[The Perfect Person]
What does this mean? The Perfect Person. Is this the Saint? Or the enlightened Guru? Prophet or Messiah or Avatar? What about the Machiavellian Prince? Or Nietzche’s Übermensch?
The Perfect Person must be above reproach in all ways. The Perfect Person must make you stare in awe at how naturally and flawlessly they [just]… live life. (This does qualify as a trope, and I’ll explain that throughout this blog post.)
I’m sure you all will want to jump to disagreeing with me. And I’m sure there are a dozen various interpretations and opinions and literary theories as to what this “perfect person” is, or to what even this specific definition definition refers. But as I hop along through life, I’ve come to adore a certain incarnation of the “perfect person.” (In fictional character form, of course)
I introduce to you, two candidates, presented under your discretion: Akira Takizawa (Eden of the East) and Chloe Price (Life is Strange).
These are both very different characters from very different franchises. Akira Takizawa is recently-memory-wiped protagonist on a journey to rediscover his past and to “save Japan.” And Chloe Price is Oregon native, high school dropout delinquent and companion to hero Max Caulfield in a high school drama Time Travel Tragedy.
Taki (Takizawa) constitutes another one of these fun genius-with-female-companion archetypes. Eden of the East is a story primarily shown to us through the lens of Saki Morimi, who has a compulsion for and who receives a certain abstract affection from Taki. She is his companion. He is the esoteric genius.
Chloe appears to be the [just the] reverse. Max is the hero with the magical ability and the genius that comes with being controlled by a player character. And Chloe is [the companion] along for the ride, enthusiastic but in the dark.
Introductions out of the way, what do these two characters have in common? What is “perfect” about either of them?
Well, for starters, the failing qualifications. Taki is not the paragon of morality. His primary directive is to find Mr. Outside, now an elderly man, and punch him in the face, a rebellion of the perverse “game” that Outside has set up. Taki is not a tactical and psychological genius who is able to successfully set up and execute an impossible plan like some Light (Death Note) or Lelouch (Code Geass). Taki has help; star concierge Juiz will get all of the hard work and the dirty work done for him, providing access to a deep, deep, pocket of cash. And when Juiz isn’t enough, Saki and her Eden of the East club friends offer their assistance to Taki’s cause.
Though, it is that last bit that helps demonstrate what’s so special about Takizawa. People want to help him. Famed author and compiler of fairy tales Hans Christian Anderson had a story to demonstrate just that principle. Meet Gerda, protagonist of “The Snow Queen” (very little connection to Frozen, though this girl is, in some ways, the Anna-analogue). The exciting little lesson explained at the end of this fairy tale is that Gerda was not special because of what she personally was able to accomplish but because of her unique quality of character which compelled everyone she met along the way to help her in her sympathetic plight. Taki is similar. He is a naïve child at series open. His memories have just been erased, a contributing symbol for his innocence. Like a child, he is single-minded in his pursuit to help people, and this is part of what compels everyone to join and help him.
Then, could Chloe Price be described as bearing a childlike “innocence”? Chloe is our high school dropout and a delinquent. She’s cynical. She’s jaded. Sure, it’s understandable, due to circumstances. Her father died, her best friend leaves without a word, and her new best friend is amidst the company of culture of stoner skateboarders and drug dealers and a shared dream to escape to LA and become a model. Also a struggling working mother and a shitty stepdad.
Hostile? That’s one way of describing Chloe’s world. Abandoned. No one stops to help her.
But, in a way, that “innocence” is still there. Chloe is the companion. She is blindly following Max into the unknown. The details aren’t important when she has an attitude to keep moving forward. Chloe has no control over her life when face-to-face with the will of an angry and apocalyptic Butterfly Effect and a fearless time-traveling leader. And Chloe still has hope in her heart and a step in her soul. Whether she’s dancing atop her bed, jumping into the pool for an impromptu post-midnight dip, or she erupts into a rage arguing with her stepdad or she feels down when Max leaves her to spend time with another friend. She doesn’t stop living.
Chloe is selfish and naïve and reckless and short-sighted and hopeful and loving. But that’s okay.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Socrates may have been an asshole/ a dick, but he was a clever man, and he revolutionized “thought” for the rest of human history.
But there’s something to living “naturally” that precludes living that wonderful/ magical self-examined life. Can’t the call of nature be reduced to fulfilling animal instincts. How is the “natural” person is perfect? Who is less than perfect? That would be, The Planner, The Self-Conscious Doubter, The Vain Narcissist, The Anxious Trainwreck, The Desperate Trickster, The Nervous Butterfly, The ‘Type A’ Perfectionist, The Star-Struck and Superstitious, The Rabble-Rousing Rebel, The Existential Entertainer, The Thrill-Seeking Junkie, The Safety Guard, The Tortoise-Shell Shelly/ Bomb-Shelter Betty/ Build-Up-Walls Brain Freeze. Hey, look. It’s a human.
And yet we feel most alive when we throw the human mind to the wind and just live (typically, poetically, conventionally, pop-culture-tells-us-so-and-is-always-right; though I can’t speak for ‘you’). Live creatively. Live freely. Live a day and don’t look back.
But then, somehow, do it right. Do it right in a way that unique little way a human being can. Walk off the cliff and land. This is what makes Taki and Chloe and so many others so magical. Sure, they make mistakes. Sure, they second-guess themselves. But they never stop.
/end inspirational speeeeeeeeeeeeech (beep boop)