So I have a question. Since I see you post some saimatsu stuff before, do you really ship them in the game, and why? I was just curious by the way.
I’m a multishipper generally, so I do ship saimatsu in-game! I felt it was really well done, and I enjoyed seeing Kaede and Saihara’s interactions throughout Chapter 1. Any ship that’s based on mutual support and interest I’m usually a pretty big sucker for. Saimatsu is definitely supportive, and based on trust, and there’s no denying they both took an interest in one another—I got attached pretty fast.
As much as I still don’t like the bait-and-switch trick they pulled in Chapter 1, I still appreciate that Kaede remained an important and almost-tangible presence with the rest of the group and particularly with Saihara even after she was killed. Saihara’s feelings for her are an undoubtedly present and important part of his character, and without Kaede, it’s doubtful that he would ever have been willing to continue seeking the truth.
Of course, I have a few particular ways I like to ship it. If I had to pick a particular flaw with what we see in canon, it’s that by performing a bait-and-switch and having Kaede sacrifice herself so early on, there’s an kind of feeling that Saihara latched onto her and she became important to his development—but we know almost nothing about how he would help her development.
Kaede is pretty much fully developed by the time we see her in Chapter 1. That’s why she makes for the “perfect protagonist” figure; she’s almost at the finish line of her character growth arc while many other characters are only at the starting line.
Because of this, I like to think of ways in which saimatsu could potentially develop in a way that’s not strictly just Kaede existing for the sake of Saihara’s development. If she stuck around, I’d like to imagine that Saihara latching on and kind of viewing her in this extremely idealized way would’ve become a point of discussion at some point, and something Kaede herself would have told him wasn’t the whole “truth” of things.
Despite Kaede’s own desire to become someone extremely close to being the perfect protagonist, who is self-sacrificing, cool under pressure, energetic, and a charismatic leader, she’s still a person. She still has flaws. I really like the idea of saimatsu having a potential dynamic of both of them sort of realizing that even if Saihara still has a long ways to go with coming out of his shell and developing, Kaede also has room to develop, and has to be seen as a person rather than just an idol or a symbol.
Saimatsu is a really good ship even from what we see in canon, of course! Given everything we see in FTEs and bonus mode content, as well as Chapter 1, Kaede clearly valued Saihara as someone important and trustworthy, and could certainly open up to him in the way that she wanted to be able to open up to everyone else. I really like the fact that there’s so much potential for growth and trust and support in their dynamic, even if what we see of it is cut relatively short in canon.