Twelve Days of DAL (#4): The Characters Part I

All right, this time around, i am going to talk about some of the characters of this series.

As you know, DAL is still a harem series. Harem series main purposes has always been about the girls and the fanservice that they provide for all those male audiences out there. They live or die based upon the prettiness and the quirks of the girls. They are what male fantasy supposed to be.

In other words, the more hotter, cuter and likeable the heroines are, the better.

So lets talk about the main male lead!

Yes! You my Friend

Shido’s character unfortunately, won’t likely impressed anyone. Harem MC tend to divide between two category, the pervert one and the ordinary self insert one.  The former is self explanatory, but the latter is where the goal of the characterization is make the MC as relatable and bland as possible so that the audience can project themselves into the fantasy of having cute girls surrounding them better. This tends to make them poorly written and in some extreme cases, they’re non character. If there is one character trait that this type of MC has, is what so called “reason” for the heroine to fall in love with him and that was he is “nice”.

Shido more less fit in with the second category. He’s kind hearted, helpful, naive, didn’t want to favor any of the girl and just pretty much ordinary without any strong defining characteristic asides from the first three trait i just mentioned for the most part.

I do appreciate however, that there are some subtle differences that makes him stand out among his peers of his type.

For one thankfully, he’s not dense. And looking back, the only times the encounter with the girls are ever resolved, was when Shido didn’t used Ratatoskr and just his own word.

At times, he’s also can be pretty cocky especially during his interaction with Kotori (as evidenced during their date). Like for example, this dialogue with his friend Tonomachi from the first volume of the LN (which i still find to be funny).

“Haha. In any case, I’m not so much of a jerk that I’d disturb your happy sibling get-together. I try to play by the rules.”

“You always say just a bit more than you’re supposed to.”

Grabbing his cheeks, Tonomachi made an unexpected face while speaking.

“But man, don’t you think that Kotori-chan is super cute? To be able to live with her under the same roof must be the best.”

“If you actually had a younger sister, I think that you’d definitely change your opinion.”

“Ah… You hear that a lot. So is it really true that people with little sisters don’t have such fetishes?”

“Yeah, they are not girls. They are just creatures called little sisters.”

But one of the most entertaining moments coming from him for me, was when during the scene in volume two where he’s teasing Kotori on using the bathroom first (he suspected that there were trap inside set up by her). In the anime, he simply mumbling angrily to himself while doing it. In the LN however, the guy flat out laugh like a maniac in his mind, thinking victory is his.

Shido

He’s also have his own hopes, motivation, fears and even a backstory. His hope, as you might have guessed, was to have Spirits to be able to coexist with human peacefully.

His motivation to do this was something that was explained in his backstory told by Kotori in the first volume. When he was little, Shido’s biological mother “abandoned” him and he was taken into the Itsuka household ever since. It was really depressing period for his life and he felt that his existence was denied which prompted him to go into despair. Kotori describe that back then, he’s “looked like he’s about to suicide at any moment”. While he became better ever since, he became sensitive over other people’s despair and when he does ran into such person, he couldn’t helped but try to help them even though they were stranger.

When he met Tohka the first time, he feels her sad and despair look is something that reminded him about his younger self. Believed that Spirits didn’t cause destruction through spatial quake out of evil deed or even voluntarily (the spatial quake happens due to side effect of Spirits entering the world) and couldn’t accept AST method to eliminate Spirits to prevent said destruction, he accept Ratatoskr help and do this by their terms i.e. dating them and sealing their powers with a kiss.

His fear, while wasn’t prominent throughout the series, manifested itself in the form of Kurumi on volume 3. After he met and sealed Tohka and Yoshino’s power, he began to have a naive notion of believe that Spirits are all actually good misunderstood people. But when he saw Kurumi murder an innocent bystander with her own two hands cold blooded right in front of him, he broke down to the point where he doubt about the nature of his own job or to be more precise whether or not he was doing the right thing.

He’s also subtly develop and progress throughout the series which is symbolize with the fact that he began to able to manifesting Angel (Spirits power manifestation) of the Spirits that he has sealed. Aside from he became more confident on each encounter, he’s also began to take action by himself and not just simply pulled along by the plot or by other character. His action sometimes also drive the story.

Granted, this is all just a few details and they’re not that well articulated or great. His backstory and motivation in particular are told in a heavy handed and ham-fisted way. But considering the genre, i appreciated that the author at least try to make him stand out in some way.

While initially i am just going to leave it that and move on to the next post, for the sake of this post and not to leave out potentially critical trait, i’ve decided to ponder more about Shido’s character and dig in a bit further.

Aaaaannnnnd…….i’ve found some quite interesting reading about his character. This reading that i found could also potentially make Shido an interesting character in his own right if it were explored or articulated more.

The reading that i found, is the fact that he’s also suicidal and lacking in both self value and preservation.

What….

Throughout the series, time and again, Shido always do something dangerous out of recklessness for what he believed to be right, like for example, the raid to DEM industry building to save Tohka. The idea of an MC taking reckless action isn’t all that new, but lets looked at his backstory again. Kotori may said that Shido became better, but i argue there’s still somewhat that empty void inside him.

And then lets apply his backstory as the context for his action. Those action became less about recklessness, but more about that he’s just doesn’t care on what’s going to happen to him. In fact, looking back, when he discovered that he’s capable of healing and regenerating his body and started using it to his advantages like when he went to Yoshino’s ice dome to save her or when he jumped off the roof to stop Kurumi, he does it in an eerily and weirdly calm way.

But the biggest offender however, was during the raid to DEM industry building. In there, Shido managed to manifest Sandalphon, Tohka’s Angel, again. But he discovered that his body, which is humans, is incompatible with Angel’s power. So, his body began to break down. But because he has the power to regenerate from his own wound, his power automatically tries to heal him and the process repeated itself. This cycle of his body breaking down from using Sandalphon and his regenerating power healing him, is slowly decreasing his life span and yet, he kept on pushing it through, all for the sake of saving Tohka.

But why he do all of this? Why is it so important for him to do this to the point where he doesn’t care if he’s going to die?

If we looked at his motivation of saving Spirits by also applying his backstory, it wasn’t so much that he wanted to save the Spirits due to the fact it’s what he believed to be right, but rather because he wants to fill the empty void in his existences after his mother abandoned him. And somewhere on the back of his mind, he thinks the way to do that is to try saving people that he thought was just like him or in this case, the Spirits. Thus, everytime Shido sealed and absorb the girls power’s inside him, signifying that he succeed on saving the girls, it could be considered as a symbolism on how saving the Spirits “fulfilled” him and “adding” something to the void inside him. And this is why he values saving others over himself to the extent of being suicidal.

In a way, it makes sense that he didn’t wanted to favor or chose any of the Spirits in his harem, should he is ordered or asked to do so. Because they were all quite literally equally valuable and important to him. They’re what gave his life a meaning and fill the void inside him because they were the very people that he saved with his own very hand.

Yeahhhhh that’s deep. Anyway, the bottom line is….

Shido’s one of the best harem lead ever. COME AT ME BROS!

End notes:

-Notice how the author use the word “abandoned”. N-not that i-i am implying its probably clue or something!

-I do hope the part of my reading about him were articulated more. Chances are its highly unlikely, but i can hope can i?

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