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You Hate Grey Don't You? (Spoilers)
xxJing 
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Posted 9/12/14 , edited 9/12/14
And I don't mean this fellow.


I am referring more to characters like this.


I always love when there is a bit of complexity or moral ambiguity to a show. Where the lines between who is right and who is wrong aren't so clear cut. However, whenever I watch a lot of those animes, and then look at other anime fans' opinions of them, there are a lot of vocal fans that absolutely abhor the anime or specific characters because of moral ambiguity.

On the other hand, I have noticed the vocal fandom completely herd around very clear cut characters, whether good or evil. Characters that they are 100% sure are total badasses of justice or evil assholes. They love heroes, but they also either love villains, or love to hate villains.

---As an example of a complex character that people seem to hate the guts of, take Flay Allster from Gundam Seed.

Flay is an evolving character. Her character changes quite a bit along the course of Gundam Seed. She starts out as whiny and racist against super humans called 'coordinators.' However this is with good reason, 1) They have destroyed the city she was living in. 2) They are a constant threat to her livelihood. 3) They killed her father. She acts kind to the main character Kira though, who is also a coordinator, so she is not just randomly racist, she discriminates based on past experience. However, she is extremely violent against enemy coordinators, as is shown when a few are taking prisoner in the series. Her character actually makes perfect sense, especially in comparison to the rest of the cast, but most comments about her character resemble things such as "She is a whore." "I hope she dies." She constantly changes throughout the series, and she even redeems herself at the end. Yet the masses still extremely hate her, and she doesn't even do anything overly stupid or evil throughout the series.



---For another example we have Shakugan no Shana Season 3. I won't go into details spoiling anything because I think this Season 3 of Shana is a series everyone should watch. But honestly, the first two seasons of this series were pretty typical action romcom drama. I almost even got bored watching it at times. Season 3 however was wonderful, in Season 3 the main character makes some morally grey decisions, which overall probably lead into the best possible resolution for all the problems in the series. I was actually rooting for the 'bad guys' instead of the 'good guys' throughout the whole season, I think that was a first for me ever! However, the general fan base reaction was like if you killed their mothers and drank their sisters' blood. People were outraged by the shade of grey added to the main character. One guy said he even dropped the series because he felt personally betrayed.



---Finally, for this one I won't even mention the title because this would be a huge spoiler but I want to talk about it. Those who have read it will get it right away, those who haven't will be confused. There is a pretty popular anime, one that was pretty popular here on Crunchyroll as well. Later on in the manga of that anime, it turned out that one of the most badass beloved righteous characters was actually not completely good. By that I mean it was revealed that he was using some ethically questionable methods to protect everything he cared about. So he wasn't evil, his intentions and goals were righteous, just he needed to think outside the moral box in order to properly protect them. People loved this character, but suddenly when they found out he wasn't a beacon of light, the vocal manga fan community just started ripping him apart. I almost feel like he would have gotten less hate if it just turned out he was a villain. I personally thought it was a nice twist to his character.



So what do you think? Am I right, or am I just imagining things? Do anime fans tend to like clear cut moral boundaries where good and evil are easily understood at a glance, or do they in fact enjoy moral ambiguity and I am just talking out of my ass? I want to hear some opinions on this matter.
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Posted 9/12/14
to be honest; and i might sound like a utter cunt bag for saying this.

I find alot of "new age" anime fans are less intellectually invested in a show. They like shows that bare everything in the open. It seems less people enjoy shows that make you think constantly about what is going on, on screen.

I personally think alot of people enjoy the clear cut characters because its easier to understand them.

However.. characters that are more in the morally ambiguous area of morality (Grey area characters) such as Shogo Makishima are alot harder to truly understand. They are created through a diverse complexity of personality's and are portrayed as either antagonists or protagonists that make you question whether or not they actually fit into the category they are placed into.

Some people just enjoy viewing a show for entertainment purposes; which is completely normal. However those same people often favor the main characters who are in the clear cut roles created for them.


People who are more analytically inclined and enjoy taking apart a show piece by piece to understand the hidden themes and or character traits; tend to favor the more "grey" more "hard to understand" characters
Posted 9/12/14 , edited 9/12/14
I saw that picture of Lulu and my hate bubbled over like there is no tomorrow.

Man do I loathe Lulu.

But I like morally ambiguous characters anyways. I like well written characters.
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Posted 9/12/14 , edited 9/13/14



I could not stand Flay at all. Her character bothered me while I was watching the series. After a while, I stop caring about her and focused on everyone else. When it came to Gundam Seed, I was more of a Lacus and Cagalli fan.

I really like Lelouch and his character a lot.
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Posted 9/12/14

SoldierSangria wrote:

I saw that picture of Lulu and my hate bubbled over like there is no tomorrow.

Man do I loathe Lulu.

But I like morally ambiguous characters anyways. I like well written characters.



Yeah. You really do hate that guy.
xxJing 
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Posted 9/12/14

SoldierSangria wrote:

I saw that picture of Lulu and my hate bubbled over like there is no tomorrow.

Man do I loathe Lulu.

But I like morally ambiguous characters anyways. I like well written characters.


I don't really like him all that much either. Mainly what I don't like about him is how he sporadically changes from focused and calculating, to emotional and impulsive. What I mean is, he readily sacrifices somethings without second thought, and then with some other things he just gets stressed, depressed, and becomes useless. I guess that is the appeal to his character, but I was kind of hoping when I was watching the series that he would be more emotionally stable.

I wasn't really pissed off about the Euphemia scene like everyone else was. I actually liked how he tried to make the best out of that bad situation. I just thought it was badly written that he made such a stupid mistake in causing that scene in the first place. It's almost as stupid as Walt leaving that book in his bathroom in Breaking Bad. Both very jarring out of character mistakes written for the sole purpose of directing the plot in a certain direction.

Posted 9/12/14 , edited 9/12/14

xxJing wrote:


SoldierSangria wrote:

I saw that picture of Lulu and my hate bubbled over like there is no tomorrow.

Man do I loathe Lulu.

But I like morally ambiguous characters anyways. I like well written characters.


I don't really like him all that much either. Mainly what I don't like about him is how he sporadically changes from focused and calculating, to emotional and impulsive. What I mean is, he readily sacrifices somethings without second thought, and then with some other things he just gets stressed, depressed, and becomes useless. I guess that is the appeal to his character, but I was kind of hoping when I was watching the series that he would be more emotionally stable.

I wasn't really pissed off about the Euphemia scene like everyone else was. I actually liked how he tried to make the best out of that bad situation. I just thought it was badly written that he made such a stupid mistake in causing that scene in the first place. It's almost as stupid as Walt leaving that book in his bathroom in Breaking Bad. Both very jarring out of character mistakes written for the sole purpose of directing the plot in a certain direction.



I wouldn't call it out of character if I remembered it right, but a huge diabolous ex machina if I ever seen one.
Still like this show for some odd reason.
It's characters like Lelouch and Light that make me think the opposite, that people prefer morally ambiguous characters whenever possible.
xxJing 
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Posted 9/12/14

qualeshia3 wrote:


I could not stand Flay at all. Her character bothered me while I was watching the series. After a while, I stop caring about her and focused on everyone else. When it came to Gundam Seed, I was more of a Lacus and Cagalli fan.

I really like Lelouch and his character a lot.


I enjoyed watching Flay. Watching her character evolve was entertaining and interesting to me.

I found Cagalli boring on the other hand. She was your typical Tomboy princess who wants to stop the war / save the world. Worse yet, in Destiny she becomes a complete pushover because the Director hated her voice actress or something like that.

I liked Lacus, but I thought her character was poorly written. By that I mean, they never really made her seem invested in the story. Before Kira, she was never really had an opinion on the war, she wasn't against it nor for it. After Kira, she pretty much said it herself, the only reason she started a revolution was because Kira wanted it. Now that is fine in itself, but they made her seem like some kind of righteous beacon of light fighting to stop the war, when she was really only doing it because Kira was. Her character was extremely difficult to grasp, because they never really bothered to flesh her out.
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Posted 9/12/14

SoldierSangria wrote:

I saw that picture of Lulu and my hate bubbled over like there is no tomorrow.

Man do I loathe Lulu.

But I like morally ambiguous characters anyways. I like well written characters.


I second the preference for well written characters. I'd say it's the #1 thing that draws me into a series.
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Posted 9/12/14

xxJing wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:


I could not stand Flay at all. Her character bothered me while I was watching the series. After a while, I stop caring about her and focused on everyone else. When it came to Gundam Seed, I was more of a Lacus and Cagalli fan.

I really like Lelouch and his character a lot.


I enjoyed watching Flay. Watching her character evolve was entertaining and interesting to me.

I found Cagalli boring on the other hand. She was your typical Tomboy princess who wants to stop the war / save the world. Worse yet, in Destiny she becomes a complete pushover because the Director hated her voice actress or something like that.

I liked Lacus, but I thought her character was poorly written. By that I mean, they never really made her seem invested in the story. Before Kira, she was never really had an opinion on the war, she wasn't against it nor for it. After Kira, she pretty much said it herself, the only reason she started a revolution was because Kira wanted it. Now that is fine in itself, but they made her seem like some kind of righteous beacon of light fighting to stop the war, when she was really only doing it because Kira was. Her character was extremely difficult to grasp, because they never really bothered to flesh her out.



I like Lacus and I can agree with that. It also bothered me in Code Geass, when Lelouch killed Euphemia like that. I was waiting for some sort of good character development to happen with her.

When I think of Flay, I tend to think a little bit about Nina. I hated Nina as well but overtime I just stopped caring.
xxJing 
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Posted 9/12/14

PeripheralVisionary wrote:

It's characters like Lelouch and Light that make me think the opposite, that people prefer morally ambiguous characters whenever possible.


I think I may hate Diabolus Ex Machina more than Deus Ex Machina lol. Maybe I have just gotten used to Deus.

With Light it is very clear that he is morally evil. He kills everyone, he leaves no loose ends untied. You are either an asset or a liability to him. Funny enough without the death note he is morally good. When he forgot he was Kira, he wouldn't allow anyone to sacrifice themselves. He wasn't morally grey then either.

If you think about it L, Mello, and Near were kind of morally grey though. Despite being presented as the 'heroes' of the story, most of them just wanted to catch Light for the challenge rather than rid the world of a criminal. They all also put people's lives in danger and even got a few good people killed while chasing Light. The Cops were the morally good in Death Note.
Posted 9/12/14

xxJing wrote:


PeripheralVisionary wrote:

It's characters like Lelouch and Light that make me think the opposite, that people prefer morally ambiguous characters whenever possible.


I think I may hate Diabolus Ex Machina more than Deus Ex Machina lol. Maybe I have just gotten used to Deus.

With Light it is very clear that he is morally evil. He kills everyone, he leaves no loose ends untied. You are either an asset or a liability to him. Funny enough without the death note he is morally good. When he forgot he was Kira, he wouldn't allow anyone to sacrifice themselves. He wasn't morally grey then either.

If you think about it L, Mello, and Near were kind of morally grey though. Despite being presented as the 'heroes' of the story, most of them just wanted to catch Light for the challenge rather than rid the world of a criminal. They all also put people's lives in danger and even got a few good people killed while chasing Light. The Cops were the morally good in Death Note.


So many people wanted to see Light win, even though he was pretty much the color black by the end. Draco in Leather Pants strikes again.
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Posted 9/12/14
Eren Jager killed two men. Mikasa killed a man. Hell, Kirito killed three men.
Posted 9/12/14

TrialError wrote:

Eren Jager killed two men. Mikasa killed a man. Hell, Kirito killed three men.


Killing does not make a person gray. Kirito is obviously the moral hero of the story.
xxJing 
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Posted 9/12/14

TrialError wrote:

Eren Jager killed two men. Mikasa killed a man. Hell, Kirito killed three men.


They were all in self defense / defense of another. They all killed murderers / rapists. They were morally justified in doing it.

If you look at Akame Ga Kill. Even Nightraid aren't morally grey. They all kill murderers. What is their alternative after all? Send them to jail? From the country's point of view they aren't criminals.

It's when you do something that can't be justified, like killing an innocent / irrelevant person for your own goals, that you become morally grey. If those goals are righteous, then you are grey. If they are selfish / malicious, then you are morally evil. I am trying not to use the terms white or black, because they may offend some people.
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