Black and white morality kills. Heck, wars start because of one simple reason. Two groups of people disagree with each other and each side ‘knows’ they’re right. So to resolve this, the ‘answer’ is to eradicate the opposing side. This is humanity, boys and girls.
This duality shows through in our popular media. Good guys and bad guys, black and white. Let’s do our best not to turn this into a race thing, though. (I always considered myself a brown person, anyway.)
So we have good guys and bad guys. But are the good guys always right and are the bad guys always wrong? I say, no. After spending some quality time with “Bravely Default” I’ve had this mindset reinforced. At least in the game they address this limited mindset. You have four heroes of varying origins. They come across a duo of people that are out to capture one of your fellows, and KILL them with no remorse. Worse, you don’t just step over their lifeless bodies. Instead you gather up the pieces of your broken foe and wear it like a hat.
I can’t help but think the ‘asterisks’ are the still beating hearts of your foe, preserved so you can mimic their cool moves. It isn’t until you’ve dusted off about four of these when your characters even say anything that resembles remorse. “Oh I knew this guy. So I’m sad now.”
Seriously? This is what adventuring yields. It is a group of cutthroats marching towards their goals leaving a trail of monsters murdered for loot. Not to say the monsters are really victims. I mean they attack you on sight. But most of the big bad guys you’re actively seeking out to pass judgment.
There was a time where heroes didn’t do this. They brought their foes to justice no matter what, even at behest of an anti-hero or a bitter family member calling for blood. The hero stoically shook their head and said: “Then I would be just as bad as them.” Those days gave gone the way of the cassette tape.
Bravely Default is all I could ever ask for in terms of a simple storyline, but damn. This ‘nice’ band of adventurers is on the ruthless side of righteous. It reminds me of your typical MMO adventurer. They don’t do anything unless there’s a promise of money or epic loot. In a way, the shadows of Final Fantasy XIV are showing at the roots.
Bravely Default does lampoon this though. In the form of one of your Party Members: Edea. She stamps things good or evil, or black or white. She’s a bit of an extremist and her penchant for muttering “Mrgrgr” doesn’t help her status as a balanced member of society.
Remorse and restraint is the stuff of heroes, and while I appreciate gung-ho and action, I can’t help but wonder if the nature of man is nothing but the blackest pitch.