Characters Who Embody "Love" (Pt.1)

Love is complicated and can be hard to show in books or television. It has it's ups and downs, many people have their own ideas of what looks like, and everyone expresses love differently. However, there are some characters whose characteristics and experiences embody what love is and how one goes about expressing this complicated emotion.
Disclaimer: I will be using anime characters in this list, so if you don't watch anime (which I highly recommend) or don't like it (which I will say you just haven't found the right one), you probably won't understand. But, I will try my best to explain the characters and story. This will be a longer series of posts where I will use other media, but for now, I will focus on these two characters.

1) Sakura Haruno

I'm starting off with who I refer to as the "Blue Cheese" character of the popular anime, Naruto. The show is about a young ninja, Naruto, who is shunned by his village because he has a dangerous nine-tailed fox inside of him. He dreams of becoming Hokage, the leader of the village, so that everyone respects him. Along the way, he is put into a team that consists of a sensei, Kakashi, his rival, Sasuke, and the girl, Sakura. I call her the "Blue Cheese" character because just like the delicacy, fans either love her or hate her. 
I personally love her but, this post isn't for me to gush over Sakura. She embodies love because her story literally shows the stages one can go through while falling in love. Her entire character ark revolves around her crush over Sasuke and her desire for him to notice her. He doesn't, at least, at the beginning. The thing is, she never gave up loving Sasuke. She always believed in him.
 The first stage of love is typically a superficial crush that revolves around a single aspect of a person. For Sakura, it was the fact that Sasuke was the most popular guy in their class and the coolest. The second stage is getting to know that person on a deeper level, and still having feelings for them. That happens when the trio enters into the Chunin Exams (the next step to become professional ninjas) and she is exposed to Sasuke's dark emotions over the horrific experiences he had as a child.She sees how scary he can get over his thirst for revenge, and she isn't scared away. In fact, she insists on helping him get through his trauma, if only he would only let her in. 
The next stage is confessing,which can lead in two different direction: dating or rejection. For Sakura, it lead to rejection because Sasuke was too focused on obtaining his goals to have anything to do with love. After he left the village and most people told her to give up on ever getting Sasuke back, she never gave up on him. Even when he became a terrorist, she still didn't turn on him. She did think about it, but ultimately, Sakura never hurt Sasuke. Although, she did chastise him for a moment over his actions once he finally cooled down. 
Many fans criticize this relationship because Sasuke tried to kill her once and never showed any affection towards her. However, what these fans don't realize is that it's not naivete that kept Sakura loyal to Sasuke. She knew that he wanted nothing to do with her and that he would rather be an avenger than be with her. She acknowledged that. No, what she wanted was not for Sasuke to love her back, but for him to stop hurting. She wanted to help him get over his pain and find the good in life. If that meant being with her, she wouldn't complain. If that meant not being with her, she would take it. All she wanted was to make him happy. 
That's what love should be, making the person you care about happy. Love involves sacrifices, being rejected, and dealing with each other's pasts. But, as long as you stay together and both parties agree to work on their issues, it'll all be worth it. 
Oh, spoiler alert: they do end up together and have a daughter.

2) Juvia Lockser

This crazy lady also has a huge disparity of fans who love or hate her, but, the majority fall into the love column. She's definitely more liked than the actual protagonist of the show Fairy Tail, Lucy. Personally, I love both of them, but again, this post isn't why they are BOTH amazing characters; it's about how Juvia embodies love.
First, background. Fairy Tail is about a guild of wizards who go on adventures together to save the world and/or make money. They encounter foes who make them question their existence and challenge their ideas of friendship. Juvia was one of those foes, until she was defeated by Gray Fullbuster, a member of the Fairy Tail guild. At their fight, she fell in love with him at first sight, and since then, she has followed him EVERYWHERE to the point of stalking. She even joined his guild and became a respectable member whose antics both delight and terrify her guild mates.
Juvia embodies love because she shows how deep, irrational, and all-encompassing the emotion can be. For starters, when she is first introduced, she is known as the "Rain Woman" because she brought a never-ending rainstorm with her everywhere she went. Not only was it consistently wet around her, but the sun never shined. It was dark and gloomy 24/7. All of that changed the minute she was defeated by Gray and felt the joy of love for the first time. She is literally a metaphor for what love can do to a person's life: change it from a gloomy existence to a shiny one. From that moment forward, there was no rain around Juvia because she was always filled with happiness over her love of Gray. There are only two times throughout the series where it rained again because of her: when Gray abandoned her at a ghost town for six months and when someone (Meredy) tried to kill him. She eventually overcame both and continued to follow "Gray-sama."
The irrationality of love comes from Juvia's crazy antics when it comes to her "darling", or if you watch the subtitled version "Gray-sama." Her imagination can run wild at all of the possible rivals she could have over him. Also, her ideas of their future together can get pretty out there. From imagining a love triangle with one of her friends that will NEVER happen to how their children will look like, Juvia's imagination could be a power all on its own with how insane it can get. However, it's not that far from how a lot of people view love. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose heard crazy-ex stories where someone didn't want to admit that a relationship was over so they took to stalking and vandalism to prove a point. Or, how about those stories where people have their entire lives planned out together before going out on a second date? And I don't know anyone whose dating who hasn't thought about what their children would look like with their partner. Juvia's character isn't too far from how people in real life act when they're overcome with love. 
Juvia's love is all-encompassing through the fact that her entire character revolves around her love for Gray. Whenever she is on the screen, if she isn't talking about Gray or obsessing over him, then there is something very serious going on (i.e. the end of the world). When she's not fantasizing about him she's either fantasizing about something else dealing with love or trying to be closer to him in real life. This too isn't too far from reality. There are countless couples who can't function without their significant other. I know plenty of people who completely cut-out everyone in their lives once they have a lover. I'm not saying if this is a good or bad thing, but it does happen. There are even those people who live only to find their soulmate. For Juvia, at least in her mind, she already has.
This insane "Rain Woman" isn't just a typical crazy crush character that is over-done in a lot of anime. She has complexity and her character design reflects what love could actually be like in the real world: deep, irrational, and all-encompassing.
             -Lady Silver


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