The Power of Asuna

I've always been a fan of Japanese anime.  Not a big follower, but I enjoy it.  I recently reacquainted myself with the anime show Sword Art Online, and the female character Asuna.

Let me first acknowledge the obvious.  Japanese Anime.  It depicts girls and women in a pretty consistent, stereotypical fashion.

But SAO, as some people refer to it, has done something that reminds me of why I enjoy anime pretty much over any western animation.

The primary female character, Asuna, has power.

This isn't just that she's some overpowered sexbot.  There's some of that.  But she's second in command of a guild within the SAO online universe, effectively the leader because of how the 1st in command proves to be (no spoiler on this one).

In our first interaction with Asuna through the male protagonist Kirito, he doesn't look at her as simply a girl.  He partners with her.  And when they fight together, he marvels not at her typical anime looks, but, "I can't even see the tip of her sword."

Asuna is a fighter, and capable.  Kirito is a fighter, and very capable.  And yet they save each other at one point or another.  Kirito is entranced by her abilities.  I can't recall that he mentions her beauty even once.

That's a female character I find unforgettable and attractive.  I root for her.  I smile when she saves Kirito.  And at how bad-ass she is protecting others.

She and Kirito both cry, are vulnerable.  Both have moments of weakness.  Not because they are weak, but because they are human.

I think WatchMojo put it best in this YouTube video when they called it both one of the best *and* one of the worst relationships in anime.  But, really, that's true of any real relationship, isn't it?

This may sound like a kind of political statement.  But, really, it's about characters and writing.  SAO has reminded me that characters are just strong.  Nor just weak.  I care about Asuna because I believe her, and believe in her.  I don't know how real she is.  I have a very compliant sense of suspension of disbelief when I look at or read fiction.

I hope I'm up to the challenge when I write.

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