Happy Birthday 2022, Nagi Sanzen'in!
You know, it's kinda funny how whenever I tell people outright that I am in love with a fictional character online, the judgmental presumptuous comments just come pouring in. It's as if people think they know the entirety of my existence from a single statement that I made. Of course, don't get me started on the snide remarks I get when they find out that the fictional character I'm in love with happens to be 13 years old and eventually 16 as she is portrayed in her story.
In any case, if you know me, then you'd know that I always say this without reservation: I love Nagi Sanzen'in from Hayate the Combat Butler. It's not something that I just decided on a whim. I followed the manga for years after all. I jumped in a bit late but I quickly caught up and when I had read all 413 available chapters at the time that the manga was being actively published, I found that I not only liked the co-main character, but that I had genuine feelings of love for her.
It might have been the timing of everything. I was reading this manga at a low point of my life, so to speak. It was a time when I found little meaning in living and there was really nothing to look forward to in the future. Reading manga was nothing more than just another way for me to pass the time -- a form of escapism to help me forget about my mundane daily life.
At this point, Nagi in the manga was also going through a low point in her fictional life. She'd just learned that she wasn't the genius manga artist that she thought she was and she'd seen her butler whom she misunderstood at that time to have been hopelessly in love with her, hugging another girl from behind.
It was like the reality that she had always believed in had been shattered in front of her... and looking at her plight, I didn't feel just pity but quite a bit of rage. Rage at the unfairness of her situation and how the person she loved couldn't even care enough to notice her feelings when she was at her lowest point. It felt just as unfair as the things that I was going through at that time...
and... it was truly beautiful for me the way the story unfolded. At the end of this particular story arc, she managed to create an original manga story by herself, and it was something that was interesting enough for people to buy her manga without her using any gimmicks. Nagi is an actual genius, so using some marketing tricks, she could have easily sold a lot more of her manga, but she chose to let the story she wrote speak for itself -- because it was also a story that culminated all of the pent-up frustration, heartache, and tiny bits of triumph that she had achieverd at that time, as unpolished and amateurish as the actual story might have looked to a professional manga artist. It was a real first step for a character who was initially billed as spoiled, selfish, and unable to achieve anything by herself.
I think this was the moment when I realized, I was in love with her -- and of course, she never disappointed until the end of the story. She just kept proving why I fell in love with her, even at the point when the misundertanding between herself and Hayate came to light and her heart was spectalularly broken... it was a beautiful redemption in the end.
So yes, I am 100% dead serious when I say I'm in love with her. Certainly, it's a type of love that will never be reciprocated, but that doesn't mean that these feelings are any less real. So once again, let the negative labels and name-calling roll in, let people judge me harshly based on their subjective experiential standards, all because I love a fictional, underaged (as she's portrayed in the story) girl and loving her makes me happy.
Happy Birthday, Nagi Sanzen'in. (Nagi is officially 31 now in our timeline. She was born on December 3, 1991 according to the manga).