Kurokami Medaka: The Perfect Person and Why I Can’t Stand Her

Medaka Box uses an interesting conceit: the main character, Kurokami Medaka, is a “perfect” person. She’s the best at everything, be it athletics, smarts, you name it. She’s popular. She has a perfect body. And I can’t stand her.

Why would anyone dislike a perfect person? Because she’s perfect, of course! Nothing is perfect. As Bob Dylan would say, everything is broken.

But Medaka isn’t broken. She has everything anyone could ever want, and then some. But not being broken is, in and of itself, broken. I’m not sure if a creature that isn’t broken can even be considered human. They’re more like a machine: they observe the world and choose the only possible reaction, the perfect one. It’s like in the Matrix, where humans simply could not accept a world that wasn’t broken. By being perfect, Medaka is nothing but a shell of a human.

“Living like an empty shell is not really living, no matter how many years it may go on. The heart and flesh of an empty shell give birth to nothing more than the life of an empty shell.” ― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

A creature that’s perfect isn’t human. If such a creature exists, it can only be a god. And to this end, Medaka’s family name, Kurokami (黒神), indeed means “Black God.” She is more god than human. And who can befriend a god? A perfect god can only be worshiped or feared. A black god can’t be friends with a broken human.

Christianity poses an interesting solution to this problem by offering a God in two parts (well, three, but let’s set that aside). God the father is perfect, like Medaka: he is to be feared and worshiped, but not befriended. Christ, the son, is fully human and hence fully broken, as shown by his death. So unlike Medaka, the Christian god can be both perfect and a broken human: a friend.

(Spoiler Alert) Discussion of the Medaka Box manga follows. But the anime is awful anyway so no one should care.
Later on in the manga, a new character, Kumagawa, is introduced. Kumagawa is the king of minuses: he is as broken as broken can be. He fails at everything. Yet because of his utter weakness and brokenness, he is the only one who stands a chance against Medaka.
 …but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are. ― 1 Corinthians 1:27-28
As with the Christ, it is Kumagawa, the most foolish, weak and lowly person in the world who shames the wise and brings the mighty to their knees. Kumagawa did “lose” to Medaka, by his own admission, just as the Christ “lost” to death and the devil at his crucifixion. But Kumagawa may see his loss in a different light than Medaka.
Medaka is perfect, popular, and beautiful. Kumagawa is completely and utterly broken. As for me, I love the broken things.

12 thoughts on “Kurokami Medaka: The Perfect Person and Why I Can’t Stand Her

  1. True your point about how perfect characters are boring holds true. Anime has a long list of perfect characters like naoki in itazura no kiss , you know people who are just simply excellent in everything and they are just stereotypes like the energetic flat chested girl or the tsundere etc. In the case of medaka however i think it works because of the extent they take it to… medaka herself may be too perfect but the way they depict her.. towering over everyone like some god.. makes for fun viewing.

    1. Ah I hated Naoki from Itazura no Kiss too. So annoying.

      And I completely agree that Medaka makes for fun viewing. But Medaka herself doesn’t interest me, so much as the other characters’ reactions to her.

      1. One of the best representation of a ‘genius’ would have to be Chika from nodame cantabile. He’s pretty realistic.

  2. I really hate Medaka, too. She’s flippin annoying! For me, it all boils down to the fact that I don’t see the point in caring for what’s going to happen next in a series when the main character is perfect. I know everything is going to be okay, and the “journey” to get to the end isn’t interesting either because Medaka never struggles to even come up with a solution. Part of my problem with this anime is that I have no idea what its purpose of existing even is. Nobody is interesting, the stories are weak, the jokes are terrible.

    I don’t know if this series has introduced Kumagawa or not yet (I’m a bit behind on this anime), but you make him seem like an actually interesting character. I’ll stick around with this series to see him.

    1. The beginning is boring like that, but afterwards the manga treads towards having the other characters have to fight against Medaka and overcome her and each other, so things get much more interesting. This opening section, which the anime is still showing, is really boring though. Medaka never gets very interesting, but seeing how the other characters deal with her does.

        1. After we get through this boring first part where the council helps people it turns into a battle anime. After that it turns into several other things… I have no idea what’s going on at the moment.

  3. That was an interesting article. I do have to say, however, “perfect” characters usually have one glaring defect: pride. I haven’t seen this show, but I would have to say that if humility were added to Medaka’s virtues, she might be so perfect that she’d have to be loved.

    I understand what you mean by Christ being “broken.” He was born fully human, but don’t forget that he is also fully God and therefore perfect God and perfect man. Because of his humanity, he has experienced our sufferings in a way that God the Father has not, but that doesn’t make him any less perfect. Imagine a person with every perfection and virtue. You love being around him because of His virtues, but he will often rebuke you for your lack of perfection (“Be ye perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect”); however, He does it so well that you recognize your failings, are induced to change, and bear no ill-will. Even if you don’t change, He still reminds of your faults, but doesn’t drive you away.

    And though God the Father is rather an awesome being and much to be feared, he is also “the most loving of Fathers.” God is all love. In the Father, love takes the form of justice. In the Son, love takes the form of mercy. But, I do think that it is also part of his mercy that we have to bear the consequences of our sins, for that causes us to amend. And we shall certainly have to amend completely before we enter heaven. Heaven would not be heaven if we brought all our vices with us!

    And let me praise your article again: I’m almost tempted to watch this show because of it!

    1. The way they present it, Medaka is perfect and she knows it, but not really prideful. She acknowledges that she’s perfect but doesn’t really get caught up in herself. I guess that *maybe* you could count it as a flaw that she likes to walk around half naked? Not much of a flaw though…

      Yeah, there’s this tension in Christ of being both fully God and fully man. God is perfect, but I would argue that death is the ultimate expression of brokenness, and so Christ is also broken. So in a way it’s his brokenness which makes him perfect (if that makes any sense at all).

      I didn’t mean to imply that God the father isn’t loving. But it’s the love of an omnipotent, all powerful God, and is at times difficult if not impossible for humans to even comprehend. The son’s love is more understandable and relatable because of his brokenness.

      Thanks for your comments, but please don’t let me fool you: this is a terrible show, and you’re better off not watching it. :)

  4. I did not watch the anime since I’ve read most of the manga and honestly, I wasn’t impressed by it. Medaka being perfect certainly made her a boring protagonist, and if it weren’t for the other characters, the manga would have been such a drag. Making Kumagawa someone of her match is one of the few things I like about this manga, and for three reasons: (1) What you just said about bringing the mighty down with the weak, (2) he’s cute and (3) he’s a cute pervert. I’m not exactly sure that he always loses because he’s weak though, I think he’s just caught up in the idea that he’s a loser–and that’s why he loses, since he gives up only after a few tries. He’s the only thing that made me keep on reading the manga. I don’t even know why I got to 100+ chapters of this series. Sure, sometimes it’s interesting but sometimes it’s just plain ridiculous. Like how I don’t even see the differences between Medaka’s modes (or I’m just too unimaginative to see them). Or like how at some point in the manga they’re already discussing how to change the protagonist in the story itself. WHAT.

    1. Yeah, Kumagawa is the only reason I’m still reading the manga as well. He’s a cute pervert, as you said. :)

      He’s definitely powerful, but I would say he’s weak precisely for the reason you say— the idea that he’s a loser. Despite how powerful he is, he always loses. Perhaps weak is not the best word to describe this though.

      I don’t get the difference between Medaka’s modes either. It’s basically just like in Gundam SEED where they get random powerups for no apparent reason that make them even more invincible than before. Everything involving Medaka is boring.

      I’ve fallen a few months behind on the manga, but I got to where they started to discuss how to change the protagonist of the story itself and I think it’s promising. That Zenkichi is nearly as boring as Medaka is the only problem though.

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