[identity profile] daruki.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: They Say "Pride Goes Before Fall"
Author: [livejournal.com profile] daruki
Pairing: Kratos Aurion/Zelos Wilder
Fandom: Tales of Symphonia
Word count: ~8,000
Spoilers: The whole game and both characters' background story. Contains references from Tales of Fandom II and Tales of Symphonia: the manga.
Note/WARNING: This is a manifesto for a fanon ship. Therefore it goes without saying that there won't be much canon material, but I try to make it plausible. VERY text-heavy and theories-heavy, and none of the fanarts used are mine. Thank you for bearing with me. ~_~;


1. Introduction
1.1. Welcome
1.2. About

2. Character Analysis
2.1. Zelos Wilder
2.2. Kratos Aurion
2.3. Compare & Contrast

3. So why and how the hell
3.1. Inside the box
3.1.1. Manga & Tales of Fandom II
3.2. Outside the box
3.3. Dynamics
3.3.1. Two Sides, One Coin - It Can Begin
3.3.2. A Lie is Okay - Hurt/Comfort
3.3.3. Pretentious Rivals - Snarky/Funny

4. Conclusion

5. Tying up the Knots
5.1. Sources
5.2. Recs
5.3. Thanks

1. Introduction

Originally having hit the shores of North America in summer of 2004, “Tales of Symphonia” is the fifth installment in Namco’s Tales RPG trilogy, the third to be released in North America, and the first and only one released for the Nintendo Gamecube. Considered a classic by many, “Tales of Symphonia” is without doubt the most popular and well-known Tales game on this continent. Cheesy like most others of its series, the ‘boy embarks on adventure with friends to save the world(s)’ plot is fairly clichéd and overly predictable, but the one thing that Tales games are best known for are its cast of rich, diverse, and fascinating characters, and the game certainly didn’t come up short in that regard. The fandom is relatively big, which is all fine and dandy, but yes, now what’s this about a ship that sounds about as impossible and weird as ships come and get?

1.1. Welcome

I can already picture most people’s reaction upon first seeing this here. One- “what pairing?!” and two- “how many words?!”

Having been familiar with the fandom for about three and a half years, I’ve more than seen what’s popular within the fandom, be it straight or slash. And indeed, Zelos/Kratos is about as obscure as they come, even by slash and fanon standard. Not counting shipping them for looks alone, which is a stereotypical reaction of fangirls in general (though even here, they tend to go for the ones easier to spot), the redheads really don’t interact at all unless you strain your neck and go seek that ONE scene out. The almost total absence of a substantial dynamic in the game’s canon is almost painful to acknowledge, yet this has been my one life OTP straight for the past 3 years. Why is that?

I’d like to consider myself smart enough to be able to explain why they own my soul, seeing that even if they have nothing going for them, you can’t bullshit a manifesto with THAT kind of a word count. Assuming that you know of the fandom and can identify, even if just a little, with my predicted reaction, you’re still going to need a fair smount of tolerance, patience, acceptance to non-canon ideas and maybe just plain oomph to go through this particular TL;DR of a manifesto. You win tremendously if you actually go through this alive, though.

1.2. About

For starters, I won’t say much about the game itself, since it’s probably safe to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with the game at worst and have played it at least once at best. There are, however, spoilers for the Kratos path (getting him to rejoin near the end and take Zelos’s place), and even more so for both their backgrounds. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Also, seeing that Zelos and Kratos don’t really interact, I’m obviously not going to try and dig up canonical proof, seeing that there is almost none. The main focus of this essay will be to prove that despite their lack of proper interaction on-screen, a dynamic relationship between Zelos Wilder and Kratos Aurion is more than plausible. It will also elaborate on fanon hypotheses of how they could have met, interacted, and bonded. This is mainly based off of the game, but the manga and ‘Tales of Fandom II – Kratos’s Story’ will both be referenced as well to further strengthen the possibilities. Because of that, it will be very light on images and media, but very heavy on text. So before anything, thank you for your patience and please bear with me!

2. Character Analysis

I am fully aware that not everyone has the same kind of perception, but I will still attempt to provide my own analysis on the characters’s mentality, their personality, and what drives them to act the way they do. Relevance? I think that contrary to popular belief, Zelos and Kratos are very much alike, and it will be from that resemblance that I’ll try to construct a feasible basis for a relationship, despite the lack of actual on-screen and canon interaction. So here’s some character backstory and analysis for each.

2.1. Zelos Wilder

According to the game, Zelos’s mother, Mylene, was killed when Seles’s half-elven mother (his father’s mistress) tried to murder him for being the Chosen. Mylene took the hit, and before dying, told Zelos (five years old, according to Namco’s drama CDs) that he should never have been born. It can only be expected that Seles’s mother was executed shortly after, and Seles, whom he used to play with, was banished to the SE Abbey. The motive of the attempt was that Seles’s mother was religiously jealous of the fact that Zelos was the Chosen and Seles wasn’t, which may explain why Zelos himself hates his own title with such a fervent but hidden passion (it is explicitly stated in the Tales of Symphonia manga in EX 5; I’ve included a link to the site at the end of this, but it’s huge so I’m not providing a direct download). It’s also strongly hinted, in-game, that he must have had a distant and uncaring father (who committed suicide after his affair with a half-elf was revealed, according to the manga as well), which sums up a torn and isolated childhood amongst riches and powers that, if he could, he would have traded all off in the blink of an eye for a simple life. His actions and behaviour around women might well be his own way to rebel and stray from society’s expectations; he did not want the title of the Chosen and its role, and thus he will do everything in his power to act the complete opposite of what would have been expected of a proper Chosen. Of course, surrounding himself with admirers might also be his attempt to artificially and temporarily make up for the lack of truly caring family love and friendship in his life (sex falls in here too, or he could just be a player – food for thought, in any case), though he’s also not one to go out and seek closer ties with others unless he sees a very good reason to.

Collet and Lloyd, and maybe the party in general, are probably the closest to true friends Zelos has during the game. Their purity and determination to overcome obstacles and do the right thing without taking shortcuts or backing away are probably what made him decide to ultimately ditch Yggdrasil, the stronger force, for Lloyd’s friends. Beneath the cheery and dumb playboy façade, he also makes several comments, such as discarding Corrine’s death because if they keep brooding it will only make Sheena more depressed, that proves well his true intelligence, hard pragmatism, sharp perception and subtle concern for others. The manga goes further; his whole reason in trying to get rid of himself and make Seles the Chosen stems from the false belief that without him, people close to him will stop suffering; without him, the world will be a better place; and without him, Seles will be happier. He may always stick to his mask, but ultimately he does care for others, though he would never admit it.

2.2. Kratos Aurion

Kratos is actually over four thousand years old. While the Kharlan War was one of the biggest plot holes in the whole game, ‘Tales of Fandom II’ covered some of it, and while I can’t understand Japanese, I’ve gathered from the commentaries I’ve read that he was once a knight who was part of the royal guard of Queen Soleille during that time before he fell in with Mithos, Martel and Yuan. Mithos hinted at something between the Queen and her most trusted guard, but odds are that she most likely died after having been forced to dismiss Kratos for being associated with half-elves. He then turned his full attention on ending the war by helping Mithos, and they were all doing well until Martel died. The millennia that followed are an even bigger plot hole, and I’m going to assume he spent them trying his best to keep his sanity (I for one can’t imagine living for so long and staying normal – immortality never struck me as something practical). When he finally found the will to go against Mithos’s plan and descend to Sylvarant on his own, he finds a new hope in Anna, a woman he meets in Sylvarant. Unfortunately, she was also the host body of a crucial Exsphere development project that Kvar, one of the Grand Cardinals, was conducting, and he was then ultimately forced to kill her when she turned into a mutant and begged him to do so before she killed Lloyd, their three-year old son. He then returns to Mithos, utterly defeated, and falls back into despair until he manages to meet Lloyd on his mission to guard Colette on her Regeneration Journey. Overall, he seems to have extremely bad luck with clinging onto people for Hope because they all eventually end up dying horribly/losing their sanity.

Honestly, he’s one of those characters you either really love or really hate, and in my opinion the ridiculously heavy amount of background angst he has going really kills some of his initial merit. Team Symphonia realized the gaps and then tried to patch it up with many spin-off materials to fill it (e.g. Drama CDs, manga, ‘Tales of Fandom II’), and Kratos is ultimately shown as an eternal follower who is never capable of initiating anything on his own. He is shown, and even admits, to be extremely dependent on any sign of hope and as long as there is even the slightest glimmer he will follow it through. Admittedly, he went back to Mithos after Anna died because he had nothing else left, but four thousand years is still a long time to finally take action against something he was never happy to see. It does, however, explain why despite his cold exterior, he still takes the time and effort to educate Lloyd on swordsmanship and morale alike, but this is also in no way limited to Lloyd alone (as in he does not only do this because of family/Lloyd obsession): he does show moments of kindness to the other members of the party as well, because before being a Cruxis Seraph, he is still a human, and is hence capable of empathy. For one, he suggested Colette to count the stars when he knew she could no longer sleep, and he also offered Genis his assistance when the kid mentioned that he wanted to learn the Angelic language. It’s inevitable for him to get more interaction with Lloyd, for their link is simply stronger because of Lloyd’s hopeful nature, strong determination and their shared blood bond.

2.3. Compare & Contrast

Granted, their back-story and situation are very different. Kratos has long outlived his lifespan and wasted four thousand years clinging futilely to a flame that has already died, and despite being a Seraph of Cruxis, a top member of the society that has absolute power and control over both words, he has neither power nor control over his own life. Zelos was born with a title that granted him all the money, fame and adoration one might ever desire, but it cost him his entire family, and he was forced to mask his true self as he grew accustomed to be rich and handsome while constantly being denied real love and freedom. The irony in both their lives is overbearing, for they have absolutely no say in their existence despite both being seemingly in positions of wealth and power. They’re people who don’t fight back because they have been beaten down too often; they acquiesce not because they can’t counter, but because they no longer have the energy or will to do so – they’re too tired to care, too drained to make a stand, too weary to let go of reality and dream the ideal. The odds were impossible, they were rendered as nihilistic as nihilism came, and they gave up. Kratos more than Zelos, yes, since Kratos admits in-game that he tried once and gave up upon failure, while Zelos never looked for an alternate way out and gave in the moment an easy offer came along. He did, however, live much less than Kratos had, and while it might be just me, I do believe that Zelos would wind up very similar to Kratos if he was given more time.

To sum it up, they are cowards. They both display a wish to just give up life and find peace no matter the cost (Kratos for the world at Origin’s Seal, and Zelos for Seles at the Tower if Kratos rejoins), yet there is also the “maybe things will be alright if I just go with the flow” (Kratos stuck by Mithos, and Zelos keeps his façade up until the end and even Sheena still falls for it without question, and she might be the one person in Tethe’alla that might have gotten anywhere close to him compared to the rest of the population). They run away from the duties that come with their titles and from the consequences of their actions –but ultimately, they are simply people who lost the power to believe and to change, accustomed to despair and convinced of their helplessness in the past and the stagnation of the present. It also explains their common admiration of Lloyd and Colette: they are the children who dared to dream of something good, and had the willpower to carry it out. Kratos has already experienced this with Mithos, because even if he said that there was no other way and he followed the fallen hero despite knowing that it was wrong, his doubts and his ultimate decision to stick by Yggdrasil still leaks a hidden desire to cling onto a light to admire and follow – even if that flame has already been long blown cold.. As for Zelos, he jumped so fast to the conclusion that everything would be better if he did not exist that he didn’t even reach Kratos’s stage (though he might have, if he was given more time), though his actions could also be viewed as a hopeful bet of happiness for Seles – he may never brood about it openly, but the true motives of his actions highly suggest that he never got over his mother’s last words. In that regard, Zelos can bitch all he wants about how Kratos is an irresponsible jerk that shoves all the responsibilities onto Lloyd (Manga: EX Load 5) : yes, he went through that too, but it’s undeniable that Kratos still did everything he can to tip the party and help Lloyd out behind Yggdrasil’s back. It’s more like by thinking that being the Chosen would make Seles happier, Zelos is also unconsciously pushing everything onto her, in the same way that he accuses Kratos. He probably does not realize it because Seles means everything to him, but his life doesn’t just suck because he was born: being Chosen DOES have something to do with it. He might feel guilty about accepting all the privileges he gets that she doesn’t (similar to how Kratos would regard his extended lifespan, and the ‘wisdom’ that he then gains because of it), but the responsibility (vague, granted, because while they explained it well for the Chosen of Sylvarant, how it would work for Tethe’Alla during the game’s timeframe was always something like a plot hole – if Tethe’Alla was flourishing, meaning that the Spirits were awake there, then what would be Zelos’s job then?) is still there. He never thinks about what would happen after Seles becomes Chosen, and hence totally skips over the possibility that she might just end up in his shoes once he’s gone. Again, going off that tangent, Kratos at least knows the consequences: he is aware that he’s making Lloyd do everything, but it’s because he can’t do it himself and he acknowledges that fact. He doesn’t need to be a hero, and he wouldn’t care about Lloyd being a hero: it just has to be done, and their goals were the same, and he will do what he could to help out. Zelos just doesn’t realize that Seles doesn’t need to be a Chosen and wouldn’t CARE about being Chosen either: she’s happy as long as he’s around to help her, talk to her, and be with her. The way Kratos acts is basically how Zelos would act once he matures and sees more of the world: they really are birds of a feather.

Bottom line: they’re both kinda wasted, being all hopeless and hung.

Hence why while being extremely different characters on the surface, they match up surprisingly well when all is said and done. They are both liars because they are cowards who hide from the truth: Kratos lies by omitting it, and Zelos, by acting like an idiot to ensure that no one will take his words seriously. They both run away from their problems by adopting excuses that they end up truly believing in; Kratos is less ignorant simply because he has more experience.

This is why I believe that pairing them up would be much easier than most people think. They’ve gone through similar experiences, and can thus understand each other with ease despite being seemingly polar opposites: they have more in common than either would care to admit. They both possess powerful personalities and strong wills – or at least, I’m convinced that they would have, were Kratos not severely weighted down by Mithos’s change after Martel’s death, four millennia of status quo, and having to be forced to kill a loved one because of the very system that he’s allowed to establish and function under said status quo. As for Zelos, the same goes: were he not harshly restricted by the childhood trauma of his mother’s death, her last words, his firm belief that Seles, his half-sister, hated him, and just the overall tragedies that he has been forced to wade through ever since he was a child for the sole reason that he was born Chosen.

Another parallel would be that they can both easily command attention when they seek it: Kratos does not waste nor mince words to being with, and coupled with his steely professionalism and icy rationality, they allow him to make unbiased, sound and effective decisions (granted, for smaller things such as situation analysis and battle strategies; he’s totally out the moment anything relating to Mithos comes in question). Therefore, he has no need to make any effort when he wants to be heard; silence is already of his suit, and people would be more than glad to shut up and listen during the rare times when he actually says something. Zelos, on the other hand, is very talkative, but he is also extremely charismatic. The party itself doesn’t listen to him often because they knew him enough to know that he babbles a lot of useless chatter, but odds are that anyone else in Tethe’Alla will be more willing to listen to Zelos, compared to any other of Lloyd’s party (Regal would stand a chance if he wasn’t a convict). Even then, while Lloyd is already very trusting as a person (and so is the entire party as a consequence), Zelos still definitely pulled a few strings of his own in order to be trusted further, for his betrayal is still a lesser predictable plot twist of the game (compared to Kratos and Lloyd and Mithos and Yggdrasil, at any rate). His diplomacy with the king and princess and his Personal lvl 2 Ex Skill of receiving items from women he talks to are only some other examples of how far his charisma can reach; to be born a noble has its advantages, but work still needs to be done in order to get people to willingly listen. It’s also interesting, however, to note that while a crowd of strangers is unlikely to listen to someone quiet like Kratos but will hear out someone loud like Zelos, a close group of familiar faces will display the exact opposite behaviour. To not go off the ‘opposites attract’ cliché because they’re still quite similar, and not to totally go with ‘two peas in a pod’ because they’re still different as well – they situate themselves right in the middle of the two extremes. Zelos would be childish and talkative enough to make Kratos react, but not the point of annoyance out of excessive chatter because it is part of a façade whose purpose is to hide and forget, which the Seraph would more than understand. On the same tangent, Kratos is experienced and quiet enough to make Zelos want to (sulkily) stick around, but not to the point of irritation out of a lack of response because there will always be some small but incredibly sharp comment that’ll break the Chosen’s guard. They’ve been through similar cases, but with just enough to relate, and not enough to dissociate.

3. So why and how the hell

To be blunt, what first really reeled me in to this pairing was a simple word: Hate. I admit it’s an odd place to start, but that’s what it was.

Zelos’s all-out aggressive behaviour toward Kratos every time he shows up when he’s usually such a ridiculously chill dude baffled me to no ends, and that’s what triggered everything from there on. Of course, like all fangirls, we first go through an incoherent state of babbling and ♥♥♥ spamming before we can calm down and look at things coolly and logically (I realize that this might sound like an oxymoron to some, but please), which is why it took me years to digest what I adore about this pairing before finally attempting to write something that wouldn’t only make sense to me alone. I find the possibilities in their relationship absolutely endless and can jump anywhere from the most hilarious snark-crack humour to the most dark and depressing tragedy, which is why to this very day I’m still not done trying to sound out the full extend of their dynamic.

3.1. Inside the Box

Most fan-pairings base themselves on canon interaction – meaning actual contact that happens during the course of the story, and some Symphonia fans can say that this pairing is pretty messed up because Kratos and Zelos never spoke directly to each other in the whole game at all. And you can say that, because it’s true--they never spoke directly to each other but on one occasion: the post-Flanoir scene after you go get the doctor at Altessa’s. It can be triggered if you go back to the dwarf’s, and before setting out for the Tower the morning after the night in Flanoir, but ONLY if you triggered all four of Kratos’s item-gathering sidequests all across Tethe’Alla (I’m not certain, but I THINK that you have to follow Kratos each time as well). During that scene, Kratos, via a holographic projection, explicitly asks for Zelos’s help in order to retrieve Aionis, which the Chosen of Tethe’Alla will either accept or refuse depending on whether or not you plan to get Kratos back and kill Zelos off (by choosing Kratos’s Flanoir scene over anyone else’s). These are the quotations taken directly from the game:

Ninja: Have you come to pay a visit? Altessa is tired. Don't make him exert himself.

[Group enters]
Altessa: Everyone...thank you. I owe you my life. I still can't believe that Mithos is Yggdrasill...
Lloyd: Altessa...We'll settle things with Mithos.
Altessa: I see... You're going to Derris-Kharlan.
Lloyd: Yeah.
Altessa: ...Lloyd. There is a way for you to wield the Eternal Sword.
Lloyd: ...What?!
Altessa: Despite being a human, Lord Kratos is able to wield a magic sword because of Aionis, which can only be mined in Derris-Kharlan.
Raine: Aionis has that kind of power?
[Zelos exits]
Altessa: Lord Kratos drank Aionis in powdered form. Cruxis calls it magic transfusion.
Raine: ...Cruxis did it?
Sheena: So the magic transfusion that the stupid Chosen was talking about must have been passed on by Cruxis through the Church of Martel...
Altessa: Aionis is capable of absorbing mana from its surroundings and converting it into magic energy. If you could use that characteristic in some way, you might be able to-- *Cough*
Lloyd: I told you not to exert yourself! Okay. After we defeat Mithos, we'll search for that Aionis thing.
Altessa: ...Yes...but the only ones who might know where it is would be those close to Yggdrasill...such as Lady Pronyma or...Lord Kratos...
Doctor: I forbid you to talk any more. If my patient dies on me, I won't get paid for succeeding.
Lloyd: ...All right. *turns around* Hmm? Where's Zelos?
Ninja: The Chosen said he wanted to get some fresh air and took my place keeping watch.
Lloyd: I see. Let's go get him.
[Group exits. Lloyd comes out and sees Zelos talking with a hologram of Kratos.]

{If you spoke with Kratos in Flanoir...}
Zelos: If you want the answer from the question in Flanoir, it's "No." ...I'm going to follow my own path. You can do whatever you want.
Kratos: ...Lloyd will be sad.
Zelos: I hope so. Anyways, you're gonna get in trouble if anyone catches you transmitting to this location.
Kratos: ...Hmm...that is true.
[Hologram Kratos disappears]

{If you spoke with anyone else in Flanoir...}
Zelos: I guess you want an answer to your question in Flanoir. ...Okay...I'll do it. I'm the only one that can.
Kratos: ...I'm counting on you.
Zelos: But why don't you just do it yourself?
Kratos: I...am being watched. Sending this transmission is about the only thing I can do. [Hologram Kratos disappears]

Lloyd: Huh? Who're you talking to? It's not...
Zelos: *turns to face Lloyd* Huh? I've been here by myself the whole time. What're you talking about, Lloyd?
Lloyd: But...
Zelos: Now, now, stop grumbling. Let's get to the Tower of Salvation.

It confirms, however, that Kratos is already at Flanoir when Lloyd’s party rushed there to get the doctor, and that he is the one talking to Zelos when you catch him mumbling “Aionis is that weird rock they had me ingest…” to himself in front of the doctor’s house (this also effectively disproves Zelos’s bluff when he talked about being a magic swordsman and hence being able to wield the Eternal Sword because he received elven blood transfusion: one digests Aionis in powder form in order to become one). That set aside, there’s also the scene where Kratos walks right past your entire party in Sybak after advising Colette to remove the necklace Lloyd made for her to keep her soul, to which Zelos proceeds to call him a sonuvabitch (SOB) out loud once he’s totally out of earshot:

Kratos:(To Colette) Chosen One. If you wish to live, you must remove that worthless Key Crest.
Colette: …No. I’m never taking it off. Lloyd gave this to me.
Kratos: …Foolish sentiments.
[Kratos leaves the scene.]
Genis: He wasn’t after Colette?
Zelos: Man, what an arrogant SOB. Talking as if he knows everything…
Sheena: (offended by Zelos’s words) While we’re on the subject of ways of talking, why don’tcha do something about the vulgar language?
Zelos: Hehehehehe!

Finally, there is also the possibility to have both of them in the party at the same time in Iselia Ranch when Sheena leaves you to take care of the Mana Cannon, but they do not comment on each other and no skits would result from having them together. These three cases set aside, there are no instances in the entire game where they are shown on the screen together. Adding to that the fact that the only other sign of relationship these two display is when Zelos strongly urges you to NOT go after Kratos every time he shows up in Tethe’Alla (material gathering for the Eternal Ring sidequest), it’s no surprise that not many people ship – heck, would even ENVISION them together. After all, Zelos only makes one snide comment about Kratos during one obligatory cutscene, and everything else can easily be missed unless the player pays extreme attention and care – and who would bother to take all that time and effort? Well yes, I’m probably going to be the first to be stared at, but I’ve got to start somewhere with something solid in order to build up my argument, don’t I? Still, it would be a good thing if more franchise gets released to fill in some of Symphonia’s bigger plot holes, which is where things like the manga and the visual novel game, ‘Tales of Fandom II’, both come in.

3.1.1. Manga & Tales of Fandom II

Thankfully, there are other official spin-off materials that actually shed more light on both of them. To begin, the manga not only further highlights Zelos’s disdain towards Kratos shoving everything onto Lloyd, but also openly states that Kratos has been asking help from Zelos and told HIM everything ever since the start, even IF Zelos has been three-way crossing everyone all along. Setting aside the fact that Kratos asked him to retrieve Aionis on Derris-Kharlan, according to the manga, after Zelos’s betrayal, both him and Kratos helped the party (page 31~33) with the endless waves of enemy soldier angels after Lloyd left on his own to confront Yggdrasil. Later on, during the night in Heimdall, before the duel versus Kratos in front of Origin’s seal, Zelos goes to look Lloyd up to bitch further about Kratos’s crappy-ass parenting skills (it starts at page 5) , only to get bumped down by Lloyd, who didn’t mind at all. It’s also on that occasion that Zelos accidentally lets it slip that why yes he knew about everything all along because he was the only one that Kratos shared all his plans with (continued onto page 10), which successfully ticks off Lloyd. Ultimately, unlike the game where the issue never seems to have been resolved, Zelos actually goes out of his own way to convince Kratos to rejoin the party when he’s hated his guts for all this time, and Kratos then makes it just in time as he saves everyone’s sanity by breaking the castle entrance’s trap by smashing it with the Derris Emblem (basically everything from page 30~35).

As for ‘Tales of Fandom II – Kratos’s Story’, the entire thing consists of Kratos himself telling the party how he met Mithos, Martel and Yuan in the past, how they interacted together before Martel died, and what he did behind Mithos’s back in order to help Lloyd in the present. The entire tale is subbed on youtube, starting with part one found here , though [livejournal.com profile] theeternalmind has been kind enough to provide a breakdown of what happens months before the translation has been made (which she worked on as well). The most notable screen time that Zelos and Kratos get together, however, happens directly under Mithos’s nose, when the party still didn’t know his identity and allowed him to travel with them. It happens near Altessa’s place, where Mithos calls Zelos off on his own to give him orders (part 4 is when it happens). Kratos is ‘spying’ on the scene, but Mithos easily spots him and calls him out (2:32 in the previous link). “He means the traitors, old and new, are all assembled. If soft-hearted Lloyd knew, I wonder what he would think?” Mithos comments on his entourage, shutting both redheads up when Zelos begins to comment on Kratos eavesdropping. They bicker even more at 4:50, where Zelos complains about wanting to leave if Mithos doesn’t have more orders for him. Mithos casually points the finger at Kratos:

Mithos: If you have complaints, tell them to Kratos. He's at fault for having appeared at a place like this.
Zeros: He really is an eyesore, isn't he~ little by little..
Kratos (slightly exasperate, but amused?): ...heh...
Zelos (ticked): …What are you laughing at?
Kratos (serious): How rude of me. It's because you’re far too childish, Chosen.
Zelos (ticked/serious): …Well, you sure told me, didn’t you, gramps?
Mithos (plain): If you two are going to bicker, would you leave it until later? Setting Zelos aside, if I'm gone from Altessa's house for too long, I'll make the others worry.

Behind-the-scenes Cruxis is amazing. The tension and snark is as in-your-face as it gets where official materials are involved. Both summed up together, the manga and ‘Tales of Fandom II’ both start to shape up a real image of how these two must have interacted – Zelos still seems to be the only one doing all the antagonizing, but Kratos will go out of his way to throw in a few words from time to time, even if that might only spur the former to keep on going further. Regardless of that, they still stuck by together, had to work behind a LOT of people’s backs together, were given no choice but to trust each other, and finally, came clean and ditched Mithos for Lloyd together. If nothing else, a very serious and snarky, with some hate and rivalry from Zelos’s side, dynamic would already exist between them even before any fanon interpretation.

3.2. Outside the Box

These sources set aside, everything else is left up to the fanon. What COULD have happened, however, between these redheads if the latter sources were discounted from, basing off of the ten minutes they got together on-screen if you don’t screw around in Iselia Ranch? The most plausible possibility, as I’ve also noted with others who are interested in the pairing, is that they both have already met before the game took place. There are several more possibilities even then: Kratos could have been sent to stabilize Zelos after his mother’s death (though not directly after but maybe a few years later; the timeline would otherwise clash if one were to base oneself off the manga/drama CDs, for when Zelos was five, Kratos should still have been in Sylvarant), or he could have come at a later time to act as a tutor to the young Chosen in many aspects, though the most speculated subject would be teaching the Chosen swordplay (Zelos is usually seen as a teen, around the age of eighteen).

Zelos’s father committed suicide according to the manga, and Kratos was in a state of numb hopelessness after losing both Anna and Lloyd. It’s extremely easy, in this case, to envision a surrogate father-son relationship if they do meet in that timeframe: Zelos proved himself to be childish even at the age of twenty-two, and Kratos proved himself to be a capable and caring father if only he was given a fair chance in a normal human life. Their arrogance and pride will inevitably clash at first, resulting in typical banters a la ‘strict but knowledgeable’ teacher versus ‘smart but troublesome’ student, but as time passes, it can easily evolve into a ‘father he never had’ and ‘son he forever lost’ parallel.

The prior link is easy to envision because referencing again to Tales of Fandom II, Kratos and Zelos would definitely bicker a lot about the other’s age behaviour and one could only expect it to get worse and funnier if Kratos had to teach a younger Zelos (probably VERY rebellious), which is excellent fodder for drama (on Zelos’s part), humour, and even potential fluff. Swordsmanship being the one thing that Kratos is indisputably skilled at, he will always be right when he says something because he knows what he’s talking about, but with his usual uncaring demeanour and his lack of response to Zelos’s qualms, it wouldn’t take long before Zelos starts to hold a grudge – he would be the one most likely to start antagonizing Kratos. Except, of course, you can only argue so much against someone who’s always right: he’ll get owned, but he won’t give up because kids never do that. With no strings attached like it was in-game, there’s no such thing as too childish or too old.

The latter father/son facet might be harder to picture, however, because it takes more time to develop and requires much more thought. If Kratos’s actions towards Lloyd in the game are any indication of how he would be as a father, then Zelos could only get it better for the reason that Kratos would have much less to hide from him (he wasn’t directly implied in Zelos’s family troubles, and he doesn’t have to escort Zelos to his death like he did to Colette even if they were both Chosen – that’s already a significantly smaller burden). The Seraph is very perceptive by nature, and it takes very little to be able to imagine him breaking(?) down just what kind of boy the Chosen of Tethe’Alla truly is in a short period of time despite the façades Zelos might put up: a lonely and bitter boy who would give up all the luxuries he pretends to hang on to if it meant that he could have an ordinary life like everybody else. By then, it’s even less difficult to envision Kratos wishing for the same (if not now, at least once sometime in his past), making this an irrefutable mutuality in basic desires for an ordinary existence. They might not have had the best luck with women and kids, but at that point, when you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, a serious conversation just doesn’t seem farfetched anymore.

Going back a bit to the game, Lloyd often makes honest comments from the heart that shock Zelos enough to freeze him, but Lloyd never seems to notice (which angers Zelos) because everything he says that hits home is said by accident, and he himself would consider it normal and casual. In Kratos’s case, I believe him to be very capable of doing that as well, except that every word he says that might make the Chosen hesitate would be fully calculated. The older man would put up with his childish antics, but I wouldn’t put it pass him to comment casually on things Zelos thought no one should know or care for while looking away, and for Zelos to realize that he was being watched only after he was lured into the false sense of security that it was said on accident. In other words, if Lloyd’s jabs were blunt and out of luck, Kratos’s would be sharp, precise, and above all, intentional.

From there, it would not take Zelos long to realize that Kratos was different. The bastard might be stealing his groupies without effort and bossing him around without giving him the chance to bite back because he was never wrong, but he also knows much more than he lets on. It would be wiser to be more cautious, sober up and grow up, but not only would Zelos be more likely to stay as the stubborn child that he would be called, knowing how uninterested Kratos would be in anything remotely like blackmail, he also has nothing to lose by letting his tongue loose. The response may just surprise him enough to break his guard.

3.3. Dynamics

As water to fire (though in Kratos’s case, he’s more comparable to ice), they are opposite forces that can alter the other as well as cancelling each other out, though it is also common knowledge that when these elements come into contact with one another, steam inevitably rises (figuratively, or not). I’ve already touched upon the possible dynamics that the pairing can generate, but these were only examples on how it would start. I will still stick to a mostly pre-game frame, simply because it is the one period that is the most open for plausible theories.

3.3.1. Two Sides, One Coin - It Can Begin

I’ve already touched upon how while they both angst alone, the subjects of their woes are comparable, and linking back to a bond akin to father/son and tutor/student, I think that I’ve already proven that they can hold a serious conversation (they interact and can talk to each other with good reason – it’s already a good ways from the popular belief that they don’t have anything to do with each other at all). Zelos will eventually stop hiding because it would be pointless to do so: Kratos is not stupid enough to fall for his antics, especially when Zelos is the only person he has to focus on. It would have been harder in-game because the party is much bigger, but even then, fooling Lloyd and Sheena is on a totally different level compared to fooling Kratos. Both Seraph and Chosen are sharp enough to tell that the other isn’t a complete idiot/stuck-up douche and that they may be storing some mighty impressive skeletons in their closet, and while they might get curious, neither would be naïve or stupid enough to speak openly or slip easily. If the latter happens, however, Zelos is more likely to do so, but it’s still not difficult to picture sly exchanges of serious comments subtly blended in with teasing banter: one cryptic remark about his past for the other’s, and no one would understand the real meaning of these conversations other than their participants. Kratos, with more understanding and experience, can offer guidance and lend an attentive ear, allowing the Chosen to know what it’s like when he can say anything he wants without question or comment, and will only be given an unbiased answer based on the hypothetical situation when he actively asks the older man for advice. Zelos, on the other hand, having still been born in nobility and lived a life of indulgence, can easily distract and babble on without expecting any reply from his audience, which would suit a silent character just fine: he can unintentionally remind the Seraph about how moping around is useless even if everyone gets their downs every once in a while – if you’re alive, you might as well take what you have and make use of it till the very last drop. One of the most endearing aspects I find in this pairing would be just that: they can gain so much from each other, yet they are much too proud to openly accept help from a dubious external source. Granted, canon itself never gave them a chance, which is what pushes anything plausible to a different timeframe. Zelos can learn more than just mastering a sword if he tries to learn seriously, and Kratos can find a very capable and intelligent young boy that’s not all that difficult to be around if he bothered tending to Zelos’s ego he softens his mannerism a bit around the still-growing child.

3.3.2. A Lie is Okay - Hurt/Comfort

Everybody must be familiar with the hurt/comfort cliché, though it is inevitable for me to bring it up in this case. Again, I might be the only one who see this, but for someone like Zelos who was thrust so abruptly into an existence that he did not wish to have, if they manage to calmly communicate and establish a stable link, Kratos can literally be anything and everything that the Chosen, as a child or a young teen, would ever want: a guiding teacher, a stern but caring parent, an older brother figure if they squabble enough, and ultimately, someone who’s just there who won’t judge and will understand when things just become too heavy to bear. It gets taken to further extremes in-game, since the love/hate dependency can become even more apparent if Kratos gives Zelos a very good reason to hate him before leaving him during a pre-game set. On the best terms, Kratos is someone he can be open with and fall back on, and on the worst terms, the Seraph’s a last resort, a temporary respite, an emotionless but alive punching bag Zelos can vent his frustrations on as much as he wants.

After the blunt truth, there's a soft lie - after a harsh revelation, a gentle respite. I would like to believe that I’ve presented believable situations where they can both display mutual reliance; by then, just… ‘hanging’ out for the sake of it shouldn’t be that far of a stretch off. Kratos can’t spill anything no matter how much Zelos tells him about himself when he gets drunk, but he CAN understand what it’s like to get screwed by Cruxis in general – he may become one of the rare few people who will witness the younger boy cry, though the biggest highlight would be that Zelos himself wouldn’t care because he would know that it none of it will ever get leaked anywhere else. He’ll just find himself in a bed, with a water pitcher, pills, and a towel on the night stand, and an empty bucket on the floor when he wakes up. Star gazing isn’t exactly a hobby that Kratos holds as an utmost secret, and Zelos would probably be able to fall asleep during that easy enough to use whatever that feels the least cold and hard nearby as a pillow. You’d also really have to be horribly heartless to kick a sleeping kid off – especially when it shouldn’t be that big of a hassle either to get the Chosen off, seeing that neither dumping him back in his own bed or just enjoy the rare moment of peace and quiet under the stars would strike me as too troublesome.

3.3.3. Pretentious Rivals - Snarky/Funny

I’ve already mentioned that they both are very prideful under the compare and contrast section; I’ll repeat it here again. They don’t make it that obvious, but they can both be arrogant douchebags when they feel like it. Kratos gives that impression 24/7 with his permafrown, and Zelos shows it near Genis, the one person he can really look down on and boss around. Canonly, Kratos admits to having been too proud to acknowledge his mistake, and Zelos doesn’t need anything more than the Meltokio Ball sidequest to prove that he’s a narcissist through and through. If ‘Tales of Fandom II’ was any indication of how they would act around each other, then the childish Chosen and the senile old man would never stop exchanging insults in some form if they’re left at their own ease. Even on a platonic level (though they’re most likely going to fight a lot on settling who would top, if not), it would probably amuse the party and be beneficial to both: Zelos would learn to be more of a smartass and the meaning of ‘tactical retreat’ if he ever hopes to win/FEEL like he’s won, and Kratos would learn to be more loose and less all around stuck-up. I’m also pretty sure that he’ll get brownie points from Sheena for being the only member of the party who can successfully set Zelos off without lifting a finger nor batting an eyelash, and that Lloyd and Colette would both be very grateful to Zelos when Kratos cracks his first joke and ends up being taken seriously like everything else that comes out of his mouth – they can still learn from each other, even when they bicker like kindergarten kids. I’m also curious in seeing how a tag team Zelos and Sheena VS Kratos and Raine will turn out – the older girls didn’t start on the best of terms, too. As for the reason, there are about millions of insignificant things that could set an argument off: “STOP STEALING MY GROUPIES”, “you’re so ooooold”, “grow up” (Genis would probably tag along), “arrogant douche”, “vain flower”, “senile prick”, “airhead child”… Get creative; the list goes on. It would even be longer if sexual tension is involved; to quote the old fanlisting that ruaki once ran: “their sexual tension is thick enough to cut through with a butter knife and eaten with cream cheese topping”. Which ties directly into the funny, because having a stoic and serious sonuvabitch act like a kid and a usually super-chill narcissist that never gets angry rage is absolutely hilarious.

4. Conclusion

TEE-EL-DEE-AR, to conclude, it’s because that so little was initially known of their interactions (how they were as characters with so many differences, and yet simultaneously with so many similarities) that I was first made to start thinking, and then eventually, start shipping. The additional official sources, instead of destroying my fanon beliefs like they are supposed to do, only fed it to grow because they were just as snarky as I pictured them to be, and Zelos forcibly acknowledging the fact that Kratos wasn’t the careless bastard that he first labeled him as just made me… \o/. Yeah, there’s no word for it. They just have so much that they can learn from the other and so many dynamics going for them that can make it work that, obscure or not, I can never get enough of what they have. I can probably name more, apart from the ones that I've listed, but you gotta learn to shut up at some point, right?

5. Tying up the Knots

5.1. Sources

Credit to Dragonmstr on GameFAQs for the game transcript
Credit to Angelic Diamond on GameFAQs for the post-Flanoir scene transcript
Credit to Wings of An Angel for the manga scans (including those linked from MangaFox); managed by [livejournal.com profile] miken_chan, scanned by [livejournal.com profile] eternal_rena and [livejournal.com profile] chiyo_sama, and translated by .Cylph and [livejournal.com profile] argentum_canine.
Credit to [livejournal.com profile] theeternalmind, for the breakdown of Tales of Fandom II – Kratos’ Story synopsis and the subbed videos
Credit to Fabrica for a good half of the fanarts used, but unfortunately, the site has been down and changed.
Credit to diverse Japanese fanartists for 2.3, 3.2, 3.3, and 5.

5.2. Recs

These Lies We Tell by [livejournal.com profile] sinestrated - Good balance of serious, some angst, a bit of comfort, topped with a dash of … cute, yes, it’s a personal favourite.
A Strange Rivalry by [livejournal.com profile] diamondust - I love this author. She captures the snarky humour and some side angst so WELL that everything she writes for them is just awesome. This one is… probably my favourite.
Lessons Learned by [livejournal.com profile] diamondust
Uphill Battle by [livejournal.com profile] diamondust
Undiscovered by [livejournal.com profile] sylviaviridian
Journey of Discovery by [livejournal.com profile] sylviaviridian
Untitled, by [livejournal.com profile] cruxis Disregard the fact that it's from a kink meme. There is nothing NSFW about this - I love it for what it is. It has also been a solid source of inspiration. If I can only thank the author of this properly... Thank you. I'm so glad that posting this actually allowed me to meet you. <3
A Mercenary and a Nobleman by [livejournal.com profile] fairyv NC-17, AU - I loved this to bits when I first read it a few years back. It’s just unfortunate that it has been long discontinued.
To Do the Right Thing by [livejournal.com profile] fairyv NC-17 - Honestly, where smut is concerned, this is the only one that I’ve ever found and loved. Very heavy on angst, though...
Untitled, by [livejournal.com profile] diamondust NC-17 From an age-old Tales kink meme. The snark funny in this, is amazing. Short, but beyond awesome.
Untitled, by [livejournal.com profile] diamondust NC-17 Same meme, same author as the previous one, in which Zelos tops for once. ...Refer to the above link for my opinion.
Resolution by Yume no Hikari – Hilarious and cracktastic. I don’t know how anyone can go through this with a straight face.
[livejournal.com profile] judgemenottoday – My own ficjournal, to which I have a few couple of one-shots up exploring several dynamics I mentioned above. Not fond of the idea, but I’ve got some icons as well.

5.3. Thanks

To YOU, reader, who must have an absolutely stunning amount of patience and tolerance to go through all this. I honestly hope that this wasn’t a bore, and thank you for reading this.
[livejournal.com profile] kurai007 - I owe you so much that it’s not funny. You went through so much with me during all these years (okay a couple but whatever) and helped me with practically everything I’ve ever done for the pairing. Krii, I love you, and thank you.
[livejournal.com profile] sinestrated - I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for this, and you must be sick and tired of hearing this by now – you’ve beta’d for me and pointed out issues that I totally glossed over with this, and without your advice and help, I could never have finished this. So Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
[livejournal.com profile] ray_of_tales - Thank you, for volunteering to read something of such a ridiculous length, and give me a third party’s view on someone who’s not really interested in the ship. I’ll get you some cabbage, Rai.
[livejournal.com profile] ruaki – For making THE most gorgeous art of them in North America. It’s a shame that the fanlisting broke, but it has definitely been a source of inspiration.
[livejournal.com profile] diamondust, [livejournal.com profile] sylviaviridian, and [livejournal.com profile] fairyv – For having written them far before I’ve tried to do so myself, and to make them stay in-character so well to boot. You guys are my heroes, let it be known or not. Thank you.
[livejournal.com profile] theeternalmind, and the people at the Tales of scanlation circle "Wings of an Angel" and Eternal – For having made the Symphonia manga and ‘Tales of Fandom’ understandable in English. I’m certain that countless others greatly appreciate this as well.
[livejournal.com profile] whak_hat - Honestly don’t know if you’ll ever see this, but I can’t ever deny that you’ve contributed to help my fandom grow. And for that, thank you.


Date: 2009-04-14 01:21 am (UTC)
shinsengumi: (KRATOS&ZELOS ► paradoxical;)
From: [personal profile] shinsengumi
I think this is an extremely well-written and well-reasoned essay, and while I cannot say I agree with you (I vastly prefer the Kratos and Zelos dynamic in a non-romantic fashion when I'm not being shallow, and I rather think the only reason they would sleep together is to spite the other), I commend you greatly. It's nice to see someone in the Symphonia fandom take the time to do something like this.

And I'm well aware this is ridiculously, horribly and terribly ironic, but I'm the author of the non!NC-17 fic from the kink meme, and I'm very glad that you enjoyed it so much, since I have a multitude of problems with it. XD

Date: 2009-04-14 01:59 am (UTC)
shinsengumi: (KRATOS&ZELOS ► neverwhere;)
From: [personal profile] shinsengumi
It was certainly well worth the read. I definitely agree with you in terms of the relationship aspect; I think they have too fascinating of a dynamic on any level for it to go unacknowledged (which it so widely does).

The student/teacher aspect of Kratos and Zelos is one of very few unproven/fanon things I take very seriously to heart. I think it makes the relationship between them that much more interesting, acute and complex. I personally maintain that they hate one another and themselves too much to ever reach a point where they could be honestly friendly with one another (and friendly's the incorrect word, but I hope you know what I'm trying to say), but I can definitely see what you're saying and understand the dynamic.

Quite welcome, please don't mention it. XD And I don't mind at all! It was posted anon-ly, after all, and I never expected it to come up again.

Incidentally, would you mind too terribly if I friended you? Good vibes, and someone who is willing to discuss is always A+ in my books. :|b No worries if not, too.

Date: 2009-04-14 02:30 am (UTC)
shinsengumi: (KRATOS ► building castles in the sky;)
From: [personal profile] shinsengumi
That's because the words are not simple! :| And no, it really makes sense... I think a lot of people in fandom are there for the instant-gratification and with a pairing like this, some 99% of the time people throw characterisation out the window for the eye-candy just because it's easy. I don't see how anyone can enjoy that because then you don't have Kratos and Zelos interacting, you have sexy bodies saying things which may be vaguely reminiscent of things that they might say in canon but on the whole bear no resemblance to their real selves. Ugh, people. /soapbox

ANYWAY. You are not a nutcase. You put this much time and effort into the pairing, and I put a similar amount into my opinion on Kratos as a person, so if you are a nutcase, so am I~ :3

Hahaha. XDD Well like I said, just glad it was enjoyed! And no worries, you seem pretty respectful and that's all I ask~

Date: 2009-04-14 03:22 am (UTC)
shinsengumi: (KRATOS ► inbetween here and there;)
From: [personal profile] shinsengumi
Oh crack, my one true enemy. Or something like that. I am far too serious for my own good. XD

dfljldskj I cannot agree because Kratos is the person that he is because of everything that happened to him, and changing any of those things would make him into a different person who... argh, need more sleep but I just cannot grasp that sentence at all.

Eh well, all my friends are bitches or whores according to me, so no harm no foul? :|b
From: [identity profile] miken-chan.livejournal.com

So LOOOONG~~~ And so detailed! Now something of this magnitude is definitely worthy of the person who dragged me into the pairing in the first place. [Well, technically, you and Krii]

Also many many thanks to .Cylph and Ju-da-su ([livejournal.com profile] argentum_canine)for staying up just as late as me, probably even later, to translate the manga from Japanese to English. XD;;

Man, I kinda wish the manga didn't end. It was probably the series that I had the most fun working on. Ahahaha, if I didn't know what going through that again would do to my health, I'd redo a bunch of chapters just for fun.

Hurrr making you edit the post again~

Date: 2009-04-14 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miken-chan.livejournal.com
[Don't worry, I can pull A+ history papers just by skimming the article and writing whatever my brain managed to retain]

Also, [livejournal.com profile] eternal_rena deserves some scanlating credit, since she picked up the series before WoaA even existed.

The problem is that my Colette love usually gets in the way of my coloring other characters. Every time I see a cute image of her, it automatically gets higher priority than anything else (like the '09 WoaA birthday coloring I did)

sorry, forgot specifics (hurrrrrr)

Date: 2009-04-14 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miken-chan.livejournal.com
Rena isn't a part of WoaA -- she runs Eternal (http://eternalmanga.net/).

Date: 2009-04-14 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] niena.livejournal.com
Despite the fact my primary Zelos ship is Zelos/Lloyd, I really liked this essay. Even though they don't interact much in their canon, you worked around that. I really enjoyed this.

Date: 2009-04-14 01:49 am (UTC)
aestivalis: (Kratos & Zelos | Ruin)
From: [personal profile] aestivalis
This is one of my absolute favourite dynamics in Symphonia, and you've done a marvelous job presenting it! Reading this improved my night tenfold, no lie, and it was most assuredly not a bore! I only apologise for not having more to say...!

Date: 2009-04-14 02:08 am (UTC)
aestivalis: (Kratos | Smoke And Mirrors)
From: [personal profile] aestivalis
... oh! OH! True facts! Hahah, wow, I totally didn't even realise for a moment there. I'm still very grateful, by the way! :>

And hahah, no way, man, tl;dr is my very favourite thing. That's what this wonderful community is all about! In-depth discussion/contemplation, my one true love ♥

Date: 2009-04-14 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diamondust.livejournal.com

Haha, I remember the days when you hated Kartos.

Date: 2009-04-14 02:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diamondust.livejournal.com
Yay, this was awesome. Really interesting...I mean you brought up some points I never really considered (and I've thought about them alot!), like certian parts of the Compare & Contrast section (them both being nihilistic losers and all that).

I do believe that Zelos would wind up very similar to Kratos if he was given more time. Yeah, I totally agree. Like, the big plot twist I was planning for 'Uphill Battle' had something to do with that. Yggdrasil couldn't trust Kratos anymore, so he was planning to off him and have Zelos take his place, thus why he wanted Kratos to teach him everything he knew...heh. Kratos eventually figures this out, and, yanno, mass drama ensues.

Anyway, this line of yours pretty much sums up what this pair means to me; they can gain so much from each other, yet they are much too proud. The snark is funny and the whole surrogate father/son thing breaks my heart...there's alot of facets to it. I have to kind of suspend my belief to imagine them ever getting to a romantic level (it would take alot of work), but it's still nice to think about. XD

psst, and is there anyway you can send me the art you used for this? looks perty. and sorry I coulnd't get back to you in time...I'll just say it now: I WAS THE ANONYMOUS SMUT AUTHOR. There, I have no shame.

Date: 2009-04-14 03:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kurai007.livejournal.com
And FINALLY it's been finished, edited and posted up! Like you might've heard me say: I've read a lot of manifestos, and this one definitely ranks up at the top--you worked hard (and wrote a damn lot) for a pairing that barely has any on-screen interaction (your 3.x section is STILL my favorite). All those couple of years shipping it like UPS really does show. the cross of your fandom indeed

and I still want to see that Zelos+Sheena vs Kratos+Raine scenario right now. ;D You already know what I'm going to say, so I'll cut it right here. But seriously: CONGRATS DARU. I'm so proud~ :)

Date: 2009-04-14 05:30 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-14 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theeternalmind.livejournal.com
Ahhh, I'm glad you found my translations useful! Though I cringe when I look at them now because I'm all, 'I really should have gotten someone to look over them and go, "Okay, yeah, this? Sounds awful in English," at me.' ^^;;; THEY'RE ONLY ABOUT A YEAR OLD, SOB.

Anyway, on the manifesto itself, I have to give you serious props for thinking this out so thoroughly, and using so many sources. It's not my cup of tea, but I have to respect anyone who thinks through their OTPs as completely as this.

Date: 2009-05-06 11:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keltenaasule.livejournal.com

Zelos/Kratos isn't my favorite pairing, but it sparks a kind of interest in me that no other pairing does. This is really nicely written and pretty much sums up wonderfully, I think, what all of us 'shippers were thinking.

Date: 2009-06-16 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heart-of-shou.livejournal.com
When I saw this essay, I have to say that I was ecstatic. Not because I necessarily like/support this pairing- I don't- nor am particularly curious about it, but because when I saw the length, the heavily implied time invested to pull off such a document, the organization, and professionalism my heart swelled with joy. I can only wish you congratulations on such a great feat that I truly, deeply wish more people could do, not limited to this pairing and this fandom, but to any fan relationship they care about. Some people are starting to assume the ToS fandom has died or is on its last legs and I'm so happy to see it's not so. Thank you so much for sharing this and best of luck with your future ventures.


Date: 2009-08-06 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xflaired.livejournal.com
I realize you posted this up nearly, but thinking about this woke me up this morning when I would have happily slept in. :( SO I’M SAYIN’ IT. Its kinda TL;DR. I had a lot of time to think.

First of all, I absolutely love you for doing this manifesto. ;____;
And I agree with you—anything more than a platonic relationship between Kratos & Zelos would be hard to pull off believably. One way to being a relationship between them that I think would be the easiest (comparatively), would be hurt/comfort after they’ve gone through the student/teacher stage.

I think that people go looking for comfort with some degree of expectations. I’m upset, I want a hug. I’m feeling discouraged, and I want some reassuring words. It seems natural to me that Zelos would go about it the same way. However, Zelos likely doesn’t remember (or even know) a mothers comforting embrace. He’s never had a father’s reassuring words, and while his servants may have been sort-of surrogates for his parents for a while as a child, their level of willingness to provide comfort was likely inversely related to Zelos’ level of rebelliousness. He has, however, known the comfort that physical intimacy can give through the ministrations of a woman. It’s only logical that, in searching for comfort from Kratos, he’d go about it the best way he knows how.

And Kratos reactions could be many, including to stopping Zelos and teaching him that, while comfort sex is useful to some degree, it is not always the best source and platonic comfort would be better. Or, in his own quiet need, he could indulge Zelos and in that moment and teach Zelos those truths later.

And…that’s what I think. \o/


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