Today, July 2, is the birthday of the fictional character Tsumugi Kotobuki, from the world-renowned and universally acclaimed anime (and manga) series, K-On!
Why am I making mention of a fictional birthday of a fictional character?
Why the hell not?
Besides, Mugi (her nickname) is my favorite character, in one of my favorite shows. So I made some animated gifs of her. (after the break, to spare anyone who’s not interested in seeing them)
Okay, so it’s been done, and been done better besides. Still, doing these little projects keeps me busy and not out meandering the streets and wandering into traffic, which can only be a good thing.
Making anigifs of the magnificent Mugi-chan was not my first thought. I had considered attempting to put together one of those photo essay things where someone puts a pic up on their computer monitor of the character whose birthday they’re celebrating, as well as all the associated merchandise they have of that character, along with a birthday cake for her. You know, like you can see over on Sankaku Complex.
Now this would have been an excellent excuse to eat an entire birthday cake. However, dear Mythical Readers, while I am mad, I am not yet that mad. Check back in a few years and see if I’m to that point then. (um, point of clarity: I am crazy enough to eat an entire birthday cake, but not crazy enough to set up a photo shoot to give me an excuse to actually do so) Also to see if my photography skills have improved (doubtful).
However, contemplating the idea of setting up such a photo essay, besides making me realize that I’d have to expose my Mugi figures to dust (was ist verboten!) and I ain’t doing that — this is *boxed* tea time, recall — was to make me wonder a bit about the people that actually do set those things up.
Now these days, of course, anyone who does this is usually doing it with a meta-sense of irony. And I would have been doing so as well, I admit. Mad writer or no, I am still rather tethered to reality, more’s the pity. But what about the folks who do it while damn well meaning it? You know, the first few guys, at least, were probably sincere. And I, were I to have done it… would not have not been sincere. (yes, I know, grammatically that sentence’s a crime, but sometimes mixed emotions are best expressed via double negatives, so let it slide or I’ll have to dig up that poetic license I have around here somewhere)
And thinking about that, made me think of waifus. (A waifu is a fictional character that someone considers to be, and acts as if, their wife [or spouse]; comes from the supposed Japanese pronunciation of the actual English word ‘wife’.)
Note that by explaining my train of thought about these things, I seem far less mad. Helps keep ’em from locking me up. Now if I’d said “Happy Birthday Mugi, and let’s talk about waifus”, all the Mythical Readers would immediately assume that Mugi-chan is my waifu.
Which is not true. Mugi-chan is not my waifu. I do not have a waifu. I do not want a waifu. I don’t ever want one, nor do I wish to go mad along those particular lines (my path lies, I think, elsewhere).
But — and here’s the thing — I kind of understand the guys who do have a waifu. Or I think I do, anyway; I could be wrong, what with being mad and all.
Look, there’s a lot of lonely guys out there. Lonely girls too, for that matter. And face it, some of us aren’t going to have the whole wife and family thing. Some because we’re not attractive, or not personable, or to be blunt not rich enough. Or some of us just don’t care about relationships. Or myriad other reasons. It just isn’t going to happen. Well, okay… what then?
Every society offers to those within it a well-worn path to follow, which includes hooking up with members of the opposite sex and making babies. Societies that don’t, don’t exist long because everybody dies out and no one replaces them in that society. Larger societies offer axillary roles for those who can’t (or won’t) fit into the main path, that support other goals or ideals of that society. But what about the misfits who just can’t (or won’t) slide along in one of the preapproved grooves? Well, they get pointed at and laughed at and called bad names at minimum.
That’s what most folks do, especially on the internet, when they run across someone who has a waifu. And admits it. (That, actually, the admitting it, is the part I don’t understand; I’m a private person who doesn’t share much, especially online. Except here where I tell everyone I’m mad. (gee, maybe it’s a joke for rhetorical purposes?)) I try not to do that kind of thing. How can I judge, after all, since I’m mad myself?
Still, to get back on track, or as close as a mad writer can get to being on track, once you realize that you’re a lonely guy who probably isn’t going to have (or want) a relationship with an actual fellow human… what do you do then? Be sad all the time? That gets old really fast. Kill yourself? That keeps you from getting old really fast.
Well, some guys find a waifu, and have relationships with them. Yes, it’s all in their mind. But… isn’t a “real life” relationship also all in the mind? Do you know for sure that the words your significant other is saying to you are their real feelings? Maybe they were all written for them by a scriptwriter, like a fictional character. I refer you to the movie The Truman Show — in that movie, every “real life” character other than Truman was actually fake. (Yes, the movie itself was fake, but let’s stick to one level of reality abstraction at a time, ‘kay?) But Truman didn’t know that, so for him, it was real. Not seemed real. WAS real. Which was the point. So sure, it’s all in their mind, but what isn’t “in your mind”?
Think of all the people you’ve interacted with over the internet. Most of them you know very little about them, including whether they actually exist or not. No seriously, other than the folks you’ve presumably met in person, you have no idea if they exist or not. Not really. The whole internet might be the most rigorous Turing test ever imagined. You don’t know. (I may not exist. You don’t know. I might not know.)
So, the guy who isn’t going to have a relationship still has feelings, still has the human needs of belonging and all that, still has to come up with a reason to get out of bed in the morning… and if they can’t have a “real” relationship, why not fake it? Heck, there are some advantages, as a 2D character isn’t going to rip your heart out, throw it on the floor, and then stomp on it like a sombrero in a Mexican hat dance (metaphorically speaking. I hope.) So, again, why not make a ‘fake’ relationship?
No, seriously, why not? Do they get labeled as being losers? Yes, but most of them are already labeled that way, so they have nothing to lose there. Will they be looked upon as strange individuals? Perhaps… so? Is it abnormal? Well what the hell is normal anyway? Just doing what everyone else does? Does everyone always have to do what everyone else does?
And that’s assuming that having a waifu can really be called fake in the first place. Is a human feeling, fake? Sure, the character is fictional, but… ever have someone you were dating turn out suddenly to be someone completely different than what you thought they were? Were they fake? Or was it your idea of them in your head that was fake?
Maybe the so-called real people are only different from the waifus in that the guys having a relationship with a waifu know its fake… and those with a “real person” don’t know its fake.
Or maybe taking that Philosophy 101 class really fucked me up. Oh, it didn’t drive me to madness, but perhaps it gave me a map, cab fare, and wished me luck on my journey.
I don’t know: which is better, the ones trying to fool themselves with fictional characters, or the ones who are not only fooling a fellow “actual human” in a “real” relationship but also fooling themselves into thinking they’re not fooling themselves?
Well, that made sense when I wrote it. But maybe I’m just fooling myself that it made sense.
Regardless, Happy Birthday to Tsumugi Kotobuki, of the Afterschool Tea Time band. I like you, I like to watch your show, I like to listen to your band’s songs. You are beautiful. You are sweet. Sometimes you seem to feel like you don’t quite fit into the group, and I really empathize with that. You are kind, and gentle, yet determined when after something you want. I have never met a woman like you in this so-called real life, and I long since have stopped trying to. You are not my waifu. I do not have a waifu. I do not want a waifu. But if I did, and if I did, you would be.