I’m insufferable when it comes to writing. I regularly demand the best out of myself to the point were I don’t usually like the things that I write. When I go into an article I write and rewrite, read and reread, and then write it again until I’m satisfied with what I have, because if I find typos in my work or use improper grammar I simply cannot forgive myself. Often times I seem pessimistic because of my high demands of quality, and really that’s not so far from the truth. I’m not only pessimistic about my work but also about the characters I analyze and write about as well as the shows I watch. So making decisions about what to pick and who to write about can get kind of tough when all I do is criticize all of my choices.
There’s always a lot of choices when picking what to write about, and even if you’ve been writing for years making that choice doesn’t always get easier. There’s always those guaranteed things that I won’t write about; child characters, most anime, DekaPink. Even with those out of the way, though, my decision doesn’t really become any clearer. I figured after my last article I’d try to go in a different direction for this character. Someone that doesn’t reflect the qualities we saw in Godai Yuusuke, and eventually I reached my conclusion. After writing about the unbearable optimism of Godai Yuusuke there’s only one thing an unwavering pessimist like me would hate to do more and that’s write about the equally unwavering pessimist that is Inui Takumi.
-Warning: There are things past this point that are spoilers. You’ve been warned, so don’t come complaining if something gets spoiled for you.-
At first glance Takumi is a rather quiet person, never really socializing with anyone. When he does talk though Takumi is generally very rude and vulgar, he doesn’t really seem to enjoy the presence of others and has a somewhat negative view on things. He is insulting, temperamental, vulgar and uncaring toward others and even a tad bit prone to jealousy when we originally see him. He is the perfect example of an anti-social person and could even be considered somewhat antagonistic, but looking deeper it becomes easier to see just exactly why he is that way.
Remember when I said that Godai Yuusuke was childish but in the way that actually exemplified his maturity? Well Takumi is childish in all of the wrong ways. He’s incredibly immature, never accepts responsibility, hates working, and is generally just kind of a jerk. Takumi frequently disagrees with others simply for the sake of argument and hates accepting the fact that he might be wrong. He’s prone to jealousy, especially when Kaixa appears for the first time to out stage him in the fight against Orphenochs. Takumi’s morals are even rather ambiguous, several times displaying the willingness to steal or even kill when it came to the enemy. This is something somewhat uncommon for Riders up to that point. Overall very simply put, Takumi has the maturity of an average teenager which in a way makes sense. Takumi is only 18 throughout the course of the series so in a way he’s sort of acting his age. That borderline of needing to be mature and still being childishly selfish.
There’s more explanation behind his personality than just his age though. Takumi lacks confidence within himself, never really knowing how things will turn out if he gets too close to a person. Due to this Takumi distances himself from others, being too afraid to build any sort of lasting relationship. Aside from his distance from others socially, Takumi’s main attribute would be the apathy that he displays. A good portion of his anti-social behavior seems to stem from his seemingly lack of caring towards others. Takumi doesn’t really like getting into other people’s business, and will often do whatever he can to avoid their problems. This apathy is shown pretty well just through his speech as just about everything that he says is uttered in a somewhat dull, mumbled manner. It’s not necessarily apathy though as most of Takumi’s attitude is a front to cover up his lack of confidence.
As I said Takumi has an apathetic attitude toward other people and their problems and doesn’t seem to mind being an inconvenience toward to them, this attitude of his makes him seem rather selfish. Even with his selfishness and apathy though there is one weakness to Takumi‘s cold-heartedness. The dreams of others. You see Takumi doesn’t have a dream and really has no ambition whatsoever, but it’s almost because of this that he puts such high value on dreams. While he may not like many people and he may be a jerk at times, he’s still willing to protect the dreams of other people. You see while Takumi might appear to be selfish, and most of the time he is, when it really matters he can be just as caring as anyone else. Takumi will never show his kindness outright though, it’s not his style to sit down and talk to others. Rather he is more prone to making people do things that will help themselves even at the cost of looking like he’s only out for himself. Takumi is very much a case of having a person’s actions speak louder than his words.
If and when he is being helpful though he isn’t one to beat around the bush, Takumi is a rather no nonsense kind of guy. He’s very straightforward and isn’t afraid to tell people straight out what he thinks of them, their dreams, or their views. This side of his personality causes him to seem very abrupt with others, making him look cold and impatient. That isn’t really the case though as this behavior is more due in part to his anti-social demeanor. He’s not good with dealing with people so as a result he ends up being impatient and insulting toward them. Despite having this no nonsense attitude, Takumi has a large aversion to responsibility. He often sees most things as being a hassle and will often need to be pressed into doing even the most menial of tasks. It’s not that Takumi is lazy but rather just doesn’t like being told what to do. He doesn’t usually accept it when people tell him he needs to do something, rather he’d prefer to do something only when he himself feels he should. As such he didn’t really take to the idea of accompanying Mari to Tokyo, working at the cleaners or becoming Faiz.
Despite not being very accepting of responsibility, Takumi eventually takes a shine to the Faiz gear as we see him slowly develop a sense of purpose with using the gear. Unfortunately because of his growing fondness for being Faiz it has a noticeable effect on him when he loses the gear. The first time this happens we see one of Takumi’s first bouts with depression and while not as strong as it would be later on there is a noticeable change in his behavior. He begins to grow even quieter and often spaces out, it grows to the point were it seems that he is simply drifting through his days. Takumi essentially becomes hollow without the ability to become Faiz and the purpose it brings. The points where Takumi becomes depressed are the clearest points of his lack of self purpose and it’s because of that lack of purpose that he relies so much on being Faiz, but even being Faiz wasn’t always enough.
When Takumi becomes Faiz he is a noticeably happier person, even when his fighting style is as laid back as it he still demonstrates a subtle sense of enjoyment through his regular apathy. However being Faiz becomes a bigger problem when Takumi is torn between simply killing the Orphenoch or fighting for other people’s wellbeing. This dilemma becomes even tougher when Takumi becomes sympathetic toward the Orphenoch, while still being suspicious, all because of an incident in which Osada Yuka saves him and reveals herself as an Orphenoch. He begins to realize that even Orphenoch can be good people thus tearing him even more between his duties, even to the point of attacking Kaixa in order to save an Orphenoch. Through this dilemma he even stops fighting and claims to even give up on being Faiz. Eventually though, Takumi realizes that while some Orphenoch can be good people, most have lost their humanity and as such he once again takes up the mantle of Faiz. This is easily one of Takumi’s shining moments as well as a key moment in his growth as a character as he overcomes his lack of confidence and stands firm with a new determination. While this may not be a dream to follow, Takumi for the first time begins to seem like a whole person with a purpose to follow through on.
“If fighting is a sin, then I’ll take it upon myself.”
After this occurrence Takumi’s attitude seems to be uplifted a bit. He is not as argumentative as he had been before and he actually shows a slight more willingness to listen to others’ problems, even asking Kusaka about his problems when he had previously stated outright that he hated him. Takumi’s shift in personality isn’t drastic but is enough of a change to allow anyone to see past the cloud of insults and childish behavior that he usually displays to see the very real kindness hidden underneath. It’s from here on out that we see Takumi starting to grow as a friend and as a generally good person, even if it is a slight change it is still a pleasant change to see.
Takumi’s last bout with depression is a long one and starts with the death of Kimura Saya, a young woman that he had grown to know and was later revealed to be the user behind the Delta gear. While this event was tough enough on him it’s only exasperated when he and Kiba fall into a misunderstanding, leading them to attack each other with hatred growing between them. These problems culminate when Takumi fails to protect Mari leading to her death, causing him to blame himself completely and even go as far as to give up the Faiz gear and goad Kiba into trying to kill him. This is the lowest point for him, and with all of these events weighing on his conscious Takumi in a fit of rage reveals the secret he’s kept all this time. Takumi transforms into an Orphenoch.
The revelation of Takumi being an Orphenoch welcomes in a new set of problems for him. It breeds mistrust and fear among his friends and forces Takumi to rethink his original intentions of being Faiz. He reveals he may very well have used the Faiz gear to cover up and erase the fact that he was an Orphenoch. This is yet another layer to Takumi being covered up by something he isn’t. As well as covering his past Takumi once again reaches out to Kiba hoping to get Kiba to kill him, even going as far as to give Kiba the Faiz gear in order to do so. Takumi’s decisions of attempted suicide can be attributed to many facets of his personality but predominately from his lack of confidence. It’s not uncommon for someone that lacks confidence to quickly become discouraged and lost, from these emotions it’s not unheard of for thoughts of death to arise. Takumi, while it seems that he may be over reacting, isn’t reacting in too farfetched of a manner for someone that has been through as much as he has.
Now when it comes to Takumi’s effect on other characters, well, it’s a bit less than inspiring. To put it simply, no one likes him. While there are three or four people that actually manage to befriend him to some extent, most people either hate him or avoid him altogether. That’s not to say his friendships are any better though, as the few friends that he has frequently perceive him as being pathetic. The fact that most of them think of him that way becomes somewhat of a running joke throughout the series, along with his little quirk of being a nekojita which is someone who can’t drink hot liquids and is considered a wimp. It’s easy to say that Takumi doesn’t really effect the people around him in a positive way most of the time, these fragile relationships would only worsen as the series progressed as multiple misunderstanding and lack of clarification would lead to a proverbial roller coaster of problems. Even though most of his friends might not appreciate the things he does or says, Takumi is still a quietly supportive person. While not directly helpful of others he does have his own way of helping them, usually by saying something, mostly insulting, that lets others realize the solutions to their own problems. Takumi is very much an indirect sort of person even when it comes to helping others.
The notable relationships that often have the most impact on Takumi are found from a select few. Within his own little group of three, the other two being Kikuchi Keitaro and Sonoda Mari, it would seem that Mari has the most impact directly. Being the person within the series that Takumi had known the longest, his relationship with Mari was a rather unorthodox one starting as little more than an escort to Tokyo and developing into housemates and slowly good friends. Mari’s death, specifically, is one of the things that affected Takumi the most as he had blamed himself for not protecting her. As the series progresses Takumi slowly becomes a bit protective of Mari as well as willing to actually listen to her problems, something he is not known to do frequently. Mari very much brings out both the best and worst in Takumi, on one side his argumentative nature is amplified when around her and on the other side his protectiveness of others and indirect kindness is also amplified.
The other two people that Takumi has the most relation to would be his “rivals” Kusaka Masato and Kiba Yuji. From the very beginning Takumi and Masato hated each other. While their rivalry started as nothing more than a case of jealousy it would later develop into almost blatant enemies as Masato would become the linchpin in the misunderstanding between Kiba and Takumi. Masato in no way favors Takumi and vice versa and their rivalry becomes the most antagonistic one of the series. Masato easily brings out the worst in Takumi, rising up feelings of hatred and mistrust as well as jealousy. As for Kiba, their relationship is one based solely on misunderstanding. While Kiba and Takumi probably fought the most throughout the series, on a personal level there is the sense of a lot of respect between the two. Takumi once again shows the rare trait of selflessly trying to help Kiba, which again is something he is not commonly known to do. The two have one of the best relationships within the series and play well off of each others’ personalities.
Often the worlds around each Rider is connected in some way or another to their personalities. For example, Yuusuke was the shining beacon of hope in a world succumb by fear. Inui Takumi, though, reflects his world perfectly. The world of Faiz is the victim of itself, the Orphenoch kill humans because they were once human and were treated wrongly by other humans. The attitude of the humans is what leads to the creation of their enemy. Takumi, likewise, is the product of himself, he can’t handle being with others which leads to him insulting them or whatnot which leads to people not liking him, or in some cases outright despising him. He is the victim of his own attitude and his own being and often times becomes his own biggest enemy. At the same time though, similar to how Yuusuke was perfect for his world, Takumi is perfect for the world that he is in. Put simply, the world of Faiz is not full of perfect people and often times not very nice ones, as such Takumi fits perfectly.
The main themes for this series is easily “Dreams” and “Purpose”, in a weird inverted way Takumi perfectly represents this. He is a man without a dream, with nothing to really believe in not even himself. The journey Takumi takes is one of finding his purpose and his dream, and is one that is paved with pain and sadness and struggle. Here in lies Takumi’s growth as a character as over the course of the series we slowly see him become attached to the Faiz gear and try to realize his purpose with it. While the series’ ending may not be up to par with others’ and may have ended poorly for many characters, for Takumi it wasn’t really an ending, but a start to a new dream. Takumi, through all of his hardships and negative quirks, managed finally reach a point of happiness. In this regard, it’s quite true that the end justifies the means.