August 9th, 2015

Best Aikatsu Character: Akari

For those of you who've read my review on Aikatsu's first season, you may remember me saying that I feel that the characters are bland despite my liking some of them. They're not bad characters, but there is one thing about them that I'm sure many people can agree on: they never seem to truly struggle or mess up at anything. Almost none of the characters lose any contests, nor do they mess up such as tripping, forgetting song lyrics, messing up dance movements, etc. Everything seems to go too smoothly for them most of the time. I know it's a kids show and all, but that's still no excuse. The only character who messes up is Ichigo, and even then she only does it twice, and even then none of her mess ups actually hinder her chances of becoming an idol. This is bad storytelling because if a character doesn't genuinely struggle or overcome their weaknesses, then we as an audience have no reason to root for them or even care about them. If everything goes smoothly all the time, then we get convinced that they're perfect and can do no wrong. This is why I can't stand Kaede: she's pretty much the epitome of this flaw and more. However, the good thing is, the creators seem to have realized this and created a character who does nothing but struggle, mess up, and her weaknesses actually hurt her chances of becoming an idol.

Who is that character you ask? None other than Oozora Akari.

She's the main character of season three, but in season two she's introduced as a shy, timid, fearful girl who wants to become an idol, but who just doesn't have the skill or ability to put on a good performance. Now, she does mess up during her second audition but passes anyway. It would have been easy for the creators to just make her automatically be able to sing well, dance well, pull off special appeals without any effort, and basically hand everything to her on a silver platter like they do Kaede and Kii, the latter whom has had NO idol experience but was able to sing, dance, and do special appeals on her first audition. But nope. Even after she passes, Akari still struggles to the point where she has to go to an idol boot camp and stay at a summer training camp to actually be able to do all of those things. Absolutely NOTHING comes easy to her. She can't dance, she sometimes messes up dance movements, she doesn't start off being able to do special appeals right off, she even hurts herself during practice, and is constantly plagued with doubt, often questioning whether she's even fit to be an idol.

Tell me you can't relate to her in some way. Sure, none of us are idols, but I'm sure we've all had the same feelings she's had. You want to do something you love but it doesn't come easy to you, you have to put in a LOT of effort, there's too many rules, and even the tiniest mess up can get you a bad grade or expelled, and sometimes, you feel as though no matter how hard you try, you just can't get it no matter what, even though practice makes perfect. You won't always get it right off. In fact, you might have to do something a million times before actually getting it. Sometimes you don't even get to fulfill your dream, but instead find another one. Sometimes, you'll never be able to fulfill your dream.

(more to come soon)

Why Yellow Isn't a Mary Sue

I've loved Pokemon ever since I was a kid. I still love it today, and many of my more successful fan fics have been pokemon related. I guess that says a lot about how much I love Pokemon. In fact, both my first anime and manga were Pokemon. I've seen almost every single season, but I have yet to finish certain arcs of the manga (Stuck on Emerald and BW). But I adore the Pokemon Adventures manga because it offers so much more than the anime could, even though I do acknowledge that it's not perfect. My favorite manga arc is Yellow, because it explored so many new possibilities for the Pokemon universe and offered interesting ideas on the Pokemon world that the anime didn't really explore, and it has higher stakes and more personal conflicts as well. There's also the arc's main character, Yellow. I'm gonna say it right now: I adore Yellow. In fact, I'm not afraid to say it: she's my #1 favorite female character of all time. Now I'm sure many of you disagree, and that's okay, and I'm aware of the backlash said character has gotten for various reasons. However, after managing to read up to the Fire Red and Leaf Green arc, I think I've finally managed to gather enough information to make a detailed character analysis in the hopes of breaking some stereotypes about not just Yellow, but what truly makes a character a Mary Sue.

Now what is a Mary Sue, you might ask? The term Mary Sue has been around for about as long as the internet has existed. It's typically used in fan fiction to describe a fan created character who is perfect in every way possible. Said character is good at everything, universally loved by everyone, does whatever she wants without consequence, is given very inhuman traits that are impossible to have in real life or in the universes of canon material they're thrown in, doesn't have any flaws or weaknesses, the entire universe revolves around them, the plot goes easily at their convenience, are overpowered without any reason at all, etc etc etc. This type of character is actually all too common, mostly because young children who want to write fan fics don't exactly know what makes a good character just yet, and have to be taught that being perfect in everything not only doesn't work, but doesn't bring about any meaningful conflict whatsoever. But Mary Sues aren't just limited to fan fiction. Even official forms of media inevitably have characters that come off as being too perfect, examples being Yuusuke Godai from Kamen Rider Kuuga, Kaede Ichinose from Aikatsu, Yuuko Omori from Happiness Charge Precure, etc.

What does Mary Sue have to do with Yellow from Pokemon Special? Well, after doing a lot of online research, many of her detractors feel that Yellow isn't a good character. They claim she's nothing but a Mary Sue who gets everything handed to her on a silver platter, that she's special for the sake of plot convenience.

(more to come soon)