If you're looking for any really deep thoughts, then you've come to the wrong place. However, if you're looking for simple opinions on ordinary, mundane things, then you've come to the right place.
Everybody has their heroes. Everybody has figures before them that they yearn to be like and sometimes become jealous of. Not you, you say? Only children have heroes, you say? Why, just because you're older and have a family of your own you can't have heroes? I doubt it. I doubt it very much.
Age is no barrier to hero-worship...though for adults in might operate better under the guise of admiration, aspiration, and ambition. I wonder how many corporate executives are where they are today because as they were starting out they chose one of their superiors and did their best to someday be just like him or her. I wonder how many men or women look at hugely successful individuals and wish, however minutely, that they could somehow be like them. It isn't quite the same as for young adults and children. You probably won't see a grown man or woman go up to someone--say, maybe, Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey--and say, "I want to be just like you." That's the province of younger people still looking for a path in the future. But tell me you won't have adults feeling a sense of awe when they look at everything such celebrities as Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey have accomplished.
Yeah, well, I'm twenty-three and I still have my heroes. Maybe that's because I haven't figured out what I want to do with my life yet, or maybe it's because a part of me refuses to entirely grow up. Regardless, I still have idols I'd like to somehow be like. Unfortunately for me, these heroes of mine aren't real. At least, they're not living, breathing celebrities or dead but honored historic figures. They aren't even live-action characters from soaps, serials, sitcoms, or movies.
Yeah, you read right. They're anime. Okay, so maybe you think I'm weird or something. Well, think about it. Anime characters are always well-drawn and always look good. I don't know about you, but unless I'm extraordinarily fortunate overnight I usually wake up with my hair completely tangled and messed up and only a quick shower gets it at all combable. Anime characters also don't have to worry about such things as overeating, anorexia, bulimia, etc. I wish I could be so fortunate as to look as good as some of the anime guys do, but I can't. I'm stuck in this reality where I'm subject to all the laws and vagaries of human nature.
But that's not the only thing I admire about anime characters. Sure, everything they are is thanks to the way the writers write them, the artists draw them, and the voice actors portray them, but there's always something else that makes them special. I guess it's the ideals that somehow become integral parts of the characters that make me so want to be like them. The best anime characters, I've noticed, are those that are the most "human" in their personalities. One facet of their humanity is almost always exaggerated to individualize them, and I think it's those things that call to me.
I hope that clears it up, but here's what I aspire to. If you haven't seen the anime, that's okay; there are websites scattered across the Internet that can give substance to these descriptions.
Jubei (Ninja Scroll), despite his chosen lifestyle, still maintains a high level of personal integrity. He steals a sword worth quite a bit--I think it was 1,000 gold coins--and sells it to a poor clan for very little because they can't afford it. Then, despite a major opportunity offered up to him by Kagero which--in addition to satisfying any carnal urges he might have--would save his life, he rejects her, treating her as a person and as a woman instead of simply another ninja who kills when ordered to and who dies when ordered to. I'd like to think I have that level of integrity now--ignoring the exterior and looking deeper inside, and not taking advantage of others--but I haven't really been tested yet, I think.
Prince Mars (Fire Emblem) possesses a gentleness of soul that got him in trouble with his father--something about not willing to kill a deer. He can be hard and stern when necessary, but he values life as well and practices mercy when he can. I wish I could be less brusque and rough than I am now...when I'm not being stern and firm, anyway.
Julian is another character worth emulating. Willing to risk death to save someone he cares about, he even stands fast against a superior swordsman, Navahl. Right now I think that degree of bravery is beyond me, but it's something to strive for.
Chihaya and Kagetsuya (Earthian) are nearly flip sides of the same coin: Chihaya seems to be the eternal optimist and Kagetsuya the eternal pessimist. I'd like to be more like Chihaya in that I wish I wasn't always seeing the bad side of things. However, I'd also want one of Kagetsuya's other traits: a willingness to set aside his own concerns to help Chihaya deal with his. You'd have to see the anime to understand what Chihaya has to deal with; I can't really explain further.
Kyoya Izayoi (Demon City Shinjuku) is more or less reluctant to face his destiny or just be a hero. However, his concern for someone he's only just met makes him a very respectable character. He also possesses an inner strength that enables him to stand against Levih Rah. I'm afraid I'm not so compassionate as I really should be towards strangers. I try, though, and Kyoya offers a good standard to aspire to. As far as inner strength goes, however, I certainly can't infuse a wooden sword with spirtiual energy, but I hope I can at least be steadfast and firm when I know I'm in the right.
Ryu (Street Fighter II--The Animated Movie) is always training, whether it is in walking across the street or competing against other fighters. He is, in a way, always seeking self-improvement. He also has a strong noble streak that makes his otherwise stern character more personable. I'd like to think I'm always trying to improve myself, but Ryu is always working to improve himself.
Hikage (Curse of the Undead: Yoma or Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma) is a ninja and therefore a killer. However, in the anime at least, he only kills those that are trying to kill him, so he isn't exactly what you'd call a cold-blooded killer. He also possesses an innate grace that I suppose is characteristic of all ninja. That's one thing I'd like to be: graceful. However, Hikage also has an innocence and a loyalty to him despite all the blood he's shed and the betrayals that he's endured. As with Jubei, I haven't been tested in any similar fashions, so I can only hope I'm emulating Hikage.
Yuusuke, Kurama, and Hiei (Yu Yu Hakusho) all possess certain traits I wish I had. Yuusuke is so charismatic that even Hiei--who was once an opponent--places great faith in him. Kurama has a quietness and gentleness to him--much like Prince Mars--as well as control over himself and his emotions. Would that I had half of Yuusuke's charisma and even a bit of Kurama's self-control! I'd also want Hiei's strength of faith and integrity of character.
Darian (Sailor Moon) and Tamahome (Fushigi Yuugi) I'm including because they are both compassionate, self-sacrificing, and loyal. Okay, maybe Darian was rough on Serena before they knew who they really were, and maybe Tamahome was sort of mean to Miaka when they first met and when he thought he'd lost her to Hotohori, but both of them cared deeply about their significant others and were willing to sacrifice a lot to keep them safe and healthy. These are traits found in some of the other anime characters I admire, but the expression of these values is slightly different.
Mitsuru and Shinobu (Here is Greenwood) don't possess any strange and supernatural powers--maybe--but both of them are always there when Kazuya needs their assistance. Misturu's generosity and Shinobu's calm self-confidence are both traits I'd like to possess in greater quantity than I do now. Kazuya's determination and loyalty to his friends is also something I admire. Too bad high school wasn't like theirs was; I could have used a senpai or two to look up to.
Hiroya (Shinesman) is another character who's devotion and self-sacrifice are worthy of admiration. I wish I had an older brother as warm, as friendly, and as heroic as Hiroya is. Beyond that, Hiroya also has something inside him that...oh, I don't know...is worth emulating whether in the classroom or on the job, or just in everyday life. Confidence? Self-assurance? Something like that. He's a responsible (employed) young man, totally unlike irresponsible me, which is probably why I'd give anything to be in his shoes. Hey, steady income and the knowledge and know-how of how to put it to good use? That's worth yearning for, right?
Dee and Ryo (Fake) share a compatability that I wish I had with someone...anyone! Alone, each one can be formidable and strong, but together they're an extremely effective team. Just look at how--sometimes in spite of themselves--they pursued the case and put an end to the murders at the hotel. Of course, it was also partly chance, but only their teamwork--Ryo's focus on the case seemingly rubbing off on Dee, and Dee's rapidly putting the facts together even before Ryo was in deadly danger--could do it. Loner that I am, I really need to learn to be a team player...though not quite to the extent that Dee and Ryo have gone to.
Of course, there are other things about these characters I wish I could emulate: Jubei's swordsmanship and endurance; Chihaya's and Kagetsuya's wings; Prince Mars' strength despite his slight form; Julian's stealthiness; Kyoya's skill at kempo; Ryu's fighting skill and power; Hikage's--and I guess any ninja's--physical capabilities (like extraordinary leaps); Yuusuke's spiritual power, Kurama's control over plants, and Hiei's Black Dragon Wave (that is so cool); Darian's (as Tuxedo Mask) amazing accuracy with throwing roses, his "staff", his physical capabilities, and his amazing balance on those various precarious perches; Tamahome's fighting skills; Mitsuru's ability to heal his face in a minute, Shinobu's great spiritual strength, and Kazuya's speed; and Hiroya's totally cool way of whipping out business cards; and Dee's and Ryo's ability to look good in just about anything they wear.
And, I suppose, I should say that I also wish I could look like these characters in some way, especially Mars, Darian, and Tamahome. No one can deny that these three characters are very handsome. It's a toss-up on which one I'd most like to look like. Mars gets to wear the best clothes--he's a prince, after all--but Darian's tastes are more my style. On the other hand, I think Tamahome has the best haircut of the three. Hopefully I'll be able to post some images soon.
If you think I'm weird, then think about this: my heroes are less likely to disappoint me than real, living, breathing heroes. I'm not likely to meet them, so they won't suddenly reveal themselves to be snotty and arrogant or rude and crude. I also won't suffer the disillusionment that others feel when a dark truth suddenly comes to light...you know, like the person did drugs or something. When you think about it, my heroes remain heroes because they're not real! They embody good ideals to shoot for, though...
I don't know if this has prompted any deep or interesting thoughts in you, but if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail. I'm generally up for any debate and maybe--just maybe--we can start some sort of regular exchange of thoughts.
Comments? Suggestions? E-mail me with your words of wisdom. I'm up for a hearty e-mail debate if you are!