And Hikaru has the brightest idea. If Tomoya doesn't have a dream, Hikaru would just give him one then -- defeat Ginga. I mean, the other friends at least look a bit upset when Tomoya kind of derides them about their dreams, but Hikaru is all smiles. (Man, I can't shake the comparison to KR Fourze's Gentaro out of my head. He seems the sort to suggest something that manages to sound both brillant and stupid at the same time.)
I guess I understand a bit of where Tomoya comes from, but still, why bother with Hikaru's group? Is he actually jealous of them? I mean, other than having their "impossible dreams", I'm not sure they have ever done anything to offend him before he decided to break up their friendship.
Come to think of it, Tomoya reminds me of an eerily similar character I read a long long time ago. That character gets everything he wants handed to him on a platter, so he is spoiled rotten. (I'm not so sure that Tomoya is 'spoiled' in that sense, but he certainly thinks highly of himself and thinks Hikaru and co. and most everyone else (the dark spark users) are lowly peons beneath him.) For some reason (which I will mention a bit further down), he stalks the heroes and tries to break them up. Instead of simply fighting him back, the heroes decide to teach him that not everything in life will come to him without any effort. (And that is exactly what Hikaru wants Tomoya to learn. That there is something in life he can't have without struggle.)
Okay, given that the character in the above paragraph is a lonely rich kid, thus is very jealous of the bond the heroes share, I am very inclined to think Tomoya is more or less the same (even if he would never admit to either part).
Strangely enough, I don't think the father issue is a big deal. Or at least, I don't think living in the shadow of his father is the real reason Tomoya is being dismissive of dreams. If anything, he should want one now if his father wouldn't leave the company to someone without a dream. Ah, I haven't phrased that very well. Tomoya does have father issue, but I don't believe his real issue is in the sense Taro put up as a comparison.
(I don't think Tomoya wants to be like his father. He does not appear to want to surpass his father either. It is difficult to discern his feeling toward his father. I do not feel resentment, or much of anything there actually. In fact, he might even take his father's accomplishment for granted. That everything simply comes to his father, the way everything comes to him.
Ah, I think I might be wrong, after all. Tomoya seems to emulate his father on the cold, emotionless part at least. (Seriously, that boardroom seems chillingly icy. You'd think those two are strangers for all the warmth they show.) Oh well, Tomoya's father issue is still not a big deal to me. Not as much as Taro admiring and wanting to be like his father in any case. (Kid!Taro is so adorable (I miss him since Ultraman Story).)
So what is the big deal then? Like I said in the paragraph before last, Tomoya seems like a lonely rich kid. His father probably worked more than played with him (or even just stayed at home with him). No one probably wanted to be friends with him if he kept up with his snobbery, so he didn't try to reach out to anyone either. So, in a weird reverse psychologistic way, if making friends is impossible for him (who never fails to have anything), it should be for other people, too. (He does not have friends, so no one should have them either.) And he will prove to Hikaru and co. that friendship is not enduring at all. Just one word or one action wrong*, people would be quick to cut ties with one another.
(*I do have a bit of a problem with that, however. With Chigusa, I can accept her jealousy/anger at being passed over for a modeling shoot (back in episode 4, but it appears this matter might not be completely resolved yet either), since becoming an idol is her dream. But with Kenta, I find him getting upset on too flimsy a reason (episode 5, although the episode 3 conflict is not the greatest thing either -- him appearing to have feelings for Misuzu is like tossed aside outside of that episode). I think the series might be trying to show that Kenta has some issue with people keeping him out of the loop (seems to think it equals to them not trusting/not valuing/not liking him), but, imo, it hasn't done a very good (or at least convincing) job of that. To me, Kenta's resentment seems to come out almost of no where, conveniently only when the plot calls for it. I mean, really, if it is such a deep-seated emotion, Hikaru probably would not be able to literally punch him out of it. (Now now, I do believe that Hikaru can do a lot of things (or at least he could get people to agree with him), but even I don't think he is such a miracle worker to be able to wipe away darkness with just one well-placed punch.))
In the end, however, Tomoya warms up a bit too quick. (True, he keeps up the classic line of 'only I am allowed to defeat you' attitude, but seriously now, I don't believe he will still be against Hikaru and co. in any serious capacity.) Is that due to him being moved by Hikaru's extremely corny message? Or is he annoyed with that message (and/or with Hikaru) so he stops being antagonistic just to get Hikaru to shut up (and off his back)? Somehow I would not be surprised if the latter was the case. And I would not blame him -- from what I've seen so far, Hikaru seems to have a habit of meddling and getting on people's nerves (and he is blunt to the point of...well... I know he does not have any intention to hurt anyone with his careless words, but perhaps he should check his words before he speaks sometimes).
Admittedly, given the above (and some other things) I'm not sure how to feel about Hikaru in real life, but as a fictional character, I'm fine with him. (In fact, might even be more than fine. More than a few characters I really like** seem pretty similar to Hikaru. (Retconning time. I don't think Hikaru reminds me of Ultraman Taro's human host anymore. I was thrown off by the adventuring bit, but so far Hikaru seems to care more about helping people than going off to the unknown. Taro is also a meddling type, true, but he seems a bit more underhanded than pure Hikaru (and anyway, I'm not clear on the situation between Taro and his host (are they the same? Or are they no longer together?), so can I even use one's characterization for the other? And hey, is he even the Taro I know and love? For all I know, he is an alternate universe version). And Taro doesn't succeed anyway, whereas Hikaru is often able to reach troubled people (unless they are one-dimensional adult villains ;P).)
**Short list off the top of my head: Gentaro (to no one's surprise, hopefully), Gin-san (and I didn't pick him because his voice actor is having roles in Ginga), and Ren from Ultraman Nexus (hey, another teenage Ultraman host. :) Though honestly Hikaru seems more like Gentaro to me).
Back to Tomoya, well, there might be another possibility that makes him back off. Tomoya seems like a dutiful kid. He appears to do what he is told. I think the only reason his rebellion lasts as long as it does is because there is probably no one around to tell him otherwise. (Now, as much as I'm not too interested in Jean-Killer/Nine, I kind of wish he got his conscious back. At the very least, he could have casted doubts on Tomoya's path to destruction.) He might simply be (unconsciously, I might add) waiting for someone to tell him that he should not be doing this.
Misuzu, er... what can I say about her? She is Hikaru's love interest, though that seems to go no where since I assume plot gets in the way of their romance, and not the writers simply forgetting it. In any case, she never seems to have any real conflict with Hikaru, and I'm not too sure how to feel about that. On one hand, I dislike conflicts among the good guys, so I am glad. But on the other hand, the lack of conflict on her part...kind of makes her character a bit bland. Like she can't think for herself and just goes along with whatever Hikaru says. Of course, that is not what I believe (I am sure she would argue if Hikaru suggests something really foolish) and she shows plenty of spunk back in episode 1, but it has already been a while. I wish she is like that again, speaking her mind and making herself heard, instead of being a wallflower for most of the series so far.
(Okay, Misuzu is not a complete wallflower, but I guess compared to Chigusa, she does not seem as interesting. (And I don't mean that Misuzu has to have some darkness. I think there can be a happy, well-adjusted individual who is interesting. But well, maybe all I mean is don't make a character dark just for the sake of drama.) And while I'm at it, I really don't want to hear another word about Chigusa's voice. Seriously geez, complain about the acting ability, not about the actor's physical attributes.)
But the most disappointing character to me in this series has to be Kenta. If the plot doesn't focus on his on and off resentment (which, to me, doesn't seem supported by anything even remotely tangible), he is just there. To me, he is Hikaru's totally unremarkable friend. And that is really a shame. There is no other guy friend (sidekick type) to compete for screentime attention, yet Kenta can't manage to be the least bit interesting? To put it bluntly, why can't he have some personality? Something that I can use to describe him, other than 'the other guy'? (Even something superficial like 'his jokes are terrible' would be fine, really.) As it is, Kenta could simply be gone from the show and I would not notice nor mind his absence. (Good thing he is not the main character. Oh yes, to me, there is actually at least one main character who is not memorable at all. And I dislike that, so much. I'm a main character fan, after all.)
(I mean, Kenta isn't a dark dark someone for Hikaru to heal (that someone would be Tomoya). He is already a good guy. Who seems so ordinary, even by this series' standard. Why is Kenta even here, I wonder? What is his purpose in this show?)
But for all I'm ragging on him, I don't want Kenta to change now since we are already more than halfway through the series. I do prefer my characters to stay consistent, after all. That said, I guess I kind of want the return of his darkness. If I had any idea why he had it in the first place, I might actually find him a little interesting. Oh well, I just hope I'll learn to get used to his ordinariness.
And other kids do have flaws, too. I can't even say if it is because of the way they are written, or because the actors are too inexperienced to portray their characters the way they are supposed to be portrayed. (Or is it possible that they just choose to play their characters more subtle than what the scripts call for?)
But, come to think of it more, if the apparent acting problem went away, this show might actually lose some of its charms. I don't know. It's a contradictory thing to say.
Overall, I find Ultraman Ginga to be somewhat an uneven series. But I love it just the same, flaws and all. (And the mid-series finale is, imo, very cool.) Very much looking forward to the second half of the series in November. In the meantime, there is Shin Ultraman Retsuden (glad and grateful that Over-Time already subbed the Valkie episode and the Jean brothers episode, and might sub some further episodes).
Speaking of which, it appears that this week's Shin Retsuden will feature Ultraman Mebius. (According to the (very very spoilerific) preview, probably on episodes 30 - 31.) Since I've never watched the old Retsuden, I don't know when Mebius last showed up (or whether he ever did host any episode), so of course I am excited to see this (even though I suspect it'll be more about that cheeky flying saucer. ;p He got a soft vinyl coming this month, after all). BTW, doll!Taro and Hikaru will be hosting this episode, so that's even better. :)