Author Topic: Visser 3 as a leader  (Read 170 times)

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Offline Matches

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Visser 3 as a leader
« on: August 02, 2017, 01:50:03 PM »
So first of all, I will say I am only halfway through the series. So I dont know if any of this is addressed later.

But Visser Three is such a horrible leader and fighter, I genuinely dont understand why he is allowed to stay in his position. Outside of Meta reasons, like kids books needing a bad guy.
He fails at almost everything, cannot figure out the bandits are human. and all of it is because of his ego.
Visser Three, IMO will not entertain the idea that the bandits are human because he see's humans as inferior, and refuses to accept they are beating him.
In every fight when he morphs, he always morphs into some giant 4 story tall monstrosity, even when a smaller morph could be more beneficial, I chalk this up to ego also. I have yet to see him morph into anything small.
He runs everything by fear, so his own subordinates wont tell him stuff he should know, because they deliver bad news and he kills them in a tantrum.

He is so terribly ineffective at everything, he seems to only have status because he managed to snag an Andalite body.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 01:51:52 PM by Matches »

Offline Shenmue654

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 05:02:33 PM »
If you read the Andalite and Hork-Bajir Chronicles, it becomes more clear why: Visser Three is written in a very, very inconsistent fashion. There are some Animorphs books (Megamorphs among them in Kid Me's opinion) that portray Visser Three as a kind of intelligent, scary, extremely bat**** crazy person. It's this variation that Kid Me adored and became enamored with, and who likely contributed huge chunks of personality to Mind Melter/Jeffrey in the GESB. Then there are the books that portray him as a dumb as bricks, violent-temper-tantrum-throwing, incompetent ignoramus.

The difference pretty likely stems from the sheer number of ghostwriters who worked on Animorphs. Very few of them were even remotely as good at writing Visser Three as K.A. Appelgate, who seems to be the only person who can strike the balance between crazy and brilliant just right. (And you have no idea how incredibly difficult it is to do it until you've tried writing a villain like this.) The other problem is that in a book series that's more than fifty books long, your main villain is going to be re-used over and over and therefore suffer from Villain Decay. Careful villain management is a necessary component of any book series or show or the villain will start to look really incompetent at being evil.

That's the gist of it. :P
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 05:04:05 PM by Shenmue654 »

Offline RYTX

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 07:13:13 PM »
I could probably argue the writer thing, there's a lot of bs from V3 before the ghostwriters too, but keeping it in story I would say it's an institution thing.

Esplin's role in the building of the Yeerk empire in HBC and TAC can't be understated. This was a literal brand new society for the Yeerks, he really was part of its foundations. He learned about the Andalites and founds ways to exploit them during the Hork-Bajir war. Edriss may have started conquest, but he was the one who found out a class five species exists. And yes, taking an Andalite, especially a war-prince, especially the one who showed the darkest side of the Andalites, was a huge move for the Empire. This guy was making huge strides when the Empire was in it's infancy. And so, he got institutionalized.

Most leaders do great things, and then either die or give up their position. Those who stay on forever don't do great things forever, in fact they often get paranoid or ignorant in their arrogance. This guy was a least a sub-visser for 30 years. He was almost always in a position of power, and made mistakes. And a lot of them. But he'd shown he could do some of the most important things that the Empire needed to succeed. It's like if Lincoln came back from the dead, get him up to speed he could probably be a decent president, and a lot of people would want him just because of what he did back when, but keep him in office another 30 years and he's bound to do some stupid stuff.

That, and the Yeerk Empire, maybe in part because of it's young, seemed bereft of leaders. They kept Edriss after all her b.s. The sub-vissers were by an large little more than sergeants in most cases. The Empire was still learning how to wage galactic war, they didn't know all the signs of a bad, even a terrible leader. Plus the council liked the way he toadied to them; he knew Yeerk psychology and used it. A thousand Yeerks could have tried to assassinate him, but for all we know never did, because cruel, tyrannical and merciless were marks of a capable, if not good, leader in a society that's first steps were kill, conquer, enslave.
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Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 07:35:34 PM »
Everything RYTX said about how V3 was respected for his early-career achievements, and also: I think he did actually go crazy.  If you look at the person he was in HBC and at least early in TAC, he is brilliant and calculating and cunning, willing to learn everything he needs to know about his enemies.  It isn't until, oh, right around the time he gets an Andalite host that he suddenly becomes this maniacal arrogant murder-happy super-villain stereotype.

What I think happened, is that his personality got tangled up with Alloran's.  Uninfested Alloran seems to have similar traits to what Visser Three becomes.  Ruthless, arrogant, ready to kill whoever gets in his way.  Remember Taylor from book #33 and #43?  Confused as to who she was, a human or a Yeerk, and it drove her insane?  I think a similar thing happened to V3, wrapped around that brilliant and complex Andalite brain.  I think he just managed to be a little less vocal about that inner turmoil than Taylor was.

P.S. This would also explain why Taylor seems to be V3's favorite minion.
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Offline NothingFromSomething

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 02:56:45 AM »
Of course the real reason is just pragmatic - if Visser 3 were remotely competent, he'd have wiped out a few (even morphable) battle-fresh naive kids in a few days or weeks, you'd have no story to tell.

But yeah, it sort of worked for me to an extent.  It's inconsistent, he's way more capable and scary in the off-world prequel stories, but yeah.  V3 always came off to me like Vader in that very first scene in A New Hope where he's just storming onto the ship with a bunch of troopers choking people and screaming in their faces.  A very different Darth Vader than in Empire or Jedi where he's all calm & collected & wise, but cool in its own right.  V3 had that going on, to me, cool as a sort of scenery-chewing, borderline-unhinged redshirt-killer, who you knew the main characters were going to foil but he somehow had great villain presence anyway.


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Offline Shenmue654

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 12:01:40 PM »
Quote
V3 always came off to me like Vader in that very first scene in A New Hope where he's just storming onto the ship with a bunch of troopers choking people and screaming in their faces.  A very different Darth Vader than in Empire or Jedi where he's all calm & collected & wise, but cool in its own right.

I love DinosaurNothlit's point (it is almost like V3 literally got the Animorphs equivalent of my book's "Esper Backfire Syndrome" upon infesting Alloran!), but I can see Nothing's as well. When he was done right, that is exactly the impression you got from K.A. in the main series. The real problems set in when Visser Three tried to get lunchmeat to alter free will; I am not even making this up. :P Or like...got hit by a skunk. Granted that was absolutely there because people like V3 are intensely fun to humiliate. XD

Like, I think that there absolutely needed to be more quality control. So that the best books held up to the series worst.


« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 04:48:29 PM by Shenmue654 »

Offline tigz

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 01:56:20 PM »
Keeping in context with story, I agree with Dino
and also: I think he did actually go crazy. 
Over time and after repeated failures in defeating the "andalite bandits", anger and desperation would have an effect on his mental state. His goal at the beginning was to take over Earth but over time his goal becomes to kill the "andalite bandits", his desperation and desire to do so increasing with every defeat and blinding his mind and judgement leading to numerous errors and oversights.
Not to mention that behind the scenes hes getting more and more pressure heaped on him from the council, having less and less patience over time.
That could all account for his wild and impulsive (and generally foolhardy) behavior.
As a side note, I also have a personal idea that he knew full well they were human at some point midway through but that his insistence on broadcasting them as andalites would give him extra wiggle room (for lack of a better sounding term) with the council for his repeated failures. I'm sure andalites were seen as formidable foes whereas humans possibly wouldn't be. But thats just personal idea and doesnt exactly fit with the canon in places.

Offline ViciousVisser

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2017, 10:38:05 PM »
Visser Three is definitely an interesting character, but he is at times incompetent!

He almost kind of reminds of the villian in Scooby-DOO who says "I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids!" Haha I don't know why I always think that but I do.
Marco: Oh, it's just a trash can. Chill out.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Marco: Okay, so it's four trash cans.
Jake: Get off the sidewalk, you lunatic!
Marco: (yanks wheel right, bumps the sidewalk, grazes a parked car)
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Jake: Do you hate trash cans? Is that your problem? Do you just HATE TRASH CANS?!!

Offline NothingFromSomething

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2017, 11:02:58 PM »
I sort of think that was kind of the point though, Vicious.  He's a trope, y'know?

Contrasting with the fairly-believable, totally three-dimensional characterizations of the kids themselves, the villain is this big larger-than-life, tried-and-true irredeemable "one of my lower-ranked guys failed me, OFF WITH HIS HEAD!" mustache-twirler type.

It sort of worked really well, especially given all the cool cheesy 1950s sci-fi elements the series is drawing from, among the Spielbergian/Amblin movie vibes.


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Offline Shenmue654

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 09:57:12 AM »
Well, sort of. The problem is that he wasn't this all the time. It was as if Bowser had moments where he was *brilliant,* interspersed almost at random with his Scooby Doo mustache-twirling villainy. And other moments where the writer wrote the Scooby Doo villainy far better. Granted, there's something interesting about that statement. Bowser as he was written in Super Mario 64 hadn't acquired his characteristic cadence. Instead, he sounded like he had gone to Hork'Bajir Harvard. XD Check for yourself: They fix it by the DS version, but man is it odd.

All that said, I adore the old bastard, right down to the crazy. ;) But I do wish he didn't have that one time where he created GMO beef. XDD
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 10:00:26 AM by Shenmue654 »

Offline Matches

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 10:08:09 AM »
I think he should have been used way less, like once every 4-5 books instead if being in every single one. Cause then they start doing the stuff like him being defeated by a skunk

Offline ViciousVisser

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Re: Visser 3 as a leader
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 05:42:16 PM »
I sort of think that was kind of the point though, Vicious.  He's a trope, y'know?

Contrasting with the fairly-believable, totally three-dimensional characterizations of the kids themselves, the villain is this big larger-than-life, tried-and-true irredeemable "one of my lower-ranked guys failed me, OFF WITH HIS HEAD!" mustache-twirler type.

It sort of worked really well, especially given all the cool cheesy 1950s sci-fi elements the series is drawing from, among the Spielbergian/Amblin movie vibes.
You're correct! I definitely think there was a motivation behind it all.
Marco: Oh, it's just a trash can. Chill out.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Marco: Okay, so it's four trash cans.
Jake: Get off the sidewalk, you lunatic!
Marco: (yanks wheel right, bumps the sidewalk, grazes a parked car)
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Jake: Do you hate trash cans? Is that your problem? Do you just HATE TRASH CANS?!!