November 21, 2011

The Mighty Archetype: The Child Prodigy

The Child Prodigy - This is the kid too young to drive or even sit in the front passenger side seat, and yet makes the adults feel inadequate. What others would normally struggle with comes naturally to them. But with great power comes great--er. I mean. Sometimes being a prodigy is awesome. Sometimes, it sucks.

Exhibit A: Toushiro Hitsugaya from Bleach

*Official art by creator Kubo Tite*
        Hitsugaya's actual age is unknown, but he is the youngest of the thirteen captains of Soul Society. Despite entering the Academy far behind a couple of his older friends, as a prodigy, he quickly rose through the ranks and is now their superior. (I adore his serious little face lol)

Exhibit B: Hatake Kakashi from Naruto

*Official art by creator Masashi Kishimoto*
        Kakashi graduated from the Ninja Academy at the age of five (yes, FIVE). He became a jounin (top ranked ninja) at thirteen, and joined ANBU (Special Assassination and Tactical Squad) shortly after.

Yes, Doogie Howser was a child prodigy =P

The most interesting part of creating a child prodigy, imo, is throwing these kids into positions adults have spent years vying for and watching the resulting human interaction. Do the adults around them respect them? Resent them? Sabotage them? Either way, conflict is inevitable.

Did the kid take on the adult role willingly? And as a child, regardless of intellect and skill, are they capable of understanding an adult's world? In Naruto, the third ninja world war was happening when Kakashi was promoted to jounin, and he lost one of his teammates (and his eye) in a battle. Things like this, in addition to all the responsibilities typically given to adults, force the child to grow up far more quickly than other "normal" kids.

I've found that a lot of these child prodigies are rather angsty kids. But I like my literary angst :D While there's always that good old 'just want to be a normal kid' trope, I'm more a fan of the 'yeah, I'm younger and smarter/stronger than you--deal with it' mind camp :D Which one are you?

Old artwork of Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist, another child prodigy who could understand complex alchemy texts before his age hit double digits. And then he tried to unsuccessfully resurrect his dead mother. Sorry, kiddo.

Previous posts in the archetype series:
1: Broody Jerks with Hearts of Gold
2: The Hero Who Hides Behind a Smile
3: The Goofy Guy Who Secretly Kicks Ass
4: The Designated Psychopath
5: The Mad Scientist

November 7, 2011

The Mighty Archetype: The Mad Scientist

The Mighty Archetype 1: Broody Jerks with Hearts of Gold
The Mighty Archetype 2: The Hero Who Hides Behind a Smile
The Mighty Archetype 3: The Goofy Guy Who Secretly Kicks Ass
The Mighty Archetype 4: The Designated Psychopath

The Mad Scientist - You guys know the one. He's typically a supporting character (although not always), the scientific and/or medical genius the main antagonist goes to to do his dirty work, whether that's to brew up biological weapons, design highly advanced laser weaponry, or perform a good old-fashioned torture and dissection of helpless paranormal beings. If he's a protagonist, then... well, nothing changes except the people he's working for lol.

Exhibit A: Dr. Franken Stein from Soul Eater

*Official art by creator Atsushi Okubo*

        Dr. Stein works as a teacher at DWMA (Death Weapon Meister Academy), and he views everything in the world as a specimen to be experimented on, including himself, leading him to drive a large screw through the side of his head and interweave his own skin, clothes, and even his laboratory with stitches. Other than being a scientist, Stein is considered to be the most powerful meister to ever graduate from DWMA and is a master martial artist, making him a deadly opponent in any situation. (Source: wiki)

Exhibit B: Mayuri Kurotsuchi from Bleach

*Official art by creator Kubo Tite*

        Mayuri is the current Captain of the 12th Division in Soul Society. He views everyone as objects to be dissected in the lab. He has even made extensive modifications to his own body. Mayuri has little regard for life or allegiances, even going as far as turning his own subordinates into human bombs on one occasion. In the past, the potential danger he posed to the Soul Society led to his imprisonment when he joined the Soul Reapers. Kisuke Urahara (see: Goofy Guys who Kick Ass) recognized his potential as a scientist and released Mayuri to help him with his research. (Source: wiki)

The interesting thing is that both these characters are supposed to be protagonists. Mayuri, I would argue, is neither--he serves himself and his pursuit of knowledge only. He just happens to be on the side of the protag. Stein, on the other hand, might have a number of questionable morals (and an underlying "madness" that he oftentimes fails to suppress), but he is very clearly a "good" guy who protects his students.

Good or bad, these characters aren't necessarily motivated by ideas like "right" or "wrong," which is why they can be either. Their motivations stem from the desire to learn, to dissect a problem (both literally and figuratively), to uncover and extend their abilities for the sake of science and knowledge. And, oftentimes, out of hubris. High intelligence often breeds big egos lol.

*Official art

What do you guys think of this archetype? Who else fits?

Have a great week! ♥

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