Paragon of Virtue

For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee.
Pyrrha Nkos

It’s no secret if you’ve followed me for a while that I was originally a big fan of RWBY.

And that I’m still a fan of the first 3 volumes, at least. Possibly the 4-5 ones also.

I’m also a fan of the Justice League Animated show (and recently I watched the Snyder cut of the live action movie, and holy cow was it like watching a different film! One I actually lied. I think we should burn the theatrical cut and pretend it never happened.)

So I was talking to my sister about both these things and comparing the characters, and she specifically requested I blog about this topic.

So here we go:

What is a Paragon?

Let’s look at the web’s definition, though most weebs already know what it is, sort of:

“A paragon means someone or something that is the very best. The English noun paragon comes from the Italian word paragone, which is a touchstone, a black stone that is used to tell the quality of gold. You rub the gold on the touchstone and you can find out how good the gold is.” (vocabulary.com)

Most people acknowledge that the main character of any given kids show or movie is supposed to be the paragon. And if I name names, you’ll see a pattern.

Anime has a paragon almost as a requirement, with a few exceptions, like the Shield Hero.

Midoriya (My Hero Academia)

Naruto (Naruto)

Tohru (Fruits Basket)

Natsu (Fairy Tale, Erza would also be one)

Hiro (Darling in the Franx)

Not all of these are perfect examples, the first two are the closest. But you know the characters who stand above the rest, who everyone wants to be like, who they trust to lead them, who they think has some moral insight that they don’t.

Outside of anime, the paragon is less worshiped, but still present.

Captain America (Avengers)

Xavier (X-men, often Logan also fulfills this role)

Mickey Mouse (any Micky Mouse media)

Aang (Avatar the Last Airbender)

So you see paragons are everywhere. That’s why it’s considered a trope.

For a better explanation of how it is used in a story and the pros and cons, I refer you to Overly Sarcastic Productions excellent video:

Love Red’s videos about tropes

So, of course, the two paragons I wanted to talk about are Ruby, from the show RWBY, and Superman, from the DC Universe. Particularly his recent shows and movie renditions.

I’m going to argue that neither of these characters are good paragons, though they are treated like paragons by their writers and fellow characters, and the fans, by and large.

But my unpopular opinion is that they both suck at fulfilling this role, and that is because people lack understanding of what makes a paragon really work.

I think it goes back to our culture’s lack of understanding of what makes a righteous person to begin with.

(I’ve argued that Gaara should be the protagonist of Naruto also, and a protagonist and paragon do not have to be the same thing but they usually are in anime, however I think Gaara fulfills both roles better.)

It’s easy to see why Superman would be considered the best of the best, who can be better than Superman?

Yet, it’s interesting that in every version of the Justice League that’s written where they turn to the dark side, Superman is the first to fall.

I now the premise is that he is the only one holding the league together, so if he falls, they all fall.

I’m going to argue now that that is actually one of the signs of a bad paragon.

1. Instead of people being inspired by the paragon, they instead rely on them, both intellectually and physically.

Ruby is the bigger offender here, but so is Superman.

Lazy thinking is the bane of every group in real life, but it’s also one of the main things that kills fictional teams.

The whole team relies on thsi one person to know what’s right and to know what to do.

Sample:

Yang from RWBY: “She (Ruby) always knows what to do, so I’m going to follow her.”

Flash from JL animated series: We don’t do that to our enemies.

Diana: Speak for yourself.

Flash: I was trying to speak for Superman.”

This is just one of many examples from the shows where the other characters rely on the example of the paragon…to a point where it seems they may not actually agree with them.

I’m against murder, of course, but Diana stopping herself only because Superman would say to, and not out of any mercy of her own, seems like a red flag.

And it’s made more poignant when we consider that both in the Justice Lords episode of this show, and in the video game and movie versions of the Dark Justice League, Diana goes dark once Superman has led the way. Implying she never had any root in herself and her own ideals to resist the pull of power.

Diana’s weakness is not thinking for herself. Flash, who we learn died before the League went full on power mad in the alternate world, would have been the only person to resist the corruption, and he is the only one to stop Diana in the regular timeline.

J’onn, the Maritian, also expresses how he wonders if they can still be a league, how many battles did they win just because Superman was there, he asks.

[I actually think he’s less necessary than they think based on the show at least, but not in the movies.]

On RWBY, Ruby is followed by her sister, Yang, but also by Ozpin, who insists that victory is in the simpler things. Even the theme song says ‘victory is in a simple soul.’

The problem is, Ruby is not a simple soul.

Actually she is full of insecurities, questions, and later on, she resorts to deception and misleading her allies, just because she’s not sure what they will do with the truth, even though she was angry at Ozpin for doing the same thing.

Whereas Oscar, a much better character, is against ding this, but gets ignored because no one respects him.

And Superman, despite Flash’s well meaning optimism, is not the paragon of mercy Flash thinks he is.

Flash didn’t witness the two times Superman tried to kill Darkseid, a villain who humiliated him more than even Lex Luthor, who he just barely holds himself back from killing as it is. But Superman actually had zero hesitation to try to kill Darkseid, and was only stopped, one by Supergirl using reason, and once by Batman, who used brute force (sort of, he got lucky with a boom tube.)

The issue I have with both Supes and Ruby isn’t that they make these mistakes, while being the leaders, but it’s actually my second point:

2. The paragon lacks humility.

A good paragon has flaws, that’s not the problem. The problem is when they pretend that they don’t.

Ruby makes a crap ton of mistakes, but notably, she never once admits it.

As far back as volume 1, Weiss goes off on Ruby for being reckless and a show-off, but then admits that she herself can be a little ‘demanding’ and offers to compromise.

I might be missing something, but I don’t recall Ruby ever owning up to Weiss having a point. She’s just blindly confident that she’ll impress everyone with her skills. Which she does, but that doesn’t make her a good leader.

Weiss also complains that Ruby is the leader of their team, and offers some valid reasons, which in my mind were proven entirely right by Ruby herself several times, and then some, and while Weiss is hardly perfect, Ruby never tries to amend her actions to give Weiss more confidence in her, or acknowledge Weiss might have a point.

“I’m not perfect! Not yet, but I’m still a hundred times better than you.” Weiss, volume one. (I may have paraphrased slightly)

All the way up to Volumes 6-8, which were all horrible train wrecks, including the actual train wreck that happened in volume 6, where Ruby actually says she never needed her uncle’s help, after he saved her butt like 3 times just since his reintroduction in vol 4, and the other times people bailed her out.

Ruby, much like Naruto and Deku on their shows, doesn’t one off win nay fights on her own after volume 2, and that was a draw. Yet she has the idea that she’s independent somehow…why?

Let’s look at Superman for a moment.

In one of the worst episodes of the first JL show (but still far better than the last season of the Unlimited follow up show) Secret Society, Superman pisses off Flash and Hawk Girl by saying:

“At the end of the day, I’m the invulnerable one. Every hit I take is one someone else doesn’t have to.”

While they get mad at this, no one makes the pretty obvious come back: “Sure, until someone has Kryptonite or Red Sun Radiation.”

Something multiple people have had access to, in the show alone, and on his own show.

Superman may be tough, but everyone knows his weaknesses! He’s not invulnerable or invincible. Plus, even Lois Lane has had to save him, not once, but at least 2 or 3 times on his show, and the others saved him many times on the Justice League show.

So where does he get off suggesting that he’s somehow less subject to peril than they are? If he was less reckless about his own safety, they’d actually win their fights faster because they might employ this thing called strategy.

And this leads into point number 3

3. A paragon that never learns

Because of people worshiping them, and their big head, often bad paragons never learn anything from their mistakes.

The entire show of RWBY is proof of that for Ruby, but Superman is a little less obvious.

However, if we consider what happens in the Justice League show, it’s kind of unnerving.

One episode, Patriot Act, points out that after the League got called into question for having a weapon that was worse than a bomb would have been in their watchtower, and Cadmus has issues with them, instead of losing power, the League gains a second base on the earth, but doesn’t’ dismantle their watchtower.

And the only group that was capable of competing with them has been so publicly shamed that they are no longer a threat. Meaning the League is freer from criticism than ever.

Yet the League is still caught off guard by the villains unifying, and almost loses yet again to Darkseid. Superman, rather than show more caution, seems to be overly confident, and has to be saved, ultimately, by Lex Luthor, the most humiliating choice yet.

I can’t blame Superman entirely for that, but he didn’t really back off after the Cadmus incident. I don’t see how getting more power is learning his lesson about hubris and controlling things too much.

What really stands in the way of the League becoming the Justice Lords by the end of the show? Only Flash, anything could still happen to him. How have they learned and become stronger?

This is a problem with the show overall, but especially with Superman. Everyone else changes and evolves over time at least a little, but he stays the same. The same pride and anger under the surface, and willingness to compromise what he claims he upholds.

And finally, one last point

4. A paragon who is only an example when everyone is looking or they have something to prove.

What I detest about both Ruby and Superman, not because I’d hate them as people if it was true, but because they are hailed as such paragons of virtue, is their lack of consideration for anyone else.

If no one is looking, Ruby never gives a crap about helping anyboyd but herself, if shes’ not playint he hor.

Ruby herself is helped both by Blake and Jaune just on her first day at Beacon Academy, but we see her help no one else, nor try to.

While others stand up to the racism against Faunus, Ruby does nothing.

And when Oscar gets beat on for unfair reasons later in the show, Ruby only steps in one time, and that’s when it’s someone who she’d not get much flack for calling out, but not when her uncle or sister also abuse Oscar.

Ruby is nice to Oscar, because she has a crush on him, and once or twice she is nice to Jaune. So she’s not the worst, but she never goes out of her way to help anybody. Nor is she ever more open-minded than anyone else in the team.

But Superman has to be even worse.

I was reading someone else’s post about Wonder Woman the other day, and they brought up a scene where Diana teaches a little girl how to fight to help her have confidence about playing with the boys. The author commented that she couldn’t see Superman or Batman doing this.

I think Batman actually does demonstrate compassion more often, in his own way, when he helps Ace, one of the villains Cadmus created, as well as Baby Doll, one of his sadder villains, and many others. Actually it’s why he and Diana are good together.

But I agree, I can’t see Superman doing it.

Superman is the type of guy who’d say he has to focus on the big problems, fly around and help people, and the little things aren’t ones he can afford to spend time on.

Yet those things are what make us the most human and help us to stay grounded. If you’d take time to help a kid, even if it’s just over something small, then you will remember what’s really important.

He keeps Lois, the closest relationship he has, at arm’s length. At the end of the show, she still doesn’t know his real identity, that we know of. She knows freaking Batman’s, but not his!

I’ve never seen Superman help a kid, outside of his old comics, and then it was to prove a point, that he was Superman…he still helped either way, and I’m not saying he wouldn’t have anyhow, but he got invested primarily for that reason.

Contrast it with Flash, who is a great guy on and off the job, based on how his coworkers treat him. And is a great guy even to the other League members.

Can you see Superman getting Hawk Girl a coffee and blanket? Or giving an old coot an actual fair chance to explain his magic crystal and have a job later? Or painting someone’s fence?

Me neither. The fact that I wouldn’t even imagine it says a lot.

Oh and RWBY has an example of this too. Pyrrha freaking Nikos!

And that’s the perfect cue for me to launch into why Pyrrha is a way better paragon than Ruby, and why many people would be a better one than Superman.

Ironically, almost any member of the 7 would be better than Superman, but most of them lack the leadership drive to be so.

Good Paragon traits

Basically just turn all the bad ones on thier head.

Let’s star twith the last one and work backwards.

Instead of only dong good when it’s beneficial for them also, good Paragons do good when no one thanks them for it.

On Naruto, Gaara sticks up for the rights of people to have life, and for the ideals of mercy, long before he gets made the leader of the army. He works for years to reform Sand Village, to the point where assassination attempt on him by the elders who think he’s crazy or wrong happen so often that his siblings no longer even react to having to save him and each other’s lives at any given moment.

On RWBY, Pyrrha sticks up for Faunus though it gets her little thanks from her classmates. She also helps Jaune with his problems, even when it would get her the opposite of what she wants, or when he gets mad at her.

But what I love is that she’s got bit of a temper too. When Jaune forsakes his team because Cardin blackmails him, instead of coming to them for help, she makes her sentiment clear until he finally apologizes, but she still bails him out of a tight spot.

Pyrrha helps Jaune for his own sake, even when she’s not getting anyth out of it.

She also is nice to team RWBY, paying for their meal and is generally kind and caring to everyone.

Jaune also is a decent paragon, he has more of the traits of pursuing excellence that they have in anime, but he also sticks up for his team and helps people even when he doesn’t have to, as I mentioned above.

Turning back to Justice League, Wonder Woman is far more compassionate than Superman, and Batman is less arrogant. Flash however is the best example, since he combines both those traits at the same time.

Often the traits of a good paragon would be better if they rested on two or three character’s instead of just one, since few people are that virtuous, but if we want to find who’d be a better starting point, those are our choices.

Hawk Girl has the most integrity of everyone in the League, but lacks the confidence to lead, or she might make the better choice.

Point number 2, all of these other characters learn more than the actual paragon characters do.

Granted, not that much, in Batman’s case.

But Batman has a healthy respect for people with different qualities than himself, whereas Superman doesn’t.

Pyrrha is not given the chance to learn much since she (SPOILER ALERT) dies before she really can. But based on her overall humility, it seems like she would have.

Jaune we see does learn from his mistakes and improve, becoming more of a peacemaker in the group and a protector.

And of course, that includes having humility.

One of my favorite things about Pyrrha’s character, as I got more mature about looking at her, was that she isn’t above improving. She has a power that makes it easy for her to win fights by hardly doing anything, but only uses it to give her a bit of an edge, she still trains like crazy to hone her skills. She still thinks she needs to practice. Shes’ willing to team up with less skilled people like Jaune just because she likes his attitude, and to take orders from him despite his lack of experience, unlike Weiss’s attitude towards Ruby.

Pyrrha could roll her eyes😒at Jaune, but instead she builds him up. And he becomes the kind of leader she believed in, as he even acknowledges in vole 5 when he said she told him something once, and he believed her.

Pyrrha and Jaune

Pyrrha could win more on a different team, or if she asserted herself over Juane, but she doesn’t. Instead she embraces being treated like a normal person by him, and doesn’t see herself as the invincible, untouchable warrior.

And last bu not least, back to point 1.

A good paragon is not worshiped, they are imitated and respected.

Perhaps this is where Pyrrha, Flash, and the others I mentioned shine most clearly beyond their competition of the canon paragons.

While people talk about imitating Ruby, or Superman, no one actually does it. Or when they do, it’s usually the worst parts of them. Because people always copy your underlying attitude more than your professed one.

Flash copies Superman’s reckless actions more than his selfless ones, the Flash is selfless on his own, that’s why he can take that out of Superman’s example, but Superman never really has any interaction with Flash about this, nor do we see any one moment where Flash is inspired by him to be selfless when he’s actually there.

In contrast, Batman is moved by Flash’es compassion towards his foe the Trickster, in the episode about Flash. And tells Orion that he does not understand him.

Batman actually never talks Flash down, notably, and hes’ shown to be a closet fan of the Flash even in other renditions of the League.

So Flash inspires respect from people it’s worthwhile to earn the respect of, and he is looked up to by kids and regular citizens also just for being so good hearted.

Even if not everyone imitates Flash, they respect his heart.

Pyrrha on the other hand has admiration from her peers and superiors alike, but it’s interesting that in her closet ring of friends, she doesn’t inspire the hero worship that Ruby does.

People don’t look up to Pyrrha to lead them, they want to be like her, because she follows the right thing not just in her words, but in her actions.

Ruby and Superman tell people what the right thing is, Pyrrha and Flash show them what it is.

This doesn’t even mean that I’m arguing for Pyrrha and Flash to be the leader of their teams, I don’t think either of them are suited to that, in fact I thin paragons often don’t make good leaders because of their lack of putting themselves first. A leader ha to have some self confidence.

But like Jaune, and like Batman, the best leaders are the ones who are following the example of a paragon who isn’t the leader, but isn’t a blind follower either, who makes their own choices, but i willing to work with others also.

Pyrrha never turns down help, and Flash is the first to ask for it again after the League breaks up.

Every leader I know of who is also a paragon is the most boring and frustrating kind of protagonist, the most engaging leaders are the ones who learn from paragons as they go.

Like the show My Little Pony’s MC Twilight, who has to learn from all her friends in order to become the Princess of Friendship.

Pyrrha’s influence is felt in volume 4 and 6 especially when we see that Juane, as well as her other teammates, all want to be more like her, they do not say that about Ruby.

Ruby can lead, but she can not exemplify. That’s the problem.

Like Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Luke might be the leader, but he’s following Obi Wan’s example.

Once in a great while, a paragon may make a good protagonist, Twilight Sparkle sort of grows into being a paragon by the end of MLP, usually it’s done best when it’s like that, one character growing into being one over time.

Which is where Pyrrha having struggles and an arc in volume 3 made her much more like a protagonist than Ruby has ever been, fight me.

A paragon can also become a protagonist over time, it’s usually very satisfying to see that actually.

But the starting point has to be them working together, or it just doesn’t feel right, at least to me, it feels fake.

We are all protagonists in our own lives, but we all should want to be paragons, and if we find people looking up to us like ones, we should never forget to be protagonists also, always able to learn from others.

But when you divorce these two characters from helping each other, your story falls apart, because that’s not real life.

And with that, I think I’ll end this post, until next time–Natasha.

Enemies to Lovers and Crackshipping

Hey, it’s been awhile. I know, I’m sorry, I was writing other stuff.

I decided to do another fandom post, why not?

Let’s talk about crack ships.

I’ve been on Wattpad a lot lately (uploading fan fiction) and I discovered that peopel acutally write whole fics that are just analyzing ships…and people actually read that.

Okay, to be honest, I read it too, but I thought I was the only one who cared why people ship things. Like, I like discussing pros and cons, but from what I see in fandoms it usually is just “It’s cute and sexy so I ship.”

I never ship stuff based off that alone, usually. But I enjoy cute and sexy as much at the next girl, I suppose.

(my version of sexy is probably pretty homeschooled, though.)

Anyway, in the mha fandom there’s been a ship since last year or so that’s gotten a following for being a crack ship, and it got me thinking why do people ship crack ships?

I always thought it was sexual addiction, honestly. I mean, I’ve shipped a crack ship maybe once or twice because of a fan fic I wrote where it kind of made sense, but I don’t take it seriously outside of that. So I never got it.

And I was a little judgy about it, to be honest.

But I really don’t care if people ship Jack Frost x Elsa, or whatever, if they want to do that. The crack ships I find disturbing are the ones between adults and kids, or siblings, or other inappropriate people.

You can ship whatever you want if it’s not creepy, I think, but don’t make it creepy, guys…

So the ship that got my attention on all of this was DustBunny, or ShigarakiXMirko.

I never heard of it till I clicked on this one video on YT, and I thought “this cannot be a thing…what?”

But then I watched it and it was funny, and I thought “okay, I see why people think it’s funny, but is are they serious?

And a lot of fans think shippers are crack heads, especially crack shippers, kind of goes with the name…

I’m here to say you all should just screw off if you’re going to seriously think that shipping is weirder than the stats arguments you other nerds get into over shows and movies and books.

I mean critisize me for shipping if you think it’s bizarre, but don’t act like it’s weirder than what the “intellectual” fans do, for crying out loud. I can’t stand hypocrisy.

Anyway, I’m not trying to start a fight, just saying people should stop acting like it’s better to be a weird fan for one thing than for another, it’s all the same, isn’t it?

Except people who consume content just to get sexual pleasure out of it…that’s weird.

Anyway, why should any of you care?

I assume you like ships if you’re reading this, so let’s ignore that part.

Is it worth it to analyze a crack ship, that’s the question I want to answer.

[I’m also going to talk about why this particular kind of Crack Ship is so popular, and why I think it matters in the second half of this post, so read to the end if you want the deep stuff.]

Firstly, I think it depends on what you mean by worth it.

Will it make it more likely to happen? No.

We all know crack ships will probably never happen, ever.

But is it worth it to ask why people like it? Sure.

There’s always people who are in it just for the sexual content, but there’s always some people who actually put real thought into it.

And if you can’t judge humanity by the person, I think you can’t judge shippers by them either.

I mean romance is something most people want, so why let the perverts out there stop you from appreciating it, that’s my attitude.

And whie you don’t have to ship Dustbunny to understand what I’m saying, I’m going to use it to illustrate what I mean:

First of all, a crack shp has to be between people who it doesn’t make a whole lot of canon sense for them to be together.

The reason is that it strongly appeals to some people to change canon.

Some are just perves, again, but for the more serious cases, I notice a trend.

Crack ships tend to pop up around characters people think are lacking something. Whether it’s that they are lonely, or perhaps morally bankrupt, or too arrogant, people use a ship as a vehicle to imagine character development within.

And whether the two halves of the ship even know each other is not really the point. The person is picked base on the trait the shipper thinks will help the other person the most.

Case in pont: In MHA, Shigakria and Mirko have never met…and may never meet, quite frankly.

But that just makes it better for a crackshipper, because there are no limitations that way.

They won’t look at facts, the look at possibilities.

I call it “what if” scenarios, (and that was before I found out that was a kind of fan fiction, btw)

And you may ask “if it’s not going to happen, then who cares?”

My answer to that is: You can’t go through life thinking of what seems like it’s possible, and expect to ever exceed very mediocre expectations.

I mean, everything looks impossible and unlikely to us until it happens. When you were a kid, driving a car, tying your shoe, or riding a bike seemed like it would never happen. It was a whole new world of rules and skills you did not have. When you didn’t know how to read, reading seemed out of reach. Books were a thing you didn’t get.

Then you learn those skills, and you can’t imagine not being able to do it anymore. When you really learn something it’s hard to forget it.

It’s called expanding our horizons.

Stranger things have happened in real life than it would take to make most crack ships happen, if you chose to take that route.

2. The second objection that might be made is that ships like this are creepy and weird, not becuase of age gaps or being related, but because they are built on nothing and are often between characters on opposite sides of the good-evil conflict.

That’s more likely because if they were on the same side, chances are they would interact, and it wouldn’t be 100% a crack ship then, there would be come canon material for it.

So a hero-vilia ship is usually a crack ship, I’ve seen a few canon ones from time to time. I actually usually enjoy them. You can’t beat stakes like that.

But mostly, it’s crack.

Sometimes they are creepy, I’ll give you that. And it’s probably always going to be weird.

But there are some objections I think miss the point.

One being: He or she is a villain.

Duh, that why people are shipping it, for the redemption arc part (more on that later)

Two: There’s a slight age gap.

An age gap of 5 years or so is not worth making a fuss over. Maybe after 8-10 years you could question it, but I think it’s only creepy if it’s between an adult than teenager/kid.

People will throw the age thing in there when it really shouldn’t mattter. Only dating people who are with 1 or 2 years of you is going to be pretty limiting, especially since people are at such different levels of maturity at any given age. I’m more mature at 22 than most of my older family members three times my age are. If I let age be the only factor I’d be in a tight spot.

Crack ships do often have bad age gaps though, but as I said those are the ones I do think are wrong.

The ones that are small, and that the only reason people are objecting…I just don’t get it. Pick a real reason, man.

Back to the moral question:

I think me and some other people wonder if it’s really okay to ship heroes and villains.

I mean, my whole objection to ship  Toga from MHA with anyone, hero or villain, is that she’s psychotic, kills whoever she likes, and shipping her with anyone is kind of like saying you want them to die. (Which makes me wonder if all the people who ship her with Bakugo have ulterior motives.)

I don’t find it cute, sorry.

I think that’s one other objection that is valid.

People contemplate that crack ships ignore very important parts of the characters. Like that they are killers, or abusive.

Sadly, canon ships also do that, as Naruto proves…but yes, fans do it more.

It’s very true. Toga is one example. But you could name a bunch more if you’ve been in any fandom for a certain length of time.

And I don’t support that. I think if to ship someone, you have to ignore part of who they are, a big part, because it’s just too repulsive otherwise, then you cannot ship them. Unless you intend to rewrite the character entirely.

But then…it’s not really them anymore.

When I was younger and less mature I used to think that approach made sense, but now I don’t. If I have to change a character to like them, I just should like them. I can be mature enough to admit that.

Like, could I like Toga if I ignored her psychotic tenacies? Sure…probably, I’m not immune to the weird cute act the author pushes with her (why doe anime do that?).

But I refuse to overlook part of character in order to like it. She may be cute-ish, but she’s psycho, and not in a joking way, in a legitimately will murder you type of way. That’s not okay with me. If I wouldn’t ship it in real life I won’t ship it in a show either.

But I don’t think Dustbunny and other ships like it are on the same playing field.

You have to look at the characters involved. Shigaraki is not like Toga. He’s crazy…ish. But we also have signs that he can be more human, self controlled, and mature than she’s ever going to be.

And then if you are caught up on his backstory, you have a reason to think he was not naturally the way he is. All For One has trained him to be sick and twisted. But if you can be trained one way, you can be trained another.

I was watching one video and some idiot commenter was saying that Shigaraki justifies his actions because of his trauma, which is just not okay, because characters who have it just as bad as him are still good.

And I thought “When has Shigaraki ever justified anything he does because of trauma?” I can’t name a time. He claims he has the right to do it, because AFO taught him that, but he never says it’s good, or that it’s okay because of what happened to him. He does not really seem to think about what happened to him as unfair, he thinks he is just made to destroy (again, thanks to AFO).

Seriously, do we even watch the same show. Dabi justifies his actions because of his past, so does Twice, so does Spinner. All a bunch of victims, really. But Shigaraki doesn’t. He is brainwashed into thinking he should destroy by his ever helpful and despicable master. Talk about blaming the victim.

Unlike Toga, who actively seeks out twisted things as part of her whole schtick about doing what she wants.

Shigaraki is always referring to AFO teaching him to be this way, like he knows he didn’t come up with it himself.

That give the redemption arc fan a hope he might be made to see it’s all a lie.

Not much of a hope, perhaps. but there is some.

(And for the record, I’m still saying it’s going to happen, though not because of this ship, but I think if I’m trope savvy, that’s what’s coming. )

I guess this is kind of a hot take on Shigaraki’s character, as well as the ship.

The reason I need to talk about both is because people object to the ship because they think he’s a schmuck who cannot be redeemed.

And that’s hypocritical, because most people who complain about that will ship other stuff if they like it, regardless of how bad the person is, but whatever.

If that was true, I’d agree, it’s useless to ship. It’s like shipping Emperor Palpatine with someone, I’m sure people do, but decent people don’t talk about it.

But I actually like ships for villains who are more victims of other villains, because the ship is sort of a vehicle to introduce the idea of happiness to them. Something they would fight for, something they might defy their programming for.

I mean if you won’t do it for love, what will you change for?

I was watching a video about the enemies to lovers trope earlier today that basically summed up how I think of it.

It’s hard to reform villains in a way that makes sense in story. Either you do what Avatar did, and humble them through hardship and the truth about their past, but that is not going to work for every villain, obviously, if they already know their past and are evil because of that.

Your other option is for the villain to start to care about something.

(We’re gong to ignore the Naturo/shonen anime standard of beating them into submission and then they somehow have a change of heart. That never works irl.)

What would the villain carea bout?

Maybe there’s a vague good concept you could try, but most often, it has to be another person. What else can get past our defenses?

It can be their son or father, like in Star Wars, but family is always a gamble at the motivation for reforming. It might work, but then, if they cared about their family at all, why would they be evil?

MHA did this with Endeavor, but Endeavor also change because he realized getting what he wanted was not really what he wanted, and he didn’t get it the way he had wanted it anyway. That humbles him, and he starts looking to be a good dad as an alternative goal to outdoing All Might.

Very well done, but rare in real life. I would know.

So, what many authors do is use a romantic love interest. The reasons are simple.

A: Romantic feelings are some of the most powerful ones we experience, they can make people do both good and bad things, crazy things, or beautiful things, depending on what kind of person you are.

B: A Love interest is usually someone new, someone the villain cannot already resent the same way they would old friends or family. Someone who can surprise them and defy expectations.

Most redemption arcs turn on the idea of “new”

I mean, it’s biblical isn’t it? A new life, a new heart, a new spirit, that’s what we’re told. A new beginning.

You need the “new” Much more than the old to redeem someone, both in real life and in fiction.

Because it’s “new” You always run the risk of people rejecting it, but if they can accept it, that’s where real change comes in.

And that is why Enemies to Lovers is so popular. It allows both people to become new, and do new things, have new feelings. But still be themselves.

And, what no one talks about, but I think we should, it’s also most of the Bible, if not all of it.

God’s dialogues with the people of Israel, Judah, and then the Church, all read like they’re describing an enemies to lovers ship between a hero and villain.

God leaments the poor decisions His people make, and gets angry at them, but then He promises they will become new, and He would love them and heal them if they just come back to him.

We all crave that in the enemies to lovers story, and any other romance story.

Gd compares his relationship with us to a marriage for a reason.

Marriage captures something about God and us that no other relationshp can.

Friendship relies on the idea of being equal to each other.

Parent/child, relies on the idea of being unequal but still loving and giving to each other, even knowing it will never be an equivalent exchange.

But the idea of lovers is more than that.

Romance doesn’t even ask if you are equals (unless you want to kill it), it doesn’t ask who’s giving more. At the peak of romantic feelings, both people only care about seeing and drinking in the other person.

And so, it makes sense that for God, the absolute climax and epitome of closeness to us is where we’ve forgotten who’s more powerful, and who’s able to give more. We give all of ourselves, and God gives all Of Himself, and who cares which is more, none of us will think of it anymore. God never seems to think of it at all except to teach us humility.

The pinnacle of Love is to stop caring about measuring or defining it by anything, and to just do it, be it, really.

I now, a lot of us can’t imagine that. I’ts pretty much a forgotten idea, but I still find traces of it sometimes even in modern stories.

Now, a fiction trope can not begin to encomapps taht, but I would defend the Enemies to Lovers trope at one of the few that can even get a taste of it.

Relating all this back to Dustbunny, I won’t claim it’s quite what I’m talking about.

But my goal was to defend the legitimacy of shipping these kinds of ships. Even if it’s mostly for fun, we need the idea that people an be redeemed, especially by love, to stay alive.

I’m actually kind of concerned by how hard people find it to understand this simple idea, we want redemption.

We’re made to want it, and people who hate on fans who vie for it are…well, kind of pathetic. And it’s almost inhuman.

Hate on a ship for any other reason, but hating it because it requires redemption to work…I mean, do you know any healthy couples in real life?

The truth is, peeps, there is going to be an element of enemies to lovers in every real relationship you ever have. We are all the villain sometimes, and we can hope, we are all also the hero. I’ve been both, you have too.

And if we cannot, even in concept, agree with the idea that we will need redemption, and that it will come because of love, I don’t think we should be in a relationship at all.

If you cannot admit your’e the villain sometimes, but also rise up to being the hero, you are not ready for love. Even the more family affection type of love has elements like that in it. And deeper friendships do too, but superficial ones don’t.

That’s where it is people.

My opinion is, if you hate on enemies to lovers for the sole reason it’s that, you have issues, and are probably a narcissist. We all have to change, we all have to transform. Especially in marriage.

Someone else said that the beauty of Enemies to Lovers is that is is someone seeing all the worse parts of you first, and still being able to fall in love with you. We all hope to have enough good in s for someone to love us even if they see our bad.

I think that is so true.

And hot…just saying.

But even for me, who’s never dated (not for lack of wishing), I can see why it appeals to us.

We’re all insecure. It’s been popularized to just own it and like that you have flaws, but that’s bullcrap. If you like your flaw, it’s not a flaw, is it?

But the more honest among us now that, and we just want someone to look past it.

I was taught from birth on upward that my flaws were too big of an obstacle to love me. That my pain would make it impossible for me to be cared for, and that my boldness would drive everyone away.

I still struggle with believing anything different than that. I’ve met a lot of weak people who refuse to get close to me because of my edges.

I’m not a mean person, no one would tell you that, I just have a lot of fire and at times I may be harsh without knowing it. Working on that. But never with any real intent to be cruel. Some people get that about me, and others refuse to.

I have learned though, that people will back off from whoever they think is tougher than them.

So maybe I like that Enemies to Lovers trope for that reason. It happens in real life, people have attested to it, and I hope that there is someone who will treat me that way.

I like the idea that what repels some people about me would attract someone else, the right person. I just have to find them.

I think also, the loneliness factor is thing. Villains are lonely, so when the trope is hero-villain specifically, we can relate. Heroes can be lonely too.

As Shakespeare pointed out, we are the most like God when we show mercy, and that is what Enemies to Lover is about. having mercy, maybe on ourselves as well as the other person, since often there is a moment where one or both halves of the ship realize they were wrong and did some bad stuff.

It’s about hope, too.

Basically, it’s like God towards us, and I find that beautiful.

the Bible says “love covers a multitude of sins.”

It better, right? Or what would all of us do?

So with that really in depth take on this, I think I’ll end, and I’ll see you all next time–Natasha.

Losing the Value of Life

Today I want to write about a phenomenon I’ve been noticing for years, but, somehow, it was just this week I began to draw connections as to why.

First, I want to illustrate what I’m thinking of:

In simple words, this phenomena is “a loss in the value of human life.”

I think, in general, in this country, maybe in this whole world, we humans have lost a sense of value for our own and other’s lives.

I mean, that we no longer feel life is beautiful, worthwhile, or important.

The most prominent examples of this would be, as always, in the media world.

 

Have you noticed yet how many movies (and anime, the other biggest genre in this country), spend a sizable chunk of their time trying to convince the audience that humans are worth saving.

Since I was a kid, I noticed the anti-human rederick in sci-fi cinema.

I bet if I asked you (assuming you’re in an English spelunking country) to name 5 movies off the top of your head where some bad guy from another race, or another planet, says humans are basically petty, garbage that they really don’t see any value in, to which the hero retorts with something brilliant like “Well, I say they are.” And then beats the crap out of the villain, who is still unconvinced… you could do it right. 

Watch me I’ll do it now:

Wonder Woman ( Ares vs Diana)

Captain America (Red Skull vs Cap)

Justice League Animated movie: Crisis on Two Earths (Owlman vs Batman)

Avengers Age of Ultron (Ultron versus the Avengers)

The Matrix (Agent Smith versus Neo, pick a movie for that one, all three do it).

 

There’s more, but that’s just 4 popular, and one more obscure example.

I’d say this rend must have started in the 60-70s, but took off more in the 80s-90s, and is now a staple of pretty much every superhero movie we have.

And Anime has it in almost every arc, if it’s a shonen anime. 

Makes me wonder what humans ever did to all the machines and aliens, it’s rarely other humans who are making this judgment call.

I mean, why do screenwriters feel so implicitly that other races would loathe and despise us on such short acquaintance?

Usually, i’ts because we’re “destroying our planet.” And agenda that is only held by some members of our population. Try pitching that idea in an African tribe sometime, they’ll give you blank looks. Those of us “destroying” our eco system, are usually the ones reaping the most benefits from doing so. Maybe we are in the West, but, that’s not a global reality.

And because we’re cruel, petty, and afraid. 

Like, usually the aliens in question, and AI things, are not any less cruel or petty than we are. But they look down on humans like some self righteous snobs.

And then we get the protagonist speech. Like “I”m going to save humanity anyway, because… reasons.”

Like, the hero really can’t disagree with it.

Ever notice how tired our modern day heroes are?

You’d nee see that in the 50s-60s, heroes reveled in being heroes the way ballerinas revel in ballet, and artists revel in painting, and actors revel in acting. There was not this weariness to them.

Even Spiderman, perhaps the most iconically troubled superhero of the last century, spent most of this time enjoying his job. He thought it was important.

In my mind, it’s a disgrace to our culture that we can have a movie where Superman spends most of his time wondering why he’s even bothering to save humans. (Dawn of Justice.)

Like, heroes used to not take humanity as a whole and say “you all suck, so why should I save anyone.”

It was about saving the ordinary, decent people who need help, and sometimes, the not so decent people, because they were still people.

 

I’m not here to talk just about superhero cinema. But it’s one place you can almost always find this. Even my favorites from the last 10 years, that’s true. Some of the older movies, it’s not there in.

I now some of you are gong to be thinking “But humans do suck. They’re just telling the truth.”

That’s what my Dad would say, I know. I can still hear his voice in my head even after nearly two years of absence.

I have to admit, my dad is one of the main reasons I’m tempted to be down on humanity myself.

Though, I question what the point of having aliens and machines criticize us in our movies is, when, those things are not real, at least not yet, and really have no place judging us.

Shessh.

I mean, what are we going or replace humans with? We are what we got to work with. What’s the use of having alien critics? Thanks for the social commentary, Hollywood… the people who actually promote a sinful lifestyle so much you’re directly responsible for the increase in a lot for the very things you’re calling us out for.

Yeah, sure, it’s all the general populations fault.

Like, was it the 90s kids fault that the examples we subjected them too were so sacred up that they now have very little idea of how to behave? Or did we remove their chance to know what right really was?

But I digress.

Another place you can find this attitude is in pretty much every leftist work out there. I’m sorry if that’s offensive, it’s just something I’ve observed. Their books, movies, talks hows, always bashing on how bad humans are, and how we’ve ruined everything.

The level of disgust I’ve noticed since a kid with humans.

Why it’s int he flipping Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, come to think of it. Maybe that’s where I encountered it first, even.

Whihc is liberal, byt he way.

Humans… we just cant’ cathc ab reak.

I guess it makes snes, we projet abetter personana onto ficiaotna l things, giving them what we wich we had more of as a race. Wsidoem, jsutice, Mercy, Intellignce., Bravery.

But often, what we create is so cold, and bitter, and disillusioned with anthhign in life that might give it pleasure.

Then we wonder why peopel are so depresed these days. Thsi is what they grow up having funneled into their brians bye ey balviale media outlet.

The hatred for humanity.

So, of course, our vlaue for human life drops.

Someitmes, I almsot feel gald when humans die in movies. And then I Catch myself feeling that way, and I think “Am I atually gald? am I actually happy?”

But, I’m an emopath, I pck up on the meotoians and intentons of people. I feel them like they ar emy own until I learn to distuirgns between what they are bradcasting and what I am actuallyt hinking.

IT’s aeasy for me to assume what I get form toehrs is just how things are.

But,I don’t actually like it when peopel die.

Coud it just be, that, when I watch the movie, I catch what they pople writign it were really feeling? What the characrtes are meant to emobidy.

OF course it woudn’t be accpetalbe to make our hero actually asupport gneoicde…but, if you give the vaillinst herse really convicng speeches bout how much humasn desre death or contol, and give the hro nkothing but burte strenght to anwer it with, aren’t you sbulimally letting the vilalin viepoitn win out? IT was never defeated, just silnced.

Why are peopel sypamthaizign with villains so much now?

And anien is even worse int his area than WEster Cinema. At least we give lip service to our ideals wevn eh we give nothing to back it up, but naime often falis to eve do that. The heors jsut save th day becaue they have a stonrg passion for thier firends.

It’s to the point where people have acknowledged that saving the world doesn’t feel like important stakes anymore

Saving the flipping world! Not important!

We can’t get invested int that, because, to us, the world just means the greed and selfishness driven masses that we are shown on tv. Not the individuals whose lives we might actually care about. We can get invested int hose, but not the rest.

That’s why superheroes always save their love interest, you care about that, you don’t care about a crowd of people, do you?

I remember that back in the day, in Westerns, just doing justice was enough, it didn’t have to be to save anyone. You cared because it was justice. It didn’t need a face. The hero wanting it was face enough.

But what hit me this week about the trend I’ve noticed for years and years, is why.

Why do we all feel humans are just the worse, and that human life is no longer valuable.

My theory is, it’s a deep psychological side effect of the choice we’ve made as culture since the 60s.

Let’s start with the biggest two:

Since the 60s we’ve taken parer out of schools, and tried to shut religions out of education, despite much evidenced to the contrary that it’s even a good idea to do so, and so education became more secular.

Depression rates soared after that, by the way. So did teen pregnancies. So did abortions.

Another change made around that time. Abortion became legal.

And now they say we abort 5,000 babies every minute, if I remember right, that may be an old statistic.

This even become legal is, frankly, and atrocity of the highest degree. We have the evidence now to know we are killing a baby, but we’re still doing it and the left will keep saying it’s a Women’s Right’s issue until that excuse stops working.

‘Cause we all know, Women make babies by themselves, and men nave nothing to do with it, so why should the man get a say in it if his baby is killed. (And while some jacks do pressure women to get abortions, many men have not wanted that choice and have been ignored.)

I’m tired of tiptoeing around this, if someone can’t see abortion is wrong, they are more delusional than a man who believes he’s a dog, and there’s just no use apologizing for that anymore.

I hate, by the way, how that issue is barely even talked about now. I heard almost nothing about it at the last elections. It’s not even at the top of our priorities list. We spend more time arguing about the rights of people who enter this country illegally than we do about unborn babies.

But how did abortion become legal? How did this happen? How did we get to this point? Is it not because we began devaluing human life?

I mean, at first, it didn’t work that way. They convinced us the fetus wasn’t human. But, now that we know it is, we’re still not worked up about it.

We just don’t really care, do we?

Even Pro Life people, have hard time getting as emotional over it as we used to, and we’re told not to.

We’re told not to get emotional about a baby being murdered. Like, that’s not something that deserves some emotion….Wow….

We’ve lost our minds, that’s for sure.

But we’ve also lost our value for life.

I almost wonder if it’s a judgement in some sense. Not that God made us do it, but more like karma. Like, we killed our own children in their country, so now our sense of value in even our own lives is dying away.

You ever notice once you start treating someone a certain way, you began to feel that way. And what you do to one person, you’ll do to another. A person who bullies one person will probably bullied another. A person who rapes one person will probably rape another.

A person who lies to you will lie to someone else, and likely to themselves too.

Cross one line with one person, you’ll cross it with all.

Maybe that’s why James said “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

Because that’s the truth. There is not “one time Sin”. There is only a sin that you do in one form at one time, and maybe don’t do it again, bu you’ll do something similar.

Of course if you repent that maybe not happen, but most people dont’ repent of that, they just think it’s not important anymore, it’s in the past right?

In the rape case, it’s doubtful that a rapist usually ever realizes what they did was wrong. If you can dehumanize a woman or man enough to take that from them, how can you go back? It wouldn’t be easy.

Interesting how signs of violation are sometime harder to let go of that sins like murder and violence.

I mean, many a person has murdered and then been horrified that they did it, and not enjoyed it. But how many people realize even as soon as they’ve done it that rape or molestation was an evil they should never have done. It’s like they block it out.

As the signs get worse and we become more immune to them, we come to care less and less if people die.

Thank to the news most to us feel people are dying all the time, all day long and we can do nothing about it.

Maybe our goal is to try to numb ourselves to the horror by watching horror. Watching gory stuff, and dulling the pain of feeling helpless by doing that. There’s reasons people consider horror a kind of escapism.

But Horror movies and shows and stories are not really an escape, because so many of them can occur in real life, and we’re only increasing the likelihood of it by popularizing it.

You know, I wouldn’t know how to shoot up a drug if I didn’t watch movies. I’ve never done it, and I never intend to, but I know at least theoretically how it works, I’ve seen it. Why are we so stupid?

We are still responsible for our own choice, it’s true, but, we really can’t keep denying that choosing to consume this stuff is changing how we feel about things..

C. S. Lewis thought that being taught how to feel was one of the most important parts of learning. He explains this in The Abolition of Man.

We live in a culture that is post Abolition of Man. We are trying to abolish gender, human rights for anyone we deem a problem (like babies), and any sense of guilt or shame over hurting each other over petty issues.

Do people feel guilty for rioting and becoming violent over the last year? Or are they proud of it?

Should we be proud that people died or got hurt over something that, bad as it was, didn’t have to affect that many people that way.

And of course, someone will say “Well, it should have. All these issues should affect all of us, all the time.”

I miss the days when people thought not everyone needed to be burdened with everyone else’s problems.

I mean, what are we all supposed to do about it?

It’s all just anger, that’s all it is. We can get angry, then what? Did it make us kinder? Smarter? Better people?

Or did we sell our integrity just a little bit more in order to make a statement.

Man, I think the media must just love how easily manipulated we are. It keeps them in business.

And valuing human life is just not even poplar anymore.

Almost everyone is struggling with depression now. I don’t think it’s just because we feel we have no right to live. I think we are wondering if anyone does.

I know that was a big part of my depression, and still is, when it comes back. I can’t find any pat of humanity I like when I think of what I’m shown all day long, every day, by media.

If I can’t value human life, I can’t value my life.

I want to value both.

It’s heartbreaking that we don’t.

According to the Word, God loved the world so much, He gave His Son for it. (John 3:16)

Jesus loved us so much, He died for us.

And what has humanity ever done form God?

Yet he loves us.

Do we understand that?

Many people express the doubt that God could really love such a messed up race as ours.

Well, we don’t deserve it.

But since when was Love based on desert?

You can’t find that idea anymore in the world. Once upon a time, we could. Frozen is the last movie I can think of, and Wonder Woman, that even broached the subject.

Why do our lives have value?

Because, God made us. Why he did, why he puts us here, when it’s such a mess, is hard to say, for us humans. But God knows best. Humans are the only tool he has ever used to mend the world with other than himself.

The Bible says we are partners with God in his Works. That is why we are still here.

I wonder, if we made more stories around that idea, if people would start to feel differently about it.

It’s not so hard.

I can get down in the dumps when I realize all this crap is going on, and that the barbarians of our world are the ones running things.

But, the world is temporary.

People are not.

I think that, turning back from this point of despair, is actually not as difficult as we think.

People who complain about their mental health usually are taking no steps at all to improve it beyond therapy and medication.

But what I found to be much more helpful was changing my influences.

I put some happier examples before me. I went back to books I loved.

I give this advice to other people now.

We need to rediscover what makes people worthwhile.

It’s hard with the constant influx of negativity.

We all talk bout it, but very few of us try to shut it out. I think we need space to just, think. Get in touch with Nature, with Beauty. With Goodness.

If we all did that, the media would have very little sway over us. I think they want us afraid to go outside.

You know, at least right now, people have as much power over you as you give them, provided you’re in a normal position.

I try to explain to my cousin how we don’t all need to think the same way as what’s in vogue.

Wokeness is just… ugh…

It’s come to a pretty pass when the people villainized in their country are ones defending the lives of babies.

Yeah, just stop and think about that sentence.

I mean, shoot, even if you think women have a right to abortion…why on earth would you hate someone for defending a baby? Isn’t that psychotic?

And the self satisfied attitude of the people…

But do we value each other anymore?

If we ever did. My knowledge of history makes me question if any but a predominantly Christian society has ever had anything like a real value for human life. We take it for granted here, we don’t realize how quickly it’s slipping away.

Or if we do, we don’t know how to stop it.

It’s hard, it should be intrinsic, not something we have to learn.

I’m still working on it myself, but I do believe that Beauty and Goodness are the best places to start.

As Paul wrote “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

We really don’t do that anymore, do we. And so we’ve lost our value for all the things that are valuable.

But, be enoucred, friends. Even if our culture is dying, Jesus is not going to die He’s beent ere done that. God is not goidn anywehre.

All Nations fall, and all peoples corrupt, but God is incorruptible. He will stay the same.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

In a world where nothign huamn is cerating excpet sin, peopel turn to God as a certianty.

We must hang onto that if we’re gong to not lose heart, it’s so easy to do that.

David wrote;

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
” (Psalms 27: 13-14)

Notice, he says the “goodness of the lord” not man.

I’ve been thinking of that, because this year, I really want to see the goodness of the Lord…but I think, I keep looking for the goodness of man. And that’s hit and miss.

I’ll leave you with that, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Anime Therapy with Momo Yaoyerozu

I had to include the full name because there are so many Momos in anime😄😂

Well, I revamped my Bakugo post again, if you want to check it out– Anime Therapy with Bakugo.

I am still finding my level with how to write these posts, this one would be harder to do in second person form.

Ah well, just like before, this was partly inspired by CeCe’s Therapy at UA series, though she only has one Momo video.

Gathering Intel

CeCe’s analysis isn’t very extensive, just that Momo is one of the most over-powered characters so she should have more confidence, and that the heroes Momo thinks are stronger than her are “self sacrificial idiots” (which is true, most of the time, except for Todoroki probably).

I will have to expound on it myself, since, actually, I haven’t seen anyone else give the real skinny on what makes Momo an interesting character, especially through the lens of her issues. Though this will be less therapy oriented, and more an analysis of her character that includes her psychology and how it could change, but I don’t know if a therapist would give you this advice, since they are more focused on helping you accept yourself and be the best you you could be, not so much on transformation of who you are, that’s where being a Christian with a message comes in.

And if by chance you are one of the people, or know one, who thinks she’s boring and overrated, allow me the chance to change your mind, let’s go:

Momo has no real personality disorders like most of the boys do. She doesn’t overcompensate, she has no complex, and she isn’t mean or prideful, without being weak. She’s that anime girl we all love, the Classy Queen archetype. The Mom friend. The brainiac with a heart of gold.

So, naturally she’s my favorite, along with Bakugo. But she’s not perfect, and over time I picked out what I believe are her main issues and struggles that never get talked about.

Momo’s lack of confidence is not actually her biggest problem, when it comes to fighting itself. That’s easy to overcome, she just needed to succeed a few times, she’s already pretty well over it. And many might say that concludes her arc. But there’s way more to Momo’s place in the story than just her fighting ability.

Momo has been, from the start, highlighted by the story for her exceptional intelligence, perception, and use of her quirk. She’s the perfect student. A natural leader. She’s essentially, what Bakugo tries to be. To the point where even in season 1, when Bakugo is at his most prideful, he admits he agrees with her assessment of his actions (a little detail most Bakugo haters miss when they say he’s never humble, btw.) Since Bakugo never agrees with anyone, ever, about his actions, that’s noteworthy in of itself. Momo’s analysis is clearly superior if it can’t be argued with.

Yet, Momo often finds herself unsure what to do. It’s like, having all the talent and skill that most heroes dream of at such an early stage makes her even more uncertain how to apply it.

It’s been pointed out that, if she were a villain, the heroes would basically be doomed. Momo couldn’t be beaten if she were evil, she just couldn’t. Not by the students anyway.

And that’s interesting, because misusing her power as a hero is one of Momo’s chief concerns as the show progresses. It’s rather surprising that in the Bakugo rescue arc, it’s Momo who makes up the singular girl on the squad, instead of Uraraka, who’s loyalty to Deku and Iida you might expect to be more of a factor.

Momo’s reason is to keep them in line. She says she doesn’t think they should break the rules and use their quirks, but she “Understands how they feel” and will “Stand by her classmates”. This is an interesting point.

Momo and Iida share a lot of similarities, they are top students who value the rules, and can follow them with ease due to their status and gifting. They both veer more towards order and submitting to authority. You’d expect her to side with Iida on this issue. While she expresses agreement with him, notably her actions indicate more sympathy with the rule breakers. She understands how they feel more than she wants to avoid trouble. When it comes to the point, Momo doesn’t make any move to stop them from taking action.

What intrigues me further is that the MHA movies “Two Heroes” actually revisits this same issue, though I think it’s set before that arc, so you could also say it preludes it. In that movie, there’s a time in an elevator when the students all debate whether they should help or not, and Iida again says they shouldn’t, and Momo begins to agree, but Todoroki ask s “Is it right to just do nothing?” and Momo hesitates and says she’s not sure, “It’s complicated.” (Which, by the way, is one of the ways I ship them, their contrasting views have a lot to teach each other).

In the end, Momo still chooses to help, even to fight once it comes to the point. As, of course, they all do.

I have to love her, but all this wouldn’t have given me insight into her character if I hadn’t had someone else to compare her to, and that person is Bakugo.

At first, they seem nothing alike. But, as I talked about in my Bakugo post, it’s been pointed out by the fandom that he is “crushed by expectations.” That the pressure society puts on him is part of why he is the way he is.

But, look at it more closely. Bakugo is smart, talented, and has a great quirk. His strategy isn’t bad when he actually employs it, and he almost always wins. All that is true of Momo also, though, as girl on a shonen, she doesn’t win as often, but that she beats male characters at all is rather surprising (good for her and Mina, destroying sexism in shonen one small step at a time, right?) It’s not a stretch to say Momo is under the exact same pressures as Bakugo. She is able to please people more– so nartually that it’s too important to her.

The real problem Momo has is not her lack of confidence in her ability, it’s her lack of confidence in herself. She doesn’t believe she knows the right thing to do. She will yield to the judgement of teachers, and other students before she’ll trust her own. It’s brought to light in her episode with Todoroki where she worries that she has not done the “right thing” in the exam, but that could speak for her attitude toward life. Momo is constantly torn between what her heart tells her, and what her head believes because she’s heard it her whole life.

I some ways she stands to be more of a victim of her culture than the boys do. The very fact that she can fit the mold of what makes a perfect hero so well is not a good sign.

To fit any mold completely is to lose any individuality you have to pleasing others. It’s losing your spark that makes you human, not a Barbie Doll of an icon.

It was writing fan fic with Momo in it that made this clear to me. Confronting someone like her with ideas that question the whole foundation of society, you hit a huge wall. Can you picture Momo defying society? Can you picture her doing it, believing it was entirely the right thing to do?

See, not every hero needs to defy society to be considered a hero, but every hero needs to be willing to.

Society is just another word for what the Bible calls “The World” and warns us not to love it, “for the World passes away”. When the Bible warns us not to love the world, it doesn’t mean the world full of people, we’re told God loves the world in John 3:16, The World, in this sense, means all the sins and evils that are brought out by Mass Mentality, or a Mob Mindset, if you will. Peer Pressure, corruption of a whole country, glorifying evil as a whole. That’s the World. The World changes in what it holds up as the alternative to God, but, it never points us back to God. It will never be encouraging true Goodness, because the World doesn’t have any standard of it.

In the words of Switchfoot’s Rise Above It:

“Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you’re scared, just because it’s law don’t mean that it’s fair. Never let another tell your soul what to fear. Here we go again, give it one more try, don’t believe the system’s on your side. Just another lover turned enemy fight…”

The Hero World, as the name says, is obsessed with Heroes as the alternative to any Divine Direction. Heroes are asked to be more than human. Never to be afraid, never to waver, never to make mistakes. And if they do, instead of it being written off as one person making a mistake, the whole society of heroes is called into question.

Really, it’s just asking for the League of Villains to knock down its scarecrow.

How does Momo fit into this?

Only too well, that’s the issue, as I said. She can be the ideal hero. There’s not one hero in a thousand that’s likely to have all she’s got going for her, on top of her natural talent, she’s kind and has major cash to back up whatever she wants to do. The girl doesn’t even need an agency, she could be her own Agency.

But, Momo is not just some ideal. She’s a kid, with fears and feelings of her own. Which her classmates understand, though it can’t be said many other people do. Aizawa even observes with a tinge of pity that she’s still got the emotional maturity of a 15 year old girl, like that’s somehow a problem. You could call it Pyrrha Nikos syndrome, as Pyrrha was the first character to introduce me to it

But, it’s a bigger problem if Momo becomes unshakable. Someone like her, firmly fixed in the ideals of society, with no filter to measure them though, is dangerous. She becomes a tool of that same society so easily. Much more than Bakugo is ever likely to, she can promote the ideal of perfection in heroes…until she snaps under the weight of it.

Momo’s greatest flaw is her lack of confidence, but curing that simply outwardly by giving her confidence in her hero skills, will actually be more likely to cement the deep issue she has of not following her own morality.

You can’t be a truly good person and spend your whole life doing what others tell you. Read that sentence again.

There’s a quote that’s gone around the feminist circles a lot, but it bears repeating here “Well behaved Women rarely make history.” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (You know that originally, it wasn’t “rarely”, it’s “seldom” but that’s another story, sorry, English class is kicking in)

It’s notable that anime preaches conformity, but fills its shows with characters who cannot conform. Whether because they are outcasts, monsters, or idiots. Any reason will do. The one reason you will almost never see is a rational, normal, intelligent person who simply decided the rules were stupid, and chose to rebel. (If you have a counterexample, please comment it below, I’d like to watch it for myself.)

Finally, Momo has one more issue that’s linked to all this, but is more of a microcosm.

Due to her exceptional ability, and her great levels of kindness and compassion, Momo tens to feel it’s her responsibility to fix problems win the class, even between other students.

She’s the Mom character. she wants to take care of everyone. I love her for that. It’s a good thing a lot of the time, goodness knows, it’s hard to care about other people sometimes, having a natural inclination to do that is a gift.

We see it when she encourages Iida in the festival, tells Bakugo and Todoroki to stop fighting in the Jump Fest OVA from season one, and tells the others not to pressure Jiro into playing in public. Momo is always trying to make people feel better.

But it is to the point at times where she feels responsible too much. Sometimes people should be pushed. Kaminari maybe understood better that Jiro really wanted to be valued for her musical talent, and Momo didn’t. Because Momo always wants there to be peace. But, peace is not always an option until issues are resolved.

Momo avoids conflict and confrontation. Because she is a people pleaser herself, and it’s easy for her, she assumes that it’s best for everyone to be that way. To not make waves. She gives way to others, even when it’s not a moral issue, but a matter of preference. She’s almost too giving.

She starts of in the class with this problem not being so developed. She’s willing to criticize and correct. She’s even a little sassy in the USJ incident. But what changes in her is I believe is the result of the trauma of people being hurt so often.

Momo can’t stop it, she can’t be in control and have a plan to keep everyone safe, and she copes with that by worrying even more about them constantly. Momo will treat every small problem like a crisis, even if it’s just someone getting minorly uncomfortable. She will downplay all her own accomplishments because it’s just not enough for her.

Momo might not have had this problem so badly, since she seems to come from a fairly stable background, if not for the UA trauma, but that’s kicked her to be in crisis mode almost all the time. It’s not that difficult to figure out psychologically.

I think it kicked in in the festival, but why did she take losing to Tokayami so hard? Because she felt helpless. When you’ve been in a life or death situation, any failure in training is going to feel like it’s endangering the life of you and people around you.

Even if in the actual crisis she always does something useful, in her mind that’s never good enough, because she couldn’t’ prevent it and handle it all perfectly.

Now that I’ve detailed the reasons behind her problems, what’s the actual therapy?

Believe it or not, this hits home for me too.

I’m not a hero, but I grew up in church, raised to believe there was one right way to behave. I still believe that, but I believe now that you can’t depend on one person to always tell you that. Or one system. There is no man, or man made thing, that will not make you into a villain if you listen to it exclusively. Just as C. S. Lewis pointed, there is nothing in human love that will prevent if from becoming devilish if you let it go unchecked as the Best Love, without moderation.

I don’t personally relate to Momo’s perfectionism. I was tempted to it sometimes as a teenager, but my personality makes it impossible for me to people please, I could never dedicate myself enough to destroying who I am to pull it off, and I’m not easy naturally. But, I do have a sister who’s a lot like Momo in that way. And after listening to her for years, I think I have an idea what it’s like. I also have a mom who’s much more like that.

It won’t be easy for Momo to let go. I think out of all our human failings, letting go of the need to control must be the absolute hardest things for us to do. Even people who embrace a chaotic lifestyle need to feel in content, notice how they usually flip their crap if you suggest any kind of order. To them control is not being controlled.

Other people love order so much it’s like an addiction, those people freak me out, but I imagine I’d freak them out too if they saw my room… yeah…

My sister had to work for a long time on it. She still prefers order more than I do, but she’s become less uptight about some of it. It took a lot of encouragement from us to get her to start loosening up on herself, not hyper scheduling everything, not having a checklist of things to do for every hour of every day.

She wasn’t happy that way, but there was a sort of satisfaction in it, there usually is.

But she’s much happier now, and less anxiety driven.

Another thing she had to do was learn to express if she wasn’t okay. For a long time, she couldn’t even form those words in a coherent way, she was so used to shoving it all aside to make my dad happy, or the rest of us.

I had to rag it out of her a lot of the time. And from what I’ve read, sometimes that’s what you have to do, push and push and push until someone tells you what’s wrong.

Just the thing Momo will never suggest doing, but she might need it done for herself.

I know a lot of people have probably been told that if someone doesn’t want to talk about something, you shouldn’t push them.

There are cases that’s true, but if you notice these warning signs, you might need to actually push them until they snap at you, and get some feeling out

  1. They never, ever, ever talk about how they feel.
  2. They always make it about your feelings, so you feel great, but its been years, and you still don’t know anything about what goes on in their heads.
  3. They constantly apologize if you do anything for them, and never ask you for help unless they’ve run out of every other option, and even then they feel guilty (I can relate to this one, though.)

If they do one or all of these things, you need to make them realize you seriously want to hear about em. They may start with just one, very vague negative feeling, but be understanding about that, and they may start to relax.

It’s important that they now it’s okay to feel that way, at least around you. Sometimes all someone needs is one person who they can be vulnerable with.

About people pleasing:

Again, I’ve never done it. I’ve tried to not offend people, that’s the most I can pull off–and usually I fail at that.

What I notice when other people do it though is that they never show me anger, or criticize me. They agree with whatever I say, and they make my happiness the verdict on how a conversation went, or how their personality is, or if they are succeed in life.

Yes, I definitely see Momo in this.

The only way to fix this is to work long and hard at figuring out what you want out of life. And then, choosing to tell yourself it’s okay to have it.

You won’t feel like that at first, if anything, you’ll feel like a bad person.

It’s then you have to choose to trust the people in your life, and the wisdom of many therapists, philosophers and even theologians that say it’s good for you to have dreams and desires of your own, and it’s good to show how you really feel.

Reach out for a hug sometimes. Other people aren’t mind readers. Try not to change the subject if someone asks how you are. Little steps, built up over time, will do wonders.

The deeper heart issues have to be resolved by feeling yourself different stuff. If you are around people who put you down, you need to look for better friend. It’s true, people who see you as a target will gravitate toward you, it just happens.

Even the best human will take advantage of someone they know will give in, I’ve done it. I try not to as much.

It’s okay to do that in a normal friendship, every so often, that’s just love. it’s not okay if it ‘s only ever you who’s giving something to them. Even if you are comfortable that way, remember, other people need to feel good for being unselfish too, it’s actually doing them a massive favor to make them feel needed. It’s critical to our psyche.

Read books that encourage you to see value in yourself.

In my case and my sister’s. it was getting closer to God, who values all of us enough to die for us. And choosing to believe hat, and t recognizing what our dad taught us was a pack of lies, and bullcrap.

I think the most fun thing you can do to get over this is simply choose to enjoy yourself.

My sister has started taking time purposely to hang out with people she likes, and do things she enjoys. It’s great therapy.

Some of you (I don’t think Momo is this far gone though) may be so damage you don’t even know what you like to do. I’ve been close to that place myself.

Then just experiment. Try stuff that sounds interesting, or at least different, try everything, like the song says. If you gravitate toward something, make it a hobby.

You will probably find friends doing that who will build you up because you enjoy the seam things. That’s the best way to become a real person, enjoying yourself. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.

Once you build up some confidence, don’t be hard to confront people to. Make boundaries. I would try to do with with the help of people you do trust first, my sister found that useful, even I find it useful, though I don’t need it.

Have good people back you up, especially if you are been abused or bullied, never try to confront that person alone. Have a witness. Record it if necessary. Police evidence might come in handy.

If it’s a decent person who’s just never been stood up to by you before, expect them to be surprised and to have a hard time adjusting to it, they never knew you had likes and dislikes.If they really care, then they will accept it once you explain why you never told them before, and forgive you (because eyes, it was unfair to them, but they’ll understand if they love you).

And that’s what I can tell you for now. That’s all a great place to start.

And I hope to see Momo grow in these areas, but, hey, if not, I’ll just write it that way myself.😉

By the way if you are interested in checking out my fan fictions, here is a link to my MHA story, I have two currently, and they are actually getting a lot of view right now. One’s only been up for 2 months we’re already at 600+ so not bad. Plus I have my own fan art that people made for me included.

MHA: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/195185530-my-hero-academia-mystery-from-another-world

MHA Fantasy AU: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/262518284-mha-fantasy-quest-for-the-sol

Hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful or insightful in some ways, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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MHA Analysis: The Concept of Rational Deception

Diving into more CeCe (or morallygrayismyfavoritecolor) inspired analysis of the show and concept of MHA.

Actually, I have to thank a lot of of UA tik tok people for bringing up excellent points in their satire, and compliment them, it’s not a venue I’d normally look for profundity in.

I could probably have made this into a therapy post of Aizawa, but as it extends to so many more characters, as well as anime in general, I think that’d be limiting. So, let’s go.

We’ve probably all heard, if we live in an English speaking country, the proverb “Honesty is the Best Policy”

I am sure there are variations of it in pretty much every culture too. Here’s a handful of them I found:

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” –Thomas Jefferson

Every lie is two lies, the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.” —Robert Brault 

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” 
― 
Spencer Johnson

Honesty is the best policy.If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.”
William Shakespeare

Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” 
― 
James E Faust

No legacy is so rich as honesty.” William ShakespeareAll’s Well That Ends Well

It takes strength and courage to admit the truth.” 
― 
Rick RiordanThe Red Pyramid

When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.” 
–Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

I like that last one especially. I believe people are born with certain rights, not just life, liberity, and happiness, but also the right to know the truth.

So, I guess I could frame this as a debate between yours truly, and the UA staff (as well as other teachers) about whether the continued practice of lying to students, or at the very least concealing part of the truth, is truly a wise idea.

Even though I will be using fictional examples, thousands of parents, teachers, and leader regularly lie to their kids and followers in real life, and there are even whole books you can find that justify this approach, I believe Machiavelli even talks about it, so nothing I bring up is not going to have its parallel in real life, in fact, I bet some of you reading have been lied to quite a lot by authority figures.

My personal experience is, I’ve been lied to by both my parents, though lying was always strictly punished in our house as one of the most serious offenses, my dad has lied about me, and they both have gone back on promises they claimed to have forgotten or else decided to ignore. It’s not quite the same as UA’s approach, but it is dishonestly of a severe nature.

There, now that I’ve justified writing yet another post about MHA, let’s do this:

Starting with my premise that people are born with the right to the truth, let’s put that up against the premise assumed by UA and every other teacher (the ones on Naruto are full of examples of this) that truth is often too dangerous to be entrusted to students.

Is there any basis for either premise?

I’ll start with the opposition to my point:

There are times when truth is dangerous, it can’t be denied. If we make total honesty at all times our rule, we’ll compromise every war in history, several covert ops, and many brave people who’ve ever protected information under torture or duress.

There’s an Aesop’s fable that comes to mind here, The Fox and the Woodcutter.

“A Fox having been hunted hard, and run a long chase, saw a Countryman at work in a wood, and begged him to help him to some hiding-place. The man said he might go into his cottage, which was close by. He was no sooner in, than the Huntsmen came up. “Have you seen a Fox pass this way?” said they. The Countryman said “No,” but pointed at the same time towards the place where the Fox lay. The Huntsmen did not take the hint, however, and made off again at full speed. The Fox, who had seen all that took place through a chink in the wall, thereupon came out, and was walking away without a word. “Why, how now?” said the man; “haven’t you the manners to thank your host before you go?” “Yes, yes,” said the Fox; “if you had been as honest with your finger as you were with your tongue, I shouldn’t have gone without saying good-bye.

I used to not get this story at all, how is it honest to lie? But later I understood that loyalty is also a kind of honesty, and sometimes must trump telling the truth to someone’s enemy.

There is a philopshy that says that you can forfeit your basc rights by doing evil, so your enemy can forfeit his right to the truth, by being your enemy. Trying to kill someone who has not harmed you, for examople, forfeits yoru right to their honesty.

The Bible does not openly endorse lying in this case, but there are a few times, when David is running away from King Saul, and Rahab is hiding the spies, where lying is sued to protect God’s chosen people, who are alos innocent, and it is not condemned, at least.

I suppose God prefers total honesty, but will not always pusih lying to save someone’s life, which is about theo nly time I think it is accepatbe.

There’s another side to it, I read in “The Hiding Place” that Corrie Ten Boom’s sister told the truth about a jew she was hiding, getting her arrested, but her sister was confident God would honor her honesty, the jew later was rescued and gotten to safety. Corrie is amazed by her sister’s faith, and it’s being justified.

Corrie herself lied while doing underground work, and felt it was all right. God clearly honored her work for His people.

So, my answer is: listen to your own conscience, at times the reason you do something, and whether you have faith in God either to lie or to be honest, is more important.

But in cases where lying is just covering up stuff you’d prefer people not know, but it’s not morally wrong to tell them, you have a very different story.

I might not quibble with UA not disclosing that they suspect a traitor to the students, since if one of the students is the traitor, that could be dangerous to do, and if the students turn on each other, that is also dangerous.

I will give due credit to Aizawa for being honest during the camp attack, since it saved the kids’ lives, and kind of reminds me of what Mrs. Incredible tells her kids in “The Incredibles”.

But what about in regular training when Aizawa uses his signature “rational deception” or “logical ruse” depending on whether you watch sub or dub (not sure why they changed it, actually, what’s the difference?)

Aizawa says he will expel them, or keep them out of camp, etc, if they don’t accomplish certain things. It often seems like he uses “rational deception” as a cover for changing his mind. I guess changing your mind as a teacher must be frowned upon in Japan or something, since I’ve never seen it happen.

The logic behind all this is that the students (or people in general) will perform better if they think the stakes are higher, and so keeping them in a perpetual state of thinking that is the most effective way to train them.

Some people go along with this way of thinking, and will defend it on the gournds that “it’s more realistic that way.”

However, one might ask if that is really true.

Training someone to be in constant fear of failure and dire conseuences does not actually simulate real life very well.

There are some things you can’t mess up in life, surgery, taxes, moral choices, etc. But there are other things like forgetting to lock your car, or tripping, or saying something dumb, that are going to happen, no matter how smart you are.

I’m a pretty intelligent person, and I tried to schedule an interview for during my class time two days ago, so I would know, even I can do dumb crap sometimes.

And most of the time, the absolute worst thing isn’t going to happen, you aren’t going to be disgraced forever for a mistake.

There are people who will make you feel like that, Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” is an example of that kind of person who messes with your head, but a healthy person would know to dismiss that as unfair.

What you are far more likely to get, by constantly putting students in fear of terrible consequences, is people who cannot let stuff go, cannot laugh off any situation to de-stress from it, and cannot be lenient with others who make mistakes. People who will always try hard, but will probably make mistakes because they are so desperate to win that they forego commonsense.

Which is exactly what Class 1-A has become like, ironically.

There are some short term benefits from the methodically that might make it look like a good idea, and I should be fair and talk about those:

So, as Aizawa points out, the class is ready for challenges. They learn not to hesitate, though he admits that’s from being attacked by villains, not from his teaching.

What they learn form the logical ruse stuff is never to take any teaching experience at face value, there will always be a twist.

However, I’d argue they are not anymore prepared for the future by this approach.

How exactly does knowing you could be deceived at any time prepare you to meet expectations? If expectations are never what you are told, does that mean that you know how to meet them? How the heck would you know that?

It’s like, being lied to constantly doesn’t give you the ability to discern the truth. In fact, it might just teach you to mistrust it when you actually hear it (as in the Webtoon I wrote about the other month, Exploring the importance of truth with the Purple Hyacinth).

Also, how do lies prepare you for the real world?

Isn’t it imperative to know the facts? To know what is real out there?

The students clearly have trust issues. They ignore their teachers constantly, and while they get scolded, it doesn’t seem to leave a lasting impression, even on Momo, the most scholarly one. Of course, that is because they never really know what’s going on, or what is true.

What if the hardest thing to believe, in real life, is that there is no twist? No fourth act reversal, no anime backstory trigger to defeat the villain or inspire the hero, what if this is just the way it is.

It hits home for me to think about that.

For years living in abuse (which bears many similarities to the teaching style of anime, even the better ones), I was convinced there was a twist. There was something I could do to make it better, to fix it.

Over time I learned what every anime good person learns, not to step out of line or make waves, just be as invisible as possible.

My father gave up on love a long time ago, as he told me, really. But I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault, I thought if I was a different kind of person, it would be okay. If I was like my sisters.

Turns out the very obstinacy I have been born with and unable to get rid of (I don’t know a way to get rid of obstinacy, really, because to break any habit, you have to be obstinate, kind of an exercise in futility) ended up being the salvation of us all from the situation itself. I carried my point. My dad told me I had won. He thought that would bother me, I just said “okay.”

And then he said “F— you” that’s a direct quote.

That hurt a lot, but I felt less bad than you might think, because somehow, I knew this was how it had to be.

In anime, and Japan, I’m guessing as a whole, they rank students. What this means is that there is no tie for first, there is no equality, it is always a hierarchy. I can’t say for sure there are never exceptions to this, but there have been none on any show I’ve seen except MHA, and that was tie for third place in a sports festival where there was apparently no procedure to break the tie (or it wasn’t implemented because of a family situation).

Ranking sets it up so that someone always has to be at the very bottom, and at the very top, and everyone else can be judged by where they fall in between.

In MHA, Momo is always academically first, though Bakugo is first in physical fitness, while Kaminari is always last academically, and the last in physical stuff wavers from season to season, but we aren’t updated on it.

The thing is, UA is a top school, so for Kaminari to get in at all, he must have done well in at least some subjects academically, following the internal logic of the show. Meaning, he’s probably ahead of many students in other schools. He fails exams, but the kid has a crap ton more on his plate than the average high school student, since he has to to do hero training for hours, cutting into his study time.

Though he’s not the smartest, watching him in training, he’s not an idiot. He can handle most situations just fine.

To top this off, he also has a side effect to his quirk that deadens his intelligence, and it’s uncertain if it affects him long term (if so, he shouldn’t be using it).

I’m not writing a defense of Kaminari here, I’m merely pointing out the factors around him, and he’s at the bottom, but on what scale?

A 6 ft tall person is short compared to a giant, after all. An average person is tall compared to a midget.

The facts are, Kaminari may actually be fine, but the hierarchy will always keep him at the bottom as long as he struggles more with the pressures of hero work.

Also, I might point out that intelligence is not measured by academic achievement. Someone can be quite perceptive who isn’t good at school. You can be a bad student and still a brilliant inventor, or strategist (look it up someone time, people didn’t think Einstein was smart.)

So, you put a kid in an environment of constant comparison where not everyone can always win, and what do you get?

By the way, I don’t support “everyone’s a winner” by any means, if someone isn’t talented enough or hard working enough, than fine, they should do something else.

But I do support the idea that everyone can win at something and has a gift, and when it comes to such an arbitrary thing as “heroes” how can you say academic prowess is a reliable measure of it?

What I mean is, if you expelled someone for failing at their grades, from a hero school, how exactly is that fair? What does that have to do with being a hero. Expelling them for cheating, now, would make sense.

Or expelling them for being a pervert and harassing girls… but, get real, consequences for disrespecting women, on an anime? Or men, for that matter? (Yes, men get sexually harassed on anime too, I’ve seen it, it’s played off as a joke even more often than for women.)

I would almost have to conclude that the whole system of schooling itself is actually the Rational Deception. These expectations and failures that have no bearing on the real world aspects of heroism.

I don’t hate anime, obviously, or expect it to be 100% realistic, but my point is, even on MHA, these things are not left out of canon, and it’s admitted not everything about the school is fair… however, so far, nothing seems to be done to change that, and if I were the parents on this show, I’d be concerned about letting my students live on Campus and be under the school’s exclusive control. But I guess, as an American, I am for less government control over education to begin with.

Of course the attitude of anime is always “try harder”.

See, it’s okay to lie to students, if it makes them “try harder”

It’s okay to terrify them, if it makes them “Try harder”

It’s okay to over work them more than any doctor would approve, against repeated warnings by Recovery Girl, if it’s so they will “try harder”.

And the result?

I mean, let’s look at the Pros.

Aizawa sleeps more than he really should, and seems tired and out of it expect when he gets mad or the kids are in dangers. It seems, either he is depressed, or the effects of the rigorous training for years to keep his body fit enough to be a pro has taken its toll and he can’t function without extra rest.

All Might repeatedly overuses his quirk against everyone else’s advice so that he will stay No#1 Hero, until he uses it all up. he might have kept working for another year or two, had he showed restraint, and been able to protect Deku longer.

Endeavor is never satisfied with his success and feels a constant need to compare himself to All Might and push for the top, even while it destroys his family life. We later get hints Endeavor is not wholly without regret that he did this, but he is still far too obsessed with being the best Hero to really realize his mistake was making that his goal from the beginning.

I suppose the idea I am really up against here is the whole Eastern idea that power and strength will justify any means to get them.

Well, I doubt I can dismantle that in one blog post, I’m sure I will revisit it, but, I can touch on it.

Many people in the West, that is, Europe and America and Canada, may not realize how counter-intuitive our ides of strength are. That, to this day, not everyone has what we consider the “civilized” view that power should not be our main goal in life.

I’ve come to understand that power-hunger is not always just about its thrills, often, it’s because people fear for their family and friends and think power is the best way to protect them. Or they want to prove they can be something. It appeals to people who often feel powerless to change naything.

I’m lucky to live in a country where I can have a voice, though it’s becoming more dangerous to, it’s not illegal yet. There’s still many paths to change I can pursue if I wish. I have always been prepared for the idea that that may change for me, soon enough, and I am resolved not to be intimidated when it does, at least not enough not to keep doing things.

But, I have all the benefit of having been taught growing up that I have a Divine Right to pursue what I believe is Good, regardless of what the rest of the world says. America’s philosophy is that if even the Government is standing in you way, you as an individual have the right to oppose it, from God, even if you have no right under the law of the land. AS our Declaration says the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” I will never be ashamed to be part of a country with people like that in it, even if I am ashamed of what our media does to make fools out of us.

And that, I realize now more than ever, is not a common mindset. Quite possibly, one someone from the other end of the world may not have even heard before.

America has the true underdog story, we started out as small, ragtatg farmers, and business men, winning a war agisnt trained soldiers. But it wasn’t for power, it was for our rights. Our idealogy is that Right makes Might. Not the other way around.

Which, is, of course, a Christian idealogy too.

I believe that growing up in the protection of a strong force, while you learn what you believe, prepares you for venturing out where you will meet people who will kill you for believing that, or else reject you.

I don’t buy the idea that you can mistreat and traumatize people into been prepared for the real world. It’s more likely to make them unable to accept any goodness in the world that might steel them against its evils.

For the UA kids, and others like them, it makes sens that their greatest source of strength is each other, the people bearing it with them. When all else fails, mankind tends to find solace in brotherhood. Our last comfort against evil oppressors or injustice is that we are not alone in how we feel, and we don’t have to eat it alone.

Anime is wright to say loneliness is the worst suffering, even after mistreatment and trauma, it’s going through it alone that is the worst. But, it can’t be denied that a culture that encouraged mistreatment makes it far harder to not be isolated. It can be difficult to stay alive to the hope.

I remember for years of living at home with few to no friends, and moving every five years, so that I lost friends after I finally made them, or lost at least my proximity to them, I always wished for more. I started to feel, though, that it would never happen. And people moved away form me to, and didn’t keep in touch. It’s been a realization over time for me that I have to choose to keep hoping, the Bible says “Hope does not disappoint”.

Staying open to change is the biggest part of getting it, I think.

I suppose this has nothing to do with UA, or does it?

I mean, you can take the passive attitude that the characters often do, that all this is not going anywhere and they’d better just deal with it… or there’s there more interesting attitude of the fans who make loving critiques of it that, it really could change, it would just take a handful of people, having the guts to do it.

As long as you are inspired not to be passive, its not going to waste.

I will keep defending the importance of truth, as well as justice, however I can.

Until next time–Natasha.

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Anime Therapy with Bakugo

There’s a tik tok series that I’ve become obsessed with lately because it’s kind of living my fantasy: The Cece Counselor tik toks, (I will link one of the videos at the bottom if you want to check out the creator.)

After watching all the videos, I decided that only thing it was missing was more time to talk about the issues, since in a 2 minutes segment, you really can’t get that far. And thus this idea was born.

I’m getting into the Therapy session of one of my faves, Bakugo Katsuki.

So, the way I thought I’d structure this is to lay out the issues CeCe came up with, then the events of the show that back up and explain the issues, and then the answers that I or a therapist might be able to give Bakugo to help.

9Ideally, since these are real life issues people have, a person would be able to insert themselves into the place of the character and see it their way.)

Let’s get started:

List of issues Cece provides

Massive emotional and mental trauma

Inferiority complex/superiority complex

Villainous and violent

Hating yourself/Feeling that you’ll not be good enough to be a hero

Lasting Trauma from villain attacks

Lack of Emotional Availability for Friendship

If I’m going to do this right, I better define a few terms, it often surprises me how outside the circle of my church which focus a lot on emotional health) not a whole lot of people know these terms.

  • Trauma:
  1. an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
  2. the psychological injury so caused.
  • Inferiority Complex:

 “An inferiority complex is an intense personal feeling of inadequacy, often resulting in the belief that one is in some way deficient, or inferior, to others.

An inferiority complex may cause an individual to overcompensate in a number of ways…

It may also cause an individual to be prone to flashy outward displays, with behaviors ranging from attention-seeking to excessive competitiveness and aggression, in an attempt to compensate for their either real or imagined deficiencies.” (Wikipedia)

  • Superiority Complex:

A superiority complex is a defense mechanism that develops over time to help a person cope with painful feelings of inferiority. Individuals with this complex typically come across as supercilious, haughty, and disdainful toward others. They may treat others in an imperious, overbearing, and even aggressive manner.

In everyday usage, the term “superiority complex” is used to refer to an overly high opinion of oneself.” (Wikipedia)

Guess CeCe called it (I’d love to know if she just Googled this stuff before making the tik tok like I just did for my post).

I love psychology and the study of emotions, whatever the name for that is (I looked it up, its called Affective Science, interesting term isn’t it?)

I agree with CeCe’s assessment, when she says he is neither villainous or violent, but has “massive emotional and mental trauma.”

So le’t get into that.

Disasters

Bakugo, you certainly have some trauma from getting attacked by villains, most notably from getting kidnapped. What bothers him the most is not what happens to him (though he is clearly scared) but that his hero, All Might, loses his power during the rescue mission. You are not strictly the reason he lost it, but you thinks you are.

It breaks you to think that your hero lost his power trying to save you, when he spent so much time trying to be strong enough to never need help.

Family

Your mom, though not all bad, has no real sense of your emotional weaknesses, and blamed you for getting kidnapped, saying if you hadn’t been so weak, it wouldn’t have happened.

(I believe this is her way of trying to humble him, as she is aware of his pride and jerkish behavior, and says he is fearless. Can’t imagine where he got the aggressive behavior and inability to have a normal conversation from…)

I could relate to that, I’ve had people try to humble me in exactly the same way, if I had ten bucks for every time I heard “You’re brilliant, but too touchy, and unteachable and narcissistic” from my father, and his friends…

My mom’s way of helping this was to tell me “I don’t think you’re brilliant/highly intelligent, special, etc.”

So, yeah, I get your complex a little.

Environment

(I will have to drop the 2nd person approach for this part since it’s more about society)

I Bakugo’s been “Crushed by expectation”, hero society glorifies quirks so much, we’re shown that when everyone praises his quirk, he gets the idea that there will be no one more amazing than him. That idea gets fed by his spineless followers all throughout school and middle school. However, clearly not without some knowledge on is part that it could be shattered. His fear of that upon coming to UA becomes apparent.

Bakugo may be a bit stubborn (okay, a lot stubborn) but he’s not stupid. He knows that more powerful people exist than him, that if he’s not trying his hardest, he could fall behind. He trained for years before entering UA to get good enough to be a hero. His desperation to stay on top fuels his bragging through the sports festival and all subsequent conflicts we see. To the point where he doesn’t want to accept the medal because Todoroki was not trying his “hardest”.

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Like it or not, Bakugo’s whacked out ways get him results, and if Endeavor is any indication, that is all the majority of people really care about. Not how good you are as a person underneath that power.

To add to the pile of things that contribute to his complex, he also gets victim-blamed by the media and some of the hero students for being targeted, they say it was his personality.

All Might points out later that the villains grossly underestimated Bakugo’s heart and spirit. I’m sure Bakugo feels all the insult of the villains thinking he would ever agree to join them.

All Might is the only one, other than Aizawa, who seems to see that Bakugo has a lot more to him than anger and violence, and through their help, Bakugo has started to believe that about himself too.

Now that we have the reasons for his issues laid out, let’s talk solutions:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a year of therapy, inner healing, and frustration, it’s that there is not a single one moment where you realize the truth and your issues shatter.

You have several small moments or larger moments of something breaking, some new understanding, and new freedom, like climbing a stair, always a little higher, sometimes you take two steps up instead of one… but you are far from the top still.

I am neither qualified to answer all Bakugo’s problems fully, nor can they be, in my opinion, all answered by a human.

Many times, I’ve had the biggest breakthroughs when I was talking to God, one on one, and listening closely.

But sometimes, a little perspective can help open that door, so I wanted to start there:

How to begin change

When I’ve written about Bakugo’s character in a story setting, I’ve found the show’s method to be the most effective. Building relationships with people who he can see as equals is the healthiest, fastest way to help him change.

What is perhaps missed by the fans is the key to why some people can get close to Bakugo, and others can’t.

When Kirishima starts to be friends with him, it kicks off because Kirishima says that Bakugo is really saying he has faith in their classmates, and that is “thinking like a man.” Which is of course, his highest form of praise.

I don’t ship them, but I do Bro-ship, it’s just too wholesome. It takes quite a while for Bakugo to be able to return any positive feedback to Kiri, but eventually, in season 4, he succeeds. He also acknowledges their friendship at other times.

Bakugo has pretty big trust issues. He doesn’t like having blind fans even if he tolerated it in school. And it’s imperative for him to feel people are not afraid of him before he softens up at all.

I’ve been told I’m intimidating because of my intelligence and my confidence. I hate it. To me, it seems like an excuse. I don’t find people intimidating who are smart or confident, I actually am drawn to them.

Being friends with other confident people has done wonders for my self image. I don’t think I really began to have self esteem until that happened and people encouraged me. All I heard at home was I was ugly, annoying, difficult, or just average at best. What I heard from outside was just the opposite, people said I was sweet, funny, brave, and beautiful.

Sort of Bakugo’s situation, but I see why he has a hard time accepting it. It’s easy to think people might just find you scary. I also have a history of somewhat aggressive behavior, though nothing like what you get in trouble for at school. I learned to be more considerate, but developing that fear that people were just scared of me became a problem.

The best help for isolation, if you’re the type who people find scary, is to seek out circle of people who are not unhealthy, but not easily intimidated. Drama and Sports were good venues for me, being loud and energetic there was not really an issue. I got more used to it.

But it can really be anywhere, it may seem hard at first, changes are anyone with this problem has been surround by timid/insecure people most of their lives.

So, more you could say to Bakugo:

The truth is, a lot of it isn’t even about you, the person, being scary.

I’ve realized over time that people who are insecure already will blame you for stepping on their issues just by not having them. I once got bullied for doing something right after someone else made a mistake.

(This happens to Bakugo also, when one student form Shiketsu high, who clearly has a massive complex of his own, blames him for being a “Beast” as he says.

I find Bakugo is often blamed. I mean, would what he says really bother people if they didn’t take it a certain way? Some of it is intentionally mean, but other times he’s just saying something that’s true, in the least delicate way possible. If it wasn’t true, would they be offended?)

It’s always tricky to get offended by the truth and then blame the offender. No matter how much you criticize their approach, they were still right, and how do you get away from that?

Positive affirmation is about the only way to help Bakugo’s complexes also. But, having had at least one of both of those myself, I think there’s more to it.

Personally, I grew up getting affirmed when it was useful for my dad to butter me up. Or to soften the blow of what was otherwise a sickening tear-down fest where I was put in a very unfair position. I’ve ended up with a real problem receiving praise after that. (Can you relate?)

Real Talk

If we were to be brutally honest about the home situation, and the hero course, then what I’d tell Bakugo and any one else with verbally abusive parents) is this:

You can try and try to be good enough for them, and you believe you never will be, and you are right.

You absolutely will never be good enough for someone who demands more of you than you could ever give them.

Who expects you to never make a mistake, and doesn’t really define what mistakes are.

You will never be good enough for someone who disapproves of you more because of their own pain than because of anything you ever did.

And you’ll never be good enough for a world that is more interested in glam and glory than they are in being real and authentic.

No one can really be a flawless plastic image, and even perfection, if it were Real, would not satisfy people who want a perfect Fake Image. Real does not interested the world.

We play ourselves, you know. We know it will never be enough, but we can’t seem to resist the temptaion to try anyway, in that endless cycle. It hink that’s why Jesus warned us not to seek the praise of men, and to not love our family more than Him.

You can never be enough for your family if they are toxic, but you can be enough for God, He knows exactly what to expect of You at all times.

It’s funny that, though God only ever asks us to do what is possible for us with His help, while people often ask us to do what is utterly impossible, we prefer to try to meet their standards and shy away from God’s.

Helping

So, I actually receive it best when people point out to me upfront that I should just take the compliment. Like that bit or realism helps me understand what they mean. I need it made clear to me why I am being praised, I guess. I have learned to trust people mean well most of the time, but from close family, I still have issues with trust.

I think that’s why you (Bakugo), also respond best to praise that is given for a clear reason, [though, if you know or are a Bakugo, be careful about this. Don’t ever say “I am praising you because I want you to feel good”, phrasing it like that also sounds manipulative.

Giving a reason has to be down carefully, preferably almost so it’s not indentifiable as doing that.

This is a lot of work, and you can’t spend all your time catering to people’s issues, but in my experience, just once or twice with the same person usually gets the message across, and they will start trusting you. ]

Setting people up to fail

Another way you mishandle trauma is by testing people. I do this too, oh boy do I ever!

You are aggressive to see if people will run away. You’re not exactly subtle about that fact. Really, it’s astounding no one around you has caught on to why you acts this way.

But the very reason the guys are drawn to you is because it challenges them, luckily, they are grateful for that instead of resentful.

Still, it should be addressed.

There are many people out there who will hurt you or will try, and you should learn how to spot that early one, BUT, not everyone wants to hurt you.

Many people don’t hurt other intentionally. Many want to be kind, and many even want to help others heal.

While you cannot trust everyone, you should trust someone. People don’t all deserve to be treated like the bad guy.

The best friends will understand if you sometimes get triggered, but they cannot be your punching bag either. If they forgive you, take that as motivation to improve toward them because you got a second chance.

You will make more than one mistake while you are growing, but let the mistakes be the kind that happen because you were trying, not because you were running from it. Any real friend will forgive those mistakes. If they don’t, they are not really your friend.

Being the best

Improvement is not about being the best just to win, though that’s nice. It’s about enriching your life and other people’s.

We don’t try to get better to earn acceptance, no one will ever accept you based on earned merit, people assign value to you if they have the right heart, or they never will. The good opinion of worthless people is just as worthless as their character.

We improve because it’s the right thing to do, for the people around us, for ourselves, for God I think. Because being healthy is the natural way to be, what we are designed to be. Not because it’s a competition, though think of it that way if it helps you, just doesn’t think that mean others should lose.

[Therapy would probably benefit someone like Bakugo because he is so set on self-improvement, it’s actually canon in CeCe’s series that he comes in like 9 times a week just to get better at it. One of his best traits is his desire to be the best version of himself he can be, people blame him for not dealing with his issues, but I ask, was he ever given the change to?

Looking at the actual mental health care on the show (next to none), while Deku is allowed to break bones to fight, and Kaminari to short circuit his brain, while Iida tried to kill a guy and no one really calls him on it after an initial reproach from Todoroki… yeah, I’m not betting that Bakugo’s ever had access to professional help–or even regular help.

Plus his mom basically spells out of us that his home environment only breeds issues for him, rather than being an escape from pressure.

Given the chance to improve, I actually find it easy to believe Bakugo would go to therapy and try hard at it. Though no doubt he would fight with the counselor.]

Truth be told, I have had to restrain myself from snapping at my life coach also since my natural response is to get defensive when my issues are brought up.

In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, than the one who seems fine, and just stays the same. People who seem fine are never actually fine.

But I’d like to add something to all this that I think will be uniquely my perspective.

Therapy is just not the answer.

It would help, undoubtedly, but I don’t think it will make you into your best self.

The best therapists know how to encourage you and help you take steps to fix your life outside of the office.

I think therapy would help identify the causes of the issues, but how do you actually fix them?

Letting people in is probably the best human solution there is, good thing you’re already doing that.

But I’d go a step farther.

I really think only God can do some things.

The worse of mental issues is that you are always alone with them at some point. You can build up a support system so that in your darkest moments, you have back up to call in, and I found that very helpful.

But there are hundreds of moments in a month, sometimes a week, where I am doing something else, or alone for a period of time, and that is when I get attacked the most with anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and anger, sometimes.

Bakugo admits to Deku that he’s had stuff playing on loop in his head, telling him it was his fault, and he should have been stronger.

For me, though it’s hard still, at least I never have to be alone with my thoughts.

All the time I’ve gone through this hell on earth that is trauma, I’ve had two voices in my head. One always telling me my worst fears will be realized and I am a monster, the other, speaking reassurance, Love, and that I am not what I think.

I have wondered which I will listen to. But in the end, I always choose the Good One. Slowly, the other voice sounds less convincing and weaker.

I can’t imagine what I would be like if I had only my own voice to put against the darkness. Some people get by on that somehow, but just barely.

I found Bakugo an inspiring character actually, an encouragement to be as strong as I can be, and not feel ashamed or like I should hold back. I could wish more people thought like him.

In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, thant he one who seems fine, and just stays the same.

True Acceptance

One more warning: When I hear that, I don’t take it in, I am often a prisoner of doubt.

And Bakugo is too. He blows off All Might’s praise because he just can’t believe it… yet, hearing it still changes him, maybe a little part of him holds onto the hope that he can be that person, someday.

I’ve learned about both already are far more the person you want to be than you think, and yet you think too small at the same time. We set ridiculously low bars for ourselves.

Bakugo’s self doubt is only going to be cured by taking many small steps toward believing. I was happy to see him do this in season 4 with the remedial training and encouraging one of the bratty kids.

Me? I am starting to try, I’ve been thinking of more ways to do it.

We’ll work on it together Bakugo.

(Yeah, I know that was cheesy, but sometimes a fictional example can be easier to handle than real one, we tend to question real people’s motives far more)

And that’s how I’d conclude Bakugo’s therapy: Sometimes what you really need to hear is that who you are, flawed as it is, is something people very much need, and you have a very important thing to contribute to the world and your friends, if you would not give up.

And that you are more than talent and strength, you are also compassionate. When you are strong to build others up, you are the strongest there is.

And that was installment one of Anime Therapy, brought to you by Natasha, hope you liked the new style I was trying out for the post, please comment if you had any questions or ideas to add to this discussion, or any other characters you’d like to submit for further consideration.

I will probably do ones from MHA, Naruto, and Fruits Basket mostly, I’ve found those to have the most realistic characters. But hey, I could throw in Love is War, or Lovely Complex, if I’m in a lighter mood.

So, apparently it was a mile marker on WordPress to receive 1, 337 likes…kind of a random number, but I did! Yay! Thank you all for the continued support.

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Link to CeCe’s videos