Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #58, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Our guest today is 安芸(aki) 倫也(tomo.ya), main protagonist of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, an Ecchi Harem Anime having its second season currently airing on Spring 2017. This post considers events up to both catastrophic and wonderful Episode 9 of Season 2. Heavy spoilers!
安芸(aki) 倫也(tomo.ya) is a hardcore otaku who, inspired by a fateful encounter with Megumi, decides to devote his all to create a game that will shake the industry. As we have seen over the series and especially emphasized on S2E9, the most important part of the previous sentence is “devote his all”.
Nicknamed 倫理(rin.ri; ethics, morals) by Utaha, Tomoya is overly conscious of imposing too much on the creative members of his circle, an undesirable trait for a producer. As much as we might want to believe that in a perfect world people should be nice and understanding of each other, putting health above work and being reasonable, this is not how great achievements are reached. If there is no challenge, no pressure, nothing to push you beyond your limits, there is also no growth and no sense of accomplishment, even more in the artistic field. I wonder if we can find anything on his name that support his personality. お名前は？
Family Name: 安芸(aki)
安芸(aki) was the name of a powerful clan that existed in western Japan, dating before the Warring States period (roughly 16th century). After the fall of this once wealthy family the name felt in disuse, but still features at 3.870th overall spot in the country, with roughly 3.000 bearers (Source).
Last season we covered 安 when talking about Hana-chan from Kuzu no Honkai on [Onamae wa #41]. From there I quote:
安 is a very basic kanji, featured in everyday words like 安い (yasu.i; inexpensive) and 安全(an.zen; safety). The first one is nowadays mainly understood as cheap and inexpensive, but can also be used to describe calm and peace, the original meaning in Chinese. Furthermore, in specific cases it also brings ideas like careless and frivolous.
Hmm. On one hand, I right away remember of 安易(an.i; simple, easy-going), describing the “it is alright, don’t push yourself!” endless mantra of Tomoya. But there is also the careless and frivolous usage of 安(yasu) which could be interpreted as exactly what is lacking on our protagonist. Ok, how about this: he is too frivolous about his project. While singing out and loud that this is his dream and dragging other people aboard, he contradicts himself by not acting like his life was on the line whenever it comes to push others for results.
On 芸 we have a very interesting kanji considering the overall setting of this show. A few words include 芸術(gei.jutsu; Fine Arts) and 文芸(bun.gei; literature).
Put both together and we have 安芸(aki), cheap art? Frivolous art? We could even draw out the “safety” component of 安 to get art done with safety. If we were to let Akane interpret this, she would probably vigorously point out how his lacking abilities as a producer inhibit the full potential of those creators under him. You know, as if they were running on Safety Mode. Intentional or not, this name rings so much with Tomoya’s overprotective aura that I feel bad for him.
- 安芸(aki) 祥子(shouko) from Skip Beat! (Fall 2008)
- 安芸(aki) 操(misao) from Peach Girl (Winter 2005)
- 松井(matsui) 安芸(aki) from Another (Winter 2012)
Given Name: 倫也(tomo.ya)
倫也(tomo.ya) exists as a regular name in contemporary Japan. These kanji aren’t exactly hard, nor is the reading complex in anyway. ‘Tomoya’ sounds rather nice and the meaning premise is great as well. So what could go wrong here?
倫 is almost solely used to bring the idea of 倫理(rin.ri; Ethics), featured in fancy words such as 倫理学(rin.ri.gaku; ethics, moral philosophy) and 生命倫理(sei.mei.rin.ri; bioethics). It is also present in the thing that makes the world go round, 不倫(fu.rin; adultery. Lit. ‘lack of morality’).
As we have seen above, Rinri-kun (translated as Mr. Ethical by Crunchyroll) is a nickname made partially out of 倫也(tomo.ya), changing a kanji and using a different reading. This name was initially bestowed due to the events shown on Season 1 Episode 6, but as we have seen so far up to Season 2 Episode 9, it is a resounding and perfect alias for our protagonist.
Furthermore, the idea above is still present even if Utaha hadn’t messed around with his given name. As we have seen two weeks ago when checking the name of Shouya-kun from Koe no Katachi on [Onamae wa #56], the kanji 也 is used to further emphasize the meaning of the previous kanji.
Thus, 倫也(tomo.ya) describe someone who is a truly ethical, overly ethical, someone who is the very incarnation of morality. Well, this may sound rather strong but it does play well into the personality of our protagonist and the whole premise of Saekano.
No others 倫也(tomo.ya) in Anime, but change a kanji here and there and you get a few:
- 岡崎(oka.zaki) 朋也(tomo.ya) from Clannad (Fall 2007)
- 真白(ma.shiro) 友也(tomo.ya) from Ensemble Stars! The Animation (Not yet aired)
- 松永(matsu.naga) 智也(tomo.ya) from Nijiiro Days (Winter 2016)
Isn’t it heartbreaking to see that the given name of Clannad’s protagonist means ‘a true companion’?
安芸(aki) 倫也(tomo.ya), the one whose ethical ideals conflict with drawing those around him away from their safety zone.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. Oh my, it hasn’t been easy to cope with these last few episodes of Saekano S2. The best part is realizing that yes, Akane might be right. Although it is reasonable to find it unlikely to see Eriri and Utaha really going away, what can happen next? Will Tomoya find a middle path? Will he put away his idealized ethics? I can only wonder and eagerly wait for each episode. See you all next weekend as we continue to dive into Saekano’s main characters!