Syconium
160

April 21st, 2017






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86 . by: Dani April 25, 2017, 5:28 pm

Thank you @45, I will reread that section!

URL : http://danibeez.deviantart.com
85 . by: April 25, 2017, 4:48 pm

And that said, I understand that life often isn't that pretty, and people don't always get any comeuppance. But it's something you still find yourself wishing for, because you don't want to see a person find success through the plight of others. Wishful thinking at times, but nonetheless disheartening to see happen.
84 . by: April 25, 2017, 4:37 pm

I definitely don't think Greenie is intended to be 100% evil. It's kind of like Ghibli villains often are, such as Lady Eboshi. Sympathetic traits, a driven woman trying to protect her town that also takes in lepers, but also wants to kill a god and destroy the forest. It's not all black and white and rarely is, but that doesn't mean that because a character has sympathetic traits that they are still someone you want to see succeed. Often times the movies and stories I find most frustrating are the ones where the antagonist continues to persevere without any consequence for their horrible actions, often seen in horror movies in particular. It becomes frustrating when a character just doesn't get what they have coming to them, and I think Greenie is due for his comeuppance.
83 . by: April 25, 2017, 4:32 pm

What makes a character turn neutral? Lust for gold? For power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?
82 . by: Commenter 9,63,76 [Mana] April 25, 2017, 4:23 pm

@ Furrama, 77
Thank you! I was testing the waters with this, too; I have crazy social anxiety, so I decided to present anonymously/by number to start...

I can appreciate the DnD/Pathfinder mention! Rule is definitely some kind of Lawful Evil in my book, but I hadn't thought about Green; I think Neutral Evil is a great descriptor.

It's interesting how Lawfulness within a particular alignment scale segment that is normally disliked can sometimes make a character more likeable than Neutrality or Chaos. People seem to love Chaotic Good characters more than Lawful Good, but we may prefer Lawful Evil over Chaotic Evil... I think it's the principles issue. Lawful Evil is more likely to have some sense of nobility or moral code [albeit twisted], while Chaotic Good is more likely to throw off the shackles of what makes Lawful Good slow to act and ineffectual in its action... but Chaotic Evil acting as evil unfettered is difficult to admire, and the selfishness of some Neutrals is hard to like...
81 . by: April 25, 2017, 3:00 pm

XY may be a hero in his own story, but literally every character is. In the story presented here, he is an antagonist.
80 . by: 9times April 25, 2017, 2:56 pm

And I'm not saying that XY is a hero. I'm saying both he and XX meet the classical definition of a hero while Acai doesn't, just to contrast them. Acai comes across as a regular guy and is very relatable, but regular guys aren't heroes.
79 . by: Furrama April 25, 2017, 2:46 pm

@CommenterNo.9,63and76,Iguess: You helped me categorize this, even if the DnD alignment system lacks a bit of nuance: eXY is Neutral Evil -- Rule is Lawful Evil. That's why I find slightly more to respect in a character like Rule, even if I found what he did morally reprehensible.
78 . by: 9times April 25, 2017, 2:36 pm

I won't debate this at length, but being a hero doesn't require helping society. Wiki notes that that's often true but not always. Odysseus just wanted to get home and Gilgamesh wanted to become immortal. The one thing all heroic characters have in common is perseverence. It makes sense when you consider that humans are endurance predators. A hero is someone who goes the distance.

On another note, I could be wrong, but I don't think writers generally want their antagonists to be so one-dimensional that they can legitimately be described as "utter slimeball" or "epitome of evil."
77 . by: April 25, 2017, 1:36 pm

@9,63,76 Yo if nothing else, I'm glad this whole debate has spawned that great analysis of Rule and GreenXY!
76 . by: Commenter no.9, 63 here. April 25, 2017, 1:18 pm

To add onto the 'why can Rule be considered more heroic than Green', there are some key factors that would make that debatable in the first place despite Rule's role as an antagonist:

1. Rule's agenda is being pushed because he believes it's going to help society. No ifs and or buts about it, if society didn't need it, Rule probably would've been doing some other research. His motivation was entirely to 'save' society from what he felt was the biggest issue at the time, in a way that he felt would be best. Giving your best to help others is a technically heroic trait.

2. Rule's agenda would possibly have helped society, to begin with, until problems arose from the concept of forceful halo removal. In his view, and maybe the more widespread view, 'wild' animals were just pests and no longer people. Why not make that work for us, he thought? Rule wanted to end what looked like a war and stop the possibly terminal drain of resources from society, which was still new-ish.

It likely would have created difficult to control issues such as cropping up of adulterated techniques, assassinations/murders, covering up crimes by literally exploding witnesses' minds, etc. Basically, it was opening up a moral can of worms that could have actually destroyed society despite Rule's careful 'it must work its way in from the ground up!', so it ended up being kind of bad beyond the murder-slavery 'ick' factor combo.

3. Rule believed that what he was doing was going to help society [was doing it entirely for society's benefit; the entire project was just more work for him, and extremely risky], and was willing to sacrifice himself for it; this is explicitly stated by himself several times, and he does actually die for his cause.

Rule is basically a 'mad scientist', as I have seen Zach describe him on Twitter, haha. Green XY, however, is actually on an opposite axis. Green XY is what I like to call an 'upholder', while Rule is an 'innovator/mover'.

Green XY is just upholding a system that came before him, for reasons that oppose Rule's entire character axis:

1. Green's agenda is being pushed solely because it benefits himself. It doesn't benefit the workers to have such bs rules placed on their lives, or be literally trapped there by Green XY's unwillingness to just toss the system entirely AND his near-cultist watchdog who will literally beat up and/or kill them if they so much as blink wrong [metaphorically speaking]. But Green XY benefits directly from the revenue the workers generate, the workers being terrified of him, and the workers being in constant debt to him. They can never leave the sick system.

2. Green's agenda is actively harming society, by espousement of 'the Animal'; the collective vices of human nature when humans hunted each other to survive and were commanded by estrus. Green's agenda also more directly harms the people around him, and people are society; oppressing the workers doesn't help anything but the regime of the oppressor.

3. Green XY's general attitude is 'screw society' and he is sacrficing nothing to instate his regime; in fact, he only stands to gain, and has been continuously gaining. He has loads of credit, and can basically afford to sit around drinking in his office all day. By hiring creatures like White Cherry, who live fanatically by the code of the Animal, he has even less work to do and benefits even more from his power. He can surround himself with powerful figures and let them do the terrorizing for him, so that his workers break even further, and therefore is sacrificing even less of his own time to uphold his regime. It also puts Green XY in less danger of an uprising or harm to himself; by harming others. This is just wrong, and doesn't count at all as heroic personal sacrifice.

Rule has more redeeming characteristics than Green XY right now, sorry [and I actually loved Rule despite his really flawed agenda, he was super cool and his 'principles' monologue was relatable...]. Green XY has no heroic traits [his inability to back down cannot be considered heroic if it's actively harmful], so it's difficult to argue that he's somehow a hero in this tale. But, Green XY doesn't need to remotely be a hero to still be a fascinating driver of a fascinating story!

I'm not sure why you've latched onto this, and then seem upset when people debate you... not all things are entirely subjective. Blue is blue, trees are trees, and murder is murder.

Ultimately, subjectivity-emphasis moral philosophy can't be used to call anything with any words and somehow make it fit.

Sometimes, an asshole is just an asshole, my friend. And that's okay.
75 . by: April 25, 2017, 12:30 pm

Every story benefits from a good villain.

Greenie is an utter slimeball who is the main factor in making the brothel even worse than it was before (hiring Sherry, innovating strangle collars, etc) and those are what Fig and the others must overcome, making for an interesting story.
74 . by: April 25, 2017, 11:57 am

idk man, guy who puts psychic strangle leaves on his girlfriend and hires prison gang leader black belt to keep employees in line seems asshole no matter how you slice it. kinda weird you seem to have a hard time seeing why most people think that and then dig your heels in when they try to explain it, like you have the ultimate truth and we're all reading wrong. kinda hipster tbh.
73 . by: Witticastee April 25, 2017, 9:05 am

Acy if I recall NofNA's world has always been a megacontinent, can't recall where I got that info from though. I also have always thought it was interesting how so many diverse species got together (especially in Lycosa, god damn). I'm sure the invention of society helped many migrant species survive in new places.
72 . by: Acy April 25, 2017, 7:32 am

Hmm kinda makes me wonder about how we get such an eclectic range of animals in one area. That's always been one of my favorite things about the series, lots of species that are lesser utilized in fiction. But I imagine with their shorter lifespans, lack of transportation methods, and not necessarily having the ability to be comfortable in different climates, animals wouldn't travel too much or too far. Though now that I do some quick searches nothing really seems too out of range. The 10%+ cast are mostly animals from South and central America. Secretary has some animals from different continents, but they are also all rodents which are known for being highly adaptable, and prone to be invasive species. For Syconium I imagine this is in North America. Though now that I think about it in Solar System we got a view of earth and there seemed to be a megacontinent, continental drift is a thing but it takes a very long time, of course solar system is a very long time in the future, but I'm not sure it's enough to form a megacontinent. Well I made a lot of mistakes and backtracked a bunch in this comment, but it was interesting to think about the geographical setting and species distribution a bit, maybe I'll think about it some more when it's not 4 am.
71 . by: April 25, 2017, 7:13 am

Oh my god, acai berries used to be thought of as a cure for erectile dysfunction. It all makes sense now. Acai you sly devil.

URL : http://www.anniesremedy.com/euterpe-oleracea-acai-berry.php
70 . by: Zack April 25, 2017, 7:07 am

Hi,

The reason Açaí chose such a name, is because he was studying plants back when he was learning about subjects for alembics. It's an exotic plant, and that seemed to fit his new job well. That's why he knows about the existence of Açaí, and also why he was able to figure out why Fig doesn't have a corsage.
69 . by: Acy April 25, 2017, 7:06 am

And that's exactly what's happening? People are debating you. You either free to keep your interpretations to yourself or post them publicly, but that means you're putting your interpretation up against others to debate. I really like these active comment sections so I thank you for having the opposing views that allows for this discussion.
68 . by: April 25, 2017, 7:00 am

Yeah, NofNA comics have always inspired interesting debates! That's what we're all doing right now, isn't it?
67 . by: 9times April 25, 2017, 6:25 am

Are you guys remembering that you're reading a comic written by someone who wants it to be debatable whether Rule is more of a hero than Meander? IIRC, he even had Strelka and Hector arguing about it.

And I didn't call Acai a hipster solely because of that one line.
66 . by: Kaidona April 25, 2017, 4:56 am

So a little late coming back to the party, but I want to add, on the subject of Acai's remark about his namesake being uncommon, was probably under the assumption that a large majority of sex workers are probably uneducated, nevermind that they're not in the region that the fruit comes from. It seems a little hypocritical to implore others to consider details as yet unrevealed and not do the same for another, less reprehensible character.

Sorry, that was niggling at me a bit.

URL : http://kaidona.deviantart.com
65 . by: Witticaster April 25, 2017, 3:54 am

We just got a lecture from the other XY about how most of society's problems are caused by primal instincts that refuse to back down, no matter what. How "The Animal" rises up from the past to corrupt their attempts at a better society.

I don't think I'm wrong in feeling that Greenie is the living embodiment of "The Animal". He's willingly chosen to support the archaic vices that harm society - hatred, lust, greed, domain - even when there are other alternatives. "It doesn't have to be this way" - ironic, coming from him.

What I find pretty damning is how, by following these archaic and repugnant precepts, he's achieved overwhelming success and luxury. Their society is obviously not to the point of making The Animal obsolete if they lavishly reward it whenever it rears its head. Like XX, he was barely scraping by while trying to play civil - and as soon as he embraced his 'bad' Animal side, he was rewarded.

I don't like him, but I can definitely understand why he does what he does.
64 . by: April 25, 2017, 3:16 am

To all you misunderstood domestic abusers and crime lords out there--if you ever start to question your actions, just remember that the true meaning of heroism is never giving up. It might be hard to threaten your employees and drink booze all day, but those are the adversaries a true hero must overcome!

Also, if any of your employees have broken down and given up inside your system (especially if they're a hipster), that means they deserve a good ass-whooping.

...Like, really, I get what you're saying. This comic is all about the various effects of 'giving up' (or refusing to) and it's cool that you're bringing this perspective into the conversation even though it's unpopular. But those unintended implications, lol.
63 . by: Commenter no. 9 here. April 25, 2017, 3:12 am

@9times
By that logic, any fool who throws themselves at any cause is 'heroic' if they don't give up or don't back down, even if their cause is actively evil. The definition of hero doesn't even mean that... [and did you actually read the wikipedia article you tried to link?]

"A hero or heroine is a person or main character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through impressive feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength, often sacrificing their own personal concerns for a greater good."

So far, green XY hasn't used any of the power he's gained for any kind of visible good; instead of abolishing the entire brothel at the expense of his own personal gain, for example, and setting everyone free [which he could totally do if he wanted, likely??], he... actively upholds an oppressive system to benefit himself, and hires on more oppressors to cement his regime. Your argument falls right apart.

Stomping all over others and not backing down despite legitimate criticism of those actions as evil isn't really what society defines as heroism. If that was all heroism was, people who were hell-bent on genocide or theft or other crimes would be considered heroic because they persisted in their goals no matter what anyone else told them and used their brute strength to achieve those goals...

You can like him [I used to find him sympathetic until he turned into a grade-A asshole], nobody's stopping you, but it's ludicrous to argue that he's heroic or good in any way right now. If your favorite character is kind of villainous, that's okay. Unless he pulls out some kind of crazy Heel-Face Turn move later and reveals a massive convoluted plot that was actually benefitting everyone the whole time, I'd say he's an antagonist, and not the Good aligned kind...

Also, this has really really been bugging me for a long time now: it's silly to hate Acai for one comment made about his corsage/flower. Acai palms possibly wouldn't be common in their region or even well-known unless this was literally South America/NofNA equivalent, and I don't think non-Homo sapiens people have achieved any form of globalization even mildly approaching what we have yet... he's not a 'hipster' for being realistic about it.

It's possible this is a small plot hole/something not really thought about by the author, so it's doubly silly to latch onto as a reason for thinking an otherwise okay character is actually The Bad Guy in the situation and can do nothing right. I smell personal bias regarding 'hipsters'...

Also, if we're going to argue 'heroism', Acai is more of a hero here. He's standing up for people that are less able to help themselves right now, and not compromising that for anything, as far as I can see. He's sacrificing his own credit/personal gain, and possibly putting himself in danger [unless he's a martial arts student, White Cherry could probably kill him or seriously hurt/disable him if she felt like she wanted to make an example of him], just to defend the other workers from injustice.
62 . by: Furrama April 25, 2017, 1:44 am

@9times You can pretend to be in someone else's shoes and figure them out without actually really believing in their kool-aid. Benefit of the doubt is reserved for plausible sounding arguments.
61 . by: April 25, 2017, 1:41 am

You can be good to people and still overcome adversity. It's not as easy, but it's far more admirable. And if I had to choose between one and the other? Yeah, I'd choose Acai's route of being relatively powerless but trying to make life better in small ways, like helping a friend in need. Guess we have pretty different world views.
60 . by: 9times April 25, 2017, 1:29 am

Fair enough, but notice in this link what constitutes a hero. It's not being a nice guy or having a flawless honor code. It's never giving up and overcoming adversity. That could define either XX or XY, but not Mr. self-pitying hipster fox.

URL : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
59 . by: April 25, 2017, 12:53 am

Eh, personally I think being in control is pretty meaningless when you have to trample and hurt a lot of people to do it, and when it doesn't even produce any worthwhile results.
58 . by: April 24, 2017, 11:46 pm

I just don't think that that's the case. Acai is in deep debt with the brothel, and had attempted before to show his innovations to society only to be rejected because of his association with the brothel. I mean, really, what are his options? Be like the chef stoat and just go to the wild? He doesn't have too much of a choice. His actions may have landed him here, but they are not what currently binds him. Outside of as a consequence, but it's not so simple as just taking control of his life back.

I can understand why you'd interpret that Greenie is in the right in this specific situation, but I just don't think it's as simple as Acai being defeatist.

But I think we can all just agree to disagree on this topic, and that's perfectly fine.
57 . by: 9times April 24, 2017, 11:23 pm

I want him to kick Acai's ass because IMO Acai's definitely wrong. He's given up. He's probably about to tell XY that it's impossible for him to retake control of his life, which XY already knows is bullshit. He's his own jailer.

XY's been making the point since his first line in the comic that he's in control of himself and that taking control is how he's survived. It's what separates him from everyone here. So if they're going to have a fight (physically or otherwise), I know who I want to win.
56 . by: April 24, 2017, 11:17 pm

Yeah, even I don't hate Greenie, but I was the one that originally asked why Acai deserved an ass kicking. I find Greenie interesting, but I am in no way supportive of his motivations or actions and the abuse and oppression he's doled out second-hand and first-hand on his employees. I understand him and why he is the way he is, but that doesn't change my opinion of his actions.

Wasn't intending to jump down anyone's throat by any means, I just don't think he's a character to be rooted for unless you're the type to root for the bad guy. In which case it's natural people are going to wonder why on earth you would when most people are going to be sympathetic toward the characters being oppressed, rather than the oppressors.

They are not real people, but people are going to relate to them as if they were and form opinions based on how they would feel about these situations in real life. Again, only natural when reading any story.
55 . by: April 24, 2017, 10:29 pm

It's not that anyone HATES Greenie, it's just that 9times was actively ROOTING for him.
54 . by: April 24, 2017, 9:52 pm

Am I the only one that almost never hates characters in fiction (unless they're just badly written)? I think all the characters in this story are really interesting and while I'm "rooting" for XX, and recognize everyone's faults, I just see them as interesting characters and don't actively hate any of them.

So I don't really know why everyone is jumping down 9times' throat. We're not talking about real people here.
53 . by: April 24, 2017, 9:31 pm

If that's the case, maybe what they're saying is for your benefit too...? Is everyone here looking for an argument or a mutual point of understanding?
52 . by: 9times April 24, 2017, 8:25 pm

No, I don't identify with him. A lot of people are identifying me with him - there have already been numerous comments saying I'm "just as awful," not a "decent person," etc., just on this page. I don't identify myself with fictional characters.

And I don't care what they think. What I said was for their benefit. If you want to understand anyone you disagree with, you have to assume they're right and you're wrong and go from there. If you won't do that, fine, but you'll always be arguing with people and never understanding them, forever.
51 . by: Furrama April 24, 2017, 8:09 pm

Against my better judgement.

@9times Are you conflating eXY/Greenie with yourself in your last comment? Could that be why you might be evaluating him differently than most of us down here?

I understand why someone might identify with aspects of him, especially early on when he was a touch more sympathetic. But to hold onto that to this point sorta... yeah it does baffle me too. Like, I understand the logic, the a to b thinking of someone like him, but cannot personally imagine myself thinking that way. My current understanding of people and reality and my values doesn't allow for it.

And no, you don't have to entertain that anyone is right to understand them. If someone tells me the sky appears as black on a sunny day to most humans, I don't have to entertain that. That's ridiculous. I can still look at that person and figure out why they said/think that, but they didn't pass logic, so nope, not happening.
50 . by: April 24, 2017, 7:56 pm

@47 i want to frame your comment
49 . by: April 24, 2017, 6:20 pm

Just because we're not forgiving XY's actions, doesn't mean we haven't tried to understand him or entertain the idea that he might be right. I've tried and decided he's still an asshole. I've yet to hear a good argument as to he's secretly a nice dude after a. trapping his girlfriend in this situation, b. advocating stealing employees' personal mail, and now c. using threats of violence to keep them in line.
Nobody else in this situation are exactly angels, but this guy's purposeful, unregretted cruelty really takes the cake.
48 . by: April 24, 2017, 5:27 pm

OK but people who jump to using violence first are never right. Maybe in some extreme circumstances it's excusable, but this?

They're employees. They're not doing anything threatening. All they're doing is speaking up against a rule that makes no sense, since the food was paid for, and therfore the exchange of credit for food means it belongs to Lemon now.
It would be something like a restaurant saying you're only allowed to take home leftovers if you don't share it with someone else.
47 . by: April 24, 2017, 5:01 pm

A person is the sum of their actions, and those should not be overlooked even when considering the root of those actions. As Demosthenes said, "You cannot have a proud and chivalrous spirit if your conduct is mean and paltry; for whatever a man's actions are, such must be his spirit." Or, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine put it, "Cool motive. Still murder."
46 . by: 9times April 24, 2017, 4:21 pm

#43, I guessed XY's scent code on page 90 because I was willing to try to understand him. Understanding is an act of charity. To understand someone else you have to entertain the possibility that they're right.
45 . by: April 24, 2017, 3:26 pm

@Dani Page 71, Battery uses the lightning alembic on XX and strangles her during sex.
44 . by: Dani April 24, 2017, 2:45 pm

@Natoon: Battery raped XX? I will have to go back, because if that happened I missed it completely!
43 . by: April 23, 2017, 9:05 pm

God, I hate Fake Cherry and Green so much. I don't understand anyone who defends them. People who use threats and violence to control others are gross abusers. And those who condone it are just as awful.
42 . by: Kira April 22, 2017, 6:32 pm

Can someone just.
Distract Sherry for a few seconds, so one of them can grab Greenie in their jaws, and bite down as hard as possible.
41 . by: April 22, 2017, 3:29 pm

Ditch the cafeteria food, eat Greenie.
40 . by: April 22, 2017, 3:04 pm

I didn't even realize people were interpreting the blue in the last panel as Greenie's shopping bag, PLEASE LET IT BE TRUE
39 . by: April 22, 2017, 12:21 pm

I woke up numb in the haze and saw my future machine built
for two, but the light gave me some kind of fright. How did wrong get so right and lead me stumbling
through the dark of night?
38 . by: hazard April 22, 2017, 10:46 am

NofNA comment section still 1000x better than most of the internet god bless I love yall
37 . by: natoon April 22, 2017, 10:45 am

Speaking of Acai, I am reminded of the scene where Battery rapes xx on her first day. I couldn't decide whether the comments the other courtesians where making were real or a hallucination - Lemon's seemed too like her (a pun, but sneakily voicing her disapproval right in front of Battery). Acai's comment was disturbing, " Exotic." Like he was turned on by it. Then there was xx's 'faceless' dream where everyone except Acai was wearing her face and repeating her words. That and Cherry's teasing that he likes 'r' types gives him the air of not being 100% what he seems - maybe he's deeper in to this brothel culture than he lets on? That being said, I think he's being pretty forthright here. And, if he has a secret about his relationship with Cherry, it's something they both know. They seem to be on the same page.
36 . by: Kaidona April 22, 2017, 9:18 am

So something I want to point out about the last panel is that the blue looks more like the color of the walls of Fig Trees than the shopping bag Green Bean wears. Considering that, it's possible that those are carnassials and we're looking at Acai's open mouth because he's speaking.

URL : http://kaidona.deviantart.com
35 . by: April 22, 2017, 8:50 am

I'm just happy to see Lemon getting some character development. She was a little flat and uninteresting before, and I like seeing a compassionate side come out.
34 . by: April 22, 2017, 7:16 am

9times, it's kind of embarrassing realizing you haven't read the story closely enough to know that brothel credit is trash outside of the brothel.

cherry can't go anywhere, and acai can't buy her an apartment outside the brothel, because their "money" is about as good outside it as, say, unconverted indian rupees are in the US. the brothel only pays them in "currency" that can only be spent in the brothel, because sex work is considered "bad"/"wrong"/"immoral" by society as a whole.

none of the workers in the brothel have any kind of buying power. they're being paid in monopoly money.
33 . by: April 22, 2017, 4:37 am

Well, at least we aren't arguing about whether or not it should include graphic sex anymore
32 . by: April 22, 2017, 4:04 am

COMMENT SECTION COMBATANT'S FURIOUS REPARTEE

MARK
31 . by: Juna April 22, 2017, 2:56 am

Yea, it'll probably be best to ride the next couple pages out and see how everyone fares.

But hey, we're having our own nofna-level altercations, huh? I'm glad none of us have factures.
30 . by: April 22, 2017, 1:54 am

If Greenie actually wants Cherry out for her own good, there's a lot of ways he could've done it without threatening her friends with physical violence or accepting her as a tenant but then trying to starve her. However, if his motives are to feel power by keeping everyone in an unwinnable situation and squeezing them for all the money and success they're worth? His actions all make a lot more sense.
And even if Cherry's friends got her an apartment outside the brothel, come on... away from everyone she's ever known, an old woman who can only rely on charity, an ex-prostitute? Oh yeah, that same society that got XX thrown out of her last home would treat her sooooooo well. She's never going to have an ideal life, why not at least be with these people who care about her?
29 . by: April 22, 2017, 12:37 am

Acai can't pay for anything outside the brothel because his credit is only worth anything within the brothel.
28 . by: Furrama April 22, 2017, 12:34 am

Maybe we should drop this thread and just wait and see what happens next. I'm starting to get Secretary flashbacks.
27 . by: 9times April 22, 2017, 12:13 am

Then like I just said, she's trapped here by her own fear.
26 . by: April 22, 2017, 12:07 am

He's paying for Cherry to live here because she LIKES living here, and is afraid to be outside of it.
25 . by: 9times April 22, 2017, 12:06 am

I called it purgatory because everyone here has trapped themselves here in one way or another. They're prisoners of their own lust, hubris or fear. There's only one character here who's not like that, and I think he's basically right that it doesn't have to be that way.

This is fridge logic, but if Acai can pay for Cherry to live here (compensating the brothel for all the money she'd make), doesn't that imply that he could pay for her to live somewhere else, even if that means he doesn't get to keep giving her the knob?

More importantly, though, in my first comment I said to kick his ass because those holes in the last panel look like carnassials. Maybe it will turn out to something else, but if he attacks his employer, possibly the only person in this world who would ever employ him, he really does need his ass kicked.
24 . by: Witticaster April 21, 2017, 11:05 pm

9times, are you saying Acai is in the wrong because his actions mean that Cherry is staying in the labyrinth when otherwise she would have left it?

Yes, Greenie, I'm sure he's thought it doesn't have to be this way many times. He's even personally argued with you - several times - about how it doesn't have to be this way, only for you to respond with threats of physical violence.

I think it's pretty clear that although Acai created the labyrinth, he's no longer in control of it. Other people, like Greenie and the director, learned the alembic and now keep it running for their own benefit. Acai is complicit in his own way for 'giving up' and continuing to support his usurped system even though it's obviously causing harm. It kind of mirrors our own society... terribly corrupt and unfair, vicious to its neediest members, and yet the vast majority of us still support and contribute to it because we feel like it's all we have, that there's no escape from it.

Kaidona was mentioning the lackluster nature of Sherry's banter and it shows here too. Acai calmly and swiftly dismantles Green's flawed reasoning, showing that Lemon did nothing wrong and they're just being bullies, and all Sherry can respond with is "Uhhh... ME WANT FIGHT NOW"
23 . by: Juna April 21, 2017, 10:41 pm

Well, debating the value of different characters' actions is worth it in of itself, esp when an interesting conflict comes up.

As for Cherry's situation, that's a fairer question. I don't think everyone's arguing she's living well in the labyrinth. Few people really want to be there. Even Greenie's resolved to be the master of this purgatory instead of getting by on other people's favors. But it's like Plum said, it's extraordinarily difficult outside without some group of people to validate you and co-operate with you, be it family or society at large. That's why she came back, and that's what Chestnut's trying to overcome out there. Whereas here, Cherry has friends who are willing to stick their necks out to protect her. I'd wager that's what she considered after she and Acai talked.

It's just all the more insidious in that that's the logic that keeps the workers tied to Fig Trees ('you can check out but...'), and even this place is trying to eject her, if not for the efforts of her friends and sympathetic workers. (shout outs to the lil mouse on last page)
22 . by: 9times April 21, 2017, 10:15 pm

Yes, of course, it's definitely in Cherry's interest to stay in this subterranean purgatory for the rest of her life. /s

I said I wouldn't debate it, but you guys aren't making it easy.
21 . by: April 21, 2017, 10:00 pm

Liking Greenie and not liking Acai is fine. But if you, 9times, genuinely thing Acai is the asshole here, you need to read this comic again, and muuuch more carefully. I mean, just, what.
20 . by: Juna April 21, 2017, 9:54 pm

Yikes.

Suffice to say, the mistakes he made that we've learned thus far were out of ignorance. Not seeing the full implications of his alembic and his not understanding the treatment of sex work in this society. While it'd be fair to have wished younger Acai had a greater ethical sense ('damn maybe this low-key imprisoning alembic for the brothel isn't such a great idea'), it seems like his proverbial ass has been kicked plenty prior to now. He seems as keen as anybody to see it broken, but for one reason or another hasn't been able to do it himself. Or, even if he did he's next to dead where society as large is concerned.

And when it comes to now, he's been friendly and supportive to the people he's close to in the brothel, and willing to lay himself low for others instead of risking violence. The worst thing I can think about him is, he gave up escaping the labyrinth too early, but that puts him at the same level as many of the other characters we've seen.

So, shrug. I can appreciate wanting to see a character, sympathetic or not, having to struggle and get put through the rollers, but I can't fathom from what sort of ethical or character standpoint does Acai look worse than Greenie, excepting some big reveal that the alembic is some sorta Original Sin of Acai's own making.
19 . by: April 21, 2017, 7:15 pm

Yeah, Acai isn't really in the position to be Cherry's sugar daddy. He's not doing it because he wants to yiff her.
The fact that Greenie hired on another fox with a violent streak and penchant for beating the snot out of those that disobey her imaginary rules as her replacement is not what I would call a fair eviction. It's like if someone sent a professional bouncer to my job and he started insulting me and then decked me in the face when I tried to defend myself.
Furthermore, Greenie KNOWS how hard it is to live in the outside world after working at the brothel. If it was so hard for him, a fairly young guy with plenty of influential power, how hard would it be for Cherry, who has been with the brothel for quite some time and has absorbed it into her identity, relying on it for food, shelter, and social interaction? Telling her to get out at this point is like deportation. The outside is a foreign world for Cherry. She couldn't survive on her own, and would she even want to, away from the few people she knows?
I wouldn't bat an eye if Acai picked Greeie up by the head and shook the crap out of him. Besides, this is NofNA, we're probably gonna see a smackdown soon and I'd rather have Greenie and Sherry on the receiving end, lol
18 . by: Furrama April 21, 2017, 5:55 pm

When evaluating character one should look at past history, current motives, and final actions. In the end, final action weighs far more than the other two. Heck, you don't really even need the other two, they're just nice to have.

If we want to compare these two characters just on these last two pages, what do we see? One who brings threats of violence to two characters when he doesn't have to, and one trying to prevent suffering and trying to help two characters when he doesn't have to. One is speaking as one with pride, one with power, and the other is speaking with humility and defeated. One is allied with the strong, the other with the weak.

In terms of story telling, one comes off a bit better than the other, don't you think?
17 . by: April 21, 2017, 5:21 pm

Not liking Acai is fine, justifying Greenie's actions because you don't like Acai is not as much fine. Greenie at this point is never painted as anything but power-hungry, controlling, devoid of empathy or compassion, and manipulative. Not only has he threatened his own girlfriend's life with the strangling neck wear, he's also giving Sherry the ok to assault Lemon to 'teach her a lesson'. He's the one that's resorting to threats of violence to control people, and has justified in the past pushing people beyond their limits for a profit.

How anyone could defend him at this point or think he has some grand master plan and is low key pulling all the strings in some kind of Hannibal Lecter style puppet show for the better of all the courtesans is beyond me because not a single scene since his introduction has painted him in a positive light.

You can like him, find him interesting, whatever, but there's some unsavory thinking involved in defending him with all he's done up to this point. Liking a character does not have to go hand in hand with thinking they are in the right.
16 . by: April 21, 2017, 5:19 pm

you think he's putting himself in massive debt because he wants to bang cherry? seriously? i'd think of mauling the hell out of greenie 24/7 if he was my boss too.
15 . by: April 21, 2017, 5:12 pm

eat him i wont tell bro
14 . by: April 21, 2017, 4:53 pm

No, Acai is just a nice, decent, kindhearted guy. The kind any decent person would stick up for.

Greenie is a greedy bastard who is feeling pissy because just about everyone else here is a better person than he'll ever be. And he knows it.
13 . by: 9times April 21, 2017, 4:43 pm

Acai is taking care of Cherry because he thinks with his penis, which is what landed him here in the first place. And XY isn't trying to starve her, he's just trying to make her leave. Y'know, like he did. And mayyyyybe she should.

Anyway, not wanting to debate this, so that'll be my last thought on the subject.
12 . by: April 21, 2017, 4:36 pm

Anyway I hope Greenie dies a slow and agonizing death while Fig, Cherry, Acai, and the rest stand around watching and laughing.
11 . by: April 21, 2017, 4:19 pm

Açaí's the inventor of the alembic but it was the late boss who hired Açaí to make the labyrinth. He wasn't the one with the intent of trapping people inside the brothel, especially since he got trapped himself
10 . by: April 21, 2017, 4:18 pm

I don't think he sees everything for what it is, or he would understand things better. I think he just knows some kungfu trick that lets him analyze art when he sees it.
9 . by: April 21, 2017, 3:12 pm

@9times
He's not trying to bite anyone, as far as I know; it appears to be a symbolism panel. But, I would love it if he was, because it's green XY who deserves reprisal for his actions [along with that horrid watchdog of his]...

How bad would it be if Acai bit his poor, innocent employer, who only happened to... willfully abuse everyone working under him, for no discernable reason other than his own malice [did you, by any chance, empathize with/rationalize SV's ruinous sense of entitlement during the Secretary arc? y'know, the one that turned him into a murderer?], and because he started getting high off power and credit. The guy who turned into an alcoholic pig that totally ignores the balancing influence of the VD, for no good reason other than his MRA-like power fantasies and control issues. The guy who was always unstable in a way that harmed others and caused them to fear him. The textbook picture of an abuser, in fact. Am I the only one who sees this as bad??

Yeah, no, it's totally Acai, who was mislead as a young man, got stuck in the brothel himself and is now a victim, but is now trying to take care of Cherry [who would find it difficult to integrate into society again; did you forget about how society treats people with 'tainted' credit?], and stand up nonviolently for Cherry and the people she cares about, who needs to get beaten up... :/ ?? whatever, man...
8 . by: Furrama April 21, 2017, 2:49 pm

I think eXY hinted at a job opportunity for Açaí, or in the very least he was going to offer some 'from my experience' advice.

And Açaí sees right that (with ever intensifying eyes). He cuts through to the core... eXY thinks he's free now, free from the labyrinth. Aaaand he's not. They're both just as trapped as the other.
7 . by: 9times April 21, 2017, 2:39 pm

I've never liked Acai, maybe because since his first introduction he's reminded me of every hipster ever (it's an exotic fruit, you've probably never heard of it). And he invented this whole rotten system. And unless I'm reading it wrong, on this page he's trying to bite his employer, who's about 1/100 his size. This isn't even the first time he's thought about doing it. He needs his ass kicked. I didn't say kill him.
6 . by: April 21, 2017, 1:40 pm

Why on earth would Acai be the one needing an ass kicking? Greenie is trying to starve his girlfriend.
5 . by: 9times April 21, 2017, 1:24 pm

Kick his ass, XY.

Also, Zack, I really admire the way you show everything from someone's perspective. I liked that on the last page too. It's very cinematic.
4 . by: April 21, 2017, 1:05 pm

@Mutt Oooh... yeah a little more of his muzzle in frame would have helped...
3 . by: Mutt April 21, 2017, 12:53 pm

Took a good minute to realize those last 5 panels are connected.
2 . by: April 21, 2017, 11:02 am

Man, he really has some gall to say that as one of the people that's enforcing the situation that is keeping Acai here. I'm not really sure of the full implications of what he said. Is he saying he could just say screw it all and leave, like supposedly Greenie did? Is he saying he could say screw it to Cherry and not be in debt? Is he supposed to just go along like a cog in the machine, causing less stress on himself?

Not really sure since it is a very vague and obviously heavy statement. Still, it is a gross thing to say to someone who is allowing for the situation that's quite literally ruining Acai's life. It's all about credit and control. Does it give you your jollies, Greenie?

Man I hope to see this guy get what he deserves by the end of this arc.
1 . by: April 21, 2017, 8:16 am

Proposal rejected due to Acai actually having a conscience.