Monday, July 8, 2013

Vanillaware Month: Top 5 Antagonists

While the protagonists and their stories are the main focus of Vanillaware's stories, there are some great villains as well. Of course, as with the previous list, the majority of this list will contain characters from Vanillaware's most story heavy games.

And with that said, let's begin with #5 .....

5) King Onyx

In a different world, King Onyx could have been a playable protagonist in Odin Sphere. His story may be one of conquest, but more emotion begins to come out of his story as the tale of Odin Sphere goes on, and he is given two superb endings as a character. He falls to Mercedes in battle in the canon ending, and in one of Gwendolyn's bad endings, he is given one of the saddest ends to an antagonist I've ever seen. Onyx really stands out as a villain because while his stance as an antagonist is never put into question, the morality behind his actions are, as we wonder if a monster is truly capable of love.

4) Ingway

If there were one character in Odin Sphere who I wish was playable, it would be Ingway. Easily the most important side character in Odin Sphere, Ingway created a real presence for himself as an enigma. We see him act calm and cool throughout most of the game, but he still makes many risque and emotionally-driven decisions throughout the game, including becoming the Beast of Darkova himself. Ingway's character arc is one driven by love but ending in sadness. Odin Sphere is a tragic story, and Ingway may be the most tragic character in the story.

3) Grimlet (No art available)

Pure intimidation. Lillet meets Grimlet early on in Grimgrimoire, and his power is made completely obvious just by his appearance and powerful voice. Grimlet may not be the deepest character on this list, but he performs his role as a villain perfectly, as he is very intimidating and is easily set up as the "final boss" of the game. When Grimlet is vanquished, all will be good, but just how is Lillet going to defeat such a devil? Such is the driving question behind Grimgrimoire's story, and is lasts until the very end when Lillet actually manages to defeat a devil.

2) Advocat

Some of the best villains are those who you never truly know where they stand. Are they a friend or a foe? Can we ever truly know? Advocat is the quintessence of this type of villain. He freely admits to not truly caring what happens to others, and has no problem revealing himself as a devil. Advocat may be George Kamitani's best written character, as the questioning of Advocat's position in the battle against Grimlet and Calvaros is never truly clear. Simply put, he is an enigma to end, and we love him for it. Advocat's sheer likability is something to praise as well. There are many villains to be hated, but there are those rare ones to be loved as well.

1) King Valentine

Vile, tragic, and intimidating; that is King Valentine. A ghost of the past come to end the world, he is arguably the true villain of Odin Sphere. What makes King Valentine so impressive as a villain, is how despite the fact that he is simply a rotting corpse, he is incredibly intimidating and carries a huge presence with him. His very words cause Velvet to shake in fear and Ingway to lost his cool, and it is scenes like these that really give King Valentine an immense presence as an antagonist; so much so that his intimidation rubs off on the player, and when he makes his appearance, I become instantly intimidated, for I never knew what was going to happen. Nobody could harm this man, that was the strength of his presence, his power. Truly, the most evil and intimidating antagonist in a Vanillaware game yet.

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