“I Want To Be Special” – Characters I Can’t Help But Relate To

12 comments

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of anime characters have this urge to be special or to stand out. It’s gotten rather commonplace and a lot of shows this year featured characters with this sort of mindset.

For example, Takakami Chika from Love Live! Sunshine!! admits she is a normal girl with no goals or talents. However, upon becoming a fan of μ’s, Chika finds out that it’s possible to shine even as a normal high school girl.

Even though they were normal high schoolers like me, they were shining. Then I thought about how cool it would be to practice with all my might and be as one on-stage. I was moved and knew I could be lovely like them. And I realized that school idols could be this… radiant.

-Takami Chika, Love Live! Sunshine!!

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Of course, her mindset changes as the series progresses, but this is what she thinks initially.

Sougetsu Saya from Ange Vierge is another example. She feared being just a normal girl, so abruptly gaining the power to manipulate light was, to her, a blessing that could make her special. However, Saya was quick to realize that a lot of other people have abilites that are on the same level as, if not better than, hers.

Something no one else could imitate… a power all my own. It was beautiful. It was so wonderful. I thought I was so cool. I thought I could do anything. but… this isn’t special.

-Sougetsu Saya, Ange Vierge

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Needless to say, Saya also manages to grow out of this mindset.

And then there’s Kamiya Agari, the ace of Suzumegahara Middle School’s table tennis club until Koyori transferred in. Driven by her desire to be number one at something (namely ping pong) and to receive attention, Agari is probably the most polarizing character in the show.

My parents named me Agari, for “rise,” hoping that I’d rise to the top. I was proud of my name. But reality had other ideas. No matter what I did, I was medicore. That’s when I finally found it.

-Kamiya Agari, Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume

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There’s a trend about characters and not retaining their original beliefs by the end of the show, if you haven’t noticed by now, and Agari is no different.

Last but not least, there is Karasuma Chitose from Girlish Number. She’s convinced she is an underappreciated voice acting talent when she actually is quite bad at voice acting at first. Nevertheless, she continues telling herself that she’s amazing while ignoring any sort of criticism for most of the series.

I’ve kind of talked about Chitose’s attitude at length in my Girlish Number episode reviews already, so I’ll leave it at that.

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I could go on, but the point has been made, I think.

In short, I’ve always had mixed feelings in regards to these characters, but I never really stopped to consider why they rub me the wrong way while still being likeable (if properly done, that is).

When 

I wasn’t really a popular person growing up and would dream of becoming famous one day so I could rub my success in their faces. Like, they would visit me and beg for cash when I’m dancing in my mansion and I’d pull a lever and they’ll fall down a trapdoor, if I’m being completely honest… Well, that hasn’t really panned out for me and it’s a childish goal, so I’m glad it hasn’t?

After I broke up with my ex, I entertained the notion that I would become a famous mahjong player and would wear the raver bracelet she made me on my right hand. That way the camera would focus on the bracelet, causing interviewers to ask about the significance of the bracelet. And then I’d tell them and maybe she’ll hear and maybe she’ll want to give it another try after learning that I did something with my life. Of course, that didn’t pan out because

a) I’m not good enough at mahjong
b) she doesn’t even know the rules to mahjong so why would she be following the professional circuit / league in the first place?
c) the bracelet clashes with everything I wear.

What I’m trying to say is that I wanted to be special, too. I wanted people to praise me and reassure me that my life had a purpose. And because I have these feelings, I dislike seeing these characters, who serve as a painful reflection of myself. Yet I find myself drawn to said characters because I relate to them so much.

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Well, this post was a lot of ho-hum for nothing, I guess. I felt like I had to get this out before I could type a Girlish Number review, though. Maybe. I might not even mention this in my review so this would have been an utter waste of time, wahaha.


Do you have any characters you relate to despite disliking them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

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12 comments on ““I Want To Be Special” – Characters I Can’t Help But Relate To”

  1. I was wondering where this mention was coming from, haha. Now I’m pressured to do the topic justice! XD

    Interesting set of you characters you put up there. The whole idea of characters experiencing a sort of identity crisis is the core of dramatic irony, but the millennial psyche is something more familiar due to parental structures that brought about that certain mindset. This is multiplied by the nature of industry (i.e. workplace, etc.) that simply amplifies those anxieties. Think of it as the worst combination possible — and this isn’t really the fault of the millennials. It’s the fault of their parents (mine included) and the way the system works, in general.

    We see a lot of these themes in anime because they resonate with the current psychological struggles of the modern era. Although it’s true that job security is beginning to return (an old problem in the post-depression world), there’s still the issue of workplace satisfaction.

    Also, anime characters, young as they appear to be, are extensions of their authors, who are mostly millennials themselves. So another perspective to the debate is how these characters are simply conduits of the authorial tone. I keep referencing to Chitose as “Wataru Watari’s” answer, because there’s a strong authorial tone in the purposes of each of his characters.

    So yeah, I need to organize my thoughts. I’ll get back to you on that end. Until then, Happy New Year. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, no, that wasn’t my intention! I’m sure you’ll write a wonderful post as always, however c:
      I always do enjoy reading your posts since they’re both clear and analytical. Us millennials millennials may have it easy according to the older generations, but we’ve definitely got our own share of problems, too.
      I’ll be looking forward to your post! Happy New Year to you, too, edsamac!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well…I can definitely relate to what you are writing, as I myself have had the same problem in the past: wasn’t very popular either, got bullied etc. So I have always been entertaining these same childish fantasies. (But wouldn’t it be great if that were one day to become reality….evil maniacal laugh 😈…ahum…sorry about that😂). That being said, I have always had a lack of selfconfidence, and in that way I could relate to the character of Naho from Orange. The way she sometimes could not tell Kakeru her true feelings, or simply not talk to him at all…well lets just say that I have that happening to myself a couple of times as well. That’s why at times I simply hated Naho, but at the same time I could relate to her as well. Being shy can sometimes be a real problem, especially when dealing with the opposite sex. I don’t think it will ever fully leave me, but it at least has gotten somewhat better. And in the end Naho ended up pretty good as well, so hopefully in that regard I can find even more similarities with her in the future 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, you should be more confident in yourself since you’re such a cool guy!
      Mmm I totally understand where you’re coming from in regards to Naho. And hey, things turned out decently for her so I think you should keep your chin up, too. Interacting with the opposite gender can be hard at times, though, I agree ;__;
      To a Happy future and New Year for raisflin0903!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do relate with Chitose upto some extent too. Think everyone can relate with her upto some extent. But another character I can always relate is Hikigaya from Oregairu. I always tried to do what will be best for my friends and end up never understanding what they really wanted. Even though I think I have changed a lot from back then, I still end up choosing that path sometimes 😣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally get what you’re saying about Chitose Karasuma. Eps. 3 to 8 (Girlish Number) were a tough slog (I considered dropping the series); I couldn’t get on a grip on her character. Then in ep. 9, it suddenly dawned on me that I saw so much of myself in her — that’s why I couldn’t totally hate or ignore her. From a far corner, I was silently urging her to grow up and do something about her situation before it was too late.

    Suddenly, it just felt important that I would see her through this, and that she should succeed — because at another level, it was like I was encouraging myself to hold on. Eps. 10 and 11 were painful to watch but I felt they were important for her to go through so she could acknowledge her limitations, then find the strength and the right motivation to go on (with a little nudge from her brother, who thankfully realized that he too had been a factor in Chitose’s current dilemma).

    I’m glad the writer/production team didn’t give her an “ideal” personality — she’s lazy, self-absorbed, occasionally abrasive and lacks focus, but she’s not totally oblivious. She does care about improving herself so she could get more popular. That hardly sounds admirable, but it will do for starters. Someday she might even find a more compelling reason to do better and thrive in this field.

    What made me eventually sympathize with Chitose were the same flaws that initially pissed me off. The writer’s decision to present her (warts and all) in an occasionally unflattering light made her more human, and therefore relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m glad you stuck with the show. It was quite frustrating to see Chitose seemingly ignoring any lessons she should be learning, but her managing to do so was worth the wait. It ended up being rather uplifting and I’m glad I saw it to the end.
      You’re definitely right about Chitose seeming realistic. It’s a bit amusing to think that she had been claiming to be a voice acting big shot for most of the series, yet she was actually a real deal and one for the viewers to relate to despite her self-perceived elite status being nothing short of imaginary.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Like

  5. This is a very personal post. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

    I can relate to an extent because I’ve also had my fair share of power trip fantasies. My attitude now is that I just want a job that can can support me and my interests, and that I just want to enjoy life until I die so ‘shining’ no longer factors in. Still have a few of those fantasies though.

    Unlike you though I tend to hate characters who are too much like me. I guess I’m the kind of person who hates most in others what I hate in myself. I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. Great post, Remy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I do have a bad tendency to be too open about some things.
      Mmm that’s a good mentality to have. I’ll have to strive to be more like you.
      “It is hard to quit, it seems,
      The grand powertrip daydreams.”
      Inspirational, right? I can retire! No? I should keep my day job? Okay…
      Mmm I can see where you’re coming from, too. It’s frustrating!
      Thanks once again, D.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeahhh no don’t be like me. i may have let go of some of the vitriol but I’m still a self-centered ass who has serious difficulty empathizing. You’re fine the way you are. I have a feeling that some poisonous thoughts are good outlets and if not, they’ll mellow out over time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eh I can relate to an extent. I’ve been trying to be a better person but it is hard.
      You may be right. I was going to say sometimes one is in the mood for punk rock after listening to overly sweet JPop, but I could be wronggg

      Liked by 1 person

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