Hajime Nagumo: A Self Aware Monster
Hajime Nagumo really impressed me in the season finale (A New Journey) of Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Season 2. It wasn’t just because he ran into some villains that actually challenged him. And yes, seeing how hard he had to struggle to fight Noint was a lot of fun! But even that underscored a core truth about his character: His power sets him apart.
I can relate to that. Not about being super powerful, of course. About being apart. Most of the time, I can ignore it. But there are times when someone’s reaction to how I act, or someone’s comment about how I think, reminds me: I’m on the periphery of social behaviors.
Unfortunately, even when I’m aware, I don’t have many options except to move forward the best way I can. In episode 12 of Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Season 2, Hajime Nagumo found another path.
Hajime Nagumo: Caw Out Award for Most Self Awareness in a Season Finale
Aiko Hatayama, Hajime’s teacher, had just helped Tio Clarence break a magical shield covering an enemy stronghold. And by “break a magical shield,” I mean the two obliterated the enemy’s shield and all of the enemy within. For Tio, that was another day at the office. For Aiko, it was her first experience killing another human being.
I really liked how this series showed it wasn’t easy for her. Hajime won’t win any awards for sensitivity, but even he knew she was hurting. He also had a ton of respect for her, and for what she tried to do for her students. Also, he appreciated how she had helped Tio. So he went to talk to her as she struggled with her feelings, among the ruins she had helped create.
Aiko had argued herself into a corner. She sympathized with their enemy’s motivations. At the same time, she could not allow their attacks to continue. She took ownership of helping Tio – even admitting that she knew what would really happen. She said she had no regrets. But Hajime saw she could not forgive herself. She could not get past this.
She said she had no regrets, but I don’t think I believed her! And I don’t think she did, either! Capture from the Funimation stream
So he asked her if she would keep being their sensei. She seemed confused, so he pressed on, saying he had a selfish request.
“I want you to keep feeling guilty,” he said (05:46). “I want you to carry that weight… That’s very human, blindingly so.”
Then he said that part that really got to me. “Those are emotions I can no longer feel, so you can be my example of what it means to be human.”
Seeing how his words affected her, he awkwardly told her that if she liked, she could cry into his back. Which she did, a lot.
In that one statement, he affirmed her feelings, and he gave himself a touchpoint back to his lost humanity. Too few shows deal with the psychological effects of power and its isolation. I thought this season of Arifureta did a much better than average job in that regard. This moment proved it to me.