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OnimaruXLR
Sep 15, 2007
Lurklurklurklurklurk

Raxivace posted:

I don't really have any problem with Shinji just being an evil rear end in a top hat (His motivation/backstory seems reasonably well established to me anyways in the VN), though it does beg the question why Shirou was ever friends with this guy to begin with.

Everyone thinks Shinji is a harmless assclown instead of a particularly harmful rear end in a top hat. Only Sakura knows otherwise, and she's been so categorically beaten down in every aspect of life, she either can't or won't object. There's also other factors at play, like how anyone who has come in contact with mage society is a little demented, Shirou's survivor's guilt and superhero morality, and Rin's ego.

His depiction is honestly kind of weird. I get the feeling he's supposed to come across as a sorta horny demi-bully type at first glance, but he's also Team Rocket-level with fair regularity , and then in Heaven's Feel you find out just how deep the scumbag hole goes. I get that FSN is a story (stories) that revels in showing many different ways a person can act, but even Ilya going from bloodthirsty moppet to loving big little sister is a contrast that feels less bumpy.

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Endorph
Jul 22, 2009



Once you figure out that Shinji was meant to be Saonji from Utena (right down to the name) you basically get his character. Meant to be a kind of pathetic rear end in a top hat who uses women as props to boost his own ego, but he's not inherently irredeemable. The issue is that the worst Saonji ever does is slap Anthy once, which is awful but not 'can never be forgiven' awful. Shinji, uh.

I think Shinji's mostly just a consequence of the game's writing. There's really nowhere you could fit characterization for him in. He's never on Shirou's side, he's meant to be the act one boss to get across how serious things are and give Shirou a relatively easy win in Fate. In UBW, he exists to be Gilgamesh's toady, and there's a need for a ticking clock and something for Cu to get heroic about during the scene at the castle, so he gets knda shoehorned into being a rapey rear end in a top hat and so the bit of Rin and Shirou saving him doesn't really work. It's odd to say but if he was ;just' kicking Rin around a bit in that scene it'd work a lot better.

And of course in Heaven's Feel he has to exist to make Sakura's situation even worse. Again, I think there'd be more tragedy to it if he was a nice enough guy to *not* want Sakura's life to be the way it was, but he was still too gutless to do anything about it, but at the same time I understand why he was written the way he was. Kotomine needed to be Shirou's only ally, but a nicer version of Shinji would probably have to overcome his fear around that time to complete his narrative arc. And having Shinji palling around with everyone in the ending would have been weird even in a universe where he wasn't a rapist. Maybe you could have had him try and stand up to Zouken on his own and get unceremoniously killed by Zouken or Hassan, but I get why there was a need to make Sakura's situation worse to justify why she felt like literally nobody but Shirou would ever be there for her.

In general you get the sense that Nasu kind of regrets how Shinji was written, considering how he's handled in Fate/Extra and CCC, and stuff like Carnival Phantasm or Emiya Family Menu. A lot of them are kind of written assuming some alternate universe where Shinji was just a C-tier villain but not completely irredeemable.

Darth Walrus
Feb 13, 2012




I'm also not sure that there should have been a ticking clock at the castle, given that it makes EMIYA and Artoria look a lot worse for not doing something about it. Fix the immediate problem, and then let the boys have their sword-measuring contest. Cu could maybe help out Artoria and Rin if they run into unexpected trouble when the bad guys set a trap for them.

Thuryl
Mar 14, 2007

My postillion has been struck by lightning.


Endorph posted:

And of course in Heaven's Feel he has to exist to make Sakura's situation even worse. Again, I think there'd be more tragedy to it if he was a nice enough guy to *not* want Sakura's life to be the way it was, but he was still too gutless to do anything about it, but at the same time I understand why he was written the way he was. Kotomine needed to be Shirou's only ally, but a nicer version of Shinji would probably have to overcome his fear around that time to complete his narrative arc. And having Shinji palling around with everyone in the ending would have been weird even in a universe where he wasn't a rapist. Maybe you could have had him try and stand up to Zouken on his own and get unceremoniously killed by Zouken or Hassan, but I get why there was a need to make Sakura's situation worse to justify why she felt like literally nobody but Shirou would ever be there for her.

I think you'd need to do quite a lot of rewriting to tone down Shinji while still making HF hit the same emotional beats; as it is, the way he treats Sakura sets up his death, which in turn sets the tone for the rest of the route, where you're kinda cheering for Sakura but also going "oh no" at the same time.

W.T. Fits
Apr 21, 2010

Dream Super Combo


I've heard that the manga adaptation of Heaven's Feel changes the story a bit by making it so that while Shinji was still an abusive jerk, he never raped Sakura, and he ultimately ends up having a heel realization and teaming up with Shirou and the others to try and save her.

Shyrka
Feb 10, 2005

Small Boss likes to spin!

I like in Hollow Ataraxia where Shinji is reasonably terrified of Sakura. The bit where he and Shirou read her diary is one of the funniest moments, and yeah it's kind of hard to square that with how he is in the main game.

Blaze Dragon
Aug 28, 2013
LOWTAX'S SPINE FUND



I like Shinji in the Extra anime, where our first view of him is definitely just FSN's Shinji (stabbing who's meant to be his friend just to make sure he survives, while at the same time wildly defending his own actions) and then we see him again and he's horribly broken because of the Holy Grail War and now has become a well-intentioned extremist that created the one place where every human can be safe (Servants are turned into slaves or disposed of) but he still needs to go down because our protagonist is literally revenge incarnated.

I kind of prefer that Shinji to the mainline Shinji honestly. At least there's more of a character there and his interactions with his Servant are really good, including how he just accepts their death together when he could've saved himself.

Irony Be My Shield
Jul 29, 2012

PRETTY SURE THAT ONE'S SARCASM, BOSS



I had a similar view at first but when we get to the (critical) plot beat that Sakura was being abused without our knowledge for two whole timelines I think an important part of that is that someone we knew was involved in it. It's not an easy plot beat to accept and it doesn't gel well with the much lighter sequels/EU stuff but I think that was what was intended.

YggdrasilTM
Nov 7, 2011



W.T. Fits posted:

I've heard that the manga adaptation of Heaven's Feel changes the story a bit by making it so that while Shinji was still an abusive jerk, he never raped Sakura, and he ultimately ends up having a heel realization and teaming up with Shirou and the others to try and save her.
The HF manga is still in movie 1 territory, so no.
Maybe you are thinking of the Fate manga.

W.T. Fits
Apr 21, 2010

Dream Super Combo


YggdrasilTM posted:

The HF manga is still in movie 1 territory, so no.
Maybe you are thinking of the Fate manga.

As I said, I've only ever heard about it secondhand; I've never read the manga adaptation of F/SN, and thought that it covered all three routes sequentially or something. I was also unaware they were doing a new manga adaptation of the Heaven's Feel route on its own.

Varinn
May 3, 2005



the specific point of shinji being shirou's friend has always struck me as hammering home HF's point about shirous bad ideology. the idea that he's dedicated himself to the idea being a hero, and having this sort of intensely passive selflessness that manifests as a convenient way to not have to reckon with the actual material things happening around him.

i think toning shinji down slightly is a good change, though. he can still be a monstrous shitheel AND be a victim of being raised wrong, as a joke

Wark Say
Feb 22, 2013

Zofia Today
Alm: Human Disaster


Wait, so Shinji is Wimp Lo here?

Conspiratiorist
Nov 12, 2015


I think the rape and Shinji being full Team Rocket jerkass during FSN is fine. He doesn't need some kind of redemption arc.

Where the VN could've vastly improved on his characterization without actually altering the important plot beats is:
- Set up that while Shinji has always been kind of a jerk, his friendship with Shirou didn't turn cold until after Sakura started visiting him a year ago, and that he's furthermore acting with uncharacteristic viciousness during the HGW.
- Set up that he's as much a victim of years of abuse and manipulation as Sakura.

These are both things you can see glimmers of during the story proper, and infer afterwards, but that Nasu drops the ball on showing during the actual course of events. But do this and it makes it a lot more believable why Shirou was friends with him, why Rin would risk herself to save him (yes he's "Sakura's brother", but we don't know about her relationship with Rin at that point), why his survival at the end of UBW is kind of okay, why Sakura pities and feels attached to him, etc.

It wouldn't even have been hard - he gets screen time, he gets monologues. The main failure lies in that Zouken is kept deep under wraps until HF when in Fate and UBW he could've easily been invoked by Shinji vocally or internally as a motivator for his actions and thought process (all without actually showing his face, even). Rin and Shirou hardly discuss or even acknowledge Shinji between each other, when that could've shed a lot of light on how their thoughts and shared history with him. Just get a bit inside Shinji's head during his interludes and instead of being completely cartoonishly evil and pathetic, have him talk himself through why it's totally okay to hurt people and get payback now that he's a big dick Master in the HGW, all while underscoring that he's absolutely terrified of failure and his grandpa.

Hell, even the rape as a plot device, instead of going "oh yeah he doesn't just beat her he also rapes her (actually completely irredeemable human scum wtf)" a better job would've framed it from the subtext in the exchange not as full one-sided abuse, but rather that the sexual element between them isn't just something he started, but a situation that was initially forced upon him, at times with encounters initiated by Sakura herself, and that right now he's taking advantage of her and this disgusting and shameful element of their relationship (and it's not the first time he's done so, either) because he's looking to vent his frustrations and reassert his dominance over her. Because he's emotionally damaged scum with a fragile ego normally, and currently he's just going completely mad.

And that's it, really. Whether you agree with them or not, it properly sets up why the other characters in the story feel the way they do about Shinji. This is most important in regards to Sakura, because Shinji is extremely important to her but all the nuance of their abusive relationship as a consequence of being raised in the Matou household is left to the reader's imagination - all the audience gets is that Sakura is I guess such a nice girl she can't bring herself to hate her repeated rapist because they've got the same surname.

Conspiratiorist fucked around with this message at 23:06 on Feb 9, 2020

Wark Say
Feb 22, 2013

Zofia Today
Alm: Human Disaster


I'm thinking/betting it's not so much that Nasu "dropped the ball" as much as it is that... y'know, it's a really loving long Visual Novel and he probably forgot at some point.

Endorph
Jul 22, 2009



I wouldnt say 'forgot' so much as 'didnt have room to fit it in.' Cooking jokes aside pretty much every scene in f/sn serves some kind of purpose, and its still insanely long. Some of that information could have been delivered more efficiently, sure, but a lot of it just comes down to what F/SN is trying to be.

It's a game with 18 characters I'd describe as essential to the plot and who all get some kind of arc and catharsis in at least one route, and its trying to juggle a ton of realworld mythology, its own complex modern fantasy setting, and a whole thematic throughline about heroism. Its natural some characters would get less than Nasu might have wanted for them. Thats part of the reason Hollow Ataraxia exists.

Conspiratiorist
Nov 12, 2015


Rider getting absolutely nothing in FSN is a goddamned crime.

Raxivace
Sep 9, 2014



I'd argue even the endless cooking scenes are still doing something most of the time too. Even in Fate and UBW routes they're still a mundane, grounded contrast to the over the top nature of Holy Grail War, and in HF there's a lot about them that's tied into Sakura's character and her general story in that route.

Also props to everyone's posts about Shinji's character. It's given me a lot to think about in regards to how he's used in the game.

Irony Be My Shield
Jul 29, 2012

PRETTY SURE THAT ONE'S SARCASM, BOSS



I think Rider gets a good amount of development in HF, considering that she's basically "act one boss" for the first two routes

Wark Say
Feb 22, 2013

Zofia Today
Alm: Human Disaster


Is Hollow Ataraxia the one where Lancer's real master shows up? Y'know, the lady with the badass "hitman" look.

Aurora
Jan 7, 2008



Wark Say posted:

Is Hollow Ataraxia the one where Lancer's real master shows up?

yes

bazett owns

Snooze Cruise
Feb 16, 2013

look-
a post,


Bazett, Bazett!!! Bazett!!!!!
Bazett....

Wark Say
Feb 22, 2013

Zofia Today
Alm: Human Disaster


... is Hollow Ataraxia at least fun to read/play?

Nate RFB
Jan 17, 2005



Clapping Larry

hollow ataraxia is a lot of fun and probably my favorite Fate story period.

Snooze Cruise
Feb 16, 2013

look-
a post,


Wark Say posted:

... is Hollow Ataraxia at least fun to read/play?

its the most fun to read/play

Galaga Galaxian
Apr 23, 2009

What a childish tactic!
Don't you think you should put more thought into your battleplan?!


Wark Say posted:

Is Hollow Ataraxia the one where Lancer's real master shows up? Y'know, the lady with the badass "hitman" look.

Yes, she also owns his dad's sword.

Wark Say
Feb 22, 2013

Zofia Today
Alm: Human Disaster


All right, all right! I'll check out F/HA. I need to cool off after doing all 43 Routes in 3H to see if I want to do another Ashen Wolves run or what-have-you.

Endorph
Jul 22, 2009



F/HA is incredibly good and its structure also makes it pretty digestible, since it's mostly self-contained brief and goofy 5-10 minute scenes with the occasional hour long interlude of actual plot, broken up in a clearly distinguishable way.

DamnGlitch
Sep 2, 2004



HA is very very fun and kinda makes it hard to go back to FSN for a while after playing it. It's very loose and fun.

Allarion
May 16, 2009

がんばルビ!


HA is arguably the more influential one in terms of all the fan memes and other important references that the series has had ever since, as well as development of all the characters that died before they could in the original proper. Also the main source of the details of Zero's plot before Zero was fully written down I believe.

Shyrka
Feb 10, 2005

Small Boss likes to spin!

Also HA has fun minigames!

I spent a surprisingly long time getting super into that card game with the Einzbern maids.

Irony Be My Shield
Jul 29, 2012

PRETTY SURE THAT ONE'S SARCASM, BOSS



I got sidetracked for a while by the Takeshi's Castle one

Blaze Dragon
Aug 28, 2013
LOWTAX'S SPINE FUND



I wonder if we'll get an Ufotable HA adaptation once all the HF movie are out. I sure hope so.

Wark Say
Feb 22, 2013

Zofia Today
Alm: Human Disaster


Shyrka posted:

Also HA has fun minigames!

I spent a surprisingly long time getting super into that card game with the Einzbern maids.
Okay that sounds like fun!

Irony Be My Shield posted:

I got sidetracked for a while by the Takeshi's Castle one
What? A Takeshi's Castle minigame? What the gently caress?

Argas
Jan 13, 2008
SRW Fanatic






Shinji being an awful person mostly leaves a bad taste in the wake of things like Carnival Phantasm or Fate/Cook Dinner where he's treated like a joke character and nobody has to reckon with all the awful poo poo he did even before FSN starts.

Galaga Galaxian
Apr 23, 2009

What a childish tactic!
Don't you think you should put more thought into your battleplan?!


Wark Say posted:

What? A Takeshi's Castle minigame? What the gently caress?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf4IXGlKzd0

This carnival phantasm bit is an actual game in FHA.

Worldwalker_Pure
Feb 27, 2015




Fate/Unlimited Codes had some real good minigames too. I really liked the Medea shmup, or the Dark Sakura whack-a-mole.

GyroNinja
Nov 7, 2012


I can't really see how you would redeem Shinji without writing him as a completely different character. I don't think Shinji as written could conceive of rebelling against Zouken for Sakura's sake. Shinji is a mediocre magus raised in a household where magical power was the only thing that mattered, and he clung to his position as the family scion as his only source of pride. When Zouken takes on Sakura as the new heir, he has to view her as the one usurping his birthright, because if he got mad at Zouken instead, he'd have to admit that the way he defines himself and the world is bullshit, and he isn't a strong or brave enough person to do that. Part of the reason that the magic families in F/SN are bad is that they create people like Shinji, and I think re-writing him into a sympathetic character would lose some of that. You could write a different version of F/SN where the Shinji analog is capable of making different choices, but I don't think that version of the story would be necessarily better or worse; just different. And I don't think that the Shinji we have being unredeemable is a flaw or mistake, just a valid storytelling choice.

That said, I totally agree that Shinji sucks the fun out of the room anytime he appears in one of the more comedic spin offs, in a way that non of the other villains can match. At least Medea's relationship with Kuzuki is a redeeming feature, and Kotomine and Gilgamesh are so over the top that they have their own kind of charisma, but Shinji is too vile to laugh with and too pitiful to laugh at.

Tribladeofchaos
Jul 2, 2008

IT'S SHOWTIME!



HA extremely owns yeah, Bazett is cool and Rider gets a lot more screentime where she’s chill.

Also teaching Artoria to swim

Polgas
Sep 2, 2018


HA is amazing everyone that has ever finished FSN should play HA next.

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MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Yeah Hollow Ataraxia is amazing.

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