical placement. Who are our favourite “Flowers” from ORESUKI? Let’s find out! This article contains some spoilers, tread carefully!
-- Spoilers Ahead! --
Appearing around midway of the series, Youki Chiharu is a transfer student who ends up in the same class as Joro. She works at her family restaurant and fell in love with Joro prior to the events of ORESUKI when she met him at the series’ most important event: the baseball game of the previous school year. Tsubaki tells Joro about her feelings for him and appears to him like the fated female protagonist his romantic comedy should have had. ORESUKI uses Tsubaki as a supporting role for the series. Her nickname, Tsubaki, comes from her real name, which is written 「洋木 茅春」. Dropping the first kanji of her last name and her first name leaves you with 「木春」, which is read “Tsubaki” and translates to “Winter Rose”, a name for hellebores, a type of plant.
Mayama Asaka, known to her peers as “Sasanqua”, is one of ORESUKI’s supporting characters. Initially appearing as a hostile presence towards Joro, Sasanqua’s opinion of Joro changes after she apologises to him. She sits next to Joro in class and develops feelings for him as the series progresses. The 180-degree change in her feelings towards Joro is part of her overall character archetype, which lends itself towards a “Mean Girl” overlapping with an anime classic: the Tsundere. The latter presents itself in later stages of the series as she begins to come to terms with the fact that she likes Joro. Her full name, Mayama Asaka, is written 「真山 亜茶花」and removing the 「真」 and the 「亜」 kanji from her name leaves 「山茶花』 which is read “Sasanka”—Sasanqua, like the flower by the same name. Her name and her physical appearance initially overlapped as she had twin ponytails that were a dark pink in colour. She later lets her hair down and dyes it black because Joro said he likes girls who look like that (remind you of anyone?). However, even after dyeing her hair black, Sasanqua wears a red floral headband which can be seen as a nod at her previous hair colour.
Akino Sakura is the Student Council President at Nishikizuta High School where Joro and most of the cast of ORESUKI attend school. A lot of people can figure out that her first name, Sakura, is also the name of a flower, which carries on the show’s trend of having flower-related names. However, her nickname, “Cosmos”, is derived from the written form of her real name Akino Sakura, which is written 「秋野桜」in kanji. If one were to drop the 「野」 character, what would be left would be 「秋桜」”akizakura”, which means cosmos—the flower. There are obvious references to Cosmos’ name and alias, one being the pink-purple colour of her hair and eyes.
In Japanese, the word “himawari” can be translated literally to mean “faces the sun”; which is interesting because that feature is known as heliotropism–the growth of a plant towards the direction of the sun. Hinata Aoi, better known as Himawari, is a hyperactive and cheerful second-year high school girl. She is also Joro’s childhood friend. Her nickname 「向日葵」 is “Himawari'' which is the Japanese word for sunflower. The funny thing about her name is that she is in love with Sun-chan, whose Japanese name is literally the word for “sun” in Japanese. Her role in the series is a minor subversion of the childhood friend trope and archetype, at least in the beginning.
Sumireko is perhaps ORESUKI’s best character. The anime subverts many tropes that are common in romance and slice of life anime, so her character archetype is many things but mostly the bookish female protagonist. However, she is incredibly discerning and sees through the act that Joro puts on whenever he interacts with other people. However, the anime’s use of Pansy as the romantic interest that Joro does not want anything to do with adds another element to the convoluted relationships that form in the group and the histories that coincide about a certain day. Pansy blackmails Joro into hanging out with her every lunch, which shows that she’s also very shrewd and not scared of playing her hand. She desperately wishes to blend in and attract as little attention as possible, so when Sun-chan asks her out, things become incredibly complicated!
There are flashes where Pansy hints at a past she does not particularly want to talk about, hence her desire to attract very little attention. In fact, Pansy is infamous for appearing rather gloomy. This creates a heavy element of mystery; however, her charm comes also from the fact that amidst loads of manipulation and deception amongst the characters of ORESUKI, Pansy’s confession of love for Joro seemed like a definite fact. This element was the one curveball presented by the series as an actual clichéd trope of the romance genre. The other cliché is Pansy hiding incredible beauty but working hard to mask it.
Pansy’s nickname is one of ORESUKI’s many displays of flair that made the character’s names very memorable but also based on their actual “government” names in the series. Pansy’s alias is based on her full name, 「三色院菫子」 Sanshokuin Sumireko. When you drop the「院」 and the 「子」kanji, what remains is 「三色菫」“san-shiki-sumire”, which is the Japanese word for the garden pansy—our favourite flower in ORESUKI. Her name being derived from the name of a flower is perhaps the easiest to discover in the series because the characters all refer to her by the English word “pansy” instead of “sanshikisumire”.
ORESUKI’s entire concept is really interesting when taken apart and it is one show that exceeded expectations from the beginning of the first episode. It lures you in with common tropes and then works those tropes into something different and a little more interesting. All of this while having a running subtext that can be gleaned from the names of the characters and how much thought went into constructing characters with names, appearances and sometimes even personalities that are presented the moment they introduce themselves.
There are many other characters with interesting names and personalities in ORESUKI; however, the five on this list have caught our attention a little bit more than the others. Well, the others from the same school as Joro, at least. Who are your favourite ORESUKI characters? Drop a comment below and tell us your thoughts!