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Dragon Ball Super 0

Toppo: Pride Trooper of Destruction

As the Tournament of Power reaches its conclusion, I am constantly reminded of Dragon Ball Super’s 7th ending theme: An Evil Angel and Righteous Devil.  Towards the end of it, there’s a line that goes “Justice and evil both carry the same gun”.  I couldn’t help but think about the song when Toppo tells Frieza that “Justice…is worthless now” during their battle and Toppo’s resolve (to become a God of Destruction and forego his morals).  The theme of justice is played with Toppo throughout the Universe Survival Arc. Toppo is a proud warrior of justice; leading his Pride Troopers to battle after battle in the name of all that is righteous.

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From analyzing Toppo’s personality, he holds justice, morals, and honor with the utmost respect.  He fights fairs: preferring honest play over cheap tactics.  This is shown when Toppo snapped on Android 17 for attacking the Kamikaze Fireball (during their transformation).   He questioned the motives of the Tournament, The Grand Priest, and Zeno-Sama.  Toppo doesn’t feel right about fighting in a tournament designed to wipe out multiple universes; a tournament in which countless lives will end upon each universe’s erasure.

Toppo and his Pride Troopers initially entered the tournament to punish those who they deemed “evil”.  While survival was ideal, targeting evil doers were their prime goal. However in episode 104 of Super, Toppo started to change his mind.  With seven of his men gone and his universe at risk of deletion, Toppo decides that the Pride Troopers must kill their ideologies of justice and ethics in order to live.

There’s no place for justice and heroism in a war of survival.

Towards the end of the tournament, Toppo is struggling against Andoird 17.  After analyzing 17’s combat style (and discovering 17 has infinite energy), Toppo decides to end his battle with 17 with one blow.  However, he fails and is forced into a beam struggle with the Universe 7 warrior.    During the struggle, Frieza attacks Toppo from behind.  Frieza taunts Toppo while blasting him with Death Beams. Bored with Toppo, Frieza attempts to blast Toppo off the battlefield; enveloping him with overwhelming energy.

Despite the struggle, Toppo survives but is heavily wounded.

Frieza taunts Toppo once more.  He mocks the man, calling him trash.  He then points out how shameful it must be for Toppo to have his prized uniform of justice in shreds.  It’s here where Toppo snaps.  Coldly, Toppo replies that justice is worthless.  After seeing his men fall and the destruction of six universes before him, Toppo comes to a resolution.  Justice is worthless.  It has no use on the battlefield.  Justice doesn’t translate to survival.

In order to survive,  Toppo gives up on justice.  This same man who praised it with pride now sees it as a waste. A liability even.  Toppo decides to ascend to godhood: A God of Destruction.  Destruction – like war – is neutral.  It doesn’t care about silly ideas like good or evil, justice or injustice.  All it cares for is annihilation and death.

What good are both justice and playing hero if both things never ensure survival?

‘There’s only one difference between heroes and madmen: It’s whether they win or lose.’

-Lambdadelta, Umineko no Naku Koro ni

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Dragon Ball Super 0

Jiren’s Respect

“Respect is earned, not given” is a controversial statement.  Some believe that respect should be given to all – regardless of who they are or what they have accomplished.  Others think that respect should only be earned through hard work, talent, skills, etc. In high levels of competition, respect is earned only if one is impressed by the superior flair of another person (most of the time).  In the Tournament of Power, we see Jiren giving his respect towards both Goku and Vegeta: calling both men warriors.  Jiren doesn’t use this term lightly, nor does he use it freely.

For Jiren, calling you a warrior is his sign of respect and admiration.

In Episode 122,  as Jiren squares off against Goku, the two engage in conversation.  Jiren asks Goku why does he seek to become stronger.  Goku simply replies that he doesn’t know why; he just wants to.  Following, Goku asks  Jiren if he too wants to be stronger.  Jiren states that what he wants is beyond mere, selfish thought of strength. This is a change from how Jiren initially viewed Goku (from their first fight).  At first, it appears Jiren had no respect for Goku.  But, after proving his worth against Jiren, we can assume that he’s a little curious about Goku’s strength and goals.  It should be noted that Jiren calls Goku by his name: “Son Goku”, rather than a title like “Saiyan” or “Assassin” (as he did with Hit during his battle against him).

With this, it’s safe to say that Jiren respects Goku.

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In Vegeta’s case, Jiren gives him the title of “Warrior”. As  Belmod and Khai both stated, Jiren calling Vegeta “warrior” is his  sign of respect Now, originally Jiren viewed Vegeta as arrogant. He even dismisses his brash fighting style as too prideful – taunting his Saiyan heritage in a sense. When Vegeta was able to hold his own against Jiren, that’s when Jiren was able to show his respect towards the Saiyan Prince.

Jiren’s respect doesn’t end there.

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When Goku fought Jiren in Ep. 123, Goku overwhelmed Jiren. Not by brute strength, but by tactics and strategy.  Using a combination of teleportation, Ki landmines, and Destructo Discs (or Kienzans for you purist weebs), Goku was able to knock Jiren out of the ring.  This forced Jiren to use a hint of his true power to recover and combat against Goku.  In turn, Goku tapped into his reserves; going Super Saiyan Blue with Kaikoen x20 stacked.  Vegeta tapped into his hidden power, breaking his shell and limits.  The fact both Goku and Vegeta drew out power beyond their limits could suggest that Jiren want to see both warrior’s true power in combat.

Jiren sees them as truly worthy warriors. Goku and Vegeta have earned Jiren’s respect.

 

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Jiren using a hint of his true power against Goku

 

 

Dragon Ball 0

The Pride of Vegeta: Ego is the Ally.

“Indeed, I am arrogant.  But, to me, that’s precisely what my pride as a Saiyan is!”

After his ego and pride were belittled by Jiren, Vegeta felt that he had to defend who he is as a person.  As a proud Saiyan Elite prince, Vegeta dedicated his life to the art of combat, surpassing others, conquering planets, and of course – breaking his limits.  It shouldn’t  shock anyone that Vegeta took offense to Jiren’s criticism.  Is Vegeta arrogant?  Perhaps to some. However, I don’t see it as arrogance. I think he’s confident and prideful of what he has accomplished over the course of his life.  After all, he has every right to act as such. Vegeta earned his high self-esteem and self-worth through hard work.

Hard work thanks to his greatest ally: His ego.

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All champions have big egos.  Without a big ego, they would have never become a champion.’
From Victor Pride’s article The Importance of Having a Big Ego

Why does Vegeta have a big ego?  Well, it stems from a few factors. Prince Vegeta is a Saiyan.  Saiyans are naturally physical, competitive warriors.  Vegeta is also a paragon and of royal blood.  He achieved master-level combat skills and knowledge as a child.  Seeing his power, King Vegeta (his father) took him under his wing and the two conquered (and destroy) planets for years.  Now mind you, Vegeta did all of this before he hit puberty – and he wasn’t finished yet.

Even as a child, Vegeta proved himself to be an outlier.

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Being controlled and abused by the tyrant Frieza also impacted his ego.  The Saiyans could have been a prosperous race if it wasn’t for Frieza.  Frieza murdered King Vegeta.  He betrayed the loyalty the Saiyans by killing them and destroying their planet.  Following that, he reduced Vegeta’s status to that of a common, low-ranking lackey – completely disregarding his royal heritage.

To say Vegeta was bitter towards Frieza’s treatment is an understatement.

Then, you have the case of Kakarotto – or Son Goku.  Son Goku was thought of a low-class Saiyan who would never amount to anything (in the eyes of the Elite Saiyans).  Vegeta was disgusted at Goku (due to Goku’s kindhearted nature – unnatural for Saiyans).  He didn’t view him as a real Saiyan – nor worthy of becoming a Super Saiyan.  Even after believing that Goku was the Super Saiyan of legend, Vegeta held resentment towards Goku  for obtaining such status and power.  Vegeta was convinced that only he – a  royal Saiyan Elite – deserved the title and power of the Super Saiyan.

It was his birthright.  And Kakarotto took it away from it.

Yearning to not only obtain the Super Saiyan transformation but also surpassing Goku, Vegeta spent three years’  training to acquire his goals.  He worked mercilessly – even to the point of death. It was at that point of near death is where Vegeta finally gained the power of the Super Saiyan.  After years of pain and suffering, the prince reclaimed his title of the prince of three Saiyans.  He even “surpassed” that blasted Kakarotto!”

(And by surpassed I mean Goku caught the heart virus and was out of commission for most of the Andoird conflict. Therefore, Vegeta was the strongest due pure “luck” on his end).

Vegeta didn’t stop there.  Super Saiyan wasn’t enough to quince Vegeta’s competitive thirst.  After Goku told Vegeta that they must go beyond Super Saiyan, Vegeta took this chance to prove himself as the superior Saiyan.  Vegeta trained for another year in the Room of Spirit and Time (or the Hyperbolic Time Chamber for you FUNimation weebs). Then, he gained power that exceeded Super Saiyan: Super Saiyan Grade 2 (or simply, Ascended Saiyan).

Vegeta yet again surpassed Kakarotto!  Oh, how Vegeta praised himself for his efforts. And then a few hours later, Vegeta was curbed stomp by Perfect Cell. See, Vegeta – although proud of yet another accolade – let his ego get the best of him.  Cell tricked Vegeta into obtaining his Perfect form and made the Prince his bitch.

That was funny.

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Let’s fast forward seven years.  With Goku dead, Vegeta had nothing better to do.  Well, besides training (because of that competitive nature).  Vegeta got news that Goku was returning to the living world for the 25th Budokai Tenkaichi Tournament. He sees this as a chance to finally beat Goku once and for all.  See, Vegeta never got over the fact that Goku was the better warrior.  Vegeta was envious that Goku achieved so much (despite him being a low-class Saiyan).  Vegeta wanted to prove once and for all he was the best.  And he could have if shit didn’t go south during the tournament (the Majin Buu and Babidi conflict).  During the Majin Buu conflict, Vegeta allowed his jealousy to get the best of him and let Bababi brainwash him into Majin Vegeta.

All because he wanted to show his superiority towards Goku.

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The evil prince has returned!  At last, Vegeta could dominate Goku in combat…by killing a bunch of innocent people and allowing the release of Majin Buu.  Then Vegeta realized that his ego is problematic and that he had to sacrifice himself to take out Majin Buu – all because he fucked up.

Okay, so maybe Vegeta had some minor issues with his ego.

In the real world, high-level athletes, performing artists, and businessmen are viewed as egotistical. Their self-sense of pride are off-putting to some – but they have the right to be prideful.  These people pour countless hours into their craft.  Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of our time, is viewed by many as arrogant. But when you won six Championships rings, brought money to your team’s city, and created a multi-million-dollar brand, you earned the right to be arrogant.  Kanye West, a rapper hated for his ego, won over 92 awards over the course of his career.  He better be egotistical. Entrepreneur Tai Lopez, (in)famous for his “Here in My Garage” video (where he showcased his then-new Lamborghini)   was criticized for showing off the luxury sports car and the thousands of books in his personal collection.  Then again, when you are the investor and advisor to over 20 successful multi-million dollar companies,  I think it’s okay to show off your trophies – and how you earned them through knawledge.

These guys have earned the right to be egotistical, cocky, and arrogant, whatever you wanna call their high levels of self-esteem.  Why?  Because these guys worked their asses off to get to the levels of where they are today.  Vegeta is like that.  Vegeta worked his ass off to maintain his Prince and Elite status.  He dedicated his life to push himself beyond his limits. He earned Super Saiyan 1, Ascended, Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan God, and Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan.

It’s understandable to see why Vegeta was angry at Jiren’s remarks about his ego.  Vegeta had to back up his pride – the thing that drives him to better himself.  Vegeta himself stated that he can never throw that away.   It what makes Vegeta.

Vegeta is an arrogant man.  And what’s wrong with that?

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‘Being humble doesn’t work as well as being aware.’

-Drake, (From his 2014 single The Catch Up)

 

FURTHER RESOURCES:
The Importance of Having a Big Ego:
https://boldanddetermined.com/big-ego/

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday (the inspiration for the article’s title):

DISCLAIMER: I am not associated with Amazon nor Ryan Holiday. I do not make any money off this.

Character Connection 0

On Characters Connecting With The Audience

It was February of 2001.  I was watching Outlaw Star for the first time.  Gene, the lead character, was struggling to perform a spacewalk to repair his ship; as he was experiencing traumatic flashbacks of his father’s murder (who was killed by space pirates during a spacewalk). Story-wise, I was lost,  but the episode was interesting enough to hook me into the series.  The episode ended and the ED starts to play.   A single guitar chord rung out multiple times, followed by a woman’s vocals:

‘Oto no nai mahiru
Kaze ha tada akarui
Sukoshi nemutasou ni
Hanabira ga yureta

Nani ge nai kono omoi
Nee, hito ha donna kotoba de yondeiru no’

While I didn’t understand Japanese at the time, I was taken away by the sadness of not only the song itself but the sorrow in the singer’s voice.  I didn’t need to understand Japanese to understand the pain of the woman singing.  Fast forward to episode 21. After arguing with Gene, Melfina runs off to an empty, rocky landscape to clear her head and indulge in some short-term peace and quiet.  As she stands on a short cliff overlooking the barren, rocky field, Melfina starts to sing:


‘I don’t know what words I can say
The wind has a way to talk to me
Flowers sleep, a silent lullaby
I pray for reply
I’m ready

Quiet days calm me
Oh, serenity
Someone please tell me
Oh what is it they say?
Maybe I will known one day’

Melfina was singing the first ED in English (although not a direct translation).  With the song in English, non-Japanese speaking Western fans were given a personal insight into her character and pain.  As an artificial creation (or bio-android), Melfina struggles with and questions her existence (as explored throughout her character arc).  The normal people that she encountered will never understand how she feels. They will never relate to her pain and struggle.

Melfina will never have anyone that she can relate her sorrow.

Some of you reading this may experience this feeling of unrelatable sorrow.   You may be going through some things that many will never experience — and therefore, they can’t connect with you.  Let’s take African-Americans for example.  We can never truly express our pain and suffering to other races; as they never experienced the trauma and hardships of being Black in America.  Outside of race, let’s use people who struggle with mental health.  People with mental health problems find it difficult to explain to those without any mental problems on how they feel.  When they attempt to do so, they’re usually met with “Oh, it’s just all in your head” or “Well, at least you’re better off than others.”

It’s frustrating.

As a story-telling medium, anime must convey realistic emotions with its characters that the viewers can connect with.  Combining elements such as visual, music, sound,  and plot, the artist can craft ways for the viewer to become invested in a character they find interesting.  The artist must be clever enough to manipulate our emotional connection with a character subtlety.  Art must speak to a person by using a direct link to make it feel real.  The right buttons must be press. This is why some fans of Dragon Ball find themselves connecting with Son Gohan.  They may find themselves as a fan of his character because they can relate to his studious, bookworm nature.

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Let’s take this a step further.  Chances are, if you’re a fan of the anime and manga series Watamote, you will find strong correlations with the socially awkward otaku  Tomoko and her levels of anxiety and yourself.  Tomoko, as much as she wants to be popular, can’t with her anxiety holding her back.  While a simple task of ordering food at McDonald’s is easy for most of us, for some, interacting with a cashier is a brutal, painful challenge.  It’s a draining task of combating your nerves and trying to stop yourself from overthinking (that the cashier is judging and mocking you).  As you attempt to speak, your voice is low, quiet, and shacky.  You’re looking down at your feet because the thought of making eye contact terrifies you.

The following thoughts flood your mind:

‘Is she judging me?’

‘I hope she won’t make fun of me.’

‘She probably thinks I’m too stupid to order food.


‘They’re going to make fun of me in the back.’
(Spoilers: they do. Take it from somebody who worked in the food industry for years.)

You know that scene where Tomoko struggles to order food? I’m sure some of you can understand and relate  Tomoko’s situation during that scene.  It’s not a fun place to be in: interacting with others praying to God that they won’t judge and/or belittle you.  Again, like with Melfina, Tomoko’s awkwardness and anxiety work with her character and you –  the viewer – connecting with her because it’s rooted in realism.

In Bakemonogatari, lead heroine Hitagi Senjougahara is a self-described tsundere with severe trust issues.  She closes herself off from most if not, all people (sans her father) due to her mom – whom she trusted – setting her up to be raped by members of the ult she was involved with.  Her parents divorced soon after and  because of it, Senjougahara feels that she’s a burden on their family.   Following that, she ran into six con men who claimed they could solve her issue (her weightlessness and burden). She was ripped off by each man, furthering her mistrust in others. With these acts of betrayal and rip-offs, Hitagi does not open herself up to anyone: fearing that they will take advantage of her.  It wouldn’t be until years later when, with the help of Ararargi (series’s main character) not taking advantage of her trust, she was able to trust and open herself to others.

 

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In life, there are some who wall them self off from others –  because of trust issues.  It’s hard for them to open themselves to others. It can take people years for them to start trusting others again. Even if they do find someone to trust, they still have their guard up until they can feel like they can truly trust them.  Hitagi’s oddity of the crab makes sense once you break things down.  Crabs have hardened shells and sharp claws to defend themselves from predators.  Crabs attack anyone who attempts to get near with claws.  Remember: Hitagi did attack Araragi with a pair of staples (a symbolism of a crab’s claws) and was still defensive around him as she thought he would run his mouth about her oddity to others.  She did warm up to him and lower her guard over time.

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Anime is a storytelling medium.  As such, it’s the job of the creators to give us the emotional connection to characters. Through clever crafting due to the creator, it’s possible for a fan to feel a direct connection with a character; especially if said character acts similar to that one person.  If you spent your teen (or later) years feeling socially awkward and struggling with anxiety like Tomoko Kukori, chances are that you’re going to find that personal connection with her. That’s how art and character connection work – with realistic characteristics from said character.

Everyone, thank you for taking the time to read this article.  If you like what I wrote, please give me a link, leave a comment, and feel free to share.  Tell me, which characters have you connected with and what, to you, makes a character relatable.

 

anime 2

FREEWRITE: Haruhi Suzumiya and Law 6 of the 48 Laws of Power

‘Law 6: Court Attention at All Cost’

-Robert Greene, author of the 48 Laws of Power

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To say that Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melachonholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) is a bit of an attention whore is a grave understatement.  Haruhi lusts for attention.  She demands notability.  She wants all eyes on her like Tupac.  To Haruhi, the world should  and must revolve around only on her. (of course, she’s God after all, so she’s not. She’s not wrong to think that [despite unaware of her godly reality wrapping powers]). Every day, she makes an effort to be noticed, to have people know her name, and who she is.  She doesn’t care if people speak of her in a negative light; it keeps her name circulating. She loves it.

Haruhi  doesn’t want to fade in the background.  She does not want be average, or one of faceless many in the world. Haruhi’s drive is to become extraordinary and different from the rest of the world.  To understand this drive, we must look at her flashback scene from episode 13 of season 1.

‘So I figure I would change myself in middle school. Let the world know that I wasn’t a girl content with sitting around and waiting.’
-Haruhi Suzumiya

As they’re walking home from school, Haruhi tells Kyon the story of her family going a baseball game as a child. Haruhi was amazed at the sight of the overflowing, sold out stadium. She believed that the entire population of   Japan came together at the venue to watch baseball.  When she asked her dad about the number of people in attendance, he told her around 200,000 people. These people, including herself, only made up very small fraction Japan’s population (around 128 million during the show’s original run in 2006).  After returning home from the game,  she did the math, breaking down the attendance , compared it to the entire population of Japan, and discovered that it only made one two-thousandth of the population of Japan.

Haruhi was just one of many. A  drop in the massive and everlasting ocean.

Realizing this, she no longer felt special.  Haruhi was just like everyone else; doing the same shit (brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, etc.).  Life became boring. What’s life when you’re just like everyone else? Maybe in the world, there was somebody amazing, unique, and extraordinary And yet, it wasn’t her.

At this  revelation,  Haruhi  had to  stand out from the rest of the world. She to get up and demand change by her own will. To  not become content with being average.  She had to make her mark in the world by any means. To court attention at all cost.

 

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Be obsessed or be average.’

-Grant Cardone, American CEO, Author, and motivation speaker

 

Later, Haruhi set out to achieve her dream of being noticed and not average. On her first day of high school, she proudly introduces herself and states that she isn’t interested normal humans.  Rather, she wants to meet with time travelers, aliens, and espers. This caused a stir in her homeroom, making people think just who the fuck is this childish girl, and why does she still believe in such things at the age of 15?

Throughout the series, Haruhi attempts (and mostly succeed at) various actions to be noticed.  She devolved a system to change her hairdo by style (she even went as far to wear a different hair ribbion each day).  She stripped down from her school uniform into her gym clothes, not caring if her male peers were watching. She attempted to join every school club, only to dip out from each and forming her own club: The SOS Brigade. She stole the show at her school festival, filling in for a sick guitarist ( revealing that she’s an amazing musician in her own right). All in the name of courting attention.   She places herself at the center of it all, regardless of what others may think.

It’s her world.  She just want all the attention.

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‘A normal life’s boring’

-Eminem, American Rapper

Haruhi’s World art source:
http://photobucket.com/gallery/http://s634.photobucket.com/user/MawsCM

Character Design 4

A Quickie on Why Great Character Design Matter

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Tae Takemi (Persona 5)

Great character design is important for any animated show.  Character design gives subtle context clues on how a character will be portray in either his or her role and personality throughout the series.   Small details can draw a viewer to a character, possibility relating to said character on a deeper level.

On a Shin Megami Tensei/Persona group I’m a member of, there was a “Who’s your Persona 5 Waifu?” topic (I’m trash I know).

I chose Tae and Chihaya based on the information their character design gave me, despite not yet playing Persona 5. I love Tae’s darker, edgier alternate style while I enjoy Chihaya’s more laid back, mellow, and carefree design.

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Chihaya Mifune (Persona 5)

Plus their subcultures that the two portrayed (Tae’s alternate style and Chihaya’s hippie style) are consider “weird” and “strange” by modern standards and I’m a man who is attractive by the weird. There’s that to factor in.

Let’s take Tae’s design (plus I don’t have much time to analyze Chihaya before work):

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The immediate visual clue we see in her design is her lab coat and clip board in her left hand.  This gives a hint to the viewer that there is a great chance that she is involved with the medical or science field.
If we were to analyze her details further, we can see that she sports a stubbed chocker,  dark eyeliner, a necklace with a metal capsule attached, a kinda low-top dress (dunno what they’re call I ain’t a fashion guru) that is high above her knees, a red belt with metal open circles, and platform sandals with exposing straps.  Her hair is unkempt and short, colored with a combination of dark blue and black with jagged edges and blunt bangs.

From this, we can assume that Tae is into the alternate scene. The dark hair, eyeliner, and choker can support my claims.  We can also guess that  she may have a sharp, blunt, and aggressive personality.   All details that  lured me into her character design.    She is also liberal in her fashion despite working in a professional field such as the medical industry.

To think I could figure this woman out from just analyzing her character art and I haven’t Persona 5 yet. I’m proud of myself!

…if I am wrong please correct me about this theory and analyze on Tae.

Character design is important and done right can easily lure a viewer to a character that fits their niche(s). Small visual details and clues can tell much more about a character than words and prior information could provide.
REFERENCE:

Super Eyepatch Wolf – What Makes a Great Character Design

Pretty much influenced me to write this post. 

Persona Series 0

Playing Favorites: Character Relation

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Shadow Kanji (Persona 4 – 2008)

 

 

Question:  Have you ever wonder why a certain character is your favorite?  The answer can be as simple as you think they’re cool and awesome or  deep such as you have a relatable personal connection to that character.

I believe everyone has that one (or more) character that they can relate to.  You probably relate to the character because of similar personality traits.

We like to see ourselves in characters we favor most.  We appreciate these characters because they remind us of ourselves.  This is how I am with my favorites. I love my favorites because I see myself in them.

Kanji Tatsumi from the 2008 video game Persona 4 is somebody I love.  I can relate to his issues.

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Kanji  has a complex with his identity as a man.  He enjoys sewing, knitting, and cute things.

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Generally speaking, those hobbies are stereotyped as feminine and thus, he has a complex about his masculinity and sexuality.

Years prior to Persona 4, Kanji was bullied for his hobbies.  He was taunted with homophobic slurs and other forms of name calling by his classmates.  This fucked him up mentality.

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Young Kanji (Persona 4 manga – 2012)

 

Kanji develops a tough guy facade to combat (and mask) his insecuirties. He bleaches his hair blonde, starts weight lifting, pierces his ears, and wear attire to reflect his “manliness”.

It’s a bullshit front to hide his unresolved issues.

Kanji would eventually accept himself. He gains confidence  embracing his “feminine” hobbies and learn to be open with his passion (it’s a story best saved for a more in-depth analysis post in the future).

Kanji’s struggle with his identity and self-acceptance was a reminder of my teen years.  My enjoyment of  nerdy hobbies such as video games and anime resulted in  being bullied and called an “oreo” (black on the outside, white on the inside) and being accused of “acting white”.

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An “Oreo” or whatever.  Stupid ass term.

 

Shit was goofy and baseless but it impacted me mentality growing up.

I knew I was black.   I knew I wasn’t trying to be white.  However, being fuck with and bullied for my hobbies by my black peers fucked my head up.

I developed a fear of expressing my nerdiness openly. I was afraid that people would judge me for being black and nerdy. Didn’t help that I  had  low self esteem pile on as well.

It took going to college to get over this fear.  In college, I found other black peers who openly enjoy nerdy things and being conformable with both their racial and nerd identity.

I was inspired to do the same.  To say fuck the judgement niggas and do me. To embrace myself.  I became my true self and felt accepted.

Today, I am not only just confident in myself but also I am happy.  Happy that I finally could be me and be understood without fear. Happy that I was able to accept who I am.
Kanji’s issues with his identity and accepting who he was reminded me of my younger days: A young kid dealing with his own issues with it and coming to terms with  loving myself.

It was a struggle of self-conscious issues and fear of rejection but I learned to overcome those fears.

When it comes to relating to an anime character I would say  Hotaru Tomoe from Pretty Solider Sailor Moon is one of my top choice.

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Hotaru Tomoe (Sailor Moon Infinity – 1994)

 

I’m a huge fanboy of the Hotaru/Saturn character. While it is dope that she can blow up a planet or even a  galaxy with her powers, my love for the character comes from finding parallels in her core personality in Sailor Moon Super (SMS) and me growing up.

Hotaru in SMS  is introduced as a shy, quiet, socially awkward, bullied and weird girl who doesn’t have any friends (prior to meeting Chibi-Usa and the Inner Sailor Scouts).   She keeps to herself and doesn’t  interact with othrrs due to her  fears of being shun, bullied and teased by others.
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Hotaru’s fears resulted from being mocked and rejected by her peers because of her general weirdness (her healing powers and random, but violent, mood swings from being possessed by Mistress 9) so it’s understanding why she did not open up to anyone before befriending Chibi-Usa.

Hotaru first encountered Chibi-Usa,who had hurt herself chasing her hat. Seeing her hurt, Hotaru offer to heal  Chibi-Usa’s wound.

Chibi-Usa was amazed by her power. Hotaru was surprised that Chibi-Usa didn’t freak out or thought of her as weird or creepy as others thought of her powers in the past.

 

(Granted Chibi-Usa IS a superpowered time traveling princess like Future Trunks from Dragon Ball Z. Healing factor ain’t shit to her but I am getting off topic).

The two became best friends from that day forth.  Hotaru didn’t dwell on how different she was from her new friend because she was just happy to be accepted for who she was. She was able to open up to somebody.

 

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“That’s my best friend, that’s my best friend, flexin”

Growing up, I was bullied a lot for my weirdness and awkward nature. I’m also rather  shy and quiet (expect when I am drunk. I am not quiet nor shy when drunk).

It takes a while for me to open up to people due to my own fears from the past (the fear isn’t as bad as it used to be in my youth). If I do open up to somebody its because I vavule that person deeply and I feel like they will accept me.

I get overwhelm with joy each time I can connect with somebody despite how different I feel about myself.  It is a great feeling to be accept despite what fears may hold me back.

To conclude,  I believe everyone has at least one  character they love because of one or many similar triat.  Being able to connect with a character is a wonderful feeling because you see yourself in him or her.

I was able to see myself in Kanji from Persona 4 and Hotaru from Sailor Moon S because I shared similar traits those characters had.  They became some of my favorite characters in their respected medium because of the parallels I had with their personality.

 

(I am never fucking editing on a phone ever again)