The Characters We Hate (And What They Say About Us)

Hello again! It’s your quasi-absent pal Nekochan here! NoMoshing has run out of topics to talk about (unless you want him to gush about another game again) so has asked me to step in and write…something else.

While searching my brain for topics, I kept returning to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. You see the season finale is tonight [Ed. Note: As of this writing] and I am (somewhat) excited for it. I haven’t enjoyed all of this first season, but there’s been some very great bits. One thing I’m sure NoMoshing is very sick of hearing about (aside from my predictions about who I think’ll get killed), is how much I dislike the character Skye.

Now my reasons for this generally centre around her Mary-Sue-ness but this did get me to thinking about characters I don’t like in Harem Collector.

Ah yes. Him.

Felix. Healbot. Stupid.

Okay so, you may wonder, why don’t I like him? Well personality wise, he’s a stick in the mud. Don’t capture that girl. Don’t be mean to children. Don’t do that cool thing. Ugh. Yet at the same time, I need him. He’s the only person who starts with healing spells. The only one who can cure most status ailments. Isn’t overly squishy like the other mages. Just ugh.

Moving on, while I know these traits bother me, I know MagicWhiteLady likes Healbot. She sympathizes with his plight to try and keep the hero’s id in check. NoMoshing likes him too. Then again, seeing as he created all the characters in the game, I don’t think he dislikes any of them. I’m sure the guy has lots of fans. So why does he piss me off?

I then thought a bit about one of the other loves in my life, Persona. One of the central themes of the Persona series (especially P4), is the idea of facing yourself. In P4, this manifestation was the Shadow. The Other Self. The True Self? The thoughts and traits that characters rejected or struggled with. Now the idea of Persona/Shadow is not unique to aforementioned game series. The ideas borrow heavily from Jungian psychology. But Jung went a bit further than that. The Shadow could also explain why you may dislike other people.

Nekochan's Shadow

If you’re a procrastinator, and hate that you do it (hell, who likes procrastinating?), you may dislike other people who also do it, even if you know it’s hypocritical. Why? Since you hate that you procrastinate, you also hate anyone else who does it too. After all, it’s easier to hate someone else then do the harder thing and look inward and try to do something about your own procrastination.

So with that said, let’s return to Healbot. As postulated above, if I dislike him so much, is it possible I’m projecting something I don’t like about myself onto him? Why did I say I don’t like him again? He’s a stick in the mud. Maybe I think I’m a stick in the mud. Maybe I worry that people only tolerate that trait because I’m somehow needed. When my friends drink, I often don’t preferring to remain the “sane” mind in the room. When we plan gatherings I worry about how everyone will get there and get home and who has work tomorrow so we shouldn’t be out that late and for that matter what is the weather doing that night, is that rain, maybe we should stay home. I play the “ego” to NoMoshing’s “id”.

Maybe instead of irrationally hating a fictional character I should let loose a little more.

PS: This is mostly a thought experiment. You’re totally welcome to disagree. I don’t necessarily subscribe to Jungian psychology myself but I find it fun to overthink things.

PPS: Skye is still a Mary-Sue. I don’t think I’m projecting there.

PPPS: Oh yes, No Moshing did ask me to add one thing unrelated to this post. Backers, please check your email for the Backer release of Harem Collector~! I even got off my lazy ass and got the Player’s Guide (mostly) caught up!

6 Replies to “The Characters We Hate (And What They Say About Us)”

  1. Nice post. I do want to point out one thing though, about Jungian Shadows. Jungian shadows only really come into play when the person in question is either in denial of that aspect of themselves or aware of that aspect but are making strides to leave that part of their life behind. If the person dislikes something about someone else that they themselves are knowingly, repeatedly guilty of, it is simple hypocrisy.

    Jungian shadows would only come into play if the would-be-hypocrite is avoiding that aspect, either by blocking it off mentally or forcing abstinence (not necessarily a sexual term, FYI) upon themselves.

    1. i don’t know much about jungian and whatever but we are who we choose to be. Our impulses and such are part of us but they are subordinate to what we choose to act on. Believe it or not i know there are people out there who would love to go around actually taking slaves. That doesn’t mean everyone becomes a human trafficking, kidnapping, rapist. we are as a whole who we choose to be but our shames, the parts of ourselves we hate, are there too and if not faced can become a monster that devours our psyche. Thats what a “shadow” really is.

    2. You are correct, the example I gave works only if you refuse to acknowledge that you procrastinate then take it out on others who do. Oopsie.

      However, I hadn’t thought on why I disliked Healbot so much until writing this post, so I think the rest can still stand. Or not.

      1. Regarding Leo’s comment:
        To some degree I agree, you are right, humans have free will. However I don’t completely agree with “choice” however. Does a person with OCD choose to act in a manner that may be self destructive? Could a person with OCD “choose” to stop those behaviours? The general answer is no without intervention of some kind (behavioural modification therapy for example.)

        Further, by the current moral standards (at least in North America, I can’t speak for every country) slavery is wrong, regardless of how benevolent the Master is. In the HC world, it’s not viewed as such.

        I do agree that unfaced and repressed a Shadow is a “monster”. Persona 4 uses this idea literally.

  2. One thing with HealBot is that he seems to actually be the character who is (or at least is trying to be) the “hero” that the main character wants to portray himself as, it might be interesting to have another character show up as a darker reflection of that part of what he wants to be…

  3. Okay, it’s a bit late but since I ended up playing through the latest version today and have some recent experience I figure I’ll weigh in.

    Felix is boring. I think that’s sufficient reason for anyone to dislike him, but I’ll break this down a bit.

    First off, Felix is a guy in a cast of diverse and colorful girls – he’s up against some distinctive competition, and his design, his abilities, and his personality are bland.

    It’s not because he’s the straight man. In my game the Tower Mistress is the ‘straight woman’ but people love her because she’s not ALWAYS the straight woman. It should never be any one characters responsibility to kill all fun and disapprove of all shenanigans.

    Real human beings have flaws and interests like anyone else. Felix doesn’t. He’s there because he has to be, he’s effectively a little kid, and he’s necessary because he heals. That’s it.

    He needs to have things he’s crazy passionate about, slips and flaws in his personality. The truth of comedy is that EVERYONE can be the straight man in the right situation, just as everyone can be silly or crazy in the right situation. Therese could be a straight man character in religious situations but silly in BDSM situations; Yamayama could be the straight man when fighting in an arena but silly if she was expected to do fine dining. Felix needs that same sort of definition. Right now, he’s just the ‘straight’ man for no real reason.

    Instead, some time should be taken to think of his own passions and interests. What would make him distinctive and stand out? He loves cake; he’s basically a kid, he’s a hero’s guild apprentice. Those are all things you could work with.

    For instance, Penelope (above a certain relationship level) gives out cake. So why not write in a scene of him trying to get cake out of her? Heck, maybe she likes him, maybe he has some passion for cooking. Perhaps he has a cute young boy’s crush on Penelope that the main character would have to put down on occasion, or maybe humors.

    Why is he a hero in the first place? Why is he a healer? Maybe he doesn’t like where he is, but he must have some internal drive to get to where he is, or else someone has pushed him to get here. Does he have parents, a sister? Are they his inspiration? Did he grow up rich or in the slums?

    You can certainly fix him, but Felix isn’t gonna fix easy. You’ll have to wreck him, take him apart and give some serious consideration to what makes him work. And if he doesn’t work at all and he’s still bland – my advice? Simply wipe him and start over with someone else with similar abilities; just recycle the events with a more interesting replacement character.

    You and NoMoshing make the game. You can change whatever the heck you want whenever you want to. And if nobody likes him fans aren’t going to complain.

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