So I was getting a haircut today when my reflection whispered back, “…as significant as a strand of hair on my head, doomed to a fate of being cut off by hairdressers eventually and ultimately forgotten and ceasing to exist.” I watched in horror as tiny bits of my soul were snipped from my head, falling to the floor only to be swept and dumped with the rest of the garbage doomed to rot in landfills until there is not a trace left. I turned my gaze forward once more, meeting my own doomed, tear filled expression with mixed horror… And then…
No, actually I had a fantastic haircut and thankfully the hairdresser didn’t pull any “April Fools” on me. Whew. Unfortunately, I’ve been without hot water since last night, and had to take a ice cold shower this morning. In my miserable attempt to get clean without contracting hypothermia, I brought several kettles of hot water into the bathroom… That distressed suffering had better suffice for this unofficial holiday. In the mean time, I was considering the literal fools, especially the characters that feature significant roles in many of our favorite series. I find the character archetype interesting due to their endearing and naive natures. In many cases, they feature as the main focus of the story. Examining a few, I decided to go with:
Yoshii is arguably the most clueless out of all three of these characters. He’s the quintessential fool. Nothing bad will happen to him because his strength comes from supernatural fortune. During the first few minutes of episode 1, he fails the most important test in school to escort a girl who feinted to the nurse’s office. This sets his character up for a lot of the theme “I’m in a terrible position, but for all the right reasons!” Throughout the series he ends up performing great feats such as saving the entire school from meltdown by sneaking through top security systems and battling one of the toughest opponents in school to reconnect a power cable for the battle system. Why would the character who has a diet of saltwater and 1/64th Ramen Noodles be the hero? Because he’s an incredible guy. He also manages to get the cutest and smartest girl in the school.
While Touma could be argued for or against the classic archetype of “The Fool”, he represents many of the essential qualities. Touma is commonly mocked for thinking before he acts. Without hesitation, he leaps into battle for justice and usually ends up winning the fight, but also being hospitalized in the process. He sticks strictly to his morals and constantly tries to correct his mistakes. Ultimately, he consistently puts a smile on everyone’s face. What makes him special is an unexplainable gift called “Imagine Breaker”, which can defeat any ability, esper or magic in nature. The Imagine Breaker also ends up landing him in trouble, as he constantly blames it for negating his luck as well. Even in the face of ultimate misfortune, he ends up defeating his foes and attracting the endearing love of middle schoolers, nuns, and girls alike.
Aha, adorable~. I’m not a huge fan of K-On but I can’t help but feel light of heart with a character like this. She’s absolutely naive, innocent, and lively. She never gains weight when she snacks on delicious desserts. She doesn’t get good grades, but when tutored she performs well. She doesn’t make much of a house keeper, but she puts every ounce of effort into practicing guitar. While The Fool archetype typically involves a character that defeats all odds for unexplainable machinations resembling Rube Goldberg contraptions of fate, Yui can actually be considered hard working. She comes off as the main character (though with a show like K-On that can be debated) and it’s not hard to see why. Wouldn’t we all love to be so carefree and gentle?
So what is it about these characters that they can warm our hearts with comedic relief and innocence? When it comes down to it, I think it has to do with the realities of life. Rarely can you achieve a goal easily, or find good providence at every turn. Much of our thoughts and behaviors that we exhibit as children fade away as the stresses of life and independence strike us mentally and physically. Part of why I love anime so much is due to the fact that I can still be a kid again. I can spend some time in my day escaping from whatever was bothering me and watch cute girls do cute things or stress-free guys defeat all odds. Who wouldn’t want to live that kind of life?
With all that in mind comes the “holiday” of April Fools. Today is the day where we pay special attention to our friends and loved ones to throw logic and socially acceptable behaviors to the wind in the act of pranking and joking. Our antics are silly, but our intentions are pure and light-hearted like The Fool incorporated in many of our favorite stories. If you’ve been pranked, or were planning a prank, remember that it’s probably because you care a lot about that person, and want to elicit a smile. Today as a caring day masked by jovial behavior. Make the best of it!