Kannazuki no Miko: In Defense of Souma

Part 1 of this series of posts is here.

Kannazuki no Miko is widely known as a yuri series, but it’s also been described as a bisexual love triangle. So the most important male character, Souma Oogami, tends to get some hate from some of those who watched the series only for the yuri.

(This post will contain spoilers for most of the series.)

I think this is undeserved, for several reasons, but let’s just start with this. We are talking about a series in which a character who had to choose between two love interests of different sexes chose the one of the same sex, and it wasn’t because there was anything wrong with the opposite sex option or because she suddenly realized she was only into girls. How many times does that happen?

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I don’t think Souma’s good qualities not related to the triangle situation really need much defending. He’s hotblooded, decisive in the midst of angst, and a rare (in anime) illustration of how the personality of “the hero” adapts into a supporting role.

Souma is sometimes considered an example of the “male interference” yuri trope, but he’s hardly a textbook case of it. For starters, he doesn’t know he’s interfering with anything; he may or may not be aware of Chikane’s feelings for Himeko, but he definitely hasn’t seen any indication that Himeko might be romantically interested in Chikane at any point before the last real romantic interaction between him and Himeko. (And the margin isn’t even a small one if you don’t count things like the fact that the manga he buys for Himeko is a yuri one. Incidentally it’s also by Reiko, and Himeko being one of her fans is arguably the greatest relevance Reiko even has. (I swear I don’t hate Reiko or anything.))

The fact that Himeko doesn’t give up on Chikane when she’s an apparent enemy and even after what Chikane did has been widely observed, with varying reactions. The fact that, after Souma’s initial reaction, he commits himself to helping Himeko talk to Chikane, as opposed to trying to convince Himeko that Chikane really is an enemy, is often overlooked.

And then, when Himeko does make it clear that Chikane is the one she really loves, Souma accepts it with more grace than nearly anyone of any gender and orientation would in a similar situation, and says he has no regrets. Souma is a guy who’s genuinely nice, not a “Nice Guy” who only does things for a girl because he wants something in return.

In fact, that’s a parallel between Souma and a certain character who is popular with yuri fans; Tomoyo from Card Captor Sakura, who would rather see the girl she likes happy with a boy than not happy. (Though in that case, Sakura never did even realize that Tomoyo likes her at all.)

This is also one reason why Tsubasa is so important. Souma gets his brother back and therefore  has a happy ending anyway, and I think this may have been done on purpose so we can like him without feeling any temptation to feel “sorry” for him because he “lost” Himeko.

(Actually giving him an alternative love interest wouldn’t have really worked; if there’d been any indications earlier than the last episode his acceptance of Himeko choosing Chikane over him would seem more shallow, and if there hadn’t it would just be too last-minute; and there wouldn’t have been a good chance to give any real characterization or development to the relationship either way.)

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10 thoughts on “Kannazuki no Miko: In Defense of Souma”

  1. Well said! I watched KnM for the yuri, and I love Souma. As far as anime goes, Souma is MILES above a host of other male characters (notably all those loser “harem leads”), IMHO. You’ve already summed up his good points so I need not repeat here, but I will add that, any yuri fan who dislikes his presence in the series may have overlooked this point:

    his presence in this series actually servers to further illustrate how much Himeko truly loves Chikane — because in order to love Chikane she has to turn down such a great guy, who she knows is in love with her. In contrast, a girl who turns down a jerk for her girlfriend isn’t sacrificing nearly as much as Himeko in order to pursuit her true love, right?

    If only there were more Souma’s in anime and less Shirou’s and Touma’s I would be a much happier yuri fan…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooooh yes I’ve been reading these every week you’ve written one and I totally agree with all of them.

    Also I LOVE what you said about Souma because its SO DAMN true. He really doesn’t deserve all the flack he gets. He’s a sweet guy honestly.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My reasons for not hating Souma are far simpler than others’. It’s because of his undeniable manliness and his deep lungs (His iconic “HIMEKO! yell). He’s a real man’s man in so many ways and fought a good fight to win Himeko’s heart but lost fairly and was a good sport. He’s a cool and manly dood whose actions and nobility will never be forgotten and is sadly a rarity amongst anime male leads.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Whew. Have to say, you definitely do your research well, and have a great view of Souma. And the fact that you’re trying to use research and logic into a show that really doesn’t flow with logic really shows your dedication. I was really impressed that you actually tried a defence of the mecha that was somewhat plausible – a first of its kind! That said, saying Souma is “the most polarizing character on the show” isn’t flawed logic…it’s flawed fact. I’d argue the opposite, and that because of Souma’s strong moral character and accepted status, he and his archetype are the most accepted, rather than polarizing.

    For those watching for the yuri, as you mentioned, Souma is in the villain role, and that’s the only reason why he’s hated. For most mainstreamers, Souma is definitely respected. And actually, the fact that he lost the girl and accepted it well made his character even more likeable than if he won the girl as a real (although kinda flat) hero – Souma’s more likeable than Amane of Strawberry Panic.

    I view Souma as an icon of the Greek worded love philos and agape, the friendship love of Tomoyo or Tamao, the purest love “to wish the good of another for another’s sake” whereas Chikane would resemble more eros, the passionate intimate love, and their battle being which is the true love. But point taken: Souma doesn’t really have much to defend since he’s a good character.

    Like

  5. Souma. The crucified Christ of the series. He’s a self proclaimed Martyr of cock blocked heroes. So cock blocked, most people don’t even ship him with other people aside from his brother.

    How would you like to be a heterosexual male who’s being forced by popular opinion to be in a gay incestual relationship?

    Geebuz Soum H Christ.

    Like

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