One of the six main characters I will be featuring in my new superhero series will be a hardened fighter. Like the Comedian from Watchmen, my character will be more of a thug than a hero. Like Kenpachi Zaraki from Bleach, my character is the kind of person who loves the thrill of a good fight. Based on these traits, my character will join his comrades’ crusade against crime solely because he LOVES the thrill of fighting and doesn’t care about saving people or changing the status quo.
No matter how much power you wield, there are limits to how much your mortal body can handle. The most grotesque example I can think of is what happened to Tetsuo in the anime film Akira. Tetsuo’s psychic powers were so immense that he had to take potent medication to keep them under control. Even with that medication, Tetsuo was still a powerful psychic who could demolish cityscapes, defeat armies, and even punch a hole in the moon. However, once the drugs wore off, Tetsuo’s powers became dangerously unstable to the point in which he could not control them anymore. As a result, his body mutated into a giant cybernetic fetus-like abomination. Either Tetsuo was subconsciously manipulating his atoms or his body was trying to increase its size to accommodate his growing power. Regardless of the reason, this incident demonstrates that when you wield god-like power, your mortal mind and body will be overwhelmed unless you have inhibitors in place. I am thinking of putting the main character in my new superhero series in a similar position when his true power surfaces.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is not the only anime I can think of that depicts characters with severe psychological issues. Akira is another example because it includes the character Tetsuo, who was a psychologically disturbed teenager with overwhelming power. Tetsuo developed an inferiority complex due to living in his best friend’s shadow, but once he got a taste of real power he went on a rampage and lashed out against the cruel world he lived in.
In addition, the setting of Akira is frighteningly similar to the real world today. Just like the United States today, the world of Akira benefited the top one percent while the rest of the populace lived through poverty. The wealthy and corrupt politicians lived in absolute comfort as they bathed in their riches. Everyone else lived in a state of social and economic anarchy as they were persecuted by criminals and militant police. To make the similarity between the real world and the Akira setting even more frighteningly similar, both take place in the year 2019.
I like Akira as a source of inspiration for my new superhero project for two reasons. First, I am given a look at an overpowered character who has psychological issues. Second, both the anime and the real world depict genuine problems that I despise with absolute passion. Overall, I have seen so much corruption, bigotry, misogyny, and other problems in the past three years. If I was as overpowered as my main character, I would use that power to fight the diseased and dying government I live in. Alas, I am but a single helpless mortal imprisoned by my own powerlessness. My new superhero project will give me an opportunity to put that scenario on paper, which will be a blissful psychological release for me.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, I will be focusing on the psychological development of my overpowered main character in my new superhero series. I have taken inspiration from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which highlighted a number of characters who suffered from severe psychological issues. Series creator Hideaki Anno drew inspiration from his own psychological issues such as depression. I am thinking of following Anno-san’s lead with my own project by basing my main character on my own psychological issues. Apart from my autism, I also have other issues. Like Anno-san, I also suffer from depression from time to time and writing has been a good therapeutic method. As I continue to brainstorm the psychological profile of my main character, I wonder how someone as overpowered as my main character would be like if he had the same issues I do. I find this question intriguing because I often imagine the things I would do if I was superhumanly powerful. Just as Shinji Ikari was a subversion of the main anime character archetype, my main character will be a subversion of a classic superhero. Hopefully, this will allow my character to be more relatable to my audience.
I heard an interesting phrase in my Linguistic class the other day, “We are our own gods”. The phrase means that humans can only change themselves, but it also reminded me of something I have seen a few times in anime that I call “Artificial Godhood.” In anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Fullmetal Alchemist, attempts were made to create artificial gods. I am thinking of doing something similar in my new superhero series where attempts are made to create the ultimate superhuman. The end result is so powerful that a number of inhibitors had to be put in place. Even with all those inhibitors, the resulting superhuman is still strong enough to best someone of Superman’s caliber.
I am starting to like the idea of overpowered superheroes because their immense powers not only make them formidable against super villains, but it also leads to interesting character developments. The two most prominent examples I can think of are Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen and Saitama from One Punch Man.
In the Watchmen graphic novel, Doctor Manhattan’s powers were displayed, but the true extent of his power was only implied. A greater look at Doctor Manhattan’s true power was seen when he defeated the combined strength of every superhero in the DC Universe. Saitama was so powerful that he could literally beat any opponent with one punch (except for a select few). The true extent of Saitama power has not been shown, but it is implied that if he wasn’t holding back he could destroy the world if he wanted to.
These two characters displayed a certain detachment from the rest of humanity as a result of their immense power. Doctor Manhattan’s cosmic and temporal awareness expanded his mind to such a degree that human affairs seemed completely irrelevant by comparison. Saitama’s detachment is due to the fact that he could not find an opponent that could satisfy his desire of an exciting fight. This resulted in not just his detachment from the world around him, but also an existential crisis as well. After all, absolute power is boring if you can’t find a worthy opponent.
I am thinking of making the main character of my new superhero series an overpowered character as well. His power will be on par with both Doctor Manhattan and Saitama, but his psychological development will be considerably different.
Today, I went to WonderCon with my dad and it was a glorious time!