Waypoint Weeklies: Characters We Connect With

Connecting with the characters in the stories we play, watch, and read often makes a work stick with us for longer. The noble heroes, the badasses with hearts of gold, the cool skater kids, the video game characters who play games themselves, the charismatic revolutionaries, the fashion icons. The traits we share with these characters, or admire in them. These are characters whose experiences - with love, with grief, with joy, with oppression - reflect our own, and sometimes even help us express them in our own lives.

Are there any characters you really connect with? Characters whose personalities are like your own? Whose actions or interests are the ones you’d have in their stories? Characters you wish you were more like, or maybe just dressed more like? Perhaps even be a character of your own creation, an avatar that inhabited another world for you in the way you would, if you could.

Here’s some of mine. :skateboard:

The Janitor from Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is the character that made me realize ‘oh, I’m trans’! Not being able to go like two days without saying ‘uh oh, new gender approaching’ and then not being able to afford to express my new gender… just my life, tbh. I just need a skull who screams at me sometimes to really complete the vibe.

Speaking of gender, Eddie Brock in Venom is basically who I want to be once I can transition.

There are a ton of characters whose personalities I really connect with, but the two that stand out especially are Jacob Frye (from Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate) and Kento Nanami (from Jujutsu Kaisen). They aren’t especially similar, but I love the way Jacob interacts with the at-times contradictory elements of being an Assassin and Nanami’s disconnect with his office job and being a sorcerer alike make me feel Something. Both can be a little ‘jerk with a heart of gold’, which probably only says bad things about me for relating to them, haha. And Jacob is a disaster bisexual who likes hot, older evil women and I really respect that.

Honorable mentions: Morgan Yu in Prey, Gregg Lee in Night in the Woods, Iorveth in The Witcher 2, and Yuki Judai from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.

And, of course, the character I wish I dressed like: Tianyou Zhao from Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Iconic look.

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You mentioned Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and so I should probably talk about Bastion a minute.

Bastion Misawa. Sounds like a vaguely British Seto Kaiba because he is in fact voiced by Eric Stuart. A man of science. Carries around six decks basically at all times so he can beat whoever it is he’s dueling. Overanalyzes everything. All thumbs with the people to whom he is attracted.

I am not quite entirely Bastion (I have a strong Kaoru from Kids on the Slope streak too).

animated teen titans generally but specifically animated terra and raven. i used to really intensely dislike animated raven due to season 2 but i realized on rewatching season 1 when it was on dcu that her only framework for someone not being able to control their powers was her own situation and not being able to see that it wasn’t an issue of self-control for terra but a physical issue. raven is my favorite shitty dynamic with dad in fiction which yeah hits on a personal level and i will always be on terra deserved better from the titans and things change was bullshit if like me you read terra as having a pre-existing condition in the form of her powers not being under control which serve as an effective mirror for how i view my own body and how i relate to society on bad days. i want the alt universe where terra returns and raven and terra hash out their issues. anime wise i’d aspire to be like genkai in terms of how she views aging personally

I’ve always had a really strong attachment to my Captain character from LOTRO, Cainwen Ciaphas:

I named her and her “Herald” after the Ciaphas Cain novels, but LOTRO’s gravitas has a way of cutting through the layers of irony and references. After spending however many thousand hours being a protagonist in a Tolkien book, it’s hard for me to think of her as anything other than a real hero. She was never as central to saving Middle Earth from Sauron as Aragorn or Faramir, but she got to hang with the Grey Company and the Rohirrim – and, more importantly, deliver pies in the Shire.

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That hat is incredible.

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It’s one of the few cosmetic microtransactions I’ve both A) engaged in and B) felt really good about afterward. Also:

You have been playing for: 2 months 6 days 12 hours 14 minutes 32 seconds.

:grimacing:

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I’ve always resonated with characters who want reform / have strong principles, but try to change the system from the inside and are ultimately corrupted. I guess that vaguely alludes to the fate of these characters, so I’ll spoiler tag them: Kahrian Ramses from Xenogears and Xander from Fire Emblem: Fates (yes, I like Fates!).

I empathize with those characters because the temptation in modern America to take the job that pays the best and try to fix it from the inside or eventually give it up is such an easy trap to fall into. You can’t give it up after 5 years - you get used to the money or it corrupts you. You can’t fix it from the inside - all your bosses came in thinking the same thing. I’ve seen it happen to lots of friends. It almost happened to me and I’m frankly still fighting against that “fate” when it comes to employment now. It’s hard to want change in America without being corrupted. Almost everyone has to hold their nose at some point or other.

I feel bad for these characters who want so badly to be virtuous, but are manipulated and ruined by the systems they sought to reform. It’s a cautionary and tragic tale. Or maybe I just like stern blonde men. Who can say?

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I love the avatar creation in Skate 3. While I’ve never been a skateboarder, I have been involved in DIY punk/hardcore scenes since I was an early teen, and that scene often embraces skateboarding fashion and culture. It was cool to see an avatar wearing clothes that I would actually wear.

I’ve mentioned the characters in Persona 5 a lot here, and my thoughts on the game/characters has changed a lot since I’ve played, but I still really connect with those characters (this is also fresh on my mind since I’m playing P5S). When I got into punk, it was a transition away from a friend group that I was already starting to feel left out of. I found new friends, with similar interests who took me in with an abundance of kindness I hadn’t felt outside of family. Seeing the misfits from the Phantom Thieves come together and bond really struck a chord with me, and it will always be a special story to me.

I identify/connect with Ryu, and his desire to be the strongest and best. I compete in powerlifting and I want to be strong. There’s something about the honesty and intensity of Ryu that really inspires me.

I also identify with this haiku-speaking buff man from Dragon Quest:

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I started a new DnD campaign recently and while planning out my character I realized something about myself: when I’m roleplaying a character, I generally want to be either a robot or a skeleton man. This has been true for a while, but I hadn’t noticed it before. I cannot tell you why I feel represented by a skeleton man, but it’s unfortunate since that’s rarely an option in games.

Also, as an edgy teen in the early 2000s, I obviously thought Riku from Kingdom Hearts was the coolest character and wanted to be him.

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Oh! I also had a strong connection to a character in an MMO: I played a dark side Sith Inquisitor in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

SW:TOR has an extensive, fully voiced single player campaign for each class, which means that there are certain voice lines that get reused frequently. When you’re playing a dark side Sith Inquisitor, when your character accepts a quest, they will often say “Murder and mayhem await!”. The best part of this catchphrase is that random imperial officers giving you basic fetch quests will either respond with something like “Wait, what?! Oh god, please no, how can I get out of here…” or “Uhhh, sure, whatever you say my lord” and other sith lords will say things like “Hold on, you need to calm down, this is a rescue mission.”

This is what I want when I’m roleplaying an evil character in a video game with a morality system. I don’t want to be an asshole to people for no reason (e.g. Mass Effect), I want to be a goofy cartoon villain.

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I also crave the ability to either be an android or some kind of skeleton / golem / other supernatural equivalent of a robot in games.

For me, it’s a bit more explicable - I remember confusing my parents at the age of 12 or so talking about how much better it would be to be a machine, and I still somewhat jive with that feeling.

(Also, being a skeleton, in an RPG, often gives you the best lines, and usually fairly meta ones.)

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