I’ve had a lot of time to think lately. Like many of you, I’m not a huge fan of too much mental downtime, though I would love if my brain would let me spend a little more time sleeping. I’m surviving, though, in part by deep diving into old manga, in part by changing careers (somepony just submitted a nonfiction book proposal and is still waiting to hear about that horror novella), and in part by keeping up with these comics A–Z challenges. So far we’ve done emotions, the arts, heroes, and folklore/mythology. Where to next?
I think the villains deserve a chance to shine. After all, they’re the ones who keep things interesting, aren’t they? What fun would the heroes be if they didn’t have anyone to challenge them?
K: Kallus, Alexander
Star Wars: Rebels by Aoki Akira
If you watched Rebels then you know how this storyline ends; however, Kallus definitely started out as one of the great villains of the piece. An Imperial from his slicked back hair to the tips of his well-shined boots, any doubts he had after he was ordered to massacre the Lasat were shoved down deep until Kallus and Zeb were stranded on a frigid moon of Genosis with no hope of survival but each other.
Kallus’s redemption arc is a great example of how a redemption arc should be done, which I would recommend even if Rebels hadn’t been a phenomenal show (which it is). Kallus has to earn his acceptance into the Rebellion, and he does it by risking his own life time and again, right in front of Thrawn’s extremely smart, extremely calculating, extremely dangerous blue face.
Death is the easy way out. It’s also the overdone, boring way. Give me someone willing to work for it and I’ll show you a real hero of the Rebellion: Alexander Kallus.
The Devil is a Part Timer! by Wagahara Satoshi and Hiirage Akio
Lucifer pops out of Ente Isla’s dimension and into ours intent on taking out Satan and Ashiya. As it happens, they’ve had time to save up just enough magic to stop him, stranding their one-time ally in the human realm and, because Satan (now Sadaō, fast food worker extraordinaire) has a soft spot for his old minion, making him their new roommate.
While Sadaō comes to see Lucifer as an ally of sorts, Ashiya keeps Lucifer firmly on the “nemesis” side of the divide as, while he might not be throwing energy bolts, he’s certainly using his share of energy and more running his laptop constantly. And the damage Lucifer does to their household budget? Far worse than anything he did to the roadways and train station when he was trying to kill Satan and his right hand demon.
Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura
You’d think the cursed, immortal warrior reputed to be a mass-murderer who killed his master would be the villain of any saga in which he appeared, but as any bibliophile will tell you, things are not always as they seem.
Makoto is a spy, saboteur, and poisoner who would like to see more honorable men dead. Well. Men purported to be more honorable. Men who would like people to think they’re more honorable..
All of that is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?
N: Nagasawa Aoi
Perfect World by Aruga Rie
A romance manga may seem a strange place to find a villain, but I would argue Nagasawa Aoi fits the description of “antagonist” at minimum. First, as a professional caregiver, she should never allow her personal feelings to affect her work, nor should she be offering unsolicited opinions on her client’s personal relationships unless she feels he’s endangered by them. Second, she shouldn’t be telling her client’s girlfriend that said girlfriend is inadequate and won’t be able to help the client with his needs when she hasn’t had a chance to learn. Third: you can’t always help who you’re attracted to, but as a caregiver you need to leave that at the door; you do not try to get with your client, nor do you ever violate the trust that person has put in you by trying to get with them after you’ve made every attempt insert yourself between them and the person they love.
There is always an imbalance of power in client/caregiver relationships. If you violate that, even in word, even in conversation or declaration(which is as far as it goes in Perfect World), you are, for sure a villain. Find a new job.
All kinds of villains this week and moving right along. Next time, O–T. Whose twisted mind will the alphabet take us into next…