Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Letter to Death the Kid (Soul Eater)

The following is a letter adressed to Death the Kid from Soul Eater. It will feature some small comedic spoilers, so decide for yourself if you’ll read this or not if you haven’t seen Soul Eater yet ;-). Enjoy!

Dear Death the Kid,

While I’m completely aware of the fact that you are a fictional character, I still couldn’t resist to analyze you a bit. As an aspiring psychologist, you’ll be the first one I’ll diagnose, although you must be the easiest and most convenient case I’ll ever come across xD. We are talking about an anime series here after all.

Obsessive Compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, falls into the category of Anxiety disorders. It’s characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are persistent thoughts, ideas, impulses, or images that seem to invade a person’s consciousness; they cause intense anxiety. Compulsions are repeated and rigid behaviors or mental acts that people feel they must perform in order to prevent or reduce anxiety; compulsions are often made in order to ‘solve’ the problem perceived in the obsessions. When these obsessions and compulsions feel excessive or unreasonable one speaks of OCD. The most common compulsions to fight off the fears in the obsessions are cleaning, checking, order/balance compulsions and touching, verbal and counting compulsions (Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, R. Comer).

After reading this, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to figure out that you have an order/balance compulsion. Symmetry is one of the highest symbolic forms of balance, so you must deeply fear chaos. Maybe it has something to do with having Shinigami-sama as a father, an unstable, unusual family life without a mother. Maybe it has something to do with the high expectations everybody has had of you since you were born. Of course, in the anime the whole thing is turned into a joke (and one hell of an effective joke to boot), while in real life it’s a very serious matter that can ruin families and lives.

I once heard about one extreme case of a man with a checking compulsion. He was extremely afraid of danger befalling his family, so he repeatedly checked the lock when he left home for work (around 30 times). He would return to the highway in the middle of the night two or three times to check if he had missed a speed sign, because he feared his license being taken from him so that he couldn’t go to work anymore. Then, he would be fired and his family would be thrown into poverty. He feared getting into a lift with wet feet, because he could be electrocuted if things went wrong and then his children would be left without a father. There are cases of people who wash their hands until they bleed or shower 50 times a day while reciting even numbers. The victims themselves are trapped in the prison of their mind which made up unfunctional solutions for the problems they fear. The disorder is extremely hard to cure but treatment with antidepressants and behavioral therapy are most common to try to lighten its intensity.

Death the Kid, you are a lucky man. While it makes your viewers basically die of laughter and creates difficulties for you to beat your opponents, you don’t seem to be unhappy, and those surrounding you can moreorless handle your weirdness. Your OCD defines part of why people love Soul Eater.

Do you remember that one time you had to go on a mission but thought you had forgotten to fold the end of the toilet paper into a triangular form? You were deeply depressed and contemplating the unworthiness of your existance. The unbeatable Death the Kid, done in by toilet paper. You couldn’t normally take a test, because it took you three hours to write down your name properly. Fighting perfectly symmetrical opponents was a real hassle for you and you could easily be delayed by placing unsymmetrical statues along the way you were going (

The funniest thing about your existance might be the paradox of wanting symmetry while tragically being unsymmetrical yourself. Your weapons look identical as pistols, but they are completely different from eachother in human form. You even got flustered about their difference in breast sizes and you got away with it pretty well too xD. The most hilarious thing, though, are the three Sanzu Lines on your hair on the left side of your head. While you dress yourself as symmetrical as you can, you fail at being symmetrical. This is the source of your inferiority complex, it’s the irony of your character and at the same time the reason why all your fans love you. You’re really strong and serious, but you’re busted by things like unbalanced paintings, toilet paper (there are german subs, unfortunately, but this is the scene: and the mention of the lines in your hear, which give you an unwanted comedic side.

While it’s a serious threat to leading a normal life in reality, in this series your disorder is used to its full hilarious potential. It has created an original character that everyone loves and it’s one of the reasons why Soul Eater is so good. Death the Kid, please stay the way you are and never get cured. You have a wonderful personality *laughs out loud*.

Greetings, Sunagan

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