|Kon'nichiwa, tomodachi! This week I begin my new blog series: the Minstrel Who Sings to the Red Moon! In this blog I will take one character each week and do an in-depth analysis and rate them along certain criteria. In keeping with the spirit of Rufus, every blog post shall include a haiku dedicated to the character of the week. Enjoy!
First up, we have everyone's favorite, pint-sized member of Blue Pegasus: Ichiya Vandalei Kotobuki! A small man with a big heart, Ichiya is often maligned due to his off-putting forwardness and sparkle. It's really no surprise, as even the girl in grey possesses no armor that can protect her against the spine-tingling parfum of Ichiya-san. Indeed, Ichiya is perhaps one of the most consistently surprising characters of the series. This is likely due in part to how easily and frequently he is underestimated. Whether it was how easily Angel-pon defeated him with a mere bonk on the head, or how easily he was captured by the Oración Seis' third-tier flunkies and carried through the forest like a trophy, Ichiya often gets the short straw when it comes to action, but we have many glimpses into his true value as a mage. Afterall, he was one of the first people, alongside Wizard Saint Jura Neekis, to notice that Wendy's powers were special and was instrumental in defeating Nirvana. At the end of the day, Ichiya always comes through when it counts.
A squat, pudgy man with few redeeming physical features; despite only being 29 during the Nirvana affair, Ichiya looks much older and in X791 only worsens. It's hard to believe that Ichiya could be the leader of the boy band-like Trimens. Out of the quartet, Ichiya is the only one who would never appear as a heroine's love interest in shōjo manga. In fact, I'm fairly certain (hopeful) that no character like Ichiya has ever appeared in a romance series. Yet romance is Ichiya's middle name (actually, it's Vandalay ಠ_ಠ), and who could deny his good taste? While the other Trimens dish out their affections to any passerby, Ichiya-sensei only has eyes for Titania. Considering how her only romantic interest is a formerly possessed sociopath-turned-vigilante who she rarely sees, and all the other men around her have different priorities, you would think Erza would be flattered by the only male attention she receives on any consistent basis. But, no. Ichiya has no luck, and always receives a punch in the face.
Always the underdog, whether it be in the competition for Erza's heart or the adulation of FT fans, Ichiya has one saving-grace: comedic relief. Indeed, Ichiya's entire existence seems to be for comic relief. Seemingly out of place with his swarthy looks, seemingly weak abilities, and interest in out-of-his-league Erza, Ichiya's disposition remains confident and unshakable. Oblivious to how ridiculous his goofy antics are, Ichiya's outrageous personality always keeps people on their toes and never fails to amuse. His magic revolves around the use of perfume and wouldn't seem like much of a threat, except to Erza or Lucy who are off-put by his habit of sniffing their "parfums". Nevertheless, Ichiya's parfums are quite potent, and even Jura was taken down by them, though it would be interesting to see if that could happen now, with Jura's gigantic power increase
But Ichiya isn't just for laughs and giggles (and occasionally indigestion), but often displays a more serious side. Before and during the Key of the Starry Sky arc, it was Ichiya who proved to be the most valuable ally of Fairy Tail. It was Ichiya who rescued the Tenrou team 7 years after Acnologia's attack, and later Ichiya who rescued them again following their crushing defeat at the hands of the Reborn Oración Seis. Ichiya-senpai later provided the transportation Fairy Tail needed to save the world from the Infinity Clock and sacrificed his ship to defeat Kanaloa and allow them to escape. Offering words of wisdom and encouragement to Lucy when she blamed herself (correctly) for being responsible for the Oración Seis' obtaining the Clock, Ichiya's mentor-like spirit defines his role in the series, as an unlikely source of help for the mages of Fairy Tail and to his own Blue Pegasus.
Though not in measure, your feats:A shining parfum