To Aru Light Novel no Protagonist Part 8 (A Mahouka Tale)

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[Yes, shockingly this is written in my own voice rather than borrowing from obscure speeches and what not. Needless to say Vince Russo speaks truth to power about Mahouka. Now on to the post.]

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The more I thought about the character of Tatsuya, the more I couldn’t help but compare him to a certain other light novel protagonist in a show filled with people who have horrible politics and they happen to be stuck at the bottom of a caste system. It would be a series where the protagonist is screwed by society over and over, but does nothing to change it. It must be a series about a protagonist who has immense power, but cannot be measured properly. I hope by now you have figured it out. Yes, it’s Kamijou Touma of Index fame.

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So I put together this table:

Touma

Tatsuya

Plus

Minus

Plus

Minus

Has a personality

Women inexplicably attracted to him

Has perfect combat abilities

Forced by circumstances to have no personality

Able to adapt to situations

Fights usually resolved by punching women in the face

Genius at every facet of life

Immensely overpowered in fights

Makes opponents fight at his level

Incredibly lucky despite character being built on lack of luck

Takes care of little sister

Women inexplicably attracted to him

Lightens the mood

After losing memories, other characters refuse to observe changes for
some reason

Short battles

Defends the state against any and all threats

Uses shounen fight flows to defeat enemies
against all odds

Lengthy exposition everywhere he is

Mercilessly kills people without conscious

Manages to feel like an underdog the entire time

Siscon

Protects friends against any and all threats

Absent moral compass

Should really be top student in school

Doesn’t have friends so much as has people who just hang around him
saying they are his friends

Lengthy exposition outside battle

 That was what I came up with in just five minutes of brainstorming about these two indomitable protagonists of light novel action anime adaptations.

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Is it really a bad thing that Tatsuya is so perfect at everything he does? After all, even Superman had Kryptonite to deal with. This guy just has to deal with not having a patch on his sleeve and reduced expectations from others.

I think there’s really only one thing that can come out of this comparison, which would be the point about an underdog factor when watching a show.. For the most mahouka08apart, I think it’s fair to say that people are able to identify with underdog characters that never seem to catch breaks even though they try very hard. That status may have no basis in reality as in the case of Index, but it at least tries to create that idea.

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It’s also the case that there are people who like to see dominant characters doing what they do best over unheralded opponents. Tatsuya is essentially Malcolm Gladwell’s favorite anime character in this regard. To criticize him for doing so well is to criticize people for wanting to attain more strength and power. It’s unjust to want Tatsuya to show weakness for the sake of making him an interesting character.

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Of course, I don’t truly believe that sentiment, but I see it all the time in the real world. For the record, I don’t think the existence of a show like this or a protagonist like Tatsuya is a bad thing. I just really hope it does not become the future of light novel adaptations.