I didn’t like Midna when she first showed up. She was both smug and condescending, a great combination. My reaction to her was similar to my reaction to all of those “Sassy” types I encounter in Zelda games. “How dare you talk to me, the almighty Link that way?! You insolent cur!” I usually get over it but Midna was a special breed of sinister and potentially backstabbing. Then there was this whole “Slave” dynamic which really rubbed me the wrong way.
There were plenty of comparisons to Navi but I never had a problem with Navi. The fact that Navi dared speak to me from time to time about irrelevant or completely useless stuff didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I appreciated the company while I was running around in a mass grave left over from a recent genocide having taken place.
Midna was more useful than Navi. I hated to admit that. The game actually made you rely on her rather than question her existence. It took from being just my “glory” to save Hyrule so my sue radar went off shortly after my b!+c# radar went off. I had to share the spotlight with a “Tsundere” who seemed to have a resentment towards Zelda that while unstated was so obvious she might as well have had a neon sign over her during their first meeting.
I was especially suspicious when she referred to her as “Twilight Princess.”
The “Twilight” is definitely at odds with Hyrule. How is Zelda the level headed, non treacherous beauty of Hyrule their princess? She’s the Princess of Hyrule being held captive by their “ruler.” I subconsciously knew what was up then but it didn’t add up to what I saw. I figured she’d tell me the truth when she was stabbing me in the back.
My suspicions ran deeper when Larynu told me what kind power it was that Midna had me chasing after. I figured that after that temple it would be her time to betray me in some really underhanded way.
But they went a different route here. Zant, the villian who she’d been ranting about having a false power and not being the true king showed up, took the fused elements, turned me into a wolf and nearly killed Midna. Perhaps I’d come not to hate her a while ago, but it was that moment in the game that made me actually realize it. Despite how much I couldn’t stand her initially I had learned to appreciate her company and she brought an element of humor to even the worst of Zelda water temples yet.
Fortunately Midna was not randomly killed in the middle of the game as that would have taken away several really crucial elements of the game-play and story. Zelda gave her current form to revive Midna which also gave her the ability to go out in the sun. But it wasn’t just my end of the relationship that changed.
Midna actually became more trustworthy and less caught up in her own feelings and agenda. She was even up front and honest about the fact that she only intended on using us and dropping us like we were hot when she was done. So despite her animosity towards Zelda, I think she was somewhat humbled by this experience and more understanding of Hyrule not being a dog-eat-dog world. She genuinely changed for the better while still keeping her usual sense of humor about things.
Midna is a character archetype that doesn’t work nearly as often as she’s tried. I won’t say any names but andone who’s heard of this type already knows. The “tsundere” types are frequently aggressive but mostly self-loathing. They don’t always learn. They don’t always get over themselves. They don’t always respond to kindness by taking a good hard look at themselves and saying it’s not up to the world to pay for their pain.
But Midna did that without becoming someone else in the process. She was still sarcastic, humorous and slightly mean-spirited but she wasn’t bitter and resentful. She also stopped treating me like dirt. That really helped even though by then I didn’t really expect it. So this type of character can actually be pulled of well, but I still think we should stop while we’re ahead. Not everyone can make this kind of character and pull it off well and it would lose a lot of significance if they could.
Next week I’ll try doing a character spotlight on a guy… Shioon Lee (might be spelled Shi Woon Lee) from the Breaker.
Note: for all intents and purposes let’s just say that Tsundere while having a deeper meaning for the most part translates to jerk who needs to say “It’s not like I’m doing it for you,” anytime he or she is not being a jerk. I’m not a fan of this type of character.