HI AND WELCOME TO ECHIZEN HOUR
okay so here’s my thing with Ryouma: I honestly don’t believe that Konomi wrote the character that he intended to write. I feel this with a lot of characters (notably Yukimura and Tezuka, who I think he meant to make scary and compassionate respectively and really failed at that in both regards most of the time).
My favorite Ryouma is Ogoe Yuuki—and I don’t just mean he’s my favorite Tenimyu Ryouma. I mean that the Ryouma I love is the one in the current season of the tenimyu, because that Ryouma is someone I can root for. He’s rude, yes; He doesn’t acknowledge many people as his rival, because he’s his own rival—he compares every opponent he faces to the best version of himself, and to his ultimate frustration, his father—but he also takes a pure and visceral joy in the game itself that we rarely see.
The purity of his love for tennis is something that I think is really driven home; we see people destroyed in their game and in life by everything else getting in the way (like Tezuka sacrificing his own tennis and his arm for his team, like Sanada getting lost in his worry for Yukimura, like people worrying too much about their doubles combination and their personal lives and just plain winning to make the game anything good), but that’s not Ryouma. He gets into that mindset sometimes, but he manages to snap himself out of it. I love that that’s mirrored in his Teni-muhou no kiwami, that it’s not about giving him power to defeat, not about knowing his opponent, but about making him the best version of his own self, that spirit of his own speed and power and stamina that he’s been fighting against the whole time.
We never see him get truly angry at his rivals. The only times he gets truly angry are at himself or frustrated with his father, or with people who try to force him to do the things that he doesn’t want to do.
The problem with Ryouma is that his story is very much an internal one, and it’s not told in a medium that’s all that great for it (sports manga). Because of the format, you really just see Ryouma get mad, then win. Get mad, then win, framed by all these people who have much more interesting, external conflicts. By contrast, it seems to the outside observer (which we all are) that Ryouma doesn’t have any conflicts for most of the series, which is why a lot of people (including me initially) think that he doesn’t have much to struggle against compared to someone like Yukimura, whose struggles are obvious and external for the most part.
Also, the moments when Ryouma shows his cute side, like with Kintarou and with his cat above all, are understated and ridiculously adorable. In all honesty, most of his emotional stuff, happy and sad and angry and inspired, is all really understated, and you just see the stuff where he’s apathetic and arrogant. It’s not even a front; he’s really like that. I’m not going to say “Oh, he seems apathetic and arrogant but he’s really charming and sweet and” nooooo, I’ll say “He seems apathetic and arrogant but he’s really apathetic and arrogant and courageous and determined and cute and strong.”
I also just love his interactions with Tezuka, Sanada, Yukimura, Kintarou, Eiji, Fuji, Kaidou, Atobe……….literally EVERYONE. He reacts to people differently based on how much of himself he sees in them, which is so egocentric it’s fabulous.
Then there’s how self-sufficient he is? Like the combination of money and apathetic parents is kind of astounding. His mom obviously loves him, but she loves having her life in New York more than she loves being a mom. His dad loves him, but he doesn’t quite know how to deal with him in a way that’s satisfying to both of them. We’ve seen that his family obviously thinks nothing of him going to a different continent for the weekend, or because there was something he wanted to eat, or because he was bored.
good lord don’t get me started on his hatred of bullying, and his arrogant approach to it—it’s not even “you shouldn’t bully because bullying is wrong,” but it’s “you should show off how strong you are because if you were REALLY strong you wouldn’t need to,” and takes an extreme amount of pleasure in showing them that they’re just NOT as good as they think they are. One thing I like about it is that it’s very removed from the traditional Japanese bullying justice system, which in essence is, “If you’re being bullied, you must have done something to deserve it”—Ryouma doesn’t care if the bullies have a reason, and he doesn’t care if the person they’re bullying is annoying (notably Horio). It’s not about sticking up for someone to him; it’s about confronting anyone who slings their weight around, and you see that over and over again.
Ima shut up now but yeah that’s quite a bit of how i feel about trashlord Ryouma. I could literally go on for a lot longer than this and i’m sorry.
h e l l a
The first character I first fell in love with: I think Fuji! It might have been Eiji tho, they’re both really fabulous right off the bat.
The character I never expected to love as much as I do now: hahahahaha ollies into the sunset??? I think Tezuka though, he’s SO understated for most of the manga/anime.
The character everyone else loves that I don’t: i have come to appreciate literally every character, but I guess i will just say that I think most of Hyotei is criminally underdeveloped for the amount of love it gets
The character I love that everyone else hates: EVERY character gets hate, man. Uhhhh I think Yukimura gets a LOT of it and of course I love him. Oh, I used to want to slap the Echibrat around, but I love him now.
The character I used to love but don’t any longer: Fuji is still a great character, but he’s not in my top 5 or anything anymore.
The character I would totally smooch: Atobe Keigo whooooo or Shiraishi dAMN WHAT A BABE
The character I’d want to be like: Oh god, probably Atobe. Or if i were as disciplined as Sanada I’d take over the world
The character I’d slap: sANADA he gets off on it lol
A pairing that I love: tOO MANY TO COUNT, Alpha, Imperial, Platinum, Marui/Kite (we’re calling them Hitmen Pair), Golden, Silver, Super Rookies, etc etc etc i have so many seriously
A pairing that I despise: yoooooooo perfect pair
basically i have a lot of feelings about rei in general getting the ass-end of the stick that can be boiled down to “the treatment of rei is why i lost interest in Free! at the end”
bUT YOU ASKED FOR IT SO HERE ARE MY OPINIONS ON OTHER SHIPS
before i start please be aware that i was so enthusiastic about so many of these at first but the way the show ended killed my love for most of my ships because:
okay obviously i sold my soul to Alpha Pair like even before i got into the series ahahahaha i’m such a dumbass
Golden Pair is unavoidable every time i see them i squeal
Silver Pair is currently stealing my heart and laughing at me
Atobe and Tezuka are really unfairly upsettingly moe and funny when they’re written right
lately don’t hate me i’ve been mysteriously intrigued by Fuji/Niou ??????? ?? ????? ?? i blame the musical
one day Momo and Ryouma could be cute but Ryouma is a fucking baby shipping him kinda weirds me out man he just likes his cat and tennis and he reminds me of my students
past! Yanagi and Inui are upsetting
the first fanfic i wrote for this series was Inui/Kaidou oh noo
though i like momo/kaidou too
oh oh ryouma and kintarou would be adorable in a few years
this is literally just the tip of the iceberg oh my god
please send help
UGH FUCK THAT’S REALLY CUTE YEAH
guys that’s two seriously convincing essays for Jean/Armin (thank you for the manifesto, Somnia!! Holy crap they’re cute!) and one super cute post for Eren/Armin ahhhh ahahaha hello multishipping my old friend
wheeee, two requests for the same pairing!
Favorite character: The Doctor??
Least Favorite character: Oh god if i never see Davros again it will be faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar too soon.
5 Favorite ships (canon or non-canon): sHRIEKS so divisive in this fandom!!! but i love in no particular order: 2/Jamie, 9/Rose/Jack, 10/Rose, 4/Sarah Jane, Amy/Rory
Character I find most attractive: First season! Jack
Character I would marry: !!!! probably Rory, goddamn husband material
Character I would be best friends with: DONNA
a random thought: Susan thought she was so smart “I came up with the word TARDIS from the name, Time And Relative Dimension In Space!” well if you were so smart how come all you did is take the first letters jfc you didn’t even rearrange them tHAT WAS ALREADY ITS NAME YOU JUST ABBREVIATED IT doctor keep your granddaughter’s ego in check man
An unpopular opinion: I see no reason the doctor should be limited to 12 regenerations, and I’m not going to be annoyed if/when they circumvent it. There are so many random time lord rules that were introduced in the old series, and that one was canonically mentioned wAY less often than many other things that were henceforth disregarded.
my canon OTP: Ah, probably Rose/Handy (Rose/Diet!Doctor, Rose/GenericBrand!Doctor, whatever you want to call it)
Non-canon OTP: hungnhgnghghgn 2/Jamie was canon i scream from the sky but i’m putting it here anyway
most badass character: Doctor!Donna rocked, Romana and Leela are pretty high up there, nO WAIT IT’S ACE BECAUSE WHO ELSE HAS KILLED A DALEK WITH A FUCKING BASEBALL BAT
pairing I am not a fan of: MICKY/MARTHA CAN I TELL SOMEONE ABOUT HOW MUCH THAT OFFENDS ME
character I feel the writers screwed up (in one way or another): ummmm season 4 Rose was ridiculously off-character, i remain ambivalent to this day about whether Jack’s storyline post- season 1 + torchwood was the right character move. i also have Too Many Opinions about River Song so i’ll just….step…over…here….
favourite friendship: hOO BOY that’s rough. it’s too much a cop-out to say the doctor and ALL HIS COMPANIONS i think. ummm, Jamie and Victoria was adorable, I loved the dynamic between Teagan and Adric, Rose and Jack holy hell, 7 and Ace, 10 and Donna, oh fuck i could go on.
character I want to adopt or be adopted by: sarah jane smith in her SJA days, probably!
SHRIEKS AND SLOBBERS ALL OVER YOU
ahhhhhh yes good my love come here we will treat you so right let us pat your head and call you a good boy i’M SORRY YOU’RE JUST PERFECT A LOT OKAY
smooches your face!!