“Could a main character be this unappealing?” This is my impression of the main character, Hideo Suzuki, when I first started reading “I Am a Hero”.
This series started in 2009, and has already concluded as of last week’s issue.
Hideo Suzuki is a 35-year old, mediocre comic book artist, who never gets recognized by publishers, and spends everyday immersed in inferiority complex. One day, a mysterious infectious disease becomes a pandemic, and the life as he knows it begins to unravel. The cities are filled with infected individuals, known as ZQN, who possess extremely high physical abilities. As people keep getting attacked, Hideo Suzuki is forced to take extreme measures to survive. Perhaps his only saving grace is that he shot clay discs as his hobby. While on the run, he continuously meets, and then parts with, a variety of people including Hiromi and Tsugumi.
While I was reading this story, I kept thinking how annoying Hideo Suzuki is. He is very “weak-minded” and “intolerant,” and is a stickler for his own rules, even under extraordinary circumstances. While the story itself kept my interest and got me to keep reading, the main character has almost never appealed to me. However, he showed an amazing “toughness to never give up.” He continued to survive through situations that seemed “dire.”
Comparing him against our hero database, Shinji from “Neon Genesis EVANGELION” and Usopp from “ONE PIECE” came up. Perhaps he is like Shinji in that he continues to fight while he suffers. Moreover, “Nadeshiko JAPAN” also came up toward the top. They drew attention when they continued to advance in the 2011 World Cup, all the way to the finals against the U.S. While the viewers thought that they “could not possibly win” against the U.S., who was superior in various aspects including power, speed, and technique, Nadeshiko won, with “unfaltering heart,” and became a Japanese hero. I think heroes are born, when someone exceeds expectations under unexpected circumstances.
(Warning) Spoiler ahead.
The last episode of “I Am a Hero” ends with Hideo Suzuki, who decides to live alone in desolate Tokyo. This open-ended finish invited some criticisms on the internet, however, I believe that the motif of this final episode was precisely what the author wanted to write. This is a hero, who never gave up on life even when he was a struggling comic book artist, on a run to survive, and in his last chapter. I was very sad at the end, even though I never once felt attracted to the main character.
The story ends like this, as though to speak on behalf of the readers:
“Good bye, Hideo.”
(Article by: Kenichi Nakamura)
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.