Characters I Like will be a new, irregular post series that will have me talking about, well, fictional characters that I like, and why I like them. While my reasons for liking characters are subjective and often silly, I will do my best to make my opinions relevant to the reader.
That said, the first one will be:
Name: Suzuko Kanzaki
Origin: AKB0048 (anime)
Suzuko is one of the 77th-generation understudies in AKB0048. The role she takes in the group is the walking AKB0048 database, being an idol otaku way before she even signed up. She normally serves as an exposition device and comic relief, because she’s so weird, and the idol advice she gives is usually whacked and sometimes does more harm than good. She often gets paired along with Makoto, the resident whiny klutz, whom she enjoys tormenting. Consciously or not, we don’t know, but I suspect it’s the latter, because it’s funnier that way!
I like Suzuko not just because I have a thing for glasses girls, though that certainly helped, but because she reminds me of myself. Just as how Suzuko is passionate with idols and AKB0048, I’m passionate about mecha. Here in the Philippines, most mecha fans express their passion through building model kits, but I have neither time nor money to engage in such activities. What I have, though, is a near-comprehensive knowledge of mecha, especially Gundam. Just as Suzuko is an idol database, I’m a mecha database, and I use my knowledge to help fellow fans in need, whether it be for identifying an unknown robot, or the title of the show they’ve seen but couldn’t remember. I take in as much knowledge as I can, because I like knowing more about something, and I like it even more when I put my knowledge to good use. I may not be able to build and paint a wicked Perfect Grade gunpla, but I can tell you that the Hyaku Shiki was designed by one Dr. M. Nagano, and this is the official in-universe explanation for its origin.
Suzuko’s became an AKB0048 member because she was inspired by an idol. This must mean a lot to her, if she was able to overcome her introversion and stand on stage. It doesn’t sound much, but it’s kind of amazing how she was able to be picked as an understudy. We often laugh at people for wanting to be like someone, but Suzuko did not go far just to copy her mystery idol. Indeed, her idol-ness is unique to her in the show, and she doesn’t even resemble any of the successors.
There’s also a catch to that. Towards the end of the first season, Suzuko confesses that she doesn’t really plan on succeeding anyone, and hopes to become like Tsubasa instead. I was a bit shocked when I first learned of this, but it’s perfectly consistent with her character. Suzuko accepts that she doesn’t have the talent to become a successor, having reconciled this with her own self, but this does not daunt her one bit. Instead, she desires to support AKB0048 from backstage, where her skills and knowledge could be put to better use. I can relate, because I feel like that sometimes. If I were to join a band, I decided, then I would play bass, because I don’t have the stage presence required for a guitarist. Sure, I could force myself to do it, but just about anyone else would be more suited for the job. Instead, I’d rather be the one holding the band’s sound together, who may be ignored but is still an essential part of the group. Props to Suzuko for realizing her own place in things, when others flounder so hard for it.
So there, Suzuko. Glasses girl, idol database, well-meaning prankster, and AKB0048 member. Don’t give up yet!