AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

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VicMonado
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AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by VicMonado » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:00 pm

So there are many aspects that define whether you may like a character or not from their design to the voice to the story they're from. This week however, let's start more specific. What do you think between these two is more important towards finding a character compelling.

1. That they are Relatable (traits easier to identify with)
2. That they are Admirable (traits that you appreciate/aspire towards)

After you choose could you give me an example of a character that fits the bill and why?

As always your responses are appreciated and I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Peace!
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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by marjibi » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:29 pm

I lean more to relatable characters coz anime tend to take the admirable characters to the extreme. Nonetheless, there are some characters that have just the right mixture of both. Kitamuta, Kou from Cross Game comes to mind. There’s just nothing “too much” about him. He works as hard as any main character in a sport anime do, yet he feels natural because he doesn’t keep pulling secret moves out of his ass whenever he’s in a pinch. Oh yeah, I also like A-Kun coz he has a strict 0 tolerance policy for bullshit.

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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by Paltir » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:42 pm

I don't see why these two aspects have to be separate. Assuming all else is equal, a character needs to have a balance of BOTH traits to be compelling. In fact, a character without both will probably be a terrible character. Let's examine.

Note: In writing the below section, I actually realized how important it WAS for characters to be both, and struggled to find characters who had an abundance of one, but lack of the other, as I would have watched an episode or two, then turned off these shows. Also, this is clearly an opinion piece especially on identifying with and admiring characters, so you may not agree with the specifics.

Relatable without Admirable: This would be a character who's situation, or position, can be related to your own for various reasons, yet lacks many key traits and makes you actively dislike them. Assuming they are the lead character, they will not be compelling as you wish they would do something different.

--Ex. Youji Itami - GATE (And thus the JSDF fought there). The main character has a strong love of anime/manga/comics/games, your generic Otaku, which on its face generally doesn't clash so often with the military. As it turns out, there are quite a few of us out there. His first thought in the beginning episode is taking care of civilians and mounting a defense and counter attack against the enemy. In fact he even finds some military friends who also are "Otakus". VERY relatable. As the story progressed however, despite him having some initially admirable accomplishments (Ranger/Special Forces) and awards I found myself further annoyed by the character. He breaks rules, is generally dumb as heck when it comes to any type of military structure, has no ambition, terrible team leader, and basically gets promoted for killing one soldier and telling the police to not be idiots. Also he seems to run, a LOT. In fact every "awesome" thing he does is because of the 4 BS half underage magical girls that have a crush on him, despite having dozens of opportunities to leverage honest to god MAGIC with modern military equipment and tactics, especially mage chick. In fact some of the no-name background SDF members seem to be more in line with how Occupation forces (which this no doubt is) truly behave in theater. Why this character sucks is because like in GATE, after an initial "Ok cool, i like this guy", you tire of the way he goes about things, which means you lose investment, and less compelling.

**I actually do really like GATE, but boy does Itami drive me nuts sometimes.

Admirable without being Relatable: This would be a person who you share little to no traits with, and can't identify with their situation, but motives, ideals, or way they go about it you really like. The problem with this type is that when you can't identify with them, their actions, even if admirable, are difficult to get behind.
Frankly this is probably at least 75% of shounen fighting shows "main character", which despite me really liking them, can put me off at times.

--Ex. Asta- Black Clover (Naruto-Naruto; i mean lets be honest that's EXACTLY who that is, despite Black Clover being a better show... the character is identical) Asta is physically gifted, a hard worker, will fight to the death for his friends and family, and just wants to become the Wizard King, all ideals i can get behind, especially the never give up/hard work pays off business. Unfortunately I have a hard time understanding his character at times because well, he's dumb as a box of rocks, loud, a one-trick pony, and did I mention stupid? I find that sometimes I can't understand why he doesn't do X/Y/Z, and does A/A/A instead. Enjoy him trying to fight through his perceived drawback/limitations, but I always feel like he's not improving as a character, and makes dumb decisions. Also Kinda agree with everyone that he can't be the wizard king, because he's SO DUMB. Much more a Yunno guy myself.

So lets finally end this word dump of a post with why you need both.

Relatability gets you on board with the character. Admiration KEEPS you on board with the character. If you can't relate, and can't admire, shoot you basically get Shinji from Evangellion (yes he's possibly the worst character in anime, despite being in an all time great show, though pretty sure that was intentional).

--Ex. Momonga/Ainz Own Gaol - Overlord; Stick with me here.
Relatability: He's obsessed with a video game, probably some anime too, and keeps with it till the bitter end, and laments his friends who he lost to life as the years went on. Feels like he's going to lose something that was integral to his development in life, and helped him develop a social life in general. Once he gets stuck in the game, he also feels like "well my life wasn't that great, this could be a good change". I'm guessing those thoughts and feelings resonate with everyone.
Admirability: He's not a total pervert, but accepts and confronts his desires toward the overly endowed monster chick (who also looks basically human). He's clever in the way he goes about figuring out things about the world. He is ambitious, but despite being an evil overlord, is protective of innocent folks, doesn't just rape/murder/pillage everything. Also he doesn't just win, he crushes his enemies soul while doing so, because just winning would be "too easy".

Thats gonna be it for me.... you can tell I have so much to do today.

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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by VicMonado » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:48 am

First of all, thank you for your response! I can get behind a lot of what you're analysing with those specific characters, even the ones from anime I haven't watched, so thank you for taking the time to go into such detail. One thing though (and admittedly I could have been clearer on) is that I wasn't implying that the two aspects relatable and admirable, "have to be separate". I am quite aware that a compelling character will likely feed into more than one trait. I meant this as more of a fun exercise as to what people here lean towards in the same way that some people care more about how characters look while others might care a lot more about the voice than others and so on.

But yeah directly answering your post I do agree that both traits are needed somewhat. I guess you lean in more towards a fairly equal balance and that Overlord character matches?

Anyways thanks again for your input!
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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by Paltir » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:44 pm

I knew what your question was. My position, which wasn't articulated properly, was that because both work in concert, it is impossible for me to determine which is more important. Since I wasn't able to determine what you were asking in the question, and I'll be honest, you guys didn't have many responses to the post anyway, I decided to drop my thoughts on the subject at large. Sometimes the more interesting questions aren't a "What is better(more important), X or Y", but to determine what drives you to ask that question in the first place.

Since I couldn't choose, I explained the thought process and what other folks are gonna weigh when they determine which is more important for them, and open up future potential discussion.

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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by QueenInoue » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:35 am

I tend to lean more toward the relatable part of the spectrum. As Paltir pointed out you can't really have one without the other but there are some characters that lean more toward one side or the other. That said I find I enjoy watching characters that I can relate to some part of what they go through ie: life circumstances, personality, interests, and that sort of thing. I don't have any specific examples to share as far as specific characters.
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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by YotaruVegeta » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:09 pm

I go with admirable over relatable, because I'm not in elementary or high school anymore, so there are a lot of characters I can't relate to. I'm also not OP, so many of the characters who don't go to school aren't relatable to me, either.

For an admirable character, I'm going with Rei Kiriyama from March Comes in Like a Lion.

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I can't completely relate to Rei, because he's gone through a tragedy that left him an orphan. This character is admirable because, despite the curveballs life has thrown him, he manages to get out of bed and make the most of what he has. He is talented, but he's not perfect, and he doesn't always win.

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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by QueenInoue » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:51 am

YotaruVegeta wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:09 pm
I go with admirable over relatable, because I'm not in elementary or high school anymore, so there are a lot of characters I can't relate to. I'm also not OP, so many of the characters who don't go to school aren't relatable to me, either.

For an admirable character, I'm going with Rei Kiriyama from March Comes in Like a Lion.

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I can't completely relate to Rei, because he's gone through a tragedy that left him an orphan. This character is admirable because, despite the curveballs life has thrown him, he manages to get out of bed and make the most of what he has. He is talented, but he's not perfect, and he doesn't always win.
I completely agree. I love Rei Kiriyama. He is a fantastic character and though he does have some depression issues (who wouldn't who has been through all that) He is probably one of my favorite anime characters.
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Re: AP 542 - Q. Compelling Characters

Post by xahldera » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:47 pm

I would have to agree with Paltir. The best characters have a good balance of both, with a bias towards relatable traits. There aren't many characters I would say I admire as such. I do find "Izumi Konata" from "Lucky Star" relatable as I can be a bit of a crazy geek that causes some embarrassment to his peers :D. Also "Ikari Shinji" in "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (Yes I know, "What the hell?!" ;) ) as there have been times during my teenage years where I felt under pressure from all sides to fit in and I never really felt like I could.
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