Do you need Character Development to be a bad-ass?
In my opinion, you don't. Firion was a pretty big bad-ass in his Dissida cutscene when fighting the Emperor. Warrior of Light and Garland were as well. Steven Seagal seldom EVER gets good characters development and is still a bad-ass.
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I'm with cdtm on this. You can arbitrarily write anyone as a "badass", even to the point where it becomes obnoxiously stale and unreasonable, but you're then just left with a typical Mary Sue/Gary Stu.
I mean, yeah, if they're basically just a backseat supporting role, then you could probably get away with leaving them simply as "the badass" as to provide something to appreciate them for, if only that, so long as they don't act as some glory hogging plot device.
If you're talking about a main character, it'll take more than a simple excess of "badassery" to have a reason to care about them.
Last edited by Sacred Fire on Feb 22nd, 2015 at 05:05 PM
Honestly, that's probably worse, as it serves to imply (near) flawlessness, which goes back to my Sue/Stu reference. Any good character, no matter how powerful or capable, should have meaningful flaws to help make them more believable and relatable. This is key to successful storytelling.
The character being believable or especially relatable is optional.
There is nothing relatable or even human about Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Yet, he's the best character in the movie. He also goes through no character development at all. He's also something of a badass.
True, but neither does Freddy or Jason Vorhee's. I was speaking mostly from the perspective of protagonist's, whom a story centers around, but an antagonist/villain exists as an obstacle/source of conflict.
That said, it's not a hard rule that someone can't be a badass without character development.. It's just not likely they'll be very interesting in an ongoing story.
Even Kenshiro, the epitome of badass, had to take a break from crushing villains to show a glimpse of his past and what makes him tick.
Put another way, if you watch professional wrestling, who are the most interesting characters? The heels. It was the rare "good guy" that could keep fans interested just by beating others down. (Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan being obvious examples.) Even a true badass like Kurt Angle generally failed as a face.
Even then a protagonist doesn't strictly have to develop to be cool.
Goku for instance is regularly considered one of the strongest dudes ever(whether he is or not). The guy is beloved world wide and is kinda the poster boy for anime badasses.
He also doesn't really develop much as a character. He goes from young boy who fights because it is fun and he enjoys adventure to adult man who fights because it is fun and he enjoys a fight. The difference is actually because the manga shifted more towards action than anything Goku does. His morals don't change, his tempermant doesn't really change aside from becoming a dad, and he is essentially the eternal neutral good guy that he has always been.
Now Vegeta is both considered a badass and is definitely one of the best, if not the best, characters of the show because while he becomes more morally upright, he never loses his dickishness that set him apart from Goku.
So characters like Mario who have no backstory other than "He's a Plumber, get use to it."
I mean, do they just prove that maybe it doesn't matter what we believe is badass and we're just gonna absorb whatever the media puts in front of us?
If you don't understand what I'm saying consider this: Dante, Master Chief and Rambo. The token badass. Awesome weapons, awesome skills and attitude. But then consider Kirby. (yes Kirby is a badass shut up) A cute pink blob with no military training or distinct attitude problem.
So do we even get a choice of what's badass? Or do we just absorb what the media gives us like mindless leeches?
Or perhaps we're just complex enough to realise that badasses like normal people and even women shouldn't be stereo typed.
PLUS I don't think any of the characters I mentioned had development so you know where I stand on this.
Saitama does undergo character development. He started the story off as a bored hero who did it as a hobby and because he longed for a thrilling fight as opposed to any altruistic reason, and slowly grows into a genuinely heroic person who makes himself look bad so that the heroes actually risking their lives to save people get the respect they deserve.
He's also arguably not much of a badass. He is overwhelmingly powerful, to be certain, but that works against his badass credentials IMHO. Saitama is in literally no danger when he fights monsters. He is so overpowered compared to every other being in the known universe that he can easily end them with a single punch, and their best attacks can't so much as slightly bruise him. Compare to the other heroes in his series who can be quite powerful, but not nearly as invincible as him. Every single one of them, even the second most powerful hero, Tatsumaki, is in danger when battling a Dragon class threat or higher. Some are threatened by even less than that. Yet they all put their lives on the line to protect the world.
Saitama doesn't put anything of his own on the line because of his absurd power. He was honestly more of a badass when he was a normal dude, risking life and limb to protect the live of a child he didn't even know from a monster, and managing to actually kill it with nothing but his own cleverness.