Fanart Friday returns, willing to fight to the last man, unless I'm the last man. Yeah, the hell with that. Last week, we continued May's "tropes" theme with a look at teams and groups that fit the "True Companions" trope, but this week, it's all down to one man... or woman, as the case may be.
DETERMINATORS can be good, evil, male or female, but their defining trait is that they never, ever give up, no matter the odds or how badly they're injured. You'll see a lot of familiar faces from last week and Super Shounen Edition, mainly because the determinator is a common "main character type" for shounen titles.
Are you PUMPED ENOUGH?! Are you ready to FINISH THIS FIGHT?! AWRIGHT, LET'S GO!
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Let's start old-school--very old-school. Lone Wolf and Cub was all about that old Winston Churchill quote "if you're going through hell, keep going." Oogami Itto takes his son on a quest for vengeance (because you can't really leave him with a babysitter), and doesn't take a single real break.
While just about any member of the Straw Hat Pirates qualifies, Roronoa Zoro is the toughest and the meanest. Just check out the very end of Thriller Bark to see how far he'll go to shield his family.
We've already talked about Gon's hilarious achievements in Hunter X Hunter, like refusing to give up after getting beaten within an inch of his life and getting his arm broken. I think what makes Gon's stubborn determination more impressive is 1- he's actually pretty low-key about it and 2- he knows he's a very small fish in a huge ocean. I also have no idea what's up with the bear.
I think "being a determinator" is a requirement for every single Saint Seiya character. It's more evident in O.G. Saint Seiya, but Koga and Ryuho really take after their predecessors in Omega with some jaw-dropping displays of toughness.
Nobody in Code Geass is really all that normal. Kallen pretends to be a sickly shrinking violet at school, and lets her true colors show when she's tearing through Britannian forces in a mech. She's never one to give up, but you see her go into "seriously, you should stop now, you're gonna die" territory several times throughout the series.
Here's an example of when having limitless determination doesn't always save the day. Homura Akemi busts her ass throughout all of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but things don't line up, no matter how many times she tries and no matter how hard she works.
Being the hero of a shounen series, we get to see a bloodied and battered Ed drag himself up many times in Fullmetal Alchemist. But Roy Mustang is a more mature, possibly harder version of this trope, as he has to maintain a civil facade while suffering horribly.
I'm sure everybody here knows that 300 took quite a few liberties with the Battle of Thermopylae, but the real King Leonidas was just as badass as the somewhat-fictional version we saw in the comic and movie.
by Adam Geyer
I want this on the side of a van. For real, I want this awesome Fist of the North Star piece, showing the implacable rivalry between brothers Kenshiro and Raoh, painted on the side of a giant van. Then I'm gonna drive by crowds at cons blasting "Ai wo Torimodose" because it just feels right. YOU WA SHOCK!!
by ColtDee READER SUBMISSION!
While determinators are very much a trope for lighthearted shounen heroes, they also extend into the darker parts of the genre. Attack on Titan has been focusing on other characters lately--it's been kinda quiet without Eren Jaeger's LET'S GO AND KICK ALL THE ASS attitude.
I could've put Kamina here, but Captain Kirk is an entertainment icon who's been around for almost fifty years. From the original series all the way up to the recent movies, we get to see a lead character who stoutly refuses to believe in no-win scenarios to the point that he will dive headlong into battle himself just to prove a point. On the same note, the new Kirk hardly ever wins a straight-up fight, and spends most of his time picking himself off the ground. New Spock gets in on this, too, now that he's a member of an endangered species who watched his planet collapse right in front of him.
Gintama's just a goofy comedy, right? Well, you can say that for most of the series, until it's time to fight. Then Gintoki is defying physics and common sense and driving helicopters into the ground with a swing of his sword. Or taking on a guy who's way, way above his level. Or any of the other immensely badass things Gintoki does in the series!
James "Logan" Howlett, AKA the Wolverine, is the best there is at what he does. What does he do? Survive beatings that would outright kill just about any other character in the Marvel universe short of the Hulk. My personal favorite Wolverine moment? This one, right here. Hell, even Kitty Pryde got to use the line to badass effect.
In one of the rare moments that you will ever find Call of Duty here on Fanart Friday, Captain Price (specifically, the Modern Warfare Price) is one of the most likeable, interesting, and legitimately unkillable characters in the entire franchise. Getting to play as him was a nice endcap to MW3.
There are plenty of determinators in anime, manga, games, movies, and TV, but few characters define the trope as purely as Berserk leading man Guts. It's all in the name--this is a guy who will chop his own arm off if that's what it takes to save someone. This is a guy who stands up to the absolute worst that Hell has to offer, and keeps on going.
While looking up art for this week's Fanart Friday last night, I was watching Gundam Wing, and holy crap Heero Yuy is insane. He gets shot, blown up, blown up again, gets up, fights Zechs in Antarctica, gets his ass kicked, fights Zechs again, blows himself up, and comes back for more. God almighty, he's nuts.
Rock Lee shows up so many times here on Fanart Friday that I keep overlooking the main character of the series he's in. In both the original series and the current one, Naruto takes on overwhelming odds with a pretty limited arsenal of powers. Of course, that's not the case now, but we're in the endgame!
The Walking Dead was great and all, but my favorite adventure game of the last few years has easily been Asura's Wrath. No other game makes you fight a godly martial artist with no arms. No other game makes you take on the Buddhist equivalent of the Death Star. No other game short of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has made me get this into combat.
Many of Fairy Tail's characters would work in this installment, but it always comes back to Erza Scarlet for me. Seriously, she will get up and continue to fight long after everyone else has passed out, and it's probably because she's always the first one to face off with each arc's main villain.
In a world where people have insane powers based on science and/or magic, it has to suck for the guy with no real powers. Okay, fine, Touma has a pretty cool ability that keeps him alive through A Certain Magical Index, but he mainly has to survive on creativity and stubbornness. Mikasa, meanwhile, has an incredible ability and she still has to dig deep and rely on her guts.
My all-time favorite determinator, though, is Hajime no Ippo's Osaka-based brawler, Sendou Takeshi. The Naniwa Tiger keeps fighting on pure, ferocious instinct, even while unconscious!
Not every determinator is an underpowered underdog--in this case, I think Raoh, Yujiro, Guts, and Akuma would make for an excellent Determinator Deathsquad. "And then, the terrible foursome ventured forth from the wall and murdered every Titan. And the human race was saved. The end."
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included every determinator in entertainment, so who are your favorites? Sound off in the comments!
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you wanting a head start on next week, we'll be finishing up May's "tropes" theme with a bad case of CHRONIC BACKSTABBING DISORDER! Which disloyal dirtbags do you think deserve a spot next week?
Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday--have a great Memorial Day weekend, and we hope to see you next time! Those of you at FanimeCon, I won't be there this year, but be sure to bug this Rude dude for a photo:
Not me, but a longtime friend of mine. Give 'im hell, con-goers.