Thursday, April 26, 2012

The (Un)Chosen One

One of my favorite anime genres is the harem anime. You know the kind, the one where several girls are in  love with one guy. Usually he is already in love with one girl, making all the girls more obstacles to his love to that one girl(like in Love Hina). In others, the main character does not start loving any particular girl and we see the show to see with whom he will end up. Some games, specially Japanese games, also play with this concept, with multiple endings where you may play the right cards to end with the right girl(not only visual novels and eroge, but games like Star Ocean and Catherine did it too).

The funny thing, I have this weird tendency to not like the main heroine. in most of those anime and games, it is pretty clear which girl the creators want the main character to end with. The Evangelion series made it clear that Shinji and Asuka are supposed to love each other. But I always rooted to Rei to ended up being the one Shinji loved.

It may be a cultural thing, making me, a Brazilian, have a different vision of what kind of girl is supposed to be the 'best', while the Japanese have a different vision. Usually, it is the childhood friend or the first girl the male protagonists meets that ended up happily ever after(Evangelion being the exception, but Evangelion is the exception to many things).

In the first Ar Tonelico game, it is clear the girl that the creators have a predilection for. While Misha, the energetic, happy girl is my favorite, it is the sweet and shy Aurica that they push harder to make you like. The OVA they made also played with the idea that Aurica is the one supposed to be the 'canonical' love interest.

In the current show Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?, my favorite character is Mael Strom, a character that in the first season seamed to be just a secondary character (her role expanded in the second season), while  Ayumu, the protagonist, seems more attracted to the silent Eu, a necromancer who fits all his fantasies because she is emotionless to the point of 'talking' with a notepad.

I really like her as a character.
Eu is the first girl of his 'harem'. So, again, it may be a cultural thing were the first love is the most important thing, but this bothers me a little because it not only make the ending more predictable, it make me a little sad for the characters who aren't chosen because they weren't 'destined' to be chosen. If the character don't fit the bill about the 'ideal love' and 'destined encounter' concept of the game or anime creator, no matter how dedicated or how much this character work hard, he will never be the one who will be happy with the main lead.

In the end, I know I have no influence(except in games, and even there not all games) to choose the perfect pair (in my eyes), but I really like to see if those shows and games can surprise me, like Shuffle! did, with an ending I never saw coming, which was a glad surprise. I think more writers should play this idea of messing with those 'unwritten rules' of anime conventions and surprise us more. Starting a show knowing how it will end because you already figured out the 'rules' can be pretty boring.

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