Completed 29 December 2000, revised 11 July 2021
Virtua Fighter and angst seems to be a pretty good combination to me lately. Just read Shadow Play and you’ll know what I mean.
I wrote Reflections as an attempt to get to know better each of the four Virtua Fighter anime heroes; namely, Akira, Jacky, Kage and Lion. One could not help but notice in the anime, and even in the computer game, that each of them has a distinct body language, a unique set of principles and motivations, and a variety of fighting techniques. What about their own thoughts? What goes on in the minds of these incredible fighters when they are not in the midst of a heroic quest or a life-or-death situation?
It seems fitting to write about all four of them in just one fic, perhaps to discern similarities as well as differences in their personalities. The idea of putting them in the pre-anime perspective also sounded worthwhile, to glean insight into the reasons for their actions during the anime storyline.
Akira. He had been on his quest for the eight daytime stars since a little while back, and was now in the United States, set to face new challenges that would perhaps lead him closer to his goal. His quest is not so usual in the sense that he had seen these stars with ease before, and had proceeded to lose sight of them because of his petty arrogance. It is not so much a search as a pilgrimage, to prove himself worthy of seeing the stars once again.
Jacky. He left his parents and life as the heir to the Bryant fortune to pursue his dream of becoming a great indy race-car driver. Quite a big step, when one would think about the life he led when he was younger as compared to his current lifestyle of always being on the move. His closeness with and devotion to his sister Sarah, who travels alongside him to help him forge his way closer to his aspiration, stems from a realization that she was there not much for herself, but largely in pursuit of his dream as well. I could not help but show hints of guilt in Jacky, as he, in a way, allowed his sister to leave a life of luxury and ease in exchange for one wherein they always have to worry about funds and the like–things they had in abundance when they still lived with their parents.
Kage. Presumably the oldest of the four, and having the most quiet, most impassive outward personality. With his job of being a ninja mercenary, it always becomes imperative to him to stay, literally and proverbially, in the shadows. I saw him as someone who puts honor and responsibility above everything else, and doing that always requires great sacrifice for a person. He always has to hide a lot of things–his presence, face, feelings, even his given name. The aims of his actions always seem to be in completion of a task for someone else, never for himself, to the point he might no longer even be aware of who he truly is as a person.
Lion. The youngest and having a “black is black, white is white” idealistic disposition. With the way he looked up to Akira when they met, his cocky rich-boy exterior belies a child wanting to be set free from other peoples’ demands and expectations. In the fic, I placed Lion in a time wherein he, as he always does, feels the need to leave behind all his burden of being heir to the giant Rafale Corporation. The thing is, he has no idea of what to do to start treading this particular path.
All in all, I perceived the Virtua Fighter anime as a crossroads of the quests of so many people, and the four characters I wrote about in Reflections are each on their own journey–known or unbeknownst to them at that time. Through this fic, I hope I have set a portion of the stage that leads to the greater saga of our heroes searching for the meaning of their lives.
After writing this piece, I looked through it and was rather struck by the way it was presented. Just like the Backstreet Boys video of “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.” Really. A largely subconscious action on my part, since that particular shoot is my BSB favorite. If one is familiar with the said video, it presents each “character” individually, each with his own thoughts and emotions, then proceeds to show them walking together down the road towards the sunrise.
In a nutshell, I have to say the Virtua Fighter heroes are doing the same thing.
Walking together down the road towards the sunrise, towards their true destiny.