Hi everyone! It’s time for another awesome OWLS blog tour. This month we’re talking about ‘strength’, how individuals have different types of strengths and one should be proud of their strengths. For my post I want to discuss ‘Danganronpa’ and the character of Naegi. For those who are not familiar with Danganronpa, the series is based off a game by the same name. A group of high school students are trapped, the only way out is to kill one of your classmates and not get caught. Anytime someone is murdered an investigation occurs, if you find out who the murderer is – the murderer is punished, if not – you all die. Naegi is the voice of reason admits this madness, encouraging people to stick together and not fall into despair. Make sure to check out Hazelyn’s fantastic post on Kuroko no Basket and the lovely Rai’s post tomorrow
“Your greatest weakness can become your greatest strength.”
In anime, characters struggle with inner demons or physical weaknesses that make them feel insecure and prevent them from achieving goals. Yet when these characters overcome their adversity, they can finally be able to express who they are or in other words, “Free to be Me.”
For this tour, we will be exploring anime characters that have overcome adversity due to a personal insecurity or physical weakness. It is these type of characters that many anime fans may identify as role models because fans are able to feel empathetic towards these characters’ struggles and insecurities.
Hope in the face of despair
Naegi began the series with the title ‘Ultimate Lucky Student’, but due to his happy-go-lucky personality and steadfast belief in hope he was awarded the title of ‘Ultimate Hope’. As mentioned above the killing game is almost based on an honour system. Don’t kill anyone and we can all live peacefully. If you kill someone you get the chance to escape – at the cost of everyone else’s lives. Naegi is the first to try to get everyone to co-operate, when the first killing happens, and then the second, and so on. He never looses hope. Throughout all the horrible things that monokuma (the embodiment of despair) throws at him, Naegi keeps his hope. His hope is his strength, the one thing that keeps him going. Without hope, he would fall into despair. He continues to believe in himself and most importantly his friends.
Hope & Change
I have a dream – Martin Luther King Jr.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lots of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sounds out a tiny ripple of hope – Robert F. Kennedy
The message that Danganronpa holds is that; true strength, in the face of adversity, is hoping for better. This ‘hope’ gives one the strength to change the world around them. When you look at the great civil rights movements of our time they are all based around the idea of hope. One really fantastic example of this is the freedom rides in Australia. The ‘Freedom Rides’ occurred during 1965, organised by University student Charles Perkins, to draw attention to the awful situation many Australian Indigenous people were living in. The ‘rides’ visited many ‘outback’ Australian towns were Indigenous Australians were refused service. For example in Moree, NSW, Indigenous children were not allowed to swim in the same swimming pool as White Australians. The group continued to push until the children were allowed in the pool.
A quote from Charles Perkins in ‘A Bastard Like Me’ explains that the Freedom Rides were done in a response to the civil rights movements in America. He had seen the hope for change in America and wanted to bring that to Indigenous people in Australia.
The Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is also an incredible symbol of hope for many LGBTIQ+ people living in Australia. The parade first began in 1978 , and the first march was met with intense police violence. Individuals were arrested and beaten, it was only a year later when parliament repealed the act that made this legal. Almost 30 years later, Mardi Gras represents how times have changed, and how much still has yet to be done. It offers hope to those who were convicted of criminal sexual acts (when homosexuality was seen as a crime) for their crimes to be expunged, and it also offers hope for a new form of equality in marriage.
Hope is a powerful feeling. It’s contagious and can make the darkest situation seem manageable. Being able to look the despair in the eye and say ‘I still have hope’ is a true form of strength. Without hope, we could never have created the world we have today. We could never continue to create a better tomorrow.