It took me a long time to realize why I always felt a great connection to Akaza Akari. But I think I’ve finally accepted the truth: I don’t have very much presence most of the time.
WTF is YuruYuri?
Before my self-reflective rambles, I guess you’re wondering who Akaza Akari is, because you aren’t a weeaboo dork like me. Well, she’s ostensibly the protagonist of the anime and manga YuruYuri, an ostensibly lesbian anime about middle schoolers who ostensibly run a club together. Basically a cute and wacky comedy story about dumb kids.
But in the show’s cruelest joke, the club has no purpose, the lesbian themes are nearly nonexistent, and Akari is constantly overshadowed by the rest of the cast.
The show’s longest running gag is that, out of the main four-girl group, the main character Akari has so little presence that the story constantly forgets about her. It happens all throughout the series. Her personality is “I’m nice” while everyone else is over-the-top comedy characters. It’s so stupid and yet it’s perfect. Throughout three seasons, Akari genuinely gets shafted so much that she becomes a meme even within the story itself.
They even made a spinoff manga parodying isekai stories where Akari became the irrelevant slime character!
I’m not totally sure how the show holds up; I haven’t seen it at all in about six years, and I’m a lot more easily fazed by the creep stuff in anime these days. This one does have a bit, if I recall correctly. But I’m sure even so that it’s a hilarious show, one I watched over and over again throughout the early 2010s. And somehow, despite everything, Akari became my favorite YuruYuri character.
It might be because she reminds me of myself in my worse bouts of self-esteem-cratering.
Sometimes, I feel like the type of person who gets overshadowed in their own character song…
Akaza Akari Isn’t Actually Me
Yeah, I know. This perception of myself is probably totally wrong, but I very often get really low about my own social clout, or my ability to even be a little bit likeable. It’s not that I think everyone hates me and throw a self-pity party about it. No, I just think people forget I exist and throw a self-pity party about it.
I’m not the most social person in the world. But I try to do stuff. Unlike Akari, I actually try. I’m not just a wallflower sitting there whining about not making friends. I actually do make friends! I have friends!
There is no real evidence I’ve ever been a low-presence pal. Not at college in America, not at school in Nagoya, not in Seattle nor in Aomori. From each place I’ve lived, I still have plenty of people who I still talk to every now and then, or people who want to hang out when I’m in town.
But, I FEEL that way anyway, sometimes. My brain gets in really weird places and I start wondering, why aren’t people inviting me to stuff? Do they forget I exist? Did I make enough of an impression, or was I just a nice person in the background of their storyline?
This brain stuff is frequent enough that when people DO invite me to stuff, I go blank. If people ever ask me out, I get so overwhelmed that I go into full denial for a bit and second-guess everything. Does this happen to other people? Is this an embarrassing admission?
It’s been a really long time since I dated or anything like that. and I’m still unsure how to make friends outside of work. At this point, I feel like despite being 27 years old, I’m way behind socially. Even though I’m probably not! It’s just my brain doing its ridiculous thing.
A Little Too Self-Reflective
I know I’m well-liked, maybe even popular. I’m sure there are people out there who want to know me better, even people who have crushes on me that they won’t admit to for years down the line. Especially lately, now that I’ve made a really big effort to make friends and be social before I move. I’m certain that I’m not another Akaza Akari. Real-life or online–I’m pretty sure I qualified as a “Big Name Fan” in the MSPA fandom at one point.
And yet, she’s still my main point of reference when I think of “me, but anime.” I might struggle with this kind of Akari-induced impostor syndrome for my whole life, so I need to be vigilant about defeating it.
I’m moving soon, and I have no idea where to. Secretly, one of my biggest fears has been that I’ll move, make no friends, and be completely miserable. Then when I go back to Aomori for a trip and won’t even have any friends to hang out with. If I move with THAT mindset, I’m sure to be in trouble. So I’m admitting it now intentionally to force my future self to be optimistic and excited. Wherever I go, I’m gonna make a lot of friends and go on dates and all that cool stuff. I can’t let myself become another Akaza Akari!
Want to read another anime blog I wrote? This one is controversial…
Also, here’s an Akari-themed omake bonus blog!
Hey, I wrote a whole book about Madoka Magica, my favorite anime, and its influence on the world and on my life. Please check it out!