Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sonichu Episode 14 Critical Review, Part One: If Fred Phelps Had A Webcomic
(Broken in to two parts, due to two divergent subjects)
After a vacation in Seattle and some new work, I realize I've again neglected this series. Sure, Christian Weston Chandler may be neglecting his own webcomic (as well as his own life), but there's still lots of unintentional meaning to be extracted from his magnum opus Sonichu. And here's where one of Chandler's greatest enemies enters the picture-- the notion that a man can love another man.
Naitsirhc, the evil twin of Christian, enters the picture in this episode. He too has had a makeover, complete with a medallion that allows him to transform into a super-powered electric hedgehog. However, Naitsirch is more evil than ever, which in Chandler's mind, means he's gayer than ever. So he debuts with a costume featuring a black codpiece, a dog collar, and green leather straps across his torso. Upon seeing this, Chris screams "Oh my Dog", offended into near-catatonia as his fantasies "blow towards the opposite gender".
Because he's now gay, Naitsirch is even more evil to the point where Black Sonichu joins Chris-Chan to rebel against his 'fallen' master. Naitsirch's evil, which is largely informed and not really justified, makes him surpass even Mary Lee Walsh and Count Graduon as a symbol of The Bad in CWCVille. So what does this say about Chandler?
The most obvious guess is that Naitsirhc represents Chandler's homosexual tendencies, as Chris-Chan reacts with such horror at the guy's very appearance. Chandler hates gays, which might be part of his family's fundamentalist background, but an actual methodology to his bigotry isn't apparent. His criticisms against gays are purely a matter of aesthetics-- he considers them icky, without questioning why. If he did, he might see something in himself that he wouldn't want to admit.
There are plenty of gender issues at play with Christian Weston Chandler, as we see throughout his history. He doesn't associate with other males (except for the imaginary hedgehog kind), and he goes on about his many "gal-pals" back in high school. He has quite a bit of jewelry, albeit in the form of anime paraphernalia like his custom medallion. And he uses imagery like hearts and rainbows that he got from shojo manga-- i.e. manga for young girls. Then there's the "recycling" thing, which I'm not going to get into but is a pretty convincing example.
On the other hand, if we're going by stereotypical gender characteristics, Chandler is obsessed with getting "China"**, uses brutal physical violence to defeat his enemies in Sonichu, and has no interest in keeping clean and tidy (to the point of not changing his clothes, even in the comic). So while he's not totally straight, he's not totally gay either; like everyone, he's somewhere between the two extremes.
No, the reaction against Naitsirch is more about Chandler's fear of anything different. To Chandler, gays are not what he knows as natural; he believes that relationships are between a man and a woman, and he clings to this belief so hard that he expels any other types of relationship. His idea of true love is Sonichu and Rosechu, characters who are in a happy, conflict-free coupling with nothing contesting their societal standing. Naitsirch in his transformed state is not interested in women, so he doesn't fit into Chandler's worldview.
Ideologically, Chandler acts like he's immunocompromised. Anything new and potentially risky gets into his bubble, and he reacts with violent outrage.
* You don't want to know, trust me.
** His euphemism for the female genitalia. This is both an example of how Chandler uses funny words to cover up uncomfortable mature subjects, and how he has no understanding of other cultures beyond the surface and doesn't plan to learn.