Friday, November 5, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Characters, #4-Nagisa

Once upon a time, there was a girl, a girl named Nagisa. She was a sweet girl, a timid girl. This girl was caring, and she was gentle. She was quiet, and she was loyal. This girl, Nagisa, feared many things. She feared making friends. She feared speaking in front of people, and she feared trying new things. But this girl Nagisa had secrets hidden within her. Sometimes, the most ordinary things unlock what is hidden. Once upon a time, there was a girl, a girl named Nagisa. Once upon a time, this girl met a boy, and once upon a time, a very ordinary thing happened – a girl and a boy fell in love. There are times when very unordinary things spring from ordinary ones. Nagisa's story is an ordinary one. A timid girl meets a boy. They fall in love. The story of Clannad is an unordinary one. The reason it can be unordinary, the reason it can be almost impossible, is because of Nagisa. It's because the secrets hidden within the timid girl, it's because of her courage and ability to love as she does, that the impossible storyof Clannad can be excepeted. I love Nagisa for this reason, because she made the story Clannad possible for me.

Nagisa Furukawa: the lead heroine character. Well, look at that one. Number 4, you say? Only number 4? Yes, yes, it’s shocking, but that’s just how it is. Now settle down and read.

I was trying to figure out how to describe Nagisa this week, and while I was thinking, I found it real easy to list off words that described her quite well. However, I couldn’t really remember how I thought of her at the beginning of the series, my impression of her when I had only watched those first few episodes. My mind was just blank. I couldn’t really recall my opinions at all. To get that description, though, I called upon one of my friends. This buddy of mine has only seen the first six episodes of Clannad, so I asked him what he thought of Nagisa, what his first impression of her was and what he could conclude about her. I bet you could probably guess what he said because I think it’s what we all thought of her at the beginning of Clannad. She was timid, shy, and lacking some self-confidence, but he also knew that she was kind and always trying to make an effort. Then I knew how much Nagisa had improved. From those first thoughts we had about Nagisa to those new, revised ones we concluded with, Nagisa had changed a lot.

It was all due to the effort. It’s true that Tomoya gave her the push she needed. He started her on the right path and aided her when she needed it, but it was always Nagisa's will to keep going. She created an image in her head of what she wanted to do, re-establish the theater club and perform a specific play. That’s what put her in the right path, her goal. Along with Tomoya's help, she was able to grow and, eventually, her effort became more than just an effort. She actually made her goal reality by doing what she wanted to do. This is why Nagisa is strong. She may be reserved at first, but she gives her true opinion to those she becomes friends with, and she is willing to strive for a good outcome.

Nagisa isn’t really one of my favorite characters, even though she is very important. However, I do realize the strength that she has, and when combined with Tomoya’s support in everything she does, she is that much stronger. You’ve come a long way, Nagisa!

Oh, Nagisa, how I hated you when we first met. How could I not? You were shy, frail, weak. You were everything that was wrong with me that I didn't want to admit, my shadow, that I had to deny to preserve my identity. But you grew beyond yourself, beyond me. You showed me that that part of me could change, that it was stronger than the rest of me combined. That there was hope.

Thank you, Nagisa. For everything.

Who has the words to describe Nagisa?
Without her, Clannad would not exist. Sure, Tomoya is the main character, but his meeting Nagisa is the first scene of the entire series. She is inextricably bound up into the series' plot and character development. Without Nagisa, there would be no Clannad as we know it.
Who is Nagisa, though? She's a young woman, a sickly young woman. Sure, she may not look it all the time, but when her illness strikes, it strikes. That illness has made her repeat her senior year of high school (in the end, it makes her repeat twice!). Self-confidence is not one of her strong suits, as is evident from the first episode. There's always a part of her that wants to hide in a corner and apologize for everything: she just wants to avoid being a burden on anyone. The thing is, in trying to avoid being a burden, Nagisa ends up becoming a loner with, sadly (and quite literally, at first) no friends. She sits by herself alone under a tree, eating an-pan and dreaming of the Drama Club. Her heart is sweet and innocent, if insecure. How does a girl like her end up with an aloof, sarcastic, at times brash delinquent like Tomoya? I don't think anyone could explain that rationally.
Her development and path through life showcases the hidden strength within her. At first, she still needs encouragement in the toughest moments of life, like the Drama Club performance. But once she really connects with Tomoya, she gains strength; when push comes to shove in After Story, she holds her own; she becomes a bold, stout-hearted woman. She doesn't back down, even to the point of death.
What draws me to Nagisa is the fact that I feel so similar to her at times (and not just because a Facebook quiz told me so). Insecurity is something I've always had trouble with for as long as I can remember. Even now, I still struggle with it, even if I can't come up with a rational reason why. Part of me as always been a loner. Part of it is introversion, and part of it is a bit of a lack of social skills on my part, I think. Sitting alone under a tree in the middle of an open space is not a novel experience; sitting alone anywhere is an oft-occurring event. I just love to apologize. If I feel like I've made the tiniest mistake, I'll blather on and on for ages and ages about how sorry I am. Part of it is true contrition, and part of it is real fear of losing the somewhat sparse personal connections I have. Even if I haven't done anything wrong, I'll apologize profusely. And self-confidence...though I've gotten better, it can still be a struggle.
Overall, then, the reason why Nagisa is one of my favorite characters is that in some ways I feel like I am Nagisa (though I'm not a woman). That could be seen as a somewhat depressing thing, since I connect with her original personality, the loner one, the most. But there is something uplifting: she was able to change. Throughout the series, especially in After Story, Nagisa is able to gain confidence and boldness, and she's able to feel secure. Even though she's a fictional character, I feel like if she can do it, so can I. And that gives me hope.


And thence commences Clannad as we know it. This is one of those dramatic turning points, though it's quiet in its own way. It marks the point at which Tomoya first reaches out to something good in the world, and sees it as such. It's the first time that he's seen something beautiful, in a good long while. It's most definitely Nagisa who sets everything in motion, and brings Tomoya into a nicer world, one with at least a glimmer of hope.

We just watched the scene where Tomoya proposes to Nagisa, at our school's anime club. There's many ways in which it epitomizes the relationship of Tomoya and Nagisa. Tomoya calls himself "pathetic", because he doesn't believe that there's goodness behind his strength. He only believes he has the power to wreck and destroy. Nagisa calls herself "pathetic", because she doesn't believe that there's strength in her to carry out the goodness in her heart. She believes that she'll always fall short of her hopes and desires.

It's these two misfits who pledge themselves to one another, resolving to walk a long and rough road together. Through this dedication, they bring their strengths and weaknesses to bear, working together to forge something stronger, something greater than themselves. They're a bit of an odd pair, but at the same time they make a good couple. Nagisa sets an example for Tomoya, giving her all and then some, for his sake. That's really one of the things which brings him out of his personal rut.

Nagisa is sweet, caring, and devoted, yes. Most important, though, is the fact of who she is to Tomoya. Nagisa is the one who comes into his life at just the right time. She's the one who he found when he was searching for something to bring him meaning. She's the one who became his dream, his wish, the one who led him to a life that had something for him to live. In the end, that's what really matters.

1 comment:

  1. Nagisa is so strong.. I like her attitude... it makes me like Clannad more because the story tries to tell us that we should be strong.. like Nagisa. :>