The Mysterious Mr. Soichiro Otonashi
by Dylan Acres
the second-to-last part of Maison Ikkoku, the very end, I was never
able to understand Soichiro as well as I had hoped I would. All
that changed when I read that issue. As Godai saw Soichiro’s face
for the first time, I thought to myself “Finally! I’ll get to see
what he looks like!” but at that exact second, I knew why I would
never get to see his face. Soichiro represents something. More than
a living, breathing person, he is the ideal. He is perfection personified.
If his face is kept from the reader, then he remains perfect to
every reader. If Ms. Takahashi were to show him with say, a crooked
smile, glasses, and a flattop, then that would turn off at least
a segment of the readers. Those readers would no longer be able
to relate to Kyoko’s pain over the loss of her husband.
If a reader were to see his face and found some form of flaw in
it, that readers would ask themselves, “Why isn’t Kyoko over him yet?
Look at that goofy smile and that stupid haircut! Godai and Mitaka
look much better than he did, she should have married one of them
along time ago!” But, but concealing Soichiro’s identity, along with
many of the facts of his life, the reader has no choice but to feel
sorry for their heroine. The reader is then forced to feel overwhelming
grief over Kyoko’s loss. They are forced to feel her pain and relate
to it. Soichiro was perfect for Kyoko.
But, by concealing his face and most of his personality, he became
perfect to every reader as well. By being this almost generic figure
that has constant feelings of sadness and sorrow related to him,
the reader totally understands Kyoko’s loss. Their own imagination
is what heightens that sense of loss. Soichiro becomes the readers’ personification
of the perfect mate, and the loss of someone that perfect becomes