The second post in “100 Characters For 100 Otaku.“
Welcome to the second post in the “100 Characters for 100 Otaku” series in which I, upon request, take the list of my 100 favorite anime characters and state what I like about them, how they are mirrors of the nature of otaku, and draw a parallel between them and my own otakudom as well as the first episode of Crest of the Stars (yes, this was part of the request!) Today I’ve got numbers 95 down through 91, so let’s see what they’re all about!
95. Edward Elric (from FullMetal Alchemist)
Why I Like Him: Ed had a singular goal and he would walk through hell on his path to it. In his youth, he didn’t truly know how cruel the world could be, and no matter how often he thought he’d reached the deepest suffering, things managed to get worse and plunge him further into despair. But he never gave up fighting even if it meant he may have lost his humanity. Ed had to grow up, and he had to learn what the world really is; but along the way, he’ll always hold fast to his conviction.
A Mirror For Otaku: Like anyone, an otaku will have to bear up under immense pain in their lives. When you face such a crippling pain, you may want to give up. Many wouldn’t be able to take it. Ed gives a message to those who suffer – never give up. Be strong and persevere in any suffering. This kind of message can bring hope to the ever-difficult life of an otaku.
Reflecting My Otakudom: I have come to face a lot of brick walls in my quest through otakudom. There have been times where I wondered if anime was still doing anything for me – if watching it was amounting to anything. There are times when I feel like I’ll never see everything, or times when I feel like I don’t want to. However, I always continue in light of my ultimate goal – to perfect my love, and to finalize my favorites list – an undying desire that will push me to the end.
The First Episode of Crest of the Stars: Much like Edward has to do time and again, Jinto faces a life-changing experience early in his life. When the Abh invade, he is suddenly made into a prince, and doesn’t really know what to make of it. However, Jinto keeps a fairly positive outlook. He doesn’t get weepy or emo or hate his dad, but looks calmly and optimistically at an undefined future.
94. Roronoa Zoro (from One Piece)
Why I Like Him: I had the choice between two badass characters voiced by Kazuya Nakai, and while Date Masamune has twice as many swords and an awesome knack for the English language, Zoro has more heart and reasons to care about him. Sure, he got the short end of the sword in terms of One Piece backstories (usually great, not his), but his admirable goal of becoming the world’s greatest swordsman makes him win; Especially because he’s a pretty serious guy, so when you hear him say it and see him fight, you really believe that he has no intention of failing in this goal.
A Mirror For Otaku: Every otaku wants to be a badass voiced by Kazuya Nakai. If you disagree, search your feelings – you know it to be true. If you don’t want to wield a minimum of three swords and go on adventures and kick ass and sound awesome doing it, then you may have a problem somewhere in the ‘awesome’ quartex of your brain.
Reflecting My Otakudom: I want to be a badass voiced by Kazuya Nakai! But leaving behind that fantasy, I could say that I am like Zoro in my unwavering desire to be the very best at something. And like him, my goals are always way too lofty and ridiculous sounding, but when you see the effort I put forward and the madness in my eyes, you know I might be on my way to the top! (this post is an excellent example!)
The First Episode of Crest of the Stars: The Abh are without a doubt a race of total badasses. They have entire solar systems under their control and can destroy whole planets for trying to fuck around with them. If they had existed in the pirate age, all of them surely would have wielded three swords and been voiced by Kazuya Nakai (yes, even the women.)
93. Mei Etoh (from Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!)
Why I Like Her: Besides being my favorite Aya Hirano role, Mei is a great and brilliant girl held back only by her past. She never wants to open up to people because of the way she was used in the past (as described in a stunning backstory sequence), but once Manabi unlocks her heart, we see her true genius. Tactical, calculating, orderly, and with a commanding presence, Mei is an excellent leader and would be on my ballot for president.
A Mirror For Otaku: Mei’s story is practically ripped straight from the pages of an otaku diary. Many, many otaku close off their hearts emotionally because of the way they have been treated in the past, and refuse to open up to anyone that approaches them. Some of these otaku (take No Name as a case in point example) are great people with amazing talent and kind hearts who would be a gift to anyone that could actually befriend them.
Reflecting My Otakudom: I’ve been like Mei before – closing out the world and not letting anyone in. However, I eventually became like Manabi, and did for some of my good friends what she did for Mei – reintroduced them to the world. I’ve similarly sought to reopen the hearts of people to works that they decided to shun in the past, such as those who watch a single episode of something and hatde it, only to come to love it after my concinving them to try again.
The First Episode of Crest of the Stars: When Jinto’s dad becomes the ruler of their planet in a treaty with the Abh, his own best friend feels so betrayed that he seethes with hatred, much as Mei did to her classmates when they abused her kindness. We can only hope that like Mei did with the people around her, Jinto’s dad’s friend can overcome his feeling of betrayal.
92. Tenjou Utena (from Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Why I Like Her: Ah, adolescence. Utena is a very strong-willed but very confused young woman. She has a lot of principles and beliefs that she is forced to throw into question as her self-assuredness is continuously put in check. We watch Utena gradually come to terms with the adult world and her own adolescence as she decides what’s really important in the world and what she wants to become.
A Mirror For Otaku: Otaku wade through life without a clear idea of where they may end up. If you ask an otaku why they are so obsessed with anime, you can get any number of answers, but it’s hard to find a convincing one. It comes down to the age-old arguments of what is morally correct and what kind of standards we should give ourselves. Otaku are almost like a litmus test of the moral compass, as they have very gradient ideas of what’s acceptable.
Reflecting My Otakudom: As an otaku, I’ve faced many a moral issue and had my beliefs thrown into question. Is loli okay? is there such thing as an incorrect opinion? Do my favorite shows suck? Like Utena, I think I’ll spend a lot of time coming to terms with my answers to these questions.
The First Episode of Crest of the Stars: Humanity has a hard time deciding what to make of the Abh invasion. Do they want to live in servitude? Can the aliens be trusted? Will they really be spared? Should they fight? These overwhelming and difficult questions reflect those posed to Utena throughout the series.
Why I Like Him: Ginko is ‘ice cold‘. He’s a quiet, contemplative traveler with lots of experience and knowledge that he uses to help people as well as satiate his interest in seeing all of the world’s true colors. Ginko isn’t just an observer, though – he has principles, and he will not stand for violence that could be prevented. He doesn’t choose sides, either, as he would hate to kill man or mushi. However, he is also an adult, and knows what must be done when the time comes, even if the results are unfortunate.
A Mirror For Otaku: Ginko is almost like an idealized version of an otaku. He is a man whose seen everything and knows all there is about his subject of interest, but he is never pretentious and always willing to defend both sides. You could say that if all otaku had a mature, sober outlook on anime, they’d all be like Ginko.
Reflecting My Otakudom: I want to be like Ginko. I want to be the guy who knows everything and doesn’t try to abuse it. Ginko is cool, worldly, and respectable – traits I’ve been developing slowly with all my effort.
The First Episode of Crest of the Stars: Ginko knows how to kill a mushi, but he doesn’t want to if he doesn’t have to. Similarly, the Abh don’t have a desire to wipe out humanity. If the humans refuse to go along with their rules, they’ll drop the hammer of God on them, but in the end, the Abh just want us all to get along.
There’s 95-91, tune in tomorrow for five more! We’ll have a serial rapist, a little girl who’s keen with firearms, and who knows – maybe your favorite character!