Fair warning, I’m going on one of those weird rides again. Even I’m not entirely sure where this post is going to take us but I hope you take a leap with me. If we don’t end up anywhere interesting, at least we’ll be together. Wait…
I know this is going to take some of you by surprise, but I like Steins;Gate. It sounds weird cause I never mention it but nevertheless there you have it. And even though I waver and change my mind a lot on favorite characters, I have always had a soft spot for Itaru Hashida, Daru to his friends. I was very disappointed that he didn’t have his own route in the first game.
However, there’s this uncomfortable truth I’ve often pushed aside when it comes to the character. Something I like to pretend I don’t know but that was brought back to the forefront in an episode of Steins;Gate 0. See I love my proud degenerate perv Daru but if we ever met in real life, I would probably not be along with him, and that makes me sad.
Let me make it clear, it’s not that his kinks would be that disturbing in real life (well aside from the ones directed at children. I would have to call the police and that would also probably put a damper on our relationship.) It’s rather that his kinks are incompatible with me, or who I appear to be. This is just getting more confusing. Let’s try to get some examples.
In the first episode where Maho and Daru meet, he of course declares her a legal loli and goes on the leer at her for the rest of the scene. Maho is a seriously no nonesense type of lady so she simply brushes him off without much ado. And it does seem like they come to some type of understanding as she uses his help with Kurisu’s laptop later on, but their relationship remains distant.
As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog (unlike my fondness for Steins;Gate which was a secret until today), I’m also vertically challenged. And trust me, people don’t look too closely at strangers’ faces. I am still regularly mistaken for a teenager and occasionally tween. I suppose it would be flattering if it hadn’t always been the case.
I can only assume that a meeting between me and Daru would be very similar to his meeting with Maho. Sadly I don’t have Mayo’s cool or her patience. I would laugh it off and try to be a good sport but deep down, I would probably be a little scared and it’s real tough to come back from that type of first impression. Granted, I scare easy. Some of it is on me.
And that’s what makes me sad.
I like Daru because he’s a sarcastic troll with a perfect deadpan delivery and razor sharp dry wit, while being very intelligent and incisive. He’s a good friend and comes through when it counts. He’s also a confusing but very loving father. Daru and I have a lot in common, we have similar interests, senses of humour, I like his friends and would love to learn more about the mechanical/electrical workings of a time machine. We really could, should, hit it off very well. That is if we ever got to know each other.
In all likelihood, I would never get to meet this Daru. The guy I would know is the leering weirdo who only talks in bad come ons or tries to guess what I wanna hear. There’s nothing interesting about that guy. I would never have the privilege of seeing the best parts of the person. I wouldn’t get to know the witty sex positive genius. I would only get another that guy. Most of us know a guy like that. Occasionally a girl like that too.
If we were never the object of their interest then we may have been lucky enough to meet the person behind the one liners. Otherwise, they’re that person you can’t actually have a conversation with because it will turn into them hitting on you. You can’t just joke around or go somewhere with them cause it feels like leading them on. So you never get to know them and never get a chance to figure out if you are even interested.
Of course this makes me sad. I’m the one loosing out here.
I should probably have said this earlier. I know that there are folks out there who are more sensitive and that I need to make myself perfectly clear. None of this is meant to attack or condemn anyone. It’s not Daru’s fault if I react the way I do.
In fact, the point I’m actually trying to make is that I should thank Daru. Characters like his have given me a different perspective. It has been my chance to see the man behind the character and I’m grateful for that. Fiction does that and for me particularly anime. Probably because I have watched so much of it, I tend to identify with unrealistic pictures of people more than with real actors… In any case, it’s nice to see those little things people don’t usually show you. Even if you will never in fact get the chance to know anyone like that well.
In all likelihood, I could be friends, or friendly acquaintances, with a real life Daru but he’d never joke around with me like he does with his real friends. He’d never come to me for advice or to share some dorky excitement. To him, I would also be a specific archetype that comes with all sorts of preconceptions and codes of conduct. If I don’t act harshly or at the very least sternly, it’s very difficult to take me seriously. When I do I can come off extremely cold. I wouldn’t blame anyone for being a little uncertain.
Thankfully, a generation of tiny anime tsundere has taught any good Otaku that there’s nothing to be afraid of (except physical harm) and that I most likely have a heart if gold and probably some childhood trauma or something. And Steins;Gate has taught me that slightly indecent gigantic men are really smart and funny once they get the chance to settle down.
Basically, anime has taught me not to judge a book by it’s cover and not to assume people are judging me. Will any of these lessons actually serve me in real life? Probably not…