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Ruri Hoshino (星野ルリ Hoshino Ruri) is a fictional character in the anime series Martian Successor Nadesico. She is also the main character in Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, and appears in the manga based on the original television series. Ruri was created by Keiji Gotoh for the anime, and adapted by Kia Asamiya for the manga version. Omi Minami provides the voice of Ruri in the original Japanese versions of the TV series and film, while Kira Vincent-Davis portrays her in the dubbed English version.[1][2]

Ruri is depicted as the youngest member of staff on board the Nadesico, the space battleship that the series revolves around. Despite this, she is often portrayed as being more intelligent than the rest of crew, and seen as something of a "child prodigy".[3] Ruri is often shown disparaging the inane antics of her older co-workers, usually by use of her catchphrase "baka bakka" (バカばっか bunch of fools?). According to her backstory, Ruri has a special affinity with computers due to genetic engineering, something that also affects her attitude towards others.[4]

The character of Ruri was unexpectedly a favourite, and became popular among fans as a depiction of the moe ideal.[5] Because of Ruri's quiet, serious character and dead-pan expressions, she is often compared to Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion.[6] Hiroki Azuma believes Ruri to be directly influenced by Rei.[7]

Development

According to Keiji Gotoh, the movie version of Ruri was the easiest character he ever designed, her concept "popping into his head right away".[8] Dan Kanemitsu, the English translator for Martian Successor Nadesico, notes that Ruri's phrase of "baka bakka" was one of the hardest lines in the show to translate from its original Japanese form.[9]

Biography

Twelve-year old Ruri is the product of DNA engineering and nanotechnology designed to create an "operator [who could] connect directly with computers". She was brought up in a laboratory-like school and educated in a manner that imparted knowledge without unnecessary information, such as emotion or communication with others. She is thought to be the only survivor from the experiments, but it is later revealed by Akito Tenkawa that another exists. Nergal was impressed with her abilities, and bought her to run the Nadesico's computer. Aside from her trademark baka bakka (バカばっか bunch of fools?) remark about the crew, she is responsible for the pre-episode narration, and co-hosts the Get to Know Nadesico in-series instructional videos produced by Inez Fressange.

Ruri is also the princess of a country called Peaceland, which was originally a theme park and casino and developed into a sovereign country that is neutral in all planetary politics. She was conceived artificially for the King and Queen, but the foetus went astray. When she journeyed to Peaceland to find out about her past, she took Akito with her as her 'knight', much to Yurika's chagrin. However, after learning of her past and who her parents and 'real parents' were, she had no intention of returning and chose to stay on the Nadesico with her 'complement of fools'.

She is a talented singer, and her best friend is Omoikane, the ship's computer, which she usually consults if she has any questions about life in general. In the episode "Those Unforgettable Days", Akito helped Ruri save Omoikane from being erased by the military, so it's little wonder she likes him.

She has platinum hair (that looks like a Lavender sometimes blue and silver hybrid), amber colored eyes (which prompts one antagonist in The Prince of Darkness to call her "Amber Fairy". Amber eyes indicate that she is someone who can connect to a computer directly by mutation), very pale skin, and appears to be a healthy young girl for her age.

She is an orphan who was 'bought' by the Nergal corporation for the purposes of being the chief science officer for the Nadesico, which was actually to be completed six years after she had been adopted.

After the war, both Yurika and Minato entered into a custody battle over Ruri. When it became clear that the argument would never end, the Prospector decided to end it with a contest. Yurika and Minato would each grab hold of one of Ruri's arms and pull. As they pulled, Ruri cried out in pain, and Minato let her go. Prospector declared Yurika the winner, because she had proven that no matter what happened, she would never let Ruri go. Ruri was adopted by Yurika, and lived together with Yurika's new fiance, Akito, in his restaurant, where the three lived a "happy-comfy-life".

Ruri would later be devastated by the "deaths" of Yurika and Akito, and is taken in by Minato, whom begins to realize her feelings for Akito. Eventually, she leaves to rejoin the military as a means to distract herself from her loss.

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In Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, Ruri, who is now 3 years older, becomes the captain of the Nadesico-B (and later, Nadesico-C) and is the main character of the movie. She has matured a great deal in the time between the series and the movie. She is also apparently idolized by much of the navy, best illustrated by the reaction of Captain Arragi who is in charge of the escort for the Nadesico crew shuttle when it heads for the moon. Arragi (originally a Mokuren captain in the TV series) says that it is his privilege to escort the denshi no yousei (the electronic spirit/fairy). He records his conversation with Ruri and announces his intention to share it with the crew. Much of the story sees Ruri gathering many of the previous crew, including the trio of pilots led by Ryoko. There are two new additions to the crew, her XO Takasugi Saburota and a young boy named Makibi Hari. Hari is said to be the result of an experiment parallel to the one that produced her. Because of this, where Ruri is deadpan and maintains firm control of her feelings, Hari is emotional and tends to let his feelings get the better of him. Ruri views him as a sort of younger brother, while he has a (fairly obvious) crush on her. Saburota was a Mokuren commander and XO to Akiyama Genpachiro in the TV series. He serves as Ruri's XO on the Nadesico-B.

Ruri encounters Akito, shocked that he is in fact still alive. Ruri would later meet Akito again at his and Yurika's "graves". However, he rejects Ruri's attempts to talk to him and make him a part of her life again, as he shows her the results of the experiments conducted upon him. It becomes clear to Ruri that the Akito Tenkawa that she once knew is dead. Akito left, giving her his secret ramen recipe, because he can never again cook it for her.

Ruri is instrumental in the final defeat of the Martian Successors, using her meld with Omoikane to seize control of all enemy computer systems. They save Yurika, but Akito disappears, and Ruri promises that she will find him.

Although not a star character in the television series, Ruri is very popular in moe fandom for a number of reasons, including her self-amused deadpan delivery. She is thought to be a major inspiration for later cutesy-looking girl characters (not overly stoic ones such as Rei Ayanami) who are sarcastic and jaded rather than cutesy-acting.

References

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  7. Azuma, Hiroki. (2009) Otaku: Japan's Database Animals. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press pp. 48-52
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