A Mary-sue is a character that often appears to be perfect with no flaw what-so-ever. They are usually better then the main cast, loved by everyone, and have abilities others may not posess.
On this page, I/Chris will be covering how to avoid Mary-sue qualities and how to fix them if you have them. For those interested in making a fan character, you can visit this page instead: Ojamajo Fan Character's.
Relations and RecolorsThese two tend to go hand-in-hand with one-another. If a character is related to someone expect them to be a recolor of that character, or another one.
This is usually done to provide backstory to the character, give them something to latch onto, and also give them an importance. While relations with a real character isn't exactly bad, if handled wrongly it may be frowned upon.
In Ojamajo Doremi the frequent target of this will be Onpu Segawa. As the image to the left demonstrates. The profile said:
"This is __. Onpu's older sister and a singer too! She is much better then her little sister and tries to give her tips, but Onpu is very jealous. She's also cuter and more popular. Her ojamajo color is a bluer shade of purple and like Onpu she's naturally talented when it comes to magic, but she is MUCH MORE advance and can use Dokkan level magic despite being in 1st season form."
Remember, no matter how official or nice a recolor looks, that is all it is. A recolor that shouldn't be taken seriously with a profile like that. However, if you really wish to improve this character, here is a tip to help fix her:
Instead of trying to make her take over Onpu's position and claim she is better then her, try to make someone who can fit in without overshadowing her. With this in mind you can make a better FC. With that idea tuned in, the profile could end up looking like this:
"__ is Onpu's sister who wishes to become an idol like Onpu, but she isn't sure what type just yet. She likes to sing and dance, but is a little nervous in front of others. Sometimes for some charistmatic tips she may go to Onpu for advice. She is a little bit envious of her sister, and kind of like Doremi when it comes to magic. But she's an excellent flier and graceful when it comes to wand twirling!"
Now honestly, read both of them and ask yourself, which one sounds more interesting? The perfect older sister everyone admires, or a cute and clumsy girl who wants to become famous but is struggling to find her talent.
Common Mary-sue Traits
When it comes to a Mary-sue type, they are all generally the same. While they all may have their own designs, unique or recolor, and little quirks, when it's broken down they are just clones of a pre-exsisting character or someone way over the top who needs to be toned down.
Typical traits consist of:
Usually when someone recolors they may be lazy about it by darkening or lighting the colors of the character they are editing from. Some, more creative people will actually change the color, like turning Aiko yellow, or Doremi silver.
For this series, an Ojamajo should have no more then two main colors. One is enough, but two is alright. An ojamajo should ever have more then two. If an Ojamajo has a rainbow color scheme then she has already become a mary-sue. She stands out and may try to claim it's special, but by doing this she will overshadow anyone else with her.
Names and Japanese
A mary-sue will always have a Japanese name, or something very fake sounding. Now sometimes this is alright because the character may have moved to another part of the world. But mainly when this happens it tends to be an American character trying to overdo Japanese for the sake of looking cool. But this can backfire if they happen to over-use a specific word, or may not even know it's meaning.
Take this example:
"Mayumi-San! wait up!" Mitsuri gasped as she ran behind her companion. "Mitsu-chan! Kawaii!" her friend giggled while pointing to the top of her friends head. "Neko-mimi headband, Isn't it Kawaii?!" Mitsuri asked with a giggle of her own, clasping her hands. "You look like a Koneko, sugoi!"
See, it may appear to be cute but it can be a little annoying if used wrongly. Now, this is fine if the author actually knows what they are doing, or may actually be asian. But if it's just someone trying to look cool then it may just make them seem annoying instead. Now, this isn't to say you can't use other cultural words at all, but try to use them in low doses in the right settings, and make sure you know what they mean. Like this example:
"Mayumi-san! Wait up!" Misty exclaimed while running behind a friend who was several feet ahead of her. Her friend turned curiously and looked up, noticing a pair of black cat ears sitting on top of her friends head. "Kawaii headband, kitty ears right?" she giggled as Misty clasped her hands. "I see so many cute neko girl products online, I couldn't resist buying a pair of the "Neko Mimi" in black."
See, this way the girls don't sound like a pair of phony asians or American girls trying to be cool. You can tell this version is an english setting, but with sprinkles of Asian inspiration.
This is a big thing for Mary-sue characters. Besides possible recoloring traits (or not) she will always appear to be "very beautiful" to everyone. They will make this seem like it's her only defining trait and usually make a huge deal out of it.
Some also believe that if someone uses more then a paragraph to describe their characters appearance only, it may lead to this. Here is an example of both things applied to an FC:
"Crystal is a very beautiful Ojamajo. She developed very early and her breast are often in the way! She has two big crystal blue eyes, shinier then pools of water and very long hair with each perfect curl reaching her waist. She is often complimented reguarding her looks and wears the finest outfits that are very expensive. Everyone notices her beauty from miles away. She is a rainbow ojamajo so far advance that she's been using the dokkan wand way before the others and has now currently just been using her crystal ball."
When someone has to point out a characters beauty a lot of the time, or gives them an inapropriate body type then this quickly heads into mary-sue territory. To counter this, try to think of the character more realistically. You can still get the same impact but not look like an attention seeker by using this:
"Crystal is a young, cute girl who is slightly developed for her age. She finds it a little annoying though because it embaresses her and makes some things difficult. Her eyes are a watery blue color while her curled locks of hair are blond. Due to her mothers job, a seamstress, Crystal often dresses in different types of outfits, costumes, and clothing made of nice materials. She loves pearly, rainbow textures and her ojamajo color is __."
See, by doing this the character can still be viewed as cute and pretty, but it isn't rubbed in everyones faces. Her hair and eyes have been described well enough to picture them properly, and her attire choices have a good reason for being why they are, and she still has an interest for rainbows while removing her rainbow-ojamajo status.
Usually when recoloring a character, the lazy approach is to either "carbon-copy" them, or make them appear to be so perfect that there is nothing wrong with them. While everyone may want to make their character like this, so that they are well-liked, this actually makes them pretty boring and with no interesting qualities.
"Mimi is perfect with no faults. She never messes up and is always found cheering others up, just with a smile alone. She has a rare temper, but when she gets angry look out. She can beat up even the strongest man who dares mess with her!"
Now there are ways to keep these traits and still make her sound more believeable. Remember that everyone has their faults, so you should try to find out your own characters:
"Mimi likes to think she is perfect, and because of this she doesn't like to admit her faults. She tries to avoid mistakes and messing up at all costs, but this usually causes her to work herself up and mess up anyway. She is a cheerful type who tries to help others feel better, but she also has a small temper that may flare up from time to time."
"She was already at a dokkan level while in her first season witch apprentice form! She never needed a wand to cast magic and her crystal never shatters despite how many times she's used it for bad magic."
Already wrong. Just because your Ojamajo is your character doesn't mean she can get away with things nobody else could. She should have magic that matches her current form of apprentice level and may be talented when it comes to magic casting, flying, or even shop work, but that is how far it should go.
If you see someone who you think may have these qualities, please try to remember to be nice about it when telling them. That won't guarantee that the owner may understand or try to be nice back, but you will feel a lot better knowing you didn't mock them for it. In that case, simply let it go and wait, because usually it will pay off in some shape or form.
If you're unsure of where your character fits. View my other essay like pages: