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The Mysterious Mr. Soichiro Otonashi

by Dylan Acres

Until the second-to-last part of Maison Ikkoku, the very end, I was never able to understand Soichiro as well as I had hoped I would. All that changed when I read that issue. As Godai saw Soichiro’s face for the first time, I thought to myself “Finally! I’ll get to see what he looks like!” but at that exact second, I knew why I would never get to see his face. Soichiro represents something. More than a living, breathing person, he is the ideal. He is perfection personified. If his face is kept from the reader, then he remains perfect to every reader. If Ms. Takahashi were to show him with say, a crooked smile, glasses, and a flattop, then that would turn off at least a segment of the readers. Those readers would no longer be able to relate to Kyoko’s pain over the loss of her husband.

If a reader were to see his face and found some form of flaw in it, that readers would ask themselves, “Why isn’t Kyoko over him yet? Look at that goofy smile and that stupid haircut! Godai and Mitaka look much better than he did, she should have married one of them along time ago!” But, but concealing Soichiro’s identity, along with many of the facts of his life, the reader has no choice but to feel sorry for their heroine. The reader is then forced to feel overwhelming grief over Kyoko’s loss. They are forced to feel her pain and relate to it. Soichiro was perfect for Kyoko.

But, by concealing his face and most of his personality, he became perfect to every reader as well. By being this almost generic figure that has constant feelings of sadness and sorrow related to him, the reader totally understands Kyoko’s loss. Their own imagination is what heightens that sense of loss. Soichiro becomes the readers’ personification of the perfect mate, and the loss of someone that perfect becomes unbearable.

 

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