Jump to content
Sonic Fan J

Seeing Shadow in his Friends, Enemies, and Maria

Recommended Posts

Made a really long post over on tumblr and by the time i was finished thought it would make for some discussion, even if Shadow threads risk opening a can of worms so I'll ask everyone in advance to try and keep it civil. Anyway, please open the spoilers for the post and feel free to share your thoughts not just on my opinions and thoughts, but also on how you see Shadow reflected in those around him and how his reactions to that speak about him.

Spoiler

So, I’m always one for my odd opinions and outlooks and the one that been on my mind of late is one about Shadow. Now I know Shadow is a very easy character to like and make fun of all at once, but one of the things that I like about Shadow is his nuances and his tendency for self-reflection and introspective moments. Like Sonic he is aloof, but unlike Sonic who knows himself, Shadow has difficulty even approaching himself and as a result tends to attract attention from those who reflect aspects of himself in different ways. How responds to these people says a lot about him and how he views himself which I find to be absolutely fascinating.


Friends

So I’ll start with one that is both easy to see Shadow in, but shows a lot of the interesting nuance mystery still about Shadow and how he views himself.

Omega

So, Omega being the Eggman hating machine that he is should be a pretty straightforward character to see Shadow in. Primarily in his need for vengeance no matter what. Shadow himself when he debuted no matter the reasoning behind it perceived himself as a weapon that needed to fulfill his vengeance. Omega is clearly no different and it is obvious that Shadow sees a lot of himself in the machine. They were both made by members of the Robotnik family and find themselves not living the lives they were created for. They are almost family in a way and considering at least through 06 how much trust and care Shadow showed for Omega (why would you take that away SEGA?) there is no doubt that he is extrememly important to him.

Where it gets interesting with Omega is not in the similarities he shares with Shadow and how much of himself that Shadow sees in him, but how Shadow generally treats him. Though Omega is almost entirely a cold weapon of a machine living for a singular vengeance much like he was until Amy reminded him of what Maria asked of him, Shadow did not distance himself from Omega once they were a team. He showed concern for him, considered his insights when appropriate, and trusts him to have his back. This is even after he lets go of his own need for vengeance, yet in a way he constantly has a reminder of it beside him in the form of Omega making Omega serve as much as a warning for what he can devolve into even while he is one of his closest friends. It is such a strange contrast and I believe it would be quite engaging to see what we can learn about Shadow through this relationship.

Rouge

Now Rouge might be a bit more difficult to see Shadow in, but I think a lot of that has to do with their personalities at a glance. Both of them are for the most typically self absorbed individuals, even if for different reasons, but will step up and do the right thing when they need to, no matter how dirty they get in the process. They also typically keep their true feelings on matters hidden unless really pushed, though they have opened up to each other on occasion which is always fun to see. This is especially interesting since the biggest similarity they share is keeping up a facade that makes them seem more unapproachable and callous then they really are which makes Rouge a very kindred soul to Shadow.

Shadows unspoken trust in Rouge says a lot about how he values those parts of himself but fully embraces the importance of keeping himself at arm’s length from everything around him. Shadow values this quite a bit and rarely lets anyone through his icy shell, including Rouge who he will actually grow visibly irritated with when she doesn’t respect his shell. This reaction is kind of interesting to me as to an extent it is an irritation that to me reads of fear. Considering how he lost everything when the Ark was raided though it should not be a particular surprise. He lost everything that made him who he was then and his exterior shell like Rouge’s is a part of him, and something that he values to keep himself whole.

Enemies

Shadow’s enemies are an interesting batch of characters who all reflect Shadow in different ways and clearly highlight how shadow feels about those parts of himself.

Black Doom

Another easy one like Omega, Black Doom is a clear representation of Shadow’s potential to be a complete monster. But as Shadow at the time was craving an identity for himself and a sense of purpose, being a monster was more tempting than it probably ever should have been. But sure enough Shadow listened regardless to what Black Doom had to say and did not finally truly take action until he had seen the full extent of Black Doom’s plans.

Now this puts us an interesting place as it shows that Shadow has a great deal of patience for dealing with the monstrous nature that he possesses. He humors it. Listens to it. Lets it stretch its legs and show itself completely. Yet when it comes time to deal with it, he doesn’t just chase it back into the shadows (sorry for the pun) but chooses to utterly eliminate. Shadow kills Black Doom, destroys the Black Comet, and turns his back on the Ark and everything it represented, even joining forces with G.U.N. in 06. Shadow didn’t just face his the monster inside of him, once he allowed himself to see all of it, he destroyed every trace of it that he could and distanced himself from everything else he couldn’t bring himself to destroy. Too me this makes him look like he is absolutely terrified of the type of monster that he could become and actually makes it easier for me to come to terms with how he acts in the IDW Comics to an extent. Knowing full well the type of monster he can and his unique relationship with Eggman it is little wonder the whole Metal Virus Saga left him in a very foul temper. The terror he possesses for what he can be drives him harder than probably any other motivational force in his life, especially having turned his back as much as he can on his memories of Maria.

Mephiles the Dark

The recolor of a recolor in the flesh, and yet still one of my favorites if only for his relationship with Shadow (06 had it’s problems but Shadow’s campaign was not one of them to me). Mephiles and his plan are one of the biggest messes in the Sonic franchise and that allows him to encapsulate Shadow perfectly. He’s a mess of an individual driven by vengeance and hung up on his power and need to see the plan he follows through to its end. He will let nothing stand in his way but will gladly accept the aid of any he can manipulate to his ends. Almost a perfect description of how SEGA wants Shadow branded right now, even to the extent of wanting to ignore everything that made Shadow who he is, only dwelling on the most trivial of aspects. He is pettiness and arrogance in Shadow’s form and acts as a constant temptation towards deification through his own power while trying to stir his fear of being nothing more but a tool that has outgrown his usefulness to his masters.

So how how does Shadow face this enemy and part of himself? He pretty much tells it to stuff it, and is backed up by Omega who is a kindred soul and has nothing against turning on his masters if the need be (you only did it to yourself Eggman). When presented with all of his fears, insecurities, and everything that his power can bring him, Shadow chooses to fight everything. Be it his master, himself, or anyone else. Shadow has a very firm grasp on what he is, and as much as he fears it, he has no intention of ever giving in, fighting on without end. But like Mephiles, it also shows that Shadow feels the need to keep himself under control, but has to fight against himself to keep himself under control. The consequences of not doing so could be catastrophic (the destruction of the Earth, mankind turned into food, the end of time itself, etc...). That Shadow stays so cool through it is a testament to his resolve, but without his friends as support he buckles under the weight of the responsibility and lashes out like in the IDW comics (so why are you seperating him from his friends SEGA?).

Infinite

Now there wasn’t nearly as much interaction between Shadow and Infinite as there should have been, but that doesn’t stop the daft jackal though from reflecting a part of Shadow. Above all else what Infinite represents is Shadow’s pride, arrogance, and hypocrisy, especially as Shadow has pretty much become him. The constant boasting about himself and his power. The need to dismiss the strength brought on by friendship, and sole the belief that no matter what he can resolve any situation. Infinite is nearly everything that SEGA is trying to make Shadow today, yet they simultaneously tell a story about how wrong it is to be like that through Infinite. It’s a mixed message on SEGA’s part, but not so for Shadow.

Where SEGA says that Infinite is in the wrong even as they try mold Shadow into him, Shadow’s response is so much more in character. Arrogance, pride, hypocrisy; they’re all parts of him that he readily accepts and as a result is completely indifferent to Infinite. It is a curious form of acceptance, yet when it comes to these aspects Shadow just is both physically and philosophically. it isn’t that he openly embraces or rejects these parts of himself, but rather pays them little heed, accepting them as a part of him that does not require his attention. As a result, Infinite proves no threat to Shadow as this is one part of Shadow that he just accepts without thought allowing him to judge the jackal on his actions, not even recognizing how well reflected he is by him or the effects that those aspects can have on others and the world around him. In this regard Shadow reads to me as neglectful of this aspect of personality even though it drives a lot of his actions and personal agency. Yet it reflects him so well as it highlights why it is so easy for him to be so reckless and actually makes it easier for me to see why he’d end up messing up so badly against the Zombots. Go figure.

Maria

Finally wrapping up and giving them their own entire category we get to girl who gave Shadow his heart. No matter how much he tries to walk away she is always right there with him when he is kind, and when he is curious. She is the innocence in him that allows him to occasionally step outside of his icy exterior and the force that drives him to protect. And even his 25th Anniversary comic shows that he still thinks about her and that he walks in the direction illuminated by her beliefs. Or in short, she is everything that Shadow wishes he could hold inside of himself and keep safe no matter how hard his exterior has to grow. Yet with her is soft, gentle, delicate, as likely to break as she. She is as said above, his heart, made even more intriguing as some scholars believe the name to be derived from a word for love. This makes Amy being the one to snap him of his end the world kick all the more symbolic than I ever realized as her name can be interpreted to mean beloved or love )depending on how bad you’re butchering the French origins), especially since other possible meanings include “sea of bitterness” which reflects his personality most of the game, and “rebellion” which in turn relates him to Sonic and his rebellious personality. Again, it makes Maria his heart. And how does Shadow respond to this?

He protects it with everything he has, and is utterly devastated when he loses it, clinging on desperately to the memories and keeping them deeply buried inside himself. At his heart Shadow is extreme frail and knows it, building layer after of protections to keep himself safe, Be it his cold exterior or the lies he tells himself abut himself and leaving her behind which again the 25th Anniversary comic proves is a lie he tells himself in my opinion. His reaction also kind of puts him in the role of the Beast from beauty and the Beast as it is this simple girl who gives him his heart and keeps him from being the monster he fears becoming more than anything else. In a way it’s kind of beautiful and makes me appreciate Shadow that much as a character.

As I stated at the start of this opinion piece, part of what makes Shadow one of my favorites is his nuance and self-reflective and introspective tendencies. Writing it out it opened him up to me in more ways than I really realized he could be opened up and actually brought me a lot of peace with how he is being handled in the IDW comics so far. I may not like, but it actually is more in character than I realized and that is a feat that heavily impresses me with Ian Flynn’s writing considering what SEGA is doing to him. Still though, these are just my opinions and I wonder what everyone else thinks of them and how they see Shadow in his friends, enemies, and Maria.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • I agree on omega, I wouldn't call their bond familial. Not to say it can't, just they haven't interacted enough and their interactions don't really give off the same vibe as sonic or tails or the chaotix. Like two guys who have been through similar stuff and respect each other for that. Would love to see shadow omega buddy cop brother adventures.
  • With rouge I disagree. I think the idea to call shadow self absorbed is kinda missing his point. Its the opposite. He's super selfless to the point of frequent martyrdom and completely absorbed with justice. I think rouge see's that and how far he has come and likes it. Its trait he shares with knuckles another character rouge likes romantically. ( and blaze which is why rouge and blaze is a good ship) . And I think shadow likes rouge because she's competent and doesn't judge him, just accepts him for who he is and what he's trying to be . Even other sonic characters including sonic himself will often assume shadow is up to something. She just...believes in him. Good friend. Well until recent changes in characterization. I do agree that they are both prone to hide their true feelings. We could go on all day about potential romance stuff or even just friend stuff. But I also get the feeling just as shadow respects rouge. Rouge respects shadow... alot. Like admiration a lot,she just...wont tell him.
  • With DOOM that's an interesting take on the monster thing. I usually go with " he was just trying to find a family and some identity "and there's a bit of that in there. But you go with the idea of him thinking that indulging in just being some monster was tempting. Considering he was born into a world that for one reason or another just didn't trust him. I can totally see that , Shadow at the point seeing being the thing they make him out to be being tempting. I like that take
  • I don't really have anything to say about your take on mephilies. Its just meta and specific. I always viewed mephilies as a sort of " The devil inside you " sort of thing in combination with the devils bargin. In regards to shadow.
  • I don't think infinite represents anything. Shadow beat him up because he was guarding and eggman base and infinite was upset over it. Its not significant, mimic in the comic got whipped working for eggman and he didn't decide to put a jewel in his chest and become a living weapon for a dictator. So many other characters in the history of all sonic media including shadow have gotten beaten up a bit helping eggman and they didn't go through the entire whiny mess infinite went through. He represents nothing besides his own bad character arc which in itself is a bunch of jumbled puzzle pieces hastily put together with glue and spit.
  • I think your take on maria is actually why shadow the hedgehog exists, particularly its ending which kind of disregards that.
  1. Doom didn't make shadow shadow
  2. Gerald didn't make shadow shadow
  3. Maria didn't even make shadow shadow
  4. Shadow makes Shadow shadow. ( BTW I legit think this is actually a functional sentence ).

 

So I don't think she's all these particular emotions. That's shadow. She's just an occasional reminder to do the right thing. She's more of an occasional moral guide. That's all she needs to be IMO

 

I appreciate your takes. Its nice to see folks genuinely interested in sonic.  In this day an age, sega is making it harder to be

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it.

Two things I'd like to try and clarify though as your response tells me I probably need to.

First up, when I use self absorbed to describe Shadow, it isn't in the manner of selfishness, but rather he spends a lot of time thinking about himself and the actions he takes. It's not a matter of arrogance or selfishness in his case, but a matter of the fact that he does a have a tendency of thinking about himself and his situation. It is a form of being self absorbed, and while Rouge's habits that make her self absorbed are drastically different from Shadow, the two of them due think about themselves a lot creating the parallel that I saw.

Second, I agree with you that none of the characters ever made Shadow who he is; he did. A lot of my perspective here is looking at as Shadow projecting himself onto others subconsciously and when he sees those aspects of himself his reaction to it tells us a lot about him. that's how I find that Maria represents his heart, not because she is, but because it is easy to project Shadow's heart onto her and let him see it reflected back at him. It's also why I find his total indifference to Infinite comical, for as much as SEGA tries to turn him into what Infinite is he simply shrugged and didn't care despite Infinite being everything SEGA is currently trying to make Shadow into. It was absolutely hilarious to me and makes Shadow's disregard of the silly jackal a source of a very good laugh.

I don't know if those explanations helped any, but at least I tried to explain my perspective a little better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me Maria represents a sort of childlike innocence that's he barely shows. A side of himself you only see when he lets his guard down which happens pretty rarely. 

And this requires some BSing on my part since Shadow and Infinite weren't even originally connected but I just think of him as Shadow if he were just pure pride and ego. None of the tragedy or regret that grounds his actions. Just the pure, raw desire to prove his superiority that we saw from Shadow at his debut. 

This post overall is pretty good but I'm surprised Sonic isn't mentioned. Just about the only thing that can distract Shadow from his objective and convince him to waste time is getting the chance to fuck with Sonic and vice versa. They don't fight nearly as often since then but I like to think being an even better hero Sonic is what Shadow is striving for in a lot of ways. Shadow already admitted his superiority once and I like to think he still feels that way deep down despite looking down on Sonic for some things. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Admittedly I contemplated on going in depth with Sonic, and it is a very easy thing to do as it is very easy for me to see Shadow in Sonic and his reaction to that. His constant need to surpass that or separate himself from it when in a lot of ways Sonic is almost everything he wishes he could be. But the fact that he refuses to give in and constantly tries to prove that he is better tells that he values his sense of duty and need for purpose and refuses to give in to his own inner desire for freedom. Duty and purpose always keeps him going and to someone like that the freedom that Sonic represents and the desire for it that it stirs in Shadow seeing everything he could have that way is honestly like staring into an abyss and throws into question everything your. In a way Sonic must be terrifying to Shadow and conquering him is a way of conquering some of his own fears and insecurities.

Having played around with that perspective though, I have to say that the biggest reason I hadn't gotten into Sonic is because he didn't fit into any of the categories I wanted to cover and I wasn't comfortable with a Rival category with Sonic being the only one in there or putting Sonic on Maria's level of importance with a category all to himself. Still it was fun writing it out so thanks for the prompt.

Also, I fully agree with you with about Maria representing a sort of childlike innocence for him. She is so much of him even if just indirectly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Wraith said:



This post overall is pretty good but I'm surprised Sonic isn't mentioned. Just about the only thing that can distract Shadow from his objective and convince him to waste time is getting the chance to fuck with Sonic and vice versa. They don't fight nearly as often since then but I like to think being an even better hero Sonic is what Shadow is striving for in a lot of ways. Shadow already admitted his superiority once and I like to think he still feels that way deep down despite looking down on Sonic for some things. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

His constant need to surpass that or separate himself from it when in a lot of ways Sonic is almost everything he wishes he could be. But the fact that he refuses to give in and constantly tries to prove that he is better tells that he values his sense of duty and need for purpose and refuses to give in to his own inner desire for freedom. Duty and purpose always keeps him going and to someone like that the freedom that Sonic represents and the desire for it that it stirs in Shadow seeing everything he could have that way is honestly like staring into an abyss and throws into question everything your. In a way Sonic must be terrifying to Shadow and conquering him is a way of conquering some of his own fears and insecurities.

 

I feel like ya'll might be reading a bit too deep. IMO

In this situation , I would like to suggest occam's razor to put it simply

I think shadow just doesn't like sonic that much and that's kind of the long and short of it. Shadow thinks how sonic does hero stuff is kind of dumb, and they are both competitive and sometimes they compete. That's it really. They respect each other because results. But they just don't like each other and don't think much about each other. Sonic and Shadow are like those two guys with different political opinions that don't hang out with each other. That's it. That's my take on it anyway.

One of the things I like about shadow when he's written well is he just has agency away from sonic. He just kind of doesn't give a shit about the guy and that's nice. Outside of like, not liking him.  And to frame it as insecurities or what he wishes he could be , removes his agency. Every single character description or those two is " they clash over ideals " its quite literally " they don't like each others heroism opinions " . And that's kind of where the buck stops.

Shadow's descriptions over the years has been of even in confusion one of strong will. I don't think there is any insecurity about it and admissions of superiority have been effectively reconnected with his continued existance. Shadow's a strong willed dude, sonic is a strong willed dude, they believe different things. They fight.

Its Ironic that the character shadow was designed to rival has the least interesting take on his entire existence, but that's the beauty of it.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting piece, especially Black Doom. I never considered that Shadow might have join Bad Guys because he desperately searched for identity.

There are few characters you missed. Sonic is obvious mirror, Emerl is Kindred Spirit living weapon, Eclipse his evil bro and maybe even Gerald.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Interesting piece, especially Black Doom. I never considered that Shadow might have join Bad Guys because he desperately searched for identity.

There are few characters you missed. Sonic is obvious mirror, Emerl is Kindred Spirit living weapon, Eclipse his evil bro and maybe even Gerald.

...there's a lot from archie I'm ok with being gone forever. Like...alot, most of it even. Eclipse was good, eclipse was so good

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

 

 

I feel like ya'll might be reading a bit too deep. IMO

In this situation , I would like to suggest occam's razor to put it simply

I think shadow just doesn't like sonic that much and that's kind of the long and short of it. Shadow thinks how sonic does hero stuff is kind of dumb, and they are both competitive and sometimes they compete. That's it really. They respect each other because results. But they just don't like each other and don't think much about each other. Sonic and Shadow are like those two guys with different political opinions that don't hang out with each other. That's it. That's my take on it anyway.

One of the things I like about shadow when he's written well is he just has agency away from sonic. He just kind of doesn't give a shit about the guy and that's nice. Outside of like, not liking him.  And to frame it as insecurities or what he wishes he could be , removes his agency. Every single character description or those two is " they clash over ideals " its quite literally " they don't like each others heroism opinions " . And that's kind of where the buck stops.

Shadow's descriptions over the years has been of even in confusion one of strong will. I don't think there is any insecurity about it and admissions of superiority have been effectively reconnected with his continued existance. Shadow's a strong willed dude, sonic is a strong willed dude, they believe different things. They fight.

Its Ironic that the character shadow was designed to rival has the least interesting take on his entire existence, but that's the beauty of it.

 

 

 

This is kinda why the angle of them trying to prove their superiority over each other works though imo. They're both strong-willed guys who aren't willing to compromise their sense of justice for what they think is right, hence they fight. I don't think it's as simple as saying they don't like each other; it's actually a very complicated relationship that Sonic and Shadow have.

And when I say "prove their superiority", I don't mean a simple dick-measuring contest; as you said, they respect each other a lot, which is what makes the dynamic more complicated. It is a very much a clash of ideals. Generally speaking, other characters are usually swayed to Sonic's way of thinking after interacting with him for a long period of time and Sonic's willing to let bygones be bygones when it's all said and done. But that doesn't work with Shadow; Shadow's sense of purpose and self is so strong that he can't be swayed by Sonic's natural charisma. He'd sooner tell Sonic to stuff it and do it himself rather than submit himself to his way of thinking. And likewise, Shadow is a wild card from Sonic's perspective; because he can't sway Shadow like he usually can, it's impossible for Sonic to know what Shadow will actually do. He knows that he generally works for the benefit of others, but he also knows Shadow will cross lines that he himself will not in pursuit of that.

They really are just two sides of the same coin; I'm sure they would rather not interact with each other if they could help it, but their personality and ideals are at complete odds that a confrontation between them is generally inevitable whenever they're both involved. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

This is kinda why the angle of them trying to prove their superiority over each other works though imo. They're both strong-willed guys who aren't willing to compromise their sense of justice for what they think is right, hence they fight. I don't think it's as simple as saying they don't like each other; it's actually a very complicated relationship that Sonic and Shadow have.

And when I say "prove their superiority", I don't mean a simple dick-measuring contest; as you said, they respect each other a lot, which is what makes the dynamic more complicated. It is a very much a clash of ideals. Generally speaking, other characters are usually swayed to Sonic's way of thinking after interacting with him for a long period of time and Sonic's willing to let bygones be bygones when it's all said and done. But that doesn't work with Shadow; Shadow's sense of purpose and self is so strong that he can't be swayed by Sonic's natural charisma. He'd sooner tell Sonic to stuff it and do it himself rather than submit himself to his way of thinking. And likewise, Shadow is a wild card from Sonic's perspective; because he can't sway Shadow like he usually can, it's impossible for Sonic to know what Shadow will actually do. He knows that he generally works for the benefit of others, but he also knows Shadow will cross lines that he himself will not in pursuit of that.

They really are just two sides of the same coin; I'm sure they would rather not interact with each other if they could help it, but their personality and ideals are at complete odds that a confrontation between them is generally inevitable whenever they're both involved. 

I think, I may have miscommunication issues, and I'm sorry. I'm not trying to say their relationship has no nuance whatsoever, I just think in comparison to what was being proposed and to shadow's other connections I just think its simpler. Even your explanation is just , petty highschool shit. Shadow doesn't like being told what to do, and sonic doesn't like he can't tell everyone what to do. And both don't know how to react to being wrong. This can totally be expanded into more interesting stuff. While I don't like the new arc is based on eggmen for a few reasons, sonic and shadow arguing over what's too far in heroism is something they would do. And you are totally correct on your take that shadow for sonic is a wild card. Not just because he can't sway him or he isn't predictable in what he is willing to do. Shadow could just beat him up.  I'm not saying your take is invalid at all. I'm just saying unlike a lot of shadow's other relationships where its based in some sorrow , or insecurity or self doubt or confidence in himself or confusion in who he is or what he is. At its core his beef with sonic is a lot simplier and pettier in comparison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

I think, I may have miscommunication issues, and I'm sorry. I'm not trying to say their relationship has no nuance whatsoever, I just think in comparison to what was being proposed and to shadow's other connections I just think its simpler. Even your explanation is just , petty highschool shit. Shadow doesn't like being told what to do, and sonic doesn't like he can't tell everyone what to do. And both don't know how to react to being wrong. This can totally be expanded into more interesting stuff. While I don't like the new arc is based on eggmen for a few reasons, sonic and shadow arguing over what's too far in heroism is something they would do. And you are totally correct on your take that shadow for sonic is a wild card. Not just because he can't sway him or he isn't predictable in what he is willing to do. Shadow could just beat him up.  I'm not saying your take is invalid at all. I'm just saying unlike a lot of shadow's other relationships where its based in some sorrow , or insecurity or self doubt or confidence in himself or confusion in who he is or what he is. At its core his beef with sonic is a lot simplier and pettier in comparison

That's fair. 

I'm not trying to say that Shadow's relationships with other characters is inherently inferior to the one he has with Sonic; I was just pointing out how its significant to both of their characters. You are right that he's certainly closer to the likes of Rouge and Omega than he ever will be with Sonic, I was just pointing out that Sonic highlights his more anti-heroic traits. But the relationships and dynamics he has with Rouge and Omega are much more positive and make him much more sympathetic. 

I don't think what he has with Sonic is any worse; it's petty sure, but it comes from a very real place and its part of what makes Shadow who he is and why he's friends with the likes of Rouge and Omega. 

 

I do agree that there should be more interactions between Shadow and Omega, because the dynamic of two characters created with the sole purpose of destruction working towards a better future is an interesting one that isn't explored enough. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

That's fair. 

I'm not trying to say that Shadow's relationships with other characters is inherently inferior to the one he has with Sonic; I was just pointing out how its significant to both of their characters. You are right that he's certainly closer to the likes of Rouge and Omega than he ever will be with Sonic, I was just pointing out that Sonic highlights his more anti-heroic traits. But the relationships and dynamics he has with Rouge and Omega are much more positive and make him much more sympathetic. 

 

1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

I don't think what he has with Sonic is any worse; it's petty sure, but it comes from a very real place and its part of what makes Shadow who he is and why he's friends with the likes of Rouge and Omega. 

That's totally fair man.

1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

I do agree that there should be more interactions between Shadow and Omega, because the dynamic of two characters created with the sole purpose of destruction working towards a better future is an interesting one that isn't explored enough. 

I wish there were more interactions with team dark in general. For a while I think due to sega, team dark's interactions even in comics have been ..muted. I guess it makes sense because sega doesn't consider them a team, but I think they were at least friends? It is what it is.

Two weapons of war making the world a better place, great.

Shadow and Rouge hanging out or maybe some kinda rouge story where shadow tags a long and we get rouge's perspective on things or her thoughts on her team mates. Great

Hope we get that some day.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sega trying to retcon that Team Dark aren't friends is one of the stupidest decisions they've made to be honest, and has in fact made the characters much worse off. 

The entire appeal of the group is that they aren't good people and have very big flaws (or at least as flawed a Sonic character is allowed to be) that put them in conflict with the more upright heroes. But through those flaws, they found camaraderie with each other. The fact that they are such a tight group despite their negative traits is what makes them great. Traits like those make them much more sympathetic to the audience in a similar way Team Rocket are in Pokemon. 

And to throw all of that way for...what exactly. It annoys me to no end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, StaticMania said:

Nothing really, they haven't replaced that part of those characters with literally anything else yet.

Which is what bugs the hell out of me; why strip these characters of their depth if you aren't going to replace it with anything as substantial. 

Rouge and Omega are essentially non-entities as characters now because they aren't even allowed to be Shadow's friends anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

And to throw all of that way for...what exactly. It annoys me to no end.

For shadow to be angry and strong. Clearly this is what the kids want. Ignore that literally all the most popular children properties today even legacy ones have doubled down on friendship, compassion and camaraderie in our trying times to create interesting characters. From Steven universe to the new version of TMNT friendship and family win the day. And even in things like dragonball characters like broly have even evolved to having more emotional depth due to the friend connection he has.

Ignore that I, marketer/executive man don't know what to do. This isn't totally out of step and does not indicates that we here at sega haven't actually known what has been popular with our actual demographic and potential demographic's for about a decade + and explains almost every decision of you have hated in this entire franchise.

1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

Which is what bugs the hell out of me; why strip these characters of their depth if you aren't going to replace it with anything as substantial. 

Rouge and Omega are essentially non-entities as characters now because they aren't even allowed to be Shadow's friends anymore.

I have said this for a while, but I legit think they have just been trying to kinda push rouge and omega out of what limited spot light they have. I genuinely think if there is ever a franchise level reboot for 3d sonic, both of them are gone. They want shadow to be a lone entity, but rouge and omega are useful if they need two people to fill it a specific plot point. Unfortunately this seems to even be the case in the comics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

I feel like ya'll might be reading a bit too deep. IMO

In this situation , I would like to suggest occam's razor to put it simply

I think shadow just doesn't like sonic that much and that's kind of the long and short of it. Shadow thinks how sonic does hero stuff is kind of dumb, and they are both competitive and sometimes they compete. That's it really. They respect each other because results. But they just don't like each other and don't think much about each other. Sonic and Shadow are like those two guys with different political opinions that don't hang out with each other. That's it. That's my take on it anyway.

One of the things I like about shadow when he's written well is he just has agency away from sonic. He just kind of doesn't give a shit about the guy and that's nice. Outside of like, not liking him.  And to frame it as insecurities or what he wishes he could be , removes his agency. Every single character description or those two is " they clash over ideals " its quite literally " they don't like each others heroism opinions " . And that's kind of where the buck stops.

Shadow's descriptions over the years has been of even in confusion one of strong will. I don't think there is any insecurity about it and admissions of superiority have been effectively reconnected with his continued existance. Shadow's a strong willed dude, sonic is a strong willed dude, they believe different things. They fight.

Its Ironic that the character shadow was designed to rival has the least interesting take on his entire existence, but that's the beauty of it.

Not the first time I've been accused of reading too deep, but that's part of what makes up my perspective which in this case may require a bit more background to help you see why I see what I do.

First off, I've noticed in my tome here at SSMB that you are very find of the idea of simplifying Shadow so he is a lot easier to use, making Occam's Razor a fine device to use for that purpose. Unfortunately, useful a narrative tool as Occam's Razor can be, me using it and actively ignoring all of my experiences and history with the franchise would be horribly dishonest. That and even if I were to simplify Sonic and Shadow's relationship to just a pair of guys who dislike each other, i would fall on what my mom used to tell me about why people with very similar personalities rarely get along; most people just can't their own personality when it is reflected back at them.

Now as you've pointed out, compared to Sonic Shadow is extremely pragmatic, except Sonic can be pretty pragmatic too when he feels the situation calls for it such as his willingness to take out King Arthur in SatBK. And conversely Shadow can also be just as wisecracking as Sonic as his debut in SA2 highlights in some his interactions with Sonic as well his line about a date to die for when encountering Sonic in Heroes. And really the two of them sharing traits should not come off as a surprise as I recall back when SA2 was announced and being marketed that Shadow was frequently described as a darker version of Sonic. So in a way I can also see Sonic as a lighter version of Shadow. If I approach it from this angle then another way to look at Shadow's dislike of Sonic is simply him disliking those traits in himself and so seeing them at a level he finds so obnoxious just gets under his skin. But if they just got under his skin he would more frequently blow off Shadow then having this obvious need to be his superior which in itself dates back to SA2.

As you may recall, Shadow cannot believe that Sonic used Chaos Control, and with a false Chaos Emerald no less. He is so shaken by this that Sonic is no longer just a fake hedgehog to him, but something that needs to be identified. Combine this with Rouge's research on the Ultimate Lifeform and Shadow possibly not being it and his very identity is put into question which leaves me seeing him experiencing a sense of insecurity caused by Sonic in who he is and what he represents. This comes to a head during the final battle when he concedes that Sonic himself just might be the True Ultimate Lifeform. As a lot of my perspective in this topic is based on the assumption of Shadow seeing himself in or projecting himself onto others whether intentionally or subconsciously, him projecting the entirety of his identity as the Ultimate Life Form on Sonic before he pretty much dies is pretty huge. It gets particularly more interesting when you look at him and how he reacts once he's up and at it again and suffering from amnesia; he is immediately snarky and takes action to be rid of Sonic.

Now you'll probably say I'm still reading too deeply into this, but what this looks like to me is that the insecurities that Sonic represents in him are ingrained into him so deeply that even with amnesia h feels threatened by Sonic's presence and needs to prove himself superior to revalidate his own existence to himself. Not particularly surprising to me for an amnesiac to need to cling to any sense of Identity that they have.

Of course it could still be argued that when Sonic is not around that he doesn't think of him and has his own agency, and why shouldn't he? When Sonic isn't present he isn't faced with that existential crisis of who is and all that he could be in the internal conflict of freedom versus duty. He is actually more free to just be himself when Sonic isn't there which to me at least makes sense, I mean how often do you think of things that aren't present and have no bearing on your current situation? Of course, the Moment Sonic is present and there is action being taken, he isn't just being competitive and desiring to beat all competitors, they don't matter unlike Sonic who he has to beat and prove his superiority too. When I look at Shadow like that it's hard for me to see it any other way, even when I start to see similarities in the identity crisis aspects with Vegeta and Goku from Dragon Ball.

And just as a last statement explaining why to me none of this can be handwaved as minor details, you have to remember that my entire perspective of Amy was changed when I learned in the Japanese manual of a spinoff game she addressed Sonic with the -sama honorific. If something so insignificant in the eyes of others completely changed my perspective on a character then the sheer amount of more readily available information about Shadow is sure to heavily shape my perspective. Nothing wrong with wanting to simplify things though, it's just for me, there is way to much going on between Sonic and Shadow to simplify to just two guys who don't like each other. I see so much and by my nature can't help but think about it.

22 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Interesting piece, especially Black Doom. I never considered that Shadow might have join Bad Guys because he desperately searched for identity.

It's honestly a trope I see a lot in fiction with amnesiacs. It's also a common plot point in comedies where people try to take advantage of amnesiacs. Normally it gets under my skin as a plot point, especially when it is used to turn a heroic character into a villain for a few episodes when the equally annoying brainwashing trope is used. In Shadow's case I can actually enjoy it a fair bit though as he is actively seeking out what makes him "him" and is exposing himself to how others perceive to help him along.

22 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

There are few characters you missed. Sonic is obvious mirror, Emerl is Kindred Spirit living weapon, Eclipse his evil bro and maybe even Gerald.

Well, I've gotten to Sonic quite a bit now that I've finally responded to your post, so I guess he's covered now. As for the others, I've never played or watched Sonic Battle so I can't really say anything on Emerl, and for all the good I've read on Eclipse I never read the arcs with him in them so again I can't say anything. Now Professor Gerald is an interesting as I've never really seen anything that makes me feel like Shadow sees anything of himself in his creator. That isn't to say that he doesn't have extreme respect for him, and to a degree I feel as if he misses him a great deal as some of his interactions with Eggman feel like he's projecting Gerald onto the good doctor to me. Still, if you can see Shadow in these three characters please feel free to share as I'd love to hear further takes on Shadow in this thread's format.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Not the first time I've been accused of reading too deep, but that's part of what makes up my perspective which in this case may require a bit more background to help you see why I see what I do.

First off, I've noticed in my tome here at SSMB that you are very find of the idea of simplifying Shadow so he is a lot easier to use, making Occam's Razor a fine device to use for that purpose. Unfortunately, useful a narrative tool as Occam's Razor can be, me using it and actively ignoring all of my experiences and history with the franchise would be horribly dishonest. That and even if I were to simplify Sonic and Shadow's relationship to just a pair of guys who dislike each other, i would fall on what my mom used to tell me about why people with very similar personalities rarely get along; most people just can't their own personality when it is reflected back at them.

I like simplifying shadow. When its beneficiary.

I like shadow's complicated, but say for example. If there was a 3d sonic reboot. I genuinely think you could tell shadow's entire backstory in less complicated time with more relevancy to the modern day by just being " His mom was an alien and the government killed her and took him because of his power" . It hits all the same emotional beats, elicits the same reaction out of old and new audiences is relevant to todays time,  and simplifies a mess of a story into something you can explain in two sentences.  But can be complicated enough to expand upon.

My notion for simplifying is this, if it doesn't serve a narrative purpose by existing nor does it make a character or thing or gameplay better, then get rid of it. Because there can be things that aren't narratively nessciary but make the world and stories better or gameplay better . But there can also be things that don't do that , but for the narrative to function it needs this.  And if something isn't doing either, why is it here.

I feel the same way about the master emerald at this point. I think the M.E should have exploded after SA1.

Quote

Now as you've pointed out, compared to Sonic Shadow is extremely pragmatic, except Sonic can be pretty pragmatic too when he feels the situation calls for it such as his willingness to take out King Arthur in SatBK. And conversely Shadow can also be just as wisecracking as Sonic as his debut in SA2 highlights in some his interactions with Sonic as well his line about a date to die for when encountering Sonic in Heroes. And really the two of them sharing traits should not come off as a surprise as I recall back when SA2 was announced and being marketed that Shadow was frequently described as a darker version of Sonic. So in a way I can also see Sonic as a lighter version of Shadow. If I approach it from this angle then another way to look at Shadow's dislike of Sonic is simply him disliking those traits in himself and so seeing them at a level he finds so obnoxious just gets under his skin. But if they just got under his skin he would more frequently blow off Shadow then having this obvious need to be his superior which in itself dates back to SA2.

As you may recall, Shadow cannot believe that Sonic used Chaos Control, and with a false Chaos Emerald no less. He is so shaken by this that Sonic is no longer just a fake hedgehog to him, but something that needs to be identified. Combine this with Rouge's research on the Ultimate Lifeform and Shadow possibly not being it and his very identity is put into question which leaves me seeing him experiencing a sense of insecurity caused by Sonic in who he is and what he represents. This comes to a head during the final battle when he concedes that Sonic himself just might be the True Ultimate Lifeform. As a lot of my perspective in this topic is based on the assumption of Shadow seeing himself in or projecting himself onto others whether intentionally or subconsciously, him projecting the entirety of his identity as the Ultimate Life Form on Sonic before he pretty much dies is pretty huge. It gets particularly more interesting when you look at him and how he reacts once he's up and at it again and suffering from amnesia; he is immediately snarky and takes action to be rid of Sonic.

Now you'll probably say I'm still reading too deeply into this, but what this looks like to me is that the insecurities that Sonic represents in him are ingrained into him so deeply that even with amnesia h feels threatened by Sonic's presence and needs to prove himself superior to revalidate his own existence to himself. Not particularly surprising to me for an amnesiac to need to cling to any sense of Identity that they have.

Of course it could still be argued that when Sonic is not around that he doesn't think of him and has his own agency, and why shouldn't he? When Sonic isn't present he isn't faced with that existential crisis of who is and all that he could be in the internal conflict of freedom versus duty. He is actually more free to just be himself when Sonic isn't there which to me at least makes sense, I mean how often do you think of things that aren't present and have no bearing on your current situation? Of course, the Moment Sonic is present and there is action being taken, he isn't just being competitive and desiring to beat all competitors, they don't matter unlike Sonic who he has to beat and prove his superiority too. When I look at Shadow like that it's hard for me to see it any other way, even when I start to see similarities in the identity crisis aspects with Vegeta and Goku from Dragon Ball.

And just as a last statement explaining why to me none of this can be handwaved as minor details, you have to remember that my entire perspective of Amy was changed when I learned in the Japanese manual of a spinoff game she addressed Sonic with the -sama honorific. If something so insignificant in the eyes of others completely changed my perspective on a character then the sheer amount of more readily available information about Shadow is sure to heavily shape my perspective. Nothing wrong with wanting to simplify things though, it's just for me, there is way to much going on between Sonic and Shadow to simplify to just two guys who don't like each other. I see so much and by my nature can't help but think about it.

So I want to start of saying I appreciate you talking about this. Its nice to see folks enthused about the franchise and shadow. And I am aware that this is your opinion. And I am by no means criticizing you as a person for looking in deep into something, I look in deep into this franchise myself and others and you are not worse of a person for doing so. And this is your take on things and even if I disagree with the take, the fact that you think that you can look so deeply into things speaks to how curious you are as a person ( and that's good! ) and how much potential and how great sonic is as a weird thing we like.

I just don't think Shadow with sonic insecurities is interesting at all, and I don't think sega did either. The " you are the ultimate life form thing " along with strait up not being in versions of the game. Is essentially something that has been retconned. I know this is a spooky word for a lot of sonic fans, but I think that's just the case. That game operated under the idea that shadow wasn't going to come back at least not so soon. But he did, an every single appearance he had afterward was basically retconning stuff they felt no longer worked for alive shadow. He had no insecurities about sonic , they were about himself and who he was as a person. Because the developers had to figure out who shadow was as a person. Its why shadow screams out " this is who i am " in every ending of his game. Because its him defining him not anyone else. And trying to arbitrarily staple on some inferiority complex not only removes all that growth he had, not only isn't interesting...it doesn't make sense. Shadow even if sonic has some use of chaos control is one of the most powerful entities in the entirety of sonic as a franchise to the degree that even now in this comic they are confortable showing him just upstaging sonic and knuckles at the same time. And even with shadow got zombied sonic dedicated entire pages of the next book telling you how strong he was but he was handicapped. The insecurity doesn't work , because the thing the character has to feel insecure about doesn't matter because he's the stronger version. This is ontop of other characters, entities and robots using chaos control. That kind of looses all it steam . Shadow doesn't care because he has the best chaos control. And he beat up his demon space dad to prove that,

I also mentioned it wasn't interesting. It feels like an arbitrary connection to sonic. Not everything in this franchise needs to be connected to sonic, and frankly IMO the less things that are the better. Shadow is basically a lone entity that gets to operate how he wants with his own specific backstory that allows him to view things in a way unlike any other sonic character in existence. He experiences a type of depression and existential dread that is unique to him and to just try and staple sonic insecurities to that just feels...pointless and uninteresting. Sonic's not that interesting, let other characters be interesting in isolation.

And last but not least, shadow's life is filled with complications , insecurities , and a whole bunch of other complicated stuff. His beef with sonic being essentially

Sonic: Your face is dumb! And motorcycles are lame!

Shadow: Chili-dogs are dumb and your face is dumber!

Its like those super chill batman comics where its just him hanging out with damien. Sometimes its the simple things in life that make you appreciate how much depth other parts of life have. Not everything needs to be connected to sonic ,not everything needs to be insecurities. Sometimes you just don't like someone and how they operate. And you are a teenager and a petty asshole about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that trying to chalk up Shadow's issues as insecurities towards Sonic kind of goes against what we know about them. Shadow always has the utmost confidence in himself and his abilities; when Rouge told him that he might not be the actual ultimate Lifeform, he basically told her to stuff it and that his memories are all he needed.

When faced with the idea that he might be a robot, he still declares that he's Shadow despite it.

Being insecure, while an interesting flaw, does not fit with how the character has been established and written until recently.

More than that, it pins all of the agency of his character onto Sonic. Shadow's character would be judged by how Sonic reacts to him and not anything inherent to Shadow himself.

 

Now while that angle does help Shadow feel like a rival character, it reduces him to a much simple character overall, and one that defines his relationship to another character

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Being insecure, while an interesting flaw, does not fit with how the character has been established and written until recently.

The entire point of Shadow the Hedgehog is his lack of identity. He is not secure in who he is and what he should be doing.

 

2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

More than that, it pins all of the agency of his character onto Sonic. Shadow's character would be judged by how Sonic reacts to him and not anything inherent to Shadow himself.

 

Now while that angle does help Shadow feel like a rival character, it reduces him to a much simple character overall, and one that defines his relationship to another character

 

It doesn't pin all of his agency onto Sonic. It's just a trait that helps flesh out their specific relationship. Not one that defines the character overall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figured someone would bring that up; I don't think that's fair since he had amnesia, which he specifically forgot who he was. He forgot what was it that he was supposed to do. The second he remembers, he once again tells the opposition to stuff it.

And true, it doesn't define the entirety of his character, but he goes from a character with his own heroic journey to one that's specifically defined by his dynamic with Sonic. That's still a pretty major change for the character.

 

They did something similar with Knuckles, in trying to move him away from his guardian role, they played up the part of him that tries to constantly one up Sonic. It's not inherently worse, but it does change the focus of the character from having their own agency to defining them more by their relationship to the main character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I figured someone would bring that up; I don't think that's fair since he had amnesia, which he specifically forgot who he was. He forgot what was it that he was supposed to do. The second he remembers, he once again tells the opposition to stuff it.

And true, it doesn't define the entirety of his character, but he goes from a character with his own heroic journey to one that's specifically defined by his dynamic with Sonic. That's still a pretty major change for the character.

 

They did something similar with Knuckles, in trying to move him away from his guardian role, they played up the part of him that tries to constantly one up Sonic. It's not inherently worse, but it does change the focus of the character from having their own agency to defining them more by their relationship to the main character.

What's funny about Knuckles is that they tended to mix in some zigzag much of the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I figured someone would bring that up; I don't think that's fair since he had amnesia, which he specifically forgot who he was. He forgot what was it that he was supposed to do. The second he remembers, he once again tells the opposition to stuff it.

This doesn't just has to do with Shadow the Hedgehog. Pretty much every Shadow story in the main series is defined by a moment or two of insecurity or ignorance. I'd actually argue that self doubt is a major part of the character and why his moments of confidence have any weight.

 

6 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

And true, it doesn't define the entirety of his character, but he goes from a character with his own heroic journey to one that's specifically defined by his dynamic with Sonic. That's still a pretty major change for the character.

 

They did something similar with Knuckles, in trying to move him away from his guardian role, they played up the part of him that tries to constantly one up Sonic. It's not inherently worse, but it does change the focus of the character from having their own agency to defining them more by their relationship to the main character.

A character can be about more than one thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Wraith said:

The entire point of Shadow the Hedgehog is his lack of identity. He is not secure in who he is and what he should be doing.

Yes but that comes from amnesia and two abuse parents who basically tried to force him to be a weapon. That doesn't have nothing to with sonic, and I don't think it should. That's a lot more compelling and after all of it , he moved on past it.

Quote

It doesn't pin all of his agency onto Sonic. It's just a trait that helps flesh out their specific relationship. Not one that defines the character overall.

It kind of does , because to be blunt his a character in a franchise one with a strong will and billed to come to blows with sonic. If it were the case it would be the thing to define his character, which is why people have issues with him now. If shadow had the same personality and the events in the comic happened damn near the same while some like myself would have issues with why some stuff was happening it wouldn't be the giant hubub it is now. That is happening because the thing you are proposing is starting to be implemented and its bad. Its bad, uninteresting and flat and people are upset about why his friends aren't his friends anymore . Shadow gaining friends and doing his own thing has connected to be people on a far more personal level than any of his beefs with sonic and the proposal that some insecurity should be apart of him goes against what made him work in the past. Imo , its just backwards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

Yes but that comes from amnesia and two abuse parents who basically tried to force him to be a weapon. That doesn't have nothing to with sonic, and I don't think it should. That's a lot more compelling and after all of it , he moved on past it.

Even after that Mephiles starts floating the idea that the world could turn against him and it gets inside his head. Part of the point of Shadow is that he's not as secure in his confidence as he lets on.

3 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

It kind of does , because to be blunt his a character in a franchise one with a strong will and billed to come to blows with sonic. If it were the case it would be the thing to define his character, which is why people have issues with him now. If shadow had the same personality and the events in the comic happened damn near the same while some like myself would have issues with why some stuff was happening it wouldn't be the giant hubub it is now. That is happening because the thing you are proposing is starting to be implemented and its bad. Its bad, uninteresting and flat and people are upset about why his friends aren't his friends anymore . Shadow gaining friends and doing his own thing has connected to be people on a far more personal level than any of his beefs with sonic and the proposal that some insecurity should be apart of him goes against what made him work in the past. Imo , its just backwards

Again I have to point out that this isn't an either or thing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.