In English, we’ve been reading All Quiet on the Western Front. While I was reading, I couldn’t help but sense the narrator describes himself with some OP characteristics. When on the battlefield, he’s killing, outrunning, hiding, jumping. I realized, well that’s exciting. If he wasn’t brave, the whole few pages of him killing people would be reduced to a paragraph of him hiding in the trenches. This idea prompted this post.
In the words of my cousin, “OP characters” are the words you use to call those main heroes of a story that pretty much overpowers everyone else. It is the typical plot line for the average Shounen anime. Naruto, One Piece, Shingeki no Kyojin, SAO, Fairy Tail, and Fullmetal Alchemist just to name a few. Although they’re so typical, why is it that we always love them?
Of course it’s not just seen in anime, but also in the typical Hero’s Journey. It occurs enough for a general outline to be made that follows a lot of those action adventure type stories. We, as mundane ordinary readers with no extra power, find the life of someone else so much more interesting when they actually have some type of skill. I actually never really understood why we get drawn to such powerful characters. And these powerful characters we’re drawn to, just has the ability to beat people up.
The past weekend, I was addicted to the Goldeneye 007 video game on the PS3. I could somewhat feel that accomplished feeling as I played the role of OP character, James Bond. On certain missions where I successfully killed a swarm of enemies, I felt like “Wow, I’m awesome. I’m killing all the bad guys like they’re flies.” Point being, the new generation has become desensitized to violence with video games such as Halo or Call of Duty glorifying the ability to kill other men. Same thing with these characters we’re drawn to. It’s ultimately just high skills in killing or tricking people. If it was a villain, it’d be deemed “devious, sly, conniving, or evil.
We wrote a found poem in class with four separate World War I poems. In my group, ours centered a bit around PTSD in the view of a soldier speaking his experiences with younger people. The last two lines we put together were
To children ardent for some desperate glory
Now you have touched the shrieking iron and flame
War is not fun. I fear for some people who start to develop mentalities of glorifying “overkills” or “headshots.” There’s an increase of virtual violence and a decrease of actual experiences, people who come across such things. The last two lines of the poem is a World War I veteran speaking to a youth who wants to have his own glory fighting in the war. It’s similar to the youth today who imagine themselves being able to go onto the battlefield and become the “OP character” protagonist. In reality, it’s like shrieking iron and flame.