Sunday, September 14, 2008

Black, Blue, and Red all over.

Well it's been quite some time since I last posted, but now I'm back in the saddle. I've had a lot of post material that's been gestating for a while. It is now time to give birth. Come and behold my mutant children!

The image above is some artwork for a music video that's been put on hiatus. It's a Hakaider shark. I case you don't know who Hikaider is, I'll get to that further in the post. I decided to put it up not only to maintain the flow of art on this blog, but also because it's relevant to the post.

For one reason or another, I recently found myself rediscovering the old Mega Man games for NES. Amid playing the games and reading up on them on that ol' (may or maynot be full of crap public) encyclopedia, Wikipedia, I noticed a few things that reminded me of the Sonic games.

Both games have a blue hero whose rival is red and arch nemesis/antithesis is black. They also feature a mad scientist as the main villain. The mad scientist commonality is more incidental in regard to my point, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

The key here is that many works of fiction seem to follow a pattern in terms of character relationship. The most always must face his "perceived enemy", face his/herself, and finally face thier true enemy. In the case of Mega Man, Sonic the Hedghog, Kikaider, and to a lesser extent Street Fighter, color usage also seems to play a big role. And yes, I'm aware that the aforementained works of fiction are either video games or animated series.

The Rival: Perceived Enemy

Protagonists/Heroes, in most cases a warrior of some sort, often encounter someone who walks a similar road as they do, but whose methods or ideology differ. They challenge the protagonist, counter them, and force him/her to become stronger. The rival may initially be seen as an opposing force to stand in the hero's way. This is often the case, but a true rival will ultimately accelerate the hero's progress.

The rival's characteristics tend to be similar to that of the hero, yet different enough to emphasize their alternative nature. The use of opposing colors such as blue and red pushes this tension even further. They're both primary colors and because of which they clash. It's interesting to note that in Japanese culture blue is associated with good and red with evil. This fact is much more relevant to Kikaider, but I'll get to that.

Heh, as I'm writing this, I can't help but think about Coke and Pepsi!

First up lets start with Mega Man and his rival Proto Man. I'd like to bring up Mega Man X and Zero, but I don't quite feel like delving into the storyline of the Mega Man X games.

I tried to summarizing backstories for these characters, but I decided to just post the link to the wikipedia entry. I don't think I could properly get my points across without you knowing certain details of the story. Just scroll down to the fictional history section.

Assuming you read that (or at least skimmed it), you'll note that Mega Man and his "brother"Proto Man where created for roughly the same purpose, to serve and aid mankind. Mega Man accepted Dr. Light's dream of robots cooperating with humans to better the world, but Proto Man wanted nothing more than independence. Unlike Mega Man, who was created with a companion, Proto Man came into the world alone and thus had no concept of coodependance.