Without me realizing it, Nanami Day has rolled around again (7 = “nana” and 3 = “mi” in Japanese, so it can be said “NanaMi” day). I don’t know if a lot of people remember/ celebrate these fandom days; I only discovered them from pixiv myself. I’m not as active of a Suikoden fan as I used to be, I mostly just look around in the tag for fanart I haven’t seen yet and the nostalgic happiness it gives me. But a few of the fandom days stick out to me and this is one of them; Nanami is one of my favourite characters so I think a little about her on this day every year.
Sometimes I have come across posts of people saying they disliked her for her “pretend death” in Suikoden 2. I know everyone’s opinion is their own, and it doesn’t bother me that people don’t like her as much as I do. But I think to hate her for this reason is a little…strange I guess.
Firstly, if you don’t meet the requirements for the best ending she really does DIE. She stands in front of her brother to protect him and she goes down. She is gone forever. If you are new to the games and don’t know about getting all 108 SODS and having to have them by a certain point in the game, then the injury she receives kills her.
Second, if you have got everything done at the right point and she does survive, then yes, she pretended to die. But I never even once hated her her or had a bad feeling towards her for that. She says multiple times in the game that seeing this war play out between the two people she loves most is hurting her and that she just wants to run away with Riou. You can even do this; you can agree with her and leave. Nanami is a strong girl, she can hold her own in a fight and she does her best for those she cares about. But seeing Riou and Jowy fight and seeing people die because of it is tearing her apart. At the beginning of the game she has already been waiting for her two boys to come back from a war, then they get plunged into another. She may not be the main character, and she doesn’t have the burden of a rune, but she is seriously affected by it: she is watching the only two people she considers family try to destroy each other. She feels she cannot keep going like that,and that to do so would badly affect her brother and therefore the people under his command.I always felt under the circumstances what Nanami did was understandable at least, to go back to Kyaro and wait patiently for if and when the day comes they can be together again. I think that even the fact that the game gives the option to run away with her suggests that the writers wanted the players to understand that, to step back from being Riou for just a moment and see it from her point of view. Nanami honestly thought that her continuing to stay with Riou would hurt both him and the cause of the army. Whether by her feelings of pain affecting her/ her brother, or her brother abandoning his men and his cause just to protect her, she felt she couldn’t stay. Yes, faking her death is a bit extreme, I know. But of all the dumb decisions made by characters in the game for what they think “will be for the best”, I don’t think it tops the list.
Thirdly, she is just a kid when all of this happens. She is at best early to mid teens. I know for sure that not all of my decisions at the same age were great. And I know that if I was under similar circumstances I wouldn’t be able to keep a calm head and make all the right calls. The main three characters of the game are all kids; and while their ages don’t entirely excuse them from making bad choices, it is a factor to be considered.
Fourth, as far as bringing back a “dead” character goes they already used up the one time only hey look magic and something about gates story for Gremio. If they had done a similar thing in Suikoden 2, it would have been a cop out and I think as a player I would have been dissatisfied. In a story about war and loss and tragedy, I think they did a reasonable job of putting a story behind Nanami’s survival. It didn’t feel out of place or rushed to me; I know that there are people out there who think that the plot goes kind of loopy towards the end of the game, and maybe since it is my favourite JRPG ever I see it through rose coloured glasses, but I love the story as a whole. I have never ever been as moved by a game as I was by Suikoden 2.
It got kind of long, but that what I thought about on Nanami Day this year. Maybe if someone who doesn’t like her much reads this and their view of her is changed a little, that’s great. But if it doesn’t, it’s your opinion :) I won’t try and force you to like her. To me, she is a badass girl who loves her family with all her heart and would give herself up to protect them. I love how she breaks herself out of jail, and how her terrible cooking is legendary. Being told she is bad at something doesn’t stop her trying. She is awesome and amazingly and I will enjoy seeing the slew of new fanart that will appear on tegaki or pixiv for today.