GO BEYOND : PLUS ULTRA
Go beyond is the school motto of U.A. High School in My Hero Academia. Schools often have mottos to inspire prospective students, current attendees, and alumni. My college’s motto is Scientiae et Virtuti (which is Latin meaning For Knowledge and Virtue). Although, it isn’t a part of my everyday life I think about it from time to time. It is a motivation for how I live my life. So, what does a motto have to do with anime?
Oftentimes anime characters are unbelievably strong, fast, and intelligent. They go beyond the capabilities of the average human. Think of it as they have evolved or trained to become something more than human. They have gone beyond…literally. But often our desire when we watch an anime is to see human characters in an unexpected human situation.
How does the humanity make it work in a world where everyone has skills that are essentially superhuman? Well normal humans can have an extraordinary ability. There are loads of examples in real life. Some people have perfect pitch. Others possess an eidetic memory. Or possibly they are kinesthetic geniuses. One may only need to look at the feats preformed by professional athletes to know that humans are capable of so much more than our current evolutionary stage.
Spoiler alert: I want to explore some regular old humans in anime that have extraordinary abilities. Naturally, there will be a healthy number of spoilers – both for the individual characters and for the animes they are a part of. It is my intention that the information here will motivate you to give these animes a try asap!
Go beyond: Extraordinary ability – Super Deduction
Ranpo Edogawa is a member of the Armed Detective Agency. In this case “Armed” isn’t referring to carrying a gun, rather the detectives are armed with abilities. His colleagues can turn into a white tiger, create tools out of thin air, heal the most grievous of wounds, and create illusions. What makes Ranpo special is that he is not only the best detective but doesn’t possess an ability in the sense of superhuman ability. Ranpo seems to surpass them all with his Super Deduction skill which is really only his mind deducing at a Sherlock Holmes-ian rate. He observes, deduces, and solves mysteries in what seems like an instant!
Go beyond: Extraordinary ability – Human Metronome
Sometimes a special ability is special because one just knows how to apply it in their everyday life. Kosei Arima is a middle school piano virtuoso. His internal clock allows him to keep time with the most demanding of musical arrangements. As a former musician (over 20 years), I can attest to the difficulties of keeping time. Just being born with this innate metronome wasn’t enough. Kosei and his mother drilled score after score into his memory to marry his ability with his practice. This makes his skill not only extraordinary but extraordinarily useful.
Go beyond: Extraordinary ability – World Champion
Calling back to those athletes that make us look like we’re a step back on the evolutionary line, let’s look at Victor Nikiforov. Victor is a world class figure skater. By the time he is 26, Victor had won 5 World Championships, 5 Grand Prix Finals, and an untold number of European Championships. Correspondingly, he was recognized as the world’s greatest skater for over a decade. His physical genius gives him an advantage over every skater he competes against. Victor possesses a drive that keeps him at the top of his specialization.
Go beyond: Extraordinary ability – God Tongue
In the case of Erina Nakiri, Fortune sometimes favors not only the bold but the lucky. Erina is a chef in training and is simply knowns as the “God Tongue”. She possesses the world’s finest palate, an extraordinarily useful skill for a chef. In a ridiculous test (while blindfolded), Erina accurately identifies different salts by their region of origin. With one taste of broth she determines how long an ingredient was overcooked. She is employed by numerous professional chefs seeking a simple “it is palatable” from her critiques.
Go beyond: Extraordinary ability – Master Manipulator
Being capable of moving people on a living chess board must be the penultimate height of the master manipulator. To accurately and acutely predict motivators and secrets and emotions can only be something akin to precognition. Yet Izaya Orihara deftly makes his moves across an ever changing game battlefield. His emotional intelligence is beyond the scale of mere mortals. Even given his skills as an information dealer, Izaya must apply so many layers of knowledge of humanity to his game (not counting he plays against beings beyond human power, though not beyond being swayed by human emotion).
“If you truly want to escape from everyday life, you’ve no other choice but to keep evolving.” – Izaya Orihara
Humanity is a fascinating creature. Most of us live within the limitations of our existence. We share so many shortcomings. However, when you look at the things that make us different…the things that make us special, you catch a glimpse at how far our evolution can take us.
Just think about the extraordinary ability you might have in your life…or maybe you have a friend or family member with a skill that you might call special. Share them in a comment below! Or tell me about an anime character I might’ve overlooked in this article. Reach out to me on social media (Twitter – Instagram) and let’s have a conversation and go beyond!
Featured image: Funimation