The shaping of the Night’s helmet for Marcy is clearly Axolotl-inspired, and we know that Axolotls are among the Newts in Amphibia- AKA they’re the “upper caste”, which would imply some potential bias for the Night.
Was it once a regular Axolotl, and it influenced Andrias to establish this biased hierarchy because of that? Or has it always been an eldritch entity? Did Andrias’ ancestors latch onto and worship the Night, using its power to justify the caste system? Is it one of Andrias’ ancestors, maybe the one who started it all?!!!?
Axolotls can regenerate limbs and even organs, such as the heart and brain! Coupled with the limbs/muscles, is the Axolotl symbolic of a culmination of Heart, Strength, and Wit...? Regardless, the Night probably has some healing abilities it’s been using to recover from some wound that it wants ‘revenge’ for... Similarly, those regenerative abilities are hopefully going to fix Marcy’s body completely! So there’s THAT upside when she gets exorcised and this whole mess is over, thank god...
Not only that, but with the idea of reincarnation and rebirth through Marcy... Axolotls are associated with changing form, so that naturally fits- But I have to wonder if possession isn’t the only ‘form’ that the Night will change... Others have suggested its orb-like appearance is actually that of a tadpole, because pollywogs are spherical in this show’s art style!
The Night is possibly incubating... If I had to guess, its original body was destroyed, and it has to regrow the whole thing from scratch, and even go through the same life cycle as before! And it might need the power of the gems to do so... For now, the Night might use Marcy as a replacement for this body or as a temporary placeholder!
Maybe it even plans to fully metamorphosize through Marcy’s body... Imagine the body horror there, as well as Anne and Marcy seeing her get wounded throughout the season, only for her limbs to grow back! A relief to be sure, but it means Marcy will be put through a LOT more punishment than a human can handle, to abuse that ability by the Night...
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since, other than yue, the only humanoid spirit we see is the painted lady, i wonder if she was also once a human who became a spirit after her death. if she was so spiritually attuned in her lifetime that, like iroh in legend of korra, she transcended into the spirit world, immortalized forever as the protector of jang hui village.
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I’m honestly just gonna let these images speak for themselves
Now i love cc!phil with all my heart, but he’s a new roleplayer. And as you can see he’s fallen into quite a few of these pitfalls. Especially recently. So please fandom, if you can ignore cc!Wilbur’s cursed ages and everything else cursed he’s come up with by realizing they’re just headcanons, please do the same and realize cc!Phil making up a headcanon about a character he clearly does not understand should not be taken as anything other than a headcanon.
Being new to roleplay isn’t a sin by any means, I was there once. But this is a fandom with likely thousands of people and I guarantee most of them don’t know the ins and outs of roleplay. So please, just take a moment to realize this shouldn’t be taken so seriously.
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You know, I found one of Helmut's vaults really interesting.
See, the Otto we find in Bob's mind says the team didn't like Bob, and only tolerated him as a tag-along for Helmut. But look at these memories:
Bob was with the team before Helmut arrived--in fact, it seems like Helmut was the last of the team to join up. Bob joined the Psychonauts on his own merits, and was presumably good friends with everyone before as well.
It speaks volumes to Bob's self-loathing--and love for his husband--that his own mind would twist the timeline so much on such an important part of Bob's life.
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Some stats from the charity stream. This is just from taking notes as I watched, so it’s possible I missed something, especially totem uses; tell me if you catch one!
10:25 Technoblade was slain by Emily, which appears to have been a Blaze (random mob).
11:10 Technoblade was slain by AthenasHuntress, while trying to turn off the dingdingding. Random mob; I have no idea what kind.
12:44 Technoblade was slain by Anonymous, which appears to have been a Piglin Brute (random mob).
13:09 Technoblade was slain by RustyGreen, a Piglin Brute (random mob)
14:54 Technoblade has reached the goal [Postmortal], first totem use. Impossible to tell what caused it; he fell into a small pit while trying to message Squid Kid and was trapped with a number of mobs spawning.
14:58 Technoblade was slain by Vex. This was presumably cast by an Evoker summoned by random mob donation, but in the chaos that he's trapped in it's impossible to tell who it was.
15:13 im_a_squid_kid joined the game
19:18 Ph1LzA joined the game
21:41 Technoblade was slain by Selina, which appears to have been a Drowned (random mob).
23:26 Technoblade was slain by AthenasHuntress (yes, again; it appears to have been the same mob as the previous death, not a new donation).
23:46 Technoblade was blown up by Crcndo, a Creeper donation, while changing the price of donation rewards.
25:58 Technoblade was slain by TheShadierTwin, a random mob donation, but he wasn't looking back so it's impossible to tell what it was.
26:35 He sets the difficulty to Easy
26:52 Ranboo joined the game
26:52 Technoblade was slain by im_a_squid_kid using [lol funny]
28:14 Technoblade was slain by im_a_squid_kid using [lol funny]
30:22 Technoblade was shot by Ph1LzA
32:08 Technoblade was blown up by Creeper; it's hard to be completely sure, but I think this was a randomly spawned mob, not a donation.
34:16 Technoblade was slain by Ranboo using [stick lol]
36:48 Technoblade was blown up by Zaq, which was some type of Illager, likely an Evoker (random mob). Given that EmilyTechnoSupport donated TNT about three seconds prior (donated TNT was on a shortened fuse), I expect that Techno was damaged by Zaq just before the TNT exploded, causing the death to be attributed to Zaq.
38:34 WilburSoot has joined the game
38:49 Technoblade was shot by Ph1LzA
40:11 Totem use. Hard to know what; was probably Wilbur, as there weren't any mob donations at the time.
40:15 im_a_squid_kid was slain by Technoblade
44:13 Ph1LzA was slain by Technoblade
48:36 WilburSoot fell out of the world
53:03 Ranboo hit the ground too hard
57:37 WilburSoot was slain by Zonate, a dog.
1:00:08 Tubbo_ joined the game (this was definitely the real Tubbo and not Ranboo on Tubbo's computer).
1:08:11 Tubbo_ was slain by Technoblade
1:18:50 TommyInnit joined the game
1:27:44 Totem use. Presumably due to the wither, Hobbes, currently chasing him.
1:30:47 TommyInnit left the game, defeated by the train station internet connection.
2:16:39 Totem use. He flew into a tree trying to escape Squid Kid.
2:19:35 Totem use. He flew down a ravine-like formation to escape Ranboo but was almost immediately trapped into a dead end; it was probably Squid Kid that got the hit, though given how fast they were moving it's hard to know.
2:20:05 Totem use. While fighting Squid Kid.
2:23:55 Totem use. I think it was a mob that got the hit this time but hard to tell.
2:24:02 Technoblade was shot by im_a_squid_kid
2:25:18 Ph1LzA was slain by Slynnkie, a wolf
2:25:46 Ranboo was slain by Technoblade
2:30:35 im_a_squid_kid was slain by Technoblade
2:55:23 First $5 TNT donation
3:14:47 Approximate end of 1/sec TNT
All in all, he died 17 times and used 7 totems. If you consider the “start” to be when he switched the game mode to easy, as that’s after he finished rebalancing the donation rewards and stopped dying because he alt-tabbed, that’s 8 deaths and 6 totems.
The MVP of the hunters was definitely Squid Kid, who outright killed him the most times (3) as well as arguably causing several totem uses, and was the only one to kill him during the Hunter Armageddon battle instead of during the initial chase when Techno was extremely low on supplies. He was also both the first and the last to die. Philza killed him twice and Ranboo once. No one else killed him, though I think Wilbur caused a totem use.
The deadliest mob was the Piglin Brute.
The $5 TNT lasted approximately 19 minutes and 24 seconds, though it’s hard to draw a line on when exactly it petered off. It wasn’t entirely TNT, but equally some people donated more than $5, so assuming that the 1 TNT per second statistic is correct this comes out to approximately 1,164 blocks of TNT and $5,820.
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Just read through the discussions in the Squid Game subreddit and I don't get how and why many people are shitting on Gi-hun's actions in the season finale? (spoilers ahead)
A lot of them sound exactly like a rich capitalist, Il-nam when he said "You've been sitting on 45.6B ₩ for a year and not using it. Why, is it because you feel guilty?" like, do these people really think Gi-hun is a shitty person specifically for this reason?
Do people really expect him to quickly or immediately pick himself up and spend the money for good causes?
It's not just survivor's guilt. Gi-hun didn't start out as a good or competent character, and even though he treated some other people kindly and was arguably the most humane contestant, the Game extremely traumatized him. Is his trauma supposed to make him a *better* person?
He was just dumped back into his old life, with only a new bank account containing his prize. When he returned home too late to help his mother, he'd never been more alone, not just literally. His background and the Game staff giving no further assistance mean Gi-hun doesn't have the support to process his trauma, or the skills to manage his new wealth. Of course he's not in a good mental state to just get his life together!
And eventually, he does what he can, the way he knows how! He gets Sae-byeok's brother out of the orphanage, he gives a lot of money to Sang-woo's mother, and he tries to visit his daughter. But the show makes it very clear that he can't go on with his life and money while the Game continues to kill more people like him, not after everything he suffered.
In the discussions about Gi-hun's character development, in the arguments whether he changed for the better, we shouldn't ignore what he went through and how that affected him, nor point to these as reasons why Gi-hun is still a shitty person.
Squid Game is not about some underdog overcoming all odds and walking away with a reward and an improved personality. Squid Game shows us how people do bad things and how choices are an illusion in a capitalist society rigged against them at every turn. It shows how people can retain their humanity and treat others kindly even in these same terrible circumstances.
And it shows how trauma can make people worse; it isn't what makes someone a better person. Trauma can take years to recover from, a lifetime to carry. But if anything, Gi-hun's trauma led to his determination to take down the people behind the Game.
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Wilhelm's brother's name is Erik, someone we see is so so incredibly important to him. Someone he talks so freely with, can joke with, can be completely one hundred percent himself with. Who's the only other person Wilhelm finds this freedom, this almost familial ease and honesty with? Simon.
Simon's last name is Eriksson.
E r i k - sson.
Simon - his knightly armour, loving embrace, soft shoulder to cry on and open ear - is literally a phoenix rising from the ashes of devastation Wilhelm feels at Erik's death.
Kindred spirits, shaping the King.
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Seungho enjoys when Nakyum is honest with him and shares with him his thoughts, even his adorable refusal stemming from his shyness. He wants to know what's on Nakyum's mind, it fascinates and excites him because Nakyum is no longer that numb shell and sex doll who did his bidding and refused to tell him what's wrong into which Nakyum turned himself after Inhun left. For Seungho, it's a sign that Nakyum feels comfortable around him and that he has managed to make Nakyum trust him a little bit more and shorten the distance himself and Nakyum's heart. He never wanted a sex slave, he has always wanted Nakyum to be his lover and now he's finally beginning to get his wish.
Seungho moves away Nakyum's hand with which he's trying to cover his face.He wants to see his face and his eyes, those eyes that cannot lie and are always honest with him, filled with pleasure he brings Nakyum .He wants to see all of Nakyum and everything he feels and wants to hide from him
Both Nakyum and Seungho has a similar visceral reaction to hearing their names, without any honorifics, whatsoever uttered by their lover - the same shock, the similar pleasure and indentical overwhelming emotions which echo each other. It's the ultimate endearment and turn-on for them, making them both melt and Nakyum's tippy-toes curl.
It's when he hears Seungho repeat his name like a prayer with so much reverence and sees his loving face, when Nakyum stops resisting, gives in to those compelling words and alluring gaze, surrendering to Seungho's gentle coaxings and seduction, and leans in, begging for a kiss.
After that night in the shed, whatever self-confidence and trust in Seungho Nakyum had had shattered. After that he didn't dare to initiate a kiss or come to Seungho's room,unless Seungho made the first step.With his gentle persuasion and care, Seungho has given them back to him after taking them away.
When Seungho notices Nakyum reaching out and puckering his lips to kiss him it affects him deeply, making him flustered. It's the moment his ears begin to blush and becoming redder with each panel until they are glowing red when he kisses Nakyum , as crimson as Nakyum 's cheek.
Seungho kisses Nakyum because Nakyum wants that kiss,raising his head in invitation. It's the only thing he's asked during their tryst and Seungho'd give him everything. Like with the music box, Seungho can't deny Nakyum anything. All Nakyum needs to asks or look at it and he will give it to him. At this point, Nakyum has trouble voicing his needs and wishes, being too shy. The whole moment is reminiscent of the time, he grabbed Seungho's cock, wanting it inside him, and Seungho immediately listened to him and thrusted inside.
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Gavin x MC's Lore in S1 Pt.1
After two and a half years, 37 chapters and a fair amount of blood sweat and tears, MLQC has reached its season finale in ENG server.
I must say, post CH24 the storyline has lost a lot of momentum, however I enjoyed the ending of it as well as the new beginning.
What I really love about it thought, that the story of Gavin and MC came in full circle and now I can finally tell their story from beginning to the end. It’s a fairly long post, which I've actually lost due to a software crush during writing first draw and had a mild nervous breakdown (yay!)
Therefore this post in it's final form is a team work and I would like to thank some extremely valuable people to me. @playheej Thank you for painstakingly scripting CH2 after I’ve lost my first draft. Without your help I couldn’t ever finish this!💗 @cheri-cheri You know I can’t appreciate your contributions to this fandom and companionship enough. Thank you for your hard work in proofreading and fruitful discussion sessions! @sin-with-quiche @purple-cat-demon Thank you so much for the emotional support all the way preparing this and lifting my spirits up when I was busy whining over the lost draft, you girls rock! ^_^
Warning: This post has nothing but spoilers from MLQC S1!
Gavin and MC’s story began 6 years before the events of CH1, when our lovebirds attended Loveland High together when they were 16 and 17 years old respectively. They had a fairly distant relationship in which MC's initial awareness of Gavin's existence grew into interest and to MC “lurking” around senior years' quarters or catching glimpses of Gavin's athletic body, whereas Gavin felt awestruck upon seeing MC in the rain for the first time and then observed her gradually from afar before finally developing a crush on her. Unfortunately, their interactions didn’t go beyond keeping tabs on each other, and Gavin had to leave before graduation. They did not see each other for 6 years. A very detailed storyline of this period can be found here by @ginkgomoon which did an amazing job in compiling everything, so make sure to take a look at that to understand the humble beginnings of Gavin and MC’s relationship.
Fast forward to today, Gavin requested to be dispatched to Loveland City on his own accord so that he could be close to MC again. This is exactly what happens in CH1 as Gavin sees MC for the first time after six years of longing... Though only from afar.
In CH1, MC is introduced to all the love interests...except Gavin. Gavin's introduction is left till CH2, and PG generously spends a whole chapter doing that. Despite the lack of a proper introduction and an interaction with MC, CH1 still gives us a glimpse of him detecting energy waves when MC is saved by Victor. He doesn't see the “car accident" since he rushes to the scene after the EVOL fluctuation takes place.
...What I didn't notice is that with that gust of wind, a man appeared noiselessly in the sky above the city. Even in that windless afternoon, his windbreaker somehow flutters. The gun in his holster shines coldly. He presses the call button on his headset”
Agent B-7, energy wave detected in Loveland. Sending coordinates. Target locked. Taking action immediately
His sharp vision follows the girl's figure until she leaves the street
Before we even grasp who he is, he's already left the scene and us poor Gavin stans hungry for more (typical Gavin). And mind this outfit for it will make a reappearance.
The next day, in CH2, we have a whole chapter dedicated to MC and Gavin meeting each other after six years of separation and what a reunion it is! Their paths cross as MC receives a special assignment by City News for investigating a series of warping incidents and her contact person at Loveland Police station under the phone number18xxxx is<...drumroll...> Our “Big shot's boy” GAVIN!
MC is frozen at first by hearing the name alone and instinctively wants to flee due to Gavin in her memories. She flutters and shudders just as our birdcop is having his own turmoil of emotions behind his beautiful amber eyes. Upon seeing the mixture of fear and unfamiliarity on MC’s face Gavin's very first line to MC is “Do you remember me?” since she is acting strange in front of him and of course our MC remembers, just not in the way our Gav-babe would wish her to. Realizing this, he asks her whether something's wrong. While MC denies this, he knows...he has a long way to go, many misunderstandings to clear, and a heart to steal. Gavin is pretty surprised by MC’s reactions and he finds it interesting when she describes their encounter as “a coincidence”. It isn't, because Gavin was the one who arranged this case for MC so that he could meet her again.Thus, this was their “Meet Cute Conspiracy” went according to Gavin’s plan (minus MC freaking out at the sight of him lol). ^_^
Despite finding Gavin cold and uptight at first, MC takes note of how he slows down his pace and also offers her his long term cooperation in case she needs his help in future shows. MC is a person who is well aware of her surroundings and thus realizes the discrepancy between the Gavin from her memories and the Gavin standing right next to her.
Her train of thoughts and feelings have a 180° turn during the events in CH2:
A tall guy wearing all denim who gives off a strong, uptight feeling even without the uniform, making her feel a little afraid, a face that is older but more tamed than the one from her memories, a bloody letter, wanting to flee, thinking the uneasy feeling over the past few days were pointing to that moment, cold steely eyes that make her shutter, not a straight arrow cop, coldness enveloping her, he would be great on camera (wtf MC, confused much? :D).
Afterwards, they set off to meet Hollow for the investigation and we have the very first body contact between them after MC meets Sparky. She goes from this....
...to this. This change is sponsored by Gavin and Sparky, a dynamic duo ;)
As they reach Verdant Plaza in 10 minutes from the Police Station, MC gets numb feet, which will become a running gag afterwards for MC’s default feeling whenever Gavin gives her a rush of feelings. My theory here is that besides making MC hug him tightly, Gavin is also trying to see how far one can get at top speed in 10 minutes. From what I can see in City Stroll, the Police Station is slightly closer to Verdant Plaza than Flower Fair, and he deduces that one cannot cover the distance between Verdant Plaza and Flower Fair (23 km) in 10 minutes (btw you can at around 140 km/h with godly driving skills and a briefcase full of speeding tickets, but yeah I see what you mean Gav, the police would know someone driving that fast constantly in the city).
Anyways, they interrogate Hollow, who swoons over Gavin and ignores MC completely. Gavin stands for his girl and gives Hollow his imnotintoyoujustanswerthequestion505 gaze which, as always, meets his purpose and shuts Hollow down. But Hollow is not the only third wheel for our meet-cutes here as MC's phone rings and one of my favorite moments takes place. Lucien teases MC and tortures our birdcop, thus starting a series of “Gavin's jealousy on Lucien” moments which can be read in detail here. So both of our lovebirds have a threat present in the scene. On another note, MC thinks Lucien knows about the source of her unease (the feeling she has towards Gavin at first sight) for some unknown reason. Why do you think that is?
Leaving Hollow in her puddle of tears and drool, they go to Verdant Plaza to investigate the case further and spend the whole afternoon together. During this time, MC also has a chance to awe over Gavin's deduction and analytical skills as the holy trinity paving the way to MC's crush on Gavin forms a cross in her heart...
His looks (the father), his character (the son) and his intelligence (the holy ghost).
Right after this, Gavin drops her off at her apartment and tosses her the bracelet. Please make a pause here and listen to this call about bracelet and enjoy pre-relationship Gavin. How clueless and flustery he is. I will post a couple of other calls so that we can witness his character development together.
And thus, the most recognizable love token between Gavin and MC makes its appearance and MC instantly loses herself in memories from high school - the music room, late autumn and the ginkgo leaves… moments that always managed to take her breath away. Our skillful in bijou design but as much weird in love Gav-babe rips her from these romantic thoughts as he reveals that he put a tracker on the bracelet (he didn't- team no-tracker here). After MC asks why he gave this to her, he replies...please everybody listen to Joe's voice as he says “So in an emergency, I can respond instantly”. This is the voice of a guy coming up with a lame excuse on the spot. Our Gav-babe thought as much to conceal his true intention by saying he put a tracker on it but didn’t take into account that she might wanna know why. This fact doesn't stop her from cherishing it though. She likes the bracelet from the very first moment despite it being given under the weirdest circumstances. MC thinks to herself that Gavin has indeed changed. What she doesn't realize though, is how her train of thought evolved within a span of 8 hours after Gavin saves her from a BS agent who tries to stab her after the space folding evolver beams her up to the alley from her dream and she lands in Gavin's strong and warm arms, using his EVOL.
“The light of the setting sun made his face appear so handsome that I dared not look at him. This is high above the city, it's a bit cool, but his embrace is warm…”.
This time you've made it Gavin. But also welcome to the club MC ^_^ I believe the reason behind MC falling into Gavin so fast upon reuniting with him is that she already had a slight crush on him during high school but was taken aback by his reputation and her opinion on him due to the numerous rumours. Remember how she still thinks he would look goods in the camera while internally freaking out of fright? MC is like many Gavin stans. Before everything, she finds him really good looking and then gets hit by the countless other good qualities he brings with the package. As scientifically proven, it's always about the looks at first ;)
Now that his EVOL is out in the open, Gavin tells MC about the Black Swan Organisation, evolvers, how MC got the assignment, and that she has the precognition EVOL. But he also tells her that the car accident two weeks earlier was a plot to kill her. Here, we find out that Gavin knows Victor from his childhood years and that Gavin couldn't have more distaste of him or of knowing him (same here).
MC asks him more about his EVOL, and he demonstrates his superpowers by making rose petals dance in the air around them...MC's heart skips a beat and our birdcop delivers his household line:
“As long as you're in the wind, I can sense you”
Can it get any meet-cuter than this? You tell me!
When MC's back home, surely Gavin accompanies her there, she confides in the ginkgo bracelet and finds solace in it and Gavin caresses her with a breeze to give her a feeling of peace and kids...that's how MC met Gavin.(insert Ted Mosby here)
After that, we don't see Gavin often but get this. I think CH3 is taking place parallel to Trio Date because here, MC visits Kiro at the set of Project X and a security breach causes fans to swarm in and cause mayhem. Yes I know on the date it's about an album launch, it's my headcanon here because I don't think that there is a more fitting time for this to happen and since it involves pre-relationship Gavin, it fits. Other than that, Gavin sends MC an SMS to give her his number and I will let Joe take on the task of expressing my feelings towards this not straight arrow cop action of Gavin here. (Fun Fact, Lucien invites her to watch the movie Manhattan with him but MC can't because of Kiro's project so Lucien organizes another screening for the day after).
I don't know about you, but whenever MC takes note of wind in the main story, I must think about Gavin and I also believe he is the reason behind it, much like Shaw being responsible for the precipitation. In CH 3-15, wind kicks up and MC reminisces on the sea breeze from the summer when she was 17 and ready to embrace the future.
That night, Gavin is in his special uniform and is ready to head out but wants to say a proper goodbye to her...opens the chat session:
Type, delete, type, delete and at the end hesitates and decides not to.
But MC, now at home, senses the summer breeze and feels a refreshing coolness and has a sweet dream. Coincidence? I think not ;)
Gavin is on his mission in CH4, so we don't see him. But he calls MC and they talk about Souvenir as MC tells him about the one-of-a-kind restaurant with negative reviews on everything except for the food to which Gavin replies that a restaurant with bad management might not be the best feature for the TV. MC says it's because Kiro recommended it (funnily Gavin doesn't react to this, making me think back on my Trio Date hypothesis). When MC tells him that she got kicked out, he suggests going there first and then letting her in. MC says that they would be kicked out altogether. It's then that Gavin asks about the name of the place and has indeed heard of the name Souvenir, but can't put his finger on it. Still offers to meet her in front of Souvenir and to take her somewhere else. But MC says she wants to deal with it herself and Gavin doesn't push the issue further ('cuz the best boi gotta best boi).
My guess is that the mission is the one from Airport Date and Gavin has “family issues.” Thinking back, Shaw was foreshadowed all the time!
By the end of CH4 MC reminisces about Gavin telling her about the assasination incident, and believes that the cruel world is still a long way away from her.
Afterwards, I often thought back on that time. At that time, we had just met, and the story had just begun. At that time, I had no idea what lay behind that glittering memory. The cruel fact that would make my world collapse.
In CH5 Gavin returns from his mission only to find MC tailing Lucien like a stalker for days and nights relentlessly. Our jealous birdcop is back and he gives MC one hell of a wakeup flight as he kidnaps her from her office on the 19th floor. MC sees a hint of danger on Gavin's face and gives him a good old cold shoulder therapy by telling him that she was too sleepy to answer his calls (ouch!). But Gavin isn't helping either by mysteriously asking for permission to take a picture of her photo with her father or that she needs to contact him when she meets any suspicious evolvers to which she rightfully responds that the only one fitting this description is his magnificent self :)
“Anyone might hurt you, but I'm the least likely to“ #truestory
Gavin leaves and goes to investigate Twin Leaves Orphanage, where he finds the spot on which MC posed with her father on the photo he brought with him. Gavin is again on a mission with unknown parties and again why he does the things he does, but MC doesn't. CH5 is finished with the score Lulu 2-Gavbabe 1
At the same time, Loveland City gives MC a long-term assignment and considering the fact that it was Gavin in the first place, it could mean that this also has something to do with him...It doesn't as we find out in this call in CH5-19 and this call also raises some confusion about the bracelet. Let me clear it with my take on this for you. Gavin asks her whether she's visited the orphanage on that day and when MC asks him how he knows he turns it around and asks her what she thinks, but at the beginning of the call he doesn't know where she is. So my take is that he knows about the orphanage because that is his current mission and therefore has surveillance in the area. He also warns her about the area but also lets it slip that he's worried about her. He also tells her that he will be leaving on a major case. Even now our birdcop doesn't leave without saying goodbye <3
CH6...Rude Awakening introduces Gavin in CH6-13 with this famous dream as MC shouts Gavin's name which results in everyone teasing her for thinking about him too much. MC blushes like hell but is also scared to such an extent that her heart beats out of her chest. Frantically, she tries to call Gavin but he doesn't answer...at 4 am in the morning. MC again, confides in her ginkgo bracelet and a night breeze caresses her face. She is standing on the balcony and thus in the wind, Gav-babe senses her- how I love this about them! And get this, she is wearing the ginkgo bracelet in CH6, in Lucien's chapter. Meaning, she does carry Gavin's bracelet all the time!
Once again, MC has romantic thoughts related to him. She remembers how he said that he can find her in the wind and talks to him in her mind. Telling him to show up, since she is standing in the wind, to tell her not to worry, that it was just a dream, nothing more. The scene in her mind is when she is in his strong and warm arms and she doesn’t dare to look at his handsome face.
She spends the rest of her day with the programme and takes a walk with Lucien afterwards. Just as Lucien asks MC if she's standing close to him and having a bad feeling because the wind is kicking up, there he was!:
Gavin has a threatening and unfamiliar expression that gives MC a fright and she hides behind Lucien. Lucien holds her hand and smiles at Gavin all the while telling MC not to let go of his hand, and to stay back because Gavin is dangerous (my bby, how dare you Lucien!). Despite all of this, MC still holds on to the belief that Gavin wouldn't hurt her in spite of the gun pointed at her.
“He took aim without an ounce of hesitation.
He aimed at me coldly...
Shooting to kill...
The muzzle flashed.”
If we could turn back time, I bet we would still end up here. It's not fate, or a trap cleverly laid. It's because I am me, and you're you. We would make the same decisions and embark on the same path to the same end. The gale ripped the corner off the cruel truth.
The past me died in that moment
CH7 starts in a scene two weeks after the Rude Awakening moment with MC hiring Minor, the ultimate Gavin stan and the best wingman on earth. Talkative, outgoing, troublemaker, in good shape and sometimes helped old ladies cross the street, copied my homework hung around Gavin all the time, a social chameleon and a shameless kiss-up. MC gives him his first assignment on her project “Letters in Time ''. They decide to go through high schoolers to search for ideas and MC visits Loveland High and runs across to Gavin and another running gag in the lore is introduced:
(Both simultaneously) What are you doing here? - They will be doing this on a regular basis from now on, just watch ;) They then tell each other about their businesses while playing with a pebble (because they must act like teenagers now lol)
They go to Lynn's Kitchen and have their favorites brought to them without MC even having to order anything. Gavin eats spicy noodles with garlic, cilantro and thinly sliced beef as MC goes for noodles in a clear broth, chopped scallions and a half boiled egg. We also finally put the pieces of the puzzle together as to why MC was so scared of him and that is because she witnessed the boss of Lynn's Kitchen hand over money to him and she thought it was protection money. Not only does Gavin arrange for them to eat there outside of operating hours, he also convinces them to give MC an interview...on top of it leaves without paying the bill.
Gavin drives her home as usual. MC suggests to meet him at 9 am the following day in the hopes of ditching him (somebody hasn't learned her lesson, oh well the hard way it is then :P). The next morning MC revisits the kitchen to meet the lady boss and there her perspective is changed radically as the owners tell her that the extortion of money she thought she had witnessed was actually them paying their debt to Gavin who saved their son's life after rushing him to the hospital when he had an accident with his bike. (Gavin is a national treasure and needs to be protected at all costs). Not only that but she also finds out that he actually paid for the food way earlier. While she's buried in a heavy pool of guilt, Gavin catches her and puts the cherry on top because it's 9 o'clock already, the fake time she told Gavin and our birdcop is as punctual as a German. Being caught red-handed, MC flutters but Gavin is such a baby he tells her she needs to hurry if she doesn't want to be late for her interview. But MC drags him in the opposite direction (since she's done with the interview already. Doesn't feel good now does it MC? :))
Anyways, they see Minor at Loveland High and Gavin finds out that he's working for MC. While Minor is busy swooning over Gavin and about to bring up the letter, our trio learn that a student's gone missing and Gavin takes the matter in his hands. He tells MC to wait for him in the classroom after her interview and Minor to look after her.
You see, CH7 is about MC and Gavin clearing all the misunderstandings from six years ago. While alone, Minor asks MC about the letter from back then which startles her. Appalled by his knowledge of the alleged warning letter,he frankly replies that he was the one who put the letter in her drawer and that it wasn't a threat.
Before MC can inquire further, she spots the missing girl and decides to follow her but gets abducted and her dream from the beginning of the chapter starts unravelling. MC tries to buy some time until Gavin finds her and for the first and last time in the game we hear her calling an LI’s name and waits for the rescue.
“Save me Gavin, please!”
MC tries to escape but to no avail. Jay (the abductor and brother of the missing girl) presses a knife against MCs throat and her knight arrives in the nick of time:
Gavin: No way
MC's world comes to a halt and we can literally hear her loud heartbeats. Gavin immobilizes Jay and stretches his long, steady hands to MC she would recognize anywhere (she was him only one or twice before but MC is romanticizing Gavin to the max already.). She even thinks that his tall frame is glowing in the sunlight and Gavin hugs her for the first time, so tightly that it hurts a little albeit warm and comforting that can melt anyone and bring tears to the eyes. When he finally tells her that it's ok now , “I'm here”, MC thinks it was worth the peril (wth girl you almost died!).
As we will see later on, any Gavin x MC romance will always be disturbed by an external factor. Here it is the sniper shot MC somehow forgot from her dream (I can see that the embrace melted her but damn). Gavin evades the bullet by using aerodynamics and in the coolest way possible in the anime. Afterwards he tells her to hold on tight and the next thing is our lovebirds soaring through the air. This time, ginkgo leaves are dancing in the air. MC enjoys the scenery and drifts back to her memories until she realizes the scar on his collarbone, which frightens her. MC's heart skips another beat. She looks into his amber eyes and gets lots in them (her words) and is assured that everything is alright and that his slight smile softens his dour countenance...she keeps staring at him just like that until Gavin rips her off yet another swooning session:
“How long are you gonna make me hold you?” smh
MC gets all blushy so she changes the topic to the matter at hand and asks him about the missing girl and explains why she left the classroom. Gavin lets this slide and suggests that she needs to be more careful next time.
Being the third time some mysterious people tried to kill MC and having Gavin save her, MC tells Gavin how Jay told her that throwing MC off the rooftop would bring his sister back and then showers Gavin with questions. This is when she remembers the gunshot and worries about him.
Gavin gives her quick answers but also assures her that he's fine and that he needs to finish his business. He adds in his charming voice
“...and don't go anywhere this time?”
As he leaves, MC reminisces about the scene in Rude Awakening and how Gavin was actually there to save her and how she didn't believe Lucien when he said that Gavin was dangerous. Gav-babe fired a shot to change the other bullet's trajectory to save MC. He can shoot a bullet in the air! This is one out of this world skill!
Gavin asked Lucien to take her home but contacted her later in the night and told her everything.
This is also when she realizes that her camcorder was recording all this time. Including her making him hold her for an infinite time and getting caught again by Gavin while contemplating erasing that part before handing it as evidence to the police. Gavin flicks a loose sand from her hair and then her wrist and puts the ginkgo bracelet on that she had lost during the commotion. MC is all blushy again. When he clutches her hand for the first time MC's ear turns flaming and red and her mind goes blank, she would let Gavin lead her wherever and she finds Gavin's face gentler under the sun...
“An indescribable emotion welled within me
I tried to recall the first time I saw him
This ill-tempered, occasionally enigmatic man that I once feared had inspired all sorts of thoughts”.
This is where she gathers her courage and asks Gavin when he first noticed her to which he at first replies that he doesn't remember (way to go Gav) which throws MC completely off since she threw her out there. Her initial sense of expectation and resulting disappointment kinda hints at her romantic interest towards him. Once our birdcop is done teasing he smiles as if signaling that he does remember (he even remembers what she was wearing, what day it was, how was the weather on that day etc.). Gavin was mesmerized by MC at first sight in the rain while she was putting a handkerchief on a stray cat. He kept watching her out of the place and she gave him a pure and comforting smile with her untainted, innocent eyes. She was wet and cold so covered her with his jacket and charged into the rain (#justgavinxmcthings)in the game it say they charged into the rain and cheri and I decided on the CN version. Since MC doesn't remember this, he simply says that he knew who she was before she ever noticed him.
After the sun goes down they report at the police station and the topic of the camcorder pops up again as Gavin assures MC that he can make a copy of everything irrelevant to the case...you know...in case she wants to listen to their banter at home while Gavin's not around lol. MC answers wryly and Gavin repeats that she doesn't have to worry about anything not relevant to the case, which leaves her all blushy again. I swear to god, this guy can see her thoughts through and through.
Their dialogue takes a darker turn as they talk about the main reason behind it all. Jay was searching for his runaway sister but MC was his target as his task was to position her on the roof for the sniper to have a clear shot (since when do snipers need someone to position their targets so that they can have a clear shot lol).
He then tells her that the bullet was identical to the one from the orphanage. Gavin ensures that they are taking steps to prevent this from happening again (and it doesn't) but MC's heart skips another beat and something weighs on her chest.
And another amazing Gavin X MC moment takes shape as Gavin sees MC intentions before she even finishes her sentence about not noticing her EVOL before and how she would've never thought that someone would target her because of that. MC is comparing herself with Josie and Gavin gets this instantly (I didn't tbh). MC thinks that if they had helped Jay earlier he wouldn't be in jail today, to which Gavin earnestly replies that he is happy that someone caught him before he hit rock bottom. He was looking at MC while saying this and MC realises that this is a soft side of him she's never seen before.
MC asks if he would still want to be an evolver given the choice. He replies with a resolute yes, because he has someone he wants to protect and adds:
“It's always the darkest before the dawn
Has Gavin gone through dark times?”
The mode changes instantly as they both try to change the topic simultaneously
(Gavin/MC): When you...
Gavin gentlemanly gives MC the first word and she finally asks him about the letter.
The million dollar question is there but Gavin doesn't give her an answer since it doesn’t matter anyone and asks her what she thinks about him now, now that she's cleared her misconception of him from years back and MC gives the most boring answer possible:
“Well, you're ill-tempered and impatient, but you're not the monster they described. Nothing stops you from our goals, and you've got a kind heart. Well, maybe not quite kind, but very clear and open”.
I believe she tones down her thoughts because he kinda leaves her hanging when she puts her out earlier. I think had Gavin given her more courage, she would also say that he makes her feel safe and that she's thankful for the bracelet. That he has many more facets to discover and that he's looking drop dead gorgeous and she can't take her eyes off him haha.
Later when she's home, Minor comes to the rescue and sends her an URL where Gavin expresses his regret of not having given the letter himself, and that it was a farewell letter because of the post-it note MC hung in Lynn's Kitchen. MC is taken aback by the fact that Gavin knows about this. When asked about the text in the letter he says that it doesn't matter since they have a lot of time in the future, pretty much he tells her that it doesn't matter now that they've reconnected.
CH8 has Gavin MIA again. MC thinks about him as Kiro tells her about Black Swan and then in CH9-8 MC calls Gavin to inform him about the information she's found out with Kiro but Gavin doesn't pick up. So MC sends him a text. The wind howls outside the window. MC looks out and sees lightning in the distance. It suppresses a bad feeling in her and she draws the curtains. As it appears, Gavin is once again busy with family issues. The office again teases her on her love life, though Kiki and a nameless guy discuss on Lucien and Kiro while Willow says she hasn't heard MC mentioning Gavin in a while.
In CH9-10 MC throws a party with the team to celebrate the success of the interview with Key and drinks a little bit too much. Luckily Minor is there to keep an eye on her and even tells MC that he did it on behalf of Gavin. While MC asks herself what this has to do with him, she realizes that he is still MIA and worries since he's never done this before, and sends another text.
“Gavin, busy lately? I have something important to tell you. Call me ASAP”
I bet my dollar that when Gavin sees this message he will freak out and think about any possibility other than something related to Black Swan XD
and freak out he does as CH10 starts with his voice message
“Why were you calling me? How come you didn't pick up? Is everything alright?”
When they finally manage to have a proper phone call Gavin tells her to come downstairs and that he is going to take her to work...of course he is, Bestboi is back baby, fret no more! ^_^. MC runs downstairs (I will show here the difference over time in the last part of this series)
MC's first thought is how cool Gavin looks but then as Gavin sees her MC also observes how his face looks happier upon seeing her. As MC babbles about her new deal Gavin remarks on how she is no longer afraid of him which she confirms and says that the misconception is cleared up. Gavin says that because she wasn't responsive he came to check on her the day before and saw her sleeping (I think that is the only explanation as to how he can be so calm, considering the fact that she was MIA). He is kinda upset about her not telling him about being hospitalized though. Our bircop has brought a personal helmet for her and puts his jacket on her, causing a blushy face. MC's heart pumps as she leans on his back and Gavin tightens her hands around his waist. Gavin is riding slower and MC takes note of this (our Jupiter is careful as she was hospitalized <3 )
After this sweet reunion Gavin asks her about her call and SMSes and she tells him about the message she saw on Black Swan
“We come from the future, with the sole mission to accelerate human evolution. We have EVOL. We create all. We cannot be stopped, for we hold the world in our hands. The Queen will soon awake. We look forward to marching together into a new world.”
Gavin asks her how she acquired this information and she tells him about the hacker summit. Gavin says that this information helps him a lot since he has also gathered some leads but that she needs to stay safe and leave the rest to him. After telling each other a hundred times to be careful and stay safe Gavin leaves as MC keeps worrying about him.(#justgavinxmcthings)
If I add one last headcanon here- These two dates probably take place during this era. Considering the fact that Gavin appears on her shows and takes her to work in the morning and rides her home at night.
As we know CH10 ends with Shaw injuring MC and thus we can look forward to more family feud, romance and drama in the next episode here
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The “cold, and lonely winter sea” of Korea is where Peach wanted to go so desperately during his entire trip to Korea. This is how Yoo Noh describes it and, of course, it represents him perfectly.
Peach loves and adores Yoo Noh despite how icy and closed off he can be. He is willing to work through that coldness because he knows it’s worth it to weather the chill to get to Yoo Noh’s warm and loving core. Despite how turbulent the waves of Yoo Noh’s personality can be and his cold resistance to self love and accepting Peach’s love, Peach still wants to feel the cold, sea breeze on his cheeks. In fact, he adores the sensation which is why he presses so hard to make the trip.
In opposition, Peach is represented by the warm and comforting beachfront of Phuket where they originally connected. His personality exudes warmth and love, like the warm temperatures of Thailand. The moisture clings to your skin, much like Peach clings to Yoo Noh and makes him feel loved despite the fact that he doesn’t feel like he deserves it.
The beginning of their friendship and connection started on the beaches of Phuket, same with the beginning of their love. Peach was the one to first share his feelings for Yoo Noh, the sunshine of Phuket radiating through him and bravely allowing him to share his love for Yoo Noh.
Yoo Noh constantly reminisces about the warmth he felt on the sands of Thailand (the feeling of being loved by Peach) while Peach desperately wants to venture to the cold, winter beach of Korea (to help break down Yoo Noh’s walls and receive his love in return). This balance of the two ocean fronts symbolize not only Yoo Noh and Peach’s opposing personalities but also what they love about each other which is why it was such a brilliant metaphor for the show to include.
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it randomly occured to me the other day that despite being a big scary ogre, Shrek doesn’t resort to brute force very often
he acts scary, yeah; he roars and intimidates people to leave him alone, but he doesn’t actually get into the fisticuffs unless he doesn’t have any other option available. he doesn’t MIND it, either, but its clearly not his first choice
he’s about the guile; he talks to people, comes up with straightforward schemes and plots. like that famous bit where he claimed to be from the union? he came up with that on the spot and talked the receptionist into letting him in
so it really fits a recurring motif of the Shrek series to deliberately subvert the assumptions of fantasy; this huge, intimidating ogre doesn’t particularly prefer to fight, but likes to talk and plan his way out of his problems. even when he’s, say, being chased by a dragon, his way to resolve it is to just shove a sword into the chain binding it so it can’t chase them and idk but i like that he’s essentially a cunning-focused character
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I find it interesting that the Season 3 trailer is initially tinged in orange, a color associated with the Night;
There’s an obvious running theme of color motifs in Amphibia, and it’s worth noting that on the color wheel, orange is directly opposite blue... Which of course puts the Night at direct odds with our protagonist Anne, yet it controls Andrias?
I feel like we need to incorporate a lot more color theory into our Amphibia analysis and speculation here... On another note, yellow and red combine to make orange, and Frobo’s eyes are yellow- But when under the influence of the Night, other Frobots have red eyes instead!
Could this imply some mechanical origin and connection for the Night- Perhaps it’s a machine, a rogue AI gone mad? An Axolotl who became a cyborg in a bid for power, to absorb the power of the gems? A mechanical vessel for a dark entity, or even that the power of the gems and machines, were derived from and/or inspired by the Night, the compatibility making it easier for for him to take control?
Did the Calamity Box once contain the Night, and then it was opened to travel to other worlds by Andrias’ ancestors, who used the Night as a hidden muse to guide their own technological development and use of the gems? The Frobos are derived from the Night, being Yellow and Red, because they came from that Orange influence?
Man... what if the gems were originally used to seal away the Night, before newts later uncovered the Calamity Box and opened it? Perhaps its spatial powers sealed the Night in a pocket dimension... And upon being released, the Night posed as some sort of genie, bestowing ‘its’ gift of the gems onto the newts, claiming that power to be its own, adding to a theme of historical revisionism?
And these newts created this conquering empire under the hidden influence of the Night, culminating in Andrias’ rule to be its next puppet... And the ‘revenge’ for the Night is because it told Andrias and his ancestors that previous amphibians had betrayed and rejected its gifts, locking it away in the Calamity Box in the first place?
And Valeriana’s order knew and remembered the Night, as possible descendants of those who first sealed it away, and thus the danger when the newts opened the box- And told Andrias’ friends about the truth? And with some investigation and confirmation that the Night did exist and was pulling the strings from behind, not to mention the ethical issues of the empire...
And Andrias’ friends stole the box, not just to stop the empire, but to seal the Night within it once more? And they did so not just to stop the Empire, but save Andrias from the Night- And tragically he didn’t realize this, thought they were lying because of the Night’s manipulations?
He was told his friends weren’t doing this to protect him from the Night, if anything the Night was his REAL friend, and the Frog and Toad were just jealous! Perhaps the Frog and Toad sent the box to the human world, to further the prophecy that the order had told them about, before being killed?
The power of the gems is the only thing that can seal away the Night, necessitating a dark age because the power source is used elsewhere... But with the girls, they can truly destroy the Night, allowing the gems to be used for other purposes? Enabling constant travel between worlds?
Or will the girls sacrifice the gem powers, and be cut off from Amphibia in a bittersweet ending... But thanks to human contact, Amphibia will learn of electricity and create their own technology not dependent on the gems anyway, bringing back that same advancement as Andrias had wished- Fulfilling this not entirely wrong wish of the antagonist after his defeat/death?
Perhaps that’s another reason Andrias opposed his friends, he was right that sacrificing the gems could launch Amphibia into a dark age- But with human knowledge, Amphibia now can create technology that relies on electricity, not the gems!
On another note, the orange tinge leaves the trailer when we cut to the present. Could this imply that the Night has essentially been orchestrating things up until this point, its influence constantly present? And now we reach a decisive turning point, created from Anne’s activation of her gem powers, to turn the tide?
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I wanted to discuss a few points that people use to prove that Gavin is "evil". Or “a bad guy” and people shouldn’t like him. I’ll probably be called “Gavin-apologist” for this but whatever.
1. He threatened and hurt Connor.
Yes, he did. When Connor pissed him off. "Disobeyed" him. Hank did that too. He shoved him into the wall and said he'd burn all androids if he could. Gavin behaved like that because he hated androids. Hank hurt Connor for the same reason, but his hatred was relatively old, and Gavin's was always fresh. And Hank also saw Connor as something more than a simple android right from the start, so he came around pretty fast.
Hatred doesn't justify anything but still, androids were just machines to most people and damaging a machine wasn't a great thing but it was also just something people like Gavin could see as a normal situation. Especially considering Connor really looked like a threat to Gavin, someone who could take his place, and he'd become useless and inadequate. And putting up with a machine talking back at you? That's not something Gavin could do.
Once again, I'm not justifying anything, but Gavin doesn't hurt Connor in any way unless provoked. He just threatens him. Again, just like Hank. Not great behavior but it doesn't make a person irredeemable. Hank changed his mind in the end, Gavin just needs more time.
2. He wanted to kill Connor, that's why he followed him to the archive room.
Considering that fight in the archive can be easily avoided if you just talk to Gavin in a normal way, I think Gavin followed Connor because he thought the android's behavior was suspicious. Connor's sarcasm really sounded suspicious if you think about it. He's an android and Gavin expected him to sound like one, not like a deviant. Of course it made Gavin angry, but he didn't do anything besides threatening Connor and letting him enter the archive.
But I bet, that conversation really bothered him and he went back to check if Connor left like he'd said, but he was still there. Gavin found out that the android was off the case and him tinkering with the evidence could mean he went against his programming. Connor became a threat, like all over deviants. Sure, Gavin felt pleased he had a chance to kill him. Destroy the machine. And he would be safe that way. No more fear of being replaced, no more sassy attitude he had to out up with. Everything could get back to normal.
Can you actually blame him for seeing Connor that way? Androids were being destroyed all over the country at that time, they were a threat to humanity. At least, for Gavin they surely were, even if it was a peaceful route.
If Connor tells Gavin that he's been removed from the case and goes to the archive to register the evidence, Gavin won't come back to check that. Because that doesn't sound suspicious. Just Connor being a perfect machine as usual. Gavin can totally tolerate that. If Gavin really wanted to kill Connor just for the sake of it, he'd follow him no matter what. But he doesn't do that. He lets Connor go his own way if the android doesn't show any signs of deviancy.
3. He's dumb and lazy
This has nothing to do with Gavin being "evil", it's just something people like pointing out for some reason. And it's based on two moments: Gavin being busy doing nothing at his workplace and Gavin jokingly assuming the cause of death at the Eden Club.
Gavin is said to be ambitious, so I really doubt he's lazy. In Waiting for Hank chapter he's just having a lunch break and can do whatever he wants. Based on the files saying "Case Closed" he has on his desk, he's good at his job. Hank has a bunch of "Cold Cases" on his. Sure, Hank has much more work to do and no one blames him, I'm just saying Gavin isn't some dumb detective everyone has to put up with. In The Eden Club he's just mocking Hank and Connor, I don't think he'd want to share his real thoughts about the case.
I used to hate the guy, I did. But he deserves a chance. Yeah, he’s an ass, he’s pretty insufferable, he’s “not a great guy” like Neil said. He’s just a human with a lot of insecurities. No one says you should like him, but hating him and calling his fans names? Saying they like him just because he looks good? Come on.
I know I'm one of the few people who like Gavin outside of that fanon ship fandom came up with.
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So I noticed that a lot of people in the Danganronpa fandom tend to use the term “psychopath” for characters that do anything considered morally reprehensible, and usually, but not always, in a negative manner because they don’t like said characters. So I thought I’d discuss that.
Note that I am not a psychologist, and do not claim to be making 100% accurate diagnosies
The characters most often given the label of psychopath, and the ones I’ll be looking at, are Junko Enoshima, Genocider Syo, Mikan Tsumiki, Nagito Komaeda, Monaca Towa, Kokichi Ouma, Korekiyo Shinguji, and Tsumugi Shirogane.
Now, before we proceed, we must first define what psychopathy is and its symptoms, as well as its relative, sociopathy.
Psychopathy, also known as Anti Social personality disorder, is defined by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) as follows.
“APD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) is a DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition), diagnosis assigned to individuals who habitually and pervasively disregard or violate the rights and considerations of others without remorse. People with Antisocial Personality Disorder may be habitual criminals, or engage in behavior which would be grounds for criminal arrest and prosecution, or they may engage in behaviors which skirt the edges of the law, or manipulate and hurt others in non-criminal ways which are widely regarded as unethical, immoral, irresponsible, or in violation of social norms and expectations. Those with APD often possess an impaired moral conscience and make decisions driven purely by their own desires without considering the needs or negative effects of their actions on others. Impulsive and criminal behavior is common. The terms psychopathy or sociopathy are also used, in some contexts synonymously, in others, sociopath is differentiated from a psychopath, in that a sociopathy is rooted in environmental causes, while psychopathy is genetically based.”
If you couldn’t be bothered to read that wall of text, psychopaths have an impaired moral and empathic center. To be clear, this does not make all psycopaths and sociopaths criminals, though criminal behavior is fairly common. A lot of people with this condition actually end up being pretty sucessful.
So what are some of the symptoms? For one, psychopaths feel no remorse for there actions, lack empathy, and said actions tend to be pretty self serving. They also lack a generally ability to tell right from wrong. They can also be quite impulsive and agressive, and have a general disregard for the well being of themselves and others. And finally, they’re manipulative and deceptive for the purpose of profit or self amusment. They may also derive pleasure from the pain of others.
As a side note, psycopathy is a natural condition, whereas sociopathy arises from environmental conditions. (It’s a bit more complicated than that, but for our purposes, its enough.)
So, with that established, lets take a look at that list, shall we? First off, the characters I don’t believe are psychopaths.
Now, this one might confuse people, but hear me out. Genocider is mostly just crazy. She’s really not all that socially manipulatve, and from what I remember, she does have some amount of empathy. She also does end up caring for Komaru. So yeah, mostly just a bit crazy.
Most of his behavior, I believe, stems from his diseases, namely his dementia, and Nagito is a fundamentally honest person, lying only when the situation calls for it. And he does display empathy in regards to character deaths.
Mikan does seem rather off the rails in DR2′s third trial, however, you must remember that this personality of her’s is not a reflection of her true personality, but rather her Ultimate Despair personality. Normally, she a fairly normal, if traumatized and socially awkward girl.
Now to the first of two I’m likely going to have the hardest time convincing people of. Most of Kiyo’s behavior stems from the toxic relationship he had with his sister. He feels things when he talks about humanities beauty. Generally speaking, he’s relatively normal outside of the third trial.
Ho boy, where to start with this one. Well, for one, Kokichi does in fact feel empathy. His most notable reactions are to Kaede and Gonta’s deaths, both of which genuinely made him sad. He also has a strong moral center, with a firm distain for violence an murder. Kokichi is also perfectly of whether his actions are right or wrong. He does care for his own well being, and the well being of others. His mercy kill plan in chapter four was steamed from the idea that being dead was better than the outside world. And he really isn’t all that manipulative, mainly in regards to chapter 4. Sure, he showed Gonta the flashback light, but he let Gonta decide what to do with the information. He’s very much not an impulsive person. His chapter five plan was several trials in the making, and he’s very much a person who plays the long game.
And for all above characters, and to a degree the characters I’m about to talk about, are all in a killing game. Such an environment fosters unusual and atypical behavior in otherwise normal people. I think a lot of people forget that. This is a franchise built around talented but otherwise mostly normal teenagers for a main cast.
So, with that, who are our psychopaths?
Someone already did an analysis on her, so I won’t talk about it here.
Do I even need to explain this one? Gets extreme pleasure from the pain of others, doesn’t care for her or others well being, doesn’t see what she’s doing as wrong and manipulates class 77 into becoming her remnants. I’m probably missing some things, but yeah.
This is one I’m a but unsure about, but lets go. Tsumugi doesn’t seem to feel any remorse for her actions during the killing game. She doesn’t care that she and the other survivors are going to die. She doesn’t see what she’s doing as wrong. She’s sorta manipulative (?).
And that’s that. Feel free to add on or voice your own thoughts on these characters.
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Someone pointed this out and I can’t remember who so I’ll just pass down some of my ideas about it
It’s about Anne and Marcy, and the places they were warped to.
Despite their gem colors, the places they land into are completely the opposite of each other; The Heart landed in Wartwood, a farming community that gives off the green asthetic while the Wit landed in Newtopia, a bustling city surrounded by water that gives off the blue asthetic.
That’s not the only thing; Marcy is shown to love plants while Anne loves Puzzles yet the places that provide the most of these are the ones they didn’t get warped into.
And then there’s the temples; Marcy’s temple has a frog theme while Anne’s temple has a newt theme, you’d think that this should be the opposite but it’s not.
And there’s that line in the first temple: Keeper of The Box
Which is confusing because that should have been from Anne’s temple and not Marcy’s.
There’s also these; A Wit must have Humility while A Heart must have responsibility. Yet, the frogs have shown more humility, knowing when to back down while the newts have shown more responsibility, because they are too prideful to have humility.
One last thing; When Marcy found the box on Earth, the gems suspicuously sparkled.
Which leads me to these;
Marcy was supposed to get warped in Wartwood while Anne in Newtopia. Someone had planned for all three girls to land in Amphibia from the very start, but who?
Andrias. He of all people have the most knowledge about the box, and have sinister plans, it makes that he wants to get the girls in Amphibia on purpose. Not sure how he did that though. Maybe he relied on The Night for help.
Maybe his plan was to trick the Wit, make them desperate to find the box and trick the Heart and Strenght to use it. The frogs would have the Wit, The Toads would have the Strenght and he would have the Heart.
He was expecting Anne to get warped in Newtopia.
If that was the case, I wonder how surprised he was when he got Marcy instead.
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Show vs. Tell in 3H and Why I Think It’s Important
(This rant is a mess, sorry lmao)
And here’s the thing, y’all. I harp on about “Show, don’t Tell” a lot, but truly? The best works utilize both as best they can. It’s called “Show and Tell” after all.
It’s just... video games as a story telling medium have evolved so much, that you can use so many aspects to help build your story that isn’t just text. It’s the same with movies and TV shows and other media with visuals and sounds. The best actors can convey how their character is feeling with facial expressions. Good visuals and set design, with background characters and things happening around the central focus helps things feel more alive. Music choice and ambient sound design helps the audience feel what the writers/directors/producers want them to feel.
I love 3H’s lore (for the most part), it’s history and special dates/events. I love character backstories. I love how each of Fodlan’s countries are described. They have the “Tell” part done amazingly!
But the show is just that lackluster in comparison.
Why is the monastery visually the same every month despite going through all the seasons? Why are things as important as the Church of Seiros doctrine and other historical facts so disconnected that they had to be reduced to library books? Why do characters that are apparently important (like Count Bergliez and Holst) never appear to us? Why are concerning events caused by the war like economic troubles, mass food shortages and religious persecution reduced to NPC one-off quotes (and one quote from Ashe)? Why is stuff like Bernadetta’s tragic backstory accompanied with ‘Haha, funny music’?
It stings even more because the most recent mainline game before 3H was Echoes, a game that did “Show and Tell” beautifully. Sure, the nature of the game itself helped (not every game has deep explorable towns and dungeons after all) but hell, there’s not even any damn villages to save in 3H. Battles in 3H are only fought in important locations, like forts and capital cities, to justify not having any towns or common folk to comment on it all. There are hardly any CGs to signify important events or show off the general public-except in Blue Lions which has like, at least 5 CGs alone iirc? Why couldn’t the rest of the game have more of those too?
It’s all just unfortunate to me, because I hear what the game is telling me and I love it, I just think it can be even better expressed if some of that were shown well too.
And if I had to choose between Show vs Tell, it would be Show, because showing what the world is like and how characters interacting with it is, in my opinion, a better way to tell the story than a 2 minute narration describing it all. Like, an example. One of the early cutscenes of Xenoblade Chronicles, when Fiora and Shulk are eating in the park, the debris alarm sounds and Colony 9 shoots the falling debris with a defense laser. Fiora and Shulk treat it like no big deal.
Just in that scene alone, you get a sense of the world. Shulk tinkered with old parts before yeah, but now we know that stuff falls from above, showing that Colony 9 is on a lower part of Bionis and that mechon parts are still falling from up at Sword Valley. The characters’ reactions show that it happens regularly too. If I saw that and didn’t know what the hell the world was about, I’d be fucking weirded out and confused. But the characters treat it as normal for them, so there’s no confusion on my end too. And the fact that Colony 9 even has a defense laser in the first place tells you “Oh, that must be used for something like anti air threats too, not just the garbage”.
In an FE example, Chrom and his gang in the very beginning deal with the possibility of Robin being a Plegian spy; Freddy Bear is very insistent on treating it seriously. That’s the “Tell” portion for why the Shepherds and Ylisseans as a whole are wary, but the “Show”? Prologue has Plegian bandits burn a town. Chapter 3 and 4 reveals that Plegia wants to cause tension between Ylisse and Ferox. Chapter 5, Maribelle was dragged out of her home in order to incite war by making it look like it was her doing. These things show why the relationship between Ylisse and Plegia is bad! The lore dump from Chrom is strictly for past events and backstory, and gives Robin (and the player, by extension) more context of the conflict as a whole while giving them time to process it. You can Tell first then Show later, and vice versa as well!
3H just... doesn’t do that very well in my eyes.
I will admit, it’s also a bit of bias on my part. That’s just the kind of storytelling I like the most. If I had it my way I would do both “Show and Tell”. If I had to choose between the two, it would be “Show”. So naturally, 3H appeals to me the least in its storytelling method because it doesn’t do both, and it chose “Tell” over “Show”.
Man, ‘show and tell’ don’t even sound like words anymore, I need a break lol.
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TAROT AND THE 4 ELEMENTS - AIR
Air is seen as intellect, logic and reasoning. An active element, Air circulates and so cleanses; it carries your thoughts and dreams; is also expansive when hot and is said to be expressive. Your mind or thoughts can be seen as clear or clouded; speech requires breath, which requires air.
Analysis - air offers direction and forward motion; rational thought organizes possible application
Corespondent → SWORDS(Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
communication, sharing ideas
interrelationship, connecting the dots
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lost in the memory, august slipped away...
or: a few August hot takesTM which I’ve come to ponder after a two hour discussion about his character arc with my unfortunately August-stanning best friend (... which turned into this 3.5k word mammoth so... enjoy?)
seeking: calm, honest and thoughtful discussion/analysis about this fictional character’s journey
dni: just to start drama
[content warning: mention of eating disorders & suicide at #2]
1. Wilhelm doesn’t say Tack
Let’s start at the very beginning. August was not an awful person to Wilhelm at the beginning of the series. He was, perhaps, not as in tune to Wilhelm’s communicative style and what Wille actually wanted as he could have been, but he wasn’t nasty (to Wilhelm - more on this later). He was really just trying to be the guy’s friend. Remember that him treating Wilhelm just like any other new kid going through that (disgusting) initiation scene was an instance where August actually got it right - that is exactly what Wilhelm would have wanted. We see this in that first convo with Henry and friend at the dinner table.
My friend mentioned that August was basically king pin at the school, right? He had the ear of all the cool kids, he was in with the teachers / Headmistress, he knew everyone’s upbringing and their parents, etc. These things are all networks and connections that are important to survive any school, let alone an elite boarding school (let alone again if you’re the literal Prince). And we can see August and Wilhelm weren’t as close as August was with Erik, but August took him under his wing. He told him (what he thought) was right from wrong, he introduced him to his friends, he threw Wilhelm a big party. He’s captain of the rowing team, he got Wilhelm an in there. And we have to acknowledge that a lot of this may have come from wanting to please The Crown and not Wilhelm the person, but for August - who’s entire social experience is in the upper echelon bubble - these are not two disparate entities. And we hardly see Wilhelm grateful for any of it.
He goes along with it all (”We’ve got some nice girls coming later” “Okay, nice”), but it’s not what captures his attention (*catches Simon’s eye the minute he walks in the door*). August must grasp during the course of the series just how many times it’s clear Wilhelm just does not want him around. And we don’t really see Wilhelm say thank you, or that he appreciates any of August’s efforts. My friend put it like, Wilhelm just takes and takes and uses what August provides for him (e.g. the Society) to completely tear him down (e.g. “And how much longer will you be a member?”). The closest we get to acknowledgement that August has had an impact on Wilhelm’s life in any way is that drunken exchange between the two before the football field. And that’s mostly to do with Erik anyway, not their (Wilhelm and August’s) brother-bond.
And if we’re looking from August’s perspective, for someone like August? This has all gotta hurt like hell.
2. Nature vs Nurture
(or: we’re all balancing on sword tip)
We’re all a product of our upbringing; all an amalgamation of the thoughts, fears, insecurities we grew up having, in the environments, atmospheres and physical realities we grew up in. August is no different, and all he knows (all he’s ever known) is this Royal, Elite, Rich world. He’s grown up alongside messaging that keeping this nobility status is so integral to his worth as a human being and the stability of his nation, and the poor kid’s not even eighteen. He hasn’t got a fully developed brain yet, and what has developed hasn’t been exposed to the diverse experience it needs to connect the “empathy, even when they’re different from you” synapses.
And don’t forget August can actually relate to Simon’s position in more ways than Wilhelm can - we can see he comes from a broken family, wrought with tragedy. I am so interested to hear more of his father’s story and how this has affected him - his father taking his own life would have insurmountably altered his entire world view. This would have been a perfect way to bond with Wilhelm, over their shared grief at losing such an important immediate family member. (In all fairness, this may have occurred off screen but-) We don’t see this - due to August not having worked through this trauma? He seems inexperienced going to that counsellor - has he not seen a professional for this? (Now I’m talking directly to you, Lisa, in that we need representation of privileged white boys needing / willingly going to / talking about therapy.)
He’s actually worse off than Simon in the end, in that he doesn’t seem to have the support (or won’t accept support) from his mum, his one remaining parent. He knows familial conflict, he knows separation, he knows loss of trust and loss of safety. We see some of this childhood trauma manifest in what seems to be subtext of body dysmorphia, or an eating disorder. We don’t see too many food cues, but the disciplined, overactive workout / body inspection and drug abuse cues are there to point to this behaviour.
Add to all this his financial stability and tuition problems. How gut-wrenching it would be to hear that due to your parents’ failings, you are about to lose everything you hold most dear (Royal, Elite, Rich StatusTM) in a move that also takes you away from a community you have worked so hard to knit together for yourself, and away from your aspirations for the future.
We see that Wilhelm’s obviously come from a similar privileged background, and Wilhelm’s made some different (arguably better) choices when backed into corners throughout the series. What stops this being a direct parallel though is twofold: one - Wilhelm is the future of the Crown, and this position means we could never really compare their actions, and two - Wilhelm, from what we see, grew up with none of the childhood trauma relating to unhappy/separated parents as August did, so he’s been shaped a little differently.
3. (Simply Not) Simon Says (August)
There’s been questions floating around to the tune of - Is August into Simon? Is August severely homophobic and that’s why he leaked the video? And I think Lisa answered this pretty succinctly in one of her instagram lives; I think the answer to both of these questions is no. As I’ve said before, in the scientific experiment that is this series, and especially the arc of Simon + Wilhelm + August, Queerness is actually the Constant. We have evolving Independent and Dependent Variables (the Crown, integrity, personal agency, family, duty), but the Queerness inherent in the characters and in the story-world is a Constant and never the actual issue.
August’s issue with Wilhelm + Simon was never that Simon’s a boy; it’s literally everything else about how his identity intersects marginalised communities. Simon’s POC, he speaks a language other than Swedish at home, he’s not of the nobility, he’s not even of the nouveau rich like Alexander. He’s got openly socialist, vaguely anti-monarchist opinions and values, he doesn’t even party like the rest of them. For August, since that first moment he saw the two talking, he’s been crossing his fingers and whispering Not Simon, Not Simon, Not Simon, Anyone BUT Simon for Wille. As this boy represents everything the Crown needs to stay away from to survive, and August’s first priority (after himself), is the Crown. Because the Crown in turn props him up into this life he’s used to.
I honestly, truly believe that if it’d been Henry he’d caught with Wilhelm that morning, he would have deleted the video, or at least not sat rewatching it that many times. Same with any of the girls (bar Sara). Ditto if it had been one of his mates, or even Alexander. But because it was Simon, it just… broke him. He could not believe that this was a decision Wilhelm had made. It goes against the entire culture he was raised in, every lesson he’s learnt from his circle of influence, every character trait he knew about Erik, to see the Crown Prince choosing a commoner this way. He cannot believe the inherent classism of his thoughts does not exist in Wilhelm’s. It alters his worldview.
This is why we see that short clip of August replaying the clip again after the montage of the boys telling their collective fib to the headmistress. Wilhelm did all this, tore August’s reputation and community to smithereens, to protect... Simon? His thoughts are stuck on ‘error 404 page not found’.
And what twists the knife is that he thought he had so much more to offer Wilhelm than Simon did. More camaraderie, more influence, more money, more opportunity, more more more. But Wilhelm never once paid August the close, concentrated, sincere attention or affection he sees in these mere seconds of footage between Wille and Simon. His belief that every member of the nobility had a similar hierarchy of needs crumbles, because it’s Simon (Simon!) at the top of Wille’s pyramid.
4. Kiss & Tell (Your Brother)?
Quick one (if you’ve made it this far you’ve earned it), about a thought my friend had about August kissing Sara in the stables. I’m still not quite sure what August’s entire thought process was here, but they reckon there could be a subconscious undertone that August kissing Sara could have a little to do with wanting to hurt Simon?
The main intent, given the context of the scene, is that August believes Felice is emotionally attached more to Wilhelm than himself (the one she's actually dating), so wants to hurt her a little by similarly straying from their commitment. Except, he’s a hot-blooded masculine-raised man-child, so it’s gotta be a lil kissy kissy and not just an emotional connection *rolls eyes*.
However, my friend’s really interesting theory is that he chooses Sara specifically to draw a wedge between the friendship he sees developing between herself and Felice. A friendship that could solidify the space Sara and Simon take up at the boarding school - it could remove the brick wall between the boarders and non-res students labelling the Erikssons “other”. This would in turn cement Simon in his social circle and give Simon two degrees of separation from Wilhelm - something we’ve established he is trying to avoid. Also potential side effects of kissing Sara are that she’s annoyed by it, or distracted by it, and runs off to tell her brother everything, giving Simon something to focus on other than Wilhelm.
Just an interesting thought.
5. “The Crown Prince ((affectionate))”
I came across a post saying August’s reaction of “The Crown Prince” when he stumbles upon Wilhelm’s compromising position is an indication his first (conscious or otherwise) thought was something pertaining to Wilhelm’s position, not his person - and the potential for blackmail. I find this very interesting, and definitely believe this subtext was not a coincidence.
However my gut feeling with this line is that it’s potentially just underlining his upbringing, and more of the pick me, pick me Wilhelm tangent. He’s obviously severely inebriated here, sneaking back into the dorms at first light (“Alexander?”), and I believe he’s potentially just defaulted to the etiquette and social conditioning that has been his safety net his whole life. ‘Call those of a higher station than you by their official title, until the acquaintance has strengthened into a friendship.’
The other reason I think he says here “The Crown Prince ((affectionate))” instead of “Wilhelm” or “Wille” (as we know Augusts uses these terms), is that in his hazy drunk/high mind, he sees this as his golden ticket to being ‘buddy buddy’ with the new kronprins. Just a little something he can show Wilhelm the next morning, and say, “Look what I caught you doing,” and in that grossly toxic masculine hetero-normative way we know August bonds with the guys, ask who they were she was, how it went, what happened, wanting all the details, being inconsiderate and objectifying etc, hoping Wilhelm plays along. Hoping this can maybe be their little secret. Hoping Wilhelm may, for once, have to open up and trust him.
And here’s where that first interpretation comes in, because he’s not really asking Wilhelm to trust him, is he, when he’s got evidence? The subtleties in power dynamics that this show plays with blow my goddamn mind.
6. His Lips are Sealed
Carrying on from the previous discussion, my friend made two very very interesting observations. (1) August stops filming as soon as he recognises Simon’s face, and (2) August does not tell a soul about the video (...until he leaks it).
Now, I believe we’ve all been reading point (1) as either a homophobic action or elitist / classist shock on August’s part. But I present option three… August really did not want to be in the possession of a racy tape with two first year boys he knows. Perhaps he has a little admiration, deep deep deep (deep) down, for Simon’s pluckiness, and in this corner of his mind actually… doesn’t think this is right in the moment. Remember - we’ve got a severely smashed August at this exact second; his guard is down. Food for thought. Debate accordingly.
As to observation (2), this is… very interesting. Why doesn’t August say a word to a single soul? We know from episode two that smack talk of hook-ups is nothing new. But we can tell by the discussions happening at Forest Ridge after the leak that literally no one knows or even suspects in the slightest that it’s August. If anyone had known, there’d be whispers. He does nothing with the video except use it to bludgeon himself with Wilhelm’s obvious infatuation with someone other. He doesn’t joke with his friends, he doesn’t use it as fodder to embarrass Wilhelm as he is so wont to do. My best guess is that a desire to protect the Crown, and knowledge of what is and is not good for the Crown, is so inherent in August that he knows this is leaking gas in search of a flame. And if the monarchy burns, he goes with it. But then...
Why does he leak the video?
He’s just been terribly betrayed. He’s mad. He’s angry. He’s hurt. He’s torn down, ripped apart, lost the girl, can’t trust his remaining family (mother and cousin). He acts on impulse and makes a decision. Makes a mistake.
My friend always says here - why isn’t August allowed mistakes? We’ve given our fair share to every other character. Why does August not get to pass go, collect $200, pick up a get-out-of-jail-free card? (Obviously he’s older than our 16 year olds, and the mistake is a different tier. I’m not here to debate the legality of his actions - especially when we’re fuzzy on their ages - I’m no Swedish law connoisseur. I’m talking strictly in terms of, narratively, what we will and will not allow from this character. What we will and will not forgive. And why.)
Take the parallel of Sara, right? There’s obviously greater intersectionality here with the presence of her neurodivergence, but Sara leaks a huge secret at Parents’ Lunch that absolutely smashes the life Felice has built up for herself to pieces. We see Felice crumble. Question everything. Have no one to go to (and subsequently go to the one person she really shouldn’t). Have to face her honest personality, her inherent self, and present this authentic reality to the world - as scary as this is. Sara does an August. Felice here is the Wilhelm we see at the end of the series. But somehow… Felice forgives Sara. We forgive Sara.
Consider - the world Sara exists in, that all the middle class do, appears to be a sparkly snow-globe imitation of the heavy pressing reality for anyone in the upper echelon; in the public eye. For anyone with honor-culture, noble ties and centuries of tradition strangling them. August and (especially) Wilhelm tread a canyon-spanning tightrope where Sara and Simon stumble on a primary school balance beam. A better view, but way further to fall.
All people feel, though. Everybody hurts. Yes, even August.
(Alexa, play “When the Chips are Down” from Hadestown.)
7. “Fuck You, August” is E A S Y
I know many of you know this, but it bears repeating for those who don’t: it’s always easier to place the blame on a single entity - a single person, event, situation, conversation, word, action or thought - than it is to understand the multifaceted reality we all exist in, and how various nuances in personality, environment, upbringing, culture, trauma and systems of oppression intersect to make Bad Things Happen. This is human. We want things to make sense. We want things to have a pretty beginning, and interesting middle, and a satisfying end. We see faces in inanimate objects to humanise them. Our sense of smell brings back memories created before we knew what memories were. Our brains are ridiculously complex micro-ecosystems of their own.
What I’m saying here is we want to blame August for every single thing that goes wrong in Wilhelm’s life, because it’s easy. It’s clean. And we’re being told to (see: next point).
Consider: If Swedish society/law was accepting of someone in line to the throne existing outside the expected monogamous, elite, cis-het marriage, and after August leaked the video Wilhelm could just ‘come out’ (I hate the necessity of this term but it is what it is) and say he was in a romantic relationship with Simon - how much do you hate August now?
Consider: If Wilhelm’s mum had told him about August before the interview, and Wilhelm had time to process this, to consider his options, to confront August, to deal with the grief of his second cousin betraying him in this way, to talk to Simon about it; whether or not he decided to deny the video - how much do you hate August now?
Consider: If August was the one that recorded the video, but instead of just covering up the fact that it was him, it was Sara that leaked the tape in a deal with August to get what she wanted - with this divided pair to blame, how much do you hate August now?
Consider: If August stays exactly the same, but it’s not him that finds Wilhelm and Simon; it’s Henry, or it’s Alexander, or it’s Nils; one of these boys records the two, perhaps leaks the tape for a bit of cash, or just for a laugh - how much do you hate them & how much do you hate August now? (Is it the act you despise, or the person August’s set up to be?)
This second act set-up, exploration and resolution is incredibly complex, and makes many statements about many different aspects of not only Swedish, but all monarchist and all human societies. What do you really feel passionately about here, that the show is channeling through to you via this situation and specifically the character of August? LGBTQIA+ rights? Socialism (eat the rich)? The monolithic power of social media? Exploitation in tabloid/press culture? Sexual consent education expanding to include respect and literacy of nudes/videos? The breakdown of love, trust and unity within extended families? That we should support children’s emotional needs before all else, including reputational risk?
My friend vehemently argues: don’t hate the player, hate the game.
8. Filmmaking is all about G A Z E
This dot point starts with an anecdote: So I was ranting to a friend once about how I was frustrated and feeling so annoyed at this decision a character made in a TV show. It was an empowered feminist decision, and in my real life I advocate so incredibly strongly for everyone (and especially non-cis-men) for their right to choose, so I was wondering why seeing this right to choose exercised in a fictional reality made me so mad? And she turns to me and says “It’s how the show wants you to feel. Don’t feel bad for reacting with the emotions the show was literally crafted to create within you.”
Young Royals is Wilhelm’s story. It starts and ends with him. Simon is very very important, as are the other three main characters. But this is Wilhelm’s story, and we are taken on his emotional journey in six episodes. We’re taken out of the club, into the Palace’s stranglehold, out to the countryside. We feel the release of Erik’s (last) embrace; the warmth of Simon’s first. We fall into Simon’s eyes, into Felice and her friends. Down to Erik’s grave and back to the surface. Into Simon again (and again). We feel Wilhelm’s deep breath as he squares off to August.
And specifically regarding August, understand that Wilhelm has no clue that any non-rowing related interaction has taken place between August and Simon until halfway into episode 5. He hasn’t seen their nastiness, their tiffs. He hasn’t seen the August we’ve seen, with just his friends, making fun of the ‘sandal wearing socialist boy’. He hasn’t seen August being weirdly cagey with Felice, ignoring her pleasure, just showing her off. August has been this constant (albeit slightly annoying, weirdly pushy and a little manic) presence in his Hillerska life. Someone he’s been told he could trust. This is Wilhelm’s emotional state throughout the series, and therefore the lens through which the audience interprets the story.
And how does Wilhelm’s aforementioned long tumultuous journey end? We feel as everyone that was in Wilhelm’s corner is slowly stricken out of his life, one by one, in the last episode. We see Wilhelm blaming this on one event, one action, one video, one boy. We end the series with Wille’s (justified, in his eyes) all-consuming, toe-curlingly livid rage directed at August.
No wonder you (we) feel the same. So...
“Don’t feel bad for reacting with the emotions the show was literally crafted to create within you.”
I’d caveat this, though, with the fact that it can be a good exercise to ask:
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in this episode of seven can't stop thinking about fine line, could there be a reason why 'adore you' is right before lights up on the album? a song with a music video so pointedly about the peculiar boy with the blindingly bright smile, like a light? and 'lights up' diving into all of the lights not being able to get rid of the sadness inside of him, until he decides to step into the light, step into his peculiarity?
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Analysis: Key Is on Fire in “Bad Love” Solo Album Debut
As SHINee’s involvement in their masterful artistic process accumulates — see Taemin co-directing Criminal as of lately — it’s Key’s turn now: And oh boy has he delivered a title track with stylistic character and powerhouse vocals. Kibum is, as always, the notorious fiery institution to be reckoned with. The word choice being deliberate: We’ll look at how he uses fire as an overall symbolism in just a minute. There’s a lot to analyze, let’s get into it!
So yes, Key officially debuted! Technically, it’s not a comeback, but it feels like one. Key’s latest, prior occasional features date back to 2019/2018, now an album is here and it’s hard to believe it’s his very first. No wonder the chorus stage set appears like he does step on the scene now, but he knows what he’s doing, walking with purpose. It’s lights on for him. Disco balls, elevated stage, retro fonts, full fashion force: The party is here and he has an important statement to get off his chest.
An artist as seasoned as him, it’s been about time and Key gladly thinks so himself: Having put massive energy into this debut with immense worldbuilding. The production shows, this music video has a lot of sets and visual firework. Key certainly flourishes in cementing his status as a fashion icon once again, but also brings a lot more to the table because among all SHINee members, it’s common knowledge that the talent, handsomeness and quality performance simply overflows once the member starts digging the well.
Right off the bat, his entire concept is how people in the past imagined 2021 to be like, and seeing it now, it still feels futuristic, but also retro at the same time. So there’s a temporal type of idea at play. It definitely all follows a certain trend wave in music right now, but has its own tragedy-laden Space Opera twist. The teasers have been very illustrative and fantasy-based in that regard as did his Taeyeon collaboration in Hate That, on top of the Groks in the Keyland sci-fi references. Again: Key creates his own universe here, and SM is no stranger to having extraterrestrially good artists who came from way out there.
Interestingly, the title track itself shows things down to earth. It’s more about the surroundings and stage panoramas in the entertainment industry, hence the video is shot in such a wide frame. It’s a cinema, an all the world’s a stage type of feeling. And still, we do see the protagonist maneuvering his space ship through the universe but ultimately exploding in battle — by being shot at, the space gun is Key’s central aesthetic object in this concept after all. What does a space gun do: Blaze its way through, make way, remove obstacles. Exactly his objective.
Going back to the down to earth point. There’s quite a contrast between the indoor and outdoor settings here. In both, Key heads towards his demise, the lyrics underlining the plot for the most part from a more abstract perspective. What’s even more interesting, he watches either scenario on a screen after his escape. In essence, Key oversees his own downfall in retrospect. This is not a debut, he’s already deep inside the subject matter, in the struggle/reflection phase (of course, the music is in minor as well to emphasize that).
So, of course the track is quite embedded in existing pop culture currents. For instance, the MV references other tracks on the album: Saturday Night is reflected in Key visiting a late show host ripping up the script — a jab at SNL and/or a reference to Key saying he spent too much time doing variety to really focus on music, which is what really brought about his album.
At the same time, adding to the movie feel, the ever-popular film reference to Saturday Night Fever (1977) absolutely dominates the dancing parts. Key tapping into his somber disco mood mixed with Star Trek sci-fi and The Weeknd vibes (e.g. ”hey!” interjection at 0:17, red suit, etc) creates an 80s hommage and a new side to Kibum’s image. It’s very future and it’s very funky, but has its lyrical depth just like most songs on the album. He’s not working at the surface despite all the flashy stages. The glimpse into the shadows is very much there.
Other references can be drawn from the title itself. It’s no surprise that Key is aware how Lady Gaga’s Stupid Love has taken a similar sci-fi path in 2020, and BTS have made Fake Love a topic in 2018, however creating a more thriller-inspired aesthetic settled in electronic and rock genres. Looking at his dancers, Key also seems to hint at a parallel to Jongin’s title track Mmmh, cowboy hats are still all the rage. In essence: Key’s kept his eyes open and embeds his debut in the current pop stratosphere, while at the same time adding to the science fiction concept.
Also, as a precious moment we don’t miss: The ubiquitous T-posing (but Key style, he’s pushing the space apart to make room for himself, a strong overarching theme in his career and this album), SHINee has Taemin firmly in mind while he’s enlisted until it’s time to finally unite again. In many ways, Key wants to tell himself and us to hold out. It’s a track of persevering.
The pushing apart, in fact, is a central motive, tying into the “I’m stepping on the scene now” spirit all over.
Talk about that curtain: It’s literally a look behind the scenes to see what he’s been working on behind the curtain: Most of the music video, we see Key in backstage settings like his dressing room. Alternating back and forth between stages and behind the threshold, we get a glimpse of how he bridges that discrepancy, the “joy and despair” at the same time.
It feels like the music video wants us to see both sides as one, but also realize that his identity off stage has suffered some serious rupture and is plagued by resentment: Key stands at his Hollywood mirror with ripped clothes as if he got into a fight or wanted to tear it off himself but couldn’t succeed fully (likely the latter, we see a brief bit at the end where he tugs at his clothes).
Where all this bad love is coming from are more people than just the lady behind the mirror, but she’s arguably important despite only being shown for seconds. Since she’s his reflection, she could also be his ‘anima’ that he consults in bad times, but even she can’t comfort him.
As we’re talking about clothes already: The outfit changes are perfectly matched with the specific parts of the songs starting and ending. Editing what’s going on is in sync with the rhythm, and, in typical K-Pop style, alternates between dance and plot bits, stage and behind the scenes, dim and limelight. That duality shows in the lyrics as well once Key describes the person or thing or circumstance he’s fallen for as the light and the dark, beautiful but cruel, thrilling but mysterious.
Is the ‘bad monster’ Kibum sings about and struggles with the industry itself? Reading the lyrics from that perspective does make a lot of sense. The bad love is an awry deal of getting recognition on stage, hence Key is seen tearing scripts and cue cards all over the place. His spaceship malfunctions once he encounters this bad love elsewhere way out there, too, and he suffocates: Another reference to another track’s chorus, Yellow Tape. The overall message is: I need to get away from this. But, no matter where I am, the end is the same.
He is, like the corporate-tie mob of his dancers suggests, surrounded by faceless offenders — the masks are there with good reason and not just a nod to Taemin’s Advice comeback that had similar attire. Here, it’s more about the color: Everyone’s disguised in their own little fancy mask following Kibum’s every step from behind him, which is why we see him running out of the wardrobe after.
And here comes the crux of the matter. One element rules and is symbolic for Key’s overall message and energy: Fire. It plays a major role in every part of the video. His exploding space ship, sparks, backstage lights, burning paper. Congruently, of course he wears red as the central outfit. Through fire he can cleanse and clarify, but he also burns out from it in the last bit where he collapses/faints in front of the TV.
Fire is the turning point. The revelation and ridding of the hopelessness. He does say: “Even if I run away, there’s no paradise, now I know it never stops” but also takes the step to escape anyway to stand up for himself. Key chooses Key and not the trap and the TV camera time he’s offered.
He takes that idea as far as instating himself as a dying sun: At the center of its rays, but the lighting dims and the dancers roll over, lifeless at the end. The stage is about to be shut down. He paints a once-flamboyant image that has now ran out of energy from burning so bright. A grim message, but still, one that centers him and leaves him elevated regardless. Maybe with his life force remaining as the red = blood color of his suit suggests. In any case: Key has become a supernova with the last bit of power he has flaring up and standing tall.
The point dance says the same: Strength! Still kicking, still breaking barriers, still full of presence. Key conveys that he can still make it despite being so utterly burdened by the bad and rotten love coming his way everywhere.
Vocally and in the same vein, Key really shows off his compelling upper range throughout the entire album. The title track is no different. From belts to powerful head voice bits, we have a baritone climbing the higher registers on our hands here. Key is naturally not a melismatic singer (e.g. someone doing agile runs as a style, like Kyungsoo), instead, he enunciates very clearly, bit by bit.
Being a more syllabic vocal performer, Key brings his resonance onto the singular words to make the message more impactful. In other words, the song concept suits his grit and his voice. Melismatic singers do RnB or romantic genres well, syllabic singers have more precision. Key being a master of loud and resonant belting technique, the chorus is just right up his alley. Even if he’s not a tenor, he achieves similar strength and clarity. He sings so hard he almost strains, and again, it reflects the torment of the protagonist.
The choreography emphasizes struggle and strength as well, a dramatism and progressing as a person, a fight. Key dances passionately, it’s in your face, and the entire choreo is exactly what we expected and wanted it to be, delivered fierce and bold just like we know him. And it has to be glaring: The “Man I’m sick and tired” message of the song can’t be conveyed otherwise.
All in all, Key really did bring the fire with this title track, and you can see why it was chosen as the thematic flagship bringing so much heat. The music video does Key the exact justice as we expected — only he can headline with a banger about being mad at everything and setting fire to it — with an innovative twist that brings the nostalgia. He looks better than ever and the vocals, wow: It feels like Key’s powerful appeal can infuse the viewer equally to help them rebuff and shed the bad love in their own life.
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