I still have the opportunity to watch cartoons/anime and while watching some older material, I happened to ponder the question “What is this guy fighting for?” I got an answer, “it’s what he believes in, it’s that he has a different perspective than his enemy” however later on I pondered the same question on different material of the same genre and the answer I got this time was “He wants to take over the world” I then had to counter that answer with another question “Where have all the philosophically sound bad guys gone?” This question what pushed me to write this post.
When I talk about a philosophically sound bad guy I’m talking about Char Aznable (UC 0079), Treize Kushrenada (Gundam Wing), Master Asia (G Gundam), Lelouch Lamperouge(Code Geass), Yagami Light (Death Note), Lunatic(Tiger & Bunny), Megatron (Transformers G1), Raoh (Fist of the North Star), Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote etc, etc.
All of the characters above did not aspire to rule the world which seems to be a common motive for modern antagonists; Char fought for revenge, Treize fought for the Earth and the beauty of the soldier on the battlefield, Master Asia fought for the purity of the Earth and the purging of humanity, Lelouche fought for world democracy and world peace, Light fought for his own notion of justice, Lunatic fought for his own sense of justice, Megatron fought for the Decepticons and their own place in the universe, Raoh fought for the recognition of Hokuto Shinken as the strongest fighting style, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd just wanted to kill the rabbit, Wile E. just wanted dinner.
Back to the point though, how has it come to that most antagonists in fiction want to rule/control the world? Is it easier to mold characters to fit the rule the world mold or is it harder to give characters a unique mold, a unique train of thought, an individual belief/philosophy? Nothing against cartoon creators and producers, but why must the conflict end up involving the whole world? Where has the individuality of the conflict gone? Maybe it’s become easier to paint the world in black and white, leaving out the grey area to be able to question, to think about, to remove the individuality those questions can bring. Or maybe the grey area is no longer needed to sell a good character to the masses?
So many questions to follow up a single question; leave your thoughts, where do you think the philosophically sound bad guys have gone, if they are still here in the masses find them; if, like me, you think they’re an almost extinct breed of character, I want to hear your reason.
So I leave you all with this message: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet, Scene ii. Fuck Yeah, Shakespeare!
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