Fanart Friday returns, just waiting for the right moment, when you turn your back and don't suspect a thing. Last week, we grit our teeth and fought to the bitter end with the "Determinator" trope, but this week we're taking a less courageous route! We'll be finishing up May's "tropes" theme with a personal favorite of mine: CHRONIC BACKSTABBING DISORDER!
For those of you who've never read Dante's Inferno, the Ninth Circle of Hell is reserved for people who betray the special bonds held between family, friends, countrymen, or comrades-in-arms. Characters afflicted with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder (from the hilarious webcomic The Last Days of FOXHOUND) may have no concept of loyalty or camaraderie, or maybe they're just willing to throw people who trust them under the bus for the greater good.
So basically, this is the opposite of Take One for the Team Edition from two weeks ago--also, see how many faces from Totally Spies Edition show up here! Let's get started, but be warned--there'll be spoilers aplenty! That's the whole point of backstabber characters!
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One of the first examples of this trope that I was introduced to was Final Fantasy IV's Kain Highwind. Random fact: his name rhymes with "sign," it's not pronounced "cane." His backstabbing isn't his fault, though--it's "mind control." That's what they all say.
I mean, was Albert Wesker being mind-controlled every time he showed up in Resident Evil? How many of his henchmen and collaborators does he leave to rot so he can escape unharmed?
I have a slightly embarrassing confession to make: every year, I play through Metal Gear Solid 3, one of my favorite video games of all time. That's not the embarrassing part, though--I end up inadvertently doing Ocelot's goofy "gun finger" gesture for like two weeks after finishing the game. I can't help it. As the trope namer for Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, Ocelot double, triple, and quadruple-crosses countless organizations throughout almost all of the Metal Gear Solid games.
Tron: Uprising sits pretty on my Netflix queue, because I'm a big fan of well-written cartoons and I hear this is a pretty solid show. I also hear that Pavel is a cruel and treacherous jerk of a villain who reminds people of another treacherous Disney bad guy--Frollo. Sounds good to me!
While Suzaku is by far the CLAMPiest male character in all of Code Geass (even more so than leading man Lelouch), he's also the quickest turncoat in the entire show. Japanese citizens (or "Elevens") claim he's betrayed them to go help the Britannians, and Britannians (rightfully) think he'll betray any one of them to increase his standing. It's all for the greater good, more or less, but it's no less dirty.
Y'know who I really appreciate? Team Fortress 2 Spies who don't use disguises. Granted, it's an important and downright necessary part of the playstyle, but I always applaud Spies who just use their cloak and intelligent stealth gameplay to rack up kills or further objectives, even if I take a couple backstabs along the way.
Okay, so can anybody tell me why, at the end of the Fake Karakura Town arc in Bleach, Gin suddenly has a change of heart and tries to stab his bad-guy-bro Aizen in the back? This is after a sudden face-heel turn in Soul Society (although we all knew he was evil) and seeing him as a straight-up bad guy for years and years. Yeah, it felt kinda sudden to me.
Sorry, folks--I know a lot of you like Gambit, because he was super cool in the '90s X-Men cartoon (and played by Taylor Kitsch in X-Men Origins: Wolverine), but I just can't bring myself to forgive him. He constantly flip-flops from faction to faction, and everybody conveniently forgets that his shifting loyalties are responsible for a lot of innocent deaths.
Like a lot of the characters on this list, a reader requested Sora from .hack//SIGN. At first, I didn't recognize the name, but seeing his distinct character design quickly reminded me of this widely-despised player-killing punkass. Y'know the song I picked for this week? It really applies to this guy.
In One Piece, Nico Robin doesn't really have much of a problem with betraying her comrades--she constantly happens to work with people who will readily betray her for the huge reward on her head. Maybe in a way, she's a chronic backstabber, but it's all reactionary--she'll only betray someone if she knows they're going to betray her first.
Y'know, way back in the original Naruto, I actually trusted Kabuto. He seemed like such a reliable guy, always ready to give out information on opponents or test curriculum, but in the end it turns out that he was working with the bad guy the whole time. That was a real punch to the gut.
Y'know, I almost didn't recognize Azula there. She looks so pretty and put-together, instead of all bloodthirsty and maniacal and ready-to-fry-her-friends. Did anyone else feel a chill run down their spine at the whole "I'm looking forward to being an only child" thing?
You could say that Death Note's Light Yagami kills people with a book. That's not really all that impressive on its own--any of you in college could kill somebody with a textbook (or to be honest, would kill somebody for a textbook so you don't have to deal with buying the damn thing). The truth is that Light kills people with his magic murder notebook and with a steady stream of lies, misinformation, and manipulation. It's pretty messed up.
I'm not as up-and-up on the Fate series, but Kotomine Kirei really sounds like a tool. If you're a "mediator" who suddenly declares himself a fighting party, that's like the referee suddenly blindsiding both fighters in the ring and declaring himself the winner.
Now, don't get me wrong--Gundam's greatest antagonist, Char Aznable, is a pretty stand-up guy. However, war is no place for nice people, and it seems like Char's read Machiavelli's The Prince and The Art of War one too many times. He's more than willing to switch sides if it lets him live to fight another day.
Technically, Starscream has his own trope named after him, but this type of character is almost always afflicted with a terrible case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. I also appreciate Steve Blum's performance in Transformers Prime, where he's doing his absolute best to sound like original Starscream VA Chris Latta.
What a dick. Seriously, Bender's one of the good guys, but he's so mean and petty and disloyal that it's a wonder I like him so much.
And that's all for this week! Except for this last one, which I didn't want to just leave in my inbox--all your submissions are worth it to me!
by Ajaxx15 READER SUBMISSION!
Compared to a lot of the people on this list, Oreimo's Kuroneko is not conniving, backstabbing, or petty. Maybe a little tsundere, but that never killed anybody (as far as I know).
And that officially winds up May's "tropes" theme! Thanks to everybody for your suggestions and comments on our first honest-to-God month-long theme! There's no way I could have included every sufferer of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, so sound off in the comments--who do you think is the greatest backstabbing dirtbag?
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here 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 to get a head-start for next week, we'll be kicking off a month-long SHIPPER MADNESS theme, starting with your favorite NOT-EXACTLY-CANON MALE/FEMALE COUPLES installment! I usually ask folks to stay civil in the comments, but these kinds of things always devolve into flame wars--which characters do you think are perfect for each other, but the author just doesn't seem to realize it?
Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and we hope to see you next time!