thus the best character

A Jasper Case Study (Part 8): Conclusion

The Road to Redemption

Before working on the new episodes, it occurred to me that I hadn’t tied up the loose end that was the Jasper Case Study. While I will be writing about her in her future appearances, I do want to end with this post, sort of as a marker of where we thought Jasper would be as opposed to where she could possibly end up.

So, before I formally start off this post, I want to do a brief recapitulation of what we’ve read from Jasper’s character thus far.

Anonymous said:
Jasper is the best and most perfect thing to come out of a bad kindergarten… She always believed herself to be the best. But she’s too full of herself. Amethyst was the runt and one of the worse things to come out of a kindergarten always believing her to be the worst. But with encouragement and people telling her she was the one good thing to come out of a kindergarten.

Not meaning to use this ask to insinuate anything about the asker, I would like to use it as an example for the general sentiment around Jasper when I started writing the Case Study nine months ago. We’d just got episodes like Crack the Whip, Alone at Sea, and Earthlings.

What we found was that Jasper’s exit hole was what Peridot called, “the most perfect” she’s ever seen. And the first thing I wanted to point out there was what was meant by that kind of perfection. In the show, we get the sense that Peridot, in her very literal and pragmatic way of speaking, was talking about the hole, without steady implications towards Jasper herself.

Because in SU, there’s more to a gem’s gem-etics than just the exit hole. The material of the ground, the minerals in the dirt, all determine the kind of gem that will emerge. And I think it’s important to note that the Beta Kindergarten was exactly that, a second banana to the Alpha Kindergarten next door.

It was a last ditch effort on Homeworld’s part to claim back the war. They didn’t expect any gem from the Beta Kindergarten to be strong or worth keeping. They needed more gems, and haphazardly stuck injectors into the ground.

I think it says a lot that in the Zoo, the majority of Quartz gems are Amethysts, with only a handful of stragglers from the Beta Kindergarten like Carnelian and a few Jaspers. Something I talked about in the past was that there was a good chance the majority of her Kindergarten-mates didn’t survive the war.

To gems, the “defects” are obvious. Jasper and Peridot immediately knew, for instance, that Amethyst was a “runt,” and that Garnet was a fusion. It was sheer luck that in the frenzy of trying to incubate more gems, Jasper’s was given just enough space, enough depth, such that she would emerge the way a Jasper should.

Jasper escaped a lot of what the other Earth gems suffered by never truly escaping the war. In her own words, she keeps fighting. Fighting is how she shows she’s just like everyone else, not just the kid from the Beta Kindergarten.  And so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense that she’s so “full of herself.” If fighting was what got her recognised, and gave her some sense of control and order in the chaos of being born in the worst parts of the war, why would she keep doing it now in peacetime? Despite her relatively high rank, and her being a celebrated war hero, she still stands by this philosophy.

It shows that the issues she was fighting during the war, never really went away.

The moment she felt she could be stronger in a fusion, it consumed her completely. We got the same feeling from Amethyst and Pearl, when they were with Garnet. Being in a headspace with someone so confident and sure of themselves is intoxicating when that is precisely what one feels is missing.

Recently, we’ve seen a character who is full of herself, who thinks herself the best and incapable of failure. We’ve seen how Aquamarine operates. She isn’t fond of long-winded speeches about herself and her moral code, something Jasper has done since her very first appearance. When she can, she defers the work over to Topaz, fully committing to a role in reconnaissance, in the shadows.

She doesn’t mind that she looks weak and small, in fact, she uses it to her advantage in Are You My Dad? Because she knows that when it all comes down to it, she could take anyone in her way.

When Steven tries to poke at possible self-esteem issues in Stuck Together, Aquamarine isn’t even fazed. Nothing takes her aback. Instead, she puts up a face of disgust and confusion, because she can’t imagine why people would think she didn’t feel great about herself.

In contrast, Jasper is constantly trying to convince those around her, and herself, that she’s all she’s cracked up to be, that she can indeed fill the perfect hole out of which she emerged. Amid her trauma from the war and the stress of maintaining that image, without realising no one, in fact, is looking that closely.

Anonymous said:
I don’t get why people are so hung up on Jasper being such an awful gem. Every single one of them have done unforgivable things, they’ve all done things that really unsettled me, none of them are completely good. There is no complete good or bad, two sides to every coin. And sometimes its ignorance. People hate Jasper so much, but what they don’t seem to be seeing is that she doesn’t know how bad she is. Shes been taught its good. We’ve been taught it’s bad. Yes its awful, but they’ve all done bad stuff.

And I think it’s here that we start talking about what exactly that “bad stuff” is that opens up talk of redemption in the first place and how she might be reached on these different fronts. I talk about these in plural because it is seldom that someone does a particular harmful thing once and continues to believe it was right. Usually there is an entire framework in which they are enmeshed, a lot of values and traditions in which they are indoctrinated. And I think that this lens, of a wider sociocultural structure with each action and word having its own meaning, is something that can be applied to all the characters.

It should be said that motivations and actions aren’t completely dictated by the individual in as much as they are the member of a larger community. How we’re brought up, what we consume, the people with whom we choose to surround ourselves, all of these things affect what we value and how we decide to act.

With that said, I want to apply that to Jasper for this post. As I’ve said many times, I think it’s important to understand why actors do things. While the action in itself can be analysed, particularly when going for reform, understanding the individual is necessary to reach them and prevent said harmful action from being done again.

1. The (self-)destructive value system

Keep reading

Chyler is so important to this fandom and the lgbtq+ community I honestly don’t know what we did to deserve such a good role model. She constantly responds to people on twitter and tells them how proud she is of them when they tell her their coming out stories, she expresses how much she cares for the sanvers storyline and how much justice she wants to do for it in interviews, she has previously talked about how she’s faced some personal problems with portraying a lesbian on supergirl but still continues to express how much she loves playing Alex and how proud she is to be involved in this show etc. She’s so loving and supportive and she continues to blow me away with the things she does for us and the things she says to us. Whether flo and chy win tonight or not, I’m so glad to have a role model like herself playing one of the best lesbian characters I’ve seen on tv thus far.

anonymous asked:

Speaking about RPGs, what caused the shift in Western RPGs from full party creation(Might & Magic,first few Ultimas, Wizardry,Icewind Dale) to one Player Character and a bunch of premade developer-designed companions (Dragon Age, Fallout,Planescape Torment) ?

There was one main reason that there was a fundamental shift from player-created parties to player-created protagonists - we wanted to make games that told more immersive stories. The ability to create an entire party proved counterproductive to this, and there were other major benefits to why we switched over to a single player protagonist (or maybe two, in some rare cases like Divinity: Original Sin). So let’s take a higher level look at this from a narrative perspective and hopefully it will make some sense.

Premise #1: Good stories are built on good characters

This is what we remember most. Interesting characters make for interesting stories because we care about who they are, what they want, and whether they achieve their goals. This applies to villains, protagonists, and supporting characters. The more a character can exhibit his or her personality through the events of the game, the more of an impression that character will have on the player. This leads us to premise #2.

Premise #2: Character needs screen time to develop

The more time the player spends with a character, the more the character’s attributes and personality will shine through. This is important - we don’t get to see the nuance in the character unless we see him or her in situations where the nuance will showcase itself. If the character is a rogue with a heart of gold, the player needs to see the character demonstrate both her rogueish nature and her heart of gold in order for this to take. This means that the both the character and the player must be together during those situations. Remember, it’s bad storytelling to just tell you what happened. Games are a visual and active medium, the best way to build character is through action. Thus, the characters that the player spends the most time with tend to be the ones that are best developed, because the player will have a lot more experience and history with those characters. 

Premise #3: Acknowledgement makes decisions (and therefore character) real

Premise #2 also applies to the player’s character as well. Whenever we give the player a choice to make, they get to demonstrate how their character acts and behaves. Then, the game gets to respond to the player’s choice by acknowledging the player’s decision. Maybe the king got angry at the player’s rejection, or the ingenue got flustered at the player’s flirtation, or the criminal was frightened by the player’s threat. By reacting to decisions made by the player, the game reinforces that these personality aspects of both the player character and the reacting character are real. If the game doesn’t respond to or acknowledge choices, that sense of character building is lost. 

So what’s this got to do with party character creation?

Even if we ignore the issue of players spreading their focus too thin on too many of their own created characters, Premise #3 makes it really hard to support character development for a player-created party, because we lose a lot of opportunities for the game to acknowledge player decisions or interactions between player-created party members. We can’t build in this sort of acknowledgement without taking agency away from the player, because we can’t assume that the second player character will develop some kind of relationship with the third or the fifth like we could with NPCs we create for players to interact with.

It’s also very important to note that the player’s party is practically guaranteed to be the group of characters the player spends the most time with in game. It’s a golden opportunity to take both premise #2 and #3 into account to develop the companion characters into something more than just the AI that fights alongside you in combat. If we take advantage of this opportunity, we can build memorable and interesting characters in the game that we just couldn’t with blank-slate player characters (that we’re not allowed to write on) in those slots. Using NPCs can also get around narrative restrictions in place on anyone player-created - there are problems with killing a player character (permanently) as part of the story, or having a PC sacrifice herself, or having her betray the rest of the party and become a villain.

And that’s really why there was a shift from player-created party members to designed characters to fill those slots. From a narrative perspective, players generally get a lot more involved with character and plot development if we create most of the characters and just let the player play their own perspective role than if the player creates the entire party. We can acknowledge NPC members’ contributions and motivations in the story much better than we can do so for player created characters, which results in more overall character building. The player doesn’t have to split focus or attention across the character concepts for multiple characters, and can instead enjoy the story. It all results in a better overall experience.


Got a burning question you want answered?

weird how pharah is one of the best and most extensively developed characters in overwatch thus far and in 90+% of fanwork about she’s second billed to that character who has like 2 personality traits but is de facto a fan favorite because, idk, we get to make “mommy needs her coffee” jokes about her sometimes

If I was an anime in a different universe

So my friend Aurora is living her life like an anime protagonist. Love interests, interesting magical girl happenings, the classic anime shiz.

I was thinking about that thing people say about you being your favorite anime character’s favorite character and like…

What if I’m a supporting character in Aurora’s anime in a different world?

So then I go off on this thought process thinking of every time I’ve referred to Aurora as an anime protagonist, thus making me the best friend character who always breaks the fourth wall

And it just went to wondering if I’m popular, because my entire character would be the sad gay trying to be a love interest when I’m stuck as the best friend who breaks the fourth wall??

And it went from there into what the fandom would be doing with my character and like- Shipping?? Yes?? No???

FUCKIN- FAN ART? FAN FICTION?? RPING??? YES?????

Then the imagine of someone self shipping me with themselves like people in this world do with characters popped into my head and I just got really happy imaging someone making themselves feel better by drawing me with them and I just-

Many shows take years to play out from supposed start to finish, and thus the televisual equivalent of the moment between pages in a book may be a week between episodes, or a summer hiatus. However, it would be ludicrous to think that we simply tuck away our interpretive efforts into small corners of our brains, waiting until after the series finale to make sense of a text. Rather, we constantly interpret as we go along. Furthermore, television shows give us significant time between episodes to interpret them, and so we will often make sense of them away from the work itself, in the moments between exhibition. As we have seen, though, these moments, or what Iser would call “gaps,” are often filled with paratexts: […] we might go online and read others’ opinions of a show, we might consume tie-in merchandise, or we might consume any number of other paratexts. Consequently, just as paratexts can inflect our interpretations of texts as we enter them, so too can they inflect our re-entry to television texts. For texts that destabilize any one media platform as central, each platform serves as a paratext for the others. Since our process of textual “actualization” remains open with most television series, paratexts are free to invade the meaning-making process. Especially, too, since many serial programs leave us wondering what will happen next, frustrating the narrative delivery system by dragging it out over multiple years, many viewers will actively look for clues in producers’ paratexts regarding what will happen next.

With an increasing number of television and film serial texts opening up what Matt Hills dubs “endlessly deferred hyperdiegesis” – huge, seemingly never-ending plotlines – and set in elaborate textual universes, we might expect both the frustrations of wanting to know what will happen, and the experience of a text as comprising much more than just the show, to increase markedly. Such cult texts invite their viewers in and give their imaginations acres of space in which to roam, and it is this openness that often proves most attractive to many viewers. Thus, these texts seemingly welcome in all manner of other texts and paratexts to delineate small portions of the universe, plotline, thematics, and characterization.

Arguably the most clear-cut example of an in medias res paratext at work is the “last week on…” or “previously on…” segments that precede many television serials. Such segments usually consist of a carefully edited fifteen-to thirty-second sequence of images and plot-points from previous episodes, designed to give audiences necessary backstory. For new viewers, these segments clearly serve as entryway paratexts, but they also act as reminders for returning viewers, designed to focus attention on specific actions, themes, or issues. Thus, for instance, if two characters are best friends, and yet five weeks ago we learned that one has betrayed the other, the “previously on…” segment will likely replay the moment of revelation only if this information is seen as pertinent to the current episode. Should the betrayed friend return the betrayal in this episode, the absence of a “previously on…” tip-off may result in us judging him negatively, whereas with the tip-off, we are more likely to understand or even forgive his actions. Beyond “previously on…” segments, though, all in medias res paratexts work in a similar way, offering frames through which we can interpret the text at hand, and subtly or radically inflecting our reading accordingly. In effect, they build themselves into the text, becoming inseparable from it, buoys floating in the overflow of a serial text that direct our passage through that text.
—  Gray, Jonathan. Show sold separately: Promos, spoilers, and other media paratexts. NYU Press, 2010: 42-43.

Regardless of whether Eisuke won first place or not, I feel that the attitude some people have about his maybe winning the election is immature.

Putting aside that this is an election about fictional characters, what’s wrong about people voting for a character they like?

Obviously the election goes in favor of those who are willing to spend more money, but once again, who are you to say that they’re wrong for spending their own money on something they feel is worth spending on?

Regardless of whether or not you personally dislike Eisuke, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s Voltage’s best-selling character overseas and thus “#1″in their books. Profit has the loudest voice in business.

Who Voltage chooses to use as their “main face” of advertisement is completely up to them. Even if Eisuke doesn’t win first place, I highly doubt that we’ll see less of him, which isn’t even as much as some make it out to be. There are times when I wonder if the only way some people will be placated is Eisuke and KBTBB disappearing altogether from Voltage’s advertisements.

Do I think he’s the best character Voltage has ever released? No. My favorite characters tend to be the ones that aren’t as loved in the fandom. Does it hinder me from loving them or discourage me from doing so? Absolutely not.

Some of my favorite characters are fan favorites. Does that mean that I love them any more than the ones that aren’t as “popular”? Oh hell no.

If you personally dislike a character, I can guarantee that there’s someone out there who loves said character as much as you dislike them. If you love a character, there’s someone who’ll dislike said character just as much as you love them.

What matters more is not whether you like or dislike a character, but the respect you show to others of the opposing view.

Complaining is okay. I complain a lot. If you dislike Eisuke, complain about him all you want. Criticize him. Say what you don’t like about him. But do so respectfully while considering others who may feel differently. Think carefully about which words to use and how to state your opinion while respecting other points of views. Those who like Eisuke also need to be accepting of his flaws; he’s definitely not a perfect character.

It’s not respectful to badmouth those who like him. You can dislike Eisuke, but disliking his popularity or “blaming” his fans for it is outright rude. You’re basically accusing them of being wrong for liking him.

Before someone goes around accusing me of policing the fandom, I will state that these are my personal opinions. I have no intention of policing the fandom nor do I have the means to. Life keeps me busy enough as it is.

These are my personal thoughts as to how to ease the negativity that’s been rampant among the fandom lately. A little respect and consideration for others can go a long way.