lelangir and Digiboy discuss GAR

←[106] After many delays, digiboy and I finally discuss GAR.

21stcenturydigitalboy: Ah. GAR – hm, where to begin? We’d pretty much have to start with our impressions of GAR.

lelangir: Well here’s my compilation of Iknight’s seminal GAR musings. And there’s one aspect, that it’s definitely a subjective experience.

21stcenturydigitalboy: And so it appears as though you think like I do about it.

lelangir: What do you think is the relationship between GAR and moe, using the sheepdog metaphor? – basically the sheepdog metaphor has three parts: the sheep (the girl you must protect), the sheepdog (the thing that protects the defenseless sheep) and the wolf (the bad guy)

21stcenturydigitalboy: I think it was covered pretty well.

lelangir: What about when there is no wolf? Your air example was good: Misuzu, the chronically ill…

21stcenturydigitalboy: I’d say the illness IS the wolf: all moe has some kind of wolf

lelangir: Yes, so in many cases, the wolf is reduced to an abstraction.

21stcenturydigitalboy: Indeed – I’d actually say MOST cases.

lelangir: Yep. It makes I MUST PROTECT YOU that much more potent: “mamoru-ism

21stcenturydigitalboy: But did you guys cover evil GAR already? There are certainly GAR characters who are evil. I think the case for them is when you see someone powerfully chasing ambition against morality.

lelangir: But is that GAR distinguishable from good GAR, and if so, does that have implications concerning the process of GAR formation?

21stcenturydigitalboy: Well, I’d say evil GAR definitely doesn’t use the sheepdog metaphor evil characters don’t necessarily have something to protect. But they have their ambition: the ambition that makes them topple over anything regardless of morals

lelangir: what are some examples?

21stcenturydigitalboy: Hard to say, because in this case, we are actually skewing our own moral compass so that the evil GAR is actually a hero GAR. I’d like to think that this is how the ‘uprising’ effect works: a hero is suppose to hold up acceptable social morals. A lot of who we call heroes purposefully break them in the name of their own righteousness. It is when we let their righteousness become ours that they become heroes to us. Lelouch might be a good example. He is killing people and using friends like pawns, but once we start to feel his ambition, we might just cheer him on. We say ‘fuck you’ to the rightful hero, Suzaku, and Lelouche is pretty fucking GAR even if he lacks the manly physique usually representative of classic GAR (which may even add to his evil GAR).

lelangir: Mmm, yes, point of view – it seems nearly inescapable. With Lulu yes, and with Light as well.

21stcenturydigitalboy: Indeed. The point Death Note got ruined for me was when I couldn’t root for Light anymore

lelangir: Ah yes precisely. So, we are seeing then a transformation of GAR, or, at the very least, a transformation in the kinetic position of the viewer relative to this inert GAR.

21stcenturydigitalboy: We could put it to the phrase that ‘every villain is someone’s hero’ even if it’s only their own,’ which is well represented in their followers, people who found them to be GAR. Just as Simon and crew found Kamina GAR, so did the big 4 find Lord Genome GAR, and Lord Genome is certainly befitting of the title

lelangir: ah well, insofar as GAR is dependant upon point of view, this is why LoGH is a great example: “sympathetic enemies”. It’s similar to TTGL in that there aren’t really any ‘bad’ guys, only different kinds of good guys (or so I’ve read).

21stcenturydigitalboy: That could be said about any series. I find the Joker to be GAR, since he’s my hero, and he’s everyone else’s villain. Basically, I’m talking about an ‘agent of chaos’: someone who fucks over good and bad guys and lives by their on rules. They have no one who would take up for them because they single themselves out (i.e. they are only heroes to themselves). I find this to be GAR because it is the kind of person I want to be – it’s where my moral compass swings. The guy from Baccano, Claire Stanfield (see my avatar) I have been accused of being gay for may times lol.

lelangir: Hmm, well, a maverick would, as you’ve said, upset the good/bad dichotomy. So your moral compass points to a “middle” direction that resonates with this sort of anti-GAR GAR. Is there an anti-gar GAR? I’d like to think so.

21stcenturydigitalboy: Indeed. Anyone can theoretically be GAR. It all depends on what you look up to. Some people only look up to heroes, some to villains. I look up to people with ambition; people who want to rise to their potential. That’s why I have GAR’s on all sides of the field. I find Kamina to be quite GAR because he wants to move to the top. In fact I’d almost say that the sheepdog metaphor doesn’t work for me because I don’t view these guys as someone stronger than me. I view them as someone I can become as strong as, or, rather, I want to become that sheepdog. I don’t know, I’d have to give that more thought

lelangir: doesn’t that intrinsically mean they are stronger than you? As IKnight said, GAR necessitates emulation; you must strive to mimic GAR

21stcenturydigitalboy: Yes, but once you mimic it, is it still GAR? I’d like to think I’ve reached Kamina’s level, but I still find him inspirational. It’s less a goal and more a journey. Like, I’m not trying to reach Kamina, I’m trying to reach where he’s trying to reach. GAR characters haven’t mad it to the top, they are trying to get there. I too am on that journey

lelangir: Interesting – I think IKnight may have implicated this when he was describing the epic in relation to GAR, the significance of the journey. Though I think you’ve run into a paradox there: you’re trying to reach a process of continuous becoming, but isn’t that still trying to achieve something final?

21stcenturydigitalboy: Yes, but that finality is not GAR, and also, the journey is eternal: there is no real end.

lelangir: Ah but wait, what about Kamina’s death? that is finalized, is it not GAR? I would say self-sacrifice is the ultimate form of GAR.

21stcenturydigitalboy: Kamina said ‘I want to reach the surface’ and when he reached the surface he said ‘I want to reach the moon’ Kamina’s journey didn’t end, he just left Simon to continue it. That’s the essence of carrying one’s spirit. It’s not like Kamina wanted to die anyway – he would have never considered it the end. To Kamina, the journey is everlasting, as he would never have been satisfied in one place, just as I doubt I’ll ever stop moving upward. This can best be described in my favorite song lyric from the Nadesico OP: “The time you spend chasing after your dreams make up a part of your dreams”

lelangir: Ah nice, GAR continuum. Yes, and this is the quintessential “Takemoto journey” – realizing that GAR, as a part of identity, is about becoming, not being.

21stcenturydigitalboy: Indeed.

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17 thoughts on “lelangir and Digiboy discuss GAR

  1. >>21stcenturydigitalboy: Yes, but once you mimic it, is it still GAR? I’d like to think I’ve reached Kamina’s level, but I still find him inspirational. It’s less a goal and more a journey. Like, I’m not trying to reach Kamina, I’m trying to reach where he’s trying to reach. GAR characters haven’t mad it to the top, they are trying to get there. I too am on that journey

    This is quite good. I like how digiboy tied it into his current epic journey.

    Becoming is an end, as in becoming the hero who saves the world. To become that, one must ‘be’ GAR. Metaphysical beingness – invoking the characteristics of GAR, accomplishes the tasks. I posit that GAR is a temporal quality, one can ‘be’ GAR the same way they can ‘be’ evil, and change too.

  2. The idea of GAR as becoming is intriguing. What I find most inspirational is a character who at one stage categorically is not powerful/admirable acquiring GAR. So not becoming strong, but not in a persistent state (i.e. the way Gurren-Lagann shows it). Just because GAR should be a constant becoming doesn’t mean that’s what excites me about it.

    Which means that the characters I want to emulate are pre-GAR. Transformation is more exciting than maintenance. Which leads me to think GAR actually isn’t the thing which inspires me the most, but a necessary corollary.

  3. Hmm, everytime I see a write-up on the nature of GAR the meaning of word is either 1. losing its original and simplistic meaning or 2. being either adapted or further explored so that new perspectives continuously arise out of the woodwork (I have never thought of Light as GAR, but you out forth an interesting argument.)

    Awesome post guys. Indeed.

  4. What about Maid Guy? He’s just plain GAR. End of story. No journey, no process, he may play a sheepdog role but that isn’t where he derives his GAR from.

    Beautiful lead-in pic by the way.

  5. stabcicle.jpg

    Well, played, though some would argue that the image in isolation is merely badass.

    I’m sympathetic to the idea of ‘becoming’, with the proviso that if, having realised that ‘becoming is an end in itself’, you give up on the end goal that you were trying to become, then you also stop becoming and fall back to ‘epic’ fail. I probably didn’t express that very well, though.

    @ Baka-Raptor: Isn’t Maid Guy from a genre and form of story that doesn’t particularly do ‘becoming’? I don’t know if that gets us anywhere.

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  8. @The Animanachronism: That’s exactly my point. The idea that GAR is about becoming and not finality presents too narrow a definition of GAR.

    @digitalboy: Sure, I want to be like Maid Guy, but those who don’t still say he’s GAR. I claim GAR can be a state, not just a process. Maid Guy is a state of GAR I’d like to reach. He’s strong, smart, skillful, and really doesn’t have any higher to climb. Same thing with Golgo 13. He’s 100% concentrated GAR with nowhere higher level of GAR to reach. On the other hand, a guy like Guts can be considered a process GAR for me. Although he’s plenty GAR, he only gets more GAR, and he’s still climbing to the top.

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