Friday, July 26, 2013

What Makes a Hero and What Makes a Villain?

Recently, I was watching an anime called Vampire Knight with one of my sisters (of which I have two). It's an interesting and deeply moving story, if not slightly creepy. Two major things are going on in this story. First, there are those in the story that are trying to make it possible for humans and vampires to coexist. Second, the main character, Yuki, has her own battle to fight. Her friend, Zero, is slowly reverting into an E-level vampire after having been bitten by a Pureblood. What he is turning into is a lower class, one that eventually loses all humanity and craves only blood.

Vampire Knight Wallpaper: from the left - Zero, Yuki, Kaname

Despite all common sense, she refuses to leave him, even if that means giving her own blood to pacify him. In many ways, this story brings up in my mind the question: What makes a hero or a savior? Is Yuki truly being a savior to Zero, or is she only prolonging his suffering? This is the question that can fairly be asked throughout this story. Two more animes that broach that very question on a much grander scale are Code Geass and Death Note.

Both stories deal with main characters who are granted power over people, both in a sense dealing with the very issue of life and death. There are those people who are trying to live out their lives peacefully, and those who think nothing of taking life from others. But who decides who deserves to live and who deserves to die? Can someone who takes it upon himself to make that kind of decision concerning other people truly be called a hero? Or does he have the makings of a tyrannical villain?

Code Geass: from left - Suzaku, Lelouch/Zero, C2

Is this the birth of a villain or of a nation's savior? Death Note: Light and L - ensnared in the coils of justice

This can be a tricky question, as most realistic villains in stories do not harbor the life dream of being evil. In fact, many believe they are actually doing the right thing. What ends up being the turning point for them from hero to villain was that in the great cause they had in mind, they fail to consider the people they are affecting, the individuals they are hurting. Their cause has become greater, so they lose their hearts.

Lelouch and Suzaku of the Rvolution Another thing to consider also is that, just because a person is the main character, that doesn't make him a hero. As far as I saw it in Code Geass and Death Note, one of those characters was redeemed at the end for his actions against people for the sake of his cause; the other was not.

Crossovers Wallpaper - Left and right: Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geassand Kira Yamato from Death Note; Middle: a major character from Durarara

This question of villain or hero is a major one for any storyteller. In the story I am currently working on, DA Shadow Phantom, a major question that makes up the plot early on in the series is whether or not Dalan is the hero type character. He's definitely not a villain at that point, but most of his actions are brought on by the urge to protect himself and his identity at first.

Later on, he gets the urge to protect others. That is one quality of a hero, but not the only one. A lot of heroes have compassion for other people, even their enemies, despite their cause, if they have one. Some heroes will throw themselves into harm's way to protect people they may not even know. Dalan does those things, though he has some serious doubts about whether or not he's the one the people around him need to be protected from.

DA Shadow Phantom: Dalan and the bat wing pendant,

a symbol of his identity as the Shadow Phantom This is a question I'll have to continue to broach as I continue writing this story. In the meantime, I've finally finished the book cover for Volume 1 of DA Shadow Phantom. It will be going up for sale as an ebook within the next couple of days, just as soon as I can finish editing and registering it online. I'll post a notice as soon as it's up for everyone to enjoy it.

DA Shadow Phantom, Volume 1: TransformationThis is the written version of the story, though I am designing characters for a graphic novel.I have no clue when that will truly get underway, but I'll let everyone know.

Happy reading!

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