The heartache is constant, no doubt.
But the thing is, there seems to be a certain hierarchy to it.
It’s the most topline of pain but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It feels like your heart is being squeezed so tightly that it feels unbearable. This comes with the fleeting thought of direct abstractness of factual statements.
“She’s never coming back.”
“We’ll have to eventually move on.”
It’s basic information that comes along with a clench not uncommon for people suffering a great loss. Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, it does because of hyper targeted pain.
This varies from person to person but true to its name, it feels like it’s directly customized to shoot through the chinks of one’s armor. If acknowledging the basic truth hurts like a clenched heart, hypertargetting feels like daggers being plunged into your chest with the next one more painful than the first.
It’s the kind of pain you experience once you break down the abstractness of death; once the thoughts turn from vague, over-generalized concepts to specific core memories like...
...eggshells reminding you of how she collects these to use as compost for her beloved plants or
...the way she is the designated recipient of parcels being delivered at home or
...seeing her favorite chair to lounge on while playing mobile games or
...noticing her untouched food in the refrigerator
It can also take the shape of last memories especially when it sinks in that you never really thought it would be the last time since it happens regularly - until it doesn’t.
...Like the last time she’ll try your cooking even if it’s goddamn awful or
...the last time she’ll joke saying that your cookie batter looks like your cousin’s poop or
...the last time she’ll wordlessly help you wash the dishes because you’re still busy (and she knows you hate doing the dishes) or
...the last time she’ll split your favorite food with you while playfully trying to get a larger part (when in truth, she’ll selflessly give it once you ask) or
...just the last time she laughs, speaks, breathes.
It becomes 10x more painful because of the knowledge that these associated memories can never be replicated. Being reminded of these results to body-wracking sobs that clogs up your throat that you can’t even make a sound. All you can do is try to hold yourself together until you can catch your breath again.
It sounds terrible but the worst is yet to come.
III. Shared grief
This one feels like drinking Gorgon’s blood at the same time. It’s the most painful one of all that it feels like poison, yet it’s something that can help you keep it together and eventually heal, at the very best sense of the word.
I have no idea how shared grief feels like lessening the burden you carry and simultaneously hit so much harder. When multiple people are in mourning, they are there to provide support and comfort to one another but directly seeing other people experience the exact same pain you’re feeling can end up amplifying the hurt a hundredfold because it can feel like you’re grieving for yourself and for others.
Some people deal with grief by crying it out fully and most times, even hysterically. It’s a fast burning flame that comes in bursts and leaves a person physically and emotionally exhausted afterwards.
Meanwhile, some people deal with grief silently, crying in their own spaces and trying to keep it together in front of other people. Still, you can see the brokenness in their eyes and feel the sadness in their souls. It hurts because sometimes, the best you can do is to give them a look that says “I understand your pain and I’m here for you.”
I think the worst of it comes when you’re in a place so thickly shrouded with silent grief and the quietness gets pierced by heart-crushing cries of the people experiencing any of these three.
Regardless of the type, it all boils down to the fact that there is no easy way to cope and handle this emotion. There’s no shortcuts. The only way is through feeling every single pain and sorrow. Only then can you start to piece yourself back together to the best of your ability even if you know there will always be an unfillable gap here on out and that you will never be completely the same again.
x day 3 x
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Manfred Von Karma Character Essay
I’m going to give it a go on a character essay on my favorite villain, Manfred Von Karma. I haven’t been able to find any on him and I feel like he’s often overlooked as the nothing-but-evil villain when there is so much more to him than meets the eye.
When we are first introduced to Manfred Von Karma, he both is the final boss of the game and a foil for both Phoenix Wright and his rival, Miles Edgeworth. He represents the karma brought down upon Miles Edgeworth’s shoulders by his actions in the first game, thus his name “karma” or “ Karuma,” which means “karma” in Japanese. This works in the same way with Franziska Von Karma representing Phoenix Wright’s karma in AA2. Since we are focusing on Manfred Von Karma, he will be our main focus.
We are introduced to Manfred Von Karma as Miles Edgeworth’s mentor, but it is in AA2 we find out he is much more than a mentor. He was also a father figure of sorts to Miles Edgeworth. This relationship is often overlooked, even by the game itself. We are told by Franziska Von Karma how Miles Edgeworth was like her little brother, but nowhere in the game does it ever mention or demonstrate how Miles Edgeworth would be the son of Manfred Von Karma. Even the anime never truly focuses on that portion. As a result, we, as the players, are like Godot in how we miss the obvious red on white part of the case, and instead focus on the mentor and student relationship. Like anyone, why would we believe someone as twisted and vindictive as Manfred Von Karma would consider Miles Edgeworth as a son? Yet, this same man considered him the student under Von Karma? If Sebastian Debeste’s relationship with his father could be father/son and mentor/student, why wouldn’t the same also apply to Manfred Von Karma and Miles Edgeworth?
To understand this father/son relationship Miles Edgeworth shares with Manfred Von Karma, we first need to understand why it is overlooked or taken out throughout the game. After losing his father, Miles Edgeworth practically lost everything. If we are to assume his father was the only family he ever had in his life, then this would mean he became an orphan. He was alone without anyone to care for or love him. All of a sudden, this Prosecutor, who had gone up against his father in court, takes him in under his wing. He gives Miles Edgeworth food, a home, a little sister, a family, education and training to become a Prosecutor. Before, Miles Edgeworth only had his father, now under the Von Karmas, he has a family. Manfred Von Karma gave Miles Edgeworth much more than his biological father ever did, when we take into account the mentioned family of Manfred Von Karma than just Franziska: a niece, a possible extra sibling(s) and a mother.
In the head of Miles Edgeworth, he is not deserving of this. He mentally believes he is responsible for the murder of his own father. He isn’t deserving of a family, a home or any of these things. This is a similar mentality he will eventually have with Phoenix later on after Turnabout Goodbyes. In turn, we have Manfred Von Karma, who is simply using Miles and his genius to have as his own. He knows of his crime of having murdered this boy’s father and yet is willing to provide this boy with a better life. It feels off for Manfred Von Karma, if we were to assume he’s your typical devilish bad guy with no moral compass. Though, if we were to take AAI2 into account in how he praises his wife’s cooking, despite being an amateur, and was willing to defend Delicia Scone’s innocence for no other reason other than, “she is innocent,” we can assume he does have some form of moral compass. At the very least, he is capable of love for those he considers family and will protect those he considers innocent. If we are to assume that he does love his family, or at least is capable of such, we can assume that there was a tiny bit of compassion he had in taking in Miles Edgeworth. Even if we were to reason that Manfred Von Karma was simply using Miles Edgeworth to cover up his own crime, no one can deny that Manfred Von Karma could’ve made him into a Cinderella or killed him under his care.
Of course, many would disagree this man would have a heart, if only because the game seems to imply that Manfred Von Karma took in Miles Edgeworth to beat the dead horse that was Gregory Edgeworth. Except, that would imply that Manfred Von Karma believes in spirits and was so passionate that he was willing to raise a child with severe trauma, nightmares and phobias. To put it simply, raising Miles Edgeworth, for Manfred Von Karma, would have been a nightmare in itself. Not only because he’d be having sleepless nights from a child, then teenager being up in the middle of the night because of nightmares, but also having to calm him down every time an earthquake hit, perhaps having to deal with Miles Edgeworth’s fear of elevators and there are the effects of DL-6 that took a toll on Miles Edgeworth. Anyone who knows anyone that deals with severe trauma will tell you that each day, minute and second that person is still living is a miracle. This is something Manfred Von Karma would be having to face every morning and night. For Miles Edgeworth, he believes he killed his own father and is not deserving of anything. Perhaps being a Prosecutor is his way of punishing himself, but it is also a goal he strives for that was placed upon him by Manfred Von Karma himself. You could say that Manfred Von Karma gave Miles Edgeworth a reason to live.
Knowing this, it makes sense why Manfred Von Karma framed Miles Edgeworth for the murder of Robert Hammond. This wasn’t about him ruining Miles Edgeworth’s life or revenge against Gregory Edgeworth. This was Manfred Von Karma running away from his problems, from his own guilt. We see in Turnabout Reminiscence how quickly Manfred Von Karma was willing to leave an investigation unfinished the moment he loses control. If you were to fail that game, before Manfred Von Karma demands Miles Edgeworth and young Franziska to no longer proceed in the investigation, he will stop the investigation right away or Franziska will win. It’s only after he demands there to be no more investigation that he no longer stops the investigation, but instead it is Calisto Yew or Tyrell Badd, who at one point sends his security to kick Miles Edgeworth and Franziska out. This means that the reason Manfred Von Karma wanted Miles Edgeworth to stop the investigation was because he no longer had control over the outcome. This makes sense for his character, who also left IS-7 after the events of DL-6. He’s the kind of man to run away from his troubles. If Miles Edgeworth’s trauma was trouble for Manfred Von Karma that he can’t ever get rid of, he will proceed to get rid of Miles Edgeworth instead.
The problem with Manfred Von Karma framing Miles Edgeworth for murder is that this adds another problem. Miles Edgeworth is now the supposed son of Manfred Von Karma. Keep in mind this is a man who obsesses over perfection. To frame his own son for murder goes against being the perfect father. Aside from his own personal problems, Manfred Von Karma has no reason to get rid of Miles Edgeworth. Miles Edgeworth, while did suffer a few losses, is a valuable asset to Manfred Von Karma. He is Manfred Von Karma’s proud disciple and, if we were to assume he only has daughters, the only son he’s got. He is willing to throw away Miles Edgeworth, for what? Because of his own personal problems? Because he knows all of Miles Edgeworth’s troubles are caused by him? Because the only way to fix Miles Edgeworth is to admit that he was and is a terrible murderer and a criminal?
Much like how Manfred Von Karma represented the karma built upon all the deeds Miles Edgeworth had done, the same can also be said in reverse. For Manfred Von Karma, Miles Edgeworth is the result of his own karma. That karma will never go away and, so long as Miles Edgeworth continues to live in the Prosecutor’s circle, the karma of Manfred Von Karma will haunt him for the rest of his life, unless he decides to find closure. Whether that closure be through death or reconnecting with Miles Edgeworth, unless it is met, Manfred Von Karma will always be troubled by the karma he’s placed upon himself.
To describe Manfred Von Karma is someone that is obsessed with being perfect in every way to a fault. He has family, friends, people he loves and cares about, but is also a coward to face whatever troubles come his way. He is the opposite of Phoenix Wright, who is willing to face what he’s faulted and try to make things right. Manfred Von Karma represents a side to humanity none of us want to admit. We are very narcissistic and strive to be better than everyone else. Then, the moment we run into trouble where our true colors are shown, we tend to hide or run away like Manfred Von Karma.
When you consider the events of IS-7, it’s clear Manfred Von Karma made many mistakes in how he approached the case. He refused help from his detective, he continually tried to fight against the Defense that he was right, he used threatening tactics to force the Defendant to confess to a crime he didn’t commit, he overlooked other crimes that happened such as the two missing boys, and he changed the case file to the Defendant being the culprit - even though he accused him of being an accomplice to the crime. While he didn’t forge the Autopsy Report, he placed the blame of the penalty he received from his boss on the Defense, who didn’t do anything wrong. To add insult to injury, he orphaned and traumatized a child that now is under his care. Manfred Von Karma continually ran away from his issues, the vile acts that he has done. As a result, he refuses to acknowledge Miles Edgeworth as his son. If he can’t acknowledge it, why should the game?
Manfred Von Karma is one of the most morally gray characters in the AA game. He represents the worst of all humanity. He’s definitely not one to sympathize with, but not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to. I consider the best villains as those you could become at any point in time. Someone like Kristoph Gavin or Dahlia Hawthorne would be much harder to see in ourselves, since their circumstances came from other bad circumstances. Manfred Von Karma, I can see in anyone no matter the circumstances or life they live. So long as you believe yourself to be better than anyone else, you will always become another Manfred Von Karma.
Ironically enough, I do see a redemption arc in Manfred Von Karma, if he was to ever live after Turnabout Goodbyes. The reason is because, believe it or not, I did have issues with Narcissism about ten or so years ago. Of course, I wasn’t as bad as Manfred Von Karma, but I can also relate to him. As such, I also know that it only takes seeing yourself as better than everyone else to void yourself of all empathy or compassion for others. This also includes thinking your opinions are correct or others’ opinions are problematic. All it takes for a redemption arc is realizing where you’re wrong, apologizing, and making things right. Of course, you can’t erase your history, but you can make a better future, especially for those you have hurt. Luckily, we have Franziska Von Karma and Miles Edgeworth to demonstrate what Manfred Von Karma could’ve been.
- Mod Edgeworth
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