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View Full Version : What sort of character would you call "Mary-Sue" ?


ze_gobou
April 25th, 2007, 08:45 AM
First of all, I'm not asking "What's a Mary-Sue ?". I know what it means : perfect or/and very clichéd character.

I recently read the beginning of a trainer fic in which a character was called Mary-Sue. It surprised me at first, and then I wondered : can a sane author call his/her character Mary-Sue (or Gary-Stu) ?

And then : If you, as an author, gave a character the name Mary-Sue or Gary-Stu, what would be the character like ?

(I hope this topic hasn't already been done... sorry if it has).

Alter Ego
April 25th, 2007, 09:04 AM
Nyu, quite an interesting topic. xD Although really, you could have posted it in the fanfic lounge since it's sort of been on a downtime lately.

Anyways, the kind of character I would name Mary-Sue? Ehh...probably some prissy, annoying, sugary sweet, semi-comical antagonist with a major superiority complex and a tendency to but in anywhere and everywhere. Oh, and of course she would not comprehend the meaning of 'shut up'. Dunno, that's just the picture I get. ^^ As for Gary-Stu...eh, somehow that makes me think of Gary's horrible mauled and not at all likeable goody two-shoesy persona in the later parts of the anime. Yeah, the rival gone all mushy and lame for no apparent reason. D:

ze_gobou
April 25th, 2007, 09:14 AM
"To always be a little childish is to be truly mature"... Who was it said by ? Seems like it's talking about me ^^

Thank you for your answer... and well, I didn't say what would be myanswer. I would never call a character Gary-Stu because I'm too obsessed with Gary in the anime everytime I think of this name.
About Mary-Sue... well, I thought of turning what I call "my own Mary-Sue" (just what I wish I were, some kind of godly, attractive [female] superhero...) into a fanfiction character, I think it would be an antagonist. Some kind of cold, fascinating villain. But I know I wouldn't be able to make her comical.

EDIT : talking about it has given me ideas...

Yamato-san
April 25th, 2007, 09:44 AM
something I don't think many people realize is that several characters in media possess at least some Mary Sue-like traits. One thing that particularly gets to me is always arriving at the right place at the right time... of course, it's probably inevitable that this will happen at least once in any storyline, as chance happenings tend to move several stories along. That said, I'd be willing to let it slide if it occurs sparingly, and I'd especially be willing if they at least try to explain in a realistic fashion how these factors manage to come together at a particular place and time (as in NOT something along the lines of "Hey, I'm the top technological expert in the world and I happen to be walking through this forest that you're lost in, hundreds of miles away from civilization, for no particular reason. Come with me and I'll help make you stronger, 'cause I'm a nice guy and I take time out of my life to help any random sob that crosses my path").

As a whole, I'd say the Pocket Monsters franchise is just riddled with that type of flaw. First of all, there're the games. Now of course, as the player, there are gonna be several things put in the game meant to be accomplishable by you, but even so, it's hard to ignore several things. You're just some 10 year-old kid who just started raising Pokemon, so how come every random trainer you spot in the wild, some of whom look like they might have years of experience under their belt, are carrying around some weakass Pokemon about 10 or 20 levels lower than your's? And how about the way you always show up to stop whatever evil organization (they carry weak Pokemon themselves) from carrying out some scheme, and ultimately disband them, even though there should be several other people in the world easily more capable that logically should've arrived to stop them first. Don't get me started on how you're the first person to find a legendary Pokemon's dwelling, usually some cave or tower in plain site, and end up being the one to capture it.

Then there's the anime. Aside from the episodic nature of it all (how many weeks in a row can they stumble upon some town holding a festival or run into another random loser having trouble with their Pokemon?), there's no denying that Ash and the other characters have pulled through with some deus ex moments. The first season, in particular, seemed to be the worst offender of this... I mean, Kingler's evolution, anybody? How about Flint, who was supposedly standing at the entrance to Pewter City for years in hopes of finding a trainer to beat Takeshi (and why, pray-tell? I don't see how that's at allnecessary for him to come back home), only to finally find it in Ash? Or how about the way Ash managed to find all three starters, what are seemingly very rare Pokemon, consecutively (don't you just love the writers' BS with the way they were, and still are, always trying to ***** those guys out? -_-)? Even Team Rocket following him seems kinda unreasonable, and aside from comic relief, they've really only become tools for the characters to get into battles week after week to "try" to make the Pokemon's strength-building process a bit believable, even though that too has resulted in a load of crap at times [cough]Squirtle's Ice Beam[cough].

I'd be willing to say Pikachu itself is a huge deus ex, though really, I wonder if it's anywhere near as strong as Team Rocket make it out to be (it did first discharge electricity at them while being powered by a bike). Plus, even if it is extraordinary, Professor Oak was hesitant to give it to Ash in the first place, and it was disobedient for a brief while (and it's not like being extraordinary helped any against Richie, who is without doubt one of the worst, poorly conceived, Gary-Stuish characters in the whole anime). Though, I can say that all these "work together/trust me/we should respect Pokemon" moments with it and Ash lead to a bunch of BS (must anime writers always make partnerships seem cheesy as hell? -_-).

ze_gobou
April 25th, 2007, 09:53 AM
I totally agree with you. I think this is the reason for writing fanfiction. We believe that we can make something better than what the canon offers.
But then... you didn't really answer to the question : "What sort of character would you call "Mary-Sue" ?

Yamato-san
April 25th, 2007, 09:57 AM
maybe not directly, but I was pointing out how several characters can be Mary Sues without most people realizing it.

EDIT: Oh, I see what you mean... meh, I don't really like the name "Mary Sue" anyway. Sounds so old-fashion goody two-shoes to me... also, what the hell is up with girls' names that have two parts? I might use Mary, and I might use Sue, but I don't see myself using Mary Sue as a name.

Frostweaver
April 25th, 2007, 10:56 AM
You know that the Pokemon canon is just waiting for a total reverse on itself to name a character Mary Sue yet has the most un-Mary Sue traits possible in existance =x There's also a few fanfics that purposely make a few Mary Sues, name them Mary Sues, just for the sake of comedy as well.

Mary Sues *can* work at sometimes... and agreed that somehow you just have to use them in a fanfic. It's too hard not to use any perfect characters to get other characters out of a hole that you've dug too deep for them to the point that even you don't know how to rescue them without accessing some divine powers from the above.

ze_gobou
April 26th, 2007, 07:52 AM
It's too hard not to use any perfect characters to get other characters out of a hole that you've dug too deep for them to the point that even you don't know how to rescue them without accessing some divine powers from the above.

But aren't we supposed to plan our story before we post it ?
EDIT : I mean, in order to avoid such situations ?

Alter Ego
April 26th, 2007, 08:10 AM
"To always be a little childish is to be truly mature"... Who was it said by ? Seems like it's talking about me ^^

Ehh...can't recall the source for that one (although I do remember being given one). It's just a quotation one of my old teachers gave me and since I liked it I've kept it. xD

Thank you for your answer... and well, I didn't say what would be myanswer. I would never call a character Gary-Stu because I'm too obsessed with Gary in the anime everytime I think of this name.
About Mary-Sue... well, I thought of turning what I call "my own Mary-Sue" (just what I wish I were, some kind of godly, attractive [female] superhero...) into a fanfiction character, I think it would be an antagonist. Some kind of cold, fascinating villain. But I know I wouldn't be able to make her comical.

Cold, fascinating villain? Do remember that Mary-Sues are sweet and lovable by nature (It's part of their definition to have everyone love them, even though - in practice - most people hate Mary-Sues at least a little. ;3), hence why they're hard to turn into serious villains. A 'perfect' character acting in a 'perfect' way amongst imperfect characters (and being judged by their standards) on the other hand has some pretty simple comic potential. But yeah, I guess a Mary-Sue could be a villain if it happened for a very corny, clichéd and sappy goody two-shoesy reason. xD

But aren't we supposed to plan our story before we post it ?
EDIT : I mean, in order to avoid such situations ?

Technically, yes. But suppose you've been writing on a good idea (which seems to be well-planed) and have gone far into the writing process (maybe even posted part of it) only to find that - once you get to the middle of the big conflict - you have no plausible means of getting your main character(s) out of it? Sometimes a small cliché is less painful than a massive rewrite. ^-^

ze_gobou
April 26th, 2007, 08:55 AM
Cold, fascinating villain? Do remember that Mary-Sues are sweet and lovable by nature (It's part of their definition to have everyone love them, even though - in practice - most people hate Mary-Sues at least a little. ;3), hence why they're hard to turn into serious villains. A 'perfect' character acting in a 'perfect' way amongst imperfect characters (and being judged by their standards) on the other hand has some pretty simple comic potential. But yeah, I guess a Mary-Sue could be a villain if it happened for a very corny, clichéd and sappy goody two-shoesy reason. xD

Have you read "His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman ? Mrs Coulter seems perfect to the children (including Lyra, at the beginning), and they all love her, though she's one of the most evil villains.

Alter Ego
April 26th, 2007, 09:07 AM
Have you read "His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman ? Mrs Coulter seems perfect to the children (including Lyra, at the beginning), and they all love her, though she's one of the most evil villains.

Erm...nope, can't say I'm familiar with that book, but I see what you mean. Someone who gives an impression of being a Mary-Sue but really isn't. Ahh...I thought you meant a real, genuine Mary-Sue acting as the villain. This explains a lot. Even though I'm - as said - not familiar with this particular character she certainly sounds...interesting, I'll give it that. Definitely a nice one to have in a story. ^-^

ze_gobou
April 26th, 2007, 09:48 AM
Well, the first book of His Dark Materials will soon be adapted into a film (or was it already ?)

Enperuto
May 1st, 2007, 12:29 PM
His Dark Materials is good, and I must admit you have it right there about Mrs. Coulter.

Really, I'm of the opinion that if you spin it right every single character ever presented in fanfiction or anime or roleplay can be thought of as a sue or anti-sue. Even a villain. He can be considered "perfectly evil" too "dimensional" or anything if the reviewer is creative enough.

Thus, I don't let people accusing me of having my characters be sue-like bother me unless they present concrete evidence.

Orange_Flaaffy
May 1st, 2007, 01:20 PM
You're just some 10 year-old kid who just started raising Pokemon, so how come every random trainer you spot in the wild, some of whom look like they might have years of experience under their belt, are carrying around some weakass Pokemon about 10 or 20 levels lower than your's?

Becuase the game would not work if the trainers with level 60 pokemon crushed your pokemon Level 5 from the start ;). A realistic storyline does not always make a good playable game..

Yamato-san
May 2nd, 2007, 12:31 AM
and I acknowledge that. Did you miss this part?

Now of course, as the player, there are gonna be several things put in the game meant to be accomplishable by you, but even so, it's hard to ignore several things.

Orange_Flaaffy
May 2nd, 2007, 07:14 AM
Yes I did :). I've never thought of being in the right place at the right time as a bad thing, but then I actually like the anime :).

As for mary sues, if they are written right they can actually make good characters if they are'nt allowed to take over the plot. Many sci-fi and fantasy books are swimming with Mary Sues, but they work becuase they are written well :)

Enperuto
May 2nd, 2007, 11:52 AM
I agree that the game must work, and that probably in fanfiction one would figure that most people have common decency to use their newest pokemon on a new person. That is, if they're Ash Ketchum on their sixteenth region, they're not going to use Pikachu on me when I just left my home town.

SBaby
May 2nd, 2007, 06:32 PM
I personally don't think there's an effective way to define the term, 'Mary-Sue' except for by using the word, Cliche. Over-used, and boring.

Which sadly (though most people likely realize this, they just won't admit it), Pokemon itself is filled with Cliches and Mary-Sues (which really makes you question the logic of some of the critics that comment on Fics having a 'Mary-Sue' in them XD).

But if I had to give an example (as in, the world is going to explode if I don't), I'd probably say that overpowered characters could definitely fit into that category. They're cliche, and I see them all too often.