Death= Redemption.

I got the idea from this from a comment conversation I had under my last post. I have been thinking about writing it for a while, so let’s talk tropes.

Although this trope is not exclusive to anime, as I’m sure all of us have seen it in movies and shows, anime uses it a lot.

Correction: anime pretends its going to use it a lot.

All us weaboos know the annoyance of animes that pretend they’ll kill everyone all the time, and then never kill anyone…except that one person you were kind of rooting for to make it. (sniff, Pyrrha.)

Then there’s Death Note where everyone dies.. (I don’t watch it.)

Well, I don’t care if nobody dies, I just hate being lied to and faked out so many times.

Naruto is almost sadistic about killing characters, it will inform you a character died a whole two or three seasons in advance, and then bring in the character later for a side arc, or flashbacks, and show them being cute and lovable and ready to actually be happy…and then they show your them dying, alone…(I’m still salty about The Bubble Guy Utaeka, I think.)

But, sometimes villains die, and they might stay dead, and then you have the redemption arc.

Anime accomplishes the arc part usually with flashbacks, while American media tends to either show you the villains in the beginning of the film and hint at a possible redemption, or maybe drop small hints throughout the movie or show, and then they have the death be a surprise.

Anime rarely makes it a surprise, by the  time they’ve actually died you’ve been watching for like, three episodes, or seen half a dozen flashbacks dragging it out.

Anyway, before I get into the meaning of it, I wanted to point out that not every redemption death is for a villain. Sometimes it’s a good character who left the fight, screwed up royally, or never committed to actually helping until that point. They aren’t a villain, sometimes they are a chaotic neutral, if you will, but they choose to sacrifice themselves and end up a hero.

The most infamous example of this in America may be Darth Vader from Star Wars, everyone loves that redemption moment of self sacrifice.

Often in kids media, its common that the character not actually die. In The Little Mermaid, Arial’s father sacrifices himself without dying exactly, (but I always found it much more horrifying to be turned into a worm-thing than just straight-up dying.) Or they will appear to die, but end up being okay.

Anyway, the kinds of characters you’ll see get a redemption death are usually villains who were shown to have a human side, maybe a person they still loved, even more likely if the person is the hero, take Thor and Loki’s back and forth relationship in the Avenger movies; another common one is bad parents who couldn’t seem to get it up until then, but show they love their kids by dying for them (Darth Vader); also the mentors or sage characters who failed to stop the villain make a sacrifice to give the heroes more time to figure it out. That’s even in The Lego Movie.

MHA has used this trope in a slightly different way, equating losing your powers with dying, for a hero, in a way. Thereby adding a weight to their fights that actually has a longer lasting impact on the show itself, not just the characters, because it means they can no longer use that character as a fail safe.

So why is this so  common?

The simple answer is that it’s easier to use death to create sympathy for the character and often it just doesn’t seem practical for a villain to survive, they would just go to prison or die anyway, why not let it be a blaze of glory instead?

But mechanics aside, I think there’s a deeper reason this is used so often.

The thing about tropes is, people mock them, but the reason they are so common is because they reflect meanings about real life that people feel to be true. Romantic tropes mirror what happens in real life, Chosen One tropes mirror the feeling of purpose we all want to have, and fallen Hero tropes mirror the knowledge we have of our own human weakness.

The Death=Redemption Trope is no different, it mirrors a feeling human beings have that death is somehow the only thing that can make up for our sins.

The Bible says “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” For thousands of years that meant animal blood, so that people could be pardoned. After Jesus came and died, His blood was enough to cover all men throughout time.

Fiction has felt this truth, whether the authors admit it or not, and that is why villains die so often to redeem themselves. somehow death seems to be the only way to blot out the memory of their evil.

Anime is interesting here, because as I pointed out in my last post, it has many bad guys who end up living. And without fail, those bad guys feel they must atone for their sins.

See, when the death part does not happen, the good guys are faced with the much more complicated problem of still remembering what the bad guys did and having that reminder in front of them. Even if the bad guys are sorry, the good guys may have a hard time seeing past that, sometimes they do not want to. Like Katara with Zuko on Avatar.

If the villain is dead, you can’t punish them anymore anyway. Only rarely will a character obsess over not getting to kill the villain.

Plus, dying for someone is just so hardcore noble, that it can challenge the heroes to think maybe the villain was never as evil as they thought. a lot of shows choose to later reveal that the villain did some good things along the way, often that they even help the heroes by leaving clues as to how to solve future problems.

Naruto did this with Itachi Uchiha…I hated it…

Now that I’ve discussed why this is so common, the better question is, does it work?

IS it good to send this message?

The answer is yes and no.

While death=redemption can be a beautiful way to symbolically show how we need to die to our sin, and how “greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (-Jesus) there is one problem I see with it.

The whole point of fiction is to be symbolic. Sometimes when shows try to break down too much if death really equal redemption, then you have to start being more realistic.

The discussion then becomes “Should you have to kill yourself in order to be redeemed? Isn’t there a better way than that?”

Fairy Tail did this over and over again, and nearly always concluded on the side of life. But one time, at the end, they had Irene, the mother of Erza, kill herself because she did not trust herself and wanted to prevent herself from falling to the temptation to use Erza or her friends again.

When this happens it’s similar to Jesus telling us that if our right eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. If you really jsut cannot control yourself, then it’s better to lose an eye.

The bible is not saying self mutilation is a good idea. It’s saying that if we view sin that seriously, then we will put that kind of effort into getting free of it.

But we do not have to die fro our sins.

In the real world, this questions is also prevalent in our legal system. Should we just imprison people? Or should we kill them? Can’t anyone be redeemed? The real thought behind the more merciful system in America is that men can turn their lives around. But some men don’t, so we still need the Death Sentence.

Of course, Christians know that men on the verge of death for their sins have been saved, the thief on the cross is the most famous example. It happens nowadays too, in prisons and hospitals alike. But they still die.

The Bible does not seem overly concerned with whether men die in the body or not, as long as they are alive spiritually. That is, it is pro-life, but holds biological life as second in importance, if you follow God. And if you die immediately after accepting Christ, you are not the loser by any means.

Basically, with God, no one has to die for their sins, but some people still will because men cannot know for certain when there’s a change of heart, but that death is just of the body and not seen as a punishment to the christian anymore.

That said, you could say Death=Redemption really hangs on how well the villain understood why they were changing. You have to feel that, had they lived, they would have kept changing, not that they died out of some unhealthy, spur-of-the -moment, self hatred.

Dying for love is the preferred reason. And the one that reflects the most what Jesus did for us.

Though nonchristians may deny that, I don’t know anyone who hates this trope. It seems to be written into our psyches to see meaning in self-sacrifice. I know a YouTube reviewer who will give a movie a win every time there is a self-sacrifice in it.

Death is a tricky subject in fiction where death can be undone. Or prevented in ways we in the real world can only dream of.

Did they have to die? Does their death truly atone for their sins?

Death is all that can atone for sins, but yet, if they keep on living, can they live free?

Most often the answer is, they have to learn to love, to be a good person, to change.

Christianity ties these two things together by having a way to die before you die, to die to your sinful self, and to live in Christ.

As crazy as that sounds, the proof is in the pudding, more people become good because of Christianity than any other reason I know of. Throughout history, the bad kids, the rebels, the slaveholders, the cruel, the arrogant, have made 180 degree turns because of Christianity. Whole countries have changed over it. They still are.

In closing, there was one time Naruto did something with this idea that I thought was profound. When Gaara, a former murder/demon possessed person tried to learn about love, he later got kidnapped and killed in order to steal his power. He lost the demon (thank goodness)but also his life. But then a woman who had stuck him with the demon to begin with gave her life in order to resurrect him, with a little help from Naruto himself. Gaara is essentially given a new life, someone else’s life, and able to live free from then on. No longer needing to worry about losing control.

Easily one of the best examples I’ve seen, up there with Frozen.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

 

 

Why I got into Anime (not just fangirl-ing, promise.)

I wrote my last post on Sunday, and the blog site says it was Monday, my sister asked if I learned time travel…

Yeah, no, maybe it’s a zoning thing?

I think maybe a more lighthearted post after all the serious stuff would be nice, so I thought I’d talk about why I got into anime.

Contrary to the norm, I only got into anime in the last year, and the last 6 months or so of that year is when I got into watching more than a select few.

I have friends who like it who encouraged me to check out more after I got into RWBY, and my sister eventually talked me into watching My Hero Academia, and since that blew my mind, I tried Cells at Work, The Great Passage, The Quintessential Quintuplets, Toradora, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, Konosuba (not recommending that one), Tsuredure Children (cute one), The Rising of the Shield Hero (really good), Naruto, and now Fairy Tail, I’m still working on the last two. I prefer Fairy Tail, but both are good in a different way.

I also finally watched Avatar on my other sister’s persuasion, and enjoyed that, though I liked RWBY more, but avatar is really well-paced.

My absolute favorite is still MHA, I don’t think that will change unless the unthinkable horror of the show drastically changing its tone happens in the future. I mean, I know season 4 will be dark, but I know plenty of light and funny things that are also going to happen. And best boy Bakugo will be part of them.

Don’t fight me if you watch it and prefer Todoroki, he’s my second favorite. And really, I almost couldn’t choose. If you asked me which I’d rather see in an arc, I’d quote that vine where the girl says in Spanish “Why can’t I have both?”

And best girl Momo too, still waiting for the three of them to all work together, and if you think it’d be boring, watch the Jump-fest OVA, and it’ll blow your mind.

But, hey, if you don’t watch anime, that’s fine. I refused– well to be accurate, I just didn’t know it was a big thing–for years.

I watched Ponyo back in gradeschool, and one episode of Dragon Ball (Z, I think) without really getting it. Maybe Yugio once too. I’m not sure what it was.

See, my mom wouldn’t let me watch TV unless it was at someone else’s house, or unless it was the wholesome kids channels. I don’t have any hate for that, since if I had watched anime as a kid it would have been way too intense for me. I think now is the perfect time in my life to appreciate it.

Anyone who thinks anime is for kids has not watched any of the popular ones, Naruto is supposedly a kid’s show, though maybe the fans wouldn’t say so, and I’m two seasons in, I would not show this to a kid under 12 at least.

I’m not going to shame people for not liking anime, the format is weird. I find it charmingly weird, now that I’m used to it, but it took at least the first season of mha for me to get used to it. And MHA is a little lighter on the tropes than other ones, because it’s supposed to appeal to more people, I think.

Also the pacing in many anime is strange, even if you’re fine with the yelling. The humor is just as much visual as verbal. I have never liked visual humor all that much. In all honesty, I don’t laugh a lot at most of it. And sometimes an arc can take, no joke, 8-10 episodes to set up, and 2 episodes to finish. The movies are better for that.

All this is reason enough to frustrate some people, I couldn’t blame them.

But I also understand why it’s such a huge craze now.

I’ve spent most of my life frustrated by the messages TV and movies in America send to kids and adults alike.

I don’t like how idiocy is portrayed as funny, cruelty is portrayed as funny, and often as not, a show has no real point besides cheap gags, and character stereotypes that the writers seem to assume are funny to the masses.

I guess it works. From what I hear with the people around me, they pick which shows they will ignore the bad stuff with, and which shoes they will criticize, based on a few superficial differences.

You like vampires? Then you ignore how stupid the movies and shows are. You like zombies? Ditto. You like both, then sure, but if the same problems show up on a show with normal teenagers, then you can hate on that.

Anime still has its problems with stereotypes. People who have been watching it for years find it more annoying than me because it’s all still a novelty to me, I’m already sick of harems, the pervy characters, the fan service, and…well dragging out romances and never just letting it happen.

But to the accusation that all anime is light porn, or hentai, if you’re into the lingo, I would respond that shows in america show people having sex on camera, stabbing each other, and being creepy, and it’s not animated, it’s real people, and often teenagers.

The amount of anime that actually show sex or anything coming of the innuendos are very few compared to the ones that just tease it.

I don’t mean that I think it’s right, but I at least don’t get as bothered by it as I do by seeing real people do it like it’s nothing.

You have to pick and choose too.

What outweighs the negative stuff, in my opinion, is that anime do not hesitate to tackle moral issues, and often heavy ones.

Contrary to America, the favorite message, form rom-com anime to shonen (action) anime is that hatred is bad for you, and that you have to be willing to forgive, and to forgive yourself.

Anime combines this with an holy respect for sometimes needing to deal severely with the person who hurt you. Or to have your friends help you deal with it.

And the message usually concludes with the need to move forward, and letting love back into your life.

Anime is as full of lonely characters as most media is, and they are often  stereotypes. But the stereotype includes good qualities. Cold characters learn to care, rougher characters can have a heart of gold, meek characters learn courage, and the protagonists are often extremely noble and kind.

The villains are quite awful, even in the non-shonen type ones, but often they are redeemed even so.

Friendship and love are often the answer, the overwhelming power, even on the lighthearted shows.

And no matter how lighthearted it is, I’ve yet to see an anime that did not tackle the deep things in life.

You can’t go 4 episodes into most of them without it, you can go whole seasons of our shows without any significant change in tone or characters.

Say what you will about people just watching it for the action, action without conviction is empty and boring and wouldn’t be any different form watching sports. People get hyped over the anime battles where the hero confronts their demons and wins.

Basically, it’s the kind of stuff I’ve always wished existed, and I only just now found out it did.

Admittedly, I watch it probably more than I should—said every fan ever–yet, I actually don’t feel guilty, because it’s just that good. It encourages me to face the real world bravely.

Not because I think it’s real, but because I think it’s right. Real or no, the messages of overcoming your problems and not letting the darkness get to you and helping your friends, those are important things. No matter who’s saying it.

In fact, Fairy Tail goes even further with that idea, by making slightly pervy, crazy, or dumb characters often be the ones to spout the deepest truths. The idea being that even with our besetting sins, we are still capable of understand profound things, and everyone has something to offer, even if most of the time they are a jerk.

(Sadly, that means I can’t count Mineta out yet, MHA fans, sorry, but with this writer…you know it’ll happen.)

Anyway, so that’s, in a nutshell, why I’ve come to appreciate this genre. and why I’ve turned into a weeabo, or maybe an otaku, or maybe both…whatever I am, learning all the Japanese words is fun for a language buff like me, so

Arigato, until next time–Natasha.

Fluttershy is a difficult character.

Let me preface this by saying I love Fluttershy, she’s my favorite character.

It’s because of that I say she’s difficult.

I don’t mean difficult is a bad thing, I actually think it’s a good thing. It’s like when people say women are difficult to understand, but it’s good to not be easy to figure out all the time, we shouldn’t always get answers handed to us.

I have to say that Fluttershy from MLP (My Little Pony) is character that is a good example of a show trying to do the hard thing.

You can have a character with a really good flaw and growth arc, and people will love it, and you may never get criticized for it (though I doubt it) but ultimately, we know it’s unrealistic. Who gets over it that quickly?

I think of MHA (My Hero Academia) and the character of Todoroki, he gets a major arc in season 2, but in season 3 we find out he has not completely gotten over what his issues were. He relapses briefly into resentment and hate before snapping out of it, he realizes he has a ways to go still.

No one hates him for this because we recognize it makes sense.

I think of a different character on that show whose arc is similar to Fluttershy’s, Momo Yaoyerozo’s, she has a confidence issue that she confronts in season 2, she doesn’t seem to have that problem again later.

You could say she just completely got over it and moved on, and that the arc was contrived to begin with, and some people do say that.

But Momo’s confidence came initially from never failing, never really doing badly, even when she didn’t do the best, she was always close. Then she fails big time and begins to wonder if she only succeed before because she never was out of her comfort zone. When she regains her confidence, she realizes she can still try and do well even if she makes mistakes. Her confidence over the next season has a more refined feel to it.

It’s not the same as Fluttershy’s story because the reasons for a lack of confidence were different.

And I want to talk about Fluttershy because, though I am far more like Momo now, and sometimes like Todoroki, I used to be Fluttershy.

Watching MLP, I took a quick liking to Fluttershy, I have an affinity for sweet but sassy characters, who doesn’t?

But as I watched more episodes I began to understand why people found her annoying. She repeats her mistakes a lot. She is often irrationally afraid of things. Scared of her own shadow. It seems ridiculous.

What I think is funny is that I’m sure 50% of the people who criticize her for this are bigger cowards than her. I overall don’t think people are especially brave. They rarely do things that make them really uncomfortable, and not often with the grace Fluttershy can at least attempt to have.

It’s been said that courage is not a lack of fear, and just because you are not afraid of that many things doesn’t make you braver than someone who is afraid of everything. Fear is crippling condition to have, and Fear of One thing is just as likely to ruin your life as fear of many things, you just aren’t as likely to notice it.

I am now, at 20, the type of chick who likes hardcore music, fight scenes, and starting controversial conversations. I’m loud, not afraid of being on a stage, and able to stand up for myself.

But I remember that I was once pretty much Fluttershy.

My mom used to get frustrated with how anxious I was all the time, much like Rainbow Dash does. She’s try to talk me out of being afraid to go to social events. I was homeschooled, being around people was something I wasn’t forced to do a lot, but that had nothing to do with being shy, I know plenty of homeschoolers who are not shy. It’s just a personality trait.

I am not shy now. Few people guess I ever was.

I used to be one of those people who think their food or drink got poisoned mysteriously after being left alone for two minutes. I was afraid of mirrors sometimes. I was a hypochondriac. Ironically, I was not a socially anxious person about actually conversations if I had them, that came after years of being told I offended people by accident. But I was shy of starting any conversations.

I’ve always been opinionated, and that never changed. But it didn’t help much. I don’t think shyness makes you less opinionated, since you are less likely to be challenged on opinions no one knows you have.

Like all anxious people, I’d imagine a bunch of ways things could go wrong.

Saying it, it feels so surreal. This is so far from how I spend the majority of my time now, that I’ve almost forgotten I did it.

I think, actually, that that is why Fluttershy gets so much hate. She reminds people like me, who got out of that mindset, what it was like to be in it.

And people do not like to be reminded of it. Remembering being a coward is not fun.

Actually, I do not think Fluttershy is a coward, but it can feel like that to the person. Fear involves torment, even remembering a fear can make you start thinking like that again. Like triggering traumatic events.

I can say, looking back, I was fearful but I’m not sure I was a coward. I gave in to fear a lot, but sometimes I didn’t. A coward is someone who never ever pushes past it, and it is about more than being afraid, a coward lacks loyalty to something more important than fear.

Fluttershy has that.

A coward is selfish. Fluttershy is not selfish, just timid, but timid can be helped because timid can still find something more important than fear.

The cowardice is being afraid to care. Fluttershy has never been afraid to care, and that is her best quality to my mind, she is braver than most of the other characters. It takes major guts to care about Discord. She doesn’t bat an eyelash at that.

There is one more thing though, and that is how easy it is to judge Fluttershy. Even I sometimes want to. But there are so many people like her, should I judge them?

Sometimes I want to. I work with kids, and that kind of shyness is something I see a lot. I wish they didn’t have it because I remember how much I missed enjoying being I wallowed in fears.

But here’s the thing: I’m reminded that God does not despise people who have fears.

God does not like cowardice. But if you are genuinely afraid and wishing you weren’t, God does not despise that. In fact, through out the Bible, Fear is the vice God is shown to be the most compassionate and least harsh toward. Sometimes He gets fed up when people repeatedly disobey Him out of fear, but He’ll be more patient with that than with other flaws.

God knows it is hard to not be afraid, the truth is, not all fears are valid, but fear itself is certainly understandable. The world is dangerous. Without God, we all would be right to be terrified.

But with God, we don’t need to be.

As 1 John says, God is love, and perfect love casts out fear.

God is the only reason I do not live in fear anymore.

But I, who have been set free, still need to be compassionate to those who haven’t been. If I come down on them, I am only doing what I hated people doing to me when I was faird. Fear involves torment because it also involves guilt. Believe me, if you know an anxious person, they feel guilty constantly for their hesitancy.

Actually, those of us who were afraid once can be the hardest on people who still are. Because we got over it.

It’s pure stupidity, to be honest. We think “Oh, I kicked it. I snapped out of it. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.”

Yeah, it’s idiotic. I’m pretty sure anyone who claims they got out of their fear alone is a liar.

No, we were helped. We shown compassion. Someone helped us stand when we couldn’t get up ourselves.

The reason to be bold is obvious once you have become bold, but never beforehand.

i still get scared, mind you. And I have to remind myself not to be like this. I have the power to now. But it took years and years of small steps.

Fluttershy eventually realizes it’s baby steps to boldness. And she has loving support.

Sometimes when I panicked as a younger Christian, it just helped to have someone tell me it was okay to be scared. That is was legitimate. But that it was false.

Looking back, I want to tell myself that there are always things to be afraid of, but fear doesn’t make them go away, and there is too much to enjoy to waste time worrying.

But I can only say that now because God made that a part of who I am. I didn’t start from that place.

So, Fluttershy is a difficult character because she is an honest one. Fear comes back over and over, but those who overcome it again and again with become Bold.

 

Until next time–Natasha.

The Element of Wisdom.

I’ve gotten into MLP (My Little Pony) lately. I never thought I’d like the show, but I found it surprisingly insightful.

Weird.

Well, I never thought I’d be an anime person either.

Anyway, I’m not writing about the show, but it has a thing called Elements that represent things you need to have friendship, or any really healthy relationship.

And in the habit of using the show’s lingo, I call what I want to write about an element also.

It is an element of relationships, but it’s interesting to me that it’s also an element of writing a good story.

I noticed it over the past year because of getting into two different shows, which I’ve mentioned. RWBY and My Hero Academia.

A lot of people in the anime community like both, at least in the USA. RWBY has a pretty good sized fan base for the production level it’s on, and MHA is the top rated anime in the world.

And the only thing I’ve ever seen besides Frozen where I could say “It deserves the hype.”

But you aren’t here for me to talk about that, (I think).

And my real point is the difference between the two.

Before I say it though, let me clarify: I by no means intend to say that MHA or RWBY are exclusive examples. Any two shows you liked for different reasons you could make the comparison between, it is only because they are the ones I watch that I use them, I can’t very well explain a show I haven’t seen. But I’m not one of those fans who think the only good in anime or any genre has to come from their favorite. (Seriously, though, they are so good. If you are into that sort of thing.)

I like the shows for very different reasons. But the difference I see is that MHA has actually helped me figure out and work through some of my problems. It feels like no coincidence that I started watching it at the beginning of 2019, and this year has led to a lot of developments in my personal life that I’ve wanted to see happen for years. The show encouraged me to look at them more closely.

RWBY did help me realize some issues, but did not provide a lot of answers. To be fair, it is not as far along in some ways.

What struck me though, was that MHA makes the most of every opportunity to nail home a lesson, a meaning, and people who normally hate that are eating it up.

The writer is very good. He uses characters very much like I do when I write. He also is possibly even more preachy, in the best way, and I love it.

It had such a different feel from RWBY, and I wondered why, because a lot of plot elements are extremely similar.

Yet, there is one character on RWBY that I think explains what happened.

Everyone who watches RWBY knows after season 3 things changed. People argue whether it was for the better. I’m sure you’ve read series or seen shows where people got into the same thing after some big change.

For RWBY, as in many stories, a huge change was the death of fan favorite Pyrrha Nikos.

I’ve been in my share of fandoms, this is one of the first that I got reactions to negative changes in. I’ve seen other fans upset, but the torrent of grief, anger, desperate hope, denial over this was unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I haven’t seen it since.

Personally, I felt terrible over it. And I spent months wondering why. I felt like a real person died. More than that, I felt like the story changed drastically.

Everyone kept saying it got darker. But that is not strictly true.

No one else important has died since season 3, it’s now season 6. The heroes have won, instead of losing, as they consistently did before. And Ruby has gotten stronger. All in all, the actually story isn’t doing so badly. I’d say it looks worse for the villains, not better.

But despite that, everyone continues to feel uneasy. The fandom and the characters. No one quite trusts the writers anymore.

It was actually the guy who created the series idea to kill Pyrrha. He passed away that same season, and his friends have been carrying on since. Very decent of them–and also the show was too popular for the studio to drop.

They seem to be trying hard to make a good story.

I can’t blame them for what happened, though plenty of people do. It’s a puzzle.

Well, I moved back from RWBY for awhile, and got into MHA. But I still like RWBY, and I still wondered why it was different. Some shows don’t drastically change after a character dies. The tone remains the same. Some do. What was the difference?

It, I decided, is actually because there’s an element of story telling that certain characters tend to embody. Especially on an action packed show.

That element is Wisdom.

Pyrrha Nikos was a very loving person, that’s why people adored her. But I liked her also for her wisdom. She was the only character who seemed to have any sense of how to solve problems. As time went on, the mentor characters on RWBY were all shown to not really know what they were doing. One is even a liar. We all expected it, but the immediate feeling we got was that the characters are now lost.

They are directionless. They don’t know what to do, why to do it, or how. They are guessing. Going on instinct.

Their hearts are in the right place.

I used to think that was enough.

But it hit me that in stories, just as in real life, you have to have wisdom, not just good intentions. Wisdom tells you how to direct your intentions.

Pyrrha was this for RWBY. She was, actually, the only character on it who had peace enough to make her own choices. She guided other characters.

Her death changed a lot. No one knew where the show or the characters were going anymore.

It seemed like just outrage. But three seasons later, we see the same lack of assurance. Even in the characters. They are not bad, they are just wandering, uncertain.

The writing feels the same. Good, but hesitant.

There are some characters that just inspire writers, they guide them. I have them in my stories too. The character keeps me on track. Some stories have more than one, and those are the best.

RWBY had only one, and she died.

There is hope for RWBY, but the damage is real.

I think it hurts a story to lose its wisdom. The effect is that all the bad things in the story just beat up the protagonists, and there is no way to process them. To make sense of it so that you can keep going.

Dark and gritty stories are that way because they lack wisdom.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people perish,

but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

 

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

To tell a story is always to tell someone your view of the world, even if by accident. It’s clear, hearing some stories, that the person telling them missed the point of their own story.

I am not accusing RWBY of this, rather, I do not think it knows what its point is.

I’ve seen other shows and series do it worse. At least it has some ideas, if nothing else.

But this is why I think it changed. And why MHA is different, that show has an amazing amount of wisdom. I am not used to shows saying things I have not even thought of myself. (Sorry, I think I think things through more than a lot of writers.)

But, I think if I hadn’t seen RWBY first, I would not have thought of it. I’m glad I watched both so close together.

Well, I hope you got something out of this, until next time–Natasha.

Check out some of my fiction writing on Kindle!

 

Why do opposites attract?

I’m back with another anime inspired post.

In all fairness, this is really more of an idea I’ve had for a long time, that anime just happens to highlight, as well as many other shows and books.

You ever wonder why opposites attract?

It’s something most people know, though some of us may not have experienced it, and it works with friends and family as well as romantic interests.

 Why is it a law of nature? It goes beyond magnetism. The whole world is full of opposites. The ground soaks up water, water is absorbed, they have opposite properties. Same with plants and sunlight, one receives, the other gives. We breathe in the oxygen that plants give out, they take in the carbon monoxide (or dioxide, I forget which is from breathing) that we give out.

The clear reason here is that there is a need, if everything was the same, it could not grow or multiply.

Now you take this to the relationship between a man and a woman, and it gets way more complicated.

I remember once starting that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” book, but I couldn’t get into it, it was so stupidly simplistic. It attributed all the differences between men and women to superficial signs of those differences. What always happens with books/movies about this subject is the author ends up looking dumb because there are scores of women who start offering up examples of how they do not fit the model.

In their brilliant book Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge begin the book about women with an acknowledgement that women can love anything from tea parties to hunting, dress up to canoeing, and that all this does not really make you feminine, but why you do those things might.

I am not going to go into all that, but I highly recommend the book, or searching for their talks on YouTube.

The real point I had was that they are realistic, they know you can’t put women into a box, or men for that matter. I just want to make it clear that this opposites attract thing is not solely about gender. Gender in the sense of hormones, sexual functions, and physical attributes that is; though they all play a small part.

But I mean in personality. Why do opposites attract?

The question is easier to understand when you realize that they don’t always, sometimes like forces do attract, many people prefer to hang around those with similar personalities. I don’t, generally, I don’t meet too many people like me; but sometimes I do and it’s kind of gratifying.

Which actually concerns me, because if I am only drawn to someone because they are like me, is that because it’s easier?

It’s not a secret that people round each other out. The Bible calls it “iron sharpens iron” and “two are better than one.” The Bible also says that the first two people were man and woman, by the way, so there is optimal companionship possible between the opposite genders.

Where this ties in to anime and other shows is in the shipping.

Mock me if you wish, but I persist in thinking that shipping basically reflect a person’s values where romantic relationships are concerned. I am only getting more convinced with time that what kind of fan you are is very telling about your character, but I can save that for another post. The point is, people who ship things for the wrong reasons, or who just don’t care, can take the same attitude toward real relationships.

I will not say there are never exceptions, but it’s the more common rule.

One of my favorite kinds of ships I’ve mentioned before are the opposites attract kind. But I recently got a new insight into how deep that goes.

Often people think opposites attract means your personalities have to be opposites. Two cheerful people won’t attract. Two serious people won’t. However, I find that untrue, in shipping and in life. Many couple are composed of two goofier, laid back people. Int hose cases, however, one person is always more so than the other, there is never complete similarity.

Where the opposite really is important is far more interesting, actually. It has to be in character flaws.

This sounds obvious, but it trips people up, let me tell you. Especially in real life, because honestly, it’s easier to see why two fictional people are too much alike than it is when complicated feelings are int eh way in the real world.

You can have two entirely different personalities, but have the same basic flaws.

And for an example here I am going to turn to the very popular My Hero Academia. (Sorry non-fans, but bear with me, I think you can still follow along.)

The three main characters of this show are Midoryia (better known as Deku), Todoroki, and Bakugo. I will spare you the long version of who they are, all that you need to know is that these three have entirely different personalities; yet the show/manga over time shows us that their basic character flaws can be oddly similar. Though Deku veers more to the lack of confidence in his abilities, and the other two veer more to lacking confidence int heir own characters, but all three end up feeling guilty for things they really shouldn’t; and heaping on the shame and self-loathing because of that. The way they express it is completely different for each. But even the other show characters note how similar they are at the core of the issue.

In the same way, people can have very different personalities, as men and women, and yet their insecurities, flaws, and foibles may be pretty much the same.

On the same show, Deku often gets paired up with Uraraka, a girl who has a similar personality, in that she’s sweet, and innocent.

A lot of people hate this ship simply because they seem so similar, but upon further consideration, I realized that they really aren’t. They might both be positive, and that is a good thing, but Uraraka does not live on Guilt Trip lane, nor does she often feel as disappointed with herself as Deku. She has her own flaws, but they are not the same as his, in some ways, they actually are opposites. Deku does not really like conflict, she thinks it is fun or impressive.

Anyway, I hope that made my point. You can apply this to any couple really. Look at your own parents for crying out loud. Mine are certainly total opposites in flaws, though they share many beliefs and values.

It is true that having opposite flaws often includes opposite personalities, but it does not have to.

And it is important to think about when you are dating someone, because in the end, you want to be with somebody who makes you better.

Did you know that humans have flawed cells in their body? Defective ones? And that it’s why you are not supposed to marry someone closely related to you? It’s because the chances that their defective cells will be the same as yours drastically increases, and that is why siblings marrying almost certainly causes defects, often mental ones, and cousins now, though it did not at one time. Over time as we get more defective cells it’s likely even 2nd and 3rd cousins will be too risky, but here’s the thing, it is far less of a risk if you marry someone not in your family. The risk is almost negotiable then, because it’s unlikely they will have enough of the same defective cells to give your kids problems.

There have been some exceptions, it can occasionally work out, and has in the past between more closely related family; and the problem was once not even there.

Theoretically, Adam and Eve were perfect, no defective cells, and for several generations, the amount of defective cells would have been too small to cause problems with intermarrying. That doesn’t even become wrong in the Bible until after Abraham’s time. Abraham married his half sister, and before you think that’s gross, it was common at that time and in other religions. Also, it did not cause any problems. But later on in the Bible it does become ore of an issue. However, 4,000 years or so ago, it was probably barely a risk.

This is a physical example of a spiritual truth if you think about it. Adam and Eve were without sin, so being exactly the same would not have hurt them. They did not have flaws, or imperfections, so how they matched up didn’t matter. It was only after sin that they develop both the same, and also different flaws, like cowardice, blame-shifting, and shame.

If sin was not a problem, we could all marry anyone we wanted, and not worry about making each other worse. As it is, if you do marry someone not good for you, it is still possible to make it work; it is just harder.

It is never the good qualities in ourselves that we need to worry about matching with. Two negative people should not get together, but two positive people can, it’s not a problem. Provided their positivism is not fake (which is really a flaw then.)

Anyway, I am not trying to start any weird idea that if you and your significant other have some of the same problems it means you can’t be together. I doubt anyone would listen to me anyway if I said that. We will always all be human, we all have insecurities, prejudices, and pride; but if we have different flavors of those things, we can help expose them to the light and make each other better.

That is the real difference to be concerned about, since at the end of the day, superficial stuff is not all that important.

Until Next Time–Natasha.