Back again with another character; this time Ririchiyo Shirakiin from Inu X Boku SS. At some point I’m going to have to come back and look at some of the supporting cast from the story and certainly Miketsukami will need his own post but for today, I’m just looking at Ririchiyo as she is presented in the anime.
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All About Ririchiyo
We meet Ririchiyo as she is moving into Ayakashi Kan, determined to live on her own until she learned how to live with others… a contradiction in and of itself but one she was unable to see until it was explicitly pointed out to her. Ririchiyo has quite the sharp tongue and seems to intentionally drive others away however she later feels quite remorseful because of her actions. I was interested in her character after watching Inu x Boku SS and did a bit of looking around and apparently she falls into the tsunshun character type rather than tsundere largely because of her depression felt after the fact.
What makes Ririchiyo particularly interesting is that we meet her after she’s already made the decision that she needs to change. The story is one about her working toward achieving the change she’s already recognised is needed in her life. As such we see the character half-way along their journey and travel with her for a time before the anime ends and while she makes some interesting growth throughout her journey is far from over when the final episode comes to a close. Still, I am glad for the time we have with this character because while certain elements of her personality feel a little over done, she’s pretty entertaining to watch melt down internally as she second guesses something she’s just done.
I guess I should probably mention she’s also a descendent of a clan that is possessed by a yokai and can turn into her yokai form, a very pretty demon girl. She doesn’t use it all that often throughout the anime though but it is another reason for her personality as it is part of the reason for her isolated childhood.
Is Ririchyo a ‘poor little rich girl’?
Where Ririchiyo is a bit problematic is that in the flashbacks of her childhood, very little of it seems all that horrible. Admittedly, she is most definitely isolated and her parents do an outstanding job of making her feel cut off and emotionally detached, yet in comparison with so many other anime characters and tragic back-stories, Ririchiyo’s seems very ordinary. Particularly compared with other characters within this anime. Her warped and twisted personality may very well have nothing to do with social isolation and everything to do with her innate person and she uses her childhood as an excuse for all the barbs and prickles.
Certainly she suffers some bullying at school and comes to the realisation that even teachers treat her in certain ways because of her family connections. These things aren’t ‘nothing’ and would have an impact on her development. As would her parents rarely seeing her and blaming her for her younger sister feeling inferior. Yet the fact remains that Ririchiyo had people around her looking out for her and was well cared for even if she was not as emotionally supported as she might have been.
It might have been nice to see Ririchiyo come to the realisation that her childhood, while not brilliant or overly enviable, wasn’t the driving factor behind all of her choices or her personality.
Ririchiyo’s emotional battle to
connect with others
Regardless of the cause of her personality, Ririchiyo has made the clear decision that it is time to overcome it. She moved to be on her own in order to learn how to deal with others. This is a battle for her as it forces her to move outside of her comfort zone and to self-correct well established patterns of behaviour.
However, she isn’t always successful and we regularly see her cringing at herself or angry that she responded in a particular way. We also see her rehearsing interactions before they occur as she tries to get to an outcome that she desires. Her hard work is commendable even if it seems like for every step forward there’s a step back and she seems to teeter back and forth on the spot.
What is the affect of
Ririchiyo continues to have quite the impact on the characters around her though the one we see most clearly is her impact on Miketsukami who meets her and tells her that she is the one who saved him. Ririchiyo has no memory of doing anything to save him and dismisses him, repeatedly, but ultimately gives him permission to be her secret service agent while she’s living in the apartment. This choice has a major impact on both characters as these two incredibly socially awkward people, who are trying to connect with the other in their own way and are actually kind (at least to one another), bump heads and try to work their way through basic interactions. Whether it is texting, inviting the other to drink some tea, or even a school drop off, these two have to figure everything out step by step.
There may not ever come a time when Ririchiyo isn’t a little too sharp tongued from time to time or feel anxious or socially awkward however her choice to change is what set the story in motion and it is what makes her an admirable character. She’s recognised a short coming and one that will impact upon her life if not addressed and she’s trying, in small ways, to learn how to live with others.
While Ririchiyo might be exaggerated
I related with her
As someone who is also incredibly socially awkward I kind of connected with Ririchiyo when watching this anime. I couldn’t relate to her childhood or the cause of her sharp tongue, but the feeling of needing to rehearse a conversation, of having to work up to going to talk to someone and then either getting tongue tied or tripping over my words, and of just waiting so long to formulate the response that the conversation had already moved on and so it was no longer even relevant was something I could very much recognise in my day to day life.
I also recognised the desire to get better at social interactions. Amazingly enough, it is very hard to live in the world when you can’t speak to others because your tongue just glued itself to the roof of your mouth and you broke out in a cold sweat just because someone spoke to you. That said, even in my 30’s, I still have to give myself a mental pep-talk before speaking to someone I’ve never had a conversation with before.
While there are elements of Ririchiyo’s character that definitely carry a cringe factor and times when her behaviour seems really quite illogical, I found a real connection with her and it made me reflect on my own life and how far I’ve come through a desire to change. It does mean my experience with this character was a very personal one and I get other people see her a little differently.
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