At some point when I was a teenager the admonishment – to understand other people we need to walk a mile in their shoes – struck me as very smart advice and since then I have attempted to do just that. This eventually began to apply to the characters in the shows and movies I watched and by the time I became an anime fan doing so was second nature to me. And not just the character that is written as the one the viewer is supposed to relate to but pretty much every character with a non-insignificant amount of screen time.
Shows such as Sword Art Online really run afoul to me because of this because in shows of this level only the main character is allowed to be any good and when I try to walk a mile in any of the other’s characters shoes it’s a deeply frustrating experience. (On this point alone is the only evidence needed to see why Log Horizon is the superior series.)
Naturally, there are characters that are easier to inhabit and they are normally the ones that share some characteristic with me. In the anime Yuki Yuna is a Hero (Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru) I most often feel a natural affinity to Yuki Yuna because of her stubborn desire to do what is right and be a hero. (Not that I’ve ever been asked to go to the lengths she has; but, I hope if I ever am, I can do it with as much bravery as she’s shown.)
For episode 9 I found myself drawn to another character.
In this episode, Fuu Inubouzaki, who is the one that put together the hero club and is the big sister to hero club member Itsuki, discovers that the bodily injuries that they’re received while fighting to save the world in episode 5 are never going to get better because these permanent impairments were taken as offerings in return for the power granted to them by the gods. Fuu lost sight from one eye, her little sister can’t speak anymore, Tougou lost hearing in one ear, and Yuki can’t taste the food she eats.
And also in episode 9, Fuu discovers her little sister was harboring a dream to sing.
I was never a big sister but I imagine it’s basically the same thing as being a big brother and I was born the eldest of six kids. I love being the big brother and have always taken my responsibilities seriously.
It was never easier to be a character. I felt a switch flip inside me from sorrow to white hot anger, as I listened along with Fuu to her younger sister sing, and Fuu’s rage was my own as my body sang of it’s desire to get the ones responsible for this. This scene played out perfectly because my own feelings and desired actions synced so perfectly with Fuu’s down to what it took to defuse her anger and yes I was a blubbering mess by the end.
Geez, I can’t even take screenshots from that episode without tearing up. And that’s why I’m picking this moment for today.