I never was and most likely, never will be a fan of the Toaru series. Toaru Majutsu no Index was too boring so I dropped it midway, don’t plan to watch the second season, but because of my support of Misaka Mikoto (because she is way less annoying than Index) so I decided to take a shot at Toaru Kagaku no Railgun. Well, while I was nothing really amazing, I guess I enjoyed…not because of Mikoto’s presence, but because of Saten Ruiko’s involvement.
This, obviously, is one of my many examples of me supporting the minor character instead of the main characters. (Another prominent example: Yagami Hayate). The reason of this is two fold: 1) since by definition, minor characters do get a lot less spotlight, or airtime, compared to the major characters, I wouldn’t weird for me to pity and support them because they are shafted. Yet, this does not mean that I will start liking every minor girl in Yui’s class (in K-ON!) since I would need to at least know the characteristics before I can feel sorry at the idea of the minor character as the main character instead (ie Yumizuka Satsuki). This lead me to 2), since by definition the minor character has less airtime, it means that less of his or her life is exposed by the official anime. This makes that character more mysterious since that are still so many unknown aspects. (ie Akiko Minase?) That aspects alone would also attract some fans (though not as much as the first point) ….and that since there is less canon about that character, people might think it is easier to …’fill in the holes with their own imagination’ (STOP)
But really, if those were the reason that I support Saten Ruiko, I would not have made a post about it. Instead, on top of that is a much more humane reason that Saten Ruiko is so supported (at least in Japan Saimoe, where she was the only Railgun character to get to top eight): that she was the only normal character. Compared with her friends: the ultra popular and ultra powerful Misaka, the Misaka-loving and still powerful Kuroko (voiced by Arai Satomi), the Level 1 Uiharu and the Academy City where almost everyone has a bit of power, Saten Ruiko was the one of the few characters that did not have any special abilities. Not only is she in a city full of weirdo with superpowers, but she is able to keep her cool and be cheerful and friends, how easy is that?!
Her friends aside, I think the part made me support her was the struggle that she had during the Level Upper incident. For the people who didn’t watch Railgun and wouldn’t mind being spoiled, Level Upper was a music file, when played, would boost the esper ability of the listener. Saten-san, unlike most other Level Upper users, decided to use it since she didn’t have the power to help the power to protect the weak. The struggle that she faced as she sits at the sidelines, powerless, as her friends work and tries to protect the city reflects the same feelings that we have as we are powerless against life’s struggles at time, the feelings that we have when we know that no matter how much effort we put into something, it won’t be as good as others because of our lack of talents. That struggle that Ruiko was real, viewers can easily relate them to her, which in turn causes them (me included) to support her.
As I have mentioned before, Saten-san has a really positive personality. She would, even knowing that she might be powerless, be able to risk her life to help other. In two incidences, she basically faced the advisory to help recuse a weaker person (a kid being kidnapped and someone being bullied). Obviously, since she is a Level 0, she ends up hurt in both cases. This basically shows the courage that she had (maybe even more than Misaka since Misaka has her powers supporting her actions..and that Misaka is kinda tsun tsun at times…). O and her resolution after the Level Upper incident? Another great example of her positive thinking, as not only was she able to get over the whole incident, but is willing to spend time to get her power eventually. Ya, people might just call her a fool, but I think it is a very good way to say “Don’t give up!”
And the fact that she has long dark hair and that she is voiced by Kanae Itou also helps in me putting her above of Misaka Mikoto.
And her skirt flipping hobby? Well, it is just a way to show how close she is to Uiharu (similar to Hayate’s display of friendliness to Fate and Nanoha), not that I support that part of her…
I support Saten Ruiko not just because she is a minor character in Railgun, but because she is the most courageous, cheerful and real character in Railgun.