Character Spotlight ~ Rinoa Heartily

Picture courtesy of Finalfantasy.wikia.com

Picture courtesy of Finalfantasy.wikia.com

I’m not a fan of a game throwing a girl at you while you’re trying to save the world. It’s distracting. However, I knew from the cover that Rinoa and Squall were going to get together so while I wondered how they were going to build a game that was actually fun to play around a “love story” I was mentally prepared to find her a little irritating.

She made a great first impression with her audacity, specifically because Squall was limited in his social skills, not that he was shy; he just didn’t want to be bothered. Rinoa was idealistic and simple in the beginning. She didn’t have the military training everyone else had. Her father was a dirty politician himself. But under his nose, she was starting a rebellion called the Timber Owls.

I knew when she showed up that she didn’t know what she was doing. However it was only an implicit knowledge because I was a kid when the game came out. I expected things to work out the same way she did. I was sure I’d seen something similar in a movie or read it in a book but in the end it wasn’t until I was older than her that I could see the holes in her plans. She was sheltered but she had been watching the Galbadian soldiers mistreat and harass people for a while. She was tired, angry and she wanted ato end things quickly but at the same time she was out of her element.

Of course, she can’t see that. She’s a teenager. Are they known for being reasonable? Granted, there have been many young leaders that were great at their jobs but then there are incidents like the Shimabara rebellion, which ended horribly. She was also Seifer’s girlfriend at some point. Seifer, the emotional extremist… This was a Shimabara rebellion in the making.

I like that the game gives you the option of telling her just how you feel about her “orders” in the beginning. It didn’t improve her management skills but I certainly felt better afterwards. Her management skills didn’t improve until the last of her harebrained schemes landed her in a difficult ordeal with sorceress Edea. 

As a kid I thought it was her execution of it that was bad but I’ve since realized it would never have worked. After you save her from some monsters Sorceress Edea summoned she says she was scared and starts clinging to Squall aka the player. I was initially like “Yeah? It’s gone now; so get off me.”

I didn’t know that the reason she was carrying on about this was because she was surprised by the fact that she was scared in the face of danger. Of course, this was a crucial moment in the game where a lot of characters made mistakes.

Quistis running off to apologize to Rinoa for so thoroughly running through how stupid her plan was even though she was right she seemed to question her own motives behind it and couldn’t get it off her mind until she apologized.

Irvine couldn’t shoot the woman who was practically his mother and he went into this mission knowing but didn’t say anything until it was time to make the shot.

However, I did see a change afterwards in all of these characters or at least a reaction to their realization that they made some terrible decisions. The next time you see Rinoa and Irvine, they’re breaking you out of prison.

Despite the terrible decisions that were made, your loss wasn’t anyone in your group’s fault. The idea that you’d ever be able to shoot her and it would be over is a joke once you’ve played the rest of the game. You were sent to fight someone stronger than you and lost. But while Rinoa was able to shed that bit of stupidity from her, she still had a sense of humor. She was just more aware of herself and the situation.

 You’re still going to have to save her a few more times. During the conflict between the gardens you have to keep a level head and make sound decisions knowing that a girl that you’ve gotten rather close to lately is in danger because so are many other students are also in danger. Squall doesn’t drop everything to save her. He does his job. He only found her by chance. But this time she doesn’t balk or get upset. The situation is over and she’s ready to fight the enemy.

Her character works because she knows that she’s being a load when she’d been a load. She knows that everyone else has years of training over her. She knows that she’s the outsider. But she never gives up and that’s what really gets her out of the fight alive. As many times as you have to rescue her she still comes back strong and ready to fight ans with every set back she tries harder.

 It’s not something to take lightly because she can be safe and comfortable in her own home just by turning a blind eye and a deaf ear like her father apparently does. She doesn’t have to fight for people whose problems have nothing to do with her but she’s passionate enough that she’ll risk her life for the cause of strangers.

She compliments Squall’s personality. They’re both passionate about their beliefs and what’s right or wrong in the world. They also avoid the “damaged and healer” relationship which can be parasitic and destructive. He doesn’t lean on her or use her as an emotional crutch and she doesn’t try to make up for the bad things in his life or “change” him so much as look deeper and get to know what he’s thinking or feeling.

On a final note, if Zell didn’t get a hot dog before that game ended I don’t know what I’d have done. I mean, after a while it’s suspiscious.

Next week I’m going to write a character Spotlight on Kannagi from Arata Kangatari. He’s the type of character I usually despise.

Character Spotlight ~ Jack Carter

Picture courtesy of sharetv.org

Picture courtesy of sharetv.org

Jack Carter is the average-Joe sheriff in a town where everyone else is a genius. I’m quite used to seeing the opposite of this premise and being terribly unimpressed with it. The TV Genius is often a guy who speaks in sesquipedalian loquaciousness that hides simple but inaccurate formulas that if written in plain English could be disproved by a third grader.

I will admit that they have taken creative liberties in Eureka. However, they did this after showing their work and in cases where the plot hinged on it. They didn’t just throw out a “Reverse the polarity” in every episode to fix the problem.

I will admit, for some geniuses, they come up with some really horrible ideas but their genius is in their ability to execute the idea. Foresight is another area entirely. Foresight doesn’t get you an extra number on the IQ test. But Jack Carter isn’t one of these geniuses, he’s just the guy that cleans up after them, the sheriff.

Obviously, he is an audience stand in. I usually find these irritating. I prefer people just make a character. I’ve never seen an audience stand in I could relate to and it’s not because I’m black and female. It’s because I’m not there for other people to project their logic and opinions on to me which an audience stand in is frequently for. Jack Carter’s got his own opinions and his situation is relatable for me. I’m the below average child of “Mensa qualified” geniuses. Jack is a guy with an IQ score of 111 in a town where everyone else is Mensa level. (The Mensa cut off is 132.)

This is why Jack has trouble getting people to take him seriously as sheriff initially and when some part of their invention has gone wrong. He doesn’t understand their jobs or how most of the stuff works until you explain it to him in layman’s terms so people figure “Well if you don’t understand that much, you probably don’t know how it works,” or “I’m way smarter than you. How could you possibly correct me?” Fortunately, most of the main cast doesn’t act like that or it would make the show unwatchable.

In fact the characters that actually matter don’t see the intelligence difference as some huge divide between them understanding each other or being able to relate. They even treat him like a human being. And eventually they have a great deal of respect for him as he’s saved them from turning the town into a crater on several occasions with surprisingly simple solutions to the complicated problems they create.

My favorite example of this would be the time that Fargo accidentally set a nuclear bomb to head over to Russia via satellite and after spending the whole episode getting the answer out of the inventor who now had Alzheimer’s another one started up with a ten minute countdown. Cue the panicking. Jack might have been panicking himself. He rammed his jeep into it to change its course so it never reached the satellite that would have redirected it to Russia and started a nuclear war.

I probably wouldn’t have done that. I would have been under the impression that a bomb made to withstand exiting and entering the atmosphere before detonating upon its landing would have blown slam up from being rammed with a jeep. Of course, wording it like that might have dispelled the thought for me.

I don’t know the age of Jack Carter but it’s clear that his life didn’t just begin as the show started. He’s been in law enforement before. He’s been married and divorced before and he has a teenage daughter from that marriage who actually has her own character development and is a part of his life.

Even though she is a teenage delinquent in the beginning which must be embarrassing when you’re the sheriff, she’s just doing it for the attention and eventually shapes up. I saw a shift in her character when she refused alcohol from her aunt (the adult in the situation) on the grounds that it was illegal and she’d been taught better. It’s eventually found that she is every bit as smart as the others in Eureka and she gets into Harvard.

Of course the timeline for that may vary. Jack goes through several different timelines yet he always tries to create a safe place of semi-predictability. This safe, normal life is taken from him over and over again as inventions malfunction, people misuse power and their own intelligence and time pushes them in and out of the temporal paradox more than once.

Surely, by the end of the show he knows that he’s never going to find it, that things are never going to be normal that even when he settles down into one life he can wake up at the beginning of those four years or in an alternate timeline where Allison is still married to Stark and his daughter is in jail instead of college. Yet, in spite of this, he always keeps a spark of optimism that pushes him to keep trying even when everything he’e done can be snatched up from under him in an instant. Optimism is a good trait to have in a main character. 

My next character spot light is going to be on Rinoa Heartily from FinalFantasy VIII.

Character Spotlight – Shi-Woon Lee

the-breaker-new-waves-1528537I was disappointed when I started reading the Breaker and found out that Shi Woon was the main character instead of Chun Woo… It’s never a good sign when you think of Shinji Ikari from the original Evangelion anime.  Shi Woon was a wreck. He was beat up in school by a Chang Ho and his group, quite frequently.

His mother was too busy for his problems and his father was out of the picture. His childhood friend, Saehee was also a tad dense and unaware that these people fighting him in a four against one fight were not his friends whom he had a falling out with.

Eventually Chang Ho overplays his hand by demanding Shi Woon pimp out Saehee to him. Shi Woon even optimistically pondered that he might not do anything to her on the same school grounds where he and his group beat him up with no interference. But when it came down to it the answer was no. In fact, that was the last straw.

From that time he decided he was done being stepped on by Chang Ho and his groupies and that he was going to have to do what had to be done and after fighting back and losing, blackmailing His temporary English teacher Chun Woo into teaching him how to fight with some inconvenient footage of him in a bar fight seemed like a great option.

Chun Woo warns him several times that he doesn’t want what he’s asking for. I don’t think he became a substitute teacher at that school just to get in that other lady teacher’s pants.

But despite the obvious red flags Shi Woon follows Chun Woo anyway because he’s at the lowest point of his life he’s ever been in and he’s not thinking like a person in a normal state of mind. He just wants what he wants. This was not an easy process even with “dying will” in the form of a horse pill called the “Illwallsindan.”

Shi Woon has a surprising amount of nerve and he just gets bolder and bolder and he has to be. He has less room to let his guard down even after he learns how to fight.

Chun Woo was really vague about what the Murim was (as in didn’t tell him until after the fact) so Shi Woon got in a lot of trouble in a town that was practically crawling with Murim people. It doesn’t help that some people can’t keep a secret. I mean when your coworkers jump up all “Nine Arts Dragon! How are ya?” and no one wants to say why you’re called that, it gets suspicious… except to Shi Woon because he has to learn the hard way not to be so trusting of people.

But it’s hard to teach him. He has his own will and he is very stubborn. Even with the times he’s told “If you do that, you’re going to die,” or “there’s no way you can…” he does it anyway and even if he loses the dialogue in some variation of the following.

“I’ve been doing martial arts my whole life. This kid who’s been training less than a year and flattened an army of people with more training than him has no chance.”

“He blocked that! How could he with (Insert handicap here?)”

“I can’t believe I must use (Insert secret technique here) against a mere kid. “

“There’s no way he survived…”

“He’s alive?”

“Holy $#!+”

“How did he?”

“Phew! I nearly got my butt handed to me by a novice!”

Now as the reader I don’t even pat attention to the “Warnings” he gets. He’s already weighed his decision of “I know there’s a high probability of death but nobody lives forever and a coward dies a thousand times before their death.”

Besides, he recovers really quickly from injuries that would otherwise be crippling. He seems quite aware of this. What does he have to fear?

I like that they made being the nice guy work for him when he lives in a dog-eat-dog world that steps on people like him. He’s not a character I can relate to or understand well but I respect him as a main character for being out to do the right thing when there are so many easy ways out. Doing the right thing is what a hero needs to be about. If you don’t care what the right thing is, you’re not a hero. You’re just the main character.

~~~~~

This was actually the most difficult one to write. I guess it’s because of how long the series has been running and I’m trying not to spoil anything either. Unlike Zelda where if you click on something about Midna, chances are you know who she is and you beat the game. That’s how us Zelda players are sometimes.

Next week’s character Spotlight is Jack Carter from Eureka. I don’t watch much TV but I liked that show.

Midna From Twilight Princess

310px-Midna02

Picture Curtesy of Zeldawiki.org

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.

Joan Watson from Elementary

lucyliuwatson

Picture courtesy of race-bending

This may come off as sounding pretentious but these are just my opinions. I don’t count them as facts. I feel that since Arthur Conan Doyle is the original author of Sherlock Holmes and owns the characters just like Katsura Hoshino is the author of D.Gray-Man and owns the series and characters. Any other works on it are fan-fiction. I do not look down on fan-fiction. I really like the practice. I also think that if you like a show you will respect how it was done.

That does not mean keep everything exactly the same. That would just be repetition.  I’d never watched or read anything related to Sherlock Holmes based on the cliché cameo appearances they made in so many other shows. Sherlock sat around smoking his pipe saying “Elementary, my dear Watson. The lady wasn’t wearing a wedding ring when she checked into a hotel with the man yet she had a print on her ring finger, clearly she was having an affair,” while a fat, bumbling Watson sits there like “That’s my pal!” with his teeth practically hanging out of his mouth.

Current

I’d never intended to watch anything based on Sherlock Holmes but I rather liked the show even though I was rather suspicious of the decision that Watson should be a girl. I thought something along the lines of Really? Are they serious? Not one of these. Does everything have to be about…

My apprehension did not subside when she was introduced as his “Sober-companion.” Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to believe that Sherlock Holmes was ever involved in drugs because I never knew that he was smoking cocaine in that pipe. It might have been legal then but it’s kind of a crime now.

 Watson is the only sane man (or woman) in Sherlock’s world. Everyone else is used to his antics when she shows up. Holmes is immediately rude to her, like he is to everyone else in his usual clueless way. He seems to think she’s got good intentions but isn’t quite up to the task.

Watson however self-conscious as she may be is not going to be belittled insulted or toyed with into leaving her post. She is impressed with his intelligence and has a great assessment of his abilities but she is not in awe of him. Sherlock is tactless, has no manners and in the first episode repeatedly rammed his car into the culprit’s car because he was frustrated with the fact that it looked like he was going to get away with it. She thought that this was part of some brilliant plan he had. And then she found out he was just mad. She knows that he’s just another person under it all.

As she spends time with Sherlock he can see that she’s brilliant even though she can’t. She’s very conscious of her mistakes where as he has a great ability to not dwell on his unless he’s at a dead end. She develops her perception but also she develops insight into her own intelligence and in her new career as Sherlock’s sober companion she’s exposed to many ways to develop her perception while using her medical knowledge in new ways. She adds to the show because she has the ability to pick up obscurities but with a different perspective.

Why it works

 I didn’t know just how well they pulled this off until I saw the movie(The recent one with Iron Man in it) and did a bit of “homework” on it. The relationship between Sherlock and Watson was almost exactly the same. Watson, now a female, Asian sober companion who recently quit from being a surgeon was still the same person as the male Caucasian Watson who was still in his profession as a doctor. Someone, genius in their own right yet gets dragged into crazy shenanigans by his intelligent but crazy thrill-seeking ,friend.

I think it’s a great thing for someone to make a character who can be the same person under any circumstance but with a natural reaction to the circumstances, especially over one hundred years after the original story.

Consistent

                Watson is a doctor

                Watson is actually pretty smart, possibly on par with Sherlock

                Watson isn’t nearly as confident of his/her own abilities

                Watson understands Sherlock better than others around him

                Sherlock relies on Watson as a friend and partner

                Sherlock trust Watson with more than he’d trust others with

Difference

                Watson’s a girl

                Watson’s Chinese

Thank you for reading

I forgot to put a Haiku at the end of my last post, or two.

Don’t be jealous of

Others around you for what

You already have

I’m pretty sure I’m missing what the actual gist of a haiku is here. Next week I’m going to do a character spotlight on Midna from Twilight Princess.

Uh…

I wanted to post the first chapter of Consumption today but I found my time consumed by drawing the cover picture. I haven’t finished it because the main character wears cornrows and it’s really hard to draw. It’s been hours and to add insult to injury, the parts aren’t even. In this time I could have learned how to cornrow and done a head or two full. I’m not used to drawing for an extended time or challenging myself. My avatar picture took me about ten minutes.

Anzu

 Her hand is missing, but I guess you noticed that already.

In any case I posted the first chapter of Fortune. It’s overhead and I started with a very cliché plotline for this chapter. Yeah, start my first chapter of my first post with a cliché plotline. That’s how I roll. 

Unfortunately Anthony looks for trouble and while he doesn’t usually find it, Julian’s about as lucky as Eugene from Hey Arnold. (A kid’s show in which something bad happened to Eugene in every episode he dared to show his face in) Julian’s changed a lot from the character I intended for him to be. I was going to have him be a homeless drunkard who’s a few years older than Anthony. He seems to pretty much do whatever he feels like doing.

I’m going to post Consumption tomorrow because it’s nearly 3:00 AM and these late night post when I have to wake up early are not adding up. Next Monday I’m putting up a Character Spotlight.