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"Embrace the Suck"

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The History Kid

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It's an old adage - one that certainly reaches back farther than you or I have been alive.  "Embrace the Suck."

So why is this such a big deal to me?  Well...I actually have an anime spin on this one - "omg, gais Michael's gonna post some anime stuff!"  Calm down there, Mr. Roboto.

I have an automatic turn-off when it comes to main characters in an anime.  Mainly those who do not "embrace the suck." (Michael, what the frig does that even mean?) I'm glad you asked member that's talking to me in my head!

"If it ain't rainin', we ain't trainin'." - A saying that gets drilled into your skull in basic training.  It also gets hurled at any DAC who has labor in their job description.  Those who complain about things are told one thing: "Embrace the suck."  The internet version is: "Deal with it."  (Hay, look! I made my cover photo relevant.)  But it's these two sayings that I've adopted as my own since I turned 18.  They've become more part of me today more than ever.  So much so that they direct how I handle interactions with people.  They also steer how I expect an interaction with someone should go.

So naturally, when I'm face to face with a little twerp main character in an anime, it irritates me.  The indecisive one.  The non-committal one.  The one that would rather eat an overcooked steak than go back and ask for it medium rare because who the ever-loving-frig would ruin a good steak.

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Now, the problem with this is that there's a real major disconnect in the attitude of many characters out there today.  They may seem to have an "embrace the suck" mentality, but in reality, they're just as whiny and pissy as the next guy. (I'm officially calling out Kirito, Sora from Kingdom Hearts, and Shugo Kunisaki (the later of which really needs to get run over with an Abrams tank and then tube fed into the mouth of a baby shark).)  These characters irritate me more.  Why?  They're the epitome of fake.  What I can't stand even more than whiners are fakers.  

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These characters single handedly can ruin an entire franchise, whether they're a main character or not for me.  Not only that, but they also set a precedent for the other series that might fall into the genre.  I can not count how many people are actually whipped into liking these character archetypes either.  (No guys, I'm not talking about people who are just shy - hell, I'm shy sometimes too - I'm talking about people who just for the love of everything can't decide whether or not to take the damn red pill or the blue pill.)  They create some of the most fantastic and annoying fans as well, and it honestly just amazes me.

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But I digress and go back to the point of my argument.

"Embrace the suck" - "Just deal with it."  Cadence's to life.  Why?  Because, a lot of the time life does suck.  It sucks sometimes for all of us.  Just deal with it.  You have to.  Why?  Because only those who just deal with it can ever hope to change it for themselves or anyone around them.  The suck is a good thing.  So deal with it.

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There are certain animes that I can't watch - and it has something to do with how I perceive the sincerity of the series, I suppose. But I never attributed it to a character being "fake" I guess I'll look at this a little harder next time I'm watching a new series. I wonder if it's the same for me, but perhaps it puts me off more unconsciously.. I usually  just attribute it to something like "this anime doesn't feel right" or, its not genuine... Does this come from the characters themselves? I guess it just might. I couldn't stand Sword Art Online, because it felt generic, and I didn't really buy into the hype, but really tried to watch it and evaluate it based on its own merits. 

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Characters are a driving point for most people, whether they know it or not.  I would venture to gather that a lot of fans will like series that are notoriously bad just because of a character's looks or mannerisms.  I'm not saying that's always the case, but it drives a lot of people.  Likewise, a character sets the tone for the series.  You can have a great story brought down by poor execution by the characters.  You can have great characters that can't shoulder the burden of a terrible story.  If I'm not caring about the characters and their growth, you don't have me.  

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Maybe that's why I watch the same type of anime a lot. I tend to like a certain type of character. Interesting. Will investigate further :)

 

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Found myself nodding my head at just about everything here. Trying to execute a character that is afraid of confrontation and just wants to please everyone almost certainly results in an irritating one. Presented with option A and B, they try too hard to think outside and find an option C when the choice appears to be too hard to make, and this often comes across as a narrative choice. The writers are trying too desperately to make them more relatable somehow, but on focusing on their hangup to make a tough call they end up doing exactly the opposite. You know what real people do? They make mistakes. Real people make real, stupid, sometimes selfish and short-sighted mistakes. I love using FMA as an example of an anime with well-written characters. No matter what your feelings are about FMA, you have to admit that it boasts some really believable characters because they have their flaws, they make their mistakes, and sometimes they're just flat out wrong about them. Their actions have consequences and resonate with their peers and environment both positively and negatively. Having a character flat out avoid taking any action that can potentially pull them out of a hero trope is just lazy writing.

If you have the same exact character you started a story with by the end of the plot's resolution, then you've utterly failed your audience.

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