Unafraid to Need: Saiki Daisuke and Wanting to Matter

November 20, 2008 at 6:24 am (Animanga) (, , )

Because apparently Epic won’t leave my brain alone? Here, have a mini essay thing I wrote about Daisuke.

I’m pretty sure it’s chock full of spoilers for Epoch, but I might have to look into that more closer — it’s possible that it’s only full of spoilers up to a certain point. Spoiler warning to be revised at a later time when I have the .pdf on hand.

~~~

At first when I read Epoch he came across as kind of sexist.I revised this opinion into “has massive inferiority complex.” But then, as I built my case for that, I was forced to go, nope, sexist, though with a dash of inferiority complex thrown in to spice it up.

Look at his position among the Seals and Angels. He’s really…kind of a nobody. His comment about his uncle Seiichirou telling him about how the family in their women are more powerful because they blow so much hot air reveals that he’s probably had to live with being outclassed in both power and rank, by female relatives his entire life. And then he marries Yuzuriha, who is this bubbly, cheerful, childish woman who makes anime for a living and has a power that essentially boils down to “invisible pet dog” and, because she is a Seal, will automatically be more important in the Promised Day than Daisuke because of fate. Daisuke might be able to wield the wind but in the end he’s pretty much in the same boat as the rest of humanity: screwed. He is surrounded by women who are more powerful than he is and has been for his entire life and will be until the Promised Day.

Even Hinoto falls into this pattern. He likes Hinoto because Hinoto is “unafraid to need”, which I guess makes him feel important because, as her servant, he’s in charge of fulfilling those needs. But look at Hinoto — she can’t move, can’t talk, can’t hear, can’t speak; she needs to communicate by telepathy and spends her life in a pile of robes seeing the future and not doing a whole lot else. This is the woman Daisuke stands beside to feel powerful and useful? He needs a woman who is blind, deaf, dumb, and crippled in order to feel potent and powerful? And even with all that, take a look at his position — he’s still a servant, still beneath her. Hinoto is still more powerful and important to the Seals’ cause and the coming conflict than Daisuke will ever be. He’s still taking back seat to the powerful woman, even the powerful woman who is “unafraid to need.”

But Daisuke, Daisuke thinks things shouldn’t be that way. Look at the phrase he uses to describe Hinoto. “Unafraid to need” implies that other women, by comparison, must be afraid to need, which implies that in his view, women need men but are too scared to admit their gender-wide weakness. He wants to be needed by women, for Hinoto to say “only you can save mankind!” to him, for Yuzuriha to stop being self-sufficient and happy and cherished and protected by Inuki and to need Daisuke to help her be a Seal. He wants to feel useful to the cause, to feel like being a windcaster and extraordinary is going to mean that he matters where the rest of the unpowered and unaware humans won’t.

This complex of his, feeling inferior and useless because he is surrounded by more powerful women, is only compounded when he sees the rest of the Seals. You have Sorata, who is a goofball, and more significantly you have Arashi, who fits in the mode of the powerful woman who doesn’t need Daisuke (or Sorata) to save her at all. And Kamui — back when they still think Kamui is their Kamui, Daisuke can’t believe that this tiny, angry, rebellious young man is supposed to be Hinoto’s savior of mankind. In Daisuke’s anger and rejection of Kamui, you can see the seeds of his own inferiority — he rejects Kamui because Kamui does not fit his idea of what the savior of mankind needs to be like at all, and I think complicit with that is the certainty that he knows what a real savior would be like and knows what qualities a savior of mankind ought to have.

Add to that mix the fact that Kamui is the man all the powerful women in Daisuke’s life — Yuzuriha, Hinoto, probably his family, and now Arashi — have been waiting for. You can see why Daisuke is bitter towards Kamui, why he might be covetous and want to be that powerful man all the women need (I bet Kamui’s already considerable abilities would be a nice fringe benefit, too). All his righteous outrage over Kamui not being the “right” kind of savior is just a cover for Daisuke’s own selfish desires: He wants to feel useful. He wants to feel like what he does is going to matter in the coming apocalypse. He wants women to acknowledge that they need him. He wants to be at the center of the conflict, not shunted to the side and ignored like the rest of humanity is going to be (can you say, collateral damage?). He wants to take what Kamui so clearly doesn’t want because obviously Daisuke knows what a real savior of mankind should act like, and he can be that savior.

Except for the part, of course, where he can’t. That Fate, what a bitch.

But I’m going to guess — based on Mithrigil’s LJ status reports throughout the writing of Epic — that he’s going to try anyway.

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