Pick a side!

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  1. #1
    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Pick a side!

    Ok, this was something I was criticised for the first time I ever posted something here.

    Essentially, there were two characters in the story, one who wanted to destroy Hoenn, and one who wanted to stop him, but it was told from the perspective of the guy trying to destroy Hoenn, and it was kind of unclear who the reader was supposed to be rooting for (the narration displayed the completion of the villain's plan as something to root for, but also Brendan successfully stopping him as something to root for).

    (To be fair, the story wasn't very good anyway, but that is very much besides the point.)

    Now, my question is, how do you react to stories where it is unclear who you "should" be rooting for? Now, I'm not talking about relatable villains, understandable villains or anti-heroes or anything like that. What I'm trying to ask is how you would react to something where there are, for example, two characters facing off against each other, and the narration gives both of their perspectives, therefore not really giving a clear indication of which one is the one you "should" be supporting? Do you find this frustrating? Do you like it? Do you pick a side and stick with it? Do you switch sides or support both?
    Protopost likes this.

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    How puzzling! Protopost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Personally, I love this question. When I read a story like that, I tend to actually think it through from both sides and then decide which one is for the greater good. That’s the one I tend to follow, but if I start to see that the other side has their reasons, then I start to hope they can reach their goal without causing harm, and in the end I start hoping they can just live in peace. I don’t know about you guys, but I actually agreed with Cyrus after I talked with him the first time I went through Mt. Coronet and didn’t actually think his way of doing things was wrong until he told me he was lying to his grunts, it wasn’t till then that I actually wanted to stop him. Similarly, I might stick to the antagonist’s views if I find them justifiable until I see whether he’s hurting people or not, same goes for the protagonist. In the end, sometimes I wish the protagonist had failed to stop the antagonist, and other times I’m convinced that had they met under different circumstances, they would have been great friends. (In my opinion that is one of the most tragic things for a protagonist/antagonist to say to the other)

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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    @Chaosj2

    Have you ever seen or read Death Note? I just realised that this question is highly applicable to that series. It is quite telling that at the end of one of the early episodes both Light and L say simultaneously "I am justice!"

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    How puzzling! Protopost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    I read some of it, then got swamped by stuff, found Bakuman and have yet to return to reading it ><

    But yeah, that's a perfect example, create a new world by killing off 'evil' or try to stop a vile murderer?

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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gastly's Mama View Post
    Have you ever seen or read Death Note? I just realised that this question is highly applicable to that series. It is quite telling that at the end of one of the early episodes both Light and L say simultaneously "I am justice!"
    Death note was awesome, and is a perfect example for this question.

    To tell truth, I always go with the side that is the obvious good, until the writer reveals he isn't, unless he doesn't.

    Basically, I go with the side that has a good intention in heart, with is usually described by the writer, and of course the character's actions. So, if a character has a good intention and is doing good things, then I on his side. Any other combination is flawed.

    That's why in the example of death note, I'm with L, because Light's methods are wrong.

    And in the case were both of them have good intentions and methods, then I support the one who is more right, which in this case depends on your own perception and on the setting.

    COMING SOON!

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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    So, @Aura Origin How would you feel if over the course of every two or three episodes of an anime or something the writers revealed new things that presented opposite characters as "right"?

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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    @Gastly's Mama

    Well, I'd consider it very intriguing and exciting; like, who's the good guy?!

    Usually that's just a technique writers use to get the reader thirsty before he starts getting to the real juice.

    COMING SOON!

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    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    I think Death Note is not that much of a good example because while Light did have good intentions, he was driven to the madness by the power he possessed - thus, it was easy for me to root for the actual good guys despite him being the protagonist. As I've never read such type of fiction I say that it would be pretty easy for me to choose a side but if both sides had really, really good arguments then I guess I'd have to settle for both of those characters and hope for the best conclusion. Though that would also depend on the kind of characters they are.

    Honestly, I would really like to read a fic. like that.

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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Interesting.

    So, @Aura Origin @Tsutarja You guys never root for the bad guy? I have to admit, sometimes I find myself rooting for the bad guy shamelessly. It's just... sometimes their plans are so good that you just want them to succeed!

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    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gastly's Mama View Post
    Interesting.So, @Aura Origin @Tsutarja You guys never root for the bad guy? I have to admit, sometimes I find myself rooting for the bad guy shamelessly. It's just... sometimes their plans are so good that you just want them to succeed!
    Actually, there are times in Pokémon anime when I rooted for Team Rocket. Most of the time we saw them as these goofy villains who always failed in getting Pikachu but when Ash and co. weren't around, we got to see Team Rocket in a new light, we got to see episodes focused on them and their history. Despite the fact they aren't actually 'bad' guys, I really found myself rooting for them quite a bit in some episodes.

    Other than that, no, I could never root for a villain unless a damn good reason was provided.

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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsutarja View Post
    I think Death Note is not that much of a good example because while Light did have good intentions, he was driven to the madness by the power he possessed - thus, it was easy for me to root for the actual good guys despite him being the protagonist.
    Then, I guess maybe Code Geass could be a better example.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gastly's Mama View Post
    I have to admit, sometimes I find myself rooting for the bad guy shamelessly. It's just... sometimes their plans are so good that you just want them to succeed!
    Well, that's just being pretentious. I mean, no matter how illuminating the dark side might be you'll still end up blind in the end. And no matter how hopeless the good side might be you have to keep fighting and struggling.

    In my experience, evil is easy and shallow, while good isn't as difficult in itself, as it is difficult to achieve.

    COMING SOON!

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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    @Tsutarja

    I think you're essentially describing what I'm talking about, though I'm not too familiar with later seasons of the anime. When you feel you relate with Team Rocket or support them, do you mean you support them in their doing of something bad because you kind of feel sorry for them with regards to their history and experiences etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by SaFE View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gastly's Mama View Post
    I have to admit, sometimes I find myself rooting for the bad guy shamelessly. It's just... sometimes their plans are so good that you just want them to succeed!
    Well, that's just being pretentious. I mean, no matter how illuminating the dark side might be you'll still end up blind in the end. And no matter how hopeless the good side might be you have to keep fighting and struggling.

    In my experience, evil is easy and shallow, while good isn't as difficult in itself, as it is difficult to achieve.
    What I get from your post is that you don't know what the word "pretentious" means...

    Why exactly do "you have to keep fighting and struggling"? I think your post is an enormous sweeping statement and generalisation. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that no matter how "illuminating" the dark side is you'll still end up blind... My point is that often a character who does bad things can be an endearing character, readers and viewers etc. of various media can often find themselves being drawn to the character of the "villain" more than they are drawn to the "hero", this is kind of where the concept of an anti-hero comes from. I don't think you can dismiss the idea of supporting the villain as "being pretentious" (even if that statement made any sense with regards to your backing up of it) - there is a huge amount of literature, films etc. that are essentially dedicated to making someone who is doing evil things a relatable and encouraging the audience to want the villain to succeed in the evil thing that they are doing.

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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    That's interesting, I guess the goal in this case is for readers to have varying opinions and viewpoints, or else why would someone write something expecting everyone to accept their viewpoint.

    And that's probably what I meant when I said pretentious, I feel that nowadays writers don't give the reader a chance to make up their mind, and kind of force their own opinions on them.

    COMING SOON!

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    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gastly's Mama View Post
    @Tsutarja

    I think you're essentially describing what I'm talking about, though I'm not too familiar with later seasons of the anime. When you feel you relate with Team Rocket or support them, do you mean you support them in their doing of something bad because you kind of feel sorry for them with regards to their history and experiences etc.?
    Eh, to be honest, they do not really do bad stuff.

    For example, when they each released Arbok and Weezing. They confronted a Pokémon Hunter who had a powerful Tyranitar and let their Pokémon go in order to let the group of Ekans and Koffing who were previously captured as they suffered through great ordeal in the process. It's not that I root for them in their bad deeds, it's more that I root for them knowing that they're not exactly the nicest people on the planet, it all depends on the situation. In the most recent series, Best Wishes/Black & White, Team Rocket has become quite serious and has stopped appearing as frequently as before and they're not as a goofy villain as they were before. Sadly enough, I can't root for them anymore, AT ALL!

    Though I think I may be stepping on the good guy territory now despite Jessie, James and Meowth not being completely good nor completely bad.

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    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Pick a side!

    Quote Originally Posted by SaFE View Post
    That's interesting, I guess the goal in this case is for readers to have varying opinions and viewpoints, or else why would someone write something expecting everyone to accept their viewpoint.

    And that's probably what I meant when I said pretentious, I feel that nowadays writers don't give the reader a chance to make up their mind, and kind of force their own opinions on them.
    That's a big thing for me, actually. I really like ambiguous characters that don't clearly fit into either 'hero' or 'villain' so I am free to make up my own mind and interpret for myself.

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