Can’t be too human

I suspect when it comes to depicting superhero characters (or any ‘super’ character really), there’s a fine line between giving them flaws whilst making them idealised and making them actually fallible as to be infuriating and disappointing if because they’re the ones you trusted a lot. I know that feeling too and it still stings me to this day. But at other times it’s a Sophie’s choice between a disappointingly fallible character and a Mary Sue.

I guess it’s going to be hard trying to come up with flaws for characters because you want them to be likable but at the same time they can’t be Mary Sues either. A balance’s possible. But not when some situations demand a Sophie’s choice that it’s ultimately going to piss off readers either way. It’s not so much that liking superheroes is bad but it’s either a fallible of accepting fallibility or at least hoping for real improvement because you feel disappointed.

The latter at least allows character development but I think that’s best pulled off in The Secret Garden and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and Yu Yu Hakusho to some extent where I think a delinquent turning into an upstanding hero’s more interesting than say a glorified fan surrogate (I’m looking at you Tim). But that’s something not too many superhero writers actually do with reader surrogates.

If because it not only makes them too human but also take on a mind of their own so it’s a Sophie’s Choice 22. It’s going to be a tough act to do anyways.

The only neat thing about differences

I’ve read a post on how and why for some reason authors like James Tiptree Jr are more popular in Japan than elsewhere. It could also be due to my limited exposure to Japanese information on such things but there are inevitably things more popular or important in some places (or sometimes equally just as important). Comes to think of it, it’s not that Yu Yu Hakusho lacked importance in Japan but it’s one of the more memorable classics in recent Philippine memory.

For another matter, Disney comics are still widely read and published in Continental Europe despite their American origins. Now as for why James Tiptree Jr might be more memorable in Japan than in America, I haven’t read her stories much other than excerpts of it but given Japan’s a highly collectivist society the story of a heroine who has to sacrifice herself for the greater good for everybody else plays into it.

Again, YYH’s not entirely forgotten in Japan but it’s one of the more seminal anime in the Philippines along with Voltes V and Candy Candy. YYH’s popularity in the Philippines gives good insight (however imprecise) into how and why The Only Neat Thing matters in Japan.