Friday, December 2, 2011

In which two of my favorite fandoms collide: The Hunger Games and MS Gundam Wing

Character studies used to be a part of  the flurry of my intermittent literary entries here in my blog, but I later dropped writing them when my book reviews became more in-depth. Majority of said reviews often discuss how well-developed the characters are, checking if they are believable and can pass the Mary Sue/Gary Stu litmus test, and if they establish a connection with the readers. Some stories—those that are not plot-centric, that is—become more amazing if the characters are their main driving force.

When characters from books of the same genre bear suspiciously striking resemblances with each other, I always say so in my reviews, though not in a way that may offend either writers (after all, originality nowadays is all but non-existent; the best a writer can do is ‘steal’ an idea and brand it his own with his effectual style). However, I rarely compare characters from two different mediums, and so when I happened upon these bits of info back at Tumblr, I was quite flabbergasted…and not exactly in a bad way:



     THE HUNGER GAMES
             GUNDAM WING
PEEQ Q
~PEETA MELLARK~
~QUATRE WINNER~
-blond and blue-eyed
-blond and blue-eyed
-kind, sweet, charismatic
-kind, sweet, charismatic
-doesn’t want to kill but he has to
-doesn’t want to kill but he has to
-a rebel in his own way
-a rebel in his own way
- a survivor
- a survivor
-a good strategist
-a good strategist
-goes berserk when his mind is “hijacked” by the Capitol
-goes berserk when his mind is exposed to ZERO system
-talented (can paint and bake)
-talented (can play the violin and the piano)

The similarities are quite unnerving and at the same time fascinating—it can almost make you think that one is inspired by the other. I love both characters, and I almost smacked myself for not noticing the above resemblances before! Well, I did actually, but not that much.

Peeta is from The Hunger Games, a young adult dystopian book series by Suzanne Collins; Quatre is from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, an anime series that aired in Japan back in 1995.

They sure have lots of similarities, but they have lots of differences too. Peeta is described in the book as “stocky” (he bags 2nd place in a school wrestling competition or something) while Quatre is a lot skinnier and smaller—thus, physically weaker. I was about to point how their statuses in life may have contributed to this when suddenly it struck me that they don’t really differ in that aspect too. Quatre is the heir to Winner Corporation, a mining (MINING! District 12—get it? Get it?) enterprise that provides resource satellites attached to the colonies. He’s undoubtedly well-off! That means he has a lot of servants to do things for him, unlike Peeta who helps in their bakery. Not that bakery stuff is that hard. Also, Peeta doesn’t live in the Seam or the poorest part of District 12, and while his family is not filthy rich, they are better-fed than most people in their district.

Kind, sweet, and charismatic—I couldn’t agree more! Because of these traits, many people in the fandom view them as "weak." They were both thrown in a situation where they have to kill even if they don’t want to: Peeta in the Hunger Games (and later in a war) and Quatre in the AC 195 and Eve Wars. Both dislike killing, but they were forced to do it. And come to think of it, they were both teenagers.

We all know what kind of rebel Peeta is—even before the games, he has his own way of defying some form of authority. One example is when he purposely burns loaves of bread so he could give it to a starving Katniss. On Quatre’s case…well, he is a bit bratty when he’s still 13; he thinks his father only “created” him (he believes he’s a test-tube baby like his 29 sisters) just so he can be used as a tool to make their company better. Later, in the war, Quatre becomes one of the Gundam pilots, who are considered rebels by the Earth Sphere Alliance.

Survivors? Check. Master strategists? Check, no need for major explanations. Now we go to my favorite part: when they went berserk. Peeta is held captive in Mockingjay, and his mind is tampered with by the Capitol (tracker jacker venom, I believe), making him homicidal and suicidal. He almost kills Katniss in their first meeting after the “hijacking”. Quatre…well, I believe he loses it first when his father is killed in front of his very eyes. His grief only enhanced the effect of the ZERO system on his mind, so yeah…he goes crazy and blows up an entire colony. He almost kills Trowa too, when they first meet under these circumstances.

Truly fascinating.

/babbling

By the way, The Hunger Games and Gundam Wing are set in the future; THG is dystopian/post-apocalyptic, no explanation needed. GW is set in a timeline called the After Colony, when space colonies are established outside the Earth to be inhabited by humans.

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