Development for a character can be the most important thing in a story when done correctly. It’s a way to show a character’s growth, making them appear more human and much more relatable to the audience. Development within a character is one of my utmost favorite things in a story and is the reason I enjoy writing these articles. There are those times, though, when you have a character that simply lacks development and is shown as the smartest and best damn person in the whole series. The character in question this time around is none other than Tendou Souji, otherwise known as Kamen Rider Kabuto.
-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.-
Tendou’s basic personality is that of a self-centered, blunt, fairly levelheaded and oddly kind person. When we initially see Tendou he comes off as a pretty self-centered person, believing that whatever he wants he’ll have. From here things don’t exactly change that much, Tendou really does believe that he can never fail as long as he just doesn’t want to. Within the first episode Tendou doesn’t even dodge the knife of a mugger aimed for his throat simply stating that the knife wouldn’t hurt him because he didn’t want it to. From here he even states that he won’t die as long as he chooses to not die. It’s cases like these that cement Tendou’s main characteristic of arrogance as well as being one of the most recognizable things about his character.
When Tendou is in the presence of most other people his self-centered attitude isn’t really lessened at all. Tendou is almost never interested in other people’s opinions, and really only cares as long as they follow him. He’s not even willing to be totally protective of most people just in case they begin to take him for granted. Tendou isn’t that open either only ever showing off his, or rather his grandmother’s, words of wisdom as well as boasting about how the path that he walks is the one that will rule over any others.
Despite being so arrogant Tendou is rather levelheaded and rarely loses his composure. In addition to this he displays a high level of intellect as well as intuition. Tendou easily deciphers whatever situation he’s in and is rarely taken by surprise or gotten the upper hand on. As well as his ability to read the situations he’s in he’s also capable of reading people’s emotions and motives very well which contributes to his ability to never be taken advantage of. On the other side of things though, Tendou’s ability to gain the upper hand on just about anyone he comes into contact with is greatly due in part to his inability to be read by others. Tendou is very good at hiding his motives and as such it’s hard for not only other characters but even myself to really know what he’s thinking in terms of plans or even major emotions toward events. This is actually where Tendou’s arrogance aids him the most being used as a diversion to throw people off of his true motives.
It’s hard to ignore Tendou’s philosophy to always walk the path of Heaven to rule them all. Really this defines Tendou’s confidence in not only himself but his goals as well as his unwavering determination to adhere to this philosophy. This philosophy, that stems quite a bit from the influence had on Tendou from his grandmother, is a large factor in his self-centered attitude. Tendou’s belief in this ideal and in himself is to an extreme, so much so that this is what drives his very life. This idea is Tendou’s path in life, to be the best at everything, this of course has the added side effect of making Tendou incredibly competitive.
Tendou is very competitive and sometimes even a bit on the jealous side. Tendou hates it when people are better than him at something and he will go to great lengths to overcome someone that is. Though to be fair it is not often the case that people outmatch Tendou in the case of physical ability or cooking. When it does happen, though, his competitiveness reaches almost insane levels, especially in the cases of Yaguruma and Tsurugi who manage match him toe for toe in almost everything they compete at. In situations like these Tendou’s intelligence seemingly takes a dive as he becomes nearsighted with his goal to beat the person in question. Due to this competitiveness Tendou becomes even harder to reason with than he usually is as he focuses on nothing else but winning.
Past all of Tendou’s quirks that could be construed as negative he is shown to actually be a pretty upstanding person morally speaking. Despite his high and mighty attitude he never breaks the law or commits any sort of petty crime and even looks upon people who do as scum. Tendou actually has a penchant for the rules, especially if he’s the one setting them, and considers it an offense to oneself and others if those rules are meddled with. Several times throughout the series Tendou punishes anyone that uses sneaky underhanded means and while his punishments are unconventional in most cases he is regardless quite strict.
Now there is a more likeable side to Tendou past all of the arrogance and boasting. While Tendou is very self-centered around most individuals it’s in the presence of his sisters that we begin to see that different side of him. When Tendou is around Juka or Hiyori he becomes almost a different person completely, he’s open and talkative, selfless and generally interested in what they have to say and is pretty protective to boot. He’s shown as being much kinder and softer toward them while still maintaining a dulled sense of authority, much like an older brother would be. Tendou’s sisters actually manage to bring out unseen emotions within the usually hard to read Tendou. In fact it’s when Juka or Hiyori are in trouble that we see the few times when Tendou actually loses his composure. Whenever they’re put into danger Tendou almost resorts to a state of panic and even his usually vast amounts of confidence take a hit. While these instances don’t last for long it does clearly show Tendou’s love and care for his siblings.
One of Tendou’s major quirks when it comes to someone like Kagami is his aversion to the concept of friendship. You see, friendship means relying on someone else, which to Tendou is a sign of weakness. For someone like Tendou who is so confident with his own abilities, relying on another person would simply hold him back. While it does sometimes appear that Tendou is friends with several people, on a closer look it’s not as cut and dry as that. Tendou is kind toward his sisters, but out of love and protectiveness rather than needing to rely on them. In the case of Kagami he shows to take interest with him quite often throughout the series but never actually displays a real need for him, rather it’s Kagami that needs Tendou. Kagami’s need for Tendou however is the other reason he doesn’t take a liking to the concept of friendship as he doesn’t approve of someone else, besides his sisters, relying solely on him. In this case it is mostly that Tendou doesn’t like being taken for granted and feels that people need to stand on their own rather than grow comfortable to the idea of being protected by him.
“Grandmother said this: ‘There are two things a man must never do. One is to not make girls cry… The other is to not handle food so crudely.’”
Now putting aside Tendou’s major personality quirk that is his ego, he can easily be defined by his love for one thing, food. To Tendou food holds a great deal of importance even at times over people. It’s rare to not see him cooking or be an arrogant ass and even then he’s still arrogant through his cooking. In fact Tendou shows a great deal through his cooking. When he cooks he displays joy, grace, and even sometimes humility. To Tendou food is an experience, a way to express oneself to others and instilling those same feelings upon them. His love of food is to the point that even harming the ingredients angers him and eating food improperly prepared actually does as well. Through food Tendou’s character shines more than it ever does alone, and it’s truly a joy of an experience.
The largest amount of influence seen throughout the series that Tendou has on another person would be with Kagami. Over the course of the show they share a rather odd relationship that walks the line of friends and brothers. Let me explain, as I mentioned earlier Tendou is opposed to the idea of friendship but regardless shows some qualities towards Kagami that would distinguish the two as friends. On the contrary though their relationship very much resembles that of an older brother and younger brother, with Tendou watching over Kagami throughout a majority of the series. Tendou, the big brother, becomes influential in the development of Kagami, the little brother, subtly guiding him and helping him become a person that can stand on his own two feet while still maintaining a somewhat distant and strict attitude. If anything this helps to exemplify Tendou’s reasoning toward not calling Kagami a friend as he very much treats him as a family member at times, but unlike his treatment of his sisters which is soft and kind, he takes the brotherly bond route of being rough and cold.
As for the other characters influenced by Tendou there really isn’t many. Tendou’s arrogance is either ignored or just written off by most of the main supporting cast as just being part of who he is. When it comes for most minor support characters Tendou is looked at as somewhat of an idol, whose name is widely known simply because of him being Tendou Souji. The most major relationships he has though are with his sisters Juka and Hiyori. While I’ve already covered their influence on Tendou, the influence that he has on them is just as important. With Juka he is predominately her guardian and several of his characteristics have rubbed off on her, such as his tendency to quote his grandmother and his love for food. In the case of Hiyori though the influence is much more drastic as Tendou initially starts off as nothing more than a stranger to her. It’s not until later that they realize their connection and grow closer. Hiyori’s growth through Tendou is one of confidence as originally she is a very meek character but eventually becomes stronger with his help. Tendou’s sisters as well as Kagami are perfect examples of his helpfulness in a rather indirect way as he predominately pushes them through means that aren’t direct support.
The world of Kabuto doesn’t so much reflect Tendou’s personality as it does bend to it. With all of his boasting the most impressive thing about Tendou is that he can actually back it up. While many of the main characters don’t take his “Walking the path of Heaven to rule it all” philosophy seriously, the world around him reflects just how much his philosophy come true. People follow Tendou on a whim and hang on his every word, even nature itself seems to bend for him at times as his luck is shown to be impeccable. Overall the world of Kabuto is perfect for Tendou as he truly does stand above all others.
In the end what can we really take from Tendou’s character that won’t influence us to all be unbearable egotists? While there’s several things that define him really if there has to be one thing then it’s surely confidence. While Tendou is boastful he is undoubtedly a confident man that almost never loses sight of his real goal. While you don’t necessarily have to be arrogant you should always remember to hold your stance firm, believe in your own abilities and never waver from the path that you follow. When it comes right down to it, it’s about the belief you have in yourself and the future that you make for yourself.