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Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey PV

The Best Friend Personality broken down by a Best Friend Personality: A Shallow Portrayal of a Deep Character

Ok so I have honestly had enough of people talking shit about this so I’m going to explain it better than the games and shows can.

So this isn’t a new thing for me. I am used to getting the characters I love and relate to shat on for how they are portrayed in media. It’s been long going on ever since I started getting involved with fandoms and I always wondered why this was. I realized that after some time that it might be that many people can’t see these characters in the perspective that I can. Also because these characters are often short lived in a plotline or are just never actually developed like they should. However, I didn’t blame anyone until people (fans) started changing this personality into something completely different or overlooking this deep personality completely.

This is brought up a final straw with 2 recent characters getting more backlash than I have ever seen this personality ever get.

Lance McClain from Voltron and Ryuji Sakamoto from Persona 5.

This post isn’t about bashing people who dislike the characters. It’s about getting to understand them which I can clearly see people aren’t getting from the get go of their introduction.

I’m doing this because their life and experiences are extremely similar to how I feel and live in my own life and to see these two be bashed for some of the deepest portrayal I have seen of this type hurts me greatly.

I often hear and see people write that they are annoying, boring, selfish, egotistical, or even downright mean to others. This lack of understanding hurts me because I realize that I myself in society might be seen this way or this wide idea will spread into a live issue.

I’ve also noticed that boys are really the only ones that get these traits. I am not sure why but I would love to see girls with these problems and see if this outcome would be different. (I could argue that Chloe Price falls into this but the position of what I speak of is dominated by Warren Graham)

This character type is a best friend to the rest of the team or the protagonist and is often the wingman or the go to guy for everything. They don’t necessarily all have the same personality but they all have a key features that make them fit into this position. It seems that these key features however are the things that get judged and, for me, I cannot quite see why.

First impressions mean everything. These characters are often brought into a story immediately down on their luck AT ALL TIMES. I can give you some examples of this from characters that are this type:

Lance is in a simulator that he ends up crashing and is scolded by Iverson and it is brought up that he isn’t cut out to be a pilot along with all of the students pointing out his flaws blatantly, Ryuji Sakamoto is late for school with the protagonist in the rain and not only that he is the crap of the school before the protagonist comes along. He is held responsible for destroying the track team and believed to be a delinquent afterwards, Yosuke Hanamura literally rides his bike into a trash can and needs the protagonist to help him out and later he gets his ass kicked by Chie for breaking her DVD and gets his date turned down by Yukiko, Armin Arlert is being beaten up by a group of bullies and takes the beating not making an effort to fight back until Eren and Mikasa come to save him, Alistair Theirin is back and forth being harassed and harassing Mages and all around not really wanting to be in the camp, etc.

You know the character I’m talking about.

Now I get more into their backstory. Most of them are happy-go-lucky fun loving people on the outside but have some inner turmoil. It is a broken record of they never feel good enough and they never feel loved. It doesn’t quite always start out that way when you meet them, they are often full of confidence no matter what is going on. However this changes when they realize that they make friends with people they aspire to be. They are jealous but they are happy they have friends that are great people. It is a mixed confusion that they will have and it is often haphazardly patched up with something like one occurrence or a line. This is not true to real life and honestly it is something that they will continue to feel no matter how early or late it is “fixed”. There is also a possibility of it becoming a problem again if they aren’t supported.

These characters usually have something going on at home or personally that they don’t make public to others easily. Some examples are:

Lance misses his home where he got his support and many people on his team fail to realize that he really is the only one that gets criticized on a day to day basis, Junpei Iori has an alcoholic father and doesn’t want to be around him much like Ryuji Sakamoto where his father would end up beating him and his mother (Ryuji is honestly a character I relate to the closest to out of many since me and my mother were victims of domestic violence and his actions and thoughts reflect a lot of what I have done and think about), Prompto Argentum feels extremely basic compared to his friends who grew up in noble and royal households which is then worsened when he finds out more about his past which I will spare those who still haven’t played.

These experiences and constant reminders that they will never be good enough by anyone especially by someone extremely influential in their life makes them believe that it is true and will see it everywhere. This is honestly a lasting impression because this started out when they were children and they were held to standards and are yelled and screamed at when they don’t make it there. They have no comfort going anywhere because they usually get it at home and they get it with friends. Now this may not be on purpose but as someone who relates it is an extremely impressionable word or dare I say trigger that often will bring back the source of where this fear originated from.

One thing I have noticed about all of them and myself is that we are snappers. We don’t mean to snap at people but when you hear something over and over or they bring up something you don’t want to talk about you get fed up with it. This is honestly what drives people away and it hurts because seeing people want to leave is nothing at all what we want. Expressing our feelings easily is not something we can do so we avoid it as much as possible resulting in what we hate the most.

I can see this is where the mean and maybe selfish comes from. We are angered by seeing things happen to others and will take it on because it means something personal.

When someone compliments us or says we did a good job we are deeply touched. None of that “for an idiot” crap because that is still holding the standard that we still are nothing and cannot progress past that trope. When we hear something genuine and invested we want to emphasize it because we did good and maybe people will see us better but people see this as: “Wow they are so full of themselves. Ok you did a good thing you don’t have to rub it in my face or anything. So annoying.”

Because people don’t make an effort to understand us or the characters they see it this way almost always. After being told so much that we suck and will never do good things when it happens and we say we are happy about it people crush it as “not a big deal”. It is to us. It’s a big deal when they say you’re no good all the time. We will close ourselves off or brush it off with haha joke if this happens. No one will really genuinely be interested or celebrate it with us.

I relate with these characters in an extremely personal level and understand them a lot better than most people do for how they are written. People will often warp this into a bad boy or crazy personality that honestly doesn’t exist which not only makes me confused on why but it hurts to see this character be ripped up and made into something they’re not. It is extremely depressing to see a character that I relate so much to destroyed by a fandom who doesn’t understand them properly. But-

I can easily see this character type influenced though. It stems from someone giving them what they want to hear and they can be manipulated. THEY MAY EVEN KNOW THEY’RE BEING MANIPULATED but it feels so good to finally hear what has been denied for so long. This isn’t done with this type often though. This is why I am such a fan of dark Lance just being manipulated by the Galra because it could give a depth that is missing from characters like him. With an arc like this you get into more of what they desire and what is missing in their lives and how much they want to be seen as more than they are made out to be.

Despite their detailed problems they really only want love and to be told that they matter and that they are important. It is an extremely easy solution that is almost never addressed in any game, show or media.

The whole “Lance is being shoved down my throat” and this whole that isn’t Lance I’m tired of! This “Ryuji is so mean to Morgana” (Morgana I low-key hate because Morgana is just fueling the fire by calling Ryuji dumb and an idiot in every other sentence and not one person has spoken ill of this fact) and “he’s just and idiot” IM TIRED OF! People change them so much and make them out to be these righteous and self absorbed people who are rude IM TIRED OF!

These characters cannot say anything or do anything to change what people see them as nor had I until now. I want people to understand that this is not the character you make them out to be. There are so many reasons behind the things that they do. They aren’t dumb They just think differently. They aren’t full of themselves they just want to prove they aren’t worthless.

Being someone who cannot even get a character that I can relate to who is cared for properly hurts because this is a problem I have seen over and over again. This is never fixed and if I don’t explain it these characters will forever be underestimated and made into something they aren’t. I want to work to a complete character. Not this consistent trope of the dumb hasty best friend. I want them to be loved and recognized for who they are, for what they struggle with, for how they think, and what they are looking for to complete their life.

I’m sorry but it had to be said. I want this because I see myself and to see them hate what my life is. I cannot take it anymore. I hope that you take time to understand and invest more into them. To not see them as shallow or bland.

Thanks for reading.

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Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey

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KANEKO’S CRIB NOTES XLII: MASK-TEMA

Today’s crib is a short one, but it’s a face (or mask) you’re sure to remember: Mastema, adversarial Satan analogue and generally seedy customer. 

The inspiration behind Mastema’s ornate face guard appears to be a form of mask common to the burqa styles of the Minab region of Iran. His lacks the striking red palette commonly featured in such pieces, but the form and details are otherwise a 1:1 match, right down to the protruding fold that divides the eyes. It’s an ideal fashion accessory for a mysterious and shifty character like Mastema, and makes for an arresting visual, too.

Image source: Elena Senao, flickr (from 2007!)

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BRB blasting this for the next few months