Should you root for the level 99 MC? well, that’s a very good question.
You probably know what i’m talking about when I say “Level 99 MC”, but if you don’t then I’ll explain. Most of us has heard the term “he is written like a Gary Stu character” when they talk about a character that is vastly more capable that any of his peers or foes. And I choose to say capable instead of powerful because it is much more that just his physical capabilities that literally strangulates the presence of anyone else. Omnipotent, infinitely knowledgeable and overwhelmly powerful, they generally represent the perfected personification of the author in his story.
Usually, this kind of character is portrayed with an intent to make them be the complete center of the narrative and drive the audience’s perception and emotions towards the author’s main message. Yet the result of this effort is generally a bland characterization of person who’s story has ended before it has started. I mean, who wants to start playing FF7 with Cloud already at level 99? or Pokemon with all the Pokemon’s already in your PC? Put simply, when you trim the growth process of a character for any reason, it harms greatly the possibility of the audience developing emotions towards them. It’s like dumping a truck load into the depth of your story.
When you see a character fail, loose, suffer the consequences and learn from that you then get invested in it. You want to know how he gets around the next wall, the results of the learning, the change in his view. This is because that’s how we live every day, given of course with less interesting problems, but we can use these characters as proxy to place ourself in the story.
But not because of this you should hate them, in fact that same flaw can be used in some very interesting ways, such as adding an unexpected weakness (No Game No Life), Introducing equally imposing rivals (No Game No Life, yup that show was that good), or just smartly satirizing itself (One Punch Man)… just don’t do a Magic Jesus (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei).
Now, does this make them deserving of your heart? Well, frankly, they don’t need it. At the end they will be the victors, they will get the girl and they will rise above the corpses of their enemies. Although the sales and popularity are other matter entirely.
Please, feel free to participate in the conversation with your comments and help me learn and grow as a blogger.
See you in the next post!