mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Favourite Five Fantasy Nonhumans

Ganked from nojojojojojojojo's entry (there was a character in Arslan, I think it was, that did that to my fingers too; had to keep going back and removing a's and consonants from the name that never never ends...)

Unlike her source, I tend to individuals over species. Species are a problem, as I'll discuss later.

1. Goujun, Saiyuki Gaiden.

And His Brothers, if only she'd included them. Red eyes in human dragons are not original to her; they exist in Yasha Kisouden as well, but I know nothing more of the trope and wish I did.

2. Aoarashi, 100 Demons.

And a good thing I don't do species because 'Ima's youkai' covers an awful lot of territory. This is specifically Aoarashi out of his human body and in either the silver-haired black-robed form, where he's such a contrast to the ordinary manga silver-haired character, or his snub-nosed dragon one, where he behaves exactly as in his human body: GLOMP chomp chomp. His horns are also proper deer horns, unlike Goujun-sama's.

He's also thick as two short planks, which pains me, but IME intelligence per se is not a characteristic that grabs mangaka interest nor that of their readers. I might try compiling a list of Strikingly Intelligent manga characters some time; I think it'd be very short. Of course it's hard to make an intelligent character interesting, unless they're Sherlock Holmes out doing something (solving mysteries) that needs intelligence to be done. Going the Peter Wimsey route and having them quote Donne to demonstrate their brilliance Does Not Work.

3. (should this be Favourite Five Dragons?) Temeraire

And specifically Temeraire. Because he has true sweetness of character. But then a human Temeraire would be sweet too, so why does it matter that he's a dragon? And that one I don't know. Maybe because he's big and strong and potentially dangerous if riled.

4. Rakushun, 12 Kingdoms

Obviously, because; who couldn't love Rakushun? Would it be any different if he were totally human? Probably not; but it matters to me that he's a mouse most of the time, and for choice. OTOH it's possible it matters to me because he's the total corrective to Disney; OTOOH if he weren't a mouse-- if he were in his human form always-- he'd be a different person. Thus: mouse!Rakushun.

I'm not a fan of the 12K kirin generally, bar a fondness for poor hapless tries-his-best and out=of-it Keiki. Indeed, I think I'm probably not a fan of 12K itself. It's a cold nasty world, the 12K one, and fundamentally very depressing; of all the characters in it, the only one who conveys any warmth to me is Rakushun. Everyone else has some of the flatness of the 3K warriors; which may just mean they're in the wrong genre and would look different if we weren't trying so hard to be Chinese in our approach.

5. Kaonashi, Sen to Chihiro

Now *here*, you see, is a not-human who's utterly not human, and what a contrast to the previous four it is. Mind, the other StC non-human characters I like-- Zeniba, Kamaji, Rin-- do remind one of humans in their Looking Glass fashion, while still being distinctly not.

But this does raise a question. If you have the utterly not-human, especially if they're not-humanoid (or animal, because that evokes 'pet' associations) can you make them sympathetic without giving them overtly human psychology? Even Hortas are understandable in human psychological terms. Which leaves--mh yes. What does it leave? That comment on the original entry: The aesthetic sin is weird creatures acting human. anthropomorphism? Where, say, does Watership Down fall according to that measure? HAL? Hell, even unaware ghosts? Is it in fact that we can only understand the weird by interpreting it in familiar this-world terms (by analogy to human or animal behaviour) even if those terms don't quite fit the actual phenomenon?
Tags: 100demons, 12kingdoms, dragons, meme, sentochihiro
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