Welcome to my new series: Anime Philosophies! Were I discuss deep meanings, messages, and ideas I've either taken from anime or were inspired to think of because of anime. This is more or less just a venue for me to talk as openly and deeply with you as possible. With that said, I hope you enjoy!
I've been doing some soul searching on why I find vulnerable characters more compelling than plot armor Gary Stu characters.
This topic uses anime examples, but I think it's worth a read even if you're not an anime fan, as I'm talking more about philosophy.
For those of you who don't know, I work at a pop culture store. We sell a lot of anime products and by extension of that, I talk to many anime fans daily.
One thing I've noticed in the years I've been there, is that there's a constant attraction to a certain type of anime protagonist.
The “Gary Stu.” A protagonist that has little to no issue with dispatching his foes. He'll always win and rarely, if ever, face a true challenge. He's naturally gifted and the world is pretty much perfect for him. Most of the time, he'll also attract quite a number of girls by his side for the ultimate male power fantasy (lol).
Characters such as Shu Oma from Guilty Crown (pictured below) however, are often frowned upon.
He's extremely powerful, capable of manifesting a person's soul and innocence into a weapon.
However, despite this, and unlike most anime protagonists, he doesn't want the power. The anime is called, “Guilty Crown,” because despite having this amazing “King's Power”, he's burdened by it. He has anxiety, he cries, he has so much pressure placed upon him to carry on. He loses nearly everyone and everything he holds dear but (spoilers), he saves the world.
The “heavy lies the crown” phrase comes to mind here.
Shu takes on this burden because he has to. He doesn't have a choice. Not if he wants to keep living.
Because of this, he constantly finds himself at odds with his friends and family. Because, like the great Ben Parker once said, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” If you're placed in a leadership position, you're by default, placed with having more responsibility. If you're a half decent human being, it's easy to have this affect you deeply, because you care for those you work.
In Shu's case, he gives it all. He gives everything he has in order to make the world better for everyone else.
It's bittersweet. It's not perfect, but neither is the world. I relate so much to this, because I feel this way.
I'm fully aware I'm far from any position to save the world, nor would I want to be in that position. However, to me, my world is different than the world by most people's definition.
To me, the world is myself, my family, and my friends.
What I live, what I see, and what I experience.
I work on my dream and live it every day. I'm not here to save the world from a virus or a corrupt organization. I'm here to live happy, and be a source of happiness for those around me. I work to better myself and my situation, so I can in turn help those around me.
If anything changes the greater world at large, I believe more happiness, compassion, and understanding would be the remedy.
I hate seeing my friends work for people that treat them poorly. I hate seeing people not get the time off to spend with their family. I hate not being able to give more to the people that have helped me so much.
I want to change that. I will change that. I feel like I have to.
This is the path I walk. The path I've been walking. It's unforgiving, but it's also by my choice.
I give it all, everything I have in order to make this work.
The “Shu Oma” archetype is among my favorite because I relate to it. It resonates with me deeper than just about anything else. I can't fault others for not seeing things the same way. I, in no way think anyone's character preferences are wrong. People that love other types of characters are certainly not in the wrong, they just have a different life, with a diffirent perspective.
In a way, I'm actually envious of that perspective. I don't like feeling burdened. I wish I had more time to spend with family and friends. But, even worse to me is feeling content with the way the world around me is currently.
So that brings us to the end and the issue I have with discussing these sort of thoughts, is they are hard to contextualize and give a beginning, middle, and end.
They are deeply rooted in emotion, thought, and spirit, and are shapeless.
Despite this, I hope you've gained something from the read. Whether, that be some new thoughts, perspetives, or ideas.
If you're a fan of anime, I highly recommend Guilty Crown. If you watched it and aren't a fan, I hope this could give at least a little perspective as to why someone could love this anime.