Sunday, December 8, 2013

In Defend of Shōko

People has been too harsh on her, seriously.
  • Her father killed by Haruto
  • Her best friend was killed because of Haruto
  • Constantly being bullied by ARUS diplomats
  • Found out that Haruto has been lying to her
  • Witnessed her people being slaughtered because of Haruto's lie with her own eyes
  • Haruto forgets about their important memories
.....And now people blame her because she felt betrayed and deceived.

To be honest, I also RAGE over and over to her when watching this episode 21. But when my head cool down and think about it again, her actions perfectly understandable.

Have you ever witnessed your friend, your family, or someone important to you beaten down unreasonably with your own eyes? It feels like extreme anger, at least for some people. At any rate, someone who has a heart would undoubtedly feel some extreme emotion in that situation, it may be anger, or sadness, or fear, whatever. Some people can contain that certain emotion to not hinder their reasoning, some people cannot. Obviously, Shōko is the latter.

Just imagine it. Her people, the people who chose her to be their leader, the people who entrusted their fate to her, the people she was responsible for, the people she ought and want to protect, those very people, were massacred right in front of her. All because of a certain stupid boy lied to her, the very same boy who killed her father. To make the matter worse, that boy also couldn't remember a certain memories he shared with her, a very important one no less. Of course she couldn't think straight. Same with Iori, witnessing a family sucked dry of runes surely would make just about anyone become full of hatred.

Basically, the two of them (and other trivial students) became emotional and were not in a condition to make a rational decision. I do believe however, when their heads cool down, they would regret their actions (at least Shōko would).

Now, let's review the situation once again.

It was all started when that jacked-Fuhrer of Dorrsia "revealed" the secret of Neo-JIOR. The "revelation" was very convincing for those who weren't in the know and succeeded to make them think the Valvrave pilots and everyone who went to earth were actually monsters, at the first glance at least..... But the students including Iori and Shōko had no time to think, a massacre was commenced immediately, causing them to be confused and emotional. That Haruto saying something that could be taken as a confirmation didn't help either. And so, they fell into a panic.

In the shuttle, Iori shot Haruto and then he came back to life, confirming that he has indeed knew about the "secret" and deliberately lying to them. Feeling betrayed by the person she trusted the most, Shōko ordered the Valvraves to stop fighting and sold Haruto out to ARUS.

At this point, I have to say that Shōko's decision to let Iori trap Haruto in the shuttle and then giving him to ARUS was not purely emotional. Twelve minutes is a long time in battle, it was very logical to think that they wouldn't last that long, thus pushing them to agree for a "negotiation". Why trust ARUS you ask, when they had been bullying you and slaughtered your people? In my humble opinion, it was not a matter whether to trust or not to trust. It was the only way if she want them to live. Refuse, and they would become a sitting duck amidst a mecha battle for the next ten minutes. Not to mention that she was feeling really responsible to save whoever was left. The best course of action of course, is to pretend to agree with the "negotiation" in order to stall for time and then escape cunningly. Unfortunately, Shōko and co were emotional and L-Elf was still in emo-mode so there was no way they could pull that off.

Some people said she is worse in taking bad situation compared to Haruto, Saki, or L-Elf. If you ask me though, it's a very unfair comparison. Haruto and Saki never feel betrayed or deceived. Shōko reacted the way she did because she was feeling betrayed and deceived. Were that bad situation happened not because of "betrayal" by Haruto or anyone else she trusted I'm pretty sure she would stay rational and make a much better decision. Comparing an ordinary high school girl (or almost anyone) to L-Elf is a mistake to begin with.....

Then come Satomi and Takahi.

Some said that they would make better leaders than Shōko since they didn't fall into panic and stayed rational. I have to disagree, though. Like I said before, Shōko reacted they way she did precisely because she felt betrayed and deceived. Satomi and Takahi didn't. Or at least, the degree of that feeling was much, much smaller for them compared to Shōko, who had poured her soul into working for the sake of Neo-JIOR ever since they got into the moon, bullied by ARUS diplomats and had no one to sooth her heart, whereas Satomi and Takahi went into the earth to experience some character growth, aside from making their bond with the Valvrave pilots and L-Elf thicker (Satomi even made up with his sister Akira). 

Then, all of her hard work became vain because Haruto, who had her complete trust, deliberately hide some very important information from her. It was as if your best friend intentionally killed the rabbits you raised yourself from when they were born (okay, that analogy maybe a bit off). It would be very human for anyone to feel they have been stabbed on the back and become mad on that best friend. Were Shōko was the one who went to the earth and Satomi or Takahi experienced all of her painful experiences, I'm quite sure they would react the way Shōko did, most likely even worse (like immediately offering Haruto's head or something).

Either way, I think almost all normal people would react just about the same as Shōko if they were in her shoes. She was stressed, she was emotional, thus cannot be as rational as she should be.

TL;DR - Considering the situation, it was very human for Shōko to react the way she did. Doesn't stop me from losing a lot of respect for her, though. But of course, she's still the best girl. Along with Kriemhild.

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