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Kuzu

Foils for Sonic

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1 hour ago, E-122-Psi said:

...I don't know who in the games cast could fill it and still feel in character.

Rouge?

She's not really a wet blanket, but being a thieving treasure hunter I'd assume she'd be more about caution than reckless action. Her and Sonic don't really interact much and I can't say they'd really clash much personality wise either. Like in terms of interaction they'd be more playful jabs and support over heated snark and disagreement.

Espio?

He's a ninja, he can turn invisible. It's a no-brainer that he may exercise more caution as well. But I don't really have much for him.

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The interesting thing about foils is how two way the contrast can be by turning into comparison: sometimes, the more different two characters are, the more similar they are.

After all, they gotta have a common ground before they can have separate takeaways.

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@E-122-Psi I see where you're coming from, but I don't completely agree. Though I like the Freedom Fighters, I do agree they would've benefited from being a bit more "colorful" and distinctive with more consistently portrayed flaws. But as time goes on, I've actually become a bit more appreciative of them. There is an extent to which their portrayal is a bit subtle and a little bit inconsistent, but I don't think it's as severe as you make it out to be.

And honestly, the more I think about your ideas for Sally, the more I dislike them. Being ridiculously and anal-retentively persnickety just isn't who she is, and she doesn't need to be extremely cautious either. I mean, how does it make sense for her to be super careful when she led a group of teenagers to fight the dictator of the world? That's an inherently risky action that flies in the face of sense and reason. Sally has always been getting herself in the heart of action and danger from the very beginning. Sure, she's much more strategic than Sonic, but she can still certainly be a risk-taker, which makes perfect sense for her role in the story. It's OK for some characters to be "balanced" and to not have extreme tendencies, and I don't think it negates her ability to be a foil to Sonic either. There's still a more than adequate contrast between them.

I also feel like your expectations for character consistency are too high to the point where it'd actually be unrealistic. There's nothing weird about being too reckless sometimes and too cautious at others. Even putting aside the inherent variability of human emotions, a good strategist couldn't apply the exact same strategies in every instance.

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Well maybe not over the top anal retentive, but sort of like she was in early Archie and SatAm, but with some degree of it kicking her in the rear more often. Having some cases being cautious, an opposite to Sonic's approach, didn't work out either and she was allowed to make a fool of herself without it being treated like a tragic opera. Having her only screw up when she is reckless still doesn't really flesh out the dynamic from a one note 'taking risks is bad', and again having some cases characters had the will to call her out on her bad decisions would have helped to, not have them on her back non-stop, maybe even have it playfully done, but not have them so damn passive around her. Amy's control freak persona was called out hilariously in 'Closed Door Policy' in a way that just felt like friends ribbing each other for example, they knew her vices well and that's something that developed her as a foil and a fun part of the team dynamic.

It felt like the comics' attempts to make Sally and the other Freedom Fighters flawed were 'not seeing the forest for the trees', always aiming for compressed vices and arbitrary screw ups rather than deconstructing or strengthening their supposed long terms traits and idiosyncrasies. The writers still didn't really like delving into the qualities that fans complained about Sally in the first place that were rarely called out, like her being overbearing or condescending. Those definitely still EXISTED, but they were more an undeveloped after effect of her writing, things they supposedly assumed were just there to gloss her personality slightly and didn't really count as flaws that needed calling out (she's the straight man to Sonic, of course she'll get a little snide about it), something that ultimately just compounded on these aspects making her more divisive and unlikeable to some fans. Even stuff like the slap they only really seemed to make her show some atonement for after they realised fans wouldn't let it go otherwise.

For example, they looked like they were building up to Sally underestimating Cream in early reboot stories, even being rather patronising towards her staying in the ship, but when she makes an error and Cream saves her, they ignore that epiphany for an arbitrary and generic 'took a bad risk' one, even when the former could have deconstructed her cautious nature perfectly. Same for not relating her temper around Fiona with how she calms Monkey Khan, or NICOLE's hypocritical conflict in strategy with her similar dynamic to Sonic she's had for nearly two decades and never been called out over. They never really liked admitting those uglier qualities to her existed so as to 'join the dots' with her personality and make her dynamic as a foil and mediator/leader very well rounded, which made it feel like she was being restrained in terms of personality and being kept more bland and complacent than her archetype really had to be.

I think that is maybe WHY I have such high expectations for how the Sonic cast are developed, because in so many years and incarnations, there's LOADS of obvious potential for them to be fleshed out and you often see JUST enough little tidbits of it glimmer to think it should be pretty easy to do, but it doesn't. A lot of them are like beautiful jigsaw puzzles that have all their pieces forced in the wrong place. Lost Worlds is another case they try to deconstruct the main Sonic characters' dynamics and personalities but don't really QUITE get it (except Eggman, writers seem to have a better track record with him), which was infuriating for many. It feels like after two decades they shouldn't be flailing blindly with them like that.

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I don't want to say that your standards are too high, but I feel like you're running into the same problem that most people do when talking about this series: you have such a specific and at times,  narrow minded view on what you think the series should be doing and ignoring what it's actually doing. There's nothing wrong with having high standards for a piece of media that you put time into, but accepting it for what it is is also kind of important, otherwise you'll find yourself rarely satisfied. 

This isn't the type of series that does deep character introspection and studying; it's focused on the action-adventure aspects of it. And while there's nothing wrong with exploring these characters on a deeper level, I don't feel that's really been the point of when these stories are being written. 

 

It's a series for children  that's meant to be entertaining, that's it. It doesn't need to be anything else. 

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35 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I don't want to say that your standards are too high, but I feel like you're running into the same problem that most people do when talking about this series: you have such a specific and at times,  narrow minded view on what you think the series should be doing and ignoring what it's actually doing. There's nothing wrong with having high standards for a piece of media that you put time into, but accepting it for what it is is also kind of important, otherwise you'll find yourself rarely satisfied. 

This isn't the type of series that does deep character introspection and studying; it's focused on the action-adventure aspects of it. And while there's nothing wrong with exploring these characters on a deeper level, I don't feel that's really been the point of when these stories are being written. 

 

It's a series for children  that's meant to be entertaining, that's it. It doesn't need to be anything else. 

That is almost definitely the case, I guess it's, like I said, they have loads of 'too good to be true' moments that they don't capitalise on, something that maybe is easy to overlook in terms of simplistic writing, but not someone who has been looking at these characters for so damn long and, in my case, a complete stickler about character studies.

Even then you'd think something like a 'Sally underestimates Cream and then she saves her' parable would be pretty simple writing, especially when it looked like they were intentionally setting up all the key components of it. That's the infuriating part.

I don't think it helps either that Sonic is infamous for being rather pretentious and trying to emit a greater amount of depth in writing than it really has. i love the Crash Bandicoot cast for example and they don't really have a tremendous amount of introspective either, but the stories and lore don't really demand it as much, it's meant to be simple (even if my stickler tendencies with designs and quirks still emerge with it sometimes, I was really sour Pasadena was redesigned and DIDN'T have her prehensile tail in Nitro Fueled for example). Too often Sonic WANTS to look like a dramatic epic with gripping characters so when it doesn't deliver in that regard it takes a greater toll.

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8 hours ago, DabigRG said:

The interesting thing about foils is how two way the contrast can be by turning into comparison: sometimes, the more different two characters are, the more similar they are.

After all, they gotta have a common ground before they can have separate takeaways.

I think that's why I think Sally was wasted potential, being a lot more similar to Sonic than the writers figured, but keeping her in the 'opposites attract' dynamic.

I tend to prefer the versions of Tails and Knuckles that have their differences from Sonic but still share that boisterousness about them as well. eg. Tails being a tech wiz but still being an hyper eager kid, Knuckles being a loner and duty bound, but still rather hot blooded and egomaniacal.

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