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Favorite Characters: Fai

Posted on 2011.01.23 at 22:13
On a completely different note...here is my character analysis of Fai.

On a forum people were talking about his English voice actor. I didn't know who it was when I posted my opinion and later found out when someone defended the voice actor. I could care less who it was, I just knew he sucked. Why? Because CLAMP's characters are typically full of depth, symbolism, and emotion and in the English Dub Fai's voice is flat as Kansas.

Fai is someone with a horrible past who is scared of the future and running from his past. I've seen him depicted as someone wanting to die and for a time I think perhaps there is a truth to that. It wasn't so much he wanted to die as he felt it would be better if he did not exist. There is a difference and I think those around him, especially Kurogane see that difference.

There was something I could never put my finger on about Fai and about why I didn't find him a totally tragic or sad character. Subaru is tragic. Despite all that Fai has been though there is still something inside of him that won't die. Like others he does have a wish, but I think the sorrow we see is from him knowing that can never be fulfilled. Even so, he wishes it; not because he intends to fulfill it but because he is human. His inability to act shows his intent, at least at the point he must chose, and shows that while he may still wish he is not willing to sacrifice lives to obtain it.

I think this gives him insight into the other characters as he helps them on their journey. I know from personal experience of wanting to "save" another by putting yourself in their place, but instead you have to live with the knowledge that you could only watch. It becomes easy to be a martyr, and there are times when you can see this in Fai. But mostly, you see him trying to get others to value their own lives and happiness. I also know from experience that when you put on a smile for others long enough, you realize at some point you are smiling for yourself.

His fear, while it prevents him from acting alone also prevented him from destroying all he had built in his new life. While Fai considers himself weak, it is debatable that he also possesses a strength countless people in the worlds they visited lacked; the ability to let go. I say debatable because some would argue he indeed was going to fulfill his wish. I think inside Fai knew he could never fulfill it; that it was the wish of an innocent child. He was mourning the loss of that innocence as much as the loss of his brother. In music it's often about the rests not the notes...in life it's sometimes about the hesitation rather than the action.

While Fai is overcome with grief he is still willing to save others that "stood in the way" of his wish. If he truly was so intent on his wish I don't believe he would have saved them. Even when he is turned into a vampire and says he should die, I don't think he really means it that way. He meant he doesn't want to cause pain to those he loves and he thinks that is what he will bring to them. But inside, underneath the sorrow, pain, and confusion is hope. If he didn't hope he would not have acted as he did to Sakura and Syaoran's clones. This is a theme in CLAMP's work: even Subaru and Kamui hold on to hope despite the atrocities against their hearts.

Likewise, there was always a glimmer of hope that his life could be different. And for that he wanted to live. I think Kurogane greatly helped bring that side of him out, even more than Fai confessed to Yuuko he realized. He was just of afraid of hope and life as he was of hurting those he loves. That contradiction is at the center of his character I think. The confrontation with Ashura and his brother only bring it to a head. Once it's confirmed that others value his life he is finally able to let go of the past and live for who he truly is: When his eye is returned he says "it would have been better had you returned instead."

Fai values life and happiness greatly, and for a time he acts like he is undeserving of it...perhaps even feels that way to an extent. But the spark of life and hope inside him are never totally extinguished, despite all he tries to kill it. Even as a child he can't lose hope--unable to understand the suffering around him and ultimately unwilling to accept that he and his twin somehow caused it. He goes to great lengths to convince himself it's better for others if he loses hope and dies, but that doesn't happen. That is why I think he cannot kill Ashura; Ashura wouldn't let Fai become hopeless, even hoping to find a way to break the curse for him. Then he finds Kurogane, Syaoran, Sakura, and Mokona. Despite all the planning from Fei Wong Reed did, he could not predict Fai or anyone else's heart; we create our own future.

Fai doesn't so much as change as much as he sheds the exterior he hides behind, the facade to prevent him from being happy because he feels he should die. He's been told he should die since he was a child until he met Ashura, and even then he knew he had a horrible curse that would happen only if he lived. Once he is free of that, we see that Fai hasn't really changed so much as he is allowing himself to be present always.

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