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Old 2008-06-08, 07:42   Link #288
Lovestruck Fool?
Join Date: Jan 2006
Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
Alright, despite your somewhat arrogant tone I will give you the low down:
I'm honored.

Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
From the first few episodes I get that she is essentially a character that likes to portray a glamorous and confident persona on stage (though occasionally events have overwhelmed her like in episode 07 where the mask fell briefly), while having a playful and more straight up persona off stage while secretely holding feelings of loneliness and an empty void in her lifestyle, which the earring was supposed to symbolize. I gathered that all by the time we had the episode where she talked about Macross Galaxy.

Now from time to time she has had almost polar opposite and different personalities or reactions to events while off stage that seem to go more with the themes of the episode rather then the normal straight up, somewhat witty and flirtatious personality she normally shows (end of episode 4, during the date in episode 05 etc). In episode 03 however she was portrayed as some sort of ultra wise and learned type when she was locked in the hatch with Ranka and Alto and during the scene where she talked with Ranka after getting in her car about pursuing her talent (though she didn't seem to hold herself to the same standards as the advice she dispensed), and in episode 08 it's the exact opposite, she is instead portrayed in her offstage persona as somewhat of an arrogant bimbo who doesn't know her up from her down when trying to catch the panty thieving Carbuncle thing and is so brash as to run off the top of a building before realizing what she's done.
I'll highlight the word "portrayed", because it implies a certain level of knowledge about the writers' intent. We can "percieve" a character to have certain qualities, but we can never really separate our own response to a story from what may or may not have been placed there by the writer(s) to begin with (that's not to say that our perceptions are any less important, of course).

In the viewpoint that you've presented, there are three crystalline modes of behavior that Sheryl has demonstrated, each representing your overall impressions of her at given points in time. So any contradiction in your overall impressions of her character will necessarily appear as contradictions in her character.

In episode three, you percieved Sheryl to be wise. In order to reach that conclusion, you might have noted something like the relative calm with which she approached the situation, and the suggestions that she handed out to the other two characters. This is just an initial guess, of course, but if you'd based your conclusions on different observations then you'll no doubt tell me.

But there are other elements to that scene as well, too. You could have determined that the way in which she decided to force her way out of the hatch without knowing the situation outside was impulsive, or that the manner in which she teased Alto after getting into her car was playful and flirtatious. Had you decided to lend more weight to these points, you may have reached a different overall conclusion about her character.

While Sheryl behaves rashly while chasing after her panties in episode eight, that is not the only side of her that we see. She still takes the time to advise Ranka on her career while in the showers, and she makes some rather insightful assessments of both Nanase and Michael. In addition, when Sheryl is with Alto, we see more playful teasing. So here too, your impressions will vary based on what you chose to extract from these scenes.

Let's see if there's a way of intergrating all these different facets of Sheryl's character. We know that Sheryl grew up without a family and rose to stardom relatively early on. It makes sense, then, that she comes across as having grown up rather quickly.

She's often quite observant, which is what often allows her to see to the heart of a problem and give the appropriate advice. Giving that her career is built off of reading the feelings of the crowd and inspiring them, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Likewise, in order to reach the level of success that she enjoys, it's understandable that she'd be dead serious as far as her work is concerned.

With Alto, she has a means of really enjoying herself for the very first time. Having missed out on many things in her childhood such as a normal school life and the sights and sounds of Frontier, it's understandable that she discovers these new things with a childlike wonder and playfulness.

At least part of her success as a singer comes from the fact that she puts her heart into it (which, as Ranka points out in episode two, is part of what charmed her - even when Sheryl goes overboard during an interview). While Sheryl's career has trained her to try to exercise restraint, her emotions frequently bubble to the surface. When she gets too caught up in something, her sheer enthusiasm tends to make her kick reason to the curb, as it were. The confidence that she exudes is also a means for Sheryl to cope with difficult circumstances; while she might not always feel strong inside, she always tries her hardest, for the sake of both herself and others.

The reason that we have consistancy here is because we have different responses for different circumstances, not different responses to the same circumstance.

While this may not be the only approach to understanding Sheryl's character, it does show that there exists at least one interpretation of her behavior that integrates all of her qualities in a consistant fashion. While the viewer is free to construct an interpretation of Sheryl in which she behaves inconsistantly, that's an issue for the viewer to resolve, not the writer.

Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
I guess I should say my problem with some parts of her characterization don't have to do with lack of defination so much as her character occasionally being one of unwitting hypocrisy in that at times she's at times portrayed as the pinnacle of wisdom in the life advice that she dispenses to Alto and Sheryl with impunity (Episode 5 during the writing of the lyrics, parts of episode 03 while in the hatch), but then turns around and doesn't seem to follow her it herself, getting into fits of brash arrogance and lack of focus on what is important. This only comes across though when the episode sees fit to portray her in that light (episode 08, parts of episode 3 again [this episode has her more all over the place then any other episode in the series] while in the hatch and fretting about the situation and just having to get out of there despite it being unsafe [but holy smokes, don't you go getting upset because you're afraid Ranka] and 4, while talking with Alto after tripping him). Essentially what I think is going on is they are trying to make Sheryl look as cool as they possibly can within whatever context they are dealing with, but don't realize that it mucks up her character.
Can hypocrisy not be a form of characterization in itself?

As an aside, though, Alto was the one who was irritated by Ranka getting upset in episode three. Sheryl's response was "You could at least say 'I can protect a scared girl or two!'" which implies not only that it's understandable for Ranka to be afraid, but that Sheryl herself is afraid. But there's nothing bizarre about trying to make the best out of a bad situation, even in the face of fear.

Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
To summarize, why does she come across in her offstage persona as world-wise and "A woman who knows what she wants and needs" as she often tries to tell people how to think about things, but quite often (but not always, which makes it even more awkward) fails to show this stance in a lot of her actions and reactions? That question I need answered before I can feel her as more strongly defined and her potential as a character realized. Really I think they should have just picked one or the other. Either gone with the cool and smooth flirtatious "knows what she wants type", the life experienced type who can show Ranka and Alto the way, or the brash, arrogant and impulsive type as these traits all at the same time (but not really since only one set comes up when required) just seem poorly meshed from time to time when I stop to think about it.
This is where my point about static characters comes in. You're talking in terms of archetypes, rather than in terms of the character herself. You're right that she doesn't conform to either classification. Nor does she have to.

Can you think of an instance when you've said something wise? Can you think of an instance when you've done something impulsively? Even if you answer yes to both, you're not inconsistant. Different circumstances necessitate different responses.

As an aside: do you find any of the other characters inconsistant? Alto, for example, seems to be really good at handing out wise words to Ranka with regards to her career, but has shown himself to be quite reckless on many other occasions. He can be withdrawn and tries to avoid the limelight at times, but yet doesn't mind trying to pull off a flashy corkscrew in episode one.

(Again, this is an issue of 'different circumstances necessitating different responses', but in many ways this seems similar to the issues that you raised with Sheryl.)
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