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I <3 War

May 16, 2010

Gotta give Updatedude props for the idea behind this post. Ahahaha! I’m stealing your idea and there’s nothing you can do about it. Ooooooohohohohoho!

Yuri from Angel Beats reminds me of someone.

That someone is Haruhi Suzumiya The Major from Hellsing.

The Major is guilty of one of my favorite villainous archetypes. He’s like The Joker or Eris or Kafuka from Zetsubou Sensei: he just wants to see the world burn in the most beautiful and glorious of ways. He doesn’t just enjoy war, he loves war. In the above infamous clip he describes the act of waging war against his enemies in the sort of loving, enraptured details the way someone would describe their lover or a piece of treasured art. A guy doesn’t just go around tossing around such superlatives unless there’s genuine feeling in his heart.

I like this sort of villain. No, I love this sort of villain. He isn’t troubled by an angstful past. He isn’t motivated by vengeance. he isn’t moved by some patriotic ideal or by the need for power or conquest. He isn’t a misunderstood figure trying to do the right thing in a misguided manner. He rapes and pillages and murders because that’s what he likes to do. He’s an artist in that regard. True artists that throw themselves into their craft do it for the love of creation. He wants an unholy holocaust to be his Sistine Chapel. He wants Hell on Earth to be his Mona Lisa. He wants perpetual war to be his everlasting mark on the world.

Some might find such motivations to be shallow since there’s no background detail leading to their cause. I like such motivations because it makes the character come off as a force of nature. The seas don’t flood the shores during a tsunami because the waters are angry at the shore for killing their brother. Volcanoes don’t erupt and engulf cities because their daddy beat them when they were young. The Major doesn’t want to wage infinite war because of some mitigating factor. All of these things happen because that’s the way motherfucking nature works. Tsunamis kill stuff. Volcanoes wipe out civilizations. And The Major fights because that’s what Majors do. He’s like Anton Chigur from No Country for Old Men. He’s terrifying because there’s no reason behind his violence beyond “I enjoy it.”

Coming back to Yuri from Angel Beats. While the anime has given us a motivation behind her actions in the form of her younger siblings being murdered before her eyes, I don’t think that’s the driving factor behind her actions. That’s like saying The Major kills shit because he’s a Nazi. Yes, Yuri’s family was killed, and The Major was a Nazi, but those are merely details that get in the way of getting to the heart of each character’s true personality.

In the latest episode of Angel Beats (episode 7), everything tells us that the war against God should be over. Angel and her replacement are no longer in power and have joined Yuri’s group. Otonashi has come to grips with his now-found memories and is trying to form a friendship with Angel. Everyone is happy and seem to have come to the conclusion that all they need to do to ensure they don’t vanish is to “slack off” and not play by all of the rules established by God.

I don’t think Yuri’s happy with this arrangement. She’s been at the heart of the resistance since the beginning. She is the resistance. If the resistance is over, does she have any reason to continue on? If the fight is over, will she be able to remain in this world, or will she become “erased” because her meaning in this reality has been fulfilled?

When I saw Yuri stumble forward, beaten up by a newly formed Angel replacement, that’s what came to mind. Given the way you can create things from nothing in this world, did Yuri create another Angel in order to perpetuate the war and ensure her continued place in this world? Why else would Yuri disappear during the middle of a major celebration, especially since she’s shown herself to enjoy being the center of everyone’s attention.

Maybe Yuri began her fight against God to avenge the absurd deaths of her siblings, but her struggle has since evolved. She may still care about their deaths, but I believe her primary motivation behind her actions is the fact that she loves struggling against this unseen force. She revels in the never-ending struggle between man and God and knows that the only reason why she exists in this world is to perpetuate that struggle.

If my theory pans out, then Yuri and The Major are very much alike. They’re both villains born out of  lust for conflict. They were born to kill and they like it.

“I’ve always wanted to kill you” – Night Man

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 11:52 PM

    Or maybe Otonashi is generating his own Tenshi harem. :3

  2. May 17, 2010 2:56 PM

    Simplistic motivation? Sure, but I do agree that it’s far from shallow. That crazed warmonger Gates in FMP: TSR also had the loves war/violence shtick going on and he certainly made the series really interesting than a villain with a dark, sordid past.

  3. May 18, 2010 2:58 AM

    I take what I see in Angel Beats! at face value but you present an interesting theory. What if she created a harem Tenshi to secure her place as the leader? Hmm…

  4. Landon permalink*
    May 18, 2010 10:29 PM

    Angel Harem makes about as much sense as anything that’s happening in the series, so I wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe we’ll get to see a big vat of Angels towards the end of the series, kinda like Shinji seeing all of the Rei clones at the end of Eva. Beats is apeing off of plenty of other series, may as well go for that too.

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