Seven Orphans That Beat the Odds
by Lynzee Loveridge,
If you're watching at least one show this anime season, it's gotta be The Promised Neverland. Zac and I talked about it over on the podcast yesterday. I wanted to reiterate that Emma's resolve is what sells that show (and its manga) to me again and again. You just can't help but root for the plucky orphan who won't give up on her chosen family and by extension, the world at large. Of almost all the orphans in this week's column, Emma arguably faces the worst odds, but she's in good company. There are a lot of anime and manga heroes that rose above being orphaned to find a happy life for themselves. Below you'll find profiles on 10 characters, the obstacles they faced, and how they overcame (or are overcoming) their circumstances.
Emma (The Promised Neverland)
Natsu Dragneel (Fairy Tail)
Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto Shippūden)
Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan)
Rin Okumura (Blue Exorcist)
Rin's dad is Satan, so I don't think anyone expected this familial relationship to end well but kudos to the series for at least confirming that Satan does, in fact, fuck. Rin ends up an orphan because his mother was targeted for sexing up Satan. Newborn Rin and his twin brother are thus raised by a family friend instead (who also dies, again Satan's fault). Such an imbalanced adolescence and screwy back story would lead many a teen to a life of crime and debauchery. Not Rin! The guy might get in a scrap or two with jerks, but he instead dedicates his focus on surpassing his brother to become a powerful exorcist (and defeat his dad)
Shirō Emiya (Fate/stay night)
Shirō's whole life literally burned in a fire. His home, his parents, and almost himself. Fortunately, he crosses paths with Kiritsugu Emiya who saves him (magic!) Kiritsugu passed on his magecraft skills and desire of justice to his adoptive son before passing away himself. Shirō's childhood was full of trauma but he found a way to move past that by honing his sense of righteousness and and finding ways to be useful to everyone around him. When he gets pulled into the Holy Grail War those skills become his saving grace. He becomes a very formidable mage in his own right.
Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket)
When we first meet our heroine, she's living in a tent on the outskirts of the Sohma's property. Her widowed mother had recently passed in a traffic accident and, not wanting to further convenience her extended family, she lies that she's staying with friends. Tohru is an strong empath and is more concerned about others' feelings than her own. She is however, a sunny-side-up type of person. She isn't down in the dumps despite sleeping in the great outdoors every night. Her outlook continues to help her while she lives with the Sohmas and ultimately helps her heal Kyō (and a lot of other members of family).
Lynzee guesses that if she had to adopt any of these kids, it'd probably be Tohru. She seems the least likely to accidentally set something on fire. (Twitter.)
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