Every once in a while, two lines of inquiry collide in my head, and the resultant reaction inevitably takes some sensitive tissue with it. The questions that led to today’s post were: 1. if fandom is socially constructed like the rest of our personalities — if fandom is indeed part of one’s personality, and not a “mere” result of hobby choice — which of our discrete attributes incline us toward specific branches of (specifically anime/manga) fandom, and 2. what does Hikaru Ichijou see in Lynn Minmay, anyway?
I’ve been stewing over these questions for some time, but I’ve devoted more time to the second than to the first. And, wouldn’t you know it, once I took a step toward answering the first, the answer to the second seemed rather obvious: Hikaru has feelings for Minmay because she’s hard to get, and he’s into that.
I could be wrong, of course, but this feels like the right answer — for the original Macross TV series, at least. The setup in Do You Remember Love? is rather different, and, lo and behold, I don’t really have any issues with the DYRL? Minmay, so I’ll mostly leave her out of this.
We’ll have to begin with the first realization that led to the second. It occurred to me, all of a sudden, after certain facts conspired to make it more apparent than ever it has been (to me), that I’m not attracted to reasonably obtainable women. I’m only attracted to women who would, for me, prove hard to get.
Yes, I know this sounds juvenile; my only excuse is that Genshiken says it’s okay not to have finished growing up when you’re in your mid-twenties, and so does Solanin, and so I’m not going to worry about it too much because, really, what good would that do? Things happen when they happen, maturation included. In lieu of worry, however, I’m a bit fascinated by this little hangup of mine, as I think it bears upon my fandom.
But before I reveal to you all my dark secrets, let’s consider Hikaru for a moment. (This requires that I abandon any attempt to avoid spoiling Macross, so prepare yourself.)
My point may depend upon whether Minmay is even technically hard to get in the early episodes, but this seems to me to be the case, if only because she’s young and flighty, and thus not so quick to settle on Hikaru. His advances never prove especially effective, and when Kaifun enters the picture, Hikaru is effectively locked out — but this doesn’t stop him.
I’m guessing that Hikaru’s preference for the hard-to-get ladies (or lady, as it were) has something to do with his being the kind of person who likes to challenge himself. Competitive as he is, the cockblock prospects represented by Kaifun may just make him try all the harder; after all, the two years that pass between episodes 27 and 28 don’t do much to diminish his desire. If anything, he’s all the more willing to reject poor Misa Hayase and run off with Minmay post-time skip.
I’m also willing to entertain the idea that Hikaru was into Minmay because she was vivacious and attractive, and his ultimate recognition of Misa’s merits represents growth on his part, but bear with me here. I’m trying to give Minmay the benefit of the doubt for once.
If we grant that Hikaru’s romantic “philosophy” sends him after challenging situations, he comes to occupy a distinct position among the show’s cast of amorous males:
- Hikaru: Challenge/thrill
- Focker: Insecurity/fear of (breaking) commitment
- Max: Respect for talent and beauty
- Kakizaki: Cute girls are cute (everyman angle)
- Kaifun: Control
Otherwise Hikaru might just be a more proactive Kakizaki, and Minmay would effectively have him by the pants. But somehow that seems too easy.
And, anyway, as a fellow man in pursuit of implausible relationships, I feel a kind of camaraderie with Hikaru. I can’t get too frustrated with him for acting like a tool in Minmay’s presence, as that would require that I be frustrated at myself.
For my part, there’s practically a one-to-one correlation between the obtainability of a woman and my attraction to her. And, in a way, it’s as if I’m devoted to the continuation of a vicious cycle. I make myself available to people who aren’t that interested, and I shut out those whose interest is obvious — I play the hard-to-get role, in other words. And so it is with Minmay, Hikaru, and Misa.
How does Hikaru end up choosing Misa in the end? I feel as though I have a personal investment in this question. Is it because he learned enough about people to appreciate what she had to offer? Did he come to appreciate her persistence, a quality he himself displays? Did he simply grow tired of Minmay’s indecision, or did Minmay cease to fascinate him when she became obtainable? Did he, after all, get over an almost compulsive need to challenge himself, even in romantic situations? Does this represent “growth” on his part, or simply change?
Any of these could be true; more than one could be true. And, given that I seem to be afflicted by some of the same idiosyncrasies as the Hikaru who pines pitifully after Minmay, I may not be in a position to suggest an answer. Hikaru seems to have found his own answer, in the end. But, once, I found myself involved in a “love triangle” of roughly the sort diagrammed above, and it didn’t end particularly well for all involved. It may be that the Misa would have been better for me than the Minmay, but such a thing didn’t occur to me at the time.
It may not do me much good to scrutinize a cartoon character as a means of self-improvement — in fact, if I have anything to learn from Hikaru, it’s probably that I’ll have to figure things out on my own. But, as I see it, he has two advantages over me. The first is that Misa hangs on for as long as she does — rather longer than Hikaru warrants, I figure. And the second is that, while Hikaru probably approaches romance as he does partly because of his challenge-seeking nature, I do so because…why?
Maybe I’m just self-destructive. But I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.
I’m really trying to get at a broader question here: is it possible that my desire for the unobtainable led me to the 2D world in the first place? I’m not suggesting that my fandom for the latter is wholly dependent upon the former; I simply wonder whether, at some point, one was connected to the other, and I crossed the divide between them via that connection. It may not even be possible to answer such a question, but I do at least feel the need to bear such things in mind as I go about the business of fandom.