One thing that I love about Suikoden is the way a lot of characters are sort of... fans, or even stalkerfans, of others. ( Character-spoiler examples.Collapse )
I love the way these things are depicted-- not as romantic relationships, really, but just as people who are fascinated by other people, or admire them, or become followers.
I mean, we all think we know what normal healthy human relationships are supposed to be like, because in most media they are portrayed a certain way. We have the dynamics worked out in our heads of how human interaction is supposed to go, and the ways in which people might relate to each other. But the media usually chooses to focus on some things and not on others. The sort of relationships one normally finds in Suikoden are very different-- they highlight another aspect of human interaction, which is largely ignored in most forms of media. I believe it's very true, and just as valid as the Typical Media View of relationships. So X character thinks Y is the COOLEST and wants to follow them around. Is this unhealthy? No, it's a common and normal way for people to feel about each other. But mostly the media won't show these kinds of relationships except to make them all creepy and twisted: "OMG why would this character be that interested in that other one unless they're all messed-up and crazy!"
It shouldn't have to be viewed that way... these things happen, and they're normal and healthy, and if we'd pay more attention to these other kinds of relationships in the media, I think we'd have a more well-rounded view of human interaction in the real world. Think about how many heroes have sidekicks, but no one EVER pays attention to the bond between the hero and the sidekick UNLESS they're going to slash them. Why slash them? Why not admit that there's a kind of relationship there that's totally valid and healthy without having to do with sex? It's just one more way that people relate to each other. It can be a powerful and strong bond between people, but most media either has to turn it OMGsexual, or else ignore it completely-- the sidekick's loyalty is taken for granted, and the hero is never annoyed by it, and very little is done with it in terms of making it an interesting plot thing, unless it's a means of proving that the hero must be really cool because they've got cardboardly loyal friends backing them up.
Suikoden is quite interesting because it has very few
romantic relationships and a lot
of sidekicky fan relationships. Which means, of course, that a lot of characters get slashed, and subtext is found all over the place. I think it's way more interesting, though, to just assume that most of them are platonic, and look at how cool and interesting they are that way.