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    • On Fairy Tail's Big Four Pairing

      7 months ago

      Bismuth73

      WARNING: The following article covers a subject that is extremely vulnerable to flame and criticism. If you don't trust yourself to keep your opinions polite, do NOT read this article. Because if you try to spit fire at me, I will ignore you.

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      Ah, Fairy Tail. The spiritual successor to One Piece. I may not watch One Piece, but I can say that I prefer Fairy Tail if for no other reason than it's greater degree of realism (my research indicates that One Piece is almost as ludicrous as Alice in Wonderland).

      But it's "Big Four" pairings: Natsu x Lucy, Jellal x Erza, Gray x Juvia and Gajeel x Levy... Let me just get to the point. I only agree with half of them: Gray x Juvia and Gajeel x Levy. And here, I am going to give my defense for why I don't think the other two work. Remember: this article is only for the open-minded. If you come away from this without gaining a new perspective of Fairy Tail's romance, you shouldn't have read it. So, this is your last chance to bail.

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      For those of you who are still reading, let's get straight to the point.

      ·Natsu x Lucy: I'll cover this one first because I disagree with it less and can thus make my point more quickly.

      To begin with, this pairing is already prone to bias because everybody LOVES to make pairings out of a story's lead characters. Don't beleive me? Then explain why so many people ship Mario x Peach, Harry x Hermione, Naruto x Sakura, Cloud x Tifa/Aeris, Anna x Kristoff, et cetera ad infinitum. Suffice to say, everyone wants to ships lead characters, even if they decide not to. So I'm already taking this pairing with a grain of salt due to it being between two lead characters.

      But barring that, there's almsot no reason for this pairing to be taken seriously. Most of NaLu's "big moments" have been one of the two preaching about True Companions to the other. Everything else has been used as a joke. Argue about any specific instance if you want, but there's a reason NaLu is labelled as a Semi-Canon pairing (right alongside the other Big Four pairings).

      If you want my opinion, I think NaLi (Natsu x Lisanna) works much better. If you've seen the Edolas arc, I'm sure you remember the joy that Natsu and Lisanna displayed at being reunited (at different times, for spoiler-related reasons). Not only that, but those two display a lot more chemistry than Natsu and Lucy. Compare their interactions as kids with how Natsu and Lucy interact. Lucy sees Natsu as a complete man-child (and mentions it multiple times). Lisanna, however, clearly continues to see Natsu as a dearly beloved childhood friend. It reminds me a little of how Sora and Kairi interact in Kingdom Hearts.

      That being said, I would most definately prefer NaLu to the other pairing I disagree with.

      Jellal x Erza: Yes. I object to one of Fairy Tail's most popular pairings. Why? Well, let me explain.

      I'll start by mentioning that another pairing in another series mirrors Jerza point for point: Luke x Annabeth from Percy Jackson.

      1.) They met in a situation where both of their lives were in peril, and spent several months helping each other survive (Jerza in the Tower of Heaven, Luke and Annabeth on their way to Camp Half-Blood).

      2.) The guy turns evil under the influence of some outside force (Jellal under Ultear; Luke under Kronos). In fact, here Luke and Annabeth had several more years of development time over Jellal and Erza, and yet Luke x Annabeth is considered a crack ship (not that I ship Luke x Annabeth or anything; Percabeth is awesome).

      3.) The girl retains her faith in the guy, and can't bring themselves to kill them, (admittedly moreso in Annabeth's case).

      4.) The guy is following a broud, world-changing dream that is free of oppression (Luke's anti-Olympian campaign; Jellal with his initial Zeref complex and later his deeds with Crime Sorciere). 

      5.) The guy eventually redeems himself and atones for their actions. The big difference here is that Luke killed himself to that end. Be that as it may, Jellal has claimed that only death will truly atone for his crime. MULTIPLE TIMES.

      And before you point out how Percy is the thing that breaks this argument, here is my rebuttal: "Why doesn't Erza have a Percy to her Annabeth?" Natsu is too much of a manchild, Gray is honestly too much like Erza herself, and anyone else has pretty much no developed relationship with her.

      Besides, there's no way the Jerza pairing could work out now. Jellal has burned the bridge on that one, and thanks to the timeskip Erza is seven years younger than him.

      Jerza may have had a lot going for it, but as of now it has done irrepairable damage to its credibility as a pairing. I can see them fulfilling the Like Brother and Sister trope, but an official pairing...?

      There's a reason why Hiro Mashima used Jellal and Erza for a panel on Star-Crossed Lovers. Because that's what Jerza is now: star-crossed.

      And that's not even mentioning all the times Erza has been Strangled by the Red String (another trope reference).

      Just read Erza's entry on the Distress Ball trope.

    • Roronoa Zoro... isn't that great

      8 months ago

      Bismuth73

      Personally, I hate the guy, along with his characterization. And if you're a die-hard One Piece fan, please don't make a fool of yourself by lynching and/or trolling me... yet. At least let me explain myself concisely.

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      1.) This is NOT because he killed Erza in Death Battle. I came to this conclusion after I did reseacrh on Zoro's character (research that excluded watching/reading One Piece, which I'll explain shortly). I conducted this research shortly after he was announced as Erza's opponent, and came to my conclusion long before the actual battle aired.

      2.) Before you tell me to piss off and just watch the show before sharing my opinions, my answer is no. Because watching any anime will inevitably shape your view of its characters based on the desires of the writers. Meaning if they want you to like Zoro despite his unlikable character, then doggone it they'll get you to like him. How do you think so many people became fans of Death Note, or Code Geass, or (fill in the blank with any dark but enjoyable anime)?

      3.) I welcome civilly presented, logically sound counter arguments. But any and all flame/fanboy riots/etc. will be dully ignored.

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      So, here is my "Reason You Suck" Speech for Roronoa Zoro, broken down as thoroughly and concisely as I can manage. In a nutshell, his character archetype is by far one of the worst I have ever seen in the history of fiction, for the reasons I will be listing here. This archetype will be defined by a formula of tropes, and then explained below. The tropes this archetype typically has are added, the tropes they need are subtracted, and tropes that often coincide are multiplied by each other: 

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      (Informed Flaw x Mr. Vice Guy) + (Showy Invincible Hero x Smug Super) + (Offscreen Inertia x Designated Hero) + (Karma Houdini x Worf had the Flu) - Break the Haughty - Brought down to Badass - Took a Level in Kindness - Reality Ensues = (what I like to call) The Insufferable Badass.

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      Here we go.

      1.) This first one is the least important, so I'll get it out of the way first. This character has some kind of otherwise-debilitating flaw that would seem off-putting in real life (in Zoro's case, it's sleeping a lot and drinking even more), and yet the plot pretty much ignores it.

      Comments: On one hand, this isn't one that I have as much disdain for, and it's typically one of the marks of a Mary Sue. And not all Insufferable Badasses have this trait. But I can safely say that it's the most common similarity between Insufferable Badasses that isn't directly connected to what I find unlikable about them. Think of it as their mainstream calling card.

      Be that as it may, I find that it adds insult to injury when combined with the cluster-tropes below, simply because it shouldn't be something any realistic character could feasibly get away with.

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      2.) The character is portrayed as such a huge badass that there is no dramatic tension over the possibility of them losing. On top of that, the character is aware of this, and whenever they're in their element, they smugly flaunt it to whoever challenges them.

      Comments: Zoro has this one written all over him. Granted, he saves the Smug Super behavior for his enemies, but the intent is the same. Unless this kind of behavior is played for laughs like with Bugs Bunny or Perry the Platypus, there's not much that can really justify it. The Rule of Cool does keep it from getting boring, but it doesn't detract from how poorly it reflects on the character's development.

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      3.) This is by far the one that I find most unlikable. Despite the fact that the character is established as one of the protagonists, their behavior very frequently flies in the face of their supposed heroism. And while many main characters like Deadpool are portrayed as anti-heroes or even villains (e.g. Light Yagami), this cannot be done carelessly. Deadpool manages by following the Rule of Funny (which, when compared to the Rule of Cool, is harder to mess up and doesn't get old as quickly or easily). Light pulls it off by being an excellent catalyst for the Rule of Drama. But Zoro... I'll get to him in a second.

      However, the insulting part of this comes from the fact that the plot never gives any indication that the character's behavior is improving for the better, implying that (worst of all) their more despicable actions continue to go unacknowledged. The key here is that the Insufferable Badass fails at compensating for this unrelatability, or just does it poorly.

      Comments: I could go on for hours about how much this pattern pisses me off when I see it in a character. But I'll just stick to the point I'm trying to make. Zoro fits the bill for this rather uniquely. On one hand, he completely averts it around his friends and those who need and deserve his help. In these situations, he acts like more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. But on the other hand, Zoro's favoritism towards his crew is a cookie cutter staple of shounen anime. And even though he does do heroic things for people, the fact that he treats others with brutality and indifference paints Zoro as more of a Hero with an F in Good than anything else. Can this kind of behavior be adequately justified? Sure. Is it justified in Zoro's case? Without a doubt. Does that justification make his character any more respectable? No... not really. In fact, not in the slightest. All kinds of anime characters (*cough* ...ERZA... *cough*) go through the same stuff and maintain a sense of heroic integrity. And the main thing that keeps Zoro likable, the Rule of Cool, has a fairly limited shelf life in the minds of those who want more than just action for its own sake (meaning that Michael Bay fans would say that the Rule of Cool never gets old). So Zoro really has no excuse. C'mon, Zoro. Get over yourself and stop being such a douche. It's not rocket science... or navigating.

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      4.) This one ties everything together and makes it all a thousand times worse. The combined pattern of the Karma Houdini and Worf had the Flu tropes makes this stereotype into the holistic garbage I am convinced that it is. In the midst of all the things listed above, the character dodges any kind of comeuppance thrown their way, particularly when they do something notably unlikable. Not only that, but the plot goes out of its way to disassociate any of the character's equalizing defeats with the notion that they might have gotten knocked down a peg. This last pattern once again makes everything else mentioned above much worse in context.

      ---

      -When applied to the Informed Flaw/Mr. Vice Guy pattern, it shows that the character's flaws are deliberately being downplayed and ignored, adding to how contrived the durability of their Plot Armor is.

      -When this is applied to the Showy Invincible Hero/Smug Super pattern, it leads me to believe that Zoro (or any Insufferable Badass) could potentially be a full-blown Mary Sue (albeit an incredibly jerky one). After all, not only is the hero flaunting their invincibility, but that invincibility is actively protected by the plot. The fact that the narrative goes out of its way to ignore the struggles the hero faces in favor of how awesome they are... that is precisely why I'm not impressed by Zoro's amazing qualities or feats.

      -

      One Piece Fanboy STEREOTYPE: ZORO CHOPPED A MOUNTAIN IN HALF!! *fangasm*

      Me: Uck, so? It's not like the plot was trying to make that significant to the story. It's just absurd awesomeness for the sake of absurd awesomeness. BORRRING! If I wanted to see that, I would watch Man of Steel or one of Michael Bay's films.

      -

      -But what this pattern implies about the Offscreen Inertia/Designated Hero pattern is arguably the worst of the worst, particularly with regards to how Karma Houdini applies. The story is basically saying that we can never expect anything to change about the Insufferable Badass in a significant way. Whether they are loved or hated by anyone (in-universe or in real life), their character arc is pretty much going nowhere. Not only that, but they will never be definitively payed back for the ways in which they've acted like a jerkass. In fact, I guess you could say that Offscreen InertiaKarma Houdini and Designated Hero form the unholy trinity of this stereotype. After all, you've got a character with a.) unlikable behavior that flies in the face of their heroic characterization (free of any notice or justification), b.) the ability to evade any comeuppance for the unlikable things they do, and c.) a viscous cycle that will keep their awful character in place indefinitely. )<>

      That... is one of the most atrocious characters imaginable. That is a character I want to see suffer a Humiliation Conga. That is a character I will never have any respect for, for as long as I live.

      *sighs* Sorry, that got a little heated. But rage aside, my point stands. And the aforementioned apostasy is in no way helped by the fact that Worf had the Flu. It just means that all the other characters can't do jack squat about the Insufferable Badass.

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      It doesn't have to be this way. It really doesn't. I've actually seen this character type done well on multiple occasions.

      Qrow Branwen from RWBY, however, is the best example. After all, almost all of the above tropes are explained/justifies by Qrow's Semblance and the rest aren't fulfilled at all (SPOILERS UP TO SEASON FOUR, EPISODE EIGHT OF RWBY): He brings bad luck to everyone and everything in his vicinity. Indiscriminately. The fact that he constantly brings misfortune to his foes justifies his supposed invincibility. And if he uses it for good, then why not rub it in his opponent's face (as long as you don't give it away explicitly)? And Qrow's personality is rounded out enough that his ass-kicking doesn't crowd out the rest of his characterization (Zoro's character may be well-written, but it's also a one-note song of occasionally-subverted stoicism, crowded out by his badassery). But what's important in Qrow's case is that his characterization actually fits the bill for a well-written anti-hero. He does good often and sincerely enough that it doesn't seem forced or reluctant (Zoro may do the same thing, but he's not really a heroic anti-hero. His deeds of heroism are few and far between, and they're far exceeded by his indifference towards most people and his blood-lust for his enemies). Also, Qrow makes a visible effort to atone for how much of a jerk he can be at times. He helps out whenever he can and treats his friends and family like friends and family (doting on his niece Ruby especially)... But he still has the courtesy to keep his distance lest his Semblance bring harm to those he cares about.

      But most impressively of all, Qrow balances his good traits out with his less likable tendencies. He's still a hard-headed prick who enjoys pushing people's buttons and refuses to knuckle under for anyone but Ozpin. And he's a drunkard who lets his pants do the thinking when there's women involved (at least when the head on his shoulders gives him the OK; like when he chooses to hear whatever intel his sister Raven has to share, instead of immediately hitting on the waitress who had just flirted with him). The kicker is that it makes sense without any kind of contrived reasoning. Qrow is not only forced to bring misfortune to all those in his wake. He also has to choose between keeping anyone he cares about at arm's length or subjecting them to the same misfortune as his foes. That would make pretty much anybody cynical, especially a hard-working Huntsman like Qrow. So that explains his being a jerkass. Not only that, but it makes perfect sense that he would turn to sex and alcohol as a way to cope. And it's not like Qrow is taking all the good luck for himself. His team fell apart because of his sister, and by the end of Season 4 Episode 8 he's confirmed to be poisoned.  All that's really left is something to show that no, Worf does not have the flu. Across the board, Qrow fits this stereotype in a way that I wish could be done for every Insufferable Badass, up to and including Zoro. Before the reveal of his Semblance I hated Qrow for all the same reasons I hate Zoro. But RWBY did a great job of putting his characterization into the proper perspective.

      But, as he is now, I cannot respect Roronoa Zoro to any extent, nor any other character who handles the above tropes sloppily. Everyone has something in fiction that they just can't be accepting of. For me, the Insufferable Badass is that thing.

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  • Comments (4)

    • KingJotun FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      Truth be told, most of what I was saying was coming from myself concerning Tracer vs Scout. But most of the evidence needed is in the primary sources.


      And as far as FFXXIII goes, I tried so hard, but I just think the game is AWFUL. It has some of the worst storytelling I have ever seen. Putting the boneheaded slipstream writing style to the side (Little to none of the world was fleshed out in dialogue and characters were given the broadest, most basic brushes possible), it is loaded with plot holes, lazy writing, outlandish characters and concepts by even Final Fantasy standards (The series that invented Blitzball), incompetent villains and basic foundational elements of the world that defy sense and reason. I really don't want to get into detail because it would take me all day.


      You like what you like, but I promise you I will never like this game, nor could I ever give Lightning Returns a chance because I never got invested in that character. They put the cart before the horse with her, misunderstanding very basic elements of traditional storytelling.


      This also tends to get bile spewed at me, but I feel a comparison to Xenoblade Chronicles is inevitable; the stories share a lot of the same elements but execute these concepts in completely different ways, almost like Bizarro versions of each other. Xenoblade introduced me to Shulk the human before Shulk the ridiculously overpowered god-killer; XIII did the reverse with Lightning. Anyone can write a character doing cool stuff, but I need to care before I can think that the stuff being done is cool.


      And as I'm sure you've gathered, I don't like the archetype itself. I feel it's been so overdone that it's not even worth trying to subvert.

      • Bismuth73 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        8 months ago

        I'm not gonna try and argue. But regarding the problems you mentioned with Final Fantasy XIII... that's kind of a problem with every Final Fantasy game, though some admittedly have this problems worse then others (and yes, XIII does portray them at their worst, though Final Fantasy XI and XII give it a run for its money).

      • KingJotun FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        8 months ago

        I'm also admittedly a massive fan of the older ones, namely the SNES trilogy and FFIX, which I personally feel did not do these problems nearly to the extent that XIII did. So perhaps I should be posting that meme picture of that crotchety old man talking about "back in his days." xD


        But thank you for putting up with me; I'm sure I've said many things that you really want to rake me over the coals on, no doubt because I haven't played the game of discussion in around seven years and have probably forgotten some details. Again, like what you like and screw everyone else; I like Crystal Chronicles on the Gamecube and most people tend to hate that one.


        To end on a lighter note, what are your thoughts on Final Fantasy: Beautiful Boys Adventure? I'm interested in giving it a shot if it ever gets that PC port, though I heard you need to watch its movie to understand what's going on. I don't own a PS4 or I'd borrow it from my brother.

    • KingJotun FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      Heya. Leaving a comment here since Rooster Teeth's video comments system is awful.


      I copied the link into the video, but it looks like it decided to get rid of it for some reason, so here it is. It primarily pertains to Tracer vs Scout in terms of speed.


      &t=469s

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