I grew up with people like Uzumaki Naruto and Kurosaki Ichigo. It’s been a long time since I first started following their stories. It’s always great to see an underdog grow up. They start off being terrible at things; really, the only things they usually have going for them are pride and stubbornness. It’s typical shonen fare. But watching how, outcast as they are, they get to grow up to be heroes? That’s an amazing thing.
Even some video game serieses– Metal Gear Solids, Final Fantasies, Resident Evils…
but what happens when they start making “too many?”
When a series that you’ve come to love and cherish takes advantage of the fact that they know you’re going to be looking at what they come up next, the can simply come up with shit because they know you’ll still be there.
Example: Filler episodes. God, every time someone makes a filler episode about some stupid shit like “performing the ecological survey for animal ninja division,” I laugh for about 30 seconds and then think– okay. Spend 3 minutes on this. Tops. And then get on with the fucking story.
And Final Fantasy XIII? I tried. I tried so hard to love that game. But it did not love me back.
The relationships that I build with fictional characters are as potent, if not more distructive, than the relationships I have with real people. Fictional characters have the ability to transcend a lot of real people. Not all real people, mind you– there are people out there who have such amazing stories that the very fact that they’re not fictional gives them incredible depth. But if it’s a series you’re going to follow that you’re still enjoying? They tend to be designed to be more interesting than the average human. THey represent something, some sort of ideals or themes that the inconsistencies of real life make difficult or complicated to recognize in real people.
As a result, characters really are lovable. But not in a healthy way– they’re lovable in that admiration from afar sort of way.
And in many ways, it’s unhealthy– because the relationship never grows. There’s just an obsession. The relationship is one sided in that every time someone does something that dissapoints you, they don’t listen to what you have to say and just keep on going. Sure, some games you can make choices that affect the growth of the character… but the majority still keep the characters and their experiences on a certain rail.
That’s okay– at first. Because at first, it’s a good rail.
But then when that track starts going in a direction that you don’t like? Like any relationship, it’s hard to let go, because there’s so much invested history there. You want to be the one there for your friend after they’ve been fucking around with alcohol and drugs and finally clean up their act and become cool again. In the same way, I think, I wait around on serieses like Bleach and Naruto hoping that they’ll be the serieses that they were ten years ago.
Probably not going to happen though. So at what point does one just decide that it’s best to freeze time, and say, I don’t want to grow with you in this direction anymore?
Given that these characters in anime and games are like gods– they die once you start believing in them– what are we to feel if we just stop believing? They’re nothing without the relationships we give them. But if they just give us dissapointment…