September 21, 2006

Steven Den Beste - Good and Bad Anime Villains

I was reading your post on that subject, and I got to thinking about the other characters you didn't mention. Notably, the characters in anime that you might not have watched yet, Bleach and Naruto. As well as Atsuyu, the villain in the last episode of Juuni Kokki.

Atsuyu fit your standard of being tempting, an attractive and charismatic figure. True evil isn't true evil without having a bit of debonair flare and charisma. If evil always looked ugly, then it wouldn't be so much of a problem for the human race, the way I see it.

On Hubris, this guy scores a pretty high max, as he just believes he is on the moral high ground, the path of righteousness, and everything shall fall into place one way or another.

Nemesis, is of course conservatively predictable for the villain. It gets high marks for "true justice" as well. Meaning, a reversal, an exposure of fake righteousness, as well as a checkmate execution. The villain got defeated not because he failed, but because everything he was trying to get was exposed as a fake.

The scare factor probably comes in concerning characters that are fooled. I care about those characters, and so there's a bit of fear when those characters fall under the sway of the villain's charisma.

I think Juuni Kokki, or the Twelve of Kingdoms, does an excellent job of portraying human dynamics and human politics. Using the Japanese feudal model, with modifications of course.

It's very ambiguous. You don't really know who is the good guy or the bad guy, or at least you don't comprehend the reasons for it. You know Shoryuu is the good guy from the earlier episodes, but that doesn't automatically make Atsuyu a bad guy. Even when Shoryuu told the Empress that he killed Atsuyu.

I see a lot of this fake righteousness in real life situations. Like the one Bookworm wrote about, concerning do fake liberals and Democrats really care about other people or is this just a facade that fools people.

In Naruto and Bleach, the "menace" factor is extreme, ultra high quality extreme. Their (villains') motivations are easy to understand. And horrible to contemplate.

Naruto and Bleach were inspired by DBZ's creator. Naruto's Kishomoto, because he kept drawing DBZ manga. Bleach's creator, because the DBZ author gave him support when his Bleach manga was rejected by Shounen. Both Bleach and Naruto have a sort of hybrid villain system. In which you start off small, and the small fry villains you fight are only slightly menacing and dangerous. Then when you defeat them, you convert them to your cause. I didn't watch the early episodes of DBZ, so I can't describe the exact correlations. But I do know Piccolo was fighting the main character, and then they fight together. In Bleach and Naruto, the fusion between former enemy and current friend is much much stronger and harmonious. They aren't "allied" because of convenience, like Goku and Vegeta were. But rather because they have the same philosophy now afterwards.

It is similar to Juuni Kokki's large numbers of serial villains combined with DBZ's redemption qualities then. One after another, some alike, some very different. Specifically, the villain progression in Naruto is very well done. Mishimoto gradually scales up the menace factor, the evil factor from small to huge. The sympathy you feel is not for the top villains, but you do feel sympathy for the lives those villains have affected. This being a Japanese animation, you have leader villains with henchemen, bound by loyalty binds and oaths of fealty. So even if there is no sympathy for the top villain, there is much for their sacrificial pawns.

Personally, the main character of the Twelve Kingdoms when she had that confrontation at the end, was very well done. The resolution was quite... final so to speak. It had a very nice dramatic flare as well. He who controls the military, controls the government after all.

A lot of the villains in Naruto and Bleach are after power, pure power. Not power through manipulation, or votes, or having people who follow them. No, this isn't a mass cult following, although there are some elements there but the number of followers are pretty small. The villains mostly seek personal power, power sourced from themselves. They'll use others to get that power, sort of like narcissists. The only thing that matter is themselves, if they have to derive their identity by looking into the mirror of other people's faces, so be it. This is why the menace factor is very high, and the hubris level not so high. They are menacing precisely "because" they are everything they say they are. This isn't hubris, they are as powerful as they say they are, in fact they are more powerful than they look and say. A lot of the fights in Naruto and Bleach are "underplayed". Meaning, like in politics when you lowball. You test a person's power and speed first, using non-serious strikes, then step up the power when you are serious. Percent duty cycles or something.

The right Nemesis for Naruto and Bleach is almost always the main character. The resolutions are also very interesting, in that it maximizes human potential. Meaning, yes the opponents of the main char is fighting for their own personal motivations, but through fighting the main char, they actually are able to fullfill their personal goals much better after they get beaten. As weirdly as that sounds. Counter-intuitive so to speak. At least if you talk to people who see Iraq as a one edged sword. Sometimes getting beaten, like Japan got beaten, is a good thing for your future. Like I said, counter-intuitive for the people who only see things in linear one dimensional images. They are the ones who think that if the enemy is in range of your guns, you aren't in the range of the enemy's guns.

The charisma is... of course present for the villains of Naruto and Bleach. We don't see it, of course, but the followers of these villains do. They feel honest loyalty and true belief, because the followers were helped by the villains in the past. Don't bite the hand that feeds you in other words. We understand but do not approve, and feel sad at their brainwashing and eventual fates.


Anonymous kevin said...

Things like “Braggadocio malarkey” and implications that I’m boasting about my intelligence, comes to mind.

No, ya really think so? Damn you're smart; tell me, what gave you the first clue? And look, I've increased your comments on this page by over 10%!

24 September, 2006 11:20  
Anonymous kevin said...

I figured you wouldn't comment at bookwormroom so I've taken the liberty to forward it to you here where no one but you and I will read it instead of the regulars over there--but since everyone knows that you post incessantly, that you've proven my point.

If you want to start a fight with me, you may want to throw down the challenge at my blog.

Well, having seen it, I would say that I assume the “Light” is for the number of comments (because it sure isn’t the word count.) I notice about 7 comments of which you are about half and of the rest, the best contained this particular bit, “Most of your post, of course, says nothing. It’s merely you saying the same thing in a bunch of different ways. So I’ll focus on the rare nuggets of substance.”

Bravo, ain’t that the truth.

I would think the number of comments you receive would maybe give you a clue that your writing is neither compelling nor very good but then again, I guess you know that because you have to go to other (significantly more popular) blogs and comment on absolutely everything posted in order to get anyone to read it.

I honestly don’t expect you to tell us anything of your education/experience because there are those who are and there are posers and I’m claiming you’re the latter. It is quite possible to maintain your anonymity while still stating what your job is and I offer Bookworm as proof. This would just enable people to judge your expertise while filtering through your verbose meandering banter. I mentioned your age because it brings the comment made by Robin Williams to Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” to mind (and I’m paraphrasing here), “you’re nothing but a punk kid who has read a lot of books but hasn’t experienced life.” Combine your age with your education/experience and I think that about sums it up.

As I stated previously, a theory enables one to make predictions so here’s mine–I’m sure you’ll give some rambling, bombastic reply without answering my question as to what your education is or what you do. I’ll accept that (or your lack of reply entirely) as your way of saying, I’m right; so what’ll it be?

Comment by Kevin | September 24, 2006

24 September, 2006 13:24  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I don't read your comments here either you know? I just click on "collapse all comments" and "approve post".

Actually it was the other way around. But thanks for playing the game kevin, you might get as good as me, eventually if you keep trying.

25 September, 2006 23:38  
Anonymous kevin said...

Oh dear, it appears the witty barbs emanating from your general direction have nearly broken my skin. I may have to purchase some Bactine if this continues much longer.

26 September, 2006 11:55  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

What is this, troll week?

The funniest thing anon, is that you think I'm like neo, in that I'll give you a forum to gossip on about me. Get a life, Defense Department worker, and preferably not a government paid one either.

26 September, 2006 23:13  

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