TV Tropes really can Ruin Your Life (or at least Your Day)
Caution: here is a spoiler warning for the anime series Trigun, that I’ll talk a bit about later – nothing too serious, but it’s about one of the plot-important characters and his role in the series near the end, so it’s a bit of a spoiler. It’s also quite horrific, but he is absolutely evil, it’s to be expected.
I also seem to spoiler Snow Crash slightly, but it’s nothing you won’t find out from the top of the TV Tropes page.
And now, the main event…
Despite having had an internet presence for an entire decade now (shudder), I had never visited TVTropes, until 5.30pm today (the 26th), when this happened. For the last 8 and a half hours, I have spent roughly 1 hour cooking and eating, 1 hour chasing the local stray cat around my living room – I was foolish enough to give in to its mewling and scratching at my door and let it come in – and 6 and a half hours reading TVTropes pages, after accidentally clicking on a link to a game Trope through Google.
This has resulting in:
1. My house smelling slightly of damp cats
2. Wasting the entire evening and most of the night reading interesting but useless information
3. Finding out that Dan Brown books are in fact 99% garbage, instead of the 70-80% I had previously estimated (I knew the physics and computing stuff was rubbish, but not the rest)
4. Remembering how awesome Snow Crash is – a comically dark cyberpunk book where the main character is called Hiro Protagonist, another character carries a nuke on his motorbike which will explode when he dies, one of the bad guys uses monomolecular-edged glass knives, and there is a nuclear-powered gatling railgun firing depleted uranium rounds called Reason, just for the sake of a terrible, terrible pun.
The whole site is incredibly fascinating, as some of you are already well aware, maybe even too fascinating. My main issues so far, though, have been that some of the Tropes I’ve read about I have used in stories, which is a little depressing. Some of them are reasonable (Grey and Gray Morality, Villain Protagonist and suchlike), but others aren’t (Complete Monster), and even some of the ones I think are reasonable are protrayed as bad things (Grey and Gray Morality is the most lifelike and interesting approach to morals in a setting, and yet the Trope page implies that it is not something that should be used).
The other issue I have was when I arrived at the Complete Monster page. I enjoy characters who are so evil that you cannot possible root for them, and somehow I still find it in myself to do so. Kefka from Final Fantasy VI is one of the more well known ones, not only is he evil for the purpose of world domination, he also continues beyond what is required to achieve his goals, evil just for the sake of it. One of my characters from last year’s NaNo was a Complete Monster, and is dangerously close to being the recently stereotypical opposite to the feeble and helpless damsel in distress – the cold, sadistic, friendless and extremely badass female character. I think I make up for it by having her actually capable of not only talking to a man without beating his face in, but actually having sex and (gasp) enjoying it, without really caring about the guy involved. Too many character designers, especially in computer games, seem to have trouble grasping that women can be both tough AND not a psychotic man-hating lunatic.
Anyway, I seem to be losing track somewhat, so as I was saying, I arrived at the Complete Monster page, and scrolled down to try and spot the first character that sprung to my mind – Legato from Trigun. I was incredibly disappointed to find he was not in the list, despite having done more evil things in the anime than most of the people on the Tropes page have. Legato’s only purpose is to make Vash (the protagonist, the epitome of Lawful Good, master gunslinger for many years and yet has never killed a single person) suffer, which he does with great ease and relish. I don’t want to say too much, but the only things he is seen doing are playing sadistic psychological mind-games with Vash, putting him through physical and mental agony, or killing people horribly for no real reason. If I recall the manga correctly, while he is waiting for Vash to arrive at the next town (or something like that), he uses telekinesis to try and fit as many innocent civilians into a small vehicle as possible, just out of curiosity and to pass the time. I cannot remember how many he manages, but it’s a lot more than should be possible, and it’s not a pleasant image at all…
So, yes, I am disappointed that Legato is not on the list, but I can’t be bothered to register just to sort this out. I’ve also managed to finish reading all the tabs I’ve been looking at, and managed to resist opening any more, so I’m free to sleep, for now. I did also find this one hilarious, as I am a huge fan of Cowboy Bebop and there are so many things wrong with that caption that it’s hard to take seriously. So long, TV Tropes; you may have stolen 7 hours from me, but I’ll be prepared next time.