I know I’ve talked about this before on some occasion and honestly it’s because I hate the idea and it’s mostly because I’m expected to become some useless brown haired kid who’s only ability i whining.
In case you are out of the loop I’m talking about self insertion into the role of a male protagonist in anime, generally any anime with a bland male lead is a self insert anime. This normally applies to harem anime as the male viewer (And maybe female if you’re into that kind of thing) is suppose to consciously (or in some cases subconsciously) project himself into the role of the male lead. By unwritten law these characters lack a major personality so that you can project yourself into the role without overwriting an existing character like some kind of terrible fan fiction. I’m not going to go too much into the concept since you should already know about it but what I’m hear for is to discuss two of these “Self insert protagonists” which I actually found somewhat relatable and it’s because they are from game adaptions.
Now saying that I felt like I was the character in the story is pushing it a bit but I must say these two leads were very well written in my eyes considering they were silent protagonists. Who I’m talking about is Yu Narukami and Kuze Hibiki from Persona 4 and Devil Survivor 2 respectively. In my eyes what made these two relatable in an almost unsettling way for me is they actually mirrored my emotions and thought processes in the anime to what I was thinking while I was playing the game. I’m only talking about the tiniest moments and reactions but those moments hit so close to home for me it gives me an odd feeling.
Kuze is the easiest to explain so I’ll talk about him first. In the game he’s essentially empty and nothing but a shell for the player to control and learn about the other characters but when an anime is built around him all the decisions I made as a player and all the emotions I was experiencing are now performed by an actual character with a personality. What hit close to home for me was just how upset Kuze gets when characters die and what gets me more is that no matter how hard he tries or how right he thought he was characters still die. This is the embodiment of me 100%. I knew these characters could be saved but no matter how I played they would die anyway even when I did exactly what I thought the game wanted me to do. I wasn’t breaking down in tears like Kuze was but there was a the smallest sense that yes Kuze was in fact me which truly surprised and impressed me.
Yu on the other hand is an odd case as even thought the game is multiple choice in some parts he would copy me and always pick the same dialog options I’d chosen. He’d even deliver them with the same witty sarcasm I imagined the protagonist I was playing in the game would. There is also the fact that he pursued friends in the same manner I did in the game, yes this is what the game wants you to do and I know that but his attitude towards it was scarily similar to mine that it gives me the chills. Even though he was the protagonist in the anime he still felt like a human player controlling the world from behind the screen to me.
I’m not crazy I swear, surely you’ve had a similar experience at least once in your anime watching years where you’ve felt an actually connection to a character like they were almost you.