This post will reference back to points made in my Part 1 post quite a bit, CLICK HERE to read that post so you don’t get confused. With that said, let’s continue.
A Quick Recap
Welcome back to my first 2 part post. Last time we talked about how NOT to write OP characters and used Rey from Star Wars as an example. I addressed how Rey has no mental journey to compensate for her lack of a physical one. The mental journey describes an emotional turmoil or challenge that holds back the character. Once that challange is overcome, the character finally grows and develops. When a character is physically unbeatable, their journey needs to become mental so as to make for an interesting and compelling story. After I downed my 30+ shots from all the physicals and mentals I wrote, I got back up, vomited my insides out and then sat down to write this part 2. (I didn’t actually drink 30+ shots, don’t drink recklessly guys.)
I mentioned in part one that it would be wrong to use Saitama in this argument, but didn’t really explain in fully why I didn’t. For one, he’s a joke character and is meant to be a parody of superheroes and OP characters in general, as mentioned before, he trained every day for 2 years to the point where he became an indestructible, unbeatable monster of a man. Saitama has no desire to be better than what he is, he’s already reached the end of both his physical and mental journeys. His sheer power is a display of his physical journey and his sheer obliviousness is a display of his mental journey’s completion. Saitama wants to be a hero, but he’s not obsessed with it or have some form of sacrifice to reach it. In all honesty, the biggest mental challenge for Saitama is what food to buy for dinner. So while Saitama is a pretty funny character and his likeable nature is well written, his gag character mantle keeps him from being a suitable candidate for this argument. So who do I think is an OP character done right? Well it’s the man who sparked this post idea, Diablo from How not to Summon a Demon Lord.
Diablo is OP Done Right
I have touched on how Diablo is such a well written character in my review of How not to Summon a Demon Lord, but here I want to expand on it and explain how he’s an OP character written right. First off, let’s establish how physically powerful Diablo is. In the second episode he annihilates a Fire Salamander which is declared as a powerful beast. He also eliminates the likes of an entire army of fallen (basically hulk demons), a powerful Hydra beast and even the Demon Lord Krebskulm, and all of these were in more or less a single shot a piece. So yeah, we can call Diablo pretty OP, but despite the lack of a physical challenge, he is still a greatly flawed character. Let’s look at who Diablo actually is, he’s a solitary nerd trapped in the body of a dominating demon. Diablo suffered in his youth, being tricked by other kids into thinking they were his friends. This created his first major mental challange, accepting help from others and coming to call others his friends. Diablo is thrust into a world where he is needed by many to protect the land from all sorts of otherwise unstoppable evil. Rem and Sherra try to bring Diablo closer to them (not like that…most of the time), and as a result he has to learn to bring down his internal walls and let them into his life. Diablo’s spent so long doing things alone and resenting the idea of teamwork, actively fighting those in the game who coupled up, and for his ideals to change in this way is a major part of his growth. This isn’t exactly an extensive journey, but it does hold quite a lot of weight to it, Diablo can very clearly take on any physical challange without assistance, but the girls do offer him more assistance than he initially thinks.
Emotional Support and Growth
(The rest of this post contains spoilers for How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, if you haven’t seen it I recommend you either watch it or read my review of it, click the link above to view it). I mentioned in part 1, the concept of sacrifice and how it is a very large part of the mental journey and is what prompts the character to climb out of their rut and climb back to the top. Diablo’s sacrafice starts when he’s a kid, when he decides to reject all others and retreat into his solitary shell. Diablo has to learn to welcome others in so that he can grow as a person, not to overcome a vast challenge but rather pave the way for new ways to conquer future ones. In one of the episodes there’s a shot of kid Diablo walking down a street before transitioning into his demon form to greet Rem and Sherra. This shot is a perfect description of his growth up to this point in the series, he’s stopped being a shut in child and grown into an imposing man with people who supports him. When a character is solitary, coming out to accept others is usually the hardest thing they can do, and when they finally conquer that conflict, they come out as a developed character. The girls conflicts and issues also aid in his growth, forcing him to adopt a moral compass that correlates with their wishes and his intentions as their master. Rem’s struggle is one of the first things Diablo addresses, and it is what kickstarts his journey in this world. Sherra’s heritage and deep emotional connection to Diablo is also a major part of his development, the mini arc regarding her kidnapping is what propels Diablo to new heights and truly allows for his flaws to come to the forefront. When Sherra leaves, he’s distraught and is at perhaps his lowest point. He doesn’t have the answer and begins to slip back into his old ways of solitude and self-deprecation. When he rises above this and returns to his newly accepted Demon Lord persona, the major chunk of Diablo’s mental journey has been covered, and it’s a great thing to witness.
The Acceptance of New Logic
What makes Diablo so good as well is that he has to learn to adapt to new logic and ideas when thrust into this fantasy world. He originally starts operating on video game ideas and rules, since this world is very similar to his MMO, he initially applies. He believes everything is like the game, right down to abilities and the way the world works socially. Diablo isn’t necessarily cocky or arrogant while having this belief, but it does erect a barrier for his development. This mindset does lead to him nearly meeting a physical match in the form of the Force Hydra. This isn’t a big part of his character, but to me it is a significant aspect of his character as it moulds him into a more real character since he originally based everything on video game logic, which sucked him out of the immersion this world offered. As time went on, less and less of Diablo’s previous logic began to fade and was replaced by new knowledge, skills and understanding. This was great growth for Diablo, who managed to learn and grow as a character after growing accustomed to this new world, it actually does lend itself to some physical growth as well.
So in conclusion, I feel Diablo is an OP character written exceptionally well. When the lack of a physical challenge presents itself, the emotional struggles Diablo endures are actually pretty compelling and interesting. His mental journey bleeds into the real world and vice versa, creating an immersive character.
So there we have it, my completed 2 part post for OP characters. I had a lot of fun with this one too. It was great to look at two vastly different characters and dissect their characters, something I do a lot with media, but writing about them was a lot of fun for me. But at the end of the day, this is all subjective, whether or not you think Rey is well written or not or whether Diablo is actually OP, this was just a fun little study of characters and their writing. I hope to do more 2 part posts like this as it lets me elaborate further on things without stretching the posts out too much.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me one Twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.