Vio Talks About... Brandon the Penguin! Jun 28, 2015 9:34:03 GMT -5
Post by Vio on Jun 28, 2015 9:34:03 GMT -5
Hello and welcome to the third edition of Vio Talks! This time, as voted in the previous poll, the featured character of this article will be none other than Brandon!
So who is this fine feathered fellow that I speak of? Well, Brandon is an earlier character of mine, much loved by those who know him. Why? Well, because he's an actual penguin, of course! My one and only true blue animal character, and one of very few to have existed here on Bon Voyage, Brandon's the current navigator of the Shining Pirates and holds the smallest bounty ever documented, simply for the laughs of it.
The character himself is a curious and adventurous individual, often putting on a brave face only to turn tail and run at the first sign of imminent danger. Though he is now far from his homeland of Viktas in the South Blue, Mister Penguin is nonetheless a character I am confident will develop into something great. But for now, we'll talk about what you really wanted to know...
What inspired Brandon's creation? The answer is a lot more simplistic than you might imagine after reading my previous articles, and it is simply that I absolutely adore penguins. They are easily one of my favourite animals, and one of my favourite birds, followed closely by such creatures as owls and lyrebirds. Did you know there are seventeen species of penguin in the modern world? The largest is the well known Emperor Penguin, while the smallest is the Little Penguin which is more often called the 'Little Blue' or 'Fairy Penguin'. A Little Penguin is barely a third of the height of an Emperor.
But, as I soon discovered, my inspiration for things is often more founded than I originally realise. I'm sure we've all heard of Scott of the Antarctic? In my most recent trip to Scotland, I actually visited the RRS Discovery, which was quite a sight to behold and his given me new and interesting knowledge of old wooden ships. The Discovery was one of the last wooden ships to be built, but that was out of necessity, for metal ships of the time would never have stood up to the constricting cold of the far south. They used salt banks inside the hull to help prevent moisture leakage and freezing! Genius! Anyway, Scott was an interesting fellow, but Brandon is far more intriguing. I suppose he was slightly inspired by the concept of the crew of the Discovery meeting penguins for the first time, and what it might have been like for such a creature to be pulled into the human world all of a sudden.
Brandon's an intelligent individual, though sometimes it may not seem that way, but his smarts are not the same as our own. What's the fun of making an animal character who sees the world as humans do? In the case of Tony Tony Chopper, it makes perfect sense, for his Devil Fruit and upbringing have brought him into that world and allowed him to adapt. As for Brandon, he's an entirely different kettle of fish (mmmm... fish). A few years back, a while before I joined the forum, I read a book called Wolf Brother which I very much enjoyed. Recently, I've obtained and read the entire series, the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. In this series, one of the characters is a wolf, and the author often writes chapters or sections in the perspective of this individual. When doing so, a lot of standard things are completely re-imagined in a manner befitting of animal life. For example, a fire is the 'Bright Beast that bites hot', while a river is called the 'Fast Wet'. Humans are 'Taillesses', and so on and so forth. It's this style that made me consider my unique manner of writing for Brandon. He's smart, but does not see the world through human eyes. As such, many things inherit new names. I once called a ship a 'floating nest'.
I suppose a bigger question is the name of my character? Well, I usually enjoy having reasons behind the names I select, but this was a special case. Brandon's name came about simply because I asked the question 'what would be a good name for a penguin?' in the sea box. I cannot remember exactly who it was, but I seem to think that it may have been EriChar who mentioned the name Brandon. And it stuck. From that point on, my peculiar penguin has been known as Brandon. No reason, no clever word play. Just Brandon the Penguin.
Now, let's talk about some of his character quirks. Appearance wise, the most distinctive features at the neckerchief he wears and the feathers atop his head. The former was simply an idea I used to tie him into the human world a little more (subsequently inspiring his love of silly accessories), but the latter has slight significance. When penguin chicks lose their down, they often retain bits of it for a little while longer, such as tufts upon their heads or bits on their flippers. These are lost soon enough, but I found such a feature rather cute. Birds are supposedly rather vain, especially water birds, preening their feathers regularly to maintain the oily waterproofing. Brandon cannot swim anymore, so for him it's a mixture of instinct and vanity, giving him some quirkiness while staying rooted in his animal origins.
Why can't Brandon swim? Well, because he's a Devil Fruit ability user! His Oru Oru no Mi allows him to flatten his body and then fold himself as if he were a piece of paper, essentially being a living piece of origami! Oru (and the Ori- from Origami) means 'Fold' in Japanese. Oddly enough, and I only realised this while writing this very article, Brandon and his Devil Fruit go hand in hand. Paper acts rather rigid, but folds easily, the same being said for Brandon. He can seem sturdy one minute, but then cower in fear at the next!
Brandon's no coward, however, and I certainly intend for him to 'Guin Up' as he develops. His first real spike in courage will be in a later arc where he will demonstrate his Gear for the first time - basically it's like Seimei Kikan (Life Return), in that Brandon will consume a sardine (his favourite fish) and rapidly develop muscles! This is partially inspired by Dragon Ball Z, combining aspects of the Senzu Beans and the Super Saiyan transformations. Indeed, that tuft upon Brandon's head will develop into a glorious mane of golden plumage during his Gear! One of his signature moves will even be the Kamihameha! Kamehameha (wow, Proboards recognises and accepts that word?) translates as 'Turtle Devastation Wave'. Kamihameha, on the other hand, translates as 'Paper Devastation Wave'. However, Kami (depending on the Kanji used) can also translate as either 'God' (more precisely, deity) or 'Hair'. A recurring gag for him using such an ability will likely involve blowing a wig off of somebody's head!
I really enjoy planning and writing Brandon's story out, for it gives me a place to devote a great deal of silliness into and make it work. Brandon posts are typically filled with puns and acts of idiocy, many of which are in regard to this folding fowl's adjustment to the world in which he now lives. The future holds some hilarious arcs for Brandon, and you can probably see him as a sort of Usopp type of character. My exact course of action for him is as of yet undecided, but he will shine bright and become a phenomenon! That much, I guarantee!
Well, that's all I have time for for now. As I did so before, the poll above will determine which of a selection of characters will end up the subject of the next Vio Talks! Who will it be? Well, it's your decision...