ok so you know how every time shiro mentions not making it, and keith just panics? closes up and immediately cuts him off? the thought of losing shiro is clearly upsetting, but i dont think shiro realizes just how much this affects keith until bom
becuase the last time shiro talks about it is here
right before they reach the base of marmora.
which means, after seeing keith’s hallucination of all this
he never mentions leaving him again.
and while you can say that shiro and keith both see each other at their lowest points, there’s definitely something that feels more vulnerale about shiro peering into keith’s mind. and not only that, but the fact that he directly sees how keith views him. its this intrusion on a deeply personal, intimate moment. and honestly, i think keith seeing something similar from shiro’s perspective would be the only thing to put them on equal footing
we already know the black lion can use the astral plane to project zarkon’s memories. so i think, once keith takes over, it will probably share some of shiro’s. of course, part of why bom is so painful is because shiro is privy to these moments against keith’s will. this isnt something hes sharing voluntarily. so as a counter to that, i would hope their link with black lion would allow shiro to reach out to him and share memories in a mutually agreed upon way
each fallen human has a specifically coloured soul associated with them. these colours can be seen on the coffins in new home, asgore’s soul containers, and the photoshop flowey boss battle. little is known about these souls, but what can be inferred is that each soul colour represents a unique trait. accessing this information requires multiple rounds of “ball game” in the snowdin forest. if the game is completed fast enough and the red flag is obtained, the following message appears.
however, red soul’s trait is never mentioned. or is it?
determination is not a trait
before exploring the red soul’s trait, it’s time to explain why determination is not the red soul’s trait. while it is a popular choice, it ultimately does not work for a few reasons. unlike the other traits, every human soul has determination.
unlike all the other traits, determination is inherently inside all humans. furthermore, “determination” is never mentioned in the ball game. it’s also never specifically linked with the red soul nor is it ever written in red text. the word “determination” is only written in white or yellow.
there is nothing that suggests determination is an exclusive trait to the red soul. it is merely a component in all the coloured human souls.
the different soul colours each represent their own positive traits according to “ball game.” the first time the red flag is achieved, the following message appears.
these are the positive traits of all the souls besides the red soul. when the ball game is won a second time in the conditions for the red flag, a new message appears.
it’s important to note that the ball game can only be played as long as snowdin is not cleared of monsters. if genocide is successful in snowdin, then the snowball will be gone, rendering the ball game useless. this is the only time the ball game cannot be played. in the neutral and pacifist routes, the game can be played even after reaching snowdin or after defeating papyrus.
from the red flag, the phrase “be yourself” is important. the idea of “being yourself” is seen repeatedly throughout the game, so long as the genocide route is not in motion. if frisk is still on the neutral route, frisk can look into the mirror in toriel’s home, and the following is said:
in new home, frisk can look into a second mirror and see the following:
this text appears in every route, except the genocide route. whether this is a reflection of frisk is up to interpretation.
in a pacifist route, after defeating asriel, frisk can look into the mirror in home once more to see this:
one of the most important elements of the pacifist route is the reveal of the protagonist’s true name, frisk. it highlights how frisk’s identity, or even their true self, is only revealed at the end of a pacifist route.
ultimately, the ball game holds the most important clue. the statement seems rather vague, until the one-word limitation is removed and the trait is seen as a phrase.
“being yourself” is seen in two ways in the context of undertale. the first is more obvious, with the phrase referring to how frisk is only themself in the neutral route and pacifist route. once the genocide route is in motion, frisk is no longer in predominant control – chara is. interestingly enough, when chara is in control during the genocide route and the snowdin forest is cleared, the ball game is unavailable, perhaps highlighting the fact that frisk is no longer truly themself.
the second way the virtue of “being yourself” is used in game is by its definition. “being oneself” means to be genuine, honest, or true to one’s character. along with determination, it is what allows frisk to keep going, especially in the pacifist route. sans alludes to this when he judges frisk in the last corridor.
“so as long as you do what’s in your heart” can be seen as another way to say “be true to yourself.” there is another reference to this trait in sans’ judgment should frisk have killed any monster.
while subtle, sans stresses the importance of being true to "yourself,” even in the face of committing a terrible crime.
“being yourself” may seem synonymous with integrity, but there is a difference. integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” while both are a quality of being honest, there is a difference to what that honesty is towards. those with integrity are righteous, fair, and of good character. however, integrity is not needed to be yourself. being yourself is to stay true to who you are, regardless of what that may be. perhaps a word for this could be “individuality,” “nonconformity,” or “sincerity.”
while the other soul virtues are clearly defined by their colour coded trait, the red soul remains much more ambiguous. perhaps this is because frisk, chara, and the player persist as such different individuals despite being intrinsically linked, therefore the common trait between them can only be just that: their individual “true” self.