(DISCLAIMER: This is not a Blacksun hate post and should not be treated as one. The arguments made here have nothing to do with Blake and Sun as a romantic couple but are actually a criticism towards the writing of Sun’s character in Volume 4. Ship hate will not be tolerated on this post and will be met with ruthless exposure, scathing retort, and a swift and rotundly abrupt block.)
Honestly, I was heavily disappointed in the way Sun was handled in Volume 4. He was made to be this bumbling, incompetent, clumsy, and clueless fool instead of the confident, capable, blunt, and likeable teenager we had been treated to in previous Volumes.
With Sun visiting Menagerie, there was a golden opportunity for Sun to learn more about his identity and social standing as a Faunus outside of Vacuo. One of the main purposes of Sun’s character (other than being a love interest for her) was for Blake to have someone to talk to about being Faunus. This is evident in three separate occasions.
In Volume 1, we have Blake running away with Sun after her argument with Weiss. During this time, Sun and Blake discuss her identity and motivations, revealing her thoughts and worries about the White Fang. This is an obvious display of the White Fang’s fundamental emotional tie to Blake.
Later on, we witness Sun and Blake’s differing opinions on the nature of the White Fang. The way Sun calls the White Fang a “cult” that considers itself “holier-than-thou” and Blake’s stares of disapproval are quite telling of the experiences both have had regarding anti-Faunus racism and also reveal much more about how important the White Fang is to Blake.
The other example of this is in 4x05, when Blake and Sun arrive in Menagerie. Here, they argue about the contrasting symbolic nature of the Faunus capital. Blake asserts that Menagerie is proof the Faunus will never be seen as equal, since they were segregated into an isolated island that is mostly a hazardous desert. In contrast, Sun assures Blake that Menagerie is not a failure and that it is, in fact, a milestone of equality and an achievement of inclusion and Faunus perserverance, reasoning that despite everything, the Faunus have succeeded in raising a land that welcomes anyone and everyone.
When taking these events into consideration, it is quite clear Sun is meant to be a significant influence in Blake’s life and the viewer’s need for context and exposition to discern the sociopolitical nuances of Remnant. Both of these things are good and compelling aspects of the narrative surrounding Blake and Sun’s dynamic and relationship.
However, it is here where my praises end, and my complaint resumes.
We don’t get to see Sun learn more about the struggles of the Faunus and the inevitable and natural necessity for the White Fang and grow from his efforts to understand how different it is to be a Faunus in Vacuo from being a Faunus in every other place. Sun does not feel relevant to the Volume at all, and the only thing giving the audience the illusion that his presence is important is having him share screentime with Blake.
Sun only finally feels genuinely relevant when he prompts Blake into action in a convoluted and uncharacteristic manner; that is being stabbed and shocked by Ilia after awkwardly being caught eavesdropping on a conversation, the latter making Sun seem like a selfish and creepy idiot more concerned with invading Blake’s personal space than actually being helpful. This effectively retcons his established character as a brash individual with good intentions.
In Volume 4, there was the perfect occasion for Sun to learn about the group that advocates for his rights and the rights of his entire race and the kind of social reality they face from two former leaders of the White Fang, Ghira and Kali. Sun’s situation in Volume 4 is essentially yet another rehash of the same old generic trope present in every other dull heterosexual romantic comedy: ”teenage girl brings teenage boy home. Mom likes teenage boy. Dad doesn’t like teenage boy. (Un)hilarity ensues.” His interactions with Kali and Ghira are superficial and stereotypical at best. His interactions with Kali are kept off-screen and his feelings towards the events of Beacon are largely unaddressed. Sun doesn’t seem helpful, and in fact feels like an immutable dead weight.
There is no profound, if any, development for Sun throughout the entire Volume. Much like in Volume 3, Sun is gradually and increasingly reduced into a comic-relief character, straying from his primary purpose as a complement to Blake until the narrative needs him for contrived drama.
In writing, there are plenty of questions one can ask to determine whether or not a character has been developed fully, coherently, and appropriately. We can use the following to see if character development is a device that can be applied to Sun in this Volume, where his relevance is meant to be essential:
Is there anything that challenges Sun intellectually, physically, and spiritually, provoking change within him? Does he react to this challenge accordingly? What does Sun learn? How does Sun evolve? How is his agency as a character enforced and respected? Is he any different than how he started? What beliefs does he possess now that he did not have before? Has anything about him changed fundamentally and does he behave in ways that reflect this transition and growth?
In the face of all this evidence, the answer is most likely “no”.
This isn’t fault of any kind from Sun, but rather the way Miles and Kerry chose to characterize him throughout the Volume. It is here where the problem lies, in a grave writing misstep that cost his, and by extension Blake’s, story arc the gravity it needed and deserved.
Portraying Sun inconsistently has proved ultimately damaging to both his character and the relationship the audience has with him.