Character death?

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Puppeteer
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Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:57 pm

So in the past two days I've had a few beloved characters of mine bite the big one, so apologies for the morbid topic. :P But, since death comes up frequently in all sorts of series, I figured it could still make for a discussion.

To keep things free form, the basic idea of this topic is how do you feel about main/supporting character death? From there, you can include all sorts of responses to things like: does the purpose of the death matter (i.e. sacrifice, unfortunate casualty, etc.)? Does how the character perishes matter? Does the length of the character's appearance matter? And so on and so forth.

Personally, I can accept character death as part of good storytelling or character development. For example, a bad guy who in his last moments finds goodness and makes those moments count (i.e. FMA's
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), or a death that springs another character into action. Sacrifice is a little trickier when I like the character enough, but I guess I find the conflict a bit cathartic whichever way it's resolved.

When biased, I get pretty in denial about death, even if I see it coming from a mile away. I've even given up on series due to a favorite character's passing. [s]Bleach is toeing the line right now[/s].

Anyone else have thoughts on this? And again, sorry for the morbid-ness. I need to watch more happy series XD
[People have a weakness for forbidden things.]

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Masao
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Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:42 pm

Yeah, I agree. While character death always hurts, as long as it's handled well, and propels the story forward, I'm perfectly okay with it. Sometimes a meaningful death is better than characters getting miraculously revived or saved (I'm looking at you, Code Geass R2).

lol don't worry about the morbidness. For a while I realized a lot of my favorite characters either died at some point or another.
THE FATE OF DESTRUCTION IS ALSO THE JOY OF REBIRTH.

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Saya
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:14 am

Oh well if I say that there is a favorite character for me in a series, you can count that 90% THAT one will die, really. So I had to accept the fact that my favorite characters die, and while it makes me sad, normally all of my favorite characters die for a good cause... only some die stupidly......

and agreeing with Masao, if the char days, let it stay dead, not resurrect him/her =)
-* Nothing is true ... everything is permitted.

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Lethe
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:25 am

It's funny - I've finished rereading Dragon Ball just the other day, and this is a topic that came to mind a lot while observing how the Dragon Balls were used and what impact they had on the characters over time. I don't mind character deaths, even "meaningless" deaths (casualities for example) as long as the aftermath is handled appropriately - I don't like deaths being brushed off entirely by the writing; if there's a death, it's sure to leave an impact, and that should be addressed within the series itself. Actually, I'm very fond of character development arcs where someone learns how to deal with the death of a loved one. It takes time to heal, and this shouldn't be summed up in just a few inner monologues - it should show in the way the mourning characters interact with their environment and show in their decisions. Dead characters should leave a trace, just as people leave something behind when they die.

In Dragon Ball, death was a major thing at first, and was treated with respect. Of course, I, too, read the manga with nostalgia goggles, and I know that Dragon Ball isn't without flaws, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't bothered by statements such as "it's okay if they die, we needn't save them now, we'll just revive them later - so let's just let them die for now" by the end of the series. :( I severely dislike death being trivialized.
Both despair and ecstasy are part of the elements that compose a person.

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Eden
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:18 pm

Lethe wrote: In Dragon Ball, death was a major thing at first, and was treated with respect. Of course, I, too, read the manga with nostalgia goggles, and I know that Dragon Ball isn't without flaws, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't bothered by statements such as "it's okay if they die, we needn't save them now, we'll just revive them later - so let's just let them die for now" by the end of the series. :( I severely dislike death being trivialized.
For this example, I don't think it's necessarily taking a stab at death as a trivial thing. The characters in dragon ball are too used to being able to revive fallen loved ones or people who get killed because of them. They feel the deaths on their shoulders all the time (especially Goku), and they DO feel terrible about someone dying. I know they felt secure knowing they COULD revive someone so the death is softened by such a security. But I haven't read it in years so... anyway, hell I'd feel the same way if bringing back a loved one was so easy. It doesn't mean they think death is trivial. Gohan suffered tremendously when Goku first died and subsequently after the second time, regardless of the z-fighters wishing him back. So aside from being able to wish people back, the fact that they died has an impact on a character and their development. ^^ That's what I thought about this particular story.
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Lethe
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:03 pm

Oh no no, I'm sorry if I didn't phrase it carefully enough! I didn't mean that the characters regarded death as trivial - given the circumstances in their world, it's only natural for them to look at it that way (it being what I've quoted), and it's "practical", too. You've got to prioritize while taking all your options into account, so...

I just meant that the writing/series/manga itself - not the characters - along with the Dragon Balls that were powered up over time (and what other elements there are), encourage that kind of thinking - and I'd rather it didn't. I know that many shounen series don't penalize recklessness too heavily and that they're usually very forgiving with deaths in general (by, for example, creating situations where characters assume that someone has died, but making that person show up again by the end of the arc), but Dragon Ball did seem to have reached a point where I deemed all the resurrections over the top. :|a It might also have to do with how a lot of characters kept dying and being revived without getting a chance to be anything more than background figures though.

Though of course, one can't just deny that Dragon Ball is a lighthearted series overall, with emphasis on constantly aiming higher, whether in life or in death. :> So while the amount of resurrections bothered me, I didn't mind characters still showing up after their death.
Both despair and ecstasy are part of the elements that compose a person.

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Puppeteer
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:25 pm

Shounen manga in general makes me very wary about character death, because while most of the time I do expect people to show up a few chapters later, it's just extra brutal when that character doesn't come back. A little consistency wouldn't hurt, you know. -_- Or, resurrecting a character that had been presumed dead for several chapters--makes me feel like my emotional trauma wasn't all that important.

As for Dragonball itself, I agree that after awhile I saw the death/resurrection aspects as simply part of the series' mechanics. Warriors are able to train and make themselves stronger while waiting to be resurrected, and most of the time that interim period is key to whatever arc they're in. It's funny, I've come to terms with DBZ's treatment of it, I can't imagine myself liking another series that relies so much on resurrection; maybe it's possessive nostalgia? lol
[People have a weakness for forbidden things.]

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Mikari
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:00 pm

It depends on who the character is, if I like him/her, the way the character died, everything. I can't come up with a general answer because each situation is different. Even if it's a character I like if the death makes for a good story I might still be okay with it.

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Kibumie
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Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:58 am

When it comes to a character's death. Light Yagami from Death Note is the first character I could think of. :blush: :music2:
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Shiori
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Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:08 pm

I'm generally pretty chill about characters biting the dust, even when they're the characters I love most. Usually they die for a reason or their deaths are heavily foreshadowed beforehand, but it still does kind of suck when they actually go and I am forced to experience FEELS. Unless their deaths are hilarious, of course. Then I will spend hours laughing at gifs of their demise on Tumblr (I'm looking at you, Blood-C. LOOKING AT YOU SO HARD.).

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