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  1. #31
    Senior Member Angilas-Man's Avatar
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    Nov 2005


    One of my favorite comics, Usagi Yojimbo (and American comic, but a must-read for those interested in Japanese history), reverses this completely: Usagi is one of the best swordsmen in the country, but he's so warm and personable that a lot of bad guys just assume he must not be much of a threat because he doesn't conform to their idea of what a badass is.

    Bad news for them, a lot of the time.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Fast's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    It depends entirely on the setting and context. If a character causes extreme tonal dissonance just by existing and there is a lot of mood whiplash then I could see it getting annoying (this however has little to do with a character's power level I guess though).

    For another goofy but powerful example there is Excalibur, his legend dates back to the 12th century you see. It is quite old. The 12th Century was a long time ago.

  3. #33
    Senior Member AJ Valliant's Avatar
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    Aug 2009


    Luffy was mentioned earlier and I see him as the great proof that a hard as nails, violent, and insanely determined protagonist doesn't have to be stoic and contained. Even in the midst of a life and death fight his wonder and enthusiasm can shine through ( As a result on the few occasions where someone crosses the line sufficiently that he is all business there is far greater resonance and emotional impact that if that was his default state. He's a completly dim witted, childlike goofball but he's established with enough depth than when he takes something seriously the reader follows suit and buys into how intimidating he'd be in that moment.

    Mind, I still love Zoro who is a much more cliche stoic badass, so there is room for sterotypes when done well.

  4. #34
    Legendary God of Pirates Nik Hasta's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    London, England


    Checking back in with this topic...

    Minor note, here's a great example where Luffy (and just about everyone else in the scene) completely fails at being stoic as Bon Clay essentially commits suicide to save them. Rather than doing the stoic thing of being all; "We will not forget him but we need to focus on moving forward," they are all in floods of tears, screaming their heads off and showing tons of emotion and it really sells the scene.

    As I said in my first post in the thread, stoicism is not a negative character trait. It can be done very well when balanced against other strong character traits or an interesting world that plays against their stoicism (See Kenshiro or Killy as described in my post on Page 1). I don't think however it's a requirement for powerful people or for people who have been through trauma.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron_twister View Post
    The manga Crows is filled with tough guys and so far, Bouya Haramichi is pretty much the toughest son of a bitch and never could be said to be stoic...Far from it really. Same with Tsukishima Hana in Worst. The guy's a complete goofball at times and he's a damn fighting machine that damn near kicks everyone's asses.

    While I can name some characters who might arguably be stoic and strong, chances are they mellow out fast and still didn't lose some badass points.
    Hana is a great example of how his emotional side makes him great. There's that moment when he goes to the funeral of that guys mother who he doesn't even know and comforts him and sheds tears for him.
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  5. #35
    Swedish Shinigami Dark Soul # 7's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Stockholm in Sweden


    Main point really is that there's room for all kinds of characters, both stoic and non-stoic to be powerful and/or in positions of power. It all depends on their role in the story.

    An example of a non-stoic guy, in he's incredibly silly at times, is Jack Rakan who basically goes out of his way to be as overwhelmingly over-the-top as possible and just likes to have fun. But after spending some time with him you will respect the guy and his all too obvious power, obvious because he flaunts it at every chance he gets. That's his thing and his part in the story, he's got a dramtic and serious back story but its only purpose in the story is to hammer in that his power is genuine. He's an enjoyable, super-strong master later turned rival for the main character and he plays the role well.

    Non-stoic guy example is Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist. For his universe he is damn strong, able to threaten most state alchemist even when they gang up on him, at first he seems to be little more than a dangerous and stoic opponent. But as the story progresses more is revealed about Scar and why he is the way he is you realise that he's a lot more complex than you might've thought at first and that he has a greater role in the story than just a dangerous opponent. It also helps that he later on gets May to as a partner and bouncing board as they compliment each others' traits quite nicely.

    As for positions of power. Just look at the various kages in Naruto. There you have a bunch of different personality types in charge of major military organisations and one of the main traits of a kage is that they have to be damn strong so that they can represent and protect the village in the best way possible.

  6. #36
    Cruel and Unusual Sound Silence's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Rereading, I noticed someone brought up that both are indicative of flat characters, and that's rather true.

    Every emotional character and every stoic character that are well-written usually have moments of different moods (which can be natural or affected).

    Shanks was a good example. Guy is goofy and all, but when it is game time, he is totally serious.
    Guy like Mihawk is dead stoic, but even he can get his buttons pushed, and it's obviously that the stoicism is something he works hard to maintain on himself, and that further deepens his character.

    Then there's characters who are emotionally broken who specifically act goofy so as not to be an intimidating killjoy all the time because they know that would hurt their relationship with their allies.

    Even guys like Luffy are "serious" even when raging and showing emotion because, and especially as their stories progress, they learn to keep the raw temper under control so it doesn't make them reckless, while still being emotional.


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