When I started watching Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation, I had zero expectations going in, after all it was an anime based on a video game, an MMORPG no less. It was a premise that was already getting tiring from shows like Sword Art Online, Log Horizon and more. And while it had a slow start, it really got better towards the second half and in the end, gave me a couple of characters I ended up enjoying, including my favourite of the bunch, the subject of this week’s Character Spotlight, Aika.
Aika is a bit of a unique character in the series. Without spoiling the major plot points pertaining to her backstory, she’s sent to watch over the main character, Itsuki, sometimes a little too stalker-y, but she does what she’s told. I mentioned it in a Top 10 on the sexiest girls from that season she was in, I really do have a fondness for the expressionless girls you see in shows, because of the potential adorability for these girls if they start to show some emotion. Also admittedly, I love their ecchi scenes cause they usually say the funniest things during this, or are even the instigators in the actual scenes (see Korone from Demon King Daimao for the most extreme cases).
And then you have to add onto her mystique with just how purely beautiful she is, something the majority of these expressionless characters seem to be given. At first, she’s just your average blonde-haired pretty girl, nothing special. But when she walks right on into the men’s bath with Itsuki, she shows us that for what she lacks in enthusiasm, she makes up for it (and then some) in her absolutely stunning figure. I will admit, when scenes like that happen, I’m a major sucker for it. And it’s shockingly well-drawn, I also have to admit.
In terms of her story arc though, since I’m done talking about how sexy she is, while it’s not the most surprising reveal as there’s plenty of hints to what’s really going on with her, it’s the ending of the series (assuming it’s only one season) that’s a little bittersweet. By the end of the show, I wanted to see so much more of her, perhaps finally getting a more emotional side of her, but she mostly retains that stoic, expressionless side of her without compromise. It’s a bit disappointing, but all things considered, it was a better ending that many other possibilities that anime shows tend to use that drive me absolutely insane.
Aika compared to all the other girls I have given the Spotlight treatment, is nowhere near as developed and memorable, but I will admit the large part in how I remember her so well after six months now, is the simple fact that she was a character that in the beginning I gave not much thought to from a show that in the beginning I also gave not much thought to. Rather than being a boring character in a subpar anime, she turned out to be a little more than that, far exceeding my expectations.
And yes, the outdoor bath has a part in that as well. Stop judging me!