#I just like interesting transformative people and arcs and a lot of time spent on them
The meaning of the Beast Spirits in Frontier, and what it means to control it
(On request by @digitalgate02.)
When you think about it, Frontier can be framed as a story of outcasts or misfits having to accept the idea of “changing themselves” in order to become better people, both literally in the sense of embracing physical transformation, and metaphorically in the sense of making attempts to do better. Implicitly, it speaks a lot as to how quickly these kids accept the idea of turning into something else -- perhaps implying as to how ostracized they’ve felt that such a thing instantly sounds appealing -- but it also adds some interesting layers to the concept of the Beast Spirit and how the difficulty of “controlling it” ties into each character’s personal story.
I think a lot of it has to do with the idea that these kids did have inclinations of being selfish or shallow at the beginning -- while they were full of potential to become heroes, they definitely started off as unlikely misfits at the beginning. In that respect, you can see the Beast Spirits arc as a sort of lesson that great power must be used wisely and responsibility...
Believe it or not, our biggest clue to all of this comes from episode 16, Izumi’s episode. It’s not directly stated in words, and the abstract summary of “determination” is passed off as a joke, but looking at the context clues around the episode indicates that’s actually not far off.
The thing is that Calmaramon is depicted as having the hardest time with her Beast Spirit compared to practically about anyone else in the group, and one of the recurring themes about it is that it’s partially because her personality is downright terrible. If you look at the context clues behind the prior episode (15), you’ll notice that while her looks are briefly brought up as an issue there and in this episode, the part that’s really freaking everyone out (and is making everyone worried Izumi will turn out to be the same) is that they actually saw it have an impact on her personality, where she was clearly conscious and able to talk but also indiscriminately destroying everything and enjoying it. At least in the case of Kouji, Takuya, and Junpei, they can be forgiven because they all did their best to keep it under control after the initial fallout, but Ranamon changing into Calmaramon had also involved her becoming someone actively reveling in senseless destruction. When everyone worries that Izumi might turn out like that, they don’t even bring up looks at all, and they all recoil when she does start showing signs of being destructive anyway.
The thing is, the entire rest of the episode puts a massive spotlight on Izumi’s actions of standing up for the Gomamon and empathizing with their loneliness (which, given the contexts added about Izumi’s background and backstory in episodes 8 and 26, are most likely her feeling that the concept of “being isolated from others no matter how much you want to reach them” hit way too hard for her) to the point she puts her foot down to override the boys’ prior plan of chasing the Toucanmon and their Digivices. She actually faces quite a bit of protest from the boys on this issue, and even admits she’s not sure if her own plan will work, but focuses on the idea of doing her best to undo the whirlpool with her abilities -- that is to say, using her power to protect and help others.
This sentiment of “I have to protect everyone” drives Izumi’s actions for the rest of the episode, to the point it’s the only thought consuming her head right before she finds and claims her Beast Spirit. So to make it clear, at the time she claimed it, the thought of “protecting others” was desperately, single-mindedly consuming her head...
...and the contrast is immediately apparent when Shutumon emerges, and the only thing Ranamon cares about is looks.
In other words, the reason the Beast Spirit wasn’t working out for Ranamon/Calmaramon is that she only wanted the Beast Spirit’s power for the sake of pride, vanity, and dominating others, and because of that, she had difficulty controlling it because it resonated with those feelings -- after all, although she wanted to “control” it to the extent of not carrying her all over the place, she was perfectly fine with the part about causing wanton destruction. Izumi, on the other hand, is clearly holding herself back even after her first evolution to Shutumon -- trying to keep a calm head -- and, after all, her entire motivation had been driven by “helping and protecting others” for the whole episode, so she doesn’t want to let this fail on her now, and she keeps that calm head all the way throughout the rest of it.
When we get to the next episode (17), you’ll also notice that one of the first things Blizzarmon (Tomoki) does is actively attempt to restrain himself. If you look back at what Tomoki’s character arc is about, he’d spent the better part of his past being bullied by others and tossed around, so “overpowering the weak” is the last thing Tomoki ever wants to do (especially given the events of this episode, as well). So, having witnessed the potential consequences of the Beast Spirit with the other boys, it stands to reason that Tomoki would want to avoid “hurting others” so much that restraining this would be a strong priority for him. While it’s commented that it does take his personality out of control a bit, the worst it ever gets is that he seems to be overly elated and cheerful about his defeats, but that’s also in line with Tomoki constantly having been pushed down so much during his life that you can imagine he’s enjoying the opportunity to finally be strong and have the spotlight.
But because he hates the concept of bullying and pushing others down so much, it stands to reason that he wouldn’t really have as much of a problem with that.
So when you look back at the prior episodes with the Beast Spirits with this context, you can see it applying there as well. In episode 14, Junpei was spending the better part of the first half of the episode livid at what was happening to his friends -- absolutely pissed at Grottomon for taking Izumi's spirit (and, despite Izumi's doubts, it's pretty apparent he actually does care about it beyond just having a crush on her), and then upset at the idea of being a sitting duck while Agnimon and Wolfmon are getting tossed around. While Junpei initially has trouble keeping the Spirit under control, the exact moment he gets a grip on himself is the moment he reaffirms his determination to fight for the sake of his friends.
Looking back at the other two episodes about rampaging Beast Spirits in episodes 10 and 12, you can also see why the concept applies there as well. It’s interesting how the “worst” rampage shown among the main protagonist Beast Spirits was not the first one obtained (Garmmon) but the second one (Vritramon), and if you look at the circumstances surrounding them, it doesn’t seem to mean as much about Takuya having any particular stronger tendency towards condescending violence as much as the sheer circumstances that went on behind them:
Kouji obtained his Beast Spirit under the circumstances of already knowing that he needed to protect Gotsumon with that power (and, moreover, having spent the end of the prior episode and the duration of the beginning of this one mulling on Ophanimon’s warning that he’d need to “grow” before he could obtain it). Therefore, “using this power for the desire to protect others” was a huge thought in his head from the very beginning, even though -- presumably partially because this was a first time for everyone -- it threw him off just enough for him to end up exhausting himself.
Takuya obtained his without warning and without proper understanding of what he was dealing with, having had it practically forced on him after Shamamon-as-Vritramon’s defeat, and so, with no context of purpose and no real depth of what he was about to get into, he ended up on a complete destructive rampage. He was snapped out successfully by the need to not hurt someone (Tomoki), and spent the rest of the episode agonizing and mulling over the risks and meaning of having such power before he eventually evolved into Vritramon without too much issue the second time.
So the point is made clear: the “destructive” and “uncontrollable” impulses associated with the Beast Spirits will be sent out of control if the user doesn’t have a strong desire to use it with proper purpose. For Ranamon/Calmaramon, she had the worst time with it because she was the single most obsessed out of the Legendary Warriors to use it to stroke her own ego and vanity, whereas at least the other three Cherubimon-allied ones (besides Duskmon -- see below) were at least capable of using it towards a greater goal, and the remaining five went through the proper outlets of thinking about how this power should be used and how it shouldn’t be used lightly.
While the issue of the Beast Spirits being inherently difficult to control isn’t as prominent as we go later into the series, we do actually see shades of it when we get to the tale of Kouichi/Duskmon/Velgrmon, because while part of it can be chalked up to the power of darkness being consuming, Kouichi, during his first transformation to Velgrmon in episode 30, is only able to talk barely coherently and is really just venting his rage and anger out, presumably because his entire state of mind is locked into all of that, making the rampage even worse. (Also keeping in mind the theme of embracing the idea of changing yourself, you can also think of this in terms of how Kouichi is getting so consumed by his own emotions of anger that he’s become almost completely unrecognizable from his original self.)
Once we get his first “proper” evolution in episode 33, however, Kouichi is abundantly aware of what he’s done and has all of the proper determination to never let such a thing happen again -- so it’s not surprising that his evolution to KaiserLeomon happens with relatively little incident.
Saiki K. - A list of Never-Adapted Chapters
As stated, a list and brief kinda long summery of the chapters never adapted into the anime. Only a few have good reasons aside from time though. (Also a list of reasons for anime only viewers to give the manga a read *cough*)
Warning: I spoil every single one of these chapters. So if you’re lazy and only want to read the non adapted chapters, go ahead and just read the chapter number/name, and avoid the summery. You will be missing a HUGE amount of unadapted scenes if you don’t read the whole manga though, which are present in nearly every chapter, adapted or not. They were likely cut for time like a lot of the chapters, but many add depth and important character development, and actually explain certain dynamics between characters present that were glossed over in the anime.
Reblogs appreciated...this took me so long qwq
Under the cut for sheer length
Chapter 0.1 “Telepathy”: A chapter mainly detailing info about Saiki’s telepathic abilities, and the plot revolves around him stopping his class from believing Nendo stole everybody's wallets.
Chapter 0.2 “Telekinesis”: A chapter mainly detailing info about Saiki’s telekinetic abilities, and the plot revolves around Nendo “saving” him from being bullied, and him realizing that Nendo actually isn’t a delinquent, and is a good friend. Interestingly, Saiki is able to hear Nendo’s thoughts during this chapter, in which he is internally telling Saiki to run away while he takes the attack from the bullies.
Chapter 0.4 “Precognition”: A chapter mainly detailing info about Saiki’s precognitive abilities (are you noticing a theme among the volume zero chapters?), and the plot revolves around him receiving a precognition about Nendo’s supposed funeral. Saiki follows Nendo around all day as they hang out in preparation of his date, and it’s (obviously) revealed the girl did it as a dare. Saiki uses his teleportation to apport a bowling ball Nendo had bought with the girl’s phone, and sends a message telling Nendo that she was simply busy and had to miss the date. The two go to Nendo’s house and it’s revealed the memorial was for Nendo’s already deceased dad, not him.
Chapter 0.5 “Teleportation”: A chapter mainly detailing info about Saiki’s ability to teleport/apport, and the plot revolves around Chouno attempting a magic show with a new assistant, after firing Ike-san (still homeless at the time) for making mistakes. His assistant, however, is purposely sabotaging him. Part way through, Ike-san shows up and thinks about how he should’ve been a better assistant, and his makeover is revealed. Near the end of the show a trick is attempted to where Chouno’s assistant is meant to teleport out of a box, but of course she does nothing. It is noticed that her and Ike-san have swapped places, due to Saiki apporting the two of them, and Chouno and Ike-san reunite.
Chapter 0.6 “Clairvoyance”: A chapter mainly detailing info about Saiki’s clairvoyant abilities, and the plot revolves around Kaido accidently spotting Saiki teleporting from a distance, and trying to find out who it was. Unfortunately, the drawing he is using to ask around for the “Trickster” looks nothing like Saiki. At the end of the chapter, Saiki appears before Kaido with the face of his crude drawing, and teleports out, to appease him. (Interesting tidbit about this chapter is that the mysterious stranger from the birthday arc appears in the class while Saiki uses his clairvoyance to watch Kaido. He also appears in the background of chapter 41 (the telepathy silencer movie chapter), but not in the anime equivalent.)
Chapter 0.7 “Astral Projection”: A chapter mainly detailing info about Saiki’s ability to astral project, and the plot revolves around Saiki using telekinesis to deflect a stray baseball from hitting him, but it instead hits Nendo, subsequently knocking him out right before he was due to play in a baseball game. Thus, Saiki uses astral projection to take over Nendo’s body and play in the baseball game for him.
Chapter 8 “ Fighting for a RePSIval!”: Saiki and Nendo end up stopping a failing musician from jumping off a roof due to his enormous debt. Nendo gets the idea to help the man gain money by selling the CDS of his music he had ordered in bulk, which were the result of the debt, due to them not selling. He performs live in the park, and Saiki accidently uses his telepathy to project the song to everyone in the are, causing them to believe it became stuck in their heads due to how good it was.
Chapter 00 “Special One-Shot: The DiPSIster of Psychic Saiki Kusuo”: This chapter falls in-between 8 and 9. It is a collection of oneshots set in a slightly different universe (likely a pilot or a very early storyline) in which it details information over several of Saiki’s powers, much like Volume 0.
Chapter 32 “ExPSIbition! Jump Festa”: Saiki goes out to Jump Festa to purchase merchandise due to an errand from his mom. There he meets Kaido, and the whole chapter’s gag is subtle advertisement for Jump Festa. The pair run into a crying child, who had lost his mom. He smartly refuses to go with Kaido to a help desk due to stranger danger, but Kaido comes back in his cosplay and since the kid vaguely recognizes him after he “proves” he really is that character (with Saiki’s help), the kid is returned to his mom.
Chapter 73 “PubliPSIzing the Popularity Contest Results!“: Saiki ends up in an alternate universe to where people’s popularity is shifted. (The chapter is based on the popularity poll that was held, hence that being the joke). Saiki is the most popular in this world, and he is bombarded with people until he hides away in the bathroom and transforms into Kuriko. This allows the original world’s Saiki to return, and he briefly explains why the world is this way, before sending Saiki, as Kuriko, back.
Chapter 88 “Press Play! A "Making Of" PSItory”: Saiki finishes watching a movie, and he remarks about how he loved it due to the quality of the acting and would like to visit the place it was filmed. Shortly after, he teleports to the location while returning the movie. He then decides to use his psychometry to see how the movie was filmed, and slowly it is revealed that the actors themselves were quite bad, especially the child star who Saiki believed to be a very good actor. The reason the movie was so good is revealed to be because the scenes in the movie were filmed as a supposed to be “behind the scenes”, and those were put in place instead of the actual filmed scenes.
Chapter 95 “The PSInnacle of the Golden Age of Heroes! A Fun Party Game”: Kaidou, Nendo, and Kuboyasu visit Saiki’s house the same day the game “J-Stars Victory Vs” was supposed to be arriving for him. A package arrives at the door, but instead of J-Stars, it is “C-Heroes Vale Tudo Battle”, a ripoff game by Saiki’s dad’s manga company. Kaido, Nendo, and Kuboyasu are all enamored by the game and reveal that they love Cognac, the magazine the game is for, and they all play the game. At the end of the chapter, the actual wanted game arrives, and the trio are just as excited and want to play that instead.
Chapter 102 “The Achromatic InviPSIble Boy”: (My personal favorite chapter) Saiki turns himself invisible to avoid running into his friends on the way to school, and winds up inside an empty storage room in order to wait for his invisibility to wear off. Unfortunately, a group of girls decided to use this room to change due to the peeping tom that’s been rumored around the campus. He hides by gripping onto the ceiling and waiting for them to leave, but when his invisibility is about to wear off the girls have still not left. After some time spent dodging and hiding, the door is opened by Saiki, revealing the actual peeping tom. The girls chase after him and Saiki uses the opportunity to escape.
Chapter 118 “The DiPSIster of the Rental Video Store”: Saiki, due to being bored, decides to go to a rental movie store to rent a movie to watch. Unfortunately, the current cashier is one that Saiki doesn’t favor very much, because she is high on his list for potential spoilers, but he remarks that at least the manager, a man who has seen nearly every movie, isn’t there. But (lmao), the manager switches positions with the cashier shortly after. Saiki then runs into Takahashi, who is purchasing pornography. In exchange for not telling the school about this, Saiki asks Takahashi to check out his movies for him. Takahashi gets caught like the dumbass he is and the plan is ruined.
Chapter 133 “An ExPSIlent Wife and Mother!? Mom's Class Reunion”: Saiki starts the chapter off by explaining how his mother is scatterbrained, and showing examples of it. Kurumi than remarks that she is going to her class reunion, which is being held in the city near her this year instead of way out in the country, meaning she can attend. When she arrives she starts getting reintroduced to her classmates who she hasn’t seen in 20 years, and talking about how different they are. Only one of the attendees, however, is actually from her class, and he reveals that the whole event is a plan to get closer to Kurumi, in order to use her for her eldest son’s wealth. Saiki, who had come to watch after having a bad feeling about the event, follows him into the bathroom and threatens him to stay away from his mom. Before he can finish, Kurumi accidently stumbles into the men’s bathroom, and her former classmate claims that her youngest son had attacked him unprovoked. Kurumi attacks the man, claiming her son would never do such a thing.
Chapter 134 “Kaidou and Kuboyasu's PSIpicions”: (The BEST Chapter) Kaidou and Kuboyasu are talking near their lockers about how neither of them got any chocolate for valentines day, and the conversation strays off to talking about Hairo. The two remark that they never see him talking to or dating girls, despite his popularity, and joke that he must be gay. The two are later found following Hairo, and bring up incidents that add to their growing suspicion. They soon find Hairo talking to Nendo, and begging the latter to join his club, stating that it has to be him. The conversation is normal, but Kaidou and Kuboyasu keep mistaking parts of it as being dirty. They watch Nendo and Hairo have a sumo match, and confront him after it, stating that it’s fine if he his gay, they were just curious. Hairo laughs it off and says he isn’t, but after another risque seeming scene (including an omake where Hairo and Nendo remark about keeping their relationship secret and how Hairo is willing to come out for him 🤔 ) the duo agree to stop thinking about it.
Chapter 165 “Train DiPSIster”: Saiki decides to take the train to a coffee shop 30 minutes away from his house instead of teleporting, claiming coffee jelly tastes much more satisfying if there is effort put into travelling there...though he does plan to teleport home. He explains how annoying train rides are for him, due to his telepathy, and how if someone playing music loudly is annoying for you, how much worse it is to listen everyone complain about said music. Over the course of the trip, Saiki begins to get anxious due to the crowds and his telepathy, and is relieved when several people get off. Unfortunately, he receives a precognition about the train stopping, and ends up saving a man from jumping in front of the train. Saiki winds up teleporting to the coffee shop.
Chapters 176 & 177 “PSIolving the Biggest Riddle!”: Saiki shrinks himself to retrieve his mother’s wedding band that had fallen down a drain, and when he jumps down, he remarks that the sink had become essentially 80 meters tall due to his height. He lays down in his bed afterwards, deciding to take a nap while he returns to normal size. When he wakes up however, he is much taller than normal. Due to the fact his body keeps growing, to avoid destroying the house anymore, Saiki teleports away to an island to hide, but he realizes that he teleported to an island closer to land due to his height throwing off his teleport. He hides under the water to avoid being caught, but ends up having to teleport away to avoid being seen. He accidently ends up on land, and nearby is a tribe of people, who are speaking a strange language. Before they approach him, Saiki ducks into his shirt, remarking that he feels embarrassed and is at a loss. He ends up floating and crashes to the ground once he reaches a certain height. It eventually clicks and he returns home, normal size. He had realized that his growing and shrinking powers were the same, but growing happened slowly, and shrinking happened quickly, hence why he would return to normal size slowly. The cause of this issue? The off comment he made about the sink “Becoming 80 meters tall.”
Chapter 201 “A Miraculous InvenPSIon”: Saiki notices his dad using a tablet and asks him what it his, to which Kunihara explains. Once he remembers he has work, Kunihara runs off, but not before offering his old tablet to Saiki, saying he can use it to read books and buy things. A little while later, Saiki is amazed by the tablet. He remarks about the shopping sites he an use to buy not only physical copies of books on, but digital ones as well. He keeps thinking about how amazing the online shopping sites and recommendations are, meanwhile he performs basically the same exact thing to his mom, when she requests he go out and buy groceries, as he instantly apports them for her, and also added foil because he had a precognition about her running out. While searching for appliances, he stumbles on the coffee jelly maker he owns, and finds out it has shitty reviews, but everyone recommends a newer model. He looks for the cheapest price of it, and finds an ad claiming to sell it for 100 yen. However, he falls for the trick of a ridiculous shipping fee, and his father laughs and remarks how just like his mother, he got scammed. Angry, Saiki teleports to the factory and threatens them into giving him the model for 100 yen, claiming that he doesn’t have to pay the shipping fee if he picks it up himself.
Chapter 229 “No Need for Bath Salts! Taking a Dip in the PSIcret Hot Spring”: Saiki decides to take a visit to a secluded hot springs in the mountains to relax himself, but unfortunately two strangers decided to hike there at the very same time. He cannot just teleport or walk away, since he didn’t bring his clothes with him, having teleported there to begin with. To make them leave, he decides to heat the hot spring up, so that the two men get overheated and decic to leave. One of the men, however, decides to try and stay in the water that is slowly gaining heat, in order to outlast Saiki. The man eventually gets out and faints, and to avoid having to help them, Saiki feigns having fainted from the heat as well, causing the two men to leave on their own.
Chapter 243 ″Welcome to PSIberspace”: Saiki’s dad has a new VR headset, and while he has to leave for work he offers it to Saiki to play with. Saiki is enamored by the horror game his dad was playing, being that it’s able to surprise him. The jump scares, however, cause him to accidently use his telekinesis, which is actually blowing stuff up at his dad’s workplace, instead of his house.
Chapter 245 “Trending on a Streaming PSIte”: Kaidou, Nendo, Kuboyasu, and Saiki are all hanging out, and Kaidou mentions he has a camera and wants to become a youtuber (Yotubo-er is what it’s called). At a café, the group suggests video ideas, such as Teruhashi. In order to prevent this plan, however, Saiki uses telekinesis to stab french fries into their eyes when Teruhashi ends up walking by the café. On the walk home, however, Saiki receives a premonition about all the video ideas they suggested becoming popular, including one of him using his abilities on the french fries. He obtains the camera from Kaidou and deletes the footage, which had been recording due to the camera being on the entire time.
Chapter 255 “APSIsting In Mediating A Long-Term Marriage!”: Saiki and his parents go to visit his grandparent’s, only to learn the pair is fighting, and his grandmother would like a divorce. The start of the entire fight is revealed to be because Kumagoro left the toilet seat up, and Kumi explains how she’s had to put the seat down for 40 years. The reason she was so adamant to divorce as well was because Kuusuke had pushed her to it. Kumi gets ready to leave the house, especially after Kumagoro purposely leaves the lid up one last time. Saiki stops her and tells her to put down the lid one more time, only for the words ‘I’m Sorry’ to be written on it. The fight is resolved.
Chapter 264 “Please Go Watch the Live ActPSIon Movie!”: A manga Saiki reads is getting a live action movie, and he is particularly upset about it. His dad happens to be the editor for the manga, and takes him to the filming set to change his mind. (By the way, this is the best chapter for showcasing Kunihara’s shittiness as a father. He physically attacks his son several times. Missing, of course, but he still actively attacks him. Kunihara is a horrible person, let alone father.) Saiki views the set and is perturbed by the actor choices, specifically Makoto as the lead character. He is even more upset to learn that the movie features an original character (like a badly written wattpad fanfiction), and that the end of the movie even features the death of the main character, and Kunihara explains that it differs from the manga greatly. He explains to his son that the changes make the movie better, and Saiki ends up agreeing after he winds up viewing the actual live-action movie.
Hows Healin Good Precure so far?
I just finished Episode 15, and I really like what I’m seeing so far. I think it’s as good as Go Princess so far by comparison.
The main character, Nodoka/Cure Grace, is a departure from characters I’ve seen like Hikaru and Mirai, and is more timid like Tsubomi. The only difference is while Tsubomi had a history of social anxiety as a result of bottling up her emotions, Nodoka was diagnosed with a chronic illness and spent most of her childhood in the hospital, which really affects her personality.
Aside from other details like not picking up on certain social cues or not having a lot of pictures outside of the hospital, her experience feeling helpless for so long gave her a bit of a savior complex, so she never hesitates to help out people she sees even if she tires herself out as a result of overexerting herself because her parents never considered signing their daughter up for physical therapy. Thankfully, the Precure powers give her enough energy to not collapse in the middle of a fight, although she still has to depend on the powers when fighting compared to her other teammates.
One thing I really like about this idea is of how it’s introduced. See, like with Mofurun, the team transforms by partnering up with the Healing Animals who serve as their transformation devices/weapons. Nodoka’s partner, Rabirin, originally wanted to partner up with a doctor in order to “treat” the Earth (yeah, this show’s also got a doctor motif, so I’m guessing at least a few people at Toei were banging their heads in March of 2020), but ended up partnering up with Nodoka to fight a monster of the week instead. When Rabirin finds out Nodoka is a terrible athlete, it seems like at first Rabirin hates having to partner with a weakling like Nodoka, it’s more because she’s worried Nodoka could get hurt in a fight, or worse, get killed. It’s really interesting to see scenes like this that acknowledge the main characters are basically children being forced to fight for the Earth, and how dangerous of a job it is. Either way, Nodoka shows she’s a hero because she knows it’s the right thing to do.
Rabirin herself is a good character with her hot-bloodedness contrasting with Nodoka’s more cheery nature, and the two really know how to look out for each other. I really wish we got this kind of dynamic with Marinette and Tikki
I’m starting to see a pattern with the Blue Cures having some kind of connection to wealthy people, as Chiyu/Cure Fontaine is the daughter of the owners of a popular inn, and is the most popular of the three. While I prefer the friendship between Minami and Haruka, Chiyu is still a very supportive friend to Nodoka, although other than her skill at the high jump in track and field, doesn’t really get a lot of focus.
Her partner, Pegitan, is more of a coward, so Chiyu has to serve as more of a nurturing figure to boost his confidence.
Hinata/Cure Sparkle is a much more entertaining character, essentially Kirara if you replace her smug attitude with sugar injections, because she’s just so full of energy. She clearly cares about others, but there are times where she get so scatterbrained, she tends to lose focus, like one episode where she suggested getting their pictures taken (it was part of a plan to help Nodoka get some new pictures to make up for the lack of recent ones in her room) while still in their Cure forms.
She’s also been shown to have a bit of an inferiority complex, and has the most trouble adjusting to the team, especially with how mch she contrasts with Chiyu, and even considers quitting at one point because of how unsure she is of herself. I still prefer Nodoka as a character, but Hinata is still a blast to watch, and has a compelling character arc.
Nyatoran, her partner, plays off with her very well, having the most energy of the three Healing Animals.
The main goal of the series, aside from fighting the monsters of the week, is to protect the Princess of the Healing Garden, Latte. Unlike the other animals, Latte is basically just a dog. She looks like a dog, acts like a dog, and isn’t anthropomorphized like them either. She more or less serves a walking alarm for the heroes as whenever a monster attacks, she gets sick. I don’t know, maybe she’ll get a human form and transform into a new Cure like Haa-chan did.
The main villains, the Byogens, are living viruses who want to infect the Earth to revive their leader, King Byogen
Dariuzen is a complete sadist, and I love him. He has no quirks, and is an apathetic bastard who loves to screw with the heroes, especially Nodoka. He’s got no tragic backstory, he doesn’t appear to be brainwashed, and he’s the kind of villain you love to hate.
Shidoine rivals Woz from Kamen Rider Zi-O for the “villain simp of the year” award, and displays the most energetic personality like Sasorina. She’s also a lot of fun to watch.
And then you have Guaiwaru, easily the most clever villain of the bunch. He looks like your standard dumb brute with his exposed muscles, but is actually very calculating. There’s one epsiode where he creates a MOTW that slowly infects the Earth and screws with people so it takes longer for the team to find him. It’s a very clever subversion of the kind of character you expect from this design.
The newest villain to join after being infected is an otter named Batetemoda, who pretends to be a complete idiot and sucks up to his coworkers so he can outwit them. He’s a real wild card, and seeing Guaiwaru fall for his tricks shows how devious he can be.
The show itself also has some great visuals and writing that takes some ideas very seriously, like the aforementioned details mentioning Nodoka’s illness and Hinata’s insecurity, and the way the main collectables, the Element Bottles, are used spices up the action a lot, even if half of them aren’t really elements like cherry blossoms or leaves.
But yeah, COVID didn’t really do much to screw up this show so far, and I think it’s off to a great start so far.
Can I ask you to make a guide about writing Akumatized Marinette fics in such a way that still keep all characters in-character?
I’ll do you one better!
Here’s My Five-Step Program on How To Write Akumatised Characters!
Feel free to use it however you like!
1. Have a clear idea of who your character is, what their drives and dislikes are, before you get around to akumatising them
For instance, Nino wants to have fun and to make his friends happy but hates being told what to do by authority figures. Mlle Mendeleiev wants to be regarded as a big deal in the scientific world and hates being ridiculed.
Though some of these drives and dislikes can be really ridiculous when it comes to some of these akumatised characters and can have little to no emotional weight because some episodes are comedy-oriented (M. Ramier likes feeding his pigeons, he doesn’t like being told that he can’t feed his pigeons, this is stupid but also funny) or just poorly written. Still, they all seem to follow that same basic formula.
2. Understand how we get to the akumatisation proper, or, what happens before the transformation
The characters about to be akumatised are being pushed to their limits. Why? It depends on the episode, but it’s usually a case of “the character can’t have it their way because of [reason] and that makes them angry”. What are they angry at? There’s no fixed rule here. Depends on the circumstances of the episode. They’re caught in a situation with an outcome that leaves them emotionally unstable and angry, is the point.
Watch Utena. Just watch it. It’s (maybe) the best anime ever. And Miraculous uses the basic mechanics of the Black Rose Saga without understanding what made it good in the first place. Without spoiling too much about that part of the anime, secondary characters with issues hinted at in the first arc come to the forefront of the show for one episode each, during which they are being pushed to their limits. They have a moment of Regressive Therapy with the arc’s antagonist who makes them expose their buried negative feelings and weaponises them to turn each of these characters into the “villain” of the week, if you will. In Utena, these characters, their desires, their fears, gives us a different perspective on the storyworld, the plot and the characters we’ve spent the most time with until then. It’s so good. Just watch Utena.
Anyway, Hawk Moth is a kind of devil figure there (all of this is very Faustian) using the moments of emotional vulnerability in these characters to trick them into striking a deal with him. He offers them the power to act on these negative feelings, and they must do his bidding in return (he can exert some control over them if this deal is agreed upon but that’s really murky).
Note that these soon-to-be-akumatised characters are not in the right mindset to fully realise what it is they’re getting into, unless they are Truly Evil. Hawk Moth is the one in control there, he is calm and manipulative, he is the one to define the terms of the contract, if you will. This makes me reluctant to call the great majority of the akumatised characters villains (but that doesn’t stop the show from treating them as such). They are blinded by their anger, and not in a position to bargain.
3. Understand what being akumatised is and what it does
“Hello, [villain name], I’m Hawk Moth. Are you sick of piles of owls constantly blocking your driveway?! Well then you gotta get Owl Trowel! Things are pretty unfair, aren’t they? I understand. I will give you the power to do [whatever], in exchange, you must give me the Miraculouses” Hawk Moth, in every episode.
Being akumatised is a twisted, dramatic expression of these negative emotions and frustrated desires, with an awful colour palette and character designs that range from “pretty good!” to “no.”
Now watch the original Sailor Moon anime. Some of the people working on it later moved on to make Utena. It’s mostly a very good show, and one Miraculous draws from a lot. It blends what was the norm in the magical girl genre until then (shows centred around femininity and growing up) with tokusatsu-type monster-of-the-week stuff. Notably, some of the villains of the week in the early seasons were humans whose desires and frustrations were used by the Dark Kingdom (the Big Bad) to turn them into monsters. The Sailor Guardians (our heroines) had to fight and heal them from that evil corruption.
Being akumatised is a physical transformation and a mental transformation as well, characters who wouldn’t hurt a fly as their regular civilian selves become unhinged and violent and drunk with power. This isn’t them anymore, not entirely. Does that mean an akumatised character’s actions are entirely divorced from what their regular selves think and feel? Not entirely. Alya really wants to know who Ladybug is, Ivan really wishes people would stop picking on him, Aurore really thinks she deserved that victory. Being akumatised means taking these feelings to the extreme and manifesting them physically while attaching them to an item the character has been shown to carry earlier on. Maybe that item is the cause of what upset the akumatised character in the first place, and turning that into a weapon… Sometimes. Maybe it’s something else. The show isn’t very consistent in that regard. You figure it out yourself.
Hawk Moth brings out the worse in these characters and then some, using his magic. He exerts some degree of control over his akumatised pawns though how much is unclear, and I think that’s a deliberate choice from the creative team. In this case, I think the ambiguity makes things more interesting than “bad man entirely controls people who are only puppets with no will of their own whatsoever”.
4. And Now How Would Other Characters React?
When akumatised characters have vengeance in their mind, they go after the person they think is responsible for whatever went wrong. Unlike our heroes and HM, they aren’t concerned with being secretive about who they are, since they are overconfident in their new powers.
The most common reaction to akumatised villains attacking Paris is: “running away and screaming and trying to get somewhere safer”.
How would individual characters react to an akuma attack? How involved were they with the person that got akumatised? Did they play a role in making that person upset? Did they suspect the person had these kinds of feelings before, or is it a complete surprise? What does it tell us about the relationship between the akumatised character and the non-akumatised character reacting to them? Find answers to these questions and you’ve got it all figured out. Refer to the show itself regarding characterisation, it may not be always consistent so pick what you like best, what would be the most interesting.
5. Now That You’ve Got It All Figured Out, Plan and Write the Damn Thing.
Only you can tell the story you want to tell the way you can tell it, so do it, rework it, show it to your friends and rewrite it again until you’re somewhat satisfied.
And voilà! Hope this was somewhat helpful!
Thinking about how back when Get Jinxed was released I briefly became interested enough to at least read up a little on the lore, and how I was completely disinterested in Vi back then because she felt like a class traitor and a classic ‘hot-headed cop’ character and not much else.
And Jinx seemed like a practically harmless ‘crazy fun’ type of character, making it that much easier to root for her.
Just a charismatic outlaw taunting a duo of good&bad cops (Caitlyn and Vi), right?
But Arcane turned everything up on its head for me personally!
It’s such a relief that it ended where it did, because I really do not want to see Arcane!Vi become an Enforcer for Piltover :(
Especially so because Arcane solidified Jinx’s character as an actual threat to people’s lives, a violent person without any benevolent motivations.
Soooo if Vi became an actual cop under Piltover’s government it would seem like the story explicitly says that Zaun = bad and Piltover = good, seeing as how the two sisters are the core of that specific story and Jinx is the drive behind a lot of misery in the show. Good on them to avoid that!
I mean, there’re certain shades of this in the lore anyway, but the series largely goes for moral ambiguity, painting most Piltover characters as deeply flawed and privileged individuals, delving into Undercity’s issues with a certain amount of nuance.
Plus Vi, Ekko and Viktor are all presented as morally good characters with the intentions of helping people (if anything I wish we had more time dedicated to Ekko’s accomplishments and the process of building his safe haven in Zaun).
If we keep league’s lore in mind, Viktor’s eventual transformation into a cyborg and him suggesting to fix humanity’s problems by turning people into machines does make sense, sure - a bit tragic, but nevertheless more humane than say, Singed’s alternative path.
And as far as i know Ekko remains true to himself, too.
But Vi deciding to become a cop under Caitlyn, the new sheriff? ehhh
Let’s see, she put the whole Undercity at risk by trespassing into Piltover and burglarizing property under the protection of a prominent noble house who has a seat at the Council - easily forgiven because she was still a child, but nevertheless a notable start to her character arc.
We learn that she spent her entire adolescence in prison, she then gets out with the aim of finding her sister and getting vengeance against Silco and talks a lot about how much things suck and how she wishes it was different, about fixing it, seems like a natural progression for her to take up Vander’s mantle, join Ekko and actually do something for her city. But nope, after she incites Jayce to take out Silco’s supply of shimmer and beats Sevika her plans get cut short and Arcane ends before Vi is able to do anything substantial (her failure to talk Jinx down not really her fault after all).
And that’s good, because at this point in the narrative her going to Piltover would look... well, rather pathetic? Deciding to go where the grass is greener, essentially working against the city she failed to defend. Could be explained as some form of repentance bc of Council’s destruction, could be that becoming an enforcer would be the only way for her to have the opportunity to police Zaun’s streets without encountering problems from Piltover itself, but it’s still a bad look for a girl whose parents were literally murdered by enforcers during a violent protest and who then repeatedly fell short of helping anyone.
Even the pairing of Caitlyn/Vi when it’s like, a duo of lesbian cops who work for the benefit of the richer half of their society, just seems ehh to me...
Am I wrong? I haven’t really seen people talk about this but then again I’ve never been too deep into LoL.
Since it's been a few weeks, what's your opinion on Chapter 8 of Arknights? Reading about your opinion on other pieces of Arknights has been very nice so far.
I find this enemy description inordinately amusing so I will start with this before going to spoilers below the break.
1) First of all I am a sucker for flashbacks following the villain, so the basic structure of Chapter 8 was right up my alley. Even if Talulah's arc was more or less predictable—who among us did not expect Alina to die? I think some people might feel that it was a little too long, but honestly I think it said everything it needed to say and frankly there is nothing more important the chapter could have said. If anything, the parts that weren't about Talulah would be first on my chopping list if I were editing this story down. In particular, the whole bit with Kal'tsit and the sarcophagus and all that had almost nothing to do with the themes of this chapter or the Reunion arc, so they seemed especially superfluous. Even if that story might have been interesting told on its own.
2) Talulah. The main character of this chapter, obviously. I think there are two different angles to approach her from that seem almost mutually exclusive, which are that A) she is a tragic figure who started with noble ideals but was pushed to her limits until she became a ruthless shell of her former self and B) she is literally possessed by Kaschey, ie: the Deathless Black Snake, who is the immortal spirit of Imperialism manipulating the country of Ursus into a constant state of war. From what I've seen of people’s reactions, I think most people focus more on angle B, which makes sense because that is literally true in the story, but what I took from it is that it's a lot more ambiguous than that.
What I mean is that the story is constantly emphasizing that the Deathless Black Snake can only take action as long as Talulah agrees with it. It's more insidious than just an external ghost taking control of her (and thereby freeing her of responsibility for her actions), it's a philosophy that was planted in her by her mentor, a way of thinking, an idea. A living meme. So when I say that it's the immortal spirit of imperialism, I don't mean that as a joke, it is the embodiment of imperialism itself, of imperialist ideals and goals, manifested in this particular person the moment she starts seeing her enemies as obstacles to be eliminated instead of people with their own motivations. I certainly don't think that the trigger for the transformation was set arbitrarily, that's just Who She Needed To Be in order to buy into the ideas that Kaschey and the Snake had taught her from a young age. It’s also an ancient god taking physical control over her, but hey, it's fantasy.
Ultimately, we didn't defeat the Deathless Black Snake in battle, we just gave Talulah second thoughts. And she will live with what she's done for the rest of her life.
3) Amiya. In this chapter, more than anywhere else, it's clear that Amiya is the main character of Arknights. Sure, we have whatever Kal'tsit is plotting, and whatever the hell the Doctor is, but that doesn't actually matter. In fact, they spent this entire chapter walking around in the basement and never once interacting with Talulah. The Doctor shows up at the end with no idea what's going on or what happened, which is quite comical when you think about it.
By contrast, Amiya sees the big picture. Of the three people on top of the tower during the climax, only Amiya knows what both Talulah and Chen have been through, or indeed what she’s been though. What brought them all to that point. She is watching all these flashbacks right alongside us through her empathy powers. Which, as I've mentioned before, is really the best superpower in this setting: the power to see the world through someone else's eyes, and to feel the pain that drives them. And we, the players, feel what she feels. In a certain sense, she's even more of a player avatar here than even the Doctor, which I mean in the best possible way.
And of course her empathy gives her cool shounen superpowers that are suspiciously similar to Emiya Shirou, but I will allow it.
4) Chen. Chen is honestly kind of the weak link here, imo. While of course we've been following her character arc since chapter 3 and I don't mind where they've taken her, it ironically kind of felt to me like she had no personal stakes in the final battle. Which is odd since the story seemed to be hammering that it's all personal for her, what with Talulah being her long-lost sister and all that. The problem (imo) is that her close relationship with Talulah is all Told-Not-Shown, and also that Talulah is being possessed by the Deathless Black Snake, so it kind of feels like she's being left out of the loop, both in terms of knowing the facts and also emotionally.
I'm not saying she doesn't get any good lines, or that her banter with Amiya isn't cool or funny, I'm just saying that what should have been a big emotional moment at the climax of the story just sort of fell flat for me, and I was left wondering "wait, why is Chen here again?"
That said, I did enjoy her bit afterward where she's like "you need to stand fair trial for your crimes, Talulah, but in this world that discriminates against the Infected, there’s nowhere worthy of giving you one." I feel that sums up the game's stance on these things quite succinctly.
5) Rosmontis. Rosmontis had sort of an interesting arc here because it separated her from Amiya and I almost want to say that was a good thing? While I thought her relationship to Amiya was one of the most interesting things about her in the previous chapter, it almost feels like it was preventing her from forming bonds with other people and becoming a more well-rounded person? I guess what I want to say that is that Rosmontis was being coddled, sheltered, treated as a child. While some would call her a monster, Amiya was always around to say "no no no, don't listen to them, you're cute!" And while that was certainly nice of Amiya, it feels like what truly made her accept herself was almost the opposite: being accepted as a monster (or rather, a person with monstrous powers) by people used to fighting alongside monsters. Being told that she's allowed to hate the people who hurt her, and to be ruthless to her enemies. That her own emotions, both good or bad, are valid. For the first time, she felt human.
What you'll note, of course, is that these aren't exactly heroic virtues, and in fact they're kind of similar to what Amiya rejects and what got Talulah into so much trouble? Honestly I don't know if I would say Rosmontis is a good person right now, but what she is doing is thinking on her own for the first time, and deciding what's right and wrong for herself. It sounds almost malicious to put it this way, but it's like Amiya and Rhodes Island were trying to mold her into someone she's not. In some ways the opposite of what Kaschey did to Talulah.
I don't think her story is over yet, of course, but I found it an interesting direction to take. Rosmontis is on the path to find her own justice, which may or may not align with Rhodes Island's.
6) W. Back when I was doing a write-up for chapter 7, I said that maybe she would have been better off being recruitable in chapter 8 instead of 7, because it seemed a little early in her arc for that. I was wrong. She wouldn't fit in for chapter 8 either. Honestly she probably shouldn't be recruitable at all right now, not that I'm complaining as someone who uses her. Just, you know, narratively she is not at a place where she would consider joining RI, and in fact she ends the chapter pretty much going "later losers, I hope we never meet again." Which implies that the W in my squad right now is like a totally different person who is either from an alternate dimension or the future, after a lot of character development. That's not like the worst thing ever, it just seems a little weird to have her right now. W's story isn't about Reunion and never was. It's about Theresa and Babel, which as of now we are still only getting little hints of. I'd be glad to see that story when it happens, but until then W's just kind of there.
7) Themes. For some reason, this one line in this chapter really hit me. While it's not literally true, especially if you count all the former child slaves or feral children and whatnot, it does feel broadly true that most of the characters come from middle-class backgrounds. Like, your Krooses and Orchids of the world. Kal'tsit goes on to explain that this is because RI can only really recruit in cities, and that rural Infected tend to get thrown into the wilderness on their own and have no idea that RI exists.
Interestingly, this idea also sort of comes up in Talalah's side, when it's revealed that Talulah is the daughter of a duke, making her followers hesitate for a moment. While I don't recall it being explicitly spelled out, the implication was obviously that she's not "one of them" and this might be a cause for distrust. But what are "they' exactly? Clearly she is in fact Infected, she made sure of that herself. But she wasn't abandoned in the same way her followers were. She had a choice, and chose to side with the Infected. Which is honorable of her and all, but it also indicates a fundamental disconnect between them because they never had a choice. She could've used her influence to hide her oripathy and be treated like a normal person (as we saw happened with both Chen and Patriot), or used her wealth to get sent to a fancy private hospital like Rhodes Island, with the latest medical technology and treatments.
So while the story focuses on the discrimination of the Infected, it's clear here that that's not really the only thing going on. Being Infected means little to those in power, while for those without power it's just an an excuse to intrude on their lives and make sure they aren't "harboring any Infected" or whatever. Basically the story starts discussing intersectionality, which I found interesting.
8) This is a good line:
Why Cap Being Internally Closeted Is Not Only Possible, But Valid Representation
i wrote this to a lot of mitski and onsind, so you can’t blame me for any feelings that bleed through
now i don’t know if it actually exists, but i’ve heard of there being a lot of discourse surrounding the captains story arc regarding his sexuality- i believe the general gist is that having a queer character that remains closeted to themselves is either unrealistic or ‘bad’ representation, and as someone who really treasures the captain and relates to his story so far a lot, i thought i might break this down a bit.
i’ve divded up every complaint i’ve heard about this into four main questions which i’ll be covering below the ‘keep reading’, because this is gonna be pretty comprehensive. full disclaimer i reference my experiences as an ex-evangelical non binary butch lesbian a couple times, and i spent a year studying repression and the psychological impacts of high demand sexual ethics for my graduating sociology paper, so this is coming with some background to it i swear
the big questions:
can you EVEN be gay and not know it????
but isn't this just ANOTHER coming out arc, and aren't we supposed to be moving beyond those?
but if cap can't have a relationship with a man because he's a ghost, what's the point?
since cap's dead, isn't this technically bury your gays, and isn't that bad?
1. "but is it really possible to not know? Isn't that bad representation?"
short answer: no and no.
before i get into the validity of the captain's ignorance about his own orientation as 21st century rep, let's break down how the hell the captain can be so clearly attracted to men and still not even consider the possibility that he might be gay, as brought to you by someone who literally experienced this shit.
the captain's particular situation is both a direct result of the lack of information around human sexuality he would have had (aka clear messaging that it's actually possible for him to be attracted to men. i don't mean acceptable or allowed, i mean physically capable of happening- the idea that orientations other than heterosexual exist and are available to him, a man), and a subconscious survival mechanism. the environment in which he lives is outright hostile to gay people, while the military man identity he has constructed for himself doesn't allow for any form of deviation from societal norms, let alone one so base level and major. as a result of this killer combo of information and environment, instincts take over and the mind does it's best to repress the ‘deviant’ feelings until a. one of these two things changes, or b. the act of repression becomes so destructive and/or exhuasting that it becomes impossible to maintain. the key to maintaining a long-term state of repression of desire is diverting that energy elsewhere, and a high-demand group such as the military is the perfect place for the captain to do this (this technqiue is frequented by religions and extremist ideologies worldwide, but that’s not really what we’re here to focus on).
while the brain is actively repressing ‘deviant’ feelings (aka gay shit), this doesn't mean you don't experience the feelings at all. when performed as a subconscious act of survival, the aim of repression is to minimise/transform the feelings into a state where they can no longer cause immediate danger, and something as big as sexual/romantic orientation is going to keep popping up, but as long as the individual in question never understands what they’re feeling, they’ll be able to continue relatively undisturbed. you know how in heist movies, the leader of the group will only tell each team member part of the plan so they can’t screw things up for everyone else if they get caught? it’s kind of like that.
this is how the captain appears to have operated in life AND in death, and it’s a relatively common experience for lgbtq people who’ve grown up in similar circumstances (aka with a lack of information and in an unfriendly-to-hostile environment), and accounts for how some people can even go on to get married and have children before realising that they’re gay and/or trans.
personally, while i can now identify what were strong homo crushes all the way back to childhood, at the time i genuinely had no idea. there was the underlying sense that i probably shouldn't tell people how attached i was to these girls because i would seem weird, and that my feelings were stronger than the ones other people used to describe friendships, but like-like them in the way that other girls like-liked boys? no way! actually scratch that, it wasn't even a no way, because i had no idea that i even could. i even had my own havers, at least in terms of the emotional hold and devotion she got from me, except she treated me way less well than cap’s beau. snatches of the existence of lgbt people made it through the cone of silence, i definitely heard the words gay and lesbian, but my levels of informations mirrored those that the captain would have had: virtually none, beyond the idea that these words exist, some people are them, and that's not something that we support or think is okay, so let's just not speak about it. despite only attending religious schools for the first couple years of primary, until i got my own technology and social media accounts to explore lgbtq content on my own- option a out of the two catalysts for change- the possibility of me being gay was not at all on my radar. don’t even get me started on how long it took me to explore butchness and my overall gender, two things which now feel glaringly obvious.
when shit starts to break down, you can also make the conscious choice to repress which can delay the eventual smashing down of the mental closet door for a time (essentially when the closet door starts to open, you just say ‘no thanks’ and shut it again by pointedly Not Thinking About It). in the abscence of identifying yourself by your attractions, it becomes quite common to identify with a lack- in my case, this meant becoming proud of how sensible and not boy crazy i was, and in the captain’s case, this means becoming proud of how sensible and not sensuous/wild (aka woman crazy) he was, identifying with his LACK of desire for women and partying (which, even in the 40s, involved the expectation of opposite sex romances and hook ups). i’m not saying that’s the only reason he’s a rule follower, but i think the contrast between About Last Night and Perfect Day pretty much support this. (the captain getting on his high horse about general party antics that he inherently felt excluded from because of underlying awareness of his difference & his tendency to project his regimented expectations of himself onto others, vs. joining in the reception party, awareness of how the environment supports difference in the form of clare and sam, and relaxing his own rules by dancing with men- the captain doesn’t mind a party when feels like he has a place there.)
so the captain was operating in a high demand, highly regulated environment (primarily the military, but also early 20th century England itself), with regimented roles, rules, and expectations. working on the assumption that he wouldn't have had out/disclosing lgbt friends, he would have had little to no exposure to lgbt identities, and what information he did receive would have been hushed and negatively geared. while my world started to open up when i started high school was allowed to have my own phone + instagram account, resulting in me realising something wasn't quite 'right' within a few years (making me a relatively early realiser compared to those who don't come out to themselves until adulthood), in life the captain never had that experience. he didn't receive the information he needed, his environment didn't grow less hostile. with the near-exception of havers related heartbreak, his well disciplined and lifelong method of repression never became destructive/exhaustive enough to permanently override the danger signals in his mind and allow him to put his feelings into words. neither of the most common catalysts for change happened for him, so he continued as usual, even after his death.
BUT, and here’s where we come to why this is actually great representation, arrival of mike and Alison represents the opening up of new world. for the first time, the captain is actively made aware of the fact that his environment is no longer hostile, and better than that, it’s affirming. he’s also getting access to positively geared information about lgbtq people and identities, so option a of the two catalysts for change is absolutely present, and resoundingly positive.
the captain’s arc is also relatively unique as it acknowledges the oppressive nature of his environment, but actually focuses on the internal consequences, and the way that systems like those that the captain lived in succeed because they turn us into our own oppressors. for whatever reason, we repress ourseslves, and often can’t help it, and i find that the significance of the journey to overcome that is often overlooked in more mainstream queer media. perhaps it’s just not very cinematic, or it remains too confronting for cishet audiences, but ghosts manages to touch on it with a lovely amount of humour and hope. Jamie Babbit’s But I’m A Cheerleader is another favourite piece of queer media for the same reasons.
not only does it show this, but as the captain continues to get gayer and lean into some of his less conventional traits (like an interest in fashion and the wedding planning), it shows lgbt people who have been or are going through this that there CAN be a positive outcome. it takes a lot to unlearn all the things that have painted you as wrong, especially when a massive institution is desperate to continue doing so, but you can do it, you can be happy, and it's never too late. (i've been meaning to say that last point for ages for ages, but a mutual beat me to it here)
2. not just another coming out arc
i absolutely support the demand for queer stories that don’t center around coming out (it’s like shrodinger’s queer: if you’re not coming out on screen, do you really even exist?), but i don’t align with the criticisms that the captain should already be out. for the reasons mentioned above, the captain’s particular story is fairly different to the ‘young white teenager who mostly knows gay is fine, it’s just everyone else that’s got the problem, but have a unremarkably straight sounding soundtrack, a trauma porn romance, and a cishet saviour’ that we keep seeing. the captain’s ongoing journey with his sexuality emphasises the overaching theme of the show: recovering from trauma and humanity’s endless capacity for growth, and i think that’s worth showing over and over again until it stops being true.
additionally, while the captain’s journey regarding his gayness is a big part of his character and story, ghosts makes it clear that it’s not the ONLY part, and being gay is far from his ONLY characteristic or dramatic/comedic engine. the fact that i’m even having to congratulate ghosts for doing that really shows how much film and television is struggling huh.
while all queer media is, and should be, subject to criticism, i think if it helps even one person then it absolutely deserves to exist, and i can say i’ve found the captain’s journey to be the lgbt story i’ve found that’s closest to my own, which says a lot considering he’s a dead world war 2 soldier who hangs out with other ghosts including a slutty Tory, a georgian noblewoman, and a literal caveman.
3. if captain gay, why he no have boyfriend????
another complaint that’s been circulating is that since the captain doesn’t, and likely won’t, have a boyfriend, that makes him Bad Representation because it follows the sad single gay trope. i kind of get the logic from this one, and a lot of it is up to personal interpretation, but part of me really enjoys the fact that the captain’s journey towards accepting himself is separated from having a relationship.
coming out is often paired with having romantic/sexual relationships (either as the reason or reward for doing so). my own struggle with repression didn't end the second that came out, and i still struggle with letting myself develop & acknowledge romantic feelings as a result of actively shutting them (and most other feelings in general) down for years, and statistics show that lgbtq youth in particular tend not to live out their 'teen years' until their twenties. by not giving cap a relationship straight away, ghosts separates the act of claiming identity and sexual orientation from finding a partner (two things which are, more often than not, separate), and also provides some very nice validation to folks who have yet to have the relationship they want, especially when lots of mainstream queer media is now jumping on the cishet media bandwagon of acting as if every person loses their virginity and has a life defining relationship at sixteen. it’s essentially a continuation of the earlier theme of “it’s never too late”, and who’s to say the captain won’t get a gay bear ghost boyfriend to go haunt nazis with??? people die all the time, it could happen.
(also, i think him and julian will have definitely shagged at least once. it was a low moment for both of them and they refuse to speak of it.)
lots of asexual/ace spectrum fans have come out to say how much they’ve loved being able to headcanon cap as ace, and while that’s not a headcanon i personally have, i think it’s brilliant that ace fans feel seen by his character- we’re all in this soup together babey (and sorry for cursing everyone still reading this with that cap/julian headcanon. i’m just a vessel)
4. “okay, but cap’s a GHOST- doesn’t that make this Bury Your Gays?”
this is a bit of a complex one, but i’m going to say no as a result of the following break down.
Bury Your Gays (BYG), aka the trope where lgbtq characters are consistently killed off (and often with a heavy dose of trauma, while cishet characters survive) is probably one of my least favourite lgbt media tropes. BYG has two main points:
1. the lgbt character is killed, thus removing them from story entirely- hence the use of the phrase ‘killed OFF’ (killed off of the show/film)
2. the character’s death reinforces the perception that lgbtq people’s lives must end in tragedy, instead of being long and fulfilling, or are inherently less valuable. bonus points if the character is killed in a hate crime or confesses same-gender love right before they die (that one implies that queer love genuinely has no future!)
not every death of an lgbtq character is bury your gays, and i personally feel that the captain is an example of an lgbt death that isn’t.
first of all, while the captain is dead, so are the vast majority of characters in ghosts. the premise of the show means that death is not the end of the line for its characters- for most of them, it’s the only reason we get to see them on screen at all. as such, the captain being dead doesn’t remove him from the story, so point one is irrelevant.
at the time of posting, we don’t know how or why the captain died, but we've had nothing to suggest his death was in any way related to his latent sexuality, so his mysterious death doesn’t actively play into the supposedly inherent tragedy of queer lives, nor the supposedly lesser value. that’s as of right now- since we don’t know the circumstances of his death it’s a little tough to analyse properly. while the captain’s life absolutely features missed opportunities and it’s fair share of tragedy, hope and growth (which seems to be the theme of this post) abounds in equal measure. the captain may not be alive, but we DO get to see him growing and having a relatively happy existence, that for the most part seems to be getting even better as he learns to open up and be himself unapologetically- that doesn’t feel like BYG to me.
while writng this, it’s just occured to me that death really is a second chance for most of the ghosts, especially with the introduction of alison. from mary learning to read, to thomas finding modern music, they’ve all been given the chance explore things they never could have while they were alive, and hopefully grow enough to one day be sucked off move on.
i love the captain very much and i hope his arc lives up to the standards it’s set so far. i don’t know where to put this in this post, but i’d alo like to say i LOVE how in Perfect Day, the captain wasn’t used as an educational experienced for fanny at all. i am very tired of people expecting me to be the walking talking homophobe educator and rehabilitator, so the fact that it’s alison and the other ghosts that call fanny out while the captain just gets to have fun with the wedding organisation made me very happy.
here’s a few other cap posts that i’ve done:
the captain’s arc if adam and the film crew stayed
a possible cap coming out
the captain backstory headcanon
if you’ve read this far,
also check out @alex-ghosts-corner , this post inspired me very much to write this
Are there any metas or links that you know of that go into how Zuko morphed from canon Zuko to fanon Zuko? My roommate spent the fall reading a lot of Zuko-focused fic and has just finished the series and said if she'd done it the other way around she probably wouldn't have liked Zuko at all and wonders why his characterization is so inside out in fanon. I never really liked Zuko and I don't read content about him so idk, but I figured I'd ask one of my fave authors!
Hello there, anon! I don't know of any metas that would answer your question, but I can give you a few of my thoughts based on my fandom experience. Also, it just so happens that some of my fandom friends were discussing the issue of canon Zuko versus fanon Zuko on the day you sent this ask!
So...I've only been in the ATLA fandom for 6 months, and I'm an adult who watched ATLA for the first time earlier this year. I was a blank slate going in - I didn't know anything about the show other than its title and that it was based in an Asian-inspired fantasy world. So I had the opposite experience of your friend, having watched the show first without any preconceptions, and then diving into fanfic later on.
I should also make the caveat that since Kataang is my only ship, I haven't read any Zuko-centric fics, and Zuko is a minor character in my fics if he shows up at all. (Thank you for reading my fics, by the way!)
That said, I have noticed the trend (even in some Kataang fics) for fanon Zuko to be much more mature and self-aware than he is in the show. In fact, fanon Zuko is often depicted as being MORE mature and self-aware than fanon Aang, when the opposite is actually true for the canon versions of the characters. Fanfic writers also tend to give Zuko some of Aang's greatest personality traits, such as the ability to deeply empathize with others, keeping a level head, and possessing great wisdom and thus being the main person who dispenses advice to others.
In contrast, canon Zuko is moody, brooding, hot-headed, impulsive, entitled, short-tempered, and bad at reading people. As best as I can recall, we NEVER see Zuko giving advice in ATLA - it is always Iroh or one of the Gaang giving HIM advice.
Why is fanon Zuko so different from canon Zuko? I'm not totally sure, but some think it's because there are people who want to ship him with Katara, so they ascribe positive personality traits to him to make him (and the ship) more appealing. Another reason may be that because he is one of the eldest members of the Gaang, as well as being brooding and cynical, people tend to view him as very "adult", so they unconsciously give him traits that reflect emotional maturity. Perhaps another reason is that he underwent such a drastic transformation in the show, going from the "evil prince" to "reformed good guy." For some reason, there seems to be this idea that his redemption arc excuses him from past and current misdeeds, and that becoming a better person automatically comes with certain positive traits, despite the fact that he doesn't display those traits in the show.
Don't get me wrong, by the way - I like canon Zuko just fine, and he's a great character. I loved his arc. But he's not super interesting to me outside his relationships with Iroh and Aang, who are the people who challenged him to grow and begin to meet his potential. (I think it's also no coincidence that Aang and Iroh are my favorite characters; they both play similar roles to the people around them.)
Anyway, these are my thoughts and observations on why fanon Zuko is so different from canon Zuko. I'm sorry I couldn't give you a better answer, but I hope I've helped shed some light on the issue!
Winx Club season 4 thoughts: part 1
What started as a few thoughts turned into a two-part review, what’s new. Alright so I’d heard some pretty mixed reviews for this season and I was… surprised with how much I liked it! … Aaaaaat the beginning at least…
There was a lot of potential! I liked seeing the Winx being more grown-up and learning to live independently, moving them out of Alfea was refreshing. The expanded lore and addressing the lack of Earth fairies that was set up back in season 1 was also very interesting and something I wasn’t even expecting them to do. I do love the Earth fairy designs and I wish we had spent more of the season with them, especially Diana, Aurora and Sybilla. They just seemed so cool and warrior-like and I would have loved to see experienced, adult fairies just doing their thing; I know the Winx are super powerful now but I think some mentorship on the field would have been nice. We spent more time on the revenge plot though, which would actually be a pretty surprising twist if I hadn’t spoiled it for myself earlier, but more on that later.
There’s not a lot of love for the Wizards of the Black Circle but honestly, I liked them well enough considering we didn’t get the Trix again (no offense, they’re iconic but I needed a break from them, especially after all that villain decay they’d gone through). For the previous three seasons, the villains mostly spent their time trying to power up or get some macguffin before the final confrontation, so I guess it was refreshing to see these guys have a more focused (?) medium-term goal of getting the last Earth fairy. Speaking of which, I liked Roxy! Introducing a little sister-like character was a nice way of showing the Winx maturing, and I liked her much more realistic attitude towards becoming a fairy. Her powers were a bit underutilised (like, instead of just controlling animals maybe cast spells with animalistic elements like idk… cat-like claws or a snake’s heat vision or whatever), but she’s a complete newbie so that makes sense.
The Specialists were also really enjoyable to watch because we got to see them interact with each other (without the Winx) a whole lot more this season, from goofing around during Sky’s dramatic entrance to trying to learn how to live on Earth. The sitcom-level shenanigans were endlessly entertaining and now I’m just imagining a spinoff like those high school secret agent shows, where they’re just some random dudes working at a bar until they disappear at random times to go fight whatever monsters attack the city :’D
Only downside of the Specialists in this season is that they brought… a lot of unnecessary drama. Oh boy, here we go.
So, romantic drama existed in the previous seasons too to varying degrees of success, but back then it wasn’t so… generic?
We went from Bloom’s crush being revealed as a prince who switched identities with his squire (contributing to Bloom’s already bubbling fears of not being special enough to belong in the magical world), to… jealousy plots that could have come out of any high school drama. To add to the genericness, they make each group share one brain cell and it’s as if no one is allowed to think differently to the rest in their group. Take the first drama surrounding the Winx thinking the guys don’t trust them (which doesn’t make sense considering they were always happy to get the help before, idk why Faragonda thought these grown Enchantix fairies needed their feelings tiptoed around like this). When they find out, it’s really only two or three couples arguing while the others kinda just… stand there looking vaguely annoyed. Ogron could literally absorb fairy magic so they needed all the non-magical help they could get, you’re telling me Tecna wouldn’t mention something like their probability of success going up when the Specialists are there? At least it seemed like Layla and Nabu weren’t mad at each other, but they probably only put that in to make them seem as in love as possible before killing him off.
Then there’s the drama with Andy and the band, where ALL of the specialists (except Nabu I guess) get jealous over THREE Earth dudes? Huh?? They even give Timmy a line saying he’d prefer if the girls didn’t hang out with those guys but like, Tecna hadn’t even interacted with them? She’s not a flirty person at all and they’ve mostly been a stable couple what?? Helia doesn’t say anything either when the Specialists storm off after the repainting incident like, I figured those two and Nabu would at least be a little apologetic before deciding to go with the others since the atmosphere’s been ruined already.
Drama wouldn’t ruin the season for me if it didn’t come at the expense of character development because honestly… I can’t think of there being any individual arcs for any of the girls that I actually liked? But more on that later, this got long enough so I’ll just talk about the characters in a separate post lol
I thought the outfits were fitting enough if they were going for Earth in 2009, definitely not a fan of those skirts though. Also hate that pink is so prevalent for Stella and Bloom… where are the yellow highlights? The moon element? I like Tecna’s the most and it kinda makes me wish her Enchantix was a little more utilitarian. Don’t get me wrong it’s lovely, but considering her Magic Winx outfit covered her up from head to toe, it just felt like a bit too big of a jump. Anyway, Musa’s Believix transformation was the most fun, although I also really loved the animation on Tecna’s wings and how they kind of just string into existence, it’s so cool.
As you’d expect I’m not all that fond of there being more transformations above Enchantix, it could have worked if they had Believix simply have a specific power set or be tied to Earth somehow, but instead they had it be more powerful and paved the way for countless transformations and product placement from then on (especially with those sets of wings, good lawd). I remember when Fate came out and people were going on about how the original show was all about pretty transformations and fashion, which was jarring to me because I only remembered the first season, where they had like two civilian outfits. I can see now why that belief prevails ^^; Speaking of those, there were a couple of outfit changes I thought were pretty tacky lol, although not as bad as the next seasons. I do find it funny that the Specialists were getting hung up about getting casual wear like, have you seen what the girls are strutting around in? Some of your outfits could be worn in real life, Riven even wore the freakin’ Union Jack!
One more thing about Believix: I really did not get the powers? They’re supposed to get it by making people believe in fairies, right, but then once they achieved Believix they could just use its powers to make people believe? Not just that, but they basically change people’s mindsets on a lot of other things too, which uh… is basically mind alteration and I don’t think I really like that. At one point Roxy makes the good point that you have to really connect with the people you’re trying to convince but I guess they just took that a little too literally and went digging into people’s brains. Sorry but, you can’t solve Earth’s problems by just completely changing people’s personalities.
Speaking of that, I did not like the whole schtick about Earth being a shithole because all the fairies are gone. In general, I just don’t like when kids shows take big problems like this and solve them in a very simple way (like letting wild animals roam free through the city what??), but I also just don’t get why they’re making a big deal about Earth being “out of balance” because, well, that’s an entirely relative assumption to make. And one that doesn’t make any sense in this universe because like, most of the realms in the Magic Dimension are basically dictatorships? Fancy, royal ones but still central powers with things like entrenched classism on Eraklyon or arranged marriages on Andros… at one point Musa makes a comment about Earth when she sees a homeless dude but like, are we forgetting Musa’s mother literally died because she couldn’t afford medication?? Sorry girl but there are actually some places on my backwards planet where that simply wouldn’t happen.
This kind of carries on with the Earth fairies and their vengeance against humans. I understand why they’d be mad at us for trashing the planet but it felt pretty heavy-handed even for a kids show, with Diana feeling the trees being cut down. I mean, fair enough but you’d think the whole planet was down to its last tree with how thick they were laying it on. I did like that with characters like Diana, Sybilla, Aurora and Nebula we got to see some variation and change in the Earth fairies’ attitudes towards their queen, humans and vengeance, rather than all being a hivemind that feel whatever the plot needs them to. As I said I wish we’d been given more time with them so their change of heart seems more believable and so we could see some of them be more useful in turning the tides. Maybe they could have done this through more interaction with humans; Helia was going on about how fascinating they are but the show never really gives us more detail on what exactly makes Earthlings more different to people in the Magic Dimension. There are some cultural differences of growing up without magic that may have been interesting to look at.
Okay that’s that on that, part 2 will mostly be me rambling about the characters.
On Yamihime & the Politics of Toxic Loyalty
I think about Yami’s history and his struggles, and wonder just how deeply Julius’ arrival affected his psyche. Here’s a man who collects squad members like they’re Pokemon, and has no problem giving them a home and a military title because, quite frankly, that’s what Julius did for him, and because Julius gave him a reason to live, then maybe the people Yami collects will also find their will to live.
Except Julius didn’t pick him off the street because he felt bad for him; he took him in because he had magic power, and magic/mana is what makes the man in Clover Kingdom.
It’s not to say Yami doesn’t know he’s a cog in the greater Clover military machine; I’m sure he does! I just think it’s important to note that even though Yami is aware he was brought in to be a tool, he has no problem making others tools as well, because his perception of loyalty and service is inherently warped. For Yami, it’s OK to give your life for someone, no matter what kind of person they are, if you owe your loyalty to that person. It’s also probably why Yami, despite being so perceptive and intelligent, has never questioned Julius’ authority, even though the kingdom is a shitshow from the capital all the way to the boonies.
Asta is critical to Yami’s narrative because Asta, despite being a magicless manlet, is also the only person in the Black Bulls who doesn’t come into the squad looking for comfort, family, and a place to belong. Asta already has all of that. He has comfort in the fact that he’s an ambitious little fuck, he has a family he’ll literally die for, and his home is Hage. The Magic Knights are a path to his goals, not the goal itself. This is a clear opposite of the Black Bulls at large, who are mostly depressed, prone to loitering, and have no motivation to heal and improve their magical abilities because they’re all suffering from depression, anxiety, etc., and the Black Bulls and Yami are really all they have, because they have nothing and no one else.
Prior to Asta’s arrival, the Black Bulls were largely fractured, and barely functioned as individuals, much less a team. Yami did nothing to foster camaraderie. He didn’t have to! They didn’t have to be loyal to each other, only Yami, because it wasn’t a brigade, it was a halfway house, and he was house master. Again, it’s not to say Yami willingly fostered toxicity in his ranks, but he definitely let it fester for so long that it took a whole arc for them to come together as a cohesive unit. And why? Because Asta was the only one well-adjusted enough to recognize his squad’s potential as a whole, versus Yami who wanted them to surpass their limits individually.
But through Asta, I truly believe Yami learned the meaning of family and individual agency in ways Julius could never teach him. I don’t see Yami as a father figure for the Black Bulls at all. In fact, if there’s anyone I think Yami resembles the most, it’s Rukia from Bleach, and that’s as a mentor, a friend, and an ideal to be achieved. Yami is someone who, despite fundamentally being a good person, is bound by his toxic loyalty to his king, wrapped in politics beyond his comprehension, and ultimately a tool who’s been sacrificed time and time again to keep up appearances. The Black Bulls are some of the strongest people in the realm, and led by the King’s ward himself, and yet no one respects the Black Bulls, and no one looks to or respects Yami as ward of the King. He’s treated like garbage despite the military clout. He’s a monster to be feared, when he could have been a beacon of hope for other immigrants, but in the greater narrative of Clover’s military, that just wasn’t possible, and so Yami’s dignity had to be sacrificed in order for him to coexist with the natives.
And now that he’s literally about to be sacrificed, I think it’s poignant that Yami smiled one last before his transformation into Yamihime. It’s his way of apologizing for his shortcomings as squad leader because, in a way, he knows it’s his fault Vanessa, Finral, Grey, Gauche, and Henry still aren’t emotionally well enough to duke it out in tough spots, and Asta can’t save them at the end of the day because Asta is but one human. Yami knows he fucked up, and that he should have tried harder, but he didn’t. Of course we know that it’s not Yami’s fault he got snatched up, but for Yami, it’s a culmination of all of his shortcomings, so he has to smile at the end, because he needs the Black Bulls to understand that it aint their fault. AKA, if we follow through with the Bleach parallel, then the Black Bulls are mini-Ichigos, with Asta being Alpha Ichigo.
The power structure that birthed the Black Bulls can’t be allowed to continue, because how many others like Yami are serving the Crown while willfully ignoring the injustices happening to the civilians? How about the crimes against military personnel? How many more Zara Ideale’s are there? How many more Vanessa’s, and Finral’s, and Henry’s? More than enough, probably, but they’re stuck in this hateful cycle because they have a central figurehead willing to sacrifice them to keep the institution running. That’s why Julius has to die, not because Julius is inherently evil (he’s not), but the institution he serves, upholds, and strengthens is corrupt and fundamentally evil. It’s the same institution that carried out a genocide, and created the tragedy of Yamihime and those like him, those who were sacrificed one way or another to keep the Crown looking pretty.
So why the wall of text? Simple. I feel like Yami’s one of those characters whose physical appearance is a reflection of his deepest insecurities. Here’s a guy who’s three hundred pounds of pure muscle and bulging neck veins, but not only is he objectively ugly, he also has the social skills of a wet leaf. He doesn’t know how to navigate socially, can’t read the room, is crazy intelligent and observant, but too damn stupid to catch a cue. And it’s not his fault! He’s dumb! Lonely! He wants friends, but he’s bad at it! So what does he do? Overcompensate with his muscles and emotionally detach himself enough that his squad members can’t get too close to him, so then he becomes more of an ideal than a person.
With his transformation into Yamihime, I think Yami is finally in a place where he’s finally humanized, not only to the Black Bulls, but to the audience as well. Now we know that despite three hundred pounds of muscles, anyone can be a victim. Despite being a physical representation of oozing masculinity, anyone can be harassed, hurt, and victimized by violent predators like Dante and Zenon. The transformation into Yamihime thus serves as the critical juncture where Yami is now a person rather than just Julius’ tool, the Black Bulls’ idealized leader, and Charlotte’s love interest. Yami is now a deeply flawed human being who has his own shortcomings and insecurities, recognizes these issues, and who has accepted his failure in order to emotionally relieve his squad of having to feel the guilt of losing him. I know I joke about the Yamihime a lot, but it really is a powerful tool when used properly, because Tabata didn’t fridge Yami, he made Yami the very human being Clover refused to believe he was.
And his rescue now is staked on his humanity, because Yami is a friend and a potential lover, and not just a monster, or a captain, or the dude who’s made of three hundred pounds of pure muscle. And with Yami’s transformation into Yamihime, it comes time for Julius to be removed from the narrative as a proponent of the old Yami and all that he stood for, because Yamihime can’t be the tool of the state after this. Yami can’t uphold the dirty institution after this because the institution has spent this whole time stripping away Yami’s humanity, so for Yami to return to Clover as Julius’ soldier does nothing to reflect the change that’s necessary for the story to further develop as a whole.
See with Yami’s humanization came Julius’ breakdown as a figurehead. I now understand why Tabata had to deage him. If he’d killed him off during the elven invasion, then he would have died a martyr and thrown the country into a civil war with a Spade invasion on its heels. No - Julius needed to be deaged so that it would be much easier for both the audience and characters to consume his true death because it’s easier to woobify a thirteen year old babie than a forty year old man. Because despite how kind Julius is to Yami, he’s still a propagator of violence and a leading figure of a corrupt institution. For Yami’s sacrifice to even make a modicum of narrative sense, Julius must die. The civil war, which has been brewing since the first chapter, is practically imminent.
tl;dr: Yamihime is an excellent developmental point for Yami, Julius needs to die in order to start the Clover civil war, Jack the Ripper is Renji Abarai and will rescue and eventually go onto marry the Yamihime, and Henry’s bussy pops SEVERELY. No, I will not be taking questions.
Would you mind sharing your thoughts about vex and Beau being cross campaign foils?
so!!!! first things first: apologies for taking weeks to answer this, finals + having adhd sometimes makes my brain turn to mush and forget every ask ive ever recieved. second of all, i’m assuming you sent me this bc of what i said in my vm vs. m9 how they view the world meta. and i’ll be real with you. i have exactly 0 memory of what was going through my head when i wrote that line, so i am simply going to type out a bunch of thoughts that i have on the similarities and differences between beau and vex and i hope that lives up to what you were expecting jsdflksjdksld
I'll detail some specifics in a moment, but overall, I think beau and vex share a very similar kind of trauma of exclusion in their formative years, that's caused them to have a lot of similar traits that manifest in different ways - for vex, she maintains control through her material posessions and beau finds an emotional control in her asshole-ness. I've broken this down into 5 points on which I think comparing the two really emphasizes that claim:
1. daddy issues: both beau and vex have awful no good terrible very bad dads. both syldor and thoreau can suck my ass. they both raised their kids with little love and impossible-to-meet expectations, alientating them and leaving them with lifelong feelings of inferiority and unbelonging. If beau and vex were to meet, i think they would have a very friendly toast to shitty dads, and then have a good drunk vent about it an hour later.
but, at the same time, the actual minutae of their trauma and the ways it manifests are nearly polar opposites. syldor wanted nothing to do with vex, or else wanted her to somehow become a full elf. her issue was that she would never be able to belong, despite her desire to, and as she grew up it lead to her being overly protective and even possessive of the people she found who DID accept her as she was.
With beau, rather than exclusion, her father created an environment of toxic inclusion. He created a role for beau to belong in, disregarding her distate for actually fulfilling it. And, as such, she ended up making herself into someone who could have no expectations and pushed away anyone who tried to set them up for her. In the end, they both came to love themselves by abandoning the woman their father wanted them to be but for vex it was the laying down of an impossible dream and for beau it was the picking up of a mantle she had feared to wear.
2. brothers: now, on the topic of family, I also think its really interesting how their interactions with their brothers play out. We've got vex and vax, tied at the hip til the very end and then some; and then we've got beau and TJ - decades apart and with beau barely acknolwedging TJ's existence. But, even that distance between beau and TJ didn't stop her caring for him when they actually met. She gave him lucky Jade, and she entertained the idea of kidnapping him to get him away from her stinko dad.
And I'd espeically like to talk about what she said outside the hag's hut - "I think Luc and TJ could be best friends", in comparison to the way Vex reacted when Vax told her was going to Zephrah with Keyleth for the year break. There's an aspect to the way they interact with their brothers that lets them slip back into those bad habits they formed growing up (NOT that i'm claiming vex and vax were like toxic for each other. but even good relationships can have unhealthy moments).
With Beau, when she offers to give her happiness so TJ can grow up safe, she's trying to take on the role she's ""supposed"" to fill - the big sister, the protector - because she failed to fill the one her father set out. And with Vex, when she grows jealous of Vax, it's because she's afraid that his leaving with keyleth is a sign that she no longer belongs in his inner circle, and she falls back on that childish, desperate desire to do anything to be accepted unconditionally.
3. romance: spoilers for 5 or so most recent m9 eps (115-120) if you haven't watched them ahead!!!!
at this point, both vex and beau have an endgame romance - percy and yasha respectively. Obviously as the m9's campaign is still playing out, that could change, but like. yasha wrote her a love letter and they're officially going on a date so i'm counting that as at least endgame-track rather than just random flirting. What's interesting to me is that they both seem to flip between the SAME roles between their (in-game) general perception and their actual pursual of romance.
Vex gets characterized as a pretty big flirt, right? She's got the winks, the casual "darling". She's flashed grog her boobs on multiple instances with little prompting. Beau, similarly, has easily the most game out of anyone in the m9. She's slept with two guest characters and at least one more npc in the events of the game. Caleb made her a fuck mirror in her room in the mansion. And yet, in both of their actual romantic endeavors, they became the shy, uncertain type.
Vex only confessed her feelings when Percy was laying dead before her, and not an hour of game play before percy kissed her in the woods, she had a talk with vax about how she was pretty sure he didn't like her that way and she didn't want to pursue it. Beau, similarly, spent a very long time convinced that yasha wasn't looking for love after zuala, especially not in anyone like her, asked everyone in the party if they thought yasha ACTUALLY liked her, just to be safe, and then still terrified to ask her out after recieving a literal love letter. I'd argue this shift comes from that same sense of unbelonging - they're very good at pretending they fit a role but doubt their actual right to take it when the opportunity is presented. This time, the role is the lover rather than the daughter.
4. authority: Both vex and beau grew up shunned by the upper crust of society, and grew to mistrust those kinds of people. And yet, both of their arcs result in them assuming such a position. Vex, thrown out of high society gets her place as a baronness, and Beau, running from leadership of her father's business ends up a top member of the Cobalt Soul. There's not a lot here, but I find it interesting how both of their stories involve them shedding their baggage regarding authority and power and assuming it in a way that they feel comfortable in - invitation by someone she trusts for vex, and a promise of freedom of will and control for beau.
5. their deadliest sins: this is the point at which their similarities culminate and transform to a fundamental difference. despite everything they share - shitty childhoods, the small piece of family that's still good, flirtiness masking shy love, and a mistrust of those in power - vex and beau are such different characters because of their biggest vices. Vex, both in game and out, is "the greedy one". She's stingy with money, she haggles for everything, she mourns the loss of physical objects. Beau is "the mean one". She cares little for people's feelings if they're not in her immediate circle, she focuses on her tough guy image, she laughs at things she knows she shouldn't.
And, over the course of the campaign, as they find unconditional acceptance, they grow away from these traits (I won't say they grow out of them) because they heal from the things causing these vices to begin with. I've always been vocal about vex's greed being a manifestation of her class insecurity, and beau's asshole-ness stemming from her fear of being forced back into another position of complacency. And I stand by that now - all the similarities in their backstories are what tally up to these different women.
Despite her careful tally of party funds and her reflexive bargaining, vex is not cruel. she is not angry on her own behalf. She saves two boys from the market in the city of brass at great personal cost, she relinquishes an entire dragon's hoard to the devastated city of Westruun, she took the time to save a baby bear from a cage when she could have just cut and run after escaping her own. She's the first one most people go to when they need a shoulder to cry on, and she's devastated when they don't (thinkin about when Scanlan left). She carved "forgiveness" into the bow she stole from a man after killing him by proclaiming how much she loved someone, because she knew anger had no place in her heart.
And Beau, Beau is a bitch and she's harsh, but she doesn't hoard or protect like vex did. she spends her money without much of a second thought. She pitches in to help her friends buy a ton of glowsticks, and she loves to indulge in material desires like drink and good food and the nicer inn room. She's a member of an organization that's about making knowledge public rather than guarding it. And, though this may be controversial, I think her position with bowlgate of "its not our problem what cali wants to do with it", her long-standing mistrust of their alliance with the bright queen and and more recently with the tomb takers of "i want to go in and talk, rather than assuming they're antagonistic, even if it puts us at a disadvantage" are both examples of this non-possessiveness too - she has no need or desire to get involved in controlling what other people are doing.
so, i guess the general conclusion here is: vex struggles to let go of things, of money, of people. beau struggles to let herself be known in case she gets wrongly interpreted again. they both fight feelings of inadequacy, they both fight the feelings of not belonging, of 'doing it wrong', they fight the perception of them as shitty people because of the shells they hide in despite their absolute hearts of gold. but at the end of the day, vex's story is one of having to lay down what could never be hers so she can carry what is, and beau's story is one of allowing herself to be known so a place can be made for her.
Hi hi!! :D ahh this is the anon who messaged u a few weeks (or months? What the hell is the passage of time) ago saying i never have time to read fics but I will 100% always try make time for yours and yours ONLY because your writing is so phenomenal I would read literally ANYTHING that you write!! And I said I was gonna read Crawling Back to You and I finally FINALLYYY got to read the first two chapters and AGHHHH ITS SO GOOD ITS SO GOOOOOOD!!!
I wanted to let you know that i appreciate all the hard work and love you put into your words! I had a rly stressful work shift but reading those two chapters helped me look forward to something!! And it helped me get thru the day so much easier!! So thank u!!! You have no idea how happy I am to see that there’s a realistic portrayal of Starscream being absolutely terrible and bitter and awful even to people who saved his life. The writing just feels much more realistic to canon and it’s so refreshing to see a slowburn with emphasis on SLOW redemption fic for Starscream, because this guy has spent millions of years being insufferable, he isn’t gonna stop anytime soon and I love how you write his perspective on things!! Scheming little bastard who still went through hell so he’s still skittish from the events of the third season and the movie but he still has that bravado and confidence that we loved to see from the earlier seasons and you manage to mix it together and make the PERFECT Starscream. Ughhh I’ve never read anyone else write him as perfectly as you do!!! and the way you describe injuries? The way you describe emotions?? Even little movements like the way someone gestures to someone else by lifting their chin a certain way or how you describe their voice hitching or!! Or how a transformer fuckin!!! TRANSFORMS!!! I always love how you write them it’s like I can practically hear the khh-ch-chk-chk bOOM!! I literally sit at my desk whispering “oh my goshhh you’re so cool” out loud at the screen as if the characters could hear me LMAO I just have a really REALLY good time reading your stuff!!
ALSO I am very much thoroughly enjoying your oneshots that you write, for the other fandom!! The one with the WLWs. I forget the fandom name and I may not know who the characters are exactly but YOUR WRITING IS LIKE FOOD, A DELICIOUS BUFFET OF GLORIOUS WORDS, thank you for feeding your audience. Anyway I just really wanted to say I love your writing and it helped me get through a very difficult work week so!!! Thank you!!! 🥰💖💖💖🌟🌸💕✨
holy shit what an incredible comment <3
I remember you! And I am truly touched to my heart. I have this terrible affliction where I see characters like Starscream and (don't judge meeee) Loki, who take the genuine, horrible abuse they've suffered as a reason to be utterly shitty to others, and go:
'You. I get you. I don't agree with you, but god, I fucking get it.'
I'm very much of the opinion that no character, no matter how awful, is 'irredeemable', even if they are 'unforgivable'. Not to get all Optimus Prime up in here, but every person has the capacity to change for the better. However, while being supported on that path sure helps a lot, the people these characters have harmed owe them absolute jack shit.
It's a really interesting line to walk, between 'Starscream has been through A Lot and you can understand his warped worldview if you dig into his psyche', and 'Starscream is an imperialistic, supremacist douchecanoe who, through his desperate attempts to grasp power, has ruined pretty much every relationship he's ever had and killed a whole bunch of people'.
So... yeah! I really wanted to dig into redemption arcs with this fic, through the medium of my favourite angry bird, without vindicating or demonising him, or any other character (except Megatron... sorta... Even that's horribly complicated from Starscream's perspective, as abusive relationships often are).
It was really important to me that this fic would be, as you say, slow to the point of gruelling! Starscream has been Certified Awful for millennia; he's not gonna wake up tomorrow and realise that the drones he's been treating like shit his entire military career are actually sapient beings who deserve far better than his ‘leadership’.
He's self-obsessed, neurotic, paranoid, arrogant, and has the worst case of Chronic Backstab Syndrome in fiction, to the point where he's a TV Trope.
And I fucking LOVE him.
Anyway, THANK YOU for giving me the excuse to screech about one of my favourite characters ever. I'm so glad you found time to read, and that this story helped brighten a bad week! AND THAT YOU COULD PICTURE THE TRANSFORMATION SCENES SO VIVIDLY OKAY - they are my favourite thing to write! Peak badass.
Anywaaaay. One day I'll actually update again, lmao. I really appreciate this comment, friendo!
in other news, I’m so happy that you like my Critical Role lesbians! They mean so much to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Sorry if you've been asked this before, but how would you rank all six SGE books from strongest to weakest (they're more objective terms than "best" and "worst" tbh), and with reasons for your choices?
ooh go off, I haven’t done this sort of thing for ages shsj; this will probably be very similar to my personal ranking (how much I enjoyed them) except with one difference hhh
1) THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL (Book #1, 2013)
Worldbuilding is great, there’s good pacing in the character arcs for Sophie and Agatha, it has nice arcs for side characters like the Coven and Beatrix, it’s really funny, actually (little throwaway lines about the Ooty Queen and the Putsi Swans added so much, Sophie herself... all that) it... er, stands on its own bc it was clearly written as a standalone lmao.
Weird 2013 “not like other girls” feminism, not hugely convincing on the Tagatha, kinda sloppy w Tedros’s characterisation. Weird toxic masculinity stuff that pervades the entire series. Satire occasionally misses the mark and isn’t clear enough.
2) THE LAST EVER AFTER (Book #3, 2015)
Great character arcs for both Tedros and Agatha, genuinely convincing on the Tagatha, some great moments for side characters like Hester (the “greatest villain of them all” thing) Dot and Hort, useful, amusing and interesting introduction of past fairy tale figures like Merlin and the League of Thirteen. Guinevere thing gave a good bit of closure to Tedros and his Many, Many Issues. Good ending to the series; Sophie taking Lady Lesso’s role actually made so much sense and seemed a very fitting ending for the relationship between the two of them; it felt like it fulfilled Sophie’s Lunchtime Lectures in book 1 and it made sense with her ability and desire to transform Evil to make it reach its full potential. Callis and Agatha backstory was good and very impactful but like. That links into my issues with the book.
Callis’s death was horribly rushed and not impactful enough considering she was the only family Agatha had, and (thunder clap) (scream) the sisters twist. Aside from the fact it made people unable to ship Agatha and Sophie, it felt forced, and I have always thought it smacked of a last-minute U-turn. If you ask me, August Sader was originally intended to be Agatha’s father (”he reminded her of Stefan” was weak reasoning and I don’t believe it) and for whatever reason Soman changed his mind. Also Rafal/Sophie... bad... but she did kill him lmao so.
3) A CRYSTAL OF TIME (BOOK #5, 2019)
Genuinely impressive and outstanding characterisation of Rhian as an antagonist-- he could have been a lazily written villain, but he wasn’t, and his motivations and viewpoints were very cleverly constructed. His characterisation carries the book. His clash with Sophie and their intellectual rivalry, as well as him being a foil to Tedros, was done really well. More Kei context was nice. Lots of symbolism if you dig for it, which is fab. More development for Tedros, a flash of book 1 Agatha reappeared. Some development of Hort was good to see. Political intrigue also really great. The last supper and execution scenes were also excellent. It took Soman like 2 years to write this and while it was such a pain to wait for it, it stands head and shoulders above the other two books in the trilogy as a result.
The time thing didn’t really make... any sense??? I don’t think it was THAT relevant to be honest, since it kinda got ditched in the next book, so to centre the whole book around it was an odd decision. Also, the Reaper twist was weird and could have been replaced with something more relevant and interesting, like the Knights of the Round Table or smth. Too many new characters were introduced at once; the first-years weren’t really relevant and pushed Nicola to the background, even tho she was only just introduced. There were too many of them and it made everything chaotic. I have a conspiracy theory they were the original cast of the second series and for whatever reason Soman ditched them and went back to the original cast; they’re suspiciously well developed and there’s a lot of them.
4) QUESTS FOR GLORY (Book #4, 2017)
I KNOW. I KNOW. I don’t really like Quests for Glory much, but technically it is not as bad as OTK or AWWP.
Sets up for a new conflict very effectively, neatly establishes the darker tone which is to come with the new trilogy. Rhian twist done effectively and genuinely surprising (...if you didn’t do what I did and read the last page first) the conspiracy between him and Japeth was constructed pretty well. Extra worldbuilding branching out into the Woods is always nice to see. It’s a very good setup in general; introducing all these questions about Camelot Beautiful and the coronation portrait and the white tower no one’s allowed in etc etc. Chaddick’s death pretty impactful and was kind of a “you’re alone, actually” wakeup call for Tedros, which added to the darker tone of trilogy two (despite it being disappointing, since we wanted to see Chaddick for longer). Nicola introduced as a good new addition to the main cast! Although we didn’t like what it did, it did it well.
Though it could be argued to be realistic, it’s extremely frustrating to see everyone regress on their character development in TLEA, especially Sophie, and the promised “court intrigue” didn’t get delivered. Not much time spent in Camelot for a series called “The Camelot Years”. Unnecessary deaths (like Lancelot) and the amount of emphasis placed upon the Lion and Snake thing becomes ridiculous when you consider how it basically becomes irrelevant once Rhian dies. Tagatha beef unpleasant to read and does no justice to their TLEA development. Fake deep and too elaborate in some places, becoming hard to understand. Slightly too reliant on incompetent adults and idiot plot hh.
5) ONE TRUE KING (Book #6, 2020)
Very strong for individual character moments, like Tedros in the genie’s cave or preparing for his execution, and Sophie’s ALL OF YOU WILL DIE (though sadly that wasn’t followed through with bc she didn’t kill the Mistral Sisters, which sucked). Merlin’s death was well done-- I wish it wasn’t like, right before the wedding, but it was foreshadowed well and written well, too. Lots of individual funny moments, like “incorrect, wee little man” and Agatha persistently being like “can I have your apple I’m hungry” even tho the apple was integral to Tedros uhh, not dying. I know she didn’t know but she should have guessed it was important lmaoo. Book 1 Agatha, welcome back for a brief moment there. Relationship between Sophie and Agatha was also nice in this one!
For a book meant to resolve a whole series, it didn’t really resolve anything-- Nicola got abandoned, hardly anyone completed their Quests, no School Master, Sophie’s ending left with a big ?, plus a lot of questions and themes from QFG were abandoned. The resolutions it does make are either weak or downright weird-- the Chaddick twist was out of nowhere and makes a huge leap of logic that doesn’t make sense (the ask I got the other day detailed this) and the Camelot Beautiful thing was very irrelevant and not very exciting. Felt like a very fanservice-based book and characters bounced wildly between being good and being fucking awful (Hort like “uwu I tried to find you some food you’d eat aren’t I nice” twenty seconds after getting trolleyed and saying they should execute Agatha?? Tedros didn’t do shit either. Men. Ffs. Never Tedros would have broken his legs just saying.) LGBT stuff was just?? odd?? why did the senile goat have to say trans rights in the most confusing way possible. why was hestadil so nebulous and vague and all implication-y. idk. it was just... odd. I feel like Soman tried too hard to be clever and tied himself up in knots with this book. Another one where it feels like he changed his plan halfway through, the first being QFG.
6) A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES (Book #2, 2014)
Excellent development for Tedros, Sophie and Lady Lesso most prominently. Hester taking Aric’s knife for Agatha really solidified the Coven’s loyalty to her for book 3. Agatha’s turmoil at the beginning of the book is very realistic and understandable, since Sophie is just being mean as shit again-- love the scene at the wedding where she panics and wishes for Tedros, it’s well done and builds up from previous scenes really effectively. Evelyn Sader is a good villain; not as good as her first son, obviously, but her butterflies were a clever invention and plot device to make everything harder. That statue of Tedros and Guinevere... chilling tbh.
I have absolutely no clue what this book was going for, and that’s a problem. Radical feminism bad? Bc... yeah, but that wasn’t... quite how it read?? Also, personal love for Tedros being a bitch aside, we are not exactly encouraged to like Tedros for the first half of this book, and he feels kinda entitled-- tho towards the end he like, has a bit of a moment and he is one of the only SGE characters who I ever remember explicitly apologising for doing shit. The clumsy handling of Yara is also weird-- how did Soman write that and go “...yeah, Tristan, who was gay” rather than it being THAT YARA WAS TRANS??? labels in the woods or no, it was pretty damn obvious. Like. Could the potion not have been a magic trans allegory?? No?? ...ok.... honestly this book is just a bridge between SGE and TLEA and most of it sort of becomes irrelevant by book 3. It really is a very strange book sjhskjs.
Oh no i used this up with Ravkinnies ranting sessions... uhhhh idk oh wait nope, got one left in my brain
I wished Bruce would have stayed dead and new52 had never happened. I would have liked to have kept Dick and Damian as batman and robin and continue for a while, and watched the batfam slowly grow stronger, working together as seen in Gates of Gotham. I think Tim's Red Robin run could have been more transformative if Bruce had stayed dead, it would have been more interesting narratively. Dick was on his way to having a we need to get the family back together because i can't do everything on my own arc with Black Mirror (and partially in gates of gotham - though it was short so we didn't see the build up to the story).
I would liked to have seen Jason slowly getting the help and therapy he needed in the refurbished Arkham (Dick been pouring money into fixing it in his run) and Dick visiting and talking things out with him over time, and Jason finally being able to walk out the front doors with a clean bill of mental health. I don't think he would like live with the batfam or anything but like from their eventually maybe he could like back them up on cases. Also him just being like a civilian would be fine. Like occasionally Dick chats with him and gets/gives advice (they were really the only one who had an established relationship at the time, but i wouldn't mind if they eventually incorporated the others). Another route is Jason going the Alfred route and (i mean no way would dress as a butler) but like i would very much like to see Jason in a support type of roll rather than being a vigilante, because he's had so much violence in his life already DC let him heal.
Speaking of characters i would like to see heal, I would have liked to see Cass learn to enjoy the little things in life, learn that she deserved love and a family after she spent time in Hong Kong. I would like to see her eventually let herself enjoy life more - and realize there's more to life than vigilantism. Like ley her take dance classes, let Dick take her up on the trapeze and teach his sister the art of flying. And just god please let her have all the chocolate ice cream in the world. Eventually I like to imagine that she never even has to wear the bulky bat armor to become Batman, people just assume that's who she is (the whole idea of the urban legend restored - would a goon call the person who beat them up Batgirl or Batman argument i personally love). Dick transitions back to Nightwing (which is better for his mental health tbh) and Damian either staying as Robin, or transitions to Flamebird.
Idk i think Dick could manage the batfamily better than Bruce, and I know it's a lot to ask from him, especially because he has his own friends/family with the Titans, but the idea of Dick, Damian, Tim, Cass, Steph, and Babs (who stays as Oracle and disabled) being a little family unit of superheros (with Jason helping out Alfred) is so dear to my heart, despite the fact we haven't seen it and it's all in my head. And letting the characters grow and develop too would have been so great. Let the Titans become the new members of the JLA (or just disband the JLA and keep em as Titans), and have Tim/Cass/Steph's generation start figuring themselves out.
I think Dick would have been a really interesting mentor for Duke to have, and we could have had triple D energy going if Damian tagged along.
I think the Court of Owls arc would have been more interesting with Dick leading the family, especially because he was a former target, so it could be the perfect time for them all to (trauma) bond together if Dick got thrown in the Labyrinth, because he's the one member of the Batfamily that everyone is on like neutral-good terms with (i say Steph is prolly neutral but she cares about Tim and Damian who care about Dick). Dick understands the Joker better, and isn't as fun for Joker to mess with, so there's the possibility of Joker just giving up. I wouldn't have to read about Bruce hitting his kids anymore. Because Dick would never ever do that to his siblings, i wouldn't have to worry about seeing child/domestic abuse.
Idk sorry Bruce stans, he's had good moments and runs but I'm just... tired of DC handling him poorly in comics for like such a long time and would prefer if he just wasn't even around anymore. I liked Dick as Batman better (and the rest of Gotham did too).
firstly this is so detailed and nuanced thank you so much for writing this you're such a legend i am in awe rn lol
THIS IS SUCH A COOL IDEA WOAH WOAH. like i would miss bruce (the CORRECT bruce lol) but i just love all the stuff you mentioned - it would be nice if the batfam were closer. i think that conflict makes things interesting but there's simply so much of that in dc comics that i feel like we never really get to see some interesting dynamics between characters and this would allow for that. i mean jason and steph? they'd be SO powerful lol
i think the stuff you mentioned for jason and cass is really cool too - i like the softer stuff <3
I finished watching Loonatics Unleashed and I have Some Thoughts. I guess this is like a part 2 to the other post I made about the show so yeah.
I swear I don’t intend for everything I write to be an essay but whatever. It’s all under the cut. No massive story spoilers, but I will talk about episodes and will warn accordingly. (But who actually cares about being spoiled on the plot of Loonatics Unleashed?)
Alright so I finally figured out why Ace has laser vision. ...It’s kinda dumb but it’s because rabbits eat carrots(in cartoons). It’s... a reason at least. Still kinda sucks that it’s his only power when everyone else got 2 and some change. Kickass swords don’t count, even if they are magic. Seriously; Transformation. Duplication. Imitation. Tons of other “ation”s. They could’ve leaned into his trickster side but no. He eats carrots... so he got laser vision. Also he only ate carrots like three times in the show so wtf...
Okay so the pacing... improved somewhat in season 2. Don’t get me wrong there were still problems in some episodes but at least they learned how to build the stakes until the climax. They still sometimes went from zero to eighty after the opening credits, but at least it wasn’t zero to a hundred. Much less whiplash was had is what I’m saying.
I don’t think I really mentioned the villains before but they’re uh... generally not very good. They’ve got cool gimmicks but most of the time they’re just two stereotypes and a cliche in a trench coat. Season 2 brought back classic anthro characters to be villains a few times, and while they still weren’t well written and just referenced old bits half the time... at least they weren’t dehumanized humans.
I also don’t think I mentioned the animation so... it’s fine. It’s got cut corners but all cartoons do. Sometimes fight scenes look cool, sometimes they’re stiff. Sometimes the slapstick is well timed, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the facial expressions match the voice acting, sometimes they don’t. Speaking of voice acting, it’s good. There’s not really anything stand out to perform in the first place but everyone does a good job with what they have.
Okay random note before getting deeper into things... the intro themes were... not good. I swear the first song ended on a note that it wasn’t supposed to. The second song fixed that but added people announcing the characters which... is just worse to me. Not much else to say because I skipped them after the first few times.
(Very mild spoilers for the general plots of episodes past this point.)
Ace and Lexi improved a little in the second season, but I still find them kinda bland. Ace still just feels like zero calorie Bugs Bunny. His wit is confined to being the leader, snarky comebacks, and some decent sleuthing skills... and that’s really it. He doesn’t really play around with the villains the way Bugs would. Ace was also supposed to have an arc learning to use his magic sword which... didn’t really happen. Lexi’s defining trait outside of her powers is still that she’s “the girl” which... sucks... Uh... she upgraded to Gamer Girl in the second season which while neat, amounted to nothing outside that one episode. At the very least she was never kidnapped for more than 5 seconds?(That “honor” goes to Zadavia) They also never really brought up their backstories in a meaningful way again, which sucks.
I still like the rest of the team. Slam got an episode about wrestling that built on his backstory and was fun to watch. Duck discovered that his egg powers work differently in water which was neat and matched him being a waterfowl.(Lexi’s powers work differently in water too but it’s never brought up again). Rev is still Rev and I still love him. He got an episode about his family and struggle to impress them(specifically his parents) despite his career choice which was also neat, but I will be coming back to this episode later. Tech is also still Tech and I also still love him. But uh, every character and also me wanted to see him get out of the lab more, and then he got like a nibble of an episode to get out of the lab, and then the show was over. Oof.
Speaking of Tech, it might be for the best he hardly ever left the lab because his powers are... possibly way too effective against all the robots and machines the team fights. Now, him being “overpowered” could’ve been used as a fun writing challenge. Robot goons aren’t a good option for villains anymore. Fighting against him in a city filled with metal is harder. Villains can’t rely on simply killing him thanks to his regeneration. Fight scenes including Tech would have to be handled in a fun and interesting way. But... no. In a team with two tech guys, the one with super speed and flight comes with while the one who can control metal and literally can’t die stays behind. Oh well. Doubt they could’ve added him into more fights without accidentally dumbing him down anyway.
Oh crap I forgot to talk about Zadavia! Uh... she exists. She’s the team’s boss who sends them out on missions. Uh... I can’t talk too much about her without spoiling what little overarching plot this show has, but just know that she’s neat, but affected by the usual sexism going on in the show’s writing.
(Character and episode spoilers past this point.)
You know, for being The Loonatics the main cast wasn’t very loony. You know who were though? Basically all the villains. Yeah I don’t wanna go there but oops here I go anyway. It’s pretty messed up that all the main characters’ zany traits were dialed down, while the defining feature of practically every villain (besides their stereotypes)is that they’re insane. I mean, if you’re looking for good mental illness rep in The Looney Tunes you’re gonna be disappointed, but at least in the shorts almost every character was a little unhinged and a bit of an asshole, making none of them stand out for those traits specifically.
Also messed up is that a lot of the villains are disfigured and made fun of for it by the main cast. Hot take of the century, but I think making fun of people for having a big head or only one eye is... bad. Oh and if they’re a woman then they’re also judged on how hot they are. Actually all women in the show are subjected to sexist writing. I remember like one episode where women were treated with a sliver of respect for a split second and that was in the obligatory “the cast comes across an island of amazon women” episode. However since most of the time was spent painting them as villains until the “actually sexism is bad” ending, there was hardly a moment of reprieve from the bullshit if a woman was on screen.
I’m not the best person to speak on this but uh... it’s fucked up that since literally every notable human is a villain, all the people of color are bad guys, right? Like, obviously it’s not as bad as some of the shit the old shorts pulled, but that’s like saying getting punched is not as bad as getting stabbed. It’s true... but I’m sure most people would prefer neither.
And here’s where I bring up that Rev episode I mentioned earlier. Rev’s parents are racist against coyotes (cartoons sure love to make carnivores allegories for black people don’t they?) and obviously with Tech E. Coyote being his close friend, that causes trouble. ...Right? Uh, no. They say some racist crap to Tech, and that’s it. There is not even an attempt to correct their behavior from anyone. It’s just treated as some unfortunate quirk. In fact the episode’s conflict actually revolves around Rev’s brother, Rip. Honestly, I doubt that they could’ve handled a decent “racism is bad” episode anyway. But they could’ve also... just not brought up racism if they couldn’t handle it? I’m sure having no racism topic at all would be better than having Tech just take the parents’ racist bull crap lying down and then help Rev impress them with an invention he doesn’t get credit for. Also at one point Rev says if Tech wasn’t a coyote and a guy he’d kiss him, which has two uncomfortable implications, but this section is already too long.
(Spoilers end here.)
Overall... yeah the show’s not very good. Of course it wasn’t. It was always going to be a little garbage. And no not because of the darker style or strange setting or any of that superficial crap. Team dynamic shows are popular and with Teen Titans doing so well WB probably thought they might as well shove out a 2 season Looney Tunes version to grab a little more cash, probably minimizing the budget to squeeze out as much profit as possible. If anyone working on the show was passionate about it, I doubt they had the budget or time to act on most their ideas.
Still, there were things to like. There are some funny jokes throughout the show, a few of which even managed to come out of Ace’s mouth. Danger Duck was literally just Daffy and he’s always great. Ironically, Rev and Tech were the most fun to listen to, and also to watch interacting in general. Slam didn’t do much but was a sweetheart who deserves success. There managed to be some decently twisty twist villains, if only because Disney ruined my brain with their ceaseless and lazy attempts at them, and I wasn’t looking out for them in this show. And, while almost nothing was properly developed, at least the concepts and characters are fun to think about?
I can’t say I’d recommend this show to everybody, but uh... if you’re a Furry with low standards and too much free time like me, maybe you’ll like it? Just go in with low expectations so when nice things happen you’re decently surprised.
Have you ever written about why you love Klaus? I see antis who say he's just as bad as Damon etc. But I think at the least he's a better and more complex portrayal of what Damon was meant to be. I think Joseph's performance, and the way Klaus isn't pushed as "good", and his development etc. are what make him different and interesting. He's so complex! But I'd love to hear your thoughts/analysis of Klaus?
I have! And I agree with much of what you have said. Here are a few snippets from posts where I have previously spoken on Klaus (and Klaroline):
(I don’t mention Joseph’s performance here but I am OBSESSED with it, and do not think there is a single person who could have brought Klaus to life the way Joseph Morgan did. I feel the same way about Kai Parker and Chris Wood.)
Why do you love Klaus?
Oh wow, he is SUCH a complex character. So many layers, so much story, so many shades of grey. So much evil and trauma but so much good hidden in the darkest corners of himself. His motives are always so fascinating and the relationships he chooses to invest in are always heartbreakingly impactful to his life. He is the best villain and the best anti hero and had a redemption arc for the ages. Not to mention he’s charming, witty, funny, soft and scary all at once.
Please explain the klaus allure, he's like Damon to me. Don't care for him, and lowkey unredeemable. (On season 6 of VD and 2 of originals)
Not to get too deep into it, Klaus is different because the thing that makes Damon so frustrating is he’s painted as a hero. He is never held accountable for his actions, he’s allowed to do horrific things like rape Caroline and kill Jeremy (Elena’s fucking brother) and be forgiven in a matter of seconds. There is not one other character on the entire TVD series who gets to commit those types of atrocities but carry home the hero trophy, or win the girl. Klaus is a clear villain. Not a hero. Is he at times, an anti hero? Yes, especially as seasons go on. But most of all, he’s complex. He’s so layered, and his motives are so interesting. I’m fascinated by him as a character. And of course, he always pays for what he does. He may temporarily win, but he always has eventual consequences. And those consequences lead him to grow as a character. Even if you don’t see him as redeemed by his death in TO finale, he’s still had an incredible story and to me is probably the best antagonist the CW has ever seen. Plus don’t even get me started on women. Damon has sex with Elena when she’s sired to him, he threatens her and forces her to make decisions she doesn’t want for herself. He is legit poison in her life. Klaus, for all his bad qualities, never does this to Caroline. He always gives her autonomy over her story. He never pushes her to love him. When she finally, finally, FINALLY admits she loves him in the last few episodes of TO, she has come to that conclusion completely on her own, after years of being separated, and running their relationship through her mind, being faced with the thought of losing him. There’s a big difference between being a character that does good and a good character.
Here’s a response about why Klaus and Stefan are defended more than Damon and his relationship with Elena, etc:
First of all, Elena is definitely not a slut just because she got with Damon. That word honestly needs to be tossed out of the English language. Women can get with whoever they want, whenever they want, and that’s fine by me. I will say I don’t like what being with Damon did to Elena’s character -- it made her a doormat, Damon was incredibly controlling, took away the headstrong aspect of who Elena was, and Elena never made Damon pay for all of his actions -- he literally raped her best friend and then she married him, and I hate that.
As far as Stefan and Klaus, here’s the thing: Damon was always treated as someone who was, more or less, just like Stefan. Sure, he wasn’t the “straight hero” like Stefan was, but he was still considered a hero/protagonist, and he never -- and I mean never -- had to pay consequences. Stefan did terrible things (although I’m not sure it’s confirmed he ever raped anyone, that’s beside the point for this) but literally tormented himself for doing so, and lived a life so plagued with the guilt he almost welcomed death when it finally came. We saw this constantly throughout the 8 seasons, and especially in the final season, when he finally gets to turn back into a human, and the relatives of his past victims come back to haunt him. Then he dies. The guy could not catch a break. That’s not even mentioning that he was essentially an addict, and it’s what caused him to be a ripper for most of his darker days. Fans don’t have to be outraged because the show does it for us. Damon never had to go through anything like Stefan did, and all his bad actions were just because he wanted revenge and was petty -- he wasn’t addicted to blood, he just liked being messy and horrible -- and the writers were too obsessed with making him a witty fan favorite, so they gave him a pass for everything. I find that infuriating. He was WILDLY selfish, and that was NOT dealt with enough.
Then there’s Klaus, who is literally one of the most complex villain-to-anti-hero characters I’ve ever seen come on my screen, let alone the CW. He was meant to be introduced as a full antagonist -- and it was played that way! We were terrified of him for like 10 episodes before he even stepped on screen. He was terrible and did horrible no good things and in the first few seasons that’s how it read, almost always. As we got to know him, we learned his motives and reasons for being the way he was -- the rejection and isolation he faced from his father, etc -- but even though that explained why he was the way he was, it never gave him a pass, and the writers were very sure to keep true to Klaus’ nature, even in his softer, more vulnerable moments. Klaus truly didn’t turn into an anti-hero until the last few seasons of The Originals, when he had Hope, and learned how to grow from being a father. That’s a different show, so I won’t get into it, but it’s all about perspective. People love Klaus because he’s an incredibly complex character with a very dynamic storyline and Joseph Morgan killed the role. You can love a character and know they are evil -- we are allowed to love villains just as much as we love heroes, as long as we are loving them FOR BEING villains, or for how rich their story is.
And to round it out, you didn’t ask about Klaroline, but here’s a post I made about it anyway:
It’s not to say Klaroline didn’t have their issues–they did. But the thing about Klaus and Caroline is that Klaus was always painted as a clear antagonist. He was complex and he had shades of grey but he was never meant to be the hero. Caroline clearly saw this, and never put up with any of his mind games. She was strong and independent and THAT’S why he loved her (he says so, multiple times). She, as she stated from the get-go, was “too smart to be seduced by him.”In addition, Klaus never forced Caroline into anything. Everything that happened between them was on her own free will -- she made her own decisions. Yes, he promised to never come back if she would just admit how she felt about him, but come on -- that’s still something she WANTED to do. She didn’t have to kiss him or sleep with him. She chose all those things.It wasn’t until Klaus spent years away from her, had a daughter, and found his redemption slowly, that Caroline finally cracked -- that he finally became the guy that deserved to be with her, and she felt that.
So as much as I hated that I had to wait 8 years for them, I think it was the right way to do things. By the time Caroline admitted she loved him, he was the person she always wanted him to be–the person she always knew he could be.Klaus did terrible, horrible things. But he was also clearly upfront about that, and Caroline never gave him a pass, either. He had to earn her respect before he earned her love. You also never saw (before Camille) Klaus with another woman. In fact, before Caroline, Klaus never so much as looked at a woman–he was almost an asexual being. Caroline was a tender spot for him, an exception. He transformed when he was with her.”
In addition to ALL these things, their chemistry was absolutely palpable, and they were written in such a breathtakingly romantic, yet playful and lovely way, you couldn’t help but be drawn to them -- they were magnetic on screen, and they sucked you in every time they were together.
ADDENDUM: Just to add -- because a lot of this is what Caroline did for Klaus, I want to say that Klaus was such a great fit for Caroline as well. He dared her to be brave, to take risks, to explore and grow and uncover new sides of herself. He opened her eyes to the world, showing her there was more than just life in Mystic Falls. He showed her what life as an immortal could be, and gave her confidence in herself, supporting her in every way he could along the way. As she says, he was never the villain of her story.
I’ve never fully talked about my feelings about season 5.
I’m mad. I’m mad it had SO MUCH POTENTIAL.
Don’t get me wrong. It had a LOT of good in it and Catradora was great. But all of it was RUSHED
Season 5 should have been spread out over 2 seasons. It’s as simple as that.
My main issue is that the side characters were discarded. They had so much story and development built around them in previous seasons and never got a resolution.
Lonnie and the Horde Squad had so much development in “Protocol.” Kyle proved his worth and saw that he had true friends. They got to talking about leaving the Horde, which was repeated when Glimmer and Scorpia showed up at the Horde. They could have joined the rebellion or just become a neutral party, but all we get of them is a cameo in season 5.
Double Trouble was so fucking hyped up in season 4, especially in the media over being the first nonbinary character in the show. They were the catalyst most of season 4’s events and even Catra’s will to change. While we did get Perils of Peekablue, they were pretty much reduced to a comedy character and were just used for some exposition. It’s very rare you see chaotic neutral characters. It would have been interesting to see if they joined the rebellion and switched to Horde Prime’s side, for example. They could have learned that burning bridges with the only friends you ever made is a horrible and lonely life. The other side characters had story arcs and character development, where was theirs? I’m working with a bunch of DT fans to make a whole AU around this concept. (@chipped-dt )
Huntara. She only had two episodes in season 4, but she deserved better. We don’t know much about her story, but we should.
And there were a lot of things we didn’t see enough of for our main characters.
Glimmer reuniting with her dad after decades of thinking he was dead???
Catra literally is the reason Angella is gone. Glimmer knows that. A resolution for that? Did they forget about the portal?
Glimmer and Bow should NOT have made up that quickly. I thought “you can be angry and you don’t have to forgive me, but I will always be here.” “Okay” thing would mean that it would show that it would take time. Glimmer and Adora didn’t stop fighting in season 4 after one episode. Forgiveness takes time.
Speaking of forgiveness taking time...Catra being held accountable for her actions but still being allowed room to change. I feel like nobody asks “why.” Why did Catra do everything she did? Why did Glimmer want to use the weapon? Understanding why is a big step towards forgiveness.
Horde Prime was hyped up to be a horrible villain, so it would have raised the stakes if we saw what he was capable of. We needed to see him in action. It sounds awful, but we needed to see him destroy worlds to actually believe he’s as big a threat as they make him out to be. The “purification” thing was a perfect example, but we don’t see much other than that.
Season 5 would have been better like this. Best Friend Squad should have spent more time on Etheria investigating Horde Prime. Then we could have seen more development of side characters. Double Trouble and Horde Squad joining the rebellion? We could have seen how they lost Brightmoon. Why they had to hide in the middle of nowhere instead of any other kingdom or town?
Save the Cat should have been the season finale. Imagine a whole season without She-Ra, and Adora coming to terms with that. Imagine seeing her using her Horde training and fighting the entire season, only to have her FINALLY transform when she saves Catra! The theories that would have followed after the season ended about where it’d go from there would be amazing.
Then season 6, the final season, could have been focused on Catra’s redemption. Adora could have learned not to internalize all her pain and unlearned her unhealthy coping mechanisms. It could have talked about how people got chipped and how it affected them. Plus adding conclusions to all the side characters’ stories. Catradora could have gotten the time and development it deserved. As in Catra and Adora actually being on the same side and coming to terms with their feelings for each other, and working through the pain their past actions caused. It could have resolved so much.
I know season 5 was focused on Catradora, and that was so important and well written in its own right. But it feels like they got a little tunnel visioned on that and neglected tying up all the other characters’ stories they previously established. I don’t know if they were worried about it being cancelled so they rushed it, but it felt like so much was missed. And it makes me sad.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! What would you have liked to see?
Darkness - Ectoberweek 2020
Yes I wrote this one because I just really wanted to write Vlad and Danny meeting in Antonym-verse, shh. Don’t say anything.
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Sequel
“Well,” Danny said, humming thoughtfully.
“Well,” the other person agreed, his bright red eyes absurdly visible in the dark room they were in.
Since the man didn’t seem inclined to talk, Danny didn’t bother to, either. Instead he started peering around, blinking his own vivid green eyes. Even though his retained night vision usually did him little good, he was glad to have it, now. He highly doubted ordinary humans would’ve been able to see in the pitch black they were in.
Unfortunately, the room did not include any hints as to where he was, nor why he was here.
“You’re Danny, aren’t you?” the man suddenly asked, his red eyes narrowed. “The Fenton’s adopted son?”
Danny hummed. He wasn’t sure if he was legally adopted, the human world had so much complicated paperwork, but they certainly seemed intent on counting him as their son. “Yeah,” he finally agreed, figuring he should vocalize. “But I don’t think I know you. Do I?”
The man visibly considered that, weighing options against each other. Finally he offered a hand to Danny. “Vlad.”
“Well, you already know my name, obviously.” Danny shot him a grin as he took the hand and shook it. “But I’m Danny.”
“And you’re half-ghost,” Vlad said, a strange emphasis on the ‘half-ghost’. “Aren’t you?”
“Yeah, well, so are you,” Danny pointed out with a shrug. “I think that the more pressing questions are “where are we?” and “how did we get here?”, don’t you?”
Vlad hummed at that, expression somewhere between pleased and aggravated. Someone was digging for information, huh? “Yes, I suppose you’re right. You don’t know either, then?”
“Nope,” he agreed easily, taking his eyes off of Vlad to look around again. The room was empty and featureless, absolutely non-distinct in how bland it was. “But! I don’t think we’re in the Ghost Zone.”
“How can you tell?”
“Not nearly enough ectoplasm in the atmosphere.” Danny leaned over to knock on the wall. “And these are solid. Humans can go through walls in the Ghost Zone.”
“You seem to know a lot about the Ghost Zone.” Vlad’s eyes narrowed once more.
“Yeah, well.” Danny paused, reconsidered. Vlad didn’t seem like a ghost, not like him. Vlad seemed like a human. If Danny could become part human as a ghost, why couldn’t a human become part ghost? “I guess I spent a good bit of time there.”
“And your parents?” Vlad pressed, cold disinterest in his voice.
Danny snorted, dismissive. “You mean my biological parents? Dunno. Can’t remember them. That’s why the Fentons took me in, y’know? Now can we please focus on getting out of wherever this is before we continue the interrogation?”
“Yes, of course,” Vlad said, graciously. Like this was anything to be gracious about. Danny bet that if he’d been in full control of his powers he could’ve beaten the other half-ghost easy. But, alas. He was still fighting to control his core, never mind use his powers properly. He would have to settle for civilized human behavior.
“Good.” Danny turned away from Vlad, walking along the wall, one hand trailing over it. The whole thing felt solid in a uniquely human way. Definitely no ghosts involved here.
The door, when Danny reached it, was no less solid. He grabbed onto the rounded doorknob and jangled it, but there was no give. Definitely locked. “Yeah, we’re not getting out this way.”
Vlad, who still hadn’t moved, the ass, hummed thoughtfully. “I suppose we will have to use our powers to leave, then. I see no cameras of any sort, do you?”
“No,” Danny admitted, releasing the door and looking around just to be sure. “I suppose you’re right. Some intangibility and invisibility should get us out.”
“Yes, indeed.” Vlad crossed his arms, waiting for a moment before arching his brow at Danny. “Well, go on then.”
“Me?” He scoffed. “It was your idea. You go first.”
The man stared at him for a moment longer, his red eyes boring straight into Danny’s, before he sighed. “Fine, then. But only because I suspect I cannot hope to out-stubborn a teenager, let alone one raised by Jack Fenton.”
Danny quirked an eyebrow at that unexpected hostility. Sure, he’d only known Jack for a month or two, but still. He seemed like a good man.
Vlad’s transformation was similar to Danny’s own. A spark of light from the chest, from the core, forming into rings which passed over the body, and shifted it from one state to the other. Admittedly Vlad’s were bizarrely black, while still giving off light, but it didn’t really matter. Not now, at least.
No, Danny was far more interested in Vlad’s ghost form. He looked rather like a typical ghost, up to and including a thematic appearance. And what an appearance. Vlad had gone full vampire on his looks, with pale blue skin, empty red eyes, pointed ears and sharp fangs. His hair, black in ghost form, was swept up into gravity-defying points, and his clothing did not match the suit he’d been wearing at all.
Hell, the guy even wore a cape. What kinda person did that?
But… Vlad had gone and shifted to his ghost form, so Danny supposed he’d better follow suit. Mentally crossing his fingers that his powers would hold—his core was still settling back into proper stability after his accident—he called his core to the forefront of his existence. Light flashed as he, too, transformed into a ghost.
Vlad quirked an eyebrow at him, judgment heavy in the air. “A jumpsuit, boy, really? You are certainly a Fenton, aren’t you?”
“It’s Phantom, actually,” Danny correctly idly. “The jumpsuit is just a coincidence.” He lifted up from the floor, trying to judge how well his core was doing that day. “Now come on, I don’t have all day.”
“And you think I do?” Vlad scoffed, but started floating as well. “I will go first. I expect I will be more likely to recognize where we are than you.”
Well, he wasn’t wrong, but he didn’t have to be so haughty about it. “Sure, knock yourself out.” Danny swept out an arm in a wide arc to underline the statement, throwing in a sarcastic bow as well.
The gesture clearly wasn’t lost on Vlad, but he apparently made the choice to ignore it, flying towards one of the walls and flickering invisible before he hit it. With a roll of his eyes, Danny followed, focusing his senses on the feel of Vlad’s core so he could track the man while invisible.
Outside it was… also dark, admittedly, but not as hopelessly pitch-black as inside. A glance upwards confirmed that it was a regular dark—stars barely visible due to a nearby city, and the new moon that was supposed to come that night.
Vlad was still nearby, although invisible, so Danny let himself drift over. “Well,” he said when he was close enough, keeping his voice low since they were still invisible. “I don’t think we missed much time. The moon phase is correct.”
“Hm. And what do you know of where we are?” Vlad asked, a tone of curiosity layered under the smarminess of his voice. “Or have you spent all your time looking up?”
“I thought you were going to focus on our location?” Danny shook his head, realized Vlad couldn’t see, then decided to look around anyway.
“Well, at least we’re not far from home,” he said, feebly.
They were on the outskirts of Amity Park.
“You aren’t, no.” Vlad huffed, a sound of displeasure. “Unlike you, however, I live in Wisconsin.”
Cool. That meant very little to Danny. He was pretty sure that it was a state in the country he was living in, but where, or how far away it was? Absolutely meaningless.
“Okay, well… If you know the Fentons you can probably stay over?” He let his invisibility drop, since the strain on his core was rather unnecessary. The people of Amity Park didn’t look up enough to care about ghosts in the sky. “And if you didn’t… Well, they probably would let you stay over anyway. They’d love to talk more about your half-ghost-ness.”
“Joy,” Vlad muttered, and he could not possibly have put more distaste in the word. “And you do not care to stay invisible, then?”
“I can’t keep it up forever, dude.” Danny shrugged, letting his legs blend away into a tail as he drifted in the direction towards home. “Besides, I know Amity Park. It’s a safe place to fly without invisibility, trust me.”
Vlad scoffed, but dropped his invisibility as well. “Very well, then. Lead on.”
Danny nodded back, then shifted into proper flight, making sure to keep his speed fairly low. As annoying as it was to have to hold back, he knew he couldn’t make full use of his powers, not while his core was still recovering from the transition. One day, hopefully, he’d get back to his prior strength.
Still, that did make him wonder. It definitely seemed like Vlad was a human who’d become half-ghost. How did that work, compared to Danny himself? How strong was Vlad? Did he need to wait for his core to mature the usual way? That almost seemed easier to Danny than what he was going through. A slow progressive growth, rather than having all these powers and not having the power to use them.
And Vlad had conveniently skipped around explaining how he knew the Fentons, too. Honestly, he was kind of giving Danny the creeps. Something about his behavior was just… off. Weird.
Or maybe that was just how slimy he was, how haughty, how superior. Yugh.
Vlad didn’t try talking to him while they were flying to FentonWorks, although he did raise a questioning eyebrow at the neon sign when they landed behind it.
“The glow of the sign will hide our light,” Danny explained with a shrug. He’d been told by Jazz that the sign was an oddity among humans, but he didn’t think it was that weird. “We can enter the house through the door up here.”
“Why not phase inside?” Vlad asked, crossing his arms. “That way no one will see us.”
“True. But it’s also rude to go inside without announcing yourself.” Danny grinned at Vlad, displaying his own sharp teeth, before releasing his core to shift back to human form. The flashing light was barely visible beyond the glow of the sign. “Coming, Vlad?”
The other half-ghost sighed, making a motion like rolling his eyes—despite the fact that they were empty in his ghost form—but transformed back into human form as well. “I would’ve thought that using ghost powers meant we were no longer following human sensibilities, but it’s your house.”
Human sensibilities? What, has no one ever told this guy the rules of lairs in the Ghost Zone? Yikes. “You do realize that it’s a thing in the Ghost Zone too, right? Not randomly wandering into people’s lairs?”
“And how would you know?” Vlad sneered back, his eyes dark for the first time since Danny had met him. “You’re what, fourteen? And clearly new to being half-ghost, too.”
“Yeah!” Danny snapped, feeling his core kick up a notch. He was so tired of this asshole. “Yeah, I’m new to being half-ghost! Because I was a full ghost before this!”
He leaned in closer to Vlad, seeing the reflection of his glowing eyes in Vlad’s. “Just because you think you’re a big deal doesn’t mean you are. You don’t know shit, Vlad.”
Satisfied that he’d gotten his point across, Danny whirled around, pulling open the door and climbing down the stairs. After a moment, he heard Vlad follow.
“You are… a ghost turned half-human?” Vlad asked, quietly. “Not the reverse?”
“Not like you, no,” Danny confirmed, opening the door to the upper floor hallway. “But the Fentons will still want to talk to you.”
“No.” Vlad stopped before crossing the door. Danny, too, stopped, turning around to face Vlad again. “No, I don’t think that that’s going to happen.”
“I thought I had found someone like me. For that, I was willing to put up with Jack Fenton, at least for the moment. But now?” Vlad scoffed, a derisive sound. “For a poor ghostly imitation? No, certainly not. Goodbye, Phantom.”
With that, Vlad whirled around, vanishing from sight. Danny could still track his core—apparently Vlad had shifted forms almost immediately—but he was, in fact, leaving.
“Well. That just happened,” Danny muttered to himself as Vlad left the premises entirely. “Wonder what the chances are that the Fentons know more than one guy named Vlad.”
He shrugged to himself, continuing down to the living room, where his family waited. Guess he had some more mysteries to solve now.
Like that room. What the fuck was up with that?
Okay, I'm reading Chap18, and I really hope this comment won't hurt your feelings because I love your fic and I really just want to understand why you wrote it this way, but I have to tell you that for the first time I've been disapointed with Diamants AU. I already felt it was going this way with Daphné, Arthur, Vallès, Emma and Alexia being LGBT, but I kind of felt betrayed with the Yann/Alex thing, and now I'm sensing Manon and Daphné will be together at some point too and ...(1)
...I don't understand why you made all your characters LGBT. I get that they are under-represented in most of the books and shows, but with Diamants I'm kind of feeling like being staight is a bad thing, like it's either boring or you're juste an asshole. I've always loved Skam because it shows that very different people can be friends and help each other no matter their religion, sexuality... and this kind of felt like the only reason they stand together is they're all LGBT (2) and I guess this comes from personal experience but that would have been so much more powerful to have straight people being as much invested in this war as the others. Honestly I don't see the point of Yann, Alex, Emma, Manon or Arthur not being straight, for me it doesn't bring more to who they are. This really feels like they would be nothing if they were straight. So I juste wanted to ask you why you decided this? Again, really hope this won't hurt you... (3/3)
hey anon. So, I’m going to assume this comes from a place of good faith and a sincere desire to understand, and explain my choices. That said, I do have to say that even though it didn’t really hurt me (it mostly made me laugh), it did make me a little angry too, because there are a lot of harmful implications in your messages.
1) First of all, about you “not seeing the point” of making certain characters LGBT. This functions under the assumption that there needs to be a reason for people to be gay, bi, trans, etc - and that straight people are the default. That is...really not great. People are gay in real life, for no reason whatsoever. If you don’t go to writers asking why they made their characters straight if there is no reason in the story, you shouldn’t do this either. Characters can be queer without it being a big part of the story - it’s just a part of them, and the idea that they have to ‘deserve a place’ in the narrative through their gayness (often through a deeply tragic arc full of suffering to Educate Straight people) is deeply heteronormative, and fucked up. LGBT people are not in a story to make a point, they’re there because they exist. Yes, some of my characters have arcs that are deeply entangled with their sexuality and struggles with it. Some are not. When it comes to Yann and Alex, I didn’t think too much about it, I thought it would be funny and unexpected and give some good shenanigans. Sometimes that’s all you need.
2) As for turning a majority of the canon straight characters LGBT : listen, in the end, this is my fic, and I do it because I want to. I’m bi and my life is full of queer people. This is my normal, this is what comes naturally to me, and what I find interesting to write about. I set out to write a James Bond parody with some deep character exploration, it’s meant to be a very transformative fic. I have no obligation to stick to any Skam ‘guidelines’. I am also not aiming to write a particularly realistic story, if the secret mobster conspiracy didn’t tick you off already. The ethos of fic is to make canon your playground and to let your imagination go wild. That said, this trope you’re probably used to, of having one or maybe two queer characters and not more in any given story, I would say is the less realistic one. In real life, LGBT people often tend to cluster together, often before they even realize their sexuality, especially as they get older. But a lot of mainstream media is afraid of that because they don’t want to alienate their straight audience, so they don’t show it. I have no such compunctions. Your message seems to imply that there is a limit to how many gay people there should be in a story and I find that deeply offensive. There is incredible relief, peace and power to be found in community, especially after being struggling so much with your sexuality, like Lucas did for instance. I wanted to show that joy in this chapter, and how it plays a part in him slowly letting his walls down.
3) I notice you don’t mention Imane. She’s straight, she’s super invested in this war, she’s neither boring or an asshole, in fact she’s probably the most important character in the fic after Lucas and Eliott. She’s badass and amazing and complex and if you don’t feel she counts as ‘good straight representation’ I find that slightly odd. Is she too ‘other’ for you that you would dismiss her like that ? Also, Basile is straight lmao. There’s plenty of straight people in this fic. And plenty of people who have incredibly different life experiences ; sexuality not being the main one doesn’t change that.
4) I do find it sort of silly that you reduce the characters’ reasons for fighting to being LGBT after I spent like 400k words proving otherwise. Like - Lucas wants to avenge his mother, Eliott wants to take down his father, Imane wants to avenge her father, Daphné wants to steal jewels, Alex and Emma are bored, Alexia’s a good friend (and also bored lol), they’re trying to stop horrible people from doing horrible things, their trajectories are layered and complex and if you tell me that can all be boiled down to ‘they’re gay’ I kind of wonder if you’ve paid attention to what you’ve read at all.
5) All that said, a majority of my characters being LGBT does have a symbolic point. It’s an opposition to the world of the Shadow, which is deeply sexist, heteronormative, homophobic, and macho. It represents how questioning your sexuality can be deeply liberating and often put you at odds with the general structures of power and oppression in society and lead you to question a lot more and find people who want to fight with you. Being LGBT can (but not always) make you more politically conscious and that’s a beautiful thing that deserves to be celebrated. And in general, being a minority makes you more aware of inequality because it’s simply your daily life. So it makes perfect sense that most of these characters who fight against symbols of horrible systemic oppression would be marginalized in some way or other. Straight/cis/white/rich/abled/etc people simply have less reasons to question the status quo. I have sat through so many action movies where all-straight heroes save the day ; I’m sure you can sit through the opposite for once. If you can’t, maybe it’s a failure of empathy or imagination on your part.
6) Imagine growing up and never seeing, around you or on TV or in books or movies, someone who shares your sexuality. Or if you ever see somebody like you, they will be a joke, a punchline, deluded, instable, doomed, or worse, a predator. Imagine the sort of damage that does. Imagine that when you finally find some correct representation, you have to make do with crumbs for years. Imagine it gets slowly better, but it’s still overwhelmingly tragic, or incorrect, or stereotypes, or only told after the story is over, or you’re always the best friend, always the minority, the point of interest there to educate, always there to struggle, never the epic breathtaking romance, never centered, never allowed community and to see yourself as the norm. In the best of cases, your identity is more or less ignored. In the rare cases where you find good representation, shows get cancelled prematurely, or your faves never get as much screen time as the straight ones, or storylines get botched because somehow writers think showing queer characters happy has no value. Imagine then you decide to take matters in your own hands and write the sort of queer utopia that makes you truly happy - the one where you’re surrounded with people like you and you don’t have to constantly feel isolated and otherized and you’re badass and don’t have to take any shit and your love story is the epic one that gets centered and you have friends who understand and share your experience. And then imagine someone, instead of taking a deep breath and going back to like, 99% of all media ever made, randomly comes to you and tells you they feel ‘betrayed’ because in this one paltry little fic you wrote, their mainstream experience is not centered like usual. Tell me, how would that feel ?
Again, I don’t bear you any ill will, but your message comes across as ignorant and very entitled. I am open to feedback and criticism but writing a story full of LGBT people is one thing I will never feel sorry for. There are a shit ton of fics out of there where those characters are straight, not to mention canon. If you feel ‘betrayed’ by the amount of queer characters in my fic, then I’d say you have some biases you need to examine. It reminds me of all the times I’ve heard people say that they ‘like gay people but only if they’re not too in your face’ (lol that was my sister, so fun) - this implication that queer people should know their place, never show their difference too openly, accept being a minority in all spaces, need to ‘deserve’ their spot, center straight people’s needs, etc etc...is deeply harmful and toxic.
If you can’t understand all this, then my writing is probably not for you.