Thursday, February 19, 2015

When the Bad Guy has a Point AKA Hakuryuu did Nothing Wrong

What do you mean he's not the hero of the story?

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a wonderful Manga, but like any manga it has weaknesses. The main one being the accidental subversion of the themes it holds up.


By that, I mean Hakuryuu and Judal make more sense than anyone else in the manga, but let’s take this from the beginning.



Oh yeah, that's why. 

If you’re caught up with the manga, you know Hakuryuu and Judar have taken over the Kou Empire and are planning to launch an attack on Balbadd. 

You also know they went crazy because Belial Brainwashing (nice going there, moron) and Black Rukh, which ended up with them consumed by their hatred and determined to fight everyone until there is no one left.

You may or may not have noticed this, but if the author had not forcefully turned Hakuryuu evil, he would be by far the best King Candidate.

Because, seriously, what has Hakuryuu done wrong? 

To answer that question, let's go back to the beginning. 



Hakuryuu has a nice backstory. He was a prince. He had a nice life, a good family, happiness, and so on.

Then it turned out his mom was a psycho bitch in charge of an international terrorist organization who had his dad and brothers killed and helped his uncle take over the Empire for her evil plan to destroy the world.

So yeah, that happened.

Under Al-Thamen’s influence Kou did a lot of shitty things in an aggressive campaign of world domination. Lots and lots of shitty things.

And everyone let those things happen.




That is Hakuryuu when we met him. He’s certainly not the strongest guy around. He’s messed up in quite a few ways, but he wants to stop the evil in his country. The shit that’s happening there is just wrong.

There are also a fair amount of personal feelings involved. Let’s not the deny that. The guy hates his mother and with good reason.

Bitch be crazy. Hakuryuu wants to kill her for all the evil crap she did to him.

Let’s be honest, Hakuryuu is not wrong about this. He is the disgraced prince rising against the literal evil empress.

However, a break occurs between Hakuryuu and the others.




Hakuryuu kills an evil bitch who kidnapped and brainwashed innocent children. Those who weren’t strong enough for her ended up dead.

Apparently, that’s terrible.

Now, let’s be fair. He did go a bit overboard when he showed the head of the woman to the orphans who were brainwashed to see her as mom, but let’s cut him some slack. He had just been brainwashed to see all his worst memories at once.

Anyway, this causes the break. However, there is more to it than this.

Shut up, hippy!

See, Hakuryuu is all for flat out killing those he hates, regardless of the consequences. This is the root of the differing ideologies, because Magi, at its core, is very anti-war. This is obvious ever since Aladdin meets Hakuei.

Hakuei seeks to conquer the Kouga Tribe without resorting to war. Aladdin backs her up because he does not like people dying. Both sides come to an understanding after beating the bad guy and everyone goes home happy with Kouga now under Kou.

Oh, he won't be forgetting that day any time soon.

The same thing happens later in Balbadd. Alibaba wants to solve the revolution without a single person dying. To his credit, he almost manages it, before Kassim decided to be a jerk (By the way this is the greatest difference between Alibaba and Aladdin. Aladdin succeeds. Alibaba doesn’t.).

We see it again on Magnostadt. Aladdin does not want to enter the war, because wars are bad. When he does enter he manages to drive away the soldiers without killing a single one of them.

This is also the reason why Alibaba does not take Balbadd back by force. He will never do something that risks a civil war in Balbadd because that means lots of dead people.

Aladdin and Alibaba refuse to accept the loss of lives as something inevitable.

Well yeah, it's a grudge. That doesn't mean he's wrong.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like peace. If there was some way for everyone to be happy without war or losing one life, then go for it. By all means.

The problem comes when the desire to avoid war creates a far bigger problem.

Hakuryuu wants to kill his mom, stop her evil, and get revenge.

This is treated as a bad thing.

Because how dare he start a civil war and take revenge!

This is the big break in their ideologies. Hakuryuu will risk the civil war. Hakuryuu will risk the loss of lives. Because really, what’s the alternative?

Yeah, that plan is going to work juuusst fine. Not.

Who is doing anything about Al-Thamen?

Let’s begin with the Kou Empire. That means Kouen.

Kouen is content to use Al-Thamen. To him, they are this big, evil attack dog that will help him realize his goal of world peace through world conquering and cultural brainwashing. Kouen will unashamedly gain power, territories and more from Al-Thamen. He’s the willing beneficiary of an evil organization.

Thus, he’s in no hurry to remove Al-Thamen.

It should be noted for all of Koen’s plans, Gyokuen had no problems taking the throne right in front of his eyes.



However, not everyone is content with that. Aladdin, knowing Al-Thamen is evil, gathers all the world leaders to talk about their anti-Al-Thamen strategy.

He even brought his own home movie!

The leaders of the world then proved themselves unable to do something as simple as coordinating strategy without turning it into a dick-waving contest.

Kouen wants everyone to join under him. Sinbad wants to manipulate everyone into joining him. Muu… is just staying quiet in the middle not doing anything, because Reim is always neutral. Wuss.

The world is in danger idiots!

You'd think they do something but the reality is another. They are too caught up in themselves to do stuff.

Who ends up getting shit done?

Hakuryuu and Judar. That’s who!



Belial’s dungeon capture is a nice insight into his character as well as the rules governing the world of Magi.

Hakuryuu understands and acknowledges his quest is in no small part motivated by negative thoughts. At the same time, he knows it is something that needs to be done. Kou cannot live under Al-Thamen.

Belial forces him to choose. Keep on hating or join hands with Kouen and the others.

And that’s just not acceptable.

Yeah, nice going there Belial. 



While some people may like him, there is no denying Kouen is a villain. Having world peace as a motivation doesn’t help when you want to conquer the world and subject it to cultural brainwashing with added bonuses like slavery and forced division of wealth.

Kouen’s peace may very well be more dangerous than any war.

Unable to accept Kouen, Hakuryuu chooses the Black Rukh and by doing so makes the moral conflict a lot easier.

Because he goes crazy.

Seriously, killing his sister and Morg? We’d have all cheered for him right there if not for that, and that’s the real problem.

He and Judar are far too easy to root for.

Seriously, how can anyone not root for Hakuryuu here?

It’s the same thing after the (awesome) fight with Gyokuen. Hakuryuu decided to go kill Kouen.

Because Kouen is evil. Good intentions or not.

And we’d all be saying, “Go for it!” were it not for one thing.

Judar’s inner monologue which reveals Hakuryuu’s intentions. He just wants to keep on finding people to hate and getting rid of them.

Again, this is a forced move by the author, because otherwise it would be hard to call Hakuryuu and Judar villains. If anything, they would be closer to heroic antagonists.


Harsh but True

Even now, with all the crazy forced on him, Hakuryuu makes several good points.

Gyokuen was a crazy bitch that needed to be taken down. Kouen is someone that must be taken down before his succeeds in his goal of world domination.

Alibaba's and Aladdin's way... really hasn't bore many fruits. I mean, yeah, they stopped the Medium. Good for them!

The countries are still unable to cooperate. Sinbad is still manipulating everyone as he please. Kouen is doing Kouen stuff.

For all the talk about understanding each other, there is a pretty big lack of agreement, and it shows.


One of the Best Offers Alibaba has gotten

At the same time, Hakuryuu is offering Alibaba a pretty good deal, and for all Alibaba cares about Balbadd, their safety is not more important than the safety of the world.

When Balbadd's safety take precedence over stopping a would-be world conqueror, well, just what are your priorities here?

Even the brainwashing, while cruel, is still probably the cleanest way of taking down Kouen. You don’t need to waste tons of soldiers if you can kill the leader in his sleep.




However, for some weird reason, everyone wants to tell Hakuryuu he is wrong. Seriously, no one was on this guy's side.

Not his friends. 

Not his sister. 

Not his family.

Only Judar (Best Bro in the Manga).



You’d think the guy going, “Well, my mom is evil and doing horrible stuff, let’s stop her!” would get more support, but nope.

No one wants the civil war and killing in hatred to stop this tremendous evil from succeeding.

However, the other alternatives have not shown any superiority. If anything they have shown themselves inferior.

Seriously, what’s up with that?



Of course, at the end we can say Hakuryuu is wrong because he is crazy and evil. Which he is. He was brainwashed to be that way.

That makes it simple.

Easy.

Because if he was sane and trying to stop Kouen because it is the right thing to do, well, that’d be hard, wouldn’t it? Because it means, war is a necessity sometimes and the loss of lives cannot be avoided no matter how much one wants to.

Ultimately, Alibaba and Aladdin will be proven right.

Superior Magi-King Pair


It would be nice if I was proven wrong, but I doubt it. 

6 comments:

  1. Nice read, really.
    But I have an issue, Hakuryuu is just following his own interests, same as Alibaba who put his own country ahead of the world(and why should he not, Sinbad, Muu and Kouen and Hakuryuu have done that.), and it just so happens to have good consequences.

    As much as Kouen needs to be put down, Hakuryuu is not the best person, as he is basically gearing up to take his place, both of them even have similar narrow ideals and both of these ideals give them an excuse to fight everybody.

    You did not mention Hakuryuus reason to attack Kouen, it is because Kouen is the kind of person who can't be allowed to live in Hakuryuus ideal world, the same reason he attacked Alibaba, it does not take much to extend the same reasoning over Reim and SSA, for the same reason he is attacking Kouen and attacked Alibaba, respectively.

    He is not a positive influence in the world in the long run, just because he is destroying monsters, that should have been done by the protagonists(but this is more interesting.), since he is just gearing up to take the place of those monsters(this is why having proper intentions matter, it will actually tell you how far one will go once their current objective is done with.

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    Replies
    1. Well yeah, Hakuryuu is not a bastion of morality.

      It's why the post is called The bad guy has a point as opposed to the bad guy is completely right :)

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    2. Yeah, but many times during your post it seemed that you were making Hakuryuu out to be better than everybody else, when he is not, his actions just happen to have good consequences, and this will end when he is done with Kouen, remember what he told Judar in chp.250.

      'I will strike Ren Kouen down and then guide the world on the right path by becoming the Emperor of the Kou Empire..no of the World'-this was the declaration of war in that chapter(not Judars understanding.)-if he is really serious about this, then it is a given he will confront Reim and Sinbad(much like his cousin Kouen.), which is why he needs to be brought down, so that his name won't be blemished by walking down the path he chose for himself.

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    3. He is better than everyone in the sense he actually did something about Al-Thamen. That's his and no one can take that away from him.

      However, that's all there is to it.

      No one is squeaky clean in this. Hakuryuu's ideology is dangerous by itself without even bringing some of Ohtaka's forced villain moments into it. Much like Kouen and Sinbad are dangerous if left alone too.

      Much like Solomon was dangerous when they let him do whatever he wanted come to think of it.

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  2. I did think a lot of times that some parts were kinda forced. You know, to make them look like the bad guys. I also hated how their point of view wasn't so important in the story--by that, I mean that nobody kinds tried to understand. Except each other.

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  3. Completely agree with you, hakuryuu's revenge arc was the best fun I had with this manga,he and judar are awesome, it's a shame that they lost...

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