In some series, there are characters who are naturally talented. Perhaps they are blessed with luck or they are just very skilled in many areas. These characters usually seem multi-talented and essentially outclass many of their allies or peers.
But this post isn’t about these kinds of characters.
(Spoilers about Tokyo Ghoul:re, World Trigger, and Saki in this post)
I’m talking about the characters who stand on the opposite side of the spectrum. Compared to the gifted and strong characters, these characters are undeniably weaker in almost all areas.
However, the underdogs tend to have a knack for a few specific skills. As a result, they usually become specialists who focus on one or two techniques or styles in order to compete with the powerful all-rounders who has them beat in everything else.
Is that vague enough for you? Sorry about that. Maybe it’s time for some examples.
Yonebayashi Saiko from Tokyo Ghoul:re would fall under the weak but skilled category, in my opinion. Compared to her opponent who outclasses her in nearly everything (after all, Urie regularly pushes his limits exercising and getting stronger while Saiko is usually a sedentary shut-in who play video games), Saiko beats him in kagune manipulation. Observe how she’s able to freely reshape and remodel her kagune to suit the situation.
No other ghoul (or half-ghoul) has demonstrated this degree of flexibility and freedom thus far in the series. By practicing and honing her best talent, Saiko has risen from a mere pudgy one-trick-pony with low stamnia to a potent fighting force (exercising helped her out, too, of course).
Another example would be Mikumo from World Trigger. He has a below-average amount of Trion (which is like energy or qi or mana in other settings), which limits his offensive and defensive capabilities. Nevertheless, he’s a smart thinker who comes up with excellent strategies and is able to make things difficult for stronger opponents.
Lastly, I think Suehara Kyouko from Saki would qualify as a character who is weak yet skilled. Think about her opponents. In the quarterfinals, she’s up against Iwato Kasumi (who can let a goddess spirit possess her and grant her tile suit manipulation) Anetai Toyone (who has seven supernatural abilities which defy likeliness and probability) and Miyanaga Saki, the main character of the series!
Yet through quick hands and prior knowledge of her opponents’ playstyles (a little of research goes a long way), Kyouko manages to stay a step ahead of everyone else for most of the game despite having no real mahjong powers to speak of.
And then in the semifinals, she’s up against Virsaladze Nelly, (who has total control of flow), Shishihara Sawaya (who summons Ainu gods and clouds and is shown to have at least 10 abilities) and Miyanaga Saki once again. Unfortunately, she couldn’t pull through during the semifinals, but she really put up a good showing for someone who has no supernatural abilities.
I personally think these kind of characters are more interesting than ones who were born with it all. The way these underdogs embrace their strengths and attempt to do their best against opponents (who are theoretically stronger) is very inspirational. We can all learn a thing or two from them. Of course, we might not be as gifted as they are in one particular skill or skillset, but the message remains.
Who are some of your favorite “weak but skilled” characters? I would love to hear about them in the comments section!