Shihan says… The Charming Protagonist
10/12/2020 4 min read
The Charming Protagonist You could dream up the most unique and fantastical world setting, but without a strong and interesting protagonist, the story will fall at the first hurdle. Ultimately, every story created is about the journey of the protagonist, whether in the past, far future or a whole new universe. The one who readers should support with the time invested in reading that journey.
It’s the protagonist who carries the weightIn Unsung Cinderella, Arai-sensei has chosen a protagonist at the start of her career. After 6 hard years of study, Aoi Midori begins her career as a pharmacist, with the manga opening two years into her dream job at a general hospital. At its heart, the manga is a story revolving around a misunderstood, young pharmacist who works tirelessly in a vital role that is continually underestimated. If the protagonist was a senior “old hand” with years of experience, the underdog element of the story would be lost. The fact the she is a girl isn’t also a coincidence, as the saying goes “draw from experience”, by choosing a girl protagonist in a male dominated world, this feeling of underdog and misunderstanding is more heavily represented by Aoi, as well as easier for the artist to understand the kind of struggles that her protagonist is going through.
“The profile of a protagonist has to match the needs of the story’s message.”But characteristics alone don’t make a protagonist, physical appearance also delivers a message. In this case, this is the tale of a pharmacist’s life. She isn’t special, she just represents all pharmacists, so a simple, next-door-girl look is the best choice. To give the character a memorable quirk, a key visual is needed. Her trademark hair bun and large, passionate eyes ( the window of the soul) are the ESSENTIAL to ensure the reader hovers over the page while they are charmed by the “soul” of Aoi Midori.