About Me

Newfoundland, Canada
I've been a big anime fan for about 10 years or so now. My five all-time favorite animes at this point are, in no particular order... Puella Magi Madoka Magica, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, Love Live!: School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. However, there are hundreds of anime shows that I like. The main purpose of this blog is to provide meta-commentary on anime, and the anime industry - to try to cast a critical, though appreciating, eye upon this entertainment genre that I believe has tremendous potential, but can also be easily wasted. I have always been a fan of animation in general - in the 80s, I grew up on western cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Through out the 90s, I was a hardcore comic book fan, for the most part. I'm also a big fan of Star Trek. Right now in my life, though, anime is my principal entertainment passion.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Number 7: Yuki Nagato!

Top Ten Countdown - Number 7: Yuki Nagato

Moral Alignment: True Neutral

Supporting Quote - "My work is to observe Suzumiya Haruhi and upload the data obtained to the Integrated Data Sentient Entity."

AMV showcase video here.

It must seem like it's been 15, 532 years since I've last updated my blog. Hence, my blog readers should now find it unusually easy to relate to everybody's favorite organic life contact-purpose humanoid interface created by the Data Interface Thought Entity. ;) Hence, it is a fitting time for Yuki Nagato to come up in my Top 10 countdown list, though I still wish to extend apologies to my blog readers for not having wrote anything on this blog for quite some time.

So, the first question many may be asking themselves at this point... why do I have Yuki Nagato listed as True Neutral? While it's true that Yuki seems t
o have a personal preference for lawfulness, and good and fair treatment of others, she doesn't let that get in the way of her work. And her work often means that chaos reigns unoppossed, as it did in a certain infamous anime arc that I'm sure that nobody needs me to remind them of. Her work also allows for evil... or at least callous mischief... as we saw with how Nagato stood by and said nothing while Haruhi Suzumiya mistreated Mikuru Asahina to Kyon-enraging degrees.

In this vein, Yuki Nagato is very similar to Uatu, the Watcher. Like Uatu, there are people and places that Yuki cares about, and has a desire to protect. But also like Uatu, her default state is non-interference, and she can only breech that under the most extreme of circumstances. Novel 4 arguably changes that situation, somewhat, but for the benefit of readers not familiar with the Haruhi Suzumiya novels, I'll try to focus only on what we know of Yuki from her anime appearances.

So, why is Yuki Nagato Number 7 on my Top 10 list?

Well, the following pic helps to explain that in ways that perhaps mere words can not...

Esoterically Exquistely Erudite

E to the power of 3.

And E looks like 3 reflected in a mirror, and then firmed and straightened into a more firm fortitude. A firm fortitude's like Yuki's, you could say. After all, Yuki's intestional fortitude, as the pro wrestling announcers liked to say, is obviously beyond reproach. Her conflict with Ryoko Asakura proves that beyond even an inkling of an interface. ;)

The above is a concise, yet hopefully clever, way of putting in a computer chip, a key reason for why Yuki enjoys an ever growing and subtly spirited fanbase. To elucidate further, however...

Nagato is one of the more mysterious manga, anime, and light novel characters. Even so, there was a time when I viewed her principly as little more than a plot device, to be frank. But, over time, over discussions with some of Yuki's biggest fans, and over paying closer attention to her while watching the anime that she appears in, I began to notice that there is a... profound deepness of character and personality... lying just be
neat the surprisingly soulful eyes of Yuki Nagato.

Just look at her eyes and pose in the picture above. Notice how the starry darkness wrapts itself around her while simultaneously being an accentuating backdrop. An inscrutable ether of black peppered by a maze of slightly shimmering stars. I
n many ways, this is the personality of Nagato. Her mission is often like an encroaching bleakness upon her innermost self, but it doesn't eradicate the light of her personality; a light that floods outwards from her mesmerizing eyes.

'What is she thinking?' you can't help but ask yourself after awhile.

What are her eyes trying to convey which her mouth
refuses to tell?

Yuki Nagato is perhaps the least transparent of characters, and that hence makes her one of the most intriguing. Well, that alone doesn't. But it helps when this typical silence of purpose is contrasted with sudden stark stirrings of action!

This picture above reflects how reflectively brilliant her reflections are. It also demonstrates the forcible finesse of Nagato's fields of force, as well as her atheletic array of assaults and alterations of reality itself.

Nagato's moments of action are always dramatic and intense, for her typical demeanor is as silently serene and quaint as can be. Hence, Nagato is effortlessly theatrical, relying not on charisma as her Brigade Chief does, but rather on flawless timing and execution. Economy of motion executed excellently by the most economical of minds. Adam Smith and Bret Hart would both be left in awe by Nagato.

On a more practical level, though, Nagato's actions and personality and very nature give the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya an element that it would otherwise lack. And that is an element of serious science fiction. Nagato and Haruhi are like the children of Lain, of the Serial Experiment kind, with Lain's personality and power divided meticulously between the two... although Nagato is gifted with great power of her own.

But, that power doesn't mean that she lacks a soft side...

Well... that's quite the list of facets that Nagato is multiplying up with her computer.

Effortlessly Theatrical
The Sci-Fi Element that her anime would otherwise lack, at least to the abundance that it enjoys

And, also, moe. Not as moe as her fellow female SOS Brigade members perhaps, but moe nonetheless.

There is one other key element that Nagato brings to the poker table. And it's a poker face wielding a Royal Flush, which means its typical curtains for Itsuki Koizumi's chance at winning ;) ...


Simply cool.

There's no other word that can describe Nagato in her Witch's Outfit, or in many of her best moments in general for that matter. But what makes her cooler than the common cool is that she's cool with out even trying. Now, that's... COOL.

Other SOS Brigade members are capable of being cool, of course, but they have to work for it. So do most characters through out the whole of anime... yes, even you, Kamina. ;)

Nagato simply has it naturally perspiring from her every pore.

Here, Nagato is like Batman himself.

Well... what more can be wrote? There's clearly plenty of superb reasons to love Yuki Nagato. She brings so many different pitches to the day, and serves as a good contrast for her fellow SOS Brigade members.

She easily transcends any character type class that you care to put her in. Yes, she's like a certain EVA pilot from Neon Genesis Evangelion, but she goes and breaks the mold of that prototype.

She's a supporting cast character with more drawing power than many anime main characters. In many an anime, Nagato would be the star of the show. As is, though, she provides her own anime with the perfect supporting cast character. Don't get me wrong, she is a primary character, but she is there to spice up and add depth to the anime that she's in, rather than making it.

With all of this being said, why didn't she come in higher on my list?

Mysterious is a double-edged sword for a character. It usually makes a character more intriguing, but it also can serve to make a character harder to relate to.

Of my Top Six, I relate to four, and the other two are at least easy to understand. Nagato and "easy" frankly don't belong in the same sentence, unless the sentence is "Nagato is easy on the eyes". ;)

Beyond that, Nagato enjoys a great deal of intellectual investment from me, but significantly less emotionally investment. I cheer for four of my Top Six because they're heroes, in the purest sense of the term. The other two tend to steal whatever scenes that either of them appear in, and they simply make for wonderfully entertaining plot movers and shakers.

Still, Nagato is my favorite supporting cast character, and that alone says a lot. Not everybody can manage to ski above the waves upon waves of anime secondary characters, and for doing that, Nagato is deserving of a place of lasting honor in the halls of anime fandom. Perhaps she can have a trophy for water-skiing excellence on display in those halls... ;)