New Year: Blank Slate

With the new clone 2019 shoving the old clone 2018 into an incinerator we are now officially ready to start off the New Year right! And it seems we have a lot of things packed within these first few months alone. I’m personally looking forward to a few things:

  • Kakegurui Season 2- I just want to see gambling games.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3- Nomura owes us an explanation for all these games! And I ordered the Deluxe Edition!
  • 7 Seeds (anime)- A straight up depressing manga. Now I have to re-read it before the release.
  • Boku no Hero Academia Season 4- (I gotta catch up with the manga first!)
  • Fruits Basket (reboot)- Finally we get to see Rin!
  • My first Colossalcon- Will make a full post detailing my cosplays and people I’ve met!
  • 28 Days of Black Cosplay- You already know that this is about!

Meanwhile I’ll continue trying to find a focus for this blog. I hate that I have so few articles up and I’ve purchased this domain myself! *cries* I’m certainly sure things will get more interesting from here on out.

2018 Highlights

  • Playing Final Fantasy XV
  • Watching Laputa: Castle in the Sky
  • Playing/Beating Bayonetta 2
  • Playing Smash Bros Ultimate (when I haven’t touched anything SSB related since Brawl)
  • Watching Castlevania

I honestly wish I had written about all of the above when I had the chance but I didn’t. I’ll make it my personal responsibility to finish what I’ve started.

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“Dere” to Believe: An honest look at popular anime personalities

Anime tropes are popular, no bones about it. You’ll often hear your local weeaboo tossing about terms they’ve learned from their favorite series one way or another. These tropes don’t just appear in anime but are standard for fiction writers around  the globe. That said, who wants to take a look at popular personality tropes and watch me deconstruct them haphazardly?

No?

I’m so glad you asked!

These tropes are usually represented by female characters, although they are perfectly fine for any and all characters regardless of gender or presentation. For the sake of simplicity we are going to use the pronouns she/her/they if that’s alright with you guys.

shuffles papers and notecards

There are four common “dere” personalities

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Clearly not my personal work. Give credit where it’s due.

 

As you can see; the suffix ‘deredere’(でれでれ) simply means to be loving or sweet towards someone. The prefixes just so happen to describe what kind of love that person encompasses. While on the surface as a flat archetype these descriptors are just regular categories to drop your characters into—which is harmless. They’re just characters.

 

But what happens when you translate them to real life?

I’m under the impression that people have trouble dividing fantasy and reality because I hear people talking about their favorite personality types (particularly when referring to their favorite characters) and how they’d just LOVEto be with a kuudere. I can’t help but wonder if they’ve really thought it through because these character traits are…concerning to say the least.

 

Tsundere

(harsh on the outside, sweet on the inside)

The Good

At first glance a hot/cold character seems like an almost ideal type. Harsh until you get to know them—not a bad thing, especially if you start off on the wrong foot. I very well could give this a pass and chalk it up to getting to know someone better over time.

 

The Bad

Ever notice how tsundere characters tend to get violent with the objects of their affections? Whether it’s full blown arguments or megaton moe punches, the poor person gets their noggins knocked. Then there’s the verbal lashings that border on abuse. I’m usually able to give passes on affectionate nicknames or occasional name-calling but the way Asuka treats Shinji is really unsettling. Since she spends the entire series unable to spit out her feelings and Shinji can’t read minds—it leads to a lot of confusion (the end of Evangelion notwithstanding).

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The view is captivating.

 

The Ugly

Well, as we all know (or should know), tsundere tropes are usually exaggerated and played (mostly) for laughs because *we all know that kind of erratic behavior is actually abusive and you won’t find love that way*. Right everyone? Of course nobody would ever think such hot and cold behavior would actually be attributed to feelings of love and affection (Italics for sarcasm and emphasis).

I’ve got some bad news for you all…People really think this works!

In real life I see this pop up in a lot of relationships where the idea of being hot/cold is seen as a good thing and is an appropriate way to show you’re interested in someone. Katy Perry songs aside, this hot/cold dynamic sends mixed signals and it’s a GREAT way to cause problems early on and ruin your chances later.

The truth is: tsundere characters treat their love interests like crap and are sending mixed signals that can in no way be interpreted as romantic interest. I’ve got nothing.

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Guys and Dolls: A Fear of Intimacy

As humans we are no strangers to the complexity of relationships. They’re complicated, they’re scary, and they’re (very) disappointing. So when it comes to issues such as miscommunication, pride, and fear…it’s no surprise when things fall apart and sometimes don’t come back together.

What does the above paragraph have to do with artificial intelligence I talked about in my earlier post? Read on:

Instant AI (愛)

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in media (namely anime) when it comes to guys interacting with AI and computer programs it’s that…the interactions with them come across as strange. The AI in question are usually female and the protagonist is male and when they meet, the trope Born Sexy Yesterday comes into play.

The woman (AI, robot, doll, alien) in question is usually fully grown, naive, attractive, but skilled. The man is usually ordinary, sometimes unlucky in life or love or both. And interestingly enough…he’s almost always white* (when portrayed in American media). And the woman in question almost always seems to love him in the end. The trope can be explored more in this video by Pop Culture Detective:

If you don’t wish to go through the 18 minutes of in-depth talk I can give my abridged version:

  • Born Sexy Yesterday absolves men from doing emotional labor in relationships.
  • The idea of taking advantage of someone who is naive and vulnerable is inherently predatory.
  • Unfortunate implications abound when this trope can also be seen as a basis for abusive relationships.
  • This trope is used as a romantic subplot and almost always only shows the man’s perspective without giving characterization to the female character. If character is given, it’s known that she serves to be the love interest.
  • The woman in question seems to already love the man without any explanation as to why.

The reversal sometimes shows up in media. Comics and manga like Eggnoid, Absolute Boyfriend, and movies like George of the Jungle do exist but are rarely seen as the norm. I suspect the reasoning behind this is that women who are sexually skilled and knowledgeable of the ways of the world are seen as intimidating, maybe

So the gist I’ve gotten is that being able to be someone’s first and teach them everything without having to develop yourself or consider the other person’s feelings or autonomy is what’s passing for love these days. And people seem to be wanting an AI that is programed to love them and only them without putting in any effort to be better versions of themselves. Do people even know what love is?

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Baby don’t hurt me.

Relationships Are Complex

I’m not going to go through the whole trouble of explaining what makes relationships work because everyone’s seen the Facebook drivel that oozes saccharine sentiments on just how you should love another person. So, in order to not insult the intellect of the masses I’ll reduce it to a few fine points:

  • Respect: relationships can only be built if you genuinely respect another person as another person. They’re autonomous beings outside of you and don’t exist for your benefit.
  • Honesty: While respecting another’s privacy is important, a certain amount of transparency and openness is required.
  • Communication: Actively listening and working on your communication skills are crucial to maintaining relationships, you can’t ignore this.
  • Vulnerability and Emotional Labor: Close relationships require vulnerability and emotional labor to be expended on all parties involved. Taking another’s feelings into consideration and

People are Afraid of Intimacy?

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Honestly, the idea of falling in love with a program that caters to your needs is downright uncanny because I know that real relationships with flesh and blood human beings is nowhere near as simple or easy. Relationships take time to develop and there are no shortcuts to earning trust. You cannot cheat your way out of emotional labor and expect to have a healthy and happy relationship with another person.

The downside to all of this hard work is that it can easily be all for naught. Relationships change over time, failure happens, and rejection is an ever present reality. It takes a lot to trust in someone else because vulnerability can easily be taken advantage of, and nobody wants that. It’s because of this that fear of intimacy is understandable: we simply live in a society where people don’t trust each other.

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A simple Google search reveals plenty.

So, what now?

So, we have all this knowledge, what do we do with it? We know AI are no real substitute for humans (please hold all Blade Runner comments). We also know that relationships are complex, full of complex factors (anxiety, abuse, isolation, ect), and are generally messy with no perfect or satisfying answers that every single person. Is it worth it to try and connect with another human being?

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Artists certainly think so,

While we have little control over the things that happen in our lives, we still have the ability to control our reactions to what is thrown at us. We can’t control people or how they initially respond to us. All we can do is take our experiences—both positive and negative—and use what we’ve learned in order to better ourselves. Your personal growth as a human being is important because one cannot understand others without first understanding oneself.

TL;DR: Artificial Intelligence is no substitute for human interaction and relationships and you are encouraged to seek out relationships and to better yourself.