This is the WORLD where I write my musing about manga/anime/video games and make comments on certain aspects. It's just a little something to stir up a conversation so please don't take me TOO seriously on the things I write here. I'd love to hear your opinion so feel free to comment.
- Created By red:leaf
I bought a Tsubasa art book at the last con I was at. I was staying at my aunt's house and my cousin and I were looking through it and talking about the art. Somehow or other we got to talking about Fai and Kuragane's personalities.
I said, "Fai's the always happy, optimistic type and he acts dopey but he's a actually a pretty somber character and is a strong fighter. Kuragane is the strong, don't-bother-me kind of guy. He's something of a softy though."
"It's always like that," my cousin said. "It's so predictable."
And then it hit me: what my cousin was saying was true. How many times had I run into a character that acted one way but was actually the complete opposite? The list could go on forever.
Now, I'm a huge fan of Tsubasa. I recommend it to just about anyone who shows any interest (even some that don't) and consider it to be one of CLAMP's best works. That said, I got to thinking about what my cousin had said.
Yes, the character types that Fai and Kuragane embody are used--A LOT. And because they're used so often it's probably safe to say that that type has become "predictable." However, those same types are not "flat" character types, where they are one-dimensional, easy to know everything about, consistent, however else you'd like to describe it. No, these are "round" characters, meant to surprise us with a new quirk.
So when did round become flat? It seems to me that these types have become almost as expected as the character types in video games (healer, warrior, mage etc). It certainly makes building a fresh character personality difficult, and that's putting it lightly.
Thinking it over, one might say that all the character types are somewhat "predictable." I've already discussed Fai and Kuragane. Syaoran is portrayed as a very normal kid (as "normal" as one can be in Tsubasa), fiercly in love with his best friend but unwilling to admit it except to himself. Sakura is the girl with the infectious bubbly personality that makes everyone care for her. On top of that she's got a big heart and a secret power to boot. I wouldn't necessarily call them original.
Despite all that, I find that Tsubasa is nothing short of a great story with great characters. The writing, in my opinion, is so fantastic that even the personality twists don't seem out of character. Even if they're completely gut-wrenching new levels of the character that we've never seen before, somehow it doesn't seem odd at all. And who's to say that it needs to be original? Hardly anything is "original" these days, just fresh.
Perhaps the originality and the mark of greatness comes from the ability to reinvent and keep it seamless. Tsubasa certainly reaches this level.
WARNING: The following content may contain spoilers for Final Fantasy VIII and brief scientific matters. Read at your own discretion.
It's been a while since I finished playing FF8. Still, there are some (you might say) plot points that I'm not completely clear about.
For one: Has it ever occurred to anyone else that Laguna is Squall's father and Raine was his mother? This idea seemed to be so obvious to me but when I mentioned it to a fellow gamer, I didn't get much reaction. The whole thing with Squall being in the orphanage (because Raine died and Laguna wasn't around/didn't know (?)), calling Ellone "Sis," the comment about how Squall looked just like his mother and thank goodness wasn't anything like his father, etc., seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces. It also makes a great set up, plot-wise, for Squall and Rinoa to get together, as the children of Laguna and the bar singer, who ended up marrying other people, even though they loved each other before the war. I mean, I could just be making things up in my head but that's what it looked like to me.
And for another: the time travel. The whole thing with Squall being stuck in time and then coming to the past with Ultimecia and seeing Edea and telling her about SeeDs and all that and then her taking upon the sorceress' powers....wouldn't that mean that time would be moving in a loop? Of course, time doesn't work that way. It branches with every possible action (if this doesn't make sense, don't worry. It's physics. You can go here (http://www.tenthdimension.com/medialinks.php) to get an idea of what I'm talking about (the explanation of the dimensions can be a bonus)). Still, if Edea took on Ultimecia's power (despite Squall's warning) and was informed of SeeD, wouldn't it all just happen again? No, because Squall, I think, was just momentarily in the past, like a blip. Time was compressed after all. So it would follow that Squall could theoretically pop into any moment in time. After his encounter with Edea, he goes back into his own time and everything is fine again. Apparently writing this has helped me organize my thoughts.
Going on like this, you might think that I really like FF8. Not really. Sorry, FF8 fans. It's actually my least favorite out of the ones that I've played. I wasn't a FF fan for a long time and actually avoided the games. But then I had a PS2 available to me and a friend insisted that I play FF9 (which I love) and I guess I've just gone with it.
Which leads me to another question. Is it worse to play/read/what have you something in which you love the characters and hate the plot, or hate the characters and love the plot? I suppose that's up to people's own personal preference. Whether plot line is more important than the relationships. Of course, a good balance is best. But which would you prefer, if stuck in this position? Plot or relations?
My next musing will be following along the same lines as this one, with a nagging unanswered question from another FF game. If you've played FF9, be sure to check in.
Comments and thoughts are, of course, welcome.
Sometimes I think I've gotten too far into my otakudom. I suppose this is more apparent when I think about it compared to all the people I know. None of my friends (except one) is actually into anime or manga or things like that and even the friend that is, isn't as into it as I am (or so it seems). Even my cousin thinkanti, who still has a membership here, isn't into it as she was.
But getting back to the otakudom. Almost all I read lately is manga (probably because I can set aside an hour easily, rather than the many hours it takes to read a novel), all I do on the internet is watch AMVs and be here. All I draw is anime-styled. This is really embarrassing to talk about. -///- '
I don't know if it's shame or what. But this is a hobby and I shouldn't have a problem with my hobbies. It's better than not having one. Yet sometimes I miss the less otaku-fied version of myself. But then I think, "What the heck did I ever do before?" I can't answer that question.
Which leads to another question. Is entering the world of anime a broadening or limiting of the horizions (as the term goes)? At first, I think it was a broadening but then as time went on became a limitation, which is sad.
Am I alone in this thought?
In going along the same lines as my last post, I have another musing about character personalities. The dominant/submissive character personalities seem to be overused as well. I'm not just talking about in professional works but I mean works in general (I can't tell you how many fan fictions I've read...). Even though it works well in some character relationships, I think it's sort of an easy way out.
It's so much simpler for one character to assert something and just have the other one go along with it. However, that's not necessarily realistic. Most people aren't completely submissive and will put up a bit of protest. On the other side of the spectrum, dominant personalities aren't suddenly going to be submissive. They're going to try to gain the upper hand and will probably be a little irked that they are being confronted. This is on an extreme level, of course. Personalities are complex and very difficult to express.
But like my last musing, I don't think this dominant/submissive thing is a bad thing. It moves a plot along at a quick rate and will probably keep a reader interested. It also saves a writer time of incessant fighting between the two (or more) characters. And maybe the characters are actually that dominant and that submissive and so it's realistic to have them react to each other that way.
Perhaps I just pick on these things because I wrote a book and now I pay extra attention to character interaction and development. It could just be me.
I was reading some shojo manga the other day and I noticed that the main girl character kept being pinned or trapped against a wall by the main guy character. Has anyone else noticed that that happens a lot in manga? Especially shojo manga. So I thought, "Why?"
Is there something appealing to that? Is it the seduction of danger? Obviously, it's a good way to make a character fess up to something or bend them to your will, what have you. But usually it isn't used in that sort of way. Usually it's some out-of-the-blue romantic scene that causes a lot of tension.
That's not to say that I don't think these moments are pointless or stupid. They're really effective in creating a moment and bringing a story up a notch. I think I've used that circumstance once or twice in my writing (I can't really remember). Perhaps, though, it is a little overused. What do you think?