Have you ever wanted to really like a character but found that there was never enough material on them to really form a solid enough opinion? That’s sort of how I feel about Hayasaka Ako. She has all of the makings of a character that I should personally really enjoy but none of the focus to back any of it. Honestly, it’s at times like these that I wish I had created this as more of an opinion piece so that I could go off on a tangent about bad writing. Alas, I must refrain myself from doing so and simply continue on with the recourses that I have for talking about Hayasaka Ako, Jetman’s Blue Swallow.
As with last week I’m afraid the amount of information regarding Ako’s character is rather slim and even more so than Raita. So, that being said I’m afraid that this week shall once again be a somewhat short piece hitting on only the most key examples of Ako’s overall personality. Still, I have a liking for this character and as a support for the more focused on cast members she is still an enjoyable character that I hope others who watch Jetman will enjoy as well.
-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.-
Ako is the youngest of the Jetman members, being that of a high school student, and it certainly shows through her somewhat immature personality. She’s a rather stubborn, greedy and somewhat morally ambivalent girl with her eyes initially set solely on the benefit of herself. This is showcased best during her introduction to the team in which she only agrees to join if she’s paid by the hour. While Ako isn’t necessarily a bad person and definitely doesn’t wish to harm anyone she is more than willing to take advantage of the gullibility of others.
In contrast to her somewhat selfish side Ako also comes off as a very positive person and is often the most cheerful member of the team. This positive attitude helps to keep her somewhat level headed in stressful situations. This is evident by her reaction to the sudden bestowing of her powers as she doesn’t take them with any amount of fear or apathy as the other civilian members had but rather sees them as being beneficial to her. Almost too beneficial as Ako is still a rather cunning young woman and does in fact resort to using her new abilities for personal gain. While she isn’t what you would call intelligent she does know how to manipulate people should it benefit her and is fairly good at negotiating.
Once again thanks to her positive outlook and her rather unexpected intellect Ako is very quick to learn the logistics of being a Jetman and quickly manages to become a skillful pilot without much stress. Still, she does show a bit of laziness as she often passes off most of her work onto someone else, mostly Raita, in order to slack off. Ako is the kind of person to usually choose fun over work, a trait that goes a long way towards her skills in socializing with others. Unlike most, if not all, of the other Jetman members Ako is a very sociable person and is often more than happy to connect and talk with other people. Really to put it simply Ako is what would be considered socially normal in this instance as she’s able to get along with most people, is actually very sympathetic, and lacks any sort of shyness as she is often very outright with anything that she wants to say. Though on the other side of things, amongst a team that is rather socially disconnected she almost stands as being relatively abnormal as she has no real social communicative flaws. Interestingly enough Ako is able to connect with others to such a degree that she managed to befriend the enemy monsters on more than one occasion. In addition to this her ability to socialize with even normal civilians has managed to get her out of several tough spots by acquiring their aid during even dangerous situations.
While Kaori was almost too much of the personification of an obligatory female character, to the point that I felt rather misogynistic writing about her, Ako is instead a somewhat tomboyish character showcasing much less need for dependency, a great deal of confidence, stubbornness and a slight temperament. Ako is actually one of the few members that manages to tackle situations on her own and manages to showcase a capacity for quick thinking as well as the ability to adapt to any problems that should arise. Her skill in handling situations on her own sets her apart from some of her teammates and is largely due in part to her underlying kindness. Though she may seem rather selfish Ako still values her friendships and can at times show off a protective side to herself. This is especially evident in her relationship with Kaori as she is often the one to connect to her the most and will sometimes stand up for her if need be. Despite her temperament Ako maintains a strong charm to her character that makes her trustworthy to others regardless of her flaws. It’s to this charm that Ako owes much of her socializing abilities.
In addition to valuing friendship Ako does in fact have a sense of justice though it isn’t overly apparent in the beginning. While she did start by joining the Jetman team under the condition of payment she did eventually see the value of the work itself in protecting others and agreed to see to her duties in order to help people instead of gaining money in return. This was due mostly in part to her sociability as she is capable of sympathizing with other civilians more so than her teammates could. Thanks to her ability to connect to others socially she found value within them and in turn a sense of justice as well.
Though she is actually a relatively kind person Ako still carries a very temperamental attitude that at times causes her to seem rash and almost untrustworthy. While she is certainly trustworthy, at times, regardless of her attitude she is still rather short with people at times and is not at all patient. Since she does have such a temperament she is also quick to judge and punish others who have done something wrong. Thanks to this she can sometimes come off as either very upstanding or as simply a punk kid.
In terms of her age Ako is still only around seventeen or eighteen and is still bound by her school life most of the time. Since she is still more or less a child she doesn’t carry as much responsibility as the other members do which in turn causes her more playful and slacking personality. That being said she is the only member with the need to balance two lives and is usually the only one to worry about revealing her Jetman identity. This along with her higher sense of communication with society makes her almost more mature in a social sense than that of her team, with the noticeable exception of Gai. Still her childish attitude and selfish tendencies make her age a noticeable influence on her personality and shows that she is still relatively less mature than her teammates.
In terms of development Ako doesn’t necessarily have much and what little has changed hasn’t completely gone away and has remained in some minor form. For instance while she was rather selfish before joining the team this side of her does inevitably start to dull. It’s is only dulled, however, as she does keep her playful personality and will at times jokingly show off her greedier side. In terms of actual maturity she has grown very little but luckily there was no noticeable detriment to her character despite being through many harsh battles which showcases a somewhat resilient nature within her. Her ability to connect with others easily has shown to be a great benefit to her after her time as a Jetman member as three years later she had started a music career and by 2011 she had become a popular idol.
Relationship wise Ako is the only member of the team that does not actually fall in love nor does she hold as close of a connection to the others. It’s certain that she values them and is very friendly towards them but in terms of a deeper personal relationship she shows no major signs to such. That being said she is still supportive of the team and helpful when the moment strikes her right. Her milder relationship with the team is most likely caused by her age and personality as she is several years younger than the others and carries a more childlike demeanor. In addition to this the others have had a somewhat minor influence on her overall personality. As she spends time with the team she begins to tone down her greedy and temperamental attitude opting for a kinder and somewhat more subtler personality. That being said Ako still manages to be as cunning as ever and still falls back into her old ways for the fun of it.
In the end while Ako isn’t the most fleshed out character she still stands as the bright and positive offset to team that desperately needed it in dark times. She carries a charm and air about her that makes up for her lack of focus and causes her to be an enjoyable and trustworthy individual. Despite her flaws, or perhaps because of them, I find Ako to be a character that shines amongst an overly serious team, bringing a positive and happy outlook to an otherwise harsh and depressing world. She may not be the pinnacle of the team nor is she the most heroic by far, but Ako stands as a fun character regardless.