Image source: アニメ「THE REFLECTION」 on Twitter

Tony Stark from Iron Man is a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist with a suit of power-armor. But, what if he was a washed up, drunken, musician with a suit of power-armor? You’d get Ian Izzet as the hero I-Guy from The Reflection.

Ian Izzet is a one-hit wonder musician living off the royalties of his song “Sky Show.” While he still chases after fame, few people even remember him. But, after being hit by the mysterious reflection and gaining super-powers, Ian now seeks fame as the hero I-Guy.

Fame is a very powerful drug some people chase after and Ian from The Reflection is no different. But, the means by which he seeks fame have drastically changed and we see how that’s affected him in the latest episode of the series. It’s a two-fold issue in that he wants his hero alter ego, I-Guy, to be recognized, but he also want’s that recognition for himself as well. This places him in a predicament because the more fame I-Guy receives, the larger the shadow Ian lives in. And as a man who was on top of the world at one point, this is detrimental to his ego because he want’s the glory. Yet, it’s not as simple as coming out and saying, “I’m I-Guy.” Ultimately, what this forces him to realize the truth: he’s jealous of himself and the fame he’s not receiving.

It’s actually quite fascinating seeing a character who’s jealous of themselves in the same way Ian is of I-guy. It’s not something the superhero genre delves into all that often because many superheroes are altruistic. However, when you have a hero like I-Guy who’s heroing for selfish reasons, it creates a conflict within the character.

Ian really has no interest in helping people. Rather he’s using the mask of I-Guy to increase his personal fame. Unfortunately, there’s a very large downside to this. Because Ian masks his face, he’s not receiving the glory for his efforts. Consider this from the perspective of a person who wants to be on top of the world again. It’s irritating to say the least because you’re putting in all the work and effort and aren’t reaping the rewards.

Image source: アニメ「THE REFLECTION」 on Twitter

Yet, we don’t see this on the surface of Ian’s character all that often. While it’s been eluded to Ian is still chasing after fame—especially when we see him prepping his entrance and battle in New York City in the second episode—the latest episode of the series drives home the point in one very well executed scene. What we see is Ian at a nightclub and he asks to go on stage to perform his hit “Sky Show.” However, to his disappointment only one person is actually excited to see him perform.

It’s a real kick in the gut moment for Ian because his life work has been in music. Yet, only a few minutes later when he appears as I-Guy at the nightclub throngs of rabid fans come out to see him. For Ian it’s not enough for I-Guy fans to like I-Guy, but he wants them to recognize the man behind the mask. But, if I-Guy fans were to find out it’s Ian all along at the wrong moment, the reputation he’s built up as I-Guy could be destroyed.

Image source: アニメ「THE REFLECTION」 on Twitter

Thus, while Ian wants to revel in the fame of I-Guy, there’s too much of a risk for him and his alter ego. But, he want’s the fame that comes with being a hero. What happens then is he becomes jealous of himself and even resents the fact he has to resort to a mask to get the fame. So, Ian is put in a bind: either accept the fact I-Guy is his new vehicle to unacknowledged fame or wallow in self pity because I-Guy’s aren’t being recognized as his own.

We rarely get to see superhero characters who’re on the brink of an existential crisis—it bubbling just under the surface waiting to burst out. But as we see here, it can certainly make for some excellent storytelling.

The Reflection is currently steaming on Crunchyroll.

Comments (1)
  1. It also appears that his Reflected power affects his voice. I may be reading a little much into a single moment, but he may be unable to sing now. The same thing that made him a super hero stole the last of his singing fame.

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