Friday, April 25, 2014

Hannibal is a Little Bit Deathnote

I just finished watching the latest episode of Hannibal, and thought about what I like about it.  How did it not occur to me until now?  Not only does Hannibal have an anti-hero, but it's named after him.

Wikipedia gives the classical definition of an anithero:
"...a leading character in a film, book or play who lacks the traditional heroic qualities..."

What I'm talking about does fit that definition, but what I really want goes a little further.  I'm talking about a story that follows the villain, and I don't just want any villain.  I want one you can respect; a villain you can root for.

Both of these shows achieve this the same way, with three important characteristics.
1.  A villain needs to be dangerous.
2.  A villain needs to have earned whatever ability that makes them dangerous.
3.  You can't just tell the audience that they earned that ability.

The third is the key, and it's the one that almost everyone overlooks.  How many times have you read a story that says that their evil villain is so clever, but then to prove it they point to some past achievement, or some machine he built?

Deathnote has done this better than anything else I've seen.  If you're afraid of anime, try to look past that just this once.  I swear 90% of people will be hooked after the first two episodes.

And check out Hannibal if you haven't.  The world needs more good bad guys.

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