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Evil protagonist vs good zako?

Discussion in 'Zako' started by Stuelpner_Karl, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Stuelpner_Karl

    Stuelpner_Karl Avid Affiliate

    Jan 7, 2013
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    Elsewhere in Ryona, some prefer to see a villainess punished, while others love to witness the destruction of a superheroine.
    And some love a real competition, others just a one-sided affair.

    In zako action, it seems that the protagonist is always good. There may be a bit of a mean streak, but usually only against those who deserve it.

    Most want the zako to be baddies (though maybe half-decent in private life), for some, conscripts who are forced or tricked into fighting the heroine are acceptable too. But they are always on the evil side.

    I love to envision the story from the viewpoint of the "characters insignificant to the plot and simply there to be killed by the protagonist." To imagine them as normal people who live normal lives adds a lot of suspense, even though they're often looking completely incompetent, cowardly and kinda trashy.

    In contrast, the casual viewer is supposed to empathize with heroes or heroines, who use their wit, skill and courage to take them out in droves while no one sheds a tear. In a game, you play the hero and they are just standing in your way to the next level.

    This makes me think about movies where an essentially evil protagonist wipes out numerous good people who are nonetheless "insignificant to the plot and simply there to be killed."

    Just as in normal zako action, the protagonist has wit, skill and courage, while the cannonfodder looks incompetent, cowardly, thrashy. The viewer is supposed to follow the villain through the story, wondering when he will be stopped.

    Meanwhile the fate of the unimportant victims is already sealed, the viewer takes it as no big loss and won't be repelled by the protagonist's actions against them. He'd rather make snarky remarks about the victims' ignorance.

    Inattentive cops or guards make good "good zako".

    But it can also be non-combatants.
    There are a lot of movies where people, who have been taken out by a maniac or a monster, simply disappear and are forgotten, or (better) are lying around decoratively while the action continues around them.

    Rampage12.jpg Rampage07a.jpg
    People are supposed ignore the tragedy behind it and just say
    "Oops, I guess you airheads better had run when you had the chance, keeping your malicious remarks for later."
    (Looking at comments on youtube, it's what most viewers do.)

    One of my favorites movies is "Blood Diner".
    The protagonists are a pair of brothers who, while running a restaurant, are on a mission to rebuild and revive an evil goddess. During the movie, they have to deal with a couple of guys creepier than themselves.

    The good couple of cops is only there to stop them at the end. They save the innocent, but rather dull, Damsel-in-distress, but hardly anyone else. So a lot of party-goers - the trashier, the better - lose their lives in horrible, but funny fashion.

    And just as in other zako scenarios, I (but probably not too many others) try to envision the situation from their point of view and see them as normal people with families and all, so it makes a difference who's gonna live and who's gonna die.

    Does stuff like this, either just with fighting victims or others too, work for you?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2015
  2. AgentAika

    AgentAika Avid Affiliate

    Jul 14, 2012
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    Interesting question! I can imagine Zako as either associated with bad, good, or even neutral. For me, it's more about them making up the mass numbers of usually attractive females that are no match alone for a main character with traits that may be common, but not anything special. Even as simply filling in the background, you know they are there, less important as individuals, but their combined numbers creating a sense of purpose.

    Seeing them getting pummeled and left laying about in defeat is usually an ultimate zako finale in a sense. Getting there might be about seeing zako at work as guards or personnel at some place.

    megami_by_not_revenge-d5uonh1.jpg mp1_by_not_revenge-d5uonk5.jpg

    The Octopussy girls from the movie of the same name fit to me in the middle, or neutral in the sense that their boss, Octopussy got into some illegal dealings, but mostly harmless. They later help defeat the really bad, bad guys. These zako were common, very attractive, wore similar sexy uniforms, had similar skills (though better than most non essential characters in a fight, they are not able to take on the main bad guys as easily). The movie would have really rocked if we got to see some of these zako get more than pushed around, but actually see some knocked out and laying about defeated. I recall the novel did speak to more about their personal side like being jealous of Octopussy herself.

    Octopussy Maud Adams girls.jpg

    Like how you envision their viewpoint, I sometimes dream about the zako in terms of their normal lives which we barely get to see, such as what they did to get to their current point in life, what they like to do, who they might be in a relationship with, etc....things that make them more real in a sense. I'm not sure actually knowing these details is super important as sometimes it is enjoyable to dream about who they are without learning too much about them....otherwise they may feel less like zako and more like main characters. I agree it could be very interesting to see a complete story reversed in a sense, with the focus on the zako viewpoint and the characters that defeat them being more background elements to move the story. The Female Combatants movies seem to do some of this, but not quite to that level I believe.

    In Transmorphers, I found the following scenes have a feel for possible life of some zako, like back in their dorms where they might get into altercations even among themselves like normal people...

    I find a quality in zako themes, whether the zako are good, bad, or neutral is the feeling of sadness for them when we see them defeated, feeling perhaps some emotional connection to them or sorrow for them. I believe this can be more pronounced too when we feel some attraction to them, or simply accept that they are attractive and find sadness in their loss or defeat.

    Sometimes we get a light glimpse of the zako's personal side like in Agent Aika with some zako conversing in the locker room or one of sorrow when a delmo holds another fallen delmo, who might have been her friend or lover, but the scene itself emphasizes their loss even more.

    Agent_Aika_2_1.png Agent_Aika_2_2.png

    I do prefer zako to be involved actively in fights, preferably hand to hand, but mixing them with some that may be working in some other capacity like technicians can make it work nicely too. I find there are many ways zako can be interesting from background in a story to their point of view, however their defeat, whether they are good, bad, or neutral, seems to really make the whole idea of zako mean something.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2014
  3. Stuelpner_Karl

    Stuelpner_Karl Avid Affiliate

    Jan 7, 2013
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    Good female zako involved actively in fights seem to be a rarity.
    In the Evilbabes genre, it's more common to see one bad woman fighting several good or neutral men,
    but good girls are rarely thrown into the mix.

    Kim Maree Penn, Sophia Crawford or Agnes Aurelio also come to mind, though usually not evil protagonists but high ranked henchwomen of the evil antagonist. But since they are so skilled, they can draw a part of the audience's sympathies, no matter how nasty they actually are. You want to see them taken out by the equally skilled hero or heroine at the end, but not by a big squad of cops. (Being female in a male dominated scenario certainly play a role too.) They rarely let someone stand out in a positive way. And a random added woman would probably do exactly this.

    I think, most of the times the movie makers want to prevent this emotional connection. We are supposed to enjoy the fights and continue to follow the story of the winners, not to pity or mourn the losers.

    Many times, there is no real fight between the one or few competent and many incompetent people. Cops and guards are killed before they even (realize that they should) draw their guns. Being so inattentive can trigger a "serves you well" reaction, no matter how evil the killer is.

    It's paradoxical, but so is life actually.
    Almost every single one of the seven billion people on this world is a main character for several other persons. But for the vast majority of the people who happen to see them, they are just zako.

    It's how I try to look at real life situations (empathic for people I don't know, not the other way around), and in recent years my look at fiction changed a lot in this direction too.
    I don't think that something like "these ladies might be hard working single moms who just want to have some fun and drunk a bit too much" ever crossed my mind when I first saw Blood Diner many years ago. It's kinda strange, since it's not leading to the conclusion "This is not funny!" I love their crazy demises nonetheless.

    In Rampage, you even have one victim pleading "I have two kids..." and it's a safe assumption that most the Beauty Salon's customers and staff have. It's a very disturbing scene.

    Or at least it should be a very disturbing scene.
    But when I look at many comments on youtube, a significant part of the viewers don't care for the victims, and empathize with the killer instead.
    While this particular scene is way too one-sided and tragic, it's a good point.

    In zako action scenes (with victims who aren't that defenseless and have a much bigger chance to survive) "lucky vs less fortunate" often overshadows "good vs evil" for me.

    I don't like the zako being conscripted, shanghaied, brainwashed or constrained by poverty to put their life, health, freedom or dignity on the line. And I also don't like them to unselfishly take risks to safe other people. If they take risks, it's because they underestimate them (often blinded by greed) or fail to realize the danger at all.

    They are not too good and not too bad, lucky (compared to many other people) and taking this life for granted - until they are on the verge of losing it. Them working for the bad guys is best, but if they are on the good side or just stumble into the scenario, it's fine too.
  4. zippgun

    zippgun Vivacious Visitor

    Dec 3, 2012
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    For me it's fairly straightforward. They have to be on the bad side (and be really bad characters too - and certainly not involuntary conscripts, brainwashed, misled etc), not the good one - and those differences have to be pretty clear. I really don't like 2 lots of "zako" mutually massacring each other - you see a lot of that in poser stuff where both sides are usually interchangeable nasty types (criminal gangs at war over territory etc). I don't want even sides - I want the overwhelming "odds" to be with the bad zako/henchwomen...but they still lose.
  5. Stuelpner_Karl

    Stuelpner_Karl Avid Affiliate

    Jan 7, 2013
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    Maybe there is a very smart heroine who tricked the two (or more) lots of nasty types into massacring each other. Now she can lean back and enjoy the show.
    At the end, the heroine will join the fray and finish off the exhausted winners.
    (Capricorn does great artwork of this kind of battle. I love the looks, face expressions etc., but I miss a story. As always, I like to envision their background and their plans for the future.)

    In non-lethal combat it's OK to have two big groups slug it out. I have a problem with Zako vs Zako battles to the death though. If they knowingly go into a fight with a foreseeable high bodycount on both sides, they don't meet my requirements for an enjoyable Zako death scenario. The Zako, no matter how good or bad they are, shouldn't go like lambs to the slaughter or sacrifice themselves for a cause. And if they don't care for their own lives, why should I?

    Indeed. They have to go into the scene "knowing" that they can't lose. When they realize they're wrong, it's too late.