October 3, 2011

The Mighty Archetype: Broody Jerks with Hearts of Gold

No, the 'Broody Jerks with Hearts of Gold' isn't an official archetype name :)

In manga, I have always been drawn to the same sort of character--dark, broody, jerks who hide their high morals and tragic pasts behind a bad attitude and fortified emotional walls. A lot of times, they also have fabulous hair and carry a sword. I have such a weakness for swordsmen (and archers).

Exhibit A: Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto

*Official art from the creator Masashi Kishimoto*

        Sasuke, whose entire clan was murdered when he was a child by his older brother, and has spent every minute of every day since training for the day when he'd be strong enough to face his brother and avenge their clan. He's antisocial, speaks his mind, has a superiority complex and is quick to insult others. But he's also just as quick to risk his life in order to protect his teammates, and he did nearly die to protect Naruto, the title character.
        At the moment, he's in the middle of a huge character arc in which he has become Naruto's enemy and MY HEART IS BREAKING. But I have complete confidence that, by the end of the series, Sasuke will find the right path and redeem himself.


Exhibit B: Yuu Kanda from D.Gray-man


*Official art from the creator Katsura Hoshino*

        He's the result of an experiment, with little memory of his previous life aside from the vision of a woman he has devoted himself to finding again. He's technically a failed experiment and he was almost disposed of, but his first and only friend (a fellow experimentee) saved him. That same friend later went mad and Kanda was forced to kill him. Despite his bitterness, he still fights to protect people from the akuma (demons) and remains loyal to the Black Order, the same religious organization that created him.
        Like Sasuke, he's surly and antisocial and an unrelenting jerk. And, as you can see from my picture spam, I've loved him since the first time he appeared and shoved his sword into the face of the manga's MC Allen.


What draws me to this archetype is that s/he is so intensely layered. Sasuke and Kanda have both buried their pain beneath these rude, arrogant exteriors that shatter in the face of their pasts. And with such difficult pasts, it would have been easy for them to have grown distorted and corrupt as they pursued their goals, but they didn't. They clung to their morals, to the good in them, and it's the one defining thing that sets them apart from the antagonists.

How do you guys feel about this archetype? And what's YOUR favorite archetype?

Who are some literary characters you can think of that fit this archetype?

Naturally, I've drawn my two favorite swordsmen:


Have a great week! ♥
 

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