An interesting observation has been on my mind ever since Sonic’s
reappearance in the manga (ch78).
First of all, Sonic was nowhere to be seen at this point in the webcomic, so
his inclusion was a pleasant surprise! Especially since there’s still much we
don’t know about his character or background, anything that further fleshes him out (and his past’s mysterious ties to
Flash) is damn welcome indeed. Him falling to temptation by eating the monster
cell came as a shock to many, because at this point, Sonic’s sense of pride in his
skills and craft seemed too high for him to ever accept such a lowly deal – aka a cheapened
shortcut to power. Thankfully he outright refused to join the other two ninjas’
monster scheme, but when it came to himself and his personal feelings concerning
Saitama, we got THIS:
Like, damn. That’s some pretty heavy stuff. D: Apparently all his training
to overcome his psychological trauma in ova3 wasn’t even enough progress to get out of his funk. He’s STILL been brooding all alone in his decrepit
hide-out, festering in this dark mindset ever since. It seems his defeat to
Saitama, the ultimate blow to his pride, was THAT much more severe than
previously thought. If, after all this time, he considers all his progress,
pride, and state of living essentially DEAD because of Saitama (holy shit). Sonic’s
been absolutely shattered, thinking he has nothing else left to lose. Willing to
give up even his humanity, willing to do anything
to gain the power necessary to defeat Saitama once and for all.
…Wait a sec, now where have we seen that kind of drive/mindset before?
“…I simply cannot imagine…ever approaching Master’s strength.” Yup, Genos. :’)
Willing and prepared to do anything
to become stronger. But! There are some important distinctions between him and
Sonic has worked as an assassin and mercenary, who’s not above killing
people, so his moral alignment is essentially gray. Therefore his
susceptibility to be swayed to accept a monster cell (at his lowest and most
vulnerable state of mind) is not completely out of left field. Meanwhile, Genos has been working on the path of justice, revenge, and
ultimately, on the path towards becoming an earnest and honorable hero. Who has already chosen to give up a huge portion
of his ‘humanity’ once he became a cyborg.
However, the most important distinction and contrast between them is how both of
them have changed mentally after meeting Saitama:
Sonic, once prideful and spirited, has become dark, brooding, lost and
self-destructive after meeting
Genos, once dark, brooding, and literally
self-destructive before meeting Saitama,
has become brighter with newfound hope and a better path worth living for now.
Narratively, I find THAT contrast in how these two characters have
been inversely affected and changed by Saitama’s influence to be completely
fascinating. The way Saitama continues to affect the people he meets in the story, both
negatively and positively, remains an interesting draw to the series as a
One thing I think is interesting: In both FMA anime, the complete (or, well, as complete as the anime made them) childhood flashback happened by episode 3. Ed and Al’s backstory was revealed from the get-go.
But in the manga, we only get little snippets here and there at first- it’s mentioned in the first few chapters that Ed and Al lost their bodies trying to resurrect their dead mother using alchemy, but it doesn’t go into further detail until the Dublith arc. The full childhood flashback started in chapter 21, which was released in 2003 (Early June I think? Not sure). Meaning for fans who started reading it from chapter 1 as it was serialized in Monthly Shonen Gangan, it would have taken nearly two years to get the Elrics’ full backstory.
Flash back to the beginning of my senior year. I had lost my interest in anime and manga completely by that point. I was more confident than I had been, but still suffered from some social anxiety. My closest group of friends still numbered five (as we had since elementary school), but our overall group had grown quite a bit. We would hang out before school, since our freshman tradition had remained intact. We were also a friendly group, so as long as no one caused any trouble, we had no problem with new people hanging out with us.
Part of the “no trouble” clause was respecting personal boundaries. Some of the group was fine with all manner of physical contact. Others were only okay with some. Others of us still preferred not to be touched at all. Now, for this portion of the story, my closest friends will be known as Kitty, Birdie, Dog, and Ferret; I will be Mousie (as they teasingly dubbed me ‘mousie’ because of how timid I had been).
Though I had lost my interest in anime/manga entirely, I still wore my old anime shirts because I really hated shopping and hadn’t bothered updating my wardrobe. It was the second week of the new school year, and we were all doing our usual before school: sitting around talking, drawing, poking fun at each other, reading, passing manga around, playing games…all was good.
This chapter left me feeling very empty and traumatized for personal reasons, and I honestly didn’t think I was going to talk about this chapter, but I sat down and thought about Arima for a while. The fact that Arima killed himself is so chilling to me, but in a twisted way makes sense. To me Arima has always came off as awkward in situations outside of fighting ghouls, he’s quiet, says things that rub others the wrong way, doesn’t smile, and he does strange things like jumps on tables. In many ways he acts like a child that already seen the terrible things the world has to offer. However, that feeling goes away when he is fighting you can tell this is where he feels comfortable. This puts emphasis on how messed up his childhood, Arima in many ways was programmed to be one thing and one thing only a killing machine. Something that can kill ghouls without sympathy from a weak lone ghoul, to a family, to an SSS rank. Which to me is the saddest fact, because Arima is a genius he had so much potential to become something amazing, if it wasn’t for the fact that he ended up somehow in the garden. Arima is shown to be into reading as much as Kaneki, he gave Fura his textbook in Jack because he knew how to do all the math already. Arima is even an amazing teacher even though his methods are unconventional look at Hirako, Ui, Akira, and mostly Haise/Kaneki who was able to finally surpass him. Yet, Arima was raised for one purpose and one purpose kill ghouls and don’t lose, and the moment his warranty and his health started to wane they started to look for a replacement. Which I think puts this nail in the coffin of Arima’s self worth. I think the one thing that I know about Arima is how much he cared for Kaneki, because Arima said that he was not going to kill him, that he couldn’t, that explains why he was so violent towards Kaneki during this fight he was trying to get him to beat him, because he couldn’t kill him and Kaneki couldn’t kill him either because they became close. However, Arima was brought up on this ideology that their cannot be a die someone has to die in a battle. So, Arima who had nothing else to give and was brought to a stalemate, his purpose for living the only thing he knows and the one thing that he thinks he’s good at was taken from him. So, in many ways tragically killed himself, because he didn’t have anything else. What does this mean for the series then, well in one chapter Ishida removed the two most powerful pieces from the board, Arima died and Eto got bested by Furuta. Yet, I believe this is for a purpose the fact that Arima and Eto were equals their was this stalemate and order was kept. It wasn’t until Eto brought in a possibility of a new One-eyed King that the balance seemed to shift and both sides got scared. Eto wants the one-eyed king killed, and V wants to know who it is. I think this is setting a stage because Eto said she was getting two old and Arima was going blind. Arima as much as I loved him I feel like he outlived his purpose for being alive, but not in memory, because I feel like the next arc we are going to learn a lot about him, this arc was a formal introduction to V so why wouldn’t the next arc be learning about it, especially because Kaneki is going to be on the run after this. I feel like if Kaneki finally learns and understands Arima it would influence him to maybe go as far as following Eto’s request. That is why I think Eto was the one out of the two to live. Eto still needs to be alive because she is Kaneki’s connection to V and seems to have a lot of the answers that are needed to keep the story going. Arima needed to die so Kaneki could get the reason to become interested, when Eto peaked Kaneki interest about V but he still didn’t care because he was only concerned about Hinami at the time. Kaneki just lost someone to V not by their own hand but by omission and how they raised him. This arc had Kaneki and Furuta upset the power balance by taking out the two most powerful characters. Furuta will probably take Arima’s place because he is a part of V and Kaneki might take Eto’s. After this arc I feel like the rest of the manga is going to be in complete chaos and it’s going to be amazing. But, I might be wrong because their is a slime chance that Arima might live, but maybe it’s just my personal pessimism at the moment that’s making me feel this way.