I know my personality influences what stories I like, as well as what aspects of the stories I like. At first I thought that this was just to do with personal preference. Liking aspects that people don’t just because I have a different angle when enjoying stories. Then there were things to do with my job and the like. Empathizing more with the techie-types than the end-user types. If one side gives a rational reason for something and the rest keep waiting for “their answer” then I side with the former, even if they’re heading in the asshole direction.
More and more, though, I am realising that the nature of my personality and my history with depression and mental illness, as well as some of the circumstances leading up to them, really colour what I like about stories.
I never got the “Luke Hate” in Star Wars. Partially, I guess, because I was late to the party. I didn’t see the trilogy until my university days. Shortly after university, I felt very trapped by circumstance. No job, living with parents, growing depression. These were all things that beginning to resonate with me around the same age I finally saw Star Wars.
Feeling trapped and having people who mean well trying to tell you what to do? I’ll side with the whiney brat any day. I’ve been there. Moving past it (I hope, somewhat) now, but it’s still something I empathize with.
I love the stories where people go against authority. Most of the recent shows, especially Anime, that I have been watching centre around groups of socially-inept people banding together.
I’ve recently watched (twice) a show called Kokoro Connect, which has a group of five outsiders who formed a school club together because there wasn’t anything out there that suited them. They then get various phenomena forced upon them by a mysterious entity who is seeking to be entertained. And you see them all struggle with things like body-swapping, acting on impulse, regressing (physically) to childhood and having their thoughts shared with the group.
I loved watching the struggles of Inaba and Iori. Not because I like watching people suffer but because I can feel their pain at times. Whilst Inaba struggles with not being a natural people person, and has to learn to deal with her true emotions, Iori struggles to learn who she really is beneath all the masks she wears over her personality.
These are things I have struggled with, and continue to do so. The strain of “putting on a personality” to deal with people, even friends and family, is a very real one. I don’t struggle with it as much as Iori does, not anymore anyhow, but I know what it can be like.
Still, I find myself quite interested when I look at what I watch and read and who I empathize with. As a general rule, these are the “take crap from noone” or the “fundamentally broken” characters. These are my heroes because they are exactly how they appear or, if not, you get to see the effort and strain involved in being “somebody else”.