I would never be the lead of an anime series.
I used to have these grandiose fantasies while watching anime. I would myself as the Strike Witch who, using her innovation and guts, beats all odds. Or the reporter who is willing to risk her life to see a friend. I might even be the level 5 who defends truth and justice with unwavering confidence. Yet, there is always a sense of disconnect. It is not the fantastical elements or the fictitious premise – I have no problem immersing myself in a world – but the issue is something more inherent.
It first became apparent to me when I thought about Kuroko and Misaka. Misaka frustrated me at times because of her self-righteousness. More than once, I felt that she is too reckless in her pursuit for justice. Kuroko’s sensible approach to serious problems appeals to me much more.
I felt this frustration again when I started watching A Certain Magical Index in anticipation for the fall season. While I really appreciate the world the series has built and all the different vibrant personalities of the cast, this particular arc in season one just annoyed me so much.
Index is plagued with a condition that causes her to lose her memories every three years. When the recent cycle approaches, the main character, Touma, attempts to remove the spell. Index’s friends go to lengths to stop him, because they believe that if Index retains her memories, she would die. Regardless, Touma still goes ahead and does his thing… And he emerges the magnanimous hero who finally rescues Index from her cursed life.
This is my problem with the arc. Touma acts on a dangerous assumption. On gut instincts and really limited information on the church and magic effects, he trusts that nothing would happen to Index if he were to break the spell even though the opposite has been thoroughly established by the Church and many others. I was really frustrated at Touma because of his blind confidence. Basic rationale and risk management all suggest that he should not have gone through with this. Essentially, Touma gambled with Index’s life merely to satisfy his own sense of justice. *
Of course, things turned out for the best… And I am very bitter about it.
Then I realized that this is what separates the hero from the chumps. The heroes are often so certain of themselves that they disregard any rational thinking just to impose their righteousness. On the other hand, the chumps usually play it safe. This is why I will ever only be a side character if I were in an anime.
Enjoying anime often requires a suspension of believe. In most series, we suspend our knowledge of basic anatomy and physics. I guess we also have to occasionally suspend our logic to really appreciate certain characters. It is a bit annoying, but sometimes I just have to accept that 1% chance of success is always going to turn out perfectly.