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What Ethnicity is Lady Shiva?

Every once in awhile a post pops up on tumblr discussing at length what ethnicity Lady Shiva is, mostly in deference to what ethnicity that makes Cassandra Cain. This is not a call-out post, but rather a compilation of facts and my interpretations. I’ve done this before, but the post is now lost to the vast expanse of the internet. It’s worth typing up again.

Lady Shiva has suffered through the years as being ambiguously Asian with enough controversial and circuitous backstories that we are provided with both an abundance and lack of an answer. In order to help you all out, I’m just going to provide a case-by-case analysis on Shiva’s appearances and outfits in order to discern her ethnicity. Associated panels posted below; special thank to @judgeanon for reading through this. 

TLDR; Lady Shiva was created specifically as a mixture between different Eastern cultures to act as a foil to the more traditionally American heroes. She has been portrayed with mainly Japanese and Chinese influences, but also importantly Southeast Asian, Korean and South Asian references. I firmly believe Lady Shiva is Chinese, but there is evidence to be argued for each and every one of the ethnicities/regions listed above. (My headcanon, what I believe to be the most probable backstory she has can be found by searching ** in this extremely long post.)

Note: being Chinese is not an ethnicity, but rather a nationality. I’m using the main ethnic group in China, the Han, and the word Chinese interchangeably. That being said, there has never been any indication that she is or is not Han vs any other ethnic group native to China.

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gush post about Altair’s character design + backstory

I know none of this is new but GOD I love this absolute horrible girl and all of the effort that went in to her character design. HUGE spoilers below obviously. I will concede right out the gate that it’s entirely possible that I’m reading far too much into a design (both visual and in terms of backstory) that was never meant to be this complex, but given that now more than I ever I’m sure that re:Creators knows what it’s doing, I don’t think that’s the case.

So, this chick:

I’m fairly certain the one up at the top is an official style sheet of sorts though offhand I’m not 100% certain. Nonetheless it’s what she looks like in show and this is a rare picture that shows her without her hat, so it’s useful for me here.

Altair is legitimately one of the most overdesigned characters I have ever seen. It’s not even immediately obvious at first because the first thing your brain tries to do is just sort of absorb her general shape, the funnelish figure of her silhouette. You need to really stare at her awhile before it becomes apparent how much there is to draw (among a number of other things: her coat, iconic cap including its plate and tassels, her shoulder tassels, the design on her skirt, the odd pack-like things on her hips, her gauntlets, the ribbons in her hair and of course her high heel boots. Not to mention her multicolor eyes), but all of it is there for a single purpose.

At first glance it is, I think, sort of supposed to look like someone dumped a box labeled “cool anime character shit” onto a table and picked out what looked the sickest. And that’s part of the point. Altair looks like someone’s edgy OC because that’s what she is, down to being based off an existing character in-universe. But it’d be a little on the nose if it was just that, thankfully there’s a bit more. Namely, Altair’s subtle resemblance to one of the most famous doujin characters ever.

Altair’s feint resemblance to Black Rock Shooter is most likely deliberate, and makes sense when one considers her backstory. They’re from the same very narrow medium (music video focusing on an original creation spun off from another franchise) and are “darker” interpretations that take a lot of liberty with their source characters (a fairly bland MMO character in Altair’s case, Miku Hatsune in BRS’). The visual nod comes in when one considers that Altair’s hair color (white with red) is the opposite of BRS’ (black with blue).

Altair’s looks sample from other sources of course (there is clearly some of Akame ga Kill’s Esdeath’s DNA in her) and the BRS comparison isn’t the most obvious, but I think it’s the most interesting, essentially having the doujin character be a nod to probably the most famous doujin character.

But this runs even deeper. Almost every aspect of what Altair is and can do are elements very typical to the sorts of overpowered fan characters almost everyone creates when they’re young and in what the Japanese call their “chuuni” stage. She is to be sure, absurdly powerful, due to her in-story nature as a character with no “canon” powerset, her Holopsicon weapon can do just about anything providing some fan-artist or another has thought of it first. This results in an ever-growing pile of abilities with no real unifying theme or logic to them. Which would be bad if that weren’t the exact point, Altair is interesting because she breaks so many rules of ‘good’ character design.

Altair spends a fair chunk of the series’ first half lazing in her lair like a typical villain. But in a typical story, that lair would probably be some kind of magnificent iron fortress, staffed by loyal minions, which she’d rule from her throne. Here, as part of RC’s wider stories / real world contrast, she has to make do with an abandoned building, a group of four misfits who want nothing to do with her or for the most part each other (one of whom never even allies herself with her at all), and a couch she dragged in from somewhere.

And of course, her “mother” (her creator Setsuna) is dead. And what good OC doesn’t have a dead parent (or two) to provide an injection of angst into their backstory? But here, it’s all Altair has. She’s consumed by the desire to avenge her creator, and instead of a righteous crusade visited upon the unjust, as would be expected of an anti-hero, or even a reasonable motivation for more down to earth goals as in an anti-villain, her goal is to destroy all of reality.

Finally there’s her mannerisms. She is always playing it cool, and speaks in a very polite form of Japanese most of the time. But there are indications (particularly her fit of rage when Mamika confronts her) that this actually requires quite a good deal of effort on her part! Indeed I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that underneath her calm facade Altair is quite possibly boiling with rage and resentment almost all the time. It’s enough to make one pity her! And I think that is Altair’s brilliance ultimately, she takes so many hallmarks of “bad” character design and by cranking them up to and then way past 11, absolutely owns them, and turns her from a ridiculous character into one who is honestly pretty tragic, she’s the living embodiment of a child’s imagination gone very, very wrong.

How did you guys spend your valentines day? With the people you love? With the food you love? haha yep…priorities. 

I tend not to take part in many ‘hallmark’ holidays. Me and my boyfriend make an effort to enjoy every day together and go out for dinners when we want to etc. so last night we stayed in, made dinner together and most importantly ate some cake. 

It wasn’t heart shaped, and it wasn’t strawberry filled…but for me, carrot cake is a good cake any day of the week, any time of year. 

Heres a super simple low fat recipe I threw together for us, and for you. 

Crust:

  • the crust is dates and mulberries on half (my side)
  • the other half is dates, cashews, pecans and mulberries (his side)
  • its a day about compromise right?? haha

Filling:

  • once your crust is pressed down grate carrots and add them to your food processor with about 5-10 medjool dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a handful of raisins. 
  • pulse until combined with a few raisin chunks
  • add half this mix to your pie pan!
  • next I added a layer of nutmeg banana 'icecream’, simply two bananas with a fair amount of nutmeg and a few raisins 
  • I poured this layer on and let it set in the freezer while I showered, the shower is optional but let it set for presentation reasons
  • next I added the other half of the carrot mixture
  • on top you could add a cashew based 'icing’ or stick with the lower fat option like me and use banana, young coconut, and vanilla. 
  • Store in freezer and place in fridge before eating :) 
  • yum.

This post will probably seem like it’s coming out of nowhere but I just want to put, in words, how much I appreciate my parents. Tragically few people are lucky enough to have good ones, and sometimes I realize how much I take the ones I have for granted.

They’re not perfect, either of them. They made mistakes. I once read a metaphor comparing children to fragile glass spheres that must be handled for 18 years. It’s impossible to keep such a thing pristine for that long; even with the most tender care there will be finger smudges or accidental cracks. Humans make mistakes. But many will recklessly toss them to the side, or even actively try to destroy them.

All things considered, I came out alright. What mistakes were made have been acknowledged, and apologies made. Though we might not always agree on things, I now have two of the most supportive people I could ask for– my dad, who would fight the sun for me, and my mom, who would cheer for me if I told her I wanted to sell edible glitter that makes you poop sparkles for a living. When I came out as bi, their response was, “I know”. Their reaction to me leaving college was, “It just isn’t for everybody”. I’m pretty sure my mom still puts my art on her fridge, and my dad constantly gives me guilt-free financial help.

I guess– If you have good parents, take a moment besides their Hallmark-designated holiday to say thanks and remind them that they did great. I see a lot of posts on this site about kids owing their parents nothing and how they don’t deserve a cookie just for being decent human beings, and on one hand, it’s true– but on the other hand, for every good parent there are a dozen terrible ones, and if someone has been through that toxic, selfish, zealous, self-righteous baby-boomer culture and managed to avoid applying any of that to their child, they should be told how much it’s appreciated.

December is almost upon us, so I would like to propose this: hallmark movie AUs. Take the cheesiest, sappiest Hallmark channel movie you can think of and plop your OTP in as the romantic leads. Nothing is so hilarious and yet so oddly compelling at the same time