It’s Heroes Week here at Twinfinite and I’m glad so many heroes have gotten the recognition they deserve. However, there is one that is severely underrated. In fact, as the protagonist of his own series, he doesn’t even get the credit for all the work he has done. After saving the universe multiple times now, the Prince from the Katamari series does not feel the need to be praised, but rather takes solace in his accomplishments with humility. It is this very trait that names the Prince not only a hero, but as an admirable example for people all over the world. He is proof enough that you don’t always need that giant trophy or fanfare to prove to yourself that you’re worth something.
The Prince made his big debut in the very strange PlayStation 2 title, Katamari Damacy. The story begins with the King of All Cosmos destroying all the stars and the Moon in a drunken stupor. Naturally, he tasks his son the Prince to roll up objects down on Earth with something called a katamari to create new stars and clean up after his mess. The Prince obligingly carries out his father’s wishes, enduring a slew of harsh criticisms and judgments his father in the process. The royal family celebrates with a royal dance party and everyone seems to live happily ever after. However, in the sequel, We ♥ Katamari, it is demonstrated that the Prince got all but the praise he so rightly deserved for his hard work.
We ♥ Katamari shows the Prince’s subtle evolution from a lackey simply following orders to a humble and misunderstood little individual. The people of Earth are extremely grateful to have the stars and Moon return to the sky, but they all laud the King for these efforts, when all he really did was lay back and rudely judge the hell out of his poor son. Now he is even calling his son much too short, if that’s not enough to pile on the feeling of incompetence that The Prince may be feeling at this moment. On the contrary, the Prince doesn’t feel any of this at all. The fact that sky has been returned to normal seems to be enough for him. When the King’s fans all want personal favors attended to, the Prince carries out each thankless task. Why? That’s a little hard to really decipher at this point.
Now, I could be completely wrong. Maybe the Prince is just a mindless, soulless husk of a creature that follows orders without hesitation just because. Maybe he is actually just devoid of all personality and therefore unable to stand up or make any decisions for himself. As a silent character, none of this is really for certain, however, it is implied that the Prince is simply that practical and brave little creature you see.
The sequel also shows a variety of cutscenes illustrating the King of All Cosmos’ upbringing, which is important when looking at the Prince’s own upbringing. Apparently, before the King was an overtly flamboyant, egotistical, and rude individual, he was a small celestial man-creature-deity-thing, just like his son. The King’s own father, the Emperor of All Cosmos, was actually just as harsh on his son growing up as The King is to his own. The biggest difference between the two, however, is that the King was a bit of a rebel from the start. On the other hand, the Prince is calm and collected, even when given the task of restoring the universe. Harsh comments don’t necessarily hurt his soul, or whatever he has in there, but simply drives him to keep trying.
This could show that the Prince does not necessarily speak out against his father out of fear, but out of simple respect, both for the King and himself. Make no mistake, he is not detested by his father, but rather their relationship comes across as more of that trope where a parent or mentor figure is very stern with their child or apprentice in order to build stronger character. Luckily, The Prince already has that strong character, and has had it all along.
One could say he is also a cold, heartless monster for rolling up so many animals and people, turning them into celestial bodies. Okay, I know that sounds horrific, but one cutscene shows a family in Katamari Damacy that was rolled up to contribute to making the Moon; they are shown perfectly safe and fine, describing their new situation as a “lunar family vacation.” Whatever. I’m not one to judge. Personally, I would be terrified, but the point is the Prince is saving many more lives than it seems. I cannot, however, speak for what happens to the people that were rolled up into the Sun. All right, he is saving many more lives than he is destroying. You win some, you lose some, I guess.
The Prince’s actions and morals are not necessarily at the heart of what makes him a hero, but rather what he makes of it all. For some people, it takes decades for them to realize just how important it is to take pride in their own actions, rather than waiting for someone to say “Good job,” whether or not they even mean it. As I mentioned before, the Prince takes solace in knowing he has performed a job well done, the luxury of a laid back royal life and lauding fans isn’t something to necessarily work solely for. Keep in mind, this is assuming that he is not just a brain-dead child slave simply following orders. The Prince may not be a complicated character, but it is this very virtue of humility that he faintly exudes in every entry of the Katamari series that makes him such a grand, albeit miniature hero in my eyes. Plus, he is downright adorable.