[personal profile] floorpigeon
My hobby: talking to myself about aspects of things people wouldn't care about even if they'd watched/read the same stuff I did.

Anyway, Shion (from Please Save My Earth), the manga for which I barreled through against my better judgment. I think I just read an 'analysis' of him on a web shrine that basically says 'he's a bad guy' as if that's an obvious thing to say about him. Why am I always such a sucker... and yet, I am. Come to think of it, really only Spock is an exception for my tendency to only truly-madly-deeply like dark characters. (I made Harry darker and darker in my head just to compensate, I think.)

Shiiiion. I don't think he's a sociopath. Isn't that word just overused? What the hell? Then again, others have even called him 'evil'. I really dislike people who look at others that way. I think my attachment towards Shion and one-time self-perception as Mokuren-like led me to identify with her and fixate on Shion even if he isn't that unique as a character. I used to really think the most romantic love involved 'saving' people; as much as I talk about the exception of Kirk and Spock, there's a reason I basically fell for their platonic relationship-- they're weren't my romantic ideal. Still aren't. Now, it's not that I think I'm Mokuren-like or especially pure or loving or what have you, but many others are just too bitter and limited. I dunno, is that better?


Anyway, it's funny 'cause Shion doesn't really get 'saved' by Mokuren but there's lots of rhetoric about that in the series. It really makes me sort of facepalm about H/D and Buffy/Spike and everything (hell, even my Heero/Duo has a 'save-you' flavor). In a way, I like PSME in an 'adult' way because it does deal with the real psychological issues involved with the desire to save/be saved. Still, I resent it for taking the easy way out with the reincarnation stuff, separating Shion from Rin so neatly, which is just a way to say 'see, he doesn't have to really deal with this anymore'. That seems like a pretty major cop-out when Shion and Mokuren never have The Conversation about the relationship either and it's just falling into each other's arms.

Anyway, Alice/Mokuren wants to save Shion (and Rin!), and Shion wants to be saved (eventually), to the point where he's pitiful and she thinks he's using her purely for that ability to heal. That was a great thread that you could say PSME dropped 'cause it's a manga, but I won't let it off the hook so easily. It got picked up and dropped with the 'misunderstanding' label. In some ways, I guess Shion is meant to be too far gone to heal, but in many ways PSME continuously has the issue of trying to have its cake & eat it too: Shion does get 'saved' by love, even literally by the end. At the same time, that connection never happens and merely gets transformed into reincarnation into Rin-- which would be more powerful if, as I said, the manga didn't go out of its way to then separate Rin from Shion, while letting other reincarnations be journeys of personal development.

I actually don't think Shion is so far gone, really, until he goes mad anyway. Yes, he tried to 'date-rape' Mokuren, but if Mokuren was able to get past it, I don't see why it had to be the huge issue between them. The issue is really communication, and they had so much squandered potential with that. That's really something Basara does better, and it's supposed to be more action, less romance! I really feel Basara makes the characters have the hard conversations that are hanging in the air rather than having them blown off for 'plot reasons'. Then again, Shion and Mokuren talking honestly isn't really her 'saving' him, and the whole fixation he had with family was completely inappropriate to try and address in their circumstances. It all brings up the question of what does it -mean- to be 'saved' that ultimately bugged me with Draco (with Spike, at least, it's super-straightforward). Unless you drink people's blood, though, it's hard to say what is it about you that needs wholesale restructuring, and that's basically what concerns me about the 'Shion is evil' people. Sure, he plots, schemes and abuses/uses people, but this is just playing dirty. Why is it *evil*?

Perhaps PSME says 'saving' is just 'loving', so Shion may be 'saved' merely by acknowledging being loved, but PSME isn't that sentimental. I don't know. It was certainly part of his journey simply to acknowledge the truth and reality of people's feelings. Magically knowing it after you're effectively dead doesn't count. I think saving *has* to include the character being saved re-evaluating something about their life rather than merely being happier now. Thats just a low-ball tactic. Sure, Shion gets happier, but who cares? It means nothing and merely ties up the story. The 'real' Shion is somehow always stuck on the moon, never able to hear words of love. Here, 'saving' is merely fully convincing him other people exist and care that he does.

Being undersocialized and badly raised doesn't a sociopath make, and neither being awkward, etc. Shion is (...and believe me, this comes as a really horrendous surprise to me) a typical engineer type, haha, shoujo-style. Very straightforward, cautious yet ambitious, practical, logical/analytical re: people/behavior, honest but manipulative. Also single-minded, revenge-oriented, cynical/sarcastic, slow-to-warm (...really slow) but obsessive and long-term once decided, occasionally silly, basically well-intentioned yet with a rage-management problem. It's kind of funny to me that even his most extreme actions are actually on the edges of normal for that type of guy, except for when he's really upset (but then everyone's berserk when they're enraged/traumatized). I think he's got lots of paranoia and distrust, but this alone isn't really sociopathic at all. PTSD, maybe.

This is vaguely relevant to me 'cause (I dunno if I've mentioned it), but basically Shion is like my #1 archetypal ideal (who sometimes shares his kingly crown with Basara's Shuri). It's really just plain odd to realize my long-adored favorite is a typical (if brilliant) engineer, if a rather traumatized and touchy one even for his breed (sort of flirting with Asperger's-level but never touching down). If you asked me, I idolize scientists, not engineers, as far as actual professions go. Weird! But I think I just think engineers are sexier...??! More deranged, maybe? haha. The truth is, what I liked about Shion is that he's so distant, cold and obsessively devoted all at once. It really sort of blind-sides me when I read people say they first liked him 'cause they thought he was kind.


I think I really seriously out of touch especially when people go on about the how very kind someone seems on a shallow level, like, 'he seems kind' vs 'he -is- kind'. Liking the -appearance- of kindness is hard for me to appreciate, which is (I suppose) why I like the blunt/offensive/assholish types. It's easier for me to admire honesty than kindness, 'cause (for obvious reasons) you can't fake honesty or it's not honesty. I can really tell if my tastes will mesh overall if someone says they liked someone's 'kindness' in fiction. If you say that with any regularity, we probably won't see eye-to-eye immediately. I don't dislike kindness, of course, but it seems a sort of blah reason to like a character. Maybe I have high standards. Some low-to-medium kindness is just boring. Give me over-the-top amazing self-sacrificing tortured kindness, maybe I'm interested. Anyway, I still think that to say someone's kind (in fic) is just to say the next best thing to 'boring'.

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the one who stumbled

January 2015

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