“Where is my Misaki?”
Or, the Girl on the Other Side (of the Looking Glass)
“Where was my Misaki” I wistfully thought, as negative thoughts infested my mind in an endless battle with the daydreams of a better tomorrow. Her face; framed through the fish-eyed looking glass overlooking the sun-baked world of terror. She was the only beautiful thing. The evanescent image of her standing under a parasol, in that otherwise uneventful summer afternoon, burned itself into my retinas. Sunlight was streaming through the pure white filter of her parasol to gently illuminate her soft skin; I swore, I saw an angel that day. At the prelude to summer in the opening movement, my life would finally begin to move, though ever so slowly. Within the heat-haze days as the beginnings of summer beat down on that small town, a haze settled comfortably upon us and planned to stay until winter took its place away. And within that daze I stumbled through my own flights of fancy which could only irreparably change my stagnant lifestyle. [a] If only my delusions were as simple as that.
There was a time when I thought all my life’s problems had a singular solution. Elaborate plans were constructed in my mind which outlined Rube Goldberg-esque machines to capture the hearts of love interests that were not-all-that-interested in me. No amount of planning or mental gymnastics could get to the heart of the issue-- I was unqualified.[b] I expected returns on something I never invested anything in. I sulked through my sepia-tinged teenage years feeling wronged from something I never really deserved in the first place. I would unironically think “>tfw no gf” and join into circlejerks on various imageboards, cursing an ambiguous system that conspired against us. It wasn’t just me, there were dozens of us! I thought that if I met the perfect somebody I would suddenly be able to turn my negative perception of reality on its head. The fantasy of companionship blossomed into my answer. So I waited patiently for my Misaki
But Misaki doesn’t exist! >_<
There’s no point in waiting for her. No amount of flowery language can trick my monkey brain to fully detach from reality, nor grasp any-more firmly onto the threads I still find within my hands. Sitting idly and waiting for your manic pixie dream girl to fall out of the sky to save you from yourself will never happen. That’s painfully idealistic even for someone like me. No amount of wacky quirks or idiosyncrasies in her can cure the cynic in me. This dream girl is the idealistic “gf” for leagues of men who wish to achieve happiness without ever putting in any work and be rewarded for their lack of effort[c]. Nakahara Misaki is hardly the textbook definition of a manic pixie dream girl. I wouldn’t go so far as to call her a deconstruction of the trope, though she is certainly not presented as the always-energetic dyed-hair gal that the term has become synonymous with. However, I’d argue her defects attract more people to her.
I used to hurl insults at Misaki out of spite. Insults ranging from the most-MGTOW leaning female-directed insults to simply “e-girl.” I laugh for a moment before regaining my composure. “E-girl.” Returning to my final days of high school, I was into e-girls before it was cool. All the kids on /r9k/ did it and I soon found a girl that scratched that itch for me. She was a girl with a multitude of serious mental illnesses that got berated with messages day-in and day-out by lonely men online, and not all those messages expressed their purehearted unrequited love, let me tell you! These girls would get their inboxes flooded with threats of various kinds, sending them into the infinity of a downward spiral. So much negative (and positive) attention to a regular girl online who already had a number of mental illnesses was not a recipe for success. Unwarranted attention can cripple even veteran celebrity’s mental fortitude. It goes without saying I was a small part of a group that had a hand in destroying the life of a teenage girl. I started to grow increasingly jaded.
The first time I watched NHK ni Youkoso!, the themes of loneliness resonated deeply with me. That was during the time I was objectively the least qualified to call myself lonely. I skipped over friendship and moved straight towards “恋愛.” I wasn’t seeking a sexual or even a traditional “romantic” relationship at this point, I just wanted an excuse to have a best friend. This relationship is what I continuously failed to find. Surely this was the solution. I convinced myself that I left no other stone unturned and this was all that was left. Surely, the fantastic ideal of “romance” was not just a figment of my imagination. Everyone around me was doped up in this new drug called “love” and they seemed to be at least marginally happier than I was, so maybe I could be able to be happy too someday. This was the missing piece to my puzzle! But I was not deserving of this feeling at all and I never tried very hard to find her anyways.
So my Misaki didn’t come; and the reason I never looked for her is because I was too comfortable wallowing in my pity party for one.
Years passed and I rewatched NHK ni Youkoso! two more times. The second time I was holed up in a dorm room and related to the themes regarding hikikomori and otaku culture. “There was no time for love!” I poignantly concluded as I took another sip of my drink and slipped on a mask of stoicism. I returned my attention to the dull blue glow of a monitor illuminating the cramped space of the shared dormitory room. I henceforth accept my fate: My future was lovely, dark and bleak, but I had all the time in the world, and plenty of anime to watch before I sle[d]ep, and plenty of anime to watch before I sleep[e].
The third time, and most the recent time I rewatched NHK ni Youkoso!, I tried to see Misaki as a real person.
Having since removed myself from the intoxicating delusions of conspiracy I had been spoon-fed on imageboards, I tried to see Nakahara Misaki as Nakahara Misaki. She is not the manic pixie dream girl to rescue us from our garbage-filled apartments while wearing maid cosplay and gently whispering “It’s not too late to change your hikikomori ways.” The scars on her wrist are proof of that. Misaki has her own reasons for acting the ways she does. What seems like a ruse to coax lonely men out of their rooms suddenly reveals itself as a bit of ruse in it of itself. Misaki is helping Satou because she views him as a worse person than herself, and is only able to speak to him because she views him as inferior, as if pitying a stray cat. In her own Rube Goldberg-esque machine, she tricks herself into helping herself as she consoles Satou, arguably in a worse predicament but only a bit less mentally distraught. I had once seen Misaki as an opportunist employing a bit of sleight-of-hand trickery to hoodwink the helpless hikikomori, though maybe I was just jealous, or afraid of changing myself. Much like Satou, I had once disregarded her mental hang-ups by pretending that being cute and rich automatically invalidated any reason to be unhappy. But being rich cannot buy happiness. Being cute cannot win the hearts of the right men. Though, this isn’t an excuse for her less-than-admirable character traits. I once hated Misaki for not being representative of my perfect pure-hearted heroine with only good intentions! She never was. She is a terrible person, but so am I.
“Where the hell is my Misaki!” I had once cursed the world for[f] depriving me of what I thought I was rightfully owed. But I wasn’t “owed” anything. And now I revel in my fortress of solitude.
[c]and get a participation trophy to boot
[f]only i will know if i referenced this ironically or not: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOgI5qsAB4w