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Sonic Fan J

Seeing Shadow in his Friends, Enemies, and Maria

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4 minutes ago, Wraith said:

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.

...I can't tell you how to interpret that narrative that is up to you.

But I will say I read that is , the whole point to me was pointing out shadow had actualized and he was in fact confident that even if the world turned against him " he would fight as he always had " it just sucked to be alone, but he would keep fighting regardless. But hey he has friends now so he's not alone look how strong he is with his friends. He kind of just tells mephilies who is basically future satan to fuck off. The whole who part of that story was " look how far shadow has come, he's so sure of himself he told satan go sit and spin look at him go "

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

Its not an either or thing but I would argue your proposals are contradictory to the strides he's made and makes things a lot less interesting for no pay off

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1 minute ago, Shadowlax said:

...I can't tell you how to interpret that narrative that is up to you.

But I will say I read that is , the whole point was pointing out shadow had actualized and he was infact confident that even if the world turned against him " he would fight as he always had " it just sucked to be alone, but he would keep fighting regardless. He kind of just tells mephilies who is basically future satan to fuck off. The whole who part of that story was " look how far shadow has come, he's so sure of himself he told satan go sit and spin look at him go "

He eventually gained his confidence back but I feel like most of his stories always come back to this point: you can use Shadow's past, guilt, insecurities etc to bruise his pride in a way you can't really bruise Sonic's pride. I actually think that's a good thing, and makes him more interesting.

If you think he's past it after 06 then that's fair.

1 minute ago, Shadowlax said:

Its not an either or thing but I would argue your proposals are contradictory to the strides he's made and makes things a lot less interesting for no pay off

I think it actually makes their relationship more interesting if they were able to give eachother some credit and admit some things were better about the other rather than butt heads with full confidence every time.

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It does depend on how you want to read the narrative; but I do want to point out that both instances of Shadow being manipulated by others; Gerald altered his memories, and Black Doom targeted him when he had amnesia.

When Mephiles tries to convince him that everyone will betray him, he tells him to fuck off immediately.

 

But yea, trying to paint him as both as someone self confident in himself but also insecure feels contradictory. A character can have more than one trait, but usually those traits don't contradict each other.

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1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

But yea, trying to paint him as both as someone self confident in himself but also insecure feels contradictory. A character can have more than one trait, but usually those traits don't contradict each other.

"He's not as confident as he lets on" isn't a contradiction IMO. It literally just means he presents himself as more confident than he is.

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17 minutes ago, Wraith said:

He eventually gained his confidence back but I feel like most of his stories always come back to this point: you can use Shadow's past, guilt, insecurities etc to bruise his pride in a way you can't really bruise Sonic's pride. I actually think that's a good thing, and makes him more interesting.

If you think he's past it after 06 then that's fair.

I think he's gotten past that insecurity and descovered a new world of insecurities

11 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

It does depend on how you want to read the narrative; but I do want to point out that both instances of Shadow being manipulated by others; Gerald altered his memories, and Black Doom targeted him when he had amnesia.

When Mephiles tries to convince him that everyone will betray him, he tells him to fuck off immediately.

 

But yea, trying to paint him as both as someone self confident in himself but also insecure feels contradictory. A character can have more than one trait, but usually those traits don't contradict each other.

No Wraith is right , in this instance it isn't an either or thing. You can be very confident in some places by not in others. Its like when batman gets that letter from his alternate dimension father, he just breaks down crying. That said in this situation any insecurity regarding sonic comes from the same place those other insecurity questioning who he is. But he's...over that. Well untill recent changes anyway

If I may reference the archie comics just a tad. One of the best examples of this is eclipse. Eclipse doesn't make shadow feel insecure in who he is, he knows who he is. He makes him feel bad about what that even means and where he comes from and those are two very different insecurties. Shadow has gotten past the first hurdle of self actualization. He understands where he thinks his place in the universe, he now gains the new existential dread of trying to figure out " what does he do with that information, " . Which is a good place to go for his character, he has to actually question " Ok i'm  a hero , i'm the ultimate life form. The fuck does that even mean, why does it matter? Do I make it matter? Does this require i deny parts of myself or am I the whole article "  and eclipse forces him to think about that.

Insecurity about sonic I feel personally is kind of backwards. He figured out that part, now he's searching for meaning. That doesn't mean his confidence can't lapse, I just think he's just or he should be in another realm of thought if that makes sense. Be mindful. Shadow has only been alive for like... a year or 2 in the sonic sliding time scale. There are things that people spend their whole lives figuring out he is getting drowned in.

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I think it actually makes their relationship more interesting if they were able to give eachother some credit and admit some things were better about the other rather than butt heads with full confidence every time.

I feel like that can exist with out needing the insecurties. They respect eachother, they get results. And they know they can rely on the other to get the job done, they just don't like how the other gets the job done.

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9 minutes ago, Wraith said:

"He's not as confident as he lets on" isn't a contradiction IMO. It literally just means he presents himself as more confident than he is.

But that means he's ''not'' confident at all doesn't it? It's a front to mask his insecurities. 

Fake confidence so to speak. And fine, that's a valid character trait and can give way to real confidence. 

But how many times has Shadow been down that road of doubting himself only to come out on top in the end? As you pointed out, it happens with almost every story that centers on him.

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1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

But that means he's ''not'' confident at all doesn't it? It's a front to mask his insecurities. 

Fake confidence so to speak. And fine, that's a valid character trait and can give way to real confidence. 

But how many times has Shadow been down that road of doubting himself only to come out on top in the end? As you pointed out, it happens with almost every story that centers on him.

Hm...you have something of a point.

06 and Forces are probably the exceptions, unless I'm forgetting something.

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10 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

 

No Wraith is right , in this instance it isn't an either or thing. You can be very confident in some places by not in others. Its like when batman gets that letter from his alternate dimension father, he just breaks down crying. That said in this situation any insecurity regarding sonic comes from the same place those other insecurity questioning who he is. But he's...over that. Well untill recent changes anyway

If I may reference the archie comics just a tad. One of the best examples of this is eclipse. Eclipse doesn't make shadow feel insecure in who he is, he knows who he is. He makes him feel bad about what that even means and where he comes from and those are two very different insecurties. Shadow has gotten past the first hurdle of self actualization. He understands where he thinks his place in the universe, he now gains the new existential dread of trying to figure out " what does he do with that information " . Which is a good place to go for his character, he has to actually question " Ok i'm  a hero , i'm the ultimate life form. The fuck does that even mean "  and eclipse forces him to think about it.

This is fair and yea, I do feel like after realizing WHO he is, the logical choice is trying to figure out HOW to achieve his purpose. And trying to figure that out and stumbling along is a good avenue to explore.

5 minutes ago, Wraith said:

No, that's not what that means. What I said is what I meant.

Fine (And I said it was valid) but that goes into my second point. How many times can we explore Shadow second guessing his identity?

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Have to say I think this whole debate is fairly interesting, but it undermines a point or two about Shadow.

1. Saying that he loses all agency just by Sonic existing is giving Sonic way to much credit in Shadow's life. Yeah, when Sonic is present you can see Shadow's whole personality suffer a slight shift, which I find interesting and it draws me into my thoughts, but when Sonic isn't present that shift doesn't exist. Shadow just goes on being himself as he defines himself and faces the challenges that are presented to him. It's only when Sonic is present that Sonic has an effect on him, and I read that as Sonic brings his mostly buried insecurities about himself back to the fore. Sonic agitates Shadow in a very different way from anyone else, and when I look at everything I've been presented with game Shadow I find that Sonic makes Shadow feel insecure about himself. And why not, if you were the best at what you did and had confidence in your abilities and then someone comes along who should not be as good as you but is, and better in most cases, it kind of shakes your world view. I've personally had that experience multiple times in my life and I can assure you it messes with a person.

2. This whole you can't be confident and have insecurities at the same time argument is kind of weird to me and undermines people and good fictional characters being multifaceted. Using myself and my life experiences as an example, I'm extremely confident in my ability to do my job, whatever hat job may be. One of my favorite examples of such and fun stories to tell is when I was in fast food. During the lunchtime rush I had to handle the counter and the drive-thru as well as serving customers by myself as the only available help was the manager who could not leave the food prep station as the rush of orders was that great. Yet despite that my cash drawer was accurate to the penny on multiple registers, I never messed up a single order, and no customer was left waiting to order. Experiences like that create a lot of confidence, but boy ask me about my self worth or belief in myself in my hobbies and you'll see me crumble like a house of cards in a hurricane. To call myself insecure in those areas would be a vast understatement and I can assure that every time I see an artist who does what I do better than me, or a writer, or otherwise, or see any such people receive far more praise or even just interactions than me I start questioning why I even bother or even the purpose for my existence. the spiral of self-loathing that begins is tremendous, but strangely I can then turn around and still have full confidence in my ability to do my day job. Or in short, I am confident and insecure at the same time. Maybe I'm projecting a bit, though I think we all do to an extent with fictional characters, but I see that in Shadow and his reactions to Sonic. Big difference between me and Shadow though, Shadow has the strength of will to step and fight against his insecurities that Sonic reflects back at him and Sonic is frequently the stand-in for him to prove himself against. And why not? Sonic is pretty much the lighter Shadow so it works. or at least to me it does.

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12 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Have to say I think this whole debate is fairly interesting, but it undermines a point or two about Shadow.

1. Saying that he loses all agency just by Sonic existing is giving Sonic way to much credit in Shadow's life. Yeah, when Sonic is present you can see Shadow's whole personality suffer a slight shift, which I find interesting and it draws me into my thoughts, but when Sonic isn't present that shift doesn't exist. Shadow just goes on being himself as he defines himself and faces the challenges that are presented to him. It's only when Sonic is present that Sonic has an effect on him, and I read that as Sonic brings his mostly buried insecurities about himself back to the fore. Sonic agitates Shadow in a very different way from anyone else, and when I look at everything I've been presented with game Shadow I find that Sonic makes Shadow feel insecure about himself. And why not, if you were the best at what you did and had confidence in your abilities and then someone comes along who should not be as good as you but is, and better in most cases, it kind of shakes your world view. I've personally had that experience multiple times in my life and I can assure you it messes with a person.

So I uh hmm. I do not wish to be disrespectful here, but I think this statement epitomizes " you are reading into too deep ". Bluntly put sonic has little effect on shadow at all and that's the point. They are of strong will...and don't listen to each other 99% of the time and fight. Or just don't interact

In sonic adventure 2, he does not change around sonic besides bothering to ask his name because he's been pesky. The person to change him or to make him think was rouge a friend, and amy someone who reminded him of maria

In heroes it was rouge a friend, helping figure out who he might be. When he see's sonic... he's just as competitive as he always is.

In shadow the hedgehog this is the only game you could say sonic had an effect on him because everyone did, you hang out with everyone and at the end of the game come to the conclusion that the world is worth it. It isn't sonic himself and he's just as stand offish as he is to everyone

And in sonic 06 its the culmination of all these things.

Some would mention battle, I have my own questions on that games relevant canon. But even in that game, the biggest person who has an effect on shadow is rouge and maria's memory. Sonic's just competitive and tries to preach to him, but it doesn't really have any effect. Its his experiences with rouge and emeril that do that.

The reason we are suggesting shadow looses agency is because of what you are proposing. This is a rewrite of what actually happened. In reality sonic and shadow largely don't have an effect on each other outside of fighting each other there's not tangible change that they make. They just kinda don't give a shit about each other. They never really gave a shit about each other, they don't like each other. They respect one another and if the other one was in danger they would help out they are good people. But that's where it ends really. To include some insecurities about sonic takes this cool character who can and did exist basically in isolation which is a weird unique trait that he only shares with like...2 other characters maybe. And ruins it for what...nothing? It just makes him worse. It takes one of the most simple interesting interactions he has and turns into over complicated nothing. IMO there's nothing to gain here

 

12 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

2. This whole you can't be confident and have insecurities at the same time argument is kind of weird to me and undermines people and good fictional characters being multifaceted. Using myself and my life experiences as an example, I'm extremely confident in my ability to do my job, whatever hat job may be. One of my favorite examples of such and fun stories to tell is when I was in fast food. During the lunchtime rush I had to handle the counter and the drive-thru as well as serving customers by myself as the only available help was the manager who could not leave the food prep station as the rush of orders was that great. Yet despite that my cash drawer was accurate to the penny on multiple registers, I never messed up a single order, and no customer was left waiting to order. Experiences like that create a lot of confidence, but boy ask me about my self worth or belief in myself in my hobbies and you'll see me crumble like a house of cards in a hurricane. To call myself insecure in those areas would be a vast understatement and I can assure that every time I see an artist who does what I do better than me, or a writer, or otherwise, or see any such people receive far more praise or even just interactions than me I start questioning why I even bother or even the purpose for my existence. the spiral of self-loathing that begins is tremendous, but strangely I can then turn around and still have full confidence in my ability to do my day job. Or in short, I am confident and insecure at the same time. Maybe I'm projecting a bit, though I think we all do to an extent with fictional characters, but I see that in Shadow and his reactions to Sonic. Big difference between me and Shadow though, Shadow has the strength of will to step and fight against his insecurities that Sonic reflects back at him and Sonic is frequently the stand-in for him to prove himself against. And why not? Sonic is pretty much the lighter Shadow so it works. or at least to me it does.

Now I agree with idea that confidence is multifaceted you can feel confidence in one area of your life and not feel it in another. I'm a person and I have experienced this, I have seen this. I have seen people I saw beam confidence break down in front of their parents. Its a thing. People are complicated , characters are complicated. However with characters and telling a story you need to be communicating something. And giving shadow that insecurity communicates nothing. 

Shadow's lack of self identity comes from a story of abusive parents trying to control who he is, and them him choosing his own family and choosing to be his own person. there's no room for sonic there

And once he's past this, you shadow character wise is at a point where's questioning what does the discoveries about himself , mean and what does it mean to be the shadow he's defined. He's busy having thoughts about his existence, there's no room for that there and it adds nothing.

But I think the biggest strike against you , to be blunt is there's nothing sonic has to be insecure about .

No seriously, think about it

  • Friends? Shadow is a loner and has his friends
  • Notoriety? While I myself I thought of stories of him being hunted by the world. He said himself " if the world turned against him he would fight like he always had"
  • Charisma? Shadow has his own charisma and...doesn't care about having too many friends really?
  • Some vague notion of sonic being free? Shadow's free, shadow chooses to do justice with his freedom. He is not soley bound to maria and often just does shit maria would sure to not approve of , to get his goal of justice
  • Sonic's fast: Shadow can teleport and stop time, and on that same token recently shadow's been shown to just be incredibly powerful so there's no vegeta shit there. Like he's the strong guy.

There's no jealousy angle or insecurity angle, there's nothing there. Its a simple as " I don't like how he operates " sometimes life is just simple. 

That said

There are new developments in comic shadow that despite his weird personality could open him up to an actual sonic based insecurity that works. Sonic's ability to just get people to listen to him. See, in the comic as we all are aware rouge uh devised the whole " sonic based distraction " that inadvertently caused the zombie based crazy that is occurring. Now I don't know if shadow knows this, but If he finds out. I would imagine that would eat him up, his friend decided that instead of talking to him would enlist the help of others to fight him only to cause... this.

It would actually work with current shadow's no friend personality and cause them to drift apart. Why is helping these people, when they even his own supposed friends wont listen to him, but they will listen to this blue idiot. And here we are.

Now there's not guarantee this will happen the comic has shown no signs as to having rouge give a think about this entire scenario. And she may never get the agency to do so. But the potential for it is there.  And that's what I feel a more interesting and story relevant shadow insecurity based around sonic looks like. Because it isn't entirely based around sonic , its based on shadow question, why does he even do what he does.

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I don't think it's fair to knock him for "reading too much into the situation", if that's his perspective, that's that and it's in it's own validity.

Shadow has points for being completely independent from Sonic, or he has a large amount of influence on him.

 

That being said...

 

The very nature of this series, especially nowadays, is that its centered on its protagonist. Sonic is the series' driving force and he's at the center of every conflict. So naturally, any character with a close relationship to Sonic benefits more. 

So Shadow having such a combative relationship with Sonic, not only opens up room to see another side to both of them, it much makes Shadow much easier to utilize than if he was just completely independent from him.

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42 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I don't think it's fair to knock him for "reading too much into the situation", if that's his perspective, that's that and it's in it's own validity.

Shadow has points for being completely independent from Sonic, or he has a large amount of influence on him.

That's fair Sorry @Sonic Fan J

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That being said...

 

The very nature of this series, especially nowadays, is that its centered on its protagonist. Sonic is the series' driving force and he's at the center of every conflict. So naturally, any character with a close relationship to Sonic benefits more. 

So Shadow having such a combative relationship with Sonic, not only opens up room to see another side to both of them, it much makes Shadow much easier to utilize than if he was just completely independent from him.

Eh  , if i'm being cynical business man I think its less " having a close relationship to sonic " and more so , people like and want around. If they want someone around, they will figure it out. If i'm being honest to myself I would even argue it doesn't really inherently make shadow easier to use. Its just kind of a collective failure on the marketing/gameplay design and story telling side of this franchise.

They think it may make him easier to use, in reality these things are being done better with other properties and this is just...sad.

I guess this entire conversation is kinda weird because we have to either tip toe or worth sega's continued failure.

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That's only if you look at it from the most cynical perspective ever.

Like it or not, Sonic is the primary vehicle for the series. And while that may not sound as interesting as every character having their own goals and narratives, it is no less valid option for storytelling. And I personally feel more character driven stories that rely on personality conflicts are a perfect fit for a series like Sonic. If other franchises can be successful with such a setup, there's no reason it can't work for Sonic.

And honestly, it's a much simpler setup to work with imo. I would certainly ''prefer'' a much more expansive narrative, but I'm operating under the assumption that Sega want to continue indefinitely and be open to exploring any type of storytelling.

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7 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

That's only if you look at it from the most cynical perspective ever.

I mean is it cynical or am I just aware of sonic's peers.

Had a longer response here. But I don't think its good for story telling I don't think its good for business. If someone starts a story telling thread I will gladly put my grimy businessman and writer hats on to explain why I think that's not the best Idea , but I shall not derail this thread anymore

 

 

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I can't really agree with that, because as I said, there are plenty of successful franchises that have very little focus on any kind of large plot over just focusing on the character's personalities. Most media aimed at children runs on this.

But to bring this back to Sonic; it works better because these are, at the end of the day, cartoon characters and fans care about the characters themselves than the actual plot surrounding them.

The most memorable parts about this franchise have always centered on the individual characters and the situations they find themselves in.

To say that doesn't work is just demonstrably false because there are too many successful examples to list. It might not be your ideal form of storytelling, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it either like what you're saying.

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I think part of where we fail to see eye to eye @Shadowlax is in the domain of character agency. I feel Shadow's reactions to Sonic stem from insecurities that Sonic reflects in Shadow and how he chooses to act on that is both his own agency and speaks volumes about his character and how he feels about those insecurities. You on the other hand simplify it down to they just "don't like each other" so they fight which to me actually removes character agency from Shadow.

To give you an example, when you say that Shadow and Sonic just don't like each other then you are allowing for every encounter between the two to boil down to they see each other and get into a fight (philosophically or otherwise). Shadow has no agency because eth appearance of Sonic means fight. He doesn't act on his own feelings or experiences in any way to me if see Sonic equal fight. He starts to become a cartoon bull when they see red and I find that a horrible disservice to Shadow.

Now if we go from my perspective that in Sonic he finds these insecurities of his reflected in a very palpable way that leaves him questioning himself and his worth, how he acts around Sonic can fluctuate wildly from situation to situation. What Shadow has been experiencing since the last encounter, what he is experiencing during this encounter, what Sonic's presence means in this encounter. These are all things that require the writer to think about what would Shadow do under these circumstances. Shadow's agency becomes an absolute necessity for the writer to consider if he sees his insecurities in Sonic. But if they're just two dudes who don't get along so they fight and are competitive then as a writer you don't have to worry about Shadow's agency because you know you can just toss in a fight. All of Shadow's personal philosophies and experiences can be tossed out by the writer because they are not needed, just like his agency. Besides, who needs to worry about good character writing and story telling when the rules state "they don't like each other: fight!"?

I'm not trying to change your mind though, I do want to make that clear as it would stifle this conversation if I did, but I hope you see my problems with the simplification you've suggested. Shadow is a complex and nuanced character that benefits from having those nuances explored in my eyes. To me though, what you suggest is just paving over those nuances for the lowest common denominator and allowing the writers  to just say "they don't like each other: fight!". I actually find it fairly interesting that you find that a character who makes another character uncomfortable when they are around, and only when they are around, strips them of all agency in all aspects of their life even when they are not around, but believe they maintain agency when they are only allowed to be "I don't like you so we fight when we see each other" actually provides them agency. Maybe I'm failing to understand what you're trying to communicate because of my perspective being so vastly different, but it is still interesting to me to see that difference of opinion and I do appreciate you sharing it.

All of that said though, I do feel like their is a character in the franchise who does suffer from a lack of personal agency as whether Sonic is there or not, in the games at least, and even the OVA, Sonic is always their driving force, period. Obviously that isn't Amy if the OVA has been mentioned, though I could use Sonic Adventure to dispute that any way just by Amy's reasonings behind helping the bird and the lengths she goes through to do so. No, the character I'm talking about is Tails. Without a Sonic, any Sonic, Tails has been demonstrated not just in Forces, but even as far back as Sonic Adventure to have an extremely difficult time functioning. Even in Unleashed where we are introduce to someone Tails knows outside of Sonic, when we are introduced to him in trouble he doesn't stop cowering until Sonic tells him the coast is clear. A lot of Lost World's plot revolves around Tails needing Sonic's validation so he doesn't act out versus being a smug Sonic believes in me brat. Even when Sonic isn't present he constantly thinks about Sonic and either needing to catch up with Sonic or doing something so he'll be useful to Sonic. That is Sonic controlling the entirety of another character's agency, which even Amy doesn't suffer from and she has been described as effectively chronically obsessed with Sonic by many. I don't even begin to see how the perspective I hold of Shadow and Sonic's effect on him even comes close to that total dependency of agency that Tails frequently suffers from.

I think another approach to look at this from perhaps is with a mirror and your reflection. When you don't see your own reflection I'm certain you don't really think about it all that much. Even when you do look at your reflection I'm for certain that you are just more concerned about whatever reason there is you're using a mirror than your reflection itself. Your reflection has no bearing on you, and that to me is kind of how I feel you see Shadow and Sonic despite them being once described as a darker version of the other. It's in that description though that Sonic is much more profound then just a reflection that doesn't matter as to me this makes him a funhouse house of mirrors reflection. In this case if you see a mirror that makes you look funny I would like to believe that most people you will stop and look more closely at that mirror and those parts of you that it exaggerates or minimizes and think about no matter how indirectly. To me, that's what Sonic is to Shadow; a funhouse mirror, but Shadow doesn't like what he sees and acts on his insecurities when he sees it. But only when he sees it. I could never see Shadow losing sleep at night over Sonic when he isn't around like Tails, because when that funhouse mirror isn't around he doesn't have a reason to react to it. He does not lose any agency whether it's around or not either as his personal experiences and circumstances are gong to be what he is acting on when he does react to his next encounter with it and when he is simply going about his life when it isn't there.

I don't know if that example helps you see my perspective any clearer or if you are just as intrigued as I am by how we seem to see the other's perspective as removing Shadow's agency, but I hope it will at least stimulate more debate. I do find your perspective fascinating and am trying to still find a way for me to see through it even if I currently do not. It's part of why I keep throwing out more and more examples and comparisons of why I can see Sonic to Shadow the way I do, as maybe one of these examples will open up an avenue that makes it clearer for me.

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15 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

I think part of where we fail to see eye to eye @Shadowlax is in the domain of character agency. I feel Shadow's reactions to Sonic stem from insecurities that Sonic reflects in Shadow and how he chooses to act on that is both his own agency and speaks volumes about his character and how he feels about those insecurities. You on the other hand simplify it down to they just "don't like each other" so they fight which to me actually removes character agency from Shadow.

To give you an example, when you say that Shadow and Sonic just don't like each other then you are allowing for every encounter between the two to boil down to they see each other and get into a fight (philosophically or otherwise). Shadow has no agency because eth appearance of Sonic means fight. He doesn't act on his own feelings or experiences in any way to me if see Sonic equal fight. He starts to become a cartoon bull when they see red and I find that a horrible disservice to Shadow.

No I don't , I think that in itself is freedom and that in itself is one of the most relatable character traits shadow has. He just doesn't like someone or how they carry themselves. That's a thing that happens in real life. He doesn't want to instinctively fight sonic on sight, but he doesn't like him. And the interactions between the two are often tense because they don't like eachother. You say this if shadow goes charging in punching sonic. This often manifest themselves in arguments, snark or other things from either character. They both have agency to act on that distain. And not only does it allow shadow the ultimate life form to feel...human? Mobian for a second, it lets sonic a character who's often portrayed as right, kind of look like a petty asshole. It does one of my favorite things is make characters act their age. It takes these two larger than life dues,  and breaks them down into what they are. Two petty teenagers.

 

15 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Now if we go from my perspective that in Sonic he finds these insecurities of his reflected in a very palpable way that leaves him questioning himself and his worth, how he acts around Sonic can fluctuate wildly from situation to situation. What Shadow has been experiencing since the last encounter, what he is experiencing during this encounter, what Sonic's presence means in this encounter. These are all things that require the writer to think about what would Shadow do under these circumstances. Shadow's agency becomes an absolute necessity for the writer to consider if he sees his insecurities in Sonic.

 

15 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

But if they're just two dudes who don't get along so they fight and are competitive then as a writer you don't have to worry about Shadow's agency because you know you can just toss in a fight. All of Shadow's personal philosophies and experiences can be tossed out by the writer because they are not needed, just like his agency. Besides, who needs to worry about good character writing and story telling when the rules state "they don't like each other: fight!"?

Not at all. There are plenty of fiction that just do that. Including sonic, there is something greater at stake both sides put away their differences and work together. And shadow's personal philosophies and experiences informs how he acts in general if you are good writer, you could write a story about rouge teaching shadow how to use the bank and open a checking account and it would feel like shadow because who shadow is , is informing that. By the way I want that story to be real. It wouldn't be informed by that one interaction with that one character, everything you write about that character in general would be informed about what they experienced or in the sense of less...canon focused characters how they carry themselves. You trying to specifically link that with sonic is basically taking away shadow's agency. Heck in your own example with out insecurities shadow's entire life could inform why and how he's fighting sonic. Its happening in the comics...right now. He's fought sonic because he felt like a situation should have been handled differently. The idea that its so cut and dry I feel is a bit disingenuous on your part. Them not liking each other is simple and delightful in that simplicity. But is informed by who they are, which is complicated and can be expanded and used in many different scenarios . Simple but malleable. The issue with comic shadow right now isn't that he lacks insecurities, he just...lacks any emotion besides punch right now. And that's a different issue.

15 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

I'm not trying to change your mind though, I do want to make that clear as it would stifle this conversation if I did, but I hope you see my problems with the simplification you've suggested. Shadow is a complex and nuanced character that benefits from having those nuances explored in my eyes. To me though, what you suggest is just paving over those nuances for the lowest common denominator and allowing the writers  to just say "they don't like each other: fight!". I actually find it fairly interesting that you find that a character who makes another character uncomfortable when they are around, and only when they are around, strips them of all agency in all aspects of their life even when they are not around, but believe they maintain agency when they are only allowed to be "I don't like you so we fight when we see each other" actually provides them agency. Maybe I'm failing to understand what you're trying to communicate because of my perspective being so vastly different, but it is still interesting to me to see that difference of opinion and I do appreciate you sharing it.

I mean I get you thinking he's complicated and nuanced. I do think that. I value that, I am upset that seemingly sega is trying to take that away. I think not only is it loosing why people like a character, I think its removing something that made 3d sonic unique and is making sonic , 3d sonic largely less interesting with the moves its been making. And is opening this franchise up for some enterprising developer to make thier own complicated animal action game to swoop in and steal their whole shit. But sega's sonic related failures a bit of another conversation. My point being I feel you , I feel you more than you know.

That said I do not think every aspect of a complicated character needs to be complicated. I think that in itself is a form of " one note" -ness. I think for a character to be versatile they need simple or somewhat unreasonable parts of themselves. It what makes them " human " or " mobian " " hedgehogian" "Sentient"? I dunno . You get what i'm trying to convey here. I mentioned this before, I love super hero books about down time. I like it when its about bruce hanging out with damien or just supes... just helping normal people in non violent ways. you get looks into who they are as a person in those moments. And shadow's interactions with sonic and the greater sonic cast paints him as someone with a different perspective on everything it is unique in that regard. And it helped defined , by this very simple interaction.

Sonic is this guy who has friends and people who listens to him. And shadow specifically being like " i don't like how this other hero guy does things " while it may seem petty, says alot. Because sonic's perspective is used as the " right " perspective, but shadow is also a hero. Shadows existence in this instance not only helps define himself and his own agency. It gives other people a wall to push against. And shadow's quite the wall, he did infact tell satan to fuck off. Its on his resume

15 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

All of that said though, I do feel like their is a character in the franchise who does suffer from a lack of personal agency as whether Sonic is there or not, in the games at least, and even the OVA, Sonic is always their driving force, period. Obviously that isn't Amy if the OVA has been mentioned, though I could use Sonic Adventure to dispute that any way just by Amy's reasonings behind helping the bird and the lengths she goes through to do so. No, the character I'm talking about is Tails. Without a Sonic, any Sonic, Tails has been demonstrated not just in Forces, but even as far back as Sonic Adventure to have an extremely difficult time functioning. Even in Unleashed where we are introduce to someone Tails knows outside of Sonic, when we are introduced to him in trouble he doesn't stop cowering until Sonic tells him the coast is clear. A lot of Lost World's plot revolves around Tails needing Sonic's validation so he doesn't act out versus being a smug Sonic believes in me brat. Even when Sonic isn't present he constantly thinks about Sonic and either needing to catch up with Sonic or doing something so he'll be useful to Sonic. That is Sonic controlling the entirety of another character's agency, which even Amy doesn't suffer from and she has been described as effectively chronically obsessed with Sonic by many. I don't even begin to see how the perspective I hold of Shadow and Sonic's effect on him even comes close to that total dependency of agency that Tails frequently suffers from.


If you wanna talk tails and amy we can talk tails and amy. I do think while they are not on the same level , its the same kind of issue you are opening up with your proposal , yes. Sonic would be living in his mind rent free, while he wouldn't have his narrative completely controlled by sonic, his actions would be. Which is him loosing his agency. When shadow's entire deal is that his actions are not controlled by sonic, he's his own guy. I think goes agianst what makes the character function

 

15 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

I don't know if that example helps you see my perspective any clearer or if you are just as intrigued as I am by how we seem to see the other's perspective as removing Shadow's agency, but I hope it will at least stimulate more debate. I do find your perspective fascinating and am trying to still find a way for me to see through it even if I currently do not. It's part of why I keep throwing out more and more examples and comparisons of why I can see Sonic to Shadow the way I do, as maybe one of these examples will open up an avenue that makes it clearer for me.

I get your perspective, and its nice to talk. Even if I do disagree.

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Hopefully I don't take anything out of context in my replies here as I try to focus on some of the areas that particularly draw my attention such as

12 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

No I don't , I think that in itself is freedom and that in itself is one of the most relatable character traits shadow has. He just doesn't like someone or how they carry themselves. That's a thing that happens in real life. He doesn't want to instinctively fight sonic on sight, but he doesn't like him. And the interactions between the two are often tense because they don't like eachother. You say this if shadow goes charging in punching sonic. This often manifest themselves in arguments, snark or other things from either character. They both have agency to act on that distain. And not only does it allow shadow the ultimate life form to feel...human? Mobian for a second, it lets sonic a character who's often portrayed as right, kind of look like a petty asshole. It does one of my favorite things is make characters act their age. It takes these two larger than life dues,  and breaks them down into what they are. Two petty teenagers.

 

14 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

If you wanna talk tails and amy we can talk tails and amy. I do think while they are not on the same level , its the same kind of issue you are opening up with your proposal , yes. Sonic would be living in his mind rent free, while he wouldn't have his narrative completely controlled by sonic, his actions would be. Which is him loosing his agency. When shadow's entire deal is that his actions are not controlled by sonic, he's his own guy. I think goes agianst what makes the character function

Having read these over a few different times now to make sure my thoughts are as accurate as possible,  I find in my own experiences with fiction and life that these two points kind of don't gel together for me. Shadow made to feel insecure by what he see of himself in Sonic strips him of his agency despite being able to apply everything that makes him, him and approach the situation differently every time versus he doesn't like Sonic so there is always antagonism present just seems backwards to me. Sure he can choose how to express his disdain in any given situation, but he still has to express disdain no matter what. As I've always seen a lot more nuance to Shadow and Sonic's relationship limiting him to he must react on his disdain feels more like striping him of his agency then an encounter with Sonic which reminds him of his insecurities but he has countless ways to address that, including choosing to ignore it and not letting his thoughts on Sonic affect his preferred choice of actions. That doesn't even require a greater stake as you mentioned here which I feel actually strips agency from both of them and gives it to the plot, which as someone who prefers character driven narratives I just don't like.

I am starting to get a better idea of what you are saying though, so thank you for taking the time to respond as just typing up my own response is making it more visible. In short, if Sonic's presence makes Shadow act or react one way or the other than Shadow is losing his agency. That makes perfect sense to me actually. The funny thing is though, when I boil it down like that the way both of us see him is causing Sonic to strip Shadow of his agency. Whether it's my he sees his insecurities reflected by Sonic or your he just doesn't like him viewpoints, once Sonic is on the scene Shadow's need to react to him is stripping of his agency. Where I find our core disagreement lies when we reach that is more the freedom and range of action provided to Shadow once Sonic is present. For the most part we disagree on whether or not he is limited by simply disliking him, or finding himself faced with his insecurities. It's obvious that we stand in different camps on this point, but I think that is fine and at least I can enjoy being able to see how my perspective can be seen as stripping Shadow of his agency.

On a final kind of off topic note though

48 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

It does one of my favorite things is make characters act their age.

I absolutely can't stand this mentality. Yes there are things that require years of exposure to grasp, but saying there is specific behaviors you should have at certain ages has always rubbed me the wrong way. Experiences are what define how a person sees the world and is shaped in turn by it more so than age. Considering the physical development of the body also occurs at different ages for different people even that is not a hard factor for age. And to try and tie this back to the topic, Sonic is sixteen and is renowned as a hero and globetrotting adventurer. He has seen the world, interacted with it's inhabitants, saved it on no few occasions, developed a life philosophy that he lives by, and has found comfort in a set way of life. This actually makes Sonic a very adult character with only his immaturity in relationships holding him back as arrogance an cockiness are as much traits of eighty year olds as it is teenagers and even children. Now considering that Shadow likely doesn't even have a full year of living under his built, him "acting his age" would be an infant trying to understand the entirety of eth world at once and bawling about it because it is too much for them. In that regard is there really little wonder that Shadow can appear insecure when he lacks the experience of even a preschooler by a great deal. Especially when compared to Sonic who like people in times before modern medicine is passably an adult at sixteen due to his life experiences. It's one of those things I can't stand about Sonic acting like a cliched teenager as it disregards that he isn't living a life of comfort being taken care of by others. He is self-sufficient and lives his life to the best of his ability with eth understanding he has developed from his life experiences.

Anyway, sorry if that last bit is more than a little heated, but it just rubs me the wrong way when anyone says act your age as if some arbitrary number should dictate who you are instead of your life experiences. People are people for crying out loud and treating based on the number of years they've been alive or appear to have been a live is just painfully disrespectful in my opinion.

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1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Hopefully I don't take anything out of context in my replies here as I try to focus on some of the areas that particularly draw my attention such as

 

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Having read these over a few different times now to make sure my thoughts are as accurate as possible,  I find in my own experiences with fiction and life that these two points kind of don't gel together for me. Shadow made to feel insecure by what he see of himself in Sonic

So I wanna address the bolded.

Why? Why would shadow seeing bits of himself in other people, including sonic mean anything? Why does that matter, because it happened in multiple sonic stories already and they just use it to find common ground and solve the problem. He knuckles related to eachother in the archie comics, he didn't develop insecurities, he made a new friend. Same with rouge and omega, and while his views on everything else sonic does keeps him from being friends. It just allows him to respect sonic and not like him.

Like his " seems himself in the other person " works when its an entity like mephilies or to reference the comic on a more geneic level, eclipse. This serves to give the character insecurities about...is he actually a good person.  Sonic doesn't really make sense because the thought would end at " Yeah we do think doing good is good, but the rest of him is wack "

I feel like your thoughts on this are existing inbetween two planes. Because it exists on a meta level. It exists in your world, not the characters world. You see , you think about all this dark reflection insecurity business. Because you exist in reality , and you understand part of shadow's creation thesis was to go against a lot of normal sonic personality , story ect which created this character. He is in a sense a dark take on the series. Shadow the hedgehog the character, does not know that. He exists in this canon, he should not be operating under logic and premises that involve your take on the series as a whole because he shouldn't have your take because he's a fictional character in this world. Now his take can reflect issues, like for example if shadow said the other characters have " grown complacent " you can totally use characters as vessels for criticism or real world constructs. But in this instance, the character should never think of himself of some reflection because in his world sonic is just some guy who exists. He's not the " main character " he's just a guy. And like most " just a dudes " you know, you don't think about them that much.

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

strips him of his agency despite being able to apply everything that makes him, him and approach the situation differently every time versus he doesn't like Sonic so there is always antagonism present just seems backwards to me. Sure he can choose how to express his disdain in any given situation, but he still has to express disdain no matter what. As I've always seen a lot more nuance to Shadow and Sonic's relationship limiting him to he must react on his disdain feels more like striping him of his agency then an encounter with Sonic which reminds him of his insecurities but he has countless ways to address that, including choosing to ignore it and not letting his thoughts on Sonic affect his preferred choice of actions. That doesn't even require a greater stake as you mentioned here which I feel actually strips agency from both of them and gives it to the plot, which as someone who prefers character driven narratives I just don't like.

I feel like having him react on disdain and his experiences allows him to explore infinitely more avenues then sonic based insecurities. Because his disdain at any given moment can be fueled by anything.

Why is he upset at sonic today, not letting him murder?

Ruining his bike?

Both are valid. Basing it in insecurities brings it back to one thing and limits his characters

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

I am starting to get a better idea of what you are saying though, so thank you for taking the time to respond as just typing up my own response is making it more visible. In short, if Sonic's presence makes Shadow act or react one way or the other than Shadow is losing his agency. That makes perfect sense to me actually.

 

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

The funny thing is though, when I boil it down like that the way both of us see him is causing Sonic to strip Shadow of his agency. Whether it's my he sees his insecurities reflected by Sonic or your he just doesn't like him viewpoints, once Sonic is on the scene Shadow's need to react to him is stripping of his agency. Where I find our core disagreement lies when we reach that is more the freedom and range of action provided to Shadow once Sonic is present. For the most part we disagree on whether or not he is limited by simply disliking him, or finding himself faced with his insecurities. It's obvious that we stand in different camps on this point, but I think that is fine and at least I can enjoy being able to see how my perspective can be seen as stripping Shadow of his agency.

For me its not about sonic being present. Insecurities arise when that character isn't around, having a sonic based insecurity would affect a lot of shadow's actions and color them in a way in which he is defying sonic because of those insecurities instead of him choosing to be his own person. I do not like this and this is essentially what you are proposing. Taking away a thing people love, shadow's independence , for...shadow looking like a worse much weaker character.

1 hour ago, Sonic Fan J said:

On a final kind of off topic note though

I absolutely can't stand this mentality. Yes there are things that require years of exposure to grasp, but saying there is specific behaviors you should have at certain ages has always rubbed me the wrong way. Experiences are what define how a person sees the world and is shaped in turn by it more so than age. Considering the physical development of the body also occurs at different ages for different people even that is not a hard factor for age. And to try and tie this back to the topic, Sonic is sixteen and is renowned as a hero and globetrotting adventurer. He has seen the world, interacted with it's inhabitants, saved it on no few occasions, developed a life philosophy that he lives by, and has found comfort in a set way of life. This actually makes Sonic a very adult character with only his immaturity in relationships holding him back as arrogance an cockiness are as much traits of eighty year olds as it is teenagers and even children. Now considering that Shadow likely doesn't even have a full year of living under his built, him "acting his age" would be an infant trying to understand the entirety of eth world at once and bawling about it because it is too much for them. In that regard is there really little wonder that Shadow can appear insecure when he lacks the experience of even a preschooler by a great deal. Especially when compared to Sonic who like people in times before modern medicine is passably an adult at sixteen due to his life experiences. It's one of those things I can't stand about Sonic acting like a cliched teenager as it disregards that he isn't living a life of comfort being taken care of by others. He is self-sufficient and lives his life to the best of his ability with eth understanding he has developed from his life experiences.

Anyway, sorry if that last bit is more than a little heated, but it just rubs me the wrong way when anyone says act your age as if some arbitrary number should dictate who you are instead of your life experiences. People are people for crying out loud and treating based on the number of years they've been alive or appear to have been a live is just painfully disrespectful in my opinion.

This might be my bad, while do I have issues sometimes with characters not acting their age in a sense in which it requires dumbing down for a story to function. What I mean in this instance, " I like it because it cute " , i'm not really implying anything you are saying. I just think its cute that after saving the world they can still act like petty teenagers, juxtaposition.

And to be kinda blunt, I would totally love if sonic acted his age more often. Saving the world doesn't really make you an adult really or traveling. One of my favorite heroes is spiderman and that dude is often portrayed bumbling awkward teen often times trying his best. Wouldn't mind that take on sonic and pals tbh. Its pretty relatable as far as characterization goes

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For the record, I don't think Shadow having some level of insecurities towards Sonic makes him a weaker character at all. On the contrary, I find it more interesting since they're both heroes, but having completely different ideas on what being a hero means.

By contrast, there is not much to explore imo when Shadow is contrasted with villains like Black Doom, Mephiles, and Infinite since they're all so one note, and blatant strawman.  While they do make Shadow question himself, I can't get really invested because the audience isn't even supposed to agree with them at all. It's a clear cut and dry  case that you aren't supposed to agree with them.

Now this is harder to do with two heroic characters, and since Sonic is the protagonist and Shadow is not, it's very easy to portray him as being the "weaker" and "wrong" one of the two. And if you're a fan of Shadow telling people off and acting on his own, then him suddenly being made to be the "fall guy" for Sonic would feel like a step down.  He goes from a character overcoming his own obstacles to being an obstacle for Sonic, since Sonic is the protagonist, he tends to be "right" by default.

 

But that's why you need to give Sonic his own set of shortcomings that Shadow does not have. We're seeing this right now in the comics; Sonic's compassion and willingness to let bygones be bygones has screwed everyone over and he has been called out on it. Now whether that leads to anything is anyone's guess, but it's a start. That Sonic CAN make such a monumental error that Shadow would not is an interesting angle to explore.

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1 hour ago, Shadowlax said:

Like his " seems himself in the other person " works when its an entity like mephilies...

Why..does this work more than Sonic?

What about Shadow seeing something about himself in the obviously evil "Mephistopheles" is all that interesting?

It's clearly not the fact that Shadow has the potential to turn to teh dark side, that thread was done in the prior game.

The interesting thing about Shadow's story in Nex Gen was affirming Shadow's resolve to fight for justice even if the world turns against him, something that is entirely disconnected from Mephiles...and a logical thing to follow up on from prior appearances where he was supposedly tip-toeing the line between good and evil.

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4 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

So I wanna address the bolded.

Why? Why would shadow seeing bits of himself in other people, including sonic mean anything? Why does that matter, because it happened in multiple sonic stories already and they just use it to find common ground and solve the problem.

So starting here, the entire point of this topic was to explore Shadow by how he acts around others who he could see bits of himself in. It is to project so to say. A lot of people, myself included, will project ourselves onto characters or even real people, good and bad when we see things that we relate to in them. By studying those aspects of ourselves in others we are able to look at ourselves more critically, or in the case of seeing if and when a fictional character is doing the same we can further analyze and learn more about the character. To me this is a fascinating avenue to explore, especially with a character like Shadow who acts quite a bit differently to different people. By seeing what they share and how Shadow reacts to that I can study the character from a different direction and learn quite a bit more about him than just taking him at face value. Sure it's arguably overthinking things especially with SEGA trying to dumb him down to discount Vegeta so no one has to think about what makes him work ever again, but the exercise actually allowed me to come to terms with how he has been characterized in the IDW comics so far as I came to see details in Shadow's nuance I hadn't noticed before. Where you just see him as punch happy and unnecessarily angry all the time, I actually see his actions as backed up his experience with numerous characters and situations, including Sonic reflecting his insecurities as Sonic doesn't tout his word when he gets Shadow to back down from Mr. Tinker, but gets Shadow thinking about himself. In this scenario I can now look back and see Sonic making Shadow face his insecurities which falls in line with how I perceive the character.

So the point to this whole exercise was to look at Shadow in a more detailed in nuance way and see what I could learn. What I did opened my eyes quite a bit to a great deal of things with the character that allowed him to make more sense to me. the funny thing is though, for as long as our debate has been going on, I have barely seen anyone else's take which is kind of disappointing really as I was hoping to see other characters I didn't consider or radically different takes than the views I had on the characters. Instead the thread has rather devolved into this long back and forth about our differing opinions on the effect Sonic has on Shadow when Sonic was never even originally one of the characters I addressed as he did not fall into the three categories I originally approached the topic from. If anything, this talk about Sonic has probably derailed the thread, especially as it has mostly been at most three of us discussing it.

19 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

I feel like your thoughts on this are existing inbetween two planes. Because it exists on a meta level. It exists in your world, not the characters world. You see , you think about all this dark reflection insecurity business. Because you exist in reality , and you understand part of shadow's creation thesis was to go against a lot of normal sonic personality , story ect which created this character. He is in a sense a dark take on the series. Shadow the hedgehog the character, does not know that. He exists in this canon, he should not be operating under logic and premises that involve your take on the series as a whole because he shouldn't have your take because he's a fictional character in this world. Now his take can reflect issues, like for example if shadow said the other characters have " grown complacent " you can totally use characters as vessels for criticism or real world constructs. But in this instance, the character should never think of himself of some reflection because in his world sonic is just some guy who exists. He's not the " main character " he's just a guy. And like most " just a dudes " you know, you don't think about them that much.

Naturally I do think of things as an outsider as I am naturally. But one of the viewpoints that I consider is the viewpoint of a story teller and Sonic is for good or ill a major component in Shadow's story. As a recipient of that story understanding the thought processes that go into writing him and planning his appearances in future stories and plots goes a long way to better enjoying his appearance in any given story. Sure it's bad writing if I have to put in that effort, but conversely I enjoy putting in that effort if the character i find engaging and complex enough. And one of those complexities is him and Sonic being mirrors to each other, even as perceived by the both of them in universe. And it's not just Shadow who is made insecure, so is Sonic which is reflected in the latest issue of the IDW comic, but more importantly it is reflected in Shadow's debut game. Sonic being mistaken for Shadow and vice versa is what gives birth to the whole "Faker" terminology they address each other with. That the have the same abilities and appearances in universe similar enough for them to mistaken for each other even by Eggman of all people speaks volumes about their similarities. It isn't just conceptually, but applied in universe as well. When I see the way they react to that it is so much more than two dudes who just don't get along.

27 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

I feel like having him react on disdain and his experiences allows him to explore infinitely more avenues then sonic based insecurities. Because his disdain at any given moment can be fueled by anything.

Why is he upset at sonic today, not letting him murder?

Ruining his bike?

Both are valid. Basing it in insecurities brings it back to one thing and limits his characters

Always acting off disdain is doing the same thing though, and you have to address the question of why is he angry every single time. When it comes to insecurities he can actually act out in a way that does not always stem back to anger. He could laugh, he could be angry, he could become contemplative, he could become miserable, he could grow curious, he could be violent, he could avoid the problem, he could get competitive and try to prove his superiority in an act of self validation, he could openly run away and so much more. But when he is just I dislike you and you make me angry it doesn't just simplify his character, it dictates he is always going to be angry when he interacts with Sonic despite Shadow being a character of vastly more facets than that, including when he interacts with Sonic himself as his curiosity led his interaction with Sonic in their last fight in Sonic Adventure 2. He wasn't just I dislike you so I'm angry. He wasn't even angry with Sonic at all there despite Sonic aiming to disrupt his plan. Even any dislike wasn't present as his objective needed completion, but his curiosity also needed to be satiated. Sonic brings out an awful lot in Shadow and just making Shadow also dislike that ignores all of that. Much as SEGA and you want to simplify Shadow, admittedly in different ways, it should be obvious that Shadow is not a simple character and is so nuanced that simplifying him at all does massive harm to his character. And if you think insecurities are simple then I consider you a very blessed individual who hopefully can enjoy that sentiment your entire life. Trust me, I've dealt with insecurities for most of my thirty four years and they only get worse with every passing day with the things reminding you of them being that much harder to deal with.

37 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

For me its not about sonic being present. Insecurities arise when that character isn't around, having a sonic based insecurity would affect a lot of shadow's actions and color them in a way in which he is defying sonic because of those insecurities instead of him choosing to be his own person. I do not like this and this is essentially what you are proposing. Taking away a thing people love, shadow's independence , for...shadow looking like a worse much weaker character.

Sonic isn't even the only source of Shadow's insecurities. His insecurities present themselves regularly enough interacting with just about anyone, his own game being more than enough proof of that and even 06 to an extent hinting at it as Rouge and Omega both pick up on it and comfort him in their own ways. And the best part is, the insecurities that they are comforting him on has nothing to do with Sonic, he isn't even present or on Shadow's mind and he still needs comforted due to his insecurities. Shadow has them, hasn't overcome them, and in Sonic extremely easy to see his insecurities and acts on that lacking the experience due to his own time actually experiencing life. If you were thrust into the world with no memories only to discover that you have about week or two worth before that you lost chances are you'd be pretty insecure and aloof as well. And things that more strongly remind you of those insecurities than others would surely bother you, and you'd want to take action. Somehow I doubt every action would just be you get mad.

Heck, lets bring in Occam's Razor again. In your suggestion of ways to differentiate character interactions you propose creating plots for Shadow to respond to. Conversely, I propose exploring Shadow and seeing what plot his character and nuances can lead me to. The plots you suggest depend on Shadow always being angry. The plots I suggest stem from what aspect of Shadow do I want to explore. I have infinite possibilities that are not limited by Shadow disliking Sonic even if Sonic is a major component of the story. By simplifying to disdain, you have one avenue of stories to explore, by simplifying to insecurities, you have limitless stories you can explore and to me that makes his character flexible, which from the story telling perspective is extremely important. I will admit though, your stance is infinitely easier to market, and considering Shadow exists as a product before he does as a character the fact that I can see everything I do speaks the versatility of his character regardless.

Lastly on this part, being strongly reminded of his insecurities when Sonic is present does not strip him of his independence no more than reacting to Sonic by always being angry does. Making that claim means when he has a reaction to anyone he is no longer independent which is extremely hyperbolic. Considering his primary decision when he encounters Sonic is to prove himself superior to him to validate himself and his independence this claim rings hollow to me, especially when compared to Tails in numerous games who really isn't independent. And you know what, the insecurities I see leading to those actions of self validation sure as heck doesn't make him appear weaker as a character in my eyes. On the contrary; seeing a character who always has the strength and force of will to stand up to and face his insecurities is flat out admirable and inspirational. Most people sink into self loathing and depression, even going so far as killing themselves. But not Shadow. Not even close. He stands up and shouts out that this is who he is why doing everything in his power to prove it to everyone and most importantly himself. If you think that makes him weak then our perceptions of strength are probably incompatible and our debate will go on in circles forever. That's fine if we can learn something knew from it, but as it is I fear we might forget the point to this debate and drift completely into a defensive stance about our opinions. We should both actively try to avoid that.

1 hour ago, Shadowlax said:

This might be my bad, while do I have issues sometimes with characters not acting their age in a sense in which it requires dumbing down for a story to function. What I mean in this instance, " I like it because it cute " , i'm not really implying anything you are saying. I just think its cute that after saving the world they can still act like petty teenagers, juxtaposition.

And to be kinda blunt, I would totally love if sonic acted his age more often. Saving the world doesn't really make you an adult really or traveling. One of my favorite heroes is spiderman and that dude is often portrayed bumbling awkward teen often times trying his best. Wouldn't mind that take on sonic and pals tbh. Its pretty relatable as far as characterization goes

Yeah, sorry about getting a little heated there myself.

The funny thing about using Peter as an example and comparison is that he still acts that way even in his thirties and early forties. That behavior is not limited to just teenagers. And I didn't limit Sonic to just saving the world and traveling, but the things he sees and does, the actions he takes, the building of a life philosophy and living by, recognizing the values of others and how does and not benefit society and the people who comprise, knowing when the right thing to do isn't always the ideal thing, demonstrating to people through action why the right thing is the right thing. For all of his more immature tendencies, Sonic is also extremely mature for his age, and as I see Sonic as introverted, the typical and stereotypical teenage nonsense that people try to push onto teenagers seems massively out of character for Sonic to me. yeah he was introduced as a teenage rebel, but unlike the stereotype, Sonic has always demonstrated an understanding of what he stands against and the implications beyond just the surface value. That already gives him a leg up on the cliched and stereotypical teenager that would be acting his age. It's what makes him being insecure in his own decision to not finish Eggman off as Mr. Tinker when he has abandoned him to his death plenty of times on his adventures a great highlight of his characters and need to ight for his values.

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20 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

Why..does this work more than Sonic?

What about Shadow seeing something about himself in the obviously evil "Mephistopheles" is all that interesting?

It's clearly not the fact that Shadow has the potential to turn to teh dark side, that thread was done in the prior game.

The interesting thing about Shadow's story in Nex Gen was affirming Shadow's resolve to fight for justice even if the world turns against him, something that is entirely disconnected from Mephiles...and a logical thing to follow up on from prior appearances where he was supposedly tip-toeing the line between good and evil.

Because there's nothing narrative to gain by doing so. His disdain from sonic doesn't come from something bigoted place or some like big evil where you have to take in that you have the potential to be bad, but you are making choices to not be bad.

Sonic's just... a dude. The parts he would see are " We both go fast and at the end of the day want to help people " , there's nothing in there worth examining or mining for a larger narrative or lesson. Shadow's disdain comes from how sonic handles things, there's nothing to gain there. Shadow could handle things the way sonic does, he doesn't want to because he thinks that it is often times inefficient. That's it. its kind of cut and dry.

That's why mephilies or eclipse are better fits. Mephilies was literally shadow's " Darker self " from persona. He was a representation from the future of all the potential parts of shadow's personality run wild and giving into chaos. It was forcing shadow to face that along with what triggers that him being betrayed and make a decision going forward. Introspection and development vs " Oh hey we both like to save stuff but he's lame  and i'm cool "

 

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