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Ethiser
Dec 31, 2011



Absum posted:

what actually happened: demon kills a single person with the goal of making the village not mad at her, expresses annoyance at their previous hostility, is like "oh looks like I hosed up, sucks, let's try to not die"

the only thing this proves is that she didn't value others' lives, but did value their opinions

you can certainly claim she only valued people's opinions because she wanted to blend in and eventually eat them or w/e, but the story has not actually proven this (though it does seem like it's gonna take that route, tbf)

That is leaving off the part where they were mad at her in the very beginning because she murdered and ate a child, which they bring up as something she didn't need to actually do to survive.

We can argue about whether this is a good idea to introduce into your story, but one the demons in this very chapter calls his species man-eating predators who only speak the human language to deceive people.

Ethiser fucked around with this message at 12:35 on Aug 19, 2020

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Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


Sometimes it's OK to have monsters be the bad guys with no scruples or ambiguity. Especially in a story where the monsters aren't even the main focus most chapters in it's short run.

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

Absum posted:

what actually happened: demon kills a single person with the goal of making the village not mad at her, expresses annoyance at their previous hostility, is like "oh looks like I hosed up, sucks, let's try to not die"

the only thing this proves is that she didn't value others' lives, but did value their opinions

you can certainly claim she only valued people's opinions because she wanted to blend in and eventually eat them or w/e, but the story has not actually proven this (though it does seem like it's gonna take that route, tbf)

I don't think she actually valued their opinions. This is the sequence of events I saw when rereading the chapter:

1) Demon ate a kid
2) Hero party cornered the demon and injured her
3) Demon called out for "Mother"
4) Himmel wanted to spare her "because she's a child" and the village chief took her in
5) Demon spends some amount of time in the village, but notices the mother of the child she ate still harbors hostility for her
6) Demon decides to kill the village chief, burn down his house, and give the child to the mother as a replacement
7) Demon is confused as to why this didn't work, proclaims she will take child hostage instead
8) Frieren prepares to execute the demon
9) Demon calls out for "Mother" again
10) Frieren blasts the demon
11) When asked why the demon called out for mother, she states that it is a "wonderful, practically magical, word" that makes it harder for people to kill her

Nothing in this sequence indicates that she ever valued the villagers' opinions; her goal was always to preserve her own life. The entire sequence is set up to reinforce the idea that while demons look human and can speak human language, ultimately they are not human and only try to imitate human behaviors for their own benefit.

I don't know that there will be the standard "twist" where Frieren is wrong and demons can be worked with; it doesn't seem too likely since even the demon ambassador agrees that they are "incomprehensible beasts" and "man-eating predators". Plus the whole thing with the demon's name being "liar".

That being said, I wouldn't be too surprised if the appeal for peace is legitimate; suing for peace to buy time to rebuild your forces or tackle a more pressing concern is a very human thing to do (as every 4X player knows).

Elephant Parade
Jan 20, 2018



Brought To You By posted:

Sometimes it's OK to have monsters be the bad guys with no scruples or ambiguity. Especially in a story where the monsters aren't even the main focus most chapters in it's short run.
Not when the morality of those monsters is a focus of even a part of the story, which it now is. Like, before the last chapter monsters were never really characters and never the focus of the work so yeah, it didn't matter. But the focus of this chapter (this arc?) is the nature of monsters, so now it does matter. And if that nature contradicts itself (monsters being sentient yet universally evil is, indeed, a contradiction), then the arc will be considerably weakened as a result.

Basically, it's bad for the focus of the work to be incoherent or oversimplistic, and the morality of monsters is now the focus of the work.

Elephant Parade
Jan 20, 2018



to be clear I'm not 100% sure that's the direction the story is going in; it's possible that the ambassador is wrong, and I'm willing to wait another chapter or three to find out

Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


Elephant Parade posted:

Not when the morality of those monsters is a focus of even a part of the story, which it now is. Like, before the last chapter monsters were never really characters and never the focus of the work so yeah, it didn't matter. But the focus of this chapter (this arc?) is the nature of monsters, so now it does matter. And if that nature contradicts itself (monsters being sentient yet universally evil is, indeed, a contradiction), then the arc will be considerably weakened as a result.
Did you forget about Qual? He's a high ranking demon and clearly very intelligent. Yet he pioneered the soul track killing magic, and very much had a character for how small a role he actually plays and a major part of the one chapter he features in. And seconds after his revival, he decided he'd go back on his rampage except this time to avenge the demon lord? But even in that chapter the real point was how magic progressed to overcome him over the 80 years he'd been sealed away, not whether or not he was justified in getting revenge. It's not too different to how the Phantasm is really used as a way to showcase a moment of emotional vulnerability for Fern as well as the resolve of Frieran, or how the Dragon is a test of Stark's determination. The point has never been the monsters but how the characters react to them.

quote:

Basically, it's bad for the focus of the work to be incoherent or oversimplistic, and the morality of monsters is now the focus of the work.
I don't agree that what's being presented is incoherent, why would sentience preclude demons from being universally evil in the first place? Whether this simplistic dichotomy is bad is subjective and we are still treating it mostly as a black and white, good vs evil affair instead of a more blue/orange morality which is also the case for Frieran. Remember how she was utterly ok with just leaving the phantasm to murder the population. Yet nobody here is calling her evil for it, she's clearly just operating on a different set of values and the story is about just that. The demons aren't likely to be the focus even of this part of the story in my opinion and it will probably find a way to wrap back around to Frieran and her disposition.

Elephant Parade posted:

to be clear I'm not 100% sure that's the direction the story is going in; it's possible that the ambassador is wrong, and I'm willing to wait another chapter or three to find out
I would like that to be the case but as I've said, I don't think that's the outcome we're traveling towards.

general betrayus
Nov 6, 2012


Elephant Parade posted:

Not when the morality of those monsters is a focus of even a part of the story, which it now is. Like, before the last chapter monsters were never really characters and never the focus of the work so yeah, it didn't matter. But the focus of this chapter (this arc?) is the nature of monsters, so now it does matter. And if that nature contradicts itself (monsters being sentient yet universally evil is, indeed, a contradiction), then the arc will be considerably weakened as a result.

Basically, it's bad for the focus of the work to be incoherent or oversimplistic, and the morality of monsters is now the focus of the work.

Another poster mentioned Peter Watts and it could be that the demons work the same way as in Blindsight.

Ethiser
Dec 31, 2011



general betrayus posted:

Another poster mentioned Peter Watts and it could be that the demons work the same way as in Blindsight.

That was my first thought when Friedan first describes them.

Elephant Parade
Jan 20, 2018



Brought To You By posted:

Did you forget about Qual? He's a high ranking demon and clearly very intelligent. Yet he pioneered the soul track killing magic, and very much had a character for how small a role he actually plays and a major part of the one chapter he features in. And seconds after his revival, he decided he'd go back on his rampage except this time to avenge the demon lord? But even in that chapter the real point was how magic progressed to overcome him over the 80 years he'd been sealed away, not whether or not he was justified in getting revenge. It's not too different to how the Phantasm is really used as a way to showcase a moment of emotional vulnerability for Fern as well as the resolve of Frieran, or how the Dragon is a test of Stark's determination. The point has never been the monsters but how the characters react to them.

I don't agree that what's being presented is incoherent, why would sentience preclude demons from being universally evil in the first place? Whether this simplistic dichotomy is bad is subjective and we are still treating it mostly as a black and white, good vs evil affair instead of a more blue/orange morality which is also the case for Frieran. Remember how she was utterly ok with just leaving the phantasm to murder the population. Yet nobody here is calling her evil for it, she's clearly just operating on a different set of values and the story is about just that. The demons aren't likely to be the focus even of this part of the story in my opinion and it will probably find a way to wrap back around to Frieran and her disposition.
Yes, the point has never been the monsters—but now it is. Qual raised questions about human evolution and advancement. The Phantasm raised questions about vulnerability. Unlike those two, the demon ambassador and daughter raise questions about the demons themselves: their morality, outlook on the world, and ability to coexist with humans. And when I say they raise those questions, I'm not even being figurative: the ambassador explicitly talks about the impossibility of coexistence. The morality of the demons is, unlike before, something the manga is clearly trying to explore.

Sentience precludes universal, racial evil because it implies an ability to make moral choices, and if the choice made is always "be evil" regardless of personal and environmental circumstances, then it isn't a choice for the species, so they can't make moral choices, so they aren't really "sentient" in a way comparable to humans. The kind of blue-and-orange morality exhibited by the demon daughter, who isn't exactly evil but acts in a completely alien way, is a bit different. I question whether a species utterly dedicated to killing humans (if demons are such a species) can ever be perceived as alien and not simply evil, given that we, the readers, are humans, but it could be interesting to explore. I didn't really touch on alien morality in my reply because it wasn't something you brought up in the post I was replying to.

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


Elephant Parade posted:

Sentience precludes universal, racial evil because it implies an ability to make moral choices

Pedantic note: sentience is just the ability to feel, not the ability to think and thus, to make moral choices. All animals, and probably plants have some degree of sentience. Sapience is the ability to cogitate and make moral choices, not sentience. A distinction I was getting wrong myself regularly until a year or so back when someone pointed out to me, so I'm passing the pedantry forward.

Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


Elephant Parade posted:

Yes, the point has never been the monsters—but now it is. Qual raised questions about human evolution and advancement. The Phantasm raised questions about vulnerability. Unlike those two, the demon ambassador and daughter raise questions about the demons themselves: their morality, outlook on the world, and ability to coexist with humans. And when I say they raise those questions, I'm not even being figurative: the ambassador explicitly talks about the impossibility of coexistence. The morality of the demons is, unlike before, something the manga is clearly trying to explore.
I think it's raising the question in a way that also answers it in the same chapter and that is what I think will be the extent of exploring demon culture for this location. Lord Liar even acknowledges that Frieran is absolutely correct, there's not much left to do except wait for the chaos now. This chapter isn't trying to make this deep and nuanced by all appearances. Even with a literal child being raised in such a way to hopefully acclimate her mindset and outlook to something more "human" only for it to fail spectacularly and we see she was arguably never interested in it to begin with.

quote:

Sentience precludes universal, racial evil because it implies an ability to make moral choices, and if the choice made is always "be evil" regardless of personal and environmental circumstances, then it isn't a choice for the species, so they can't make moral choices, so they aren't really "sentient" in a way comparable to humans. The kind of blue-and-orange morality exhibited by the demon daughter, who isn't exactly evil but acts in a completely alien way, is a bit different. I question whether a species utterly dedicated to killing humans (if demons are such a species) can ever be perceived as alien and not simply evil, given that we, the readers, are humans, but it could be interesting to explore. I didn't really touch on alien morality in my reply because it wasn't something you brought up in the post I was replying to.
This is fiction and you can absolutely have intelligent actors who are bound to behave in certain ways because of some biological, spiritual, cosmic, technological, etc manner.

Endorph
Jul 22, 2009


Nobodys saying you literally cant have that, but that they dont like things that have that. That shouldnt be hard to understand.

Sharkopath
May 27, 2009



Endorph posted:

Nobodys saying you literally cant have that, but that they dont like things that have that. That shouldnt be hard to understand.

I didnt like this chapter much but i do like stories of the fey and otherworldy beings that are alien to us.

This feels different from those to me, hence not liking it as much.

AgentHaiTo
Feb 7, 2003

Well, isn't this a coincidence? So, um, how you doing? You're busy, I know and I don't want to distract you, please, don't let me interrupt you.

Besides the moral arguments, I really like Himmel moving so fast to save the hostage child, that he cut off the demon's arm and grabbed the child before anyone could even blink.

Elephant Parade
Jan 20, 2018



Brought To You By posted:

I think it's raising the question in a way that also answers it in the same chapter and that is what I think will be the extent of exploring demon culture for this location. Lord Liar even acknowledges that Frieran is absolutely correct, there's not much left to do except wait for the chaos now. This chapter isn't trying to make this deep and nuanced by all appearances. Even with a literal child being raised in such a way to hopefully acclimate her mindset and outlook to something more "human" only for it to fail spectacularly and we see she was arguably never interested in it to begin with.

This is fiction and you can absolutely have intelligent actors who are bound to behave in certain ways because of some biological, spiritual, cosmic, technological, etc manner.
I guess the fundamental issue here is that I object to Always Evil species because, problematic implications aside, it's really boring as a motivator for members of that species. Why did the demon daughter kill that family: as revenge for the killing of her own mother? because the trauma of her introduction to human society and/or the omnipresent judgment of that society made her snap? because, as she said, she really thought it was the just thing to do? Nah, she's just evil/biologically opposed to humanity. "They did it because they are biologically programmed to do it" is the most boring possible answer to any question, and when the manga raises a question (and what did that extended flashback sequence do, if not raise the question?) the answer shouldn't be boring. If the demon ambassador is correct in saying that demons just exist to kill people, then that scene, and the arc built atop it, will have been a massive waste of time for me. Because the purpose of fiction, fantastic fiction included, is to express ideas, and "an evil species that kills other species because they're evil" isn't an interesting idea to me, maybe because it's so totally incoherent in the context of the real world.

booksnake
May 4, 2009

we who are crowned with the crest of wisdom

Which bird's the one that rolls other bird's eggs out of the nest and has them hatch them?

edit: the common cuckoo among others, apparently.

If you don't see how you can have a species that simply doesn't acknowledge the value of other (sentient) life, I don't know what reality you live in

booksnake fucked around with this message at 21:41 on Aug 19, 2020

Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


Elephant Parade posted:

I guess the fundamental issue here is that I object to Always Evil species because, problematic implications aside, it's really boring as a motivator for members of that species. Why did the demon daughter kill that family: as revenge for the killing of her own mother? because the trauma of her introduction to human society and/or the omnipresent judgment of that society made her snap? because, as she said, she really thought it was the just thing to do? Nah, she's just evil/biologically opposed to humanity. "They did it because they are biologically programmed to do it" is the most boring possible answer to any question, and when the manga raises a question (and what did that extended flashback sequence do, if not raise the question?) the answer shouldn't be boring. If the demon ambassador is correct in saying that demons just exist to kill people, then that scene, and the arc built atop it, will have been a massive waste of time for me. Because the purpose of fiction, fantastic fiction included, is to express ideas, and "an evil species that kills other species because they're evil" isn't an interesting idea to me, maybe because it's so totally incoherent in the context of the real world.

I misread your 2nd half of the post and all I can say is that while I agree that sapience (I made that mistake as well) can be in conflict with the "always evil" concept, for this story what makes it work for me is that there's more thematic weight on this being about different mindsets which yes is still an answer rooted in biology. The Great mage Flamme gave demons their names and said that their ancestors were more rudimentary in how they hunted. I can assume that over time, whether natural or instigated by magic, these creatures evolved to blur the line between mimickry and actually having human levels of intelligence. They still see and treat humans as prey, they just have far more sophisticated and complicated methods of going about acquiring said prey. No different than if Octopus got a lot more intelligent and started to wage war on humans to secure more fish for their octopus societies.

I just don't think the potential final answer here is boring because I'm not invested in whether Demons are a more ambiguous and complicated species. I care more about how Stark and Fern are going to react to this because they are the ones who don't have the same perspective and certainty that Frieran has. Because even in a chapter about how demon's think I'm not actually convinced this is more than just setup for something else. I do get where you are coming from nonetheless. It's certainly happened for me in other stories.

Shinjobi
Jul 10, 2008






Gravy Boat 2k

I think I'm also willing to see where this all goes cause you don't ever see Mr. Hero agree outright with Frieran's racism. He's willing to hear them out, and only moves when the demon went to use the child as a hostage.


Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I do think there's a chance we see a skirmish lead to actual dialogue.

Mulva
Sep 13, 2011

LET THIS PICTURE OF AN ADORABLE KITTEN FOOL YOU


Elephant Parade posted:

"Because the purpose of fiction, fantastic fiction included, is to express ideas, and "an evil species that kills other species because they're evil" isn't an interesting idea to me, maybe because it's so totally incoherent in the context of the real world.

It's not the point, it's the setup. The point is "How do rational, moral people deal with the reality of something so profoundly alien?".

Sestze
Jun 6, 2004



Cybernetic Crumb

Mulva posted:

It's not the point, it's the setup. The point is "How do rational, moral people deal with the reality of something so profoundly alien?".
There's some depths to be plumbed there, honestly. Can beings with the ability to speak and reason be inherently evil? In the eyes of the author, what percentage of the demons have to be inherently evil to justify genocide? Are the denizens of this world doomed to an existence of constant war with the demons because there is no such thing as a moral genocide?

edit: Is Frieran the necessary bad guy? The cold, calculating nigh-immortal arbiter with the power as well as the emotional distance to perform said genocide?

Sestze fucked around with this message at 01:44 on Aug 20, 2020

Homeless Friend
Jul 16, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


I dunno why people keep describing the demon as evil, as it is is that naive imposition of human mores that lead to Himmel's failure in the first place. It's not that demons cannot be negotiated with, just that demons don't care for human values. These demons clearly aren't like orcs who eat human flesh with great pleasure, that is to say they are hamstrung by their natural inclination for man meat, and revel in battle or whatnot. In fact the only affect we have seen is the appreciation of demons as demons rather than humans when the guy smiles. Freiren is clearly aggro by denying them personhood but ultimately its from her own experiences. Yeah, maybe they are suing for peace to prepare for later war. So what? Are they to rely on human goodwill in perpetuity? That's ridiculous. In conclusion:

Tarezax posted:

Demons as depicted so far are basically just humanoid cats, change my mind

Homeless Friend fucked around with this message at 12:05 on Aug 20, 2020

Homeless Friend
Jul 16, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


Now all that said, I look forward to the entire paragraph being made completely irrelevant as the author goes 'uhhh they're evil folks lol'

Mirage
Oct 27, 2000

At least CyberLowtax likes me.

The demons are just 100% pure sociopaths. A whole race of Hannibal Lecters.

On the other hand, Frieran sitting in the cell thinking "Oh well, the demons will start killing everybody soon and I'll just wait until then to escape" is a pretty sociopathic thing to think too.

I think Fern and Stark will discover something new and change everybody's mind. The slow humanization of Frieren through her interaction with others is the overarching theme of this manga anyway.

tsob
Sep 26, 2006

Chalalala~


Mirage posted:

The demons are just 100% pure sociopaths. A whole race of Hannibal Lecters.

On the other hand, Frieran sitting in the cell thinking "Oh well, the demons will start killing everybody soon and I'll just wait until then to escape" is a pretty sociopathic thing to think too.

I think Fern and Stark will discover something new and change everybody's mind. The slow humanization of Frieren through her interaction with others is the overarching theme of this manga anyway.

I wouldn't be surprised if they find another demon that joins their party as the outsider, same as Frieran was the outsider in Himmel's party. A fourth member with a completely different mindset who learns to be more appreciative of humans on the journey, just as Frieran herself did. The manga is quite possibly still in that "forming the party" phase, and if the new party is to be a complete homage to the old one then it needs a 4th member after all.

Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


Keeping with the pattern, the last party member should be someone connected to Himmel and we know he was still not feeling wanton slaughter of demons. Therefore the last party member is the child of the demon lord whom Himmel found and raised in secret.

HerpicleOmnicron5
May 31, 2013

How did this smug dummkopf ever make general?




My read of it was that it's all about perspectives on humanity, where elves are apathetic towards humans, while the demons are just that given another push but in a hostile direction. That demon kid was probably not born knowing the effect of the word "mother" and was probably not taught the value of human life, hence the confusion when "hey here's this kid to replace yours, we cool now?" doesn't work. It's like when Frieren undervalues human life. It's a consistent theme, and I'm fairly sure it's going to be explored some more.

tsob posted:

I wouldn't be surprised if they find another demon that joins their party as the outsider, same as Frieran was the outsider in Himmel's party. A fourth member with a completely different mindset who learns to be more appreciative of humans on the journey, just as Frieran herself did. The manga is quite possibly still in that "forming the party" phase, and if the new party is to be a complete homage to the old one then it needs a 4th member after all.

Definitely. From what we've seen already, this manga is not as lazy as others in terms of fantasy racial alignments, and it's very likely that there'll be some kind of reason as to why demons are the way they are.

Hidingo Kojimba
Mar 29, 2010



Given Frieran's new group seems to be roughly paralleling her old, I'm going to guess they'll end up with a demon joining them to be the "corrupt priest" of the new group.

In any case, as has been said above, this issue was clearly setting something up, and I'm going to wait and see where this arc goes before I form an opinion on the demons.

gimme the GOD DAMN candy
Jul 1, 2007


we already have one original member and the successors/adopted children of two more. forget the party roles, the last person will be himmel's replacement.

Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


I missed this detail on the first pass. And the second, and the third. .
But the wound on the village chief's back would indicate that demons can shapeshift. Because no way that teenage girl a left giant claw marks on her own without magic or a really big hand and shapeshifting would fit with the idea that demons are monsters that mimic humans. Would also explain how Aura the Guillotine and Qual can be members of the same species despite one being as tall as a building and clearly monstrous.

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

New update is not really surprising

rannum
Nov 3, 2012



I chuckled at the demon's big magic killing blow being a magic wire. That's fun.

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013




Looking forward to this discourse for the next week

Brought To You By
Oct 31, 2012


rannum posted:

I chuckled at the demon's big magic killing blow being a magic wire. That's fun.

It's a welcome reprieve from the Dragonball beam spam that's been the majority of magic in this series

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

rannum posted:

I chuckled at the demon's big magic killing blow being a magic wire. That's fun.

Google translate says his name means "wire" as well!

Shinjobi
Jul 10, 2008






Gravy Boat 2k

Ibblebibble posted:

Looking forward to this discourse for the next week

Lmfao, I feel like a rube

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013




Shinjobi posted:

Lmfao, I feel like a rube

Next week, next week it'll all turn on its head!

HerpicleOmnicron5
May 31, 2013

How did this smug dummkopf ever make general?




Ibblebibble posted:

Next week, next week it'll all turn on its head!

Overall it won’t, but I still look forward to the obligatory Good Demon character. There’s gotta be one.
Some good tension in this chapter.

Bro Dad
Mar 26, 2010




Well this manga is nosediving fast

Endorph
Jul 22, 2009


well this was a good 13 chapters, unfortunately,

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Oh Snapple!
Dec 27, 2005




The whole internet loves Frieran at the Funeral, a lovely manga about an elf going to funerals!
*15 chapters later*
We regret to inform you the funeral is racist.

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