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Fire
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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   18th February 2015, 8:22 pm

It's late on my side of the world and I should be going to bed... So I'll type out a longer reply on the topic tomorrow. But I just wanted to say that, when the Mary Sue fashion first came out on the Internet (aka when it became fashionable to point them out and laugh) it seemed very easy to pinpoint a Sue or a Gary Stu (the male equivalent of a Mary Sue). They had to resemble the author; had no flaws or very trivial flaws that they pretended were awful (clumsy, quiet, too shy, they called themselves ugly or unattractive but when describing themselves they made it clear they were beautiful - that sort of thing)... They had weird quirky physical characteristics such as eyes that changed colors according to their mood, or crazy naturally pink hair or scars that acted like a compass - you get what I mean. And for some reason, even though they pretended to be unattractive, they had several suitors coming after them. So yes, basically Bella Swan, haha.

But as the years went by I found myself liking several characters who would fit well into the Mary Sue / Gary Stu pattern. So my conclusion was that it's not necessarily about the character itself and whether or not the character ticks off the things on these lists. It's more about the writing itself. Harry Potter could be a Gary Stu by some descriptions, but he sure doesn't feel like one. And keep in mind, he's far from my favorite character in that story. Same goes for Usagi - she COULD be a Mary Sue, but she doesn't come off as one. Heck, even Katniss ticks some of the things on that list.

But it's all about how the story is planned and written, how the character is seen thinking and interacting with other characters, etc. The problem is, Mary Sues are, to my knowledge, a product of Internet fanfiction of the early 2000s. You know, little girls who write OCs that are basically them with purple hair and color-changing eyes and infinite power, and who are awfully written. 

If the fiction is good, the insult is unwarranted. If it's not... we have photos like the one above, of Stephanie Meyer. Brilliant photo. Even more brilliant if you remember that she got the "inspiration" for Twilight from a dream she had, where this couple was all lovey dovey in a meadow and the guy was a vampire and the girl looked like Bella (wonder who that might've been). So basically Twilight is the product of a wet dream and 50 Shades is erotic fanfiction for the wet dream. That's culture in 2015, folks!

Umm... did I start out by saying this was gonna be short? Yeah... scrap that Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   18th February 2015, 9:53 pm

Guess I'm so picky with what I watch that I don't see too many Mary Sue characters in things.

There's a very specific person that I know that likes to roleplay with every character being a Mary Sue. Each character is amazing at everything and no facial expressions. So obnoxious.

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   18th February 2015, 10:57 pm

@Fire wrote:


But it's all about how the story is planned and written, how the character is seen thinking and interacting with other characters, etc. The problem is, Mary Sues are, to my knowledge, a product of Internet fanfiction of the early 2000s. You know, little girls who write OCs that are basically them with purple hair and color-changing eyes and infinite power, and who are awfully written. 

If the fiction is good, the insult is unwarranted. If it's not... we have photos like the one above, of Stephanie Meyer. Brilliant photo. Even more brilliant if you remember that she got the "inspiration" for Twilight from a dream she had, where this couple was all lovey dovey in a meadow and the guy was a vampire and the girl looked like Bella (wonder who that might've been). So basically Twilight is the product of a wet dream and 50 Shades is erotic fanfiction for the wet dream. That's culture in 2015, folks!

Umm... did I start out by saying this was gonna be short? Yeah... scrap that Razz
The term Mary Sue actually started in the 80s within Star Trek fandom.  There was an author who wrote a fanfic in a Star Trek zine and she created a character named Mary Sue who was always perfect and got the whole ship to love her as a way to satirize what the author thought were unrealistic Star Trek fanfics.  But I think you hit the nail in the head here.  I think the problem is not that the author is writing a main character who is extremely powerful and fulfills all their dreams or whatever but the problem is that most of the time, the writers making these characters and fanfics are newbie writers who are inexperienced and just getting started out and they don't know all the tricks and tips to be a good writer yet.  It also seems like the term is very selective in that people only seem to use the term to describe an unpopular character that everyone hates.  One could argue Madoka Kaname is a Mary Sue for instance and she fits a lot of those traits of a Mary Sue but I rarely hear people bash her for it because Madoka is currently a popular anime.
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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   18th February 2015, 11:42 pm

For me, the problem with Mary Sues isn't that they exist - it's that women are so often categorized into only a few role types in media, when in fact they are on screen. It's as if women in media have three lanes - they can be the strong female character, the damsel in distress, or the love interest.

I believe this is supported by the fact that I rarely hear complaints about Gary Stus in stories (the male counterpart to the Mary Sue). Superman, James Bond, Indiana Jones - why are these characters venerated when Mary Sues are criticized? Because men get so many interesting and varied personalities that these few perfect males become fun and interesting to watch, rather than repetitive.

I personally take no issue with Mary Sues - I love watching Phyrne Fischer fly a plane, drive a race-car, solve mysteries and speak French. I like my Mary Sues, they go on exciting adventures and make me feel adventurous and strong. I only wish that there were more variation in female characters peppered in.

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   19th February 2015, 4:37 am

One of my favorite characters is Yellow from the Pokemon Special manga, but I've seen so many people bash her and call her a Mary Sue based on her powers, but she has many flaws people seem to overlook: she doesn't know much about Pokemon, she doesn't have enough experience to take care of her own Pokemon (some even attack her at some points), she doesn't have complete control of her powers, and she for the most part has to learn everything from scratch. If she really was a Mary Sue, she'd have solved every single conflict all by herself with a snap of her fingers, but she doesn't. I could do a ten page paper on her if I could! Personally, I think some fans are too quick to assume some characters are Mary Sues whereas other characters are far more deserving of them.

Unfortunately, one such character is Yuuko Omori from Happiness Charge PreCure. I hate to say it but she's pretty much a Mary Sue. She's unfailingly kind, friendly, loves food, constantly talks about the goodness of food and rice, she's always in the right, anything she does is praised by everyone, any flaws she might have are presented as cute character quirks instead of real flaws, there's basically nothing bad about her, she almost never makes any real mistakes, any flaws she might have aren't utilized, and everyone loves her unconditionally. She's pretty much a perfect role model, and her focus episodes all revolve around food and are poorly written in general, IMHO. Basically, the writers could have done so much more with her character but they didn't.

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   19th February 2015, 5:23 am

In stories written by professionals, Mary Sue's don't bother me. For example, I love Disney princesses but most of them are Mary Sue-ish (maybe Merida and Elsa being the exceptions). In most media, the writters are good enough that the character can still be likeable.

It's on fanfics and roleplaying that it gets annoying. I talked to one girl who wrote Once Upon a Time fics and her OC was named after her, was a fairy-princess-mermaids-sorceress-weredolphin that all the male characters wanted to sleep with. Plus she used quotes my my role plays with others and thought it wasn't plagiarism.

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   19th February 2015, 4:37 pm

Henshinyo wrote:


I believe this is supported by the fact that I rarely hear complaints about Gary Stus in stories (the male counterpart to the Mary Sue). Superman, James Bond, Indiana Jones - why are these characters venerated when Mary Sues are criticized? Because men get so many interesting and varied personalities that these few perfect males become fun and interesting to watch, rather than repetitive.

I have seen some criticisms of Kirito from Sword Art Online being a Gary Stu but that seems to be the exception.  One could say Goku in DBZ is a Gary Stu but I don't hear people complain about him as much and he's still a fairly popular character even though he doesn't have any real flaws, he manages to win most of his enemies over to his side, and he's practically invincible.
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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   19th February 2015, 4:49 pm

i think an annoying Mary Sue is combination her and the writing. like if someone writes a poor fanfiction where everyone loves her and she saves the day by only lifting her tiny pinkie, yes, i will mock and dislike her.

what was said about Harry Potter is true. he could be very Gary Stu, but stuff is EXPLAINED! and he does fail. and he's not always happy. so i find him rather balanced.

i totally consider Sailor Moon a Mary Sue...but i love her to death. her only issue really is the constant power upgrades.

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   19th February 2015, 4:52 pm

^ Actually if you put it that way, Neon Genesis, most mainstream anime protagonists are Gary Stus: Naruto AND Sasuke (so much!), Ichigo from Bleach, Ed Elric (*sobs*), Eren from Attack on Titan, Luffy... They don't have to have the harem like Kirito (although Sasuke does) to be a Gary Stu - they tick enough things on the list to still be counted Razz

EDIT: And now that I'm in this topic I keep remembering this manga I read in high school and loved... It was called "The Violinist of Hameln". There is an anime adaption but it's awful and it managed to completely miss the point of the manga. Don't watch that. Not even a YouTube video - it's horrendous. Anyway, the thing is, every single character in that manga was a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu. Probably on purpose given the nature of the story. But damn, I loved that manga and its characters and I don't care how cliche and silly they were. It CAN be done right!

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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   20th February 2015, 3:10 pm

I don't know that I would consider Ed to be a Gary Stu though.  Most people might support him and his cause but I think other than his family and closest friends, most people don't love Ed and I think a lot of the people in Roy's team consider him to be a bit of a pain.  Ed is a genius alchemist but I don't know his alchemy skills are any stronger than Roy, Armstrong, and the other State Alchemists, and Ed got
Spoiler:
 
.  I would say Al was more of a Gary Stu than Ed.  Al gets along fairly easily with everyone, he even wins over some of their enemies, like
Spoiler:
 
, and I think after Al
Spoiler:
 
.  Al certainly seems to be more popular with the ladies than Ed is and Mei quickly switches to rooting for Al after she finds out how short Ed is.  I think Ed is more of an anti-hero type than a Gary Stu unless you count anti-hero as a type of Gary Stu?
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PostSubject: Re: Mary Sues   20th February 2015, 7:32 pm

I guess I do count them as a sort of Gary Stu. I tend to extend the definitions to include Byronic Heroes and anti-heroes when they're stereotypical. When I was writing about Sasuke in another thread I wrote something along the lines of "I do love characters that are tall, dark and brooding". But the thing about Ed is... he does have special powers. If not his alchemy then the fact that he can do alchemy without a circle. 'cause he's a special snowflake that way.

Hmm... I dunno, maybe I just view the problem of Mary Sues and Gary Stus as encompassing a broader selection of characters than I should.

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