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Shinn Asuka- A breath of fresh air or the worst lead ever? (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'The Anime Forum' started by HellCat, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. HellCat

    HellCat Lesser spotted Brit
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    Smack in the middle of the controversy surrounding Gundam SEED Destiny is supposed lead Shinn Asuka. Shinn's backstory is unique amongst Gundam leads- his family killed in the last series partially by that series lead, Shinn is willingly serving the military and piloting a Gundam. He lives by a strong moral code, believing the current governments to be ineffective. If nothing else, Shinn brought something fresh to the table.
    But then it apparently all went wrong. By and large, most viewers see Shinn as slowly becoming more arrogant and villainous. Others don't. Some even theorise this was intentional.
    So is Shinn the most screwed up lead Gundam has ever had or one of the greatest leads it will ever know?
     
  2. rubberchicken

    rubberchicken The biggest thing since WWIII

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    Good idea, crap execution. That's pretty much all there is to it.

    It's natural that heroes will make mistakes (and indeed, that's far preferable to a hero who's perfect) but as the series goes on it seems like he's acting solely to be in opposition to Kira, the "real" hero of the series. It doesn't feel natural, and it's also unbelievably annoying, since Shinn is initially far more interesting than Kira and Lacus ever were.
     
  3. KuwabaraTheMan

    KuwabaraTheMan Active Member

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    He got screwed over by Morosawa, but he was still a great character, and a great protagonist. Very believable and likable, he was easy for me to get behind. He was all the source of some great drama, and one of my all time favorite scenes(when he and Luna embrace and cry after his battle with Athrun).
     
  4. HellCat

    HellCat Lesser spotted Brit
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    See, that never made sense. Shinn had effectively just killed her sister. WHY would that bring them closer togethor?
     
  5. Leaping Larry Jojo

    Leaping Larry Jojo Searching for a map

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    As I understand it, Shinn was a victim to fan popularity. Kira's popularity among fans exceeded Shinn's by a significant margin during the show's run, so much so that bottom-line execs told writers to make Kira go from secondary character to "hero."

    Then the writers made Shinn become a blathering retard.

    Honestly, there's been a big debate on many online sites about how this is the saddest treatment they've ever seen done to a main character.
     
  6. GWOtaku

    GWOtaku Moderator
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    He was a great protagonist, one of the best. He wasn't forced into being a pilot by circumstance and doesn't rave against authority. He doesn't whine and complain, he gets angry. He cared about justice and the bottom line instead of being preoccupied with attaining peace or what conflict means. He was a very practical character; he knew what he thought needed to be done and fought his hardest to do it. And the thing is he wasn't far off the mark, the Earth Alliance and LOGOS were in the wrong and needed to be dealt with.

    Was he a flawed character? Absolutely. He was a bit arrogant, let his feelings for Stellar impair his judgment as a soldier (understandable, but flawed), and harbored an irrational hatred for Freedom after Kira did the necessary thing. Like he manipulated so much of the world, Durandal manipulated and took advantage of Shinn's convictions to make him into one of his most potent weapons. In that regard Shinn is an imperfect, tragic hero, although he narrowly avoided disaster in the end.

    All of that is a good thing. So much dislike of Shinn seems to come from the fact that he doesn't fit the Gundam pilot mold, and that he isn't clearly the "good guy." Frankly, I like the ambiguity. Over 20 years we've had protagonists that with a handful of exceptions all go through the same things.

    Its true. The same tragedy, the same "I hate war but have to fight to protect my friends" shtick, the same "we have to win peace for everyone!" mantra. What's wrong with a hero that's doing the right thing in the service of a questionable objective? Why can't a hero be a bit "screwed up"? I thought it was awesome that Shinn and the ZAFT side were doing good things and were on the "right" side all through the series, even as we became more and more aware that there was something very wrong with Durandal. We're made to hate Durandal while we're emphasizing with Shinn and want him to succeed. Its a masterful stroke tempered only by the horrible directing of the final 10 episodes.

    And so as a Gundam character Shinn was very original and a startling change from what fans were used to. At a time when Gundam needs all the originality it can get, I say: good. More please, by all means startle us again next time.
     
  7. KuwabaraTheMan

    KuwabaraTheMan Active Member

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    He didn't do it intentionally. It was a heat of the moment thing, that he felt regret over.

    They were both mourning the loss they had just felt.
     
  8. redxiii

    redxiii Member

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    sorry

    i think he didnt get the best role you know what i mean?

    hes i real disapointment for gundam heroes (with respect for the ones who like him) any way he had i realy weird role thats all.

    thanks for reading.
     
  9. rubberchicken

    rubberchicken The biggest thing since WWIII

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    Uh, I'm pretty sure nobody here has complained about Shinn being "a little screwed up." That's the part that we liked about him. Problem is, it's not "tempered" by those last ten episodes. It's outright ruined by them. Shinn starts out as a conflicted hero with his heart still generally in the right place, but he ends up being reduced to just an obstacle in the path of Kira and Lacus. He disagrees with them. He doesn't "get it." At that point, he becomes "wrong," not necessarily in our minds, but in the script, which pretty much means the end of him as a hero of any sort.

    Really, it's not so much a problem with Shinn as it is spillover from the gigantic problem that is Lacus Clyne.
     
  10. Juu-kuchi

    Juu-kuchi Everypony's Starry-Eyed

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    He was a breath of fresh air that eventually became the worst lead ever. It's not that his position during the series was bad, but they needed to write his character better in the last part.
     
  11. GWOtaku

    GWOtaku Moderator
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    The thing is, I don't think he stops being the main character because he ends up being "wrong." I usually don't embrace ambiguity for its own sake but Shinn was neither completely good nor evil, even in the final arc. Circumstances grew beyond him and he was caught in the middle. I want to be careful about defining a "hero" only as someone that is clearly correct and/or has no doubts, that's a pretty limiting standard and it often doesn't work that way. The recently published The Children of Hurin is a good, very current example of this from literature.
     
  12. rubberchicken

    rubberchicken The biggest thing since WWIII

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    Just got that book not too long ago. Haven't read it yet, though, mostly because I still haven't cracked the Silmarillion.

    But anyway, that wasn't the point. Again, I don't have a problem with moral ambiguity. The non-perfection was great. It was a big part of what made the beginning of Destiny exponentially better than SEED. Problem is, Cosmic Era doesn't seem to have room for moral ambiguity. You either agree wholeheartedly with Kira and Lacus, or you are against them, which means that you will inevitably get pwned by them, resulting in your death or a conversion to The Way of Lacus - which is about as un-Shinn-like as you can get.

    Instead of supporting or building sympathy for Shinn in his moral ambiguity, the series ends up using him as a vehicle to make Kira and Lacus look better, culminating in his effective "surrender" to them at the end of Final Plus. When that happens, he has been purged of all the elements that made him interesting.
     
  13. Gary L Thompson

    Gary L Thompson Active Member

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    I haven't had the opportunity to read the "Children of Hurin", though I have already read the basic story in "Silmarillion" and "Unfinished Tales". (By the way, I think the world of J.R.R. Tolkien would make one dynamite anime, if a really talented group of animators had the guts to try it. Who knows, maybe "The Children of Hurin" might make a great basis for a Gundam-like outer-space opera, as was recently done with Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo".

    I remember one early critic sputtering about the "Silmarillion" that it was just like the Old Testament! Actually, that description is not all that inapt, it's not easily accessible to the modern reader, but very rewarding for those who make the effort. I remember my first reading being a very hard slog, but over the years I've grown to appreciate the book more and more. The thing you have to realize while "The Hobbit" is a modern children's story and English novel, the "Silmarillion" was deliberately written to faithfully follow the conventions of the old Norse sagas (basically, Tolkien's aim was to reproduce the native Anglo-Saxon literary voice that was so largely lost to the Norman conquest of 1066). The "Lord of the Rings" was essentially a perfect mixture of the modern style of the "Hobbit" and ancient style of the "Silmarillion", which is why it proved to be one of the most powerful works and literary masterpieces of all time. For example, you have to keep in mind that old Norse sagas do not develop character the way the modern English novel does, it delineates the character in a few introductory lines when we first meet them, and all the succeeding storyline arises out of the character thus-established manifesting itself. For example, the death of Turin's elder sister is really a reeenactment of the Norse literary convention of having a good older brother keeping in check a younger sibling, when the good sibling dies, the flaws of the younger sibling run wild and eventually overwhelms any good intentions the would-be hero might have. While the tragedy of "Children of Hurin" tends to be the most gripping to modern sensibilities, it might be interesting to compare Turin's story to those of his close relations Beren and Tuor, who both (though Tuor especially) adhere more closely to GWOtaku's conception of a hero.
     
  14. FlyByNite77

    FlyByNite77 Active Member

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    I think missed opportunity best sums it up. It's like they couldn't decide what they wanted the character to be. Or the theory that they just let Kira's popularity push him back more into the story and thus lost focus on Shinn could definitely be true since toy sales have fueled storyline development in most recent gundam series.
     
  15. Timmay

    Timmay 100th cup of coffee.

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    I find this thread amusing, because I remember nobody really liking Shinn until it became obvious he was gonna get his role shafted by Kira. What I find sad about Shinn's treatment is that unlike Kira he never came to a conclusion or found an answer to his problem. Instead, he just gets removed from the main fight by Athrun and plays no role in the ultimate resolution. Somehow or another Shinn ends up being Kira's ***** (completely out of left field). For the entire series Shinn is being lead around by someone or another, never really gaining any indepence or conviction.

    If I wasn't sure that he was atleast supposed to be the main character I'd be sure he wasn't. I mean, he spends the entire series being a pawn, and is denied the chance to redeem himself.
     
  16. rubberchicken

    rubberchicken The biggest thing since WWIII

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    I liked Shinn when the series began. In the early instances of him being a jerk I remember being far more irritated at Cagalli for being so spineless about it.
     
  17. Ragebot

    Ragebot Active Member

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    To understand what Shinn’s character was originally supposed to be, I think we must take a look at what the series was originally trying to be.

    I feel that one of the original intents of Destiny was to portray a different type of character dynamic between Coordinators. These characters being Rey, Meer and, of course, Shinn. Durandal’s paternal treatment of these three is a notable contrast to the adversarial relationship between Athrun and his father in SEED. Durandal’s manipulation of them is symbolic of the genetic manipulation that all Coordinator parents enforce on their children. (Another parallel can be drawn between these three and the three Extendeds too.)

    It would’ve been more interesting had Rey, not Durandal, been the cause of the Junius 7 drop and be the one to have deployed MESSIAH. Likewise, it would’ve been better had Meer been directly responsible for the assassination attempt on Lacus. This way, Gilbert would have not been portrayed as an all out baddie like Patrick Zala, but rather as a Dr. Frankenstein-esque figure who couldn’t control the ambitions of his creations.[FONT=&quot]

    [/FONT]Shinn fights for the people he lost. This makes him different from Rey, who fights out of revenge and blind duty, and from Meer, who is a victim to her vanity. Episode 30 showed a kind of Shinn Asuka that was completely discarded in the last quarter by a flurry of rewrites, a Shinn that made his own choices and helped Stella because of his love. If I wrote the finale I would’ve had THIS guy as the hero of the story. He would be the one to kill Rey and to confront Durandal. (I could also see him teaming up with Neo (not Mu, Neo) and the still-breathing Sting, all united because of Stella’s death.)

    So, did any of that make sense?
     
  18. Pepperidge

    Pepperidge Active Member

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    Actually, models for the Destiny Gundam apparently sold very well in Japan, which is a contrast to the way Shinn was treated in the latter part of the series. Likewise, Chaos Gundam apparently sold well, yet Sting was given almost no development throughout the series.

    It was character rankings that dictated the direction the story went in. Frankly, I would've preferred to see toy sales driving the series.
     
  19. HellCat

    HellCat Lesser spotted Brit
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    Impulse definetly sold poorly. We have photos to prove it and in terms of SD, Bandai gave Impulse an exclusive stand which all the kits following could use with several notes telling you to buy Impulse in order to do so.
     
  20. Duke

    Duke Truer Words Were Never Spoken

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    While Shinn was a refreshing lead character, his presence also contributes to Gundam series being less realistic.

    It'd be extremely difficult for me to accept that any self-respecting military would allow a soldier as troubled as Shinn obviously was to not only go out onto the front lines, but be in control of one of the military's greatest weapons. Not before seeing a psychiatrist. There's too much risk that Shinn would snap and potentially do something he really shouldn't have.

    You could try to compare things to the current US standards for the military, but ZAFT wasn't having any major military conflicts at this point and the army, despite being decimated in the last war, was still highly populated and had a lot of soldiers in the ranks.

    Then there's the whole "He hates the EA and Orb, so we could use him to beat them up when the war starts up again!" way of thinking, but that's an extreme misuse of power and it would be difficult for me to believe that nobody in either ZAFT or the PLANT Council had any objections.

    If the Minerva was the typical misfit-type crew or was in the middle of a war, then I could understand using Shinn despite his fragile mental state. But in a state of peace (however fragile)? No. It's just too difficult to believe that the military would ignore a potential powder keg like that.
     

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