Shin-tsu/Koukishin Shinzou

November 30, 2011

I don’t think most people understand him very well, and that is great.

Honestly, I hate when a main character is simple enough to be understood by everyone instantly. You don’t need to understand someone fully to relate to them, and if you did you probably wouldn’t. Call me a hipster (no, really, do so, I don’t take that as derogatory in any way) but whenever I comprehend something in its entirety I lose interest in it instantly and I think that is something I share with every creature that was ever alive. Think about what “boring” means in practice: devoid of actions or qualities that get your attention, and for something to stand out it takes one or more discrepancies from what is considered “standard”. I don’t think standards are bad because I need them and so do you, although how you use them is what matters: subverting or playing portions of them on purpose is where good fiction material lies.

The reason why I think people misunderstand him as a character is because they choose to believe him even when everything tells them to do otherwise.

Let’s think about this: pretty much everyone in his universe seems to think the boy is a liar, and while common sense is not the same as fact (hello there, flat earth) , it should make you wonder. After all, so far his is the only perspective you have of that world.  Even if it doesn’t prove him as a complete liar, there is a moment in novel one that doesn’t show as much as rub on your face that he knows and can do more than he tells he can, but the only person I know that realized that inconsistency dismissed it as a plot hole. Which is sad, but then again there are people who still think the Lolita from Nabokov wasn’t corrupted to begin with so I guess it would be pretentious of me to expect any more than that. Truth be told, I am usually more grateful for the critics than most fans, but I’d be even more grateful if I actually had a reason to use plural to describe them when both sides are probably composed of one guy each.

Well.

On the other hand, I got amusing comments from different people who compare Shin-tsu to several different characters that had absolutely nothing to do with each other, although most of them were main characters. What this tells me is that I was able to do something right when it comes to writing a Main Character people can relate to without making him a complete normal person, but by making him a different sort of Everyman. And I was told that, despite making him a rich, good-looking, manipulative, chronically depressed, wussy polymath bastard, people still see themselves in him. They get sad with him, they laugh with him, they talk for two hours while most people don’t care and others get strangely aroused with him. The last one sounded kind of weird, but you get the point.

Even if you don’t.

Even if you don’t understand what the hell I’m talking about, you can relate to people connecting to characters because you too at some could connect to some extent. Even if you were never rich and miserable, you can relate to not ever being happy with the things you have even though everyone else would die to have them. Even if you were never scared of streets because of references to Evil Dead you made, you can relate to acting silly due to unfounded fears.

“Understanding” is different from “relating to”, for one implies complete comprehension of a scenario or situation. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. You were right as a teen to think your parents did not understand you, but you most likely didn’t understand them either. The best you could do, and if you haven’t, as long as they are alive there is still time, is to try and relate to them: it’s just a flawed approximation but you have no idea of how much it counts until you do.

So I can’t blame any of you, even though you all see things through his eyes (through tainted glass, but still); turns out not even I can understand him fully. To have been through all the crap I did and will put the character through, relating  is the best I can do. To think the world is out to get you every day and still getting up in the morning whether it’s true or not, that I can understand.

And so can you.

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4 Responses to “Shin-tsu/Koukishin Shinzou”

  1. Kiba Says:

    *facepalm*

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say (fingers crossed) that the inconsistency you mentioned just then referred to Shin-tsu being rid of his mental voice in novel one… you had it as a subtle message (and truth be told, I’m that slow of a guy).

    [oh, and if I am wrong, kindly ignore what I just said. same goes to those others reading this]

    on the other hand, your explaining of the reality perspective of the novel really is quite enlightening (though still somewhat confusing). I have to say the deep thought you give into this novel is intriguing me more and more. Unique undiscovered jewels like this is why I love unofficial works that aren’t known to mainstream surfers. You pull it off well and its kind of humbling to me.

    All in all, you just managed to raise the bar of expectation for the novel’s growth by quite the margin.

    The hook’s in the water and the fish is ready to bite… lets see how you reel the catch in. (cheesy… innit?)

  2. thatguyfroma Says:

    Oh, I can’t talk about the voice without spoiling stuff that’s just about to go out, so I won’t. But yes, that already implies it’s not that. It was something about how Shin-tsu seemed entirely overpowered by Kouma and then restrained her. Even if Shin-tsu was being honest about her attacks being stronger than his, the reader that complained didn’t consider that the strength of a fighter is not physical alone; I know for a fact (as in seen with my own eyes) that even people who weigh around 54kg and have a pretty bad health can, with the proper amount of training, break bricks with their hands even if they can’t, as ironic as it might sound, carry boxes around, open bottles, etc. Most of the time, the proficiency one has with one area is entirely unrelated to others even if common sense dictates they should be close. At the end of the day it’s all about technique, which just means whatever attributes you have are only good if you know how to use them. Alternatively, Shin-tsu lied. Which of these is true, you’ll find out as soon as the intermission chapter from Kouma’s point of view between 2 and 3 comes out. Hopefully soon, but I’ve been working a lot and it’s hard to tell.

    I have to admit I thought a lot about the story and that is probably the reason why it takes so long for me to update. Unfortunately I just keep trying to foreshadow stuff again and again… I love unofficial works too because they don’t get the “bad” sort of editing, and that happens to be “dumb it down, appeal to the masses”. While I agree it’s not helping me getting popular, to put jargon talk everywhere and worry far more about interpersonal relationships than serial plot structure, I think this is a market that requires novels that a little more complicated than “boy meets girl, hijinks ensue”. I know for a fact I enjoy how this is turning out, although if I was a fan I’d be strangling the author by now for taking forever to get stuff done.

    I’m glad you’re expecting a lot from me and worried I won’t be able to live up to your expectations. All I can offer is my best, and I’m not sure if that’s going to be any good but it won’t stop me from trying.

    Yesterday I finished one more scene, so there are only two to go to end the second chapter now. For good and bad, be ready.

  3. GJsoft Says:

    Actually, the possibility of him being unreliable as a narrator crossed my mind in the introductory scene and it’s the very thing that gripped my interest. Then came the entertaining narration and Kouma, but never mind that.(Actually, did you consider the Kanji spelling for the character’s names? I’d be curious about that).
    For a while, I’ve been assuming you’d take a similar route DDD took with whole chapters with different narrators and quite a bit of narrational tricks and it seems I was close enough with that assumption because of the Kouma scene.
    In any case, I’m really looking forward to this and seeing how it’s this near to completion is like a combined Christmas and birthday present even though both were quite a while ago. But nevertheless, can’t wait for this family-themed volume.

    Cheers,

    –GJ

  4. thatguyfroma Says:

    Kouma is the best reason to stay, I’m sure. Novel two shall prove that.

    Your assumption has been perfectly correct: I have been wanting to do that for a while to be honest because it’s the only way to pull a Rashomon. At some point or another, I would really enjoy doing that.

    The novel was completed today: merry Christmas and happy birthday, my friend. Hope your art remains lovely as always. By the way, could you re-upload Ryo’s? I can’t find the file (for some reason that smells like Mystery it’s not on the same folder I placed Kouma’s) and I really wanted to post both here on the blog.


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