Posts Tagged ‘Code Geass’

I wanted to get at least one more blog post out before I go off to Boston (spoiler alert: the trip is imminent), and because I didn’t have time to watch and review a movie I’ve been wanting to see for a while, I thought I’d do another post about romance in fiction. Why? Because my last post on the subject did very well, well enough that a writing blog associated with Columbia College in Chicago listed that post in a Valentine’s Day-themed article last year (that’s staying power!), and because I’ve had some thoughts since then about the subject. And those thoughts revolve around this simple idea: for a romance story to be truly successful and compelling, there has to be a conflict of some sort. Let me explain:

A couple of months back, I tried watching this anime I discovered on Hulu. The idea for the series sounded interesting, it was a fantasy series with a big romance element, and it was loosely based on a popular fairy tale. I decided to try it (I’d found anime and manga I loved on less than that), and settled down to watch a few episodes. It had a good first episode…but then the problems set in. One of the major ones was that after the first episode, when it’s pretty obvious that the two leads are attracted to each other, there’s nothing really to make the romance aspect exciting. They just settle into this rhythm that says, “Oh yeah, eventually they’ll get together.” Nothing that came up really served as a threat to their relationship, and because the story’s main focus was the romance aspect, I kind of lost interest.

Thus this post. Every good fiction story has some sort of conflict, something for the protagonist(s) to overcome and aid them while they grow as people. These conflicts can be outer and/or inner conflicts. In Harry Potter, it’s Harry’s battle to stop Lord Voldemort and protect his friends. In Stephen King’s It, there’s a shapeshifting evil clown and the desire to hang onto childhood wonder while also accepting the inevitability of growing up. In When Marnie was There, it’s Anna accepting that she’s the one isolating herself, and that if she only comes out to people, they will accept her. In romance, it’s often the main couple realizing and struggling with their feelings for one another while something tries to keep them apart.

Every good story has a good central conflict.

I’ve read a few romance-heavy novels (not many, but some), as well as watched a few TV shows and taken in several anime and manga with strong romance storylines. What always makes them good or memorable to me is the journey for these characters to fall in love with each other and get together, and all that can potentially tear them apart. Without them, like in the anime mentioned above, the story quickly becomes boring. In The Mammoth Hunters by Jean Auel, the two main characters start out in a relationship, but they nearly lose it when a new suitor tries to sweep the female of the pair off her feet (the outer conflict), as well as the couple’s vastly different cultures/childhoods and their communication issues (the inner conflict). Part of what made that novel so exciting was watching those issues affect their relationship, feeling the mistrust, heartbreak, and anger this couple went through. It was thrilling, because you really felt for these characters and wanted to see them together in the end. And getting to that end and overcoming their issues in the process was what made the novel as a whole good.

Arata the Legend: great example of how a story can have a compelling romance without that being the main subject of the story.

But this post so far focuses on stories that are mainly romantic. What about stories where romance is secondary? Same concept applies. You see this a lot in manga and anime. Take Arata the Legend by Yuu Watase (highly recommend, by the way), for example. The story revolves around a teenager named Arata who ends up in an alternate universe, where he becomes a messiah figure in the process. Arata ends up traveling around the universe with a band of magical warriors to gather magic items and save both worlds, while also dealing with his own fears and insecurities. These are the main outer and inner conflicts of the story. However, a sub-conflict in the story revolves around a love triangle between Arata and two girls who travel with him, a warrior girl and a healer. Both are attracted to Arata, Arata’s attracted to one of them, and because of various misunderstandings and past experiences, they’re unable to be honest with one another with their feelings, genuinely thinking that one might be better with the other or that one doesn’t like the other. This subplot is a major ongoing part of the story, and one of the reasons I always look forward to new volumes coming out (waiting on #25 since August last year).

As you can see, a story with a romance but no challenge to that romance is more often than not less exciting than a romance with challenges to it. The exceptions, in my experience at least, would be stories where the romance is a minor element in comparison to other issues in the story (the anime Code Geass definitely comes to mind in that aspect. Also highly recommend that one), but if that’s the case, then the romance probably isn’t a big part of why you’re into this story, right?

But when a story’s romance is a major aspect of why people would want to check the story out, having a conflict would definitely make it a more interesting aspect of the story. Otherwise, all you’ve got is an anime where you’re just watching and waiting for these two obviously-attracted-to-each-other people to take that first step and kiss each other and that’s about it.

Advertisements

I’ve been nominated for the Starlight Blogger Award by my good friend Katja from Life & Other Disasters, aka The Impossible Girl Blog. She gets nominated for a lot of these things, and the fact that she willingly does so many of them astounds me every time (I’m not sure I’d have the patience if I got nominated for these all the time).

Alright, so I have to post the rules of this award, so here they are:

1. Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.

2. Answer the 3 original questions and then the 3 new questions from your nominator given to you.

3. Nominate your 6 favorite bloggers! In your nominees I would like for you to think at the light emanating from the stars the ones that truly touch your soul with their work, the ones that are the light for you a true STARLIGHT Blogger.

4. Please pass the award on to 6 or more other Bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated by you.

5. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your Blog, please never alter the logo, never change the 3 original questions answer that first then answer the 3 new questions from your nominator and never change the Award rules.

6. Please don’t delete this note:

The design for the STARLIGHT Bloggers Award has been created from YesterdayAfter. It is a Copyright image, you cannot alter or change it in any way just pass it to others that deserve this award.

Copyright 2015 © YesterdayAfter.com – Design by Carolina Russo”

Alright, so here are my answers to the original questions:

1. If you could meet anyone throughout history, who and why? Oh, that is a tough one, especially since I’m such a Whovian. I’d guess I’d like to meet a few spiritual or religious figures. Shri Mataji, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, as well as the Lubavitch Rebbe, who’s pretty big in Hasidism. I think I might also meet a few authors: Shakespeare, Agatha Christie. I don’t know, that would be fun.

2. What is your favorite book and why? Ooh, I hate this question. It’s always changing. I guess I’ll go back to my stock answer for the past year and a half, because I haven’t read anything to top it yet: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Great storytelling, powerfully dramatic scenes, lots of great social commentary, and characters that you can’t get out of your head. I love it, and I recommend it to anyone who was dissatisfied with Hunger Games and wanted something more.

3. Who is your favorite fiction character from any medium and why? Do I have to pick one?! Fine, I’ll pick one. I know most people expect me to say the Doctor, and while I do love him, I think it might be Lelouch Lamperouge from the anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. He’s such a fun character. On the one hand you hate what he’s doing in order to accomplish his goals, but at the same time you’re fascinated by him and you cheer him on because you see the good he’s doing and the wrongs he’s fighting. I guess that means he’s a good antihero, and the company behind the anime did their job.

And now for Katja’s questions:

1. If you could be a character in any fictional story of your choosing (book/TV/movie/comics/etc.), where would you want to go? If I’m interpreting this question right, I could be myself, but I’d be an original character in an established universe. Well, that’s easy. I’m hanging out with the Doctor on the TARDIS, fighting off monsters and saving planets. Heck, I have a bunch of ideas for stories where the Doctor is teamed up with a young man–maybe based on myself–whom he takes in and becomes like a father figure to, all the while dark forces watch their progress together for their own sinister purposes. Steven Moffat, call me. We’ll make the most exciting series of DW ever…or a great series of novels.

2. What’s a song that always gets you in a good mood? Oh, there are so many, spanning a range of genres. I guess if I’m going to choose, I’d have to say “Voodoo Child” by Rogue Traders. I only listen to it when I’ve accomplished something, like finishing the latest draft of a story or getting published or something along those lines, so I associate it with good times and good things in my life. One of these days I’d like to do a flash mob to it and load it onto YouTube as a promotion for some book or another.

3. Did you ever consider going to a Comic Con? If yes/no, why? Would you dress up as someone else? Oh, I would love to go to a Comic Con. I would probably wear something that would promote one of my books and get people interested in reading them somehow. Like for Reborn City, I’d have the Hydra symbol on the back of a T-shirt and the front would say “ASK ME ABOUT THE BACK OF MY SHIRT.” It certainly would be a conversation starter. The problem is that besides getting the tickets, hotel and transportation costs, and everything else, it costs a little too much for me at this point in my life. But maybe someday when I have a bit saved up…anything’s possible.

Alright, so I have to think up three original questions, so here they are:

1. When was the last time you saw a scary movie? What was it, what did you think, and do you normally watch scary movies?

2. What are you dressing up for this Halloween? What are your plans for the holiday?

3. What is something (book/TV show/comic book/movie) from your childhood that you still enjoy today?

Alright, here are my six nominees:

Okay, that’s all for now. Tomorrow I’ve got another post coming out, so look out for that. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this post, my Followers of Fear. I know I did. Gut nacht!