In my life, I’ve had lots of role models. Here’s another.
Domon Kasshu comes from one of the more polarizing anime series: Mobile Fighter G Gundam. I got introduced to the show when it ran on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block.
It’s very much your typical shonen type arc (i.e. protagonist wants to be the best X, makes friends along the way, tries really really hard to reach his dreams). And I think for people who enjoy Dragonball, they’ll be right at home here.
The similarities to your run-of-the-mill shonen are the exact same reasons why people don’t like G Gundam– it doesn’t respect the lore of the traditional Gundam universe. And it’s really, really over the top. But since I don’t know that much about that anyway, let’s just focus on Domon.
He takes his fashion cues from X-men’s Gambit, which makes him a terrible Halloween costume to attempt. And at his core, he’s kind of a jerk… until the learns the true meaning of friendship, etc.
But thanks to his fighting capabilities and Gundam use, he has some pretty badass moments to shine.
Domon on his own didn’t do much for me, but following his journey really sucked me in. The driving storyline of the show is Domon’s conflict with his brother, Kyoji… who killed their mother! Or did he?! Without getting into any kind of spoilers on that front, let’s just say he learns the true meaning of family along the way.
He too, has his own role model that he idolizes: Master Asia, the Undefeated of the East! I mean, Domon’s “King of Hearts” moniker is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Master Asia’s title. Along the way, Domon had to learn that he had to carve his own path and not blindly follow his mentor to a tee.
As Domon continues to train and get stronger, he also learns the true way to harness his strength. Ya see, for a good first half of the series, he relied on the negative to push himself forward.
He turns to his anger as a fuel source. But the energy from hate is really limited. After some training in the waterfalls of the mountains (of course), he adopts the concept of meikyo shisui. Dubbed “The Serene State of Mind” in the English translation.
If I had to overly simplify the concept: don’t bring your baggage. To act and react properly, you have to be clear and free.
When I get overwhelmed, I try to remind myself of this concept. I may or may not still strike the Domon finger pose too.
Now for all the good that Domon did me, there is one aspect in my life he did me very wrong: romantic relationships! G Gundam’s message of love is really bad.
After finding out Kyoji dies (no!) and Master Asia (no no!), Domon hunts down the real baddie of the series who’s also kidnapped Domon’s is-she/is-she-not girl. And it’s in the very last episode, in the middle of the daring rescue, he lays it all out on the line.
He gives this big speech about how stupid he’s been to neglect what’s important in his life. He’s been so obsessed and focused pursuing other things, he didn’t recognize what he truly cared about was always near him by his side.
What did we go through? What happened to us this past year? What meaning did this year have for us?
Maybe that’s romantic to some folks. Maybe if you watch the episode, it’ll get you all teary eyed and stick with you. And– aw man, I’m still a sucker.
I just re-watched that scene, and even now I feel the feels.
But no, that’s not love, Old Jon! Back then, I took the impact of that scene and tried to shoehorn it to fit into my own life. I tried to force my own narrative to play out the same way.
I mean, I too had a female friend who was by my side for the year. Could she be the Rain to my Domon? Why not try to make it work?
And she wasn’t… because that narrative works for the show and not real life.