is it me or do Chazz’s eyes get warmer as Judai’s get colder?
Someone else made a very interesting point in the tags for this post. They said something along the lines of ‘reverse character development.’ That’s not necessarily how I’d put it, but it does get close to a very interesting thing, related to Manjoume and Judai’s development. Namely, they both move in opposite sides, in relation to the other and each one ends up where you’d have expected the other would be, at the beginning of the series.
Manjoume. At the start, he’s very much the loner, the bully, the rich kid with a superiority complex the size of the island. People likely expected some development on his part, but not enough that it would move him in any way from the 'dark, brooding, predominantly solitary member of the group' shtick he had going on. Yet by the end of the series, no only has he proven himself to be a capable and competent leader on the Duel Academia campus, but he’s also shown that he has the charisma necessary to make whole stadiums shout out his name. At first, he didn’t have friends, but rather toadies keen to get an advantage by being close to him, yet during the fourth season, he knew that he had people he could implicitly rely upon, just as they could rely on him.. From the schemer in the shadows, who stooped to destroying Misawa’s deck, he’s become a man wholly comfortable in the limelight, no longer willing to use underhanded means to achieve his goals.
Judai. He looked deceptively easy to peg at first. The lazy genius. The wunderkind with a fantastic future likely ahead of him, in spite of his lackadaisical attitude. The golden boy, all red like a warm bonfire, drawing people to him like an ambulatory magnet. In true shounen fashion, people were waiting for him to take leadership at the Academia and become the shining beacon and catalyst for the entire school. Only when he actually seized leadership, he was both utterly terrible at it…. and then far, far too good, when he lost absolutely everything and the only thing left to him was an artifact of power and a whisper of ‘don’t let their deaths have been in vain by stopping now.’ By the very last season, I believe Judai is horrified by the prospect of leadership. He absolutely doesn’t want it, both out of guilt and since it no longer fits the person he’s become. By the end, he’s the quiet warrior in the shadows, content to watch from afar, intervene quickly when there’s no other option and then pull back just as fast. It also takes time for him to reconnect to the people who call him 'friend', because a lot of damage was done on both sides of that relationship. As for fame, renown, leadership… all these things no longer matter to him, so he doesn’t bother with them.