Welcome to Anime character reflections, a new feature to Anifanatikku. In this feature I select an anime character that I feel is particularly interesting, metaphoric or simply underated.
The first anime character for this feature is Kaoru Kamiya from Ruroni Kenshin. Why Kaoru you ask? In Ruroni Kenshin there are many figures of great depth and interest so why pick her? There are three reasons.
The first is that she is both strong and weak at the same time. If you watch the show you will know that Kenshin has to save at various times. Yet unlike most anime women that are in this situation Kaoru isn't servile. Many of the times she gets into trouble it is do to her rash behaivior. Yet this does not mean she is stupid. Kaoru is a very mature womon for her age(she is only seventeen) and handles the responsibilities of an adult very well. To put it plainly, she often thinks with her heart and not her head. This trait is both her weakness and her strength. On one hand it is what nearly got her killed by the fake Batosai in the first episode, yet on the other hand it is what allowed her to overcome the Kurogasa's paralyzation technique and allow Kenshin to keep his vow of not killing. She has the will to fight the battles of the world but often not the swordsmanship.
The second is that in the swirling mass of personalities in Ruroni Kenshin it is often Kaoru that holds center and also takes the voice of the common man. If you look closely you will see that unlike the vast majority of the characters in the series, Kaoru has no personal entanglements from the Meiji Revolution. This allows her opinion to be that of simple right and wrong, uncluttered by personal vendettas. In a series that has as many varying shades of gray as Ruroni Kenshin the voice of a simple innocent is often needed to tell right from wrong.
The final reason is that she is what Kenshin protects. It is not only Kenshin protects bodily but that she exemplifies the very concept of the world that Kenshin is trying to protect. This concept is best explained with this line: "No. A sword is a weapon. Kenjutsu is the art of killing. Whatever pretty words you use to speak of it, this is its true nature. What Miss Kaoru says are the words of one who has never dirtied her hands. An idealistic joke. But, I like Miss Kaoru’s idealism better than its true nature. If one can ask so much, I want the world to accept this joke as its true nature." Kaoru practices the Kamiya Kashin style, a style of kendo with the goal of protecting others and enhancing the spirit. From the perspective of Kenshin, someone with great personal power but has missued that power in the past, Kaoru is both an opposite and an ideal.It is also important to note that Kaoru, except for the fact that she comes to love Kenshin as the series progresses she does not change much as a character. While other characters become Kenshin's friends after they are reformed, while Kaoru is a good person to begin with As I have stated before, Kaoru is someone with great heart but not much skill. She has great potential though. It is this potential to be what Kenshin wishes to be that draws Kenshin to Kaoru rather than another woman. She is in a way the seedling that Kenshin was always trying to nuture but finally found.
See Kaoru was a good character to feature in the first article of Anime Character Reflections.
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