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Shard the Gentleman

In Defense of Animorphs, and it's Modern Relevance

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              If there's anything my friends know about me, it's that I love three things above all else- Sonic the Hedgehog, Kingdom Hearts, and Animorphs. In all truth, my memories of it were completely vague, with what images I could remember mostly based off of one of the extended universe novels, Andalite Chronicles. Having completed a reread of the series a few months ago, I felt that a short message needed to be passed on about my thoughts of the series, and why one should give it a try. Please be aware that there will be spoilers throughout this posting, so if you wish to avoid those, please leave the topic now. Without further ado, here's my thoughts on the Animorphs series as a whole.

              What begins as another nineties adventure of five kids of varying backgrounds, ends as a reminder of what happens when adults put too much pressure on children, and the consequences of forced growth. These five kids, Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Marco, and Tobias, attend school together and are a bit of a clique themselves- each representing the awkwardness of the 90s in different ways. Jake has an awful haircut, Rachel, initially, is the living embodiment of gender roles enforced in the 90s, Cassie- the horse girl who lives up to the title- experiences discrimination multiple times throughout the series due to her skin color, Marco is the groups token funny guy who has too much flirting energy, and Tobias, the local victim of literally the entire series. Seriously, this kid does NOT get a break. The entire group is just overtly 90s and it's honestly quite awkward and sometimes humorous how enforced this roles are from the start. Truth is, Scholastic ate this stuff up.

              As the series goes on, and another member joins, these roles meant to entice kids who could relate, begin to blur, and become what felt like actual human beings reacting to the environment they're forced into. Jake is forced to make choices no kid should have to even hear about- suffocating an entire race by ejecting them into the emptiness of space, and sacrificing seventeen handicapped children so they could escape. Rachel, the once empowered acrobat with a sense of style, became a bloodthirsty war machine, who let herself die because she knew she would never be able to escape from the longing for fresh blood. Cassie, although once kind and acted as the moral compass of the group, was forced to face that nothing is black and white- having to kill and even torture to win what would be the end of the world as they knew it. Marco is probably the only one here who ended up happier after the war, although suffered immensely through it. Tobias, like I said, never got a single break. Throughout the series, is tortured, mutilated, transfigured, used as a pawn, dies TWICE, attempts suicide, and eventually, lives in the forest forever as a hawk to forget everything his human life was.

              One character I don't talk about two much is Aximili- an alien called an Andalite. He begins the series in defense of his race, reporting to them, and having sworn complete loyalty. Halfway through the series, he begins an immense struggle with his Andalite life and human life- he wonders which one he's begun to enjoy the most, but in the end, views humans as a truthfully ruthless race, completely bloodthirsty, and overall unpleasant, utilizing methods of war even he couldn't conceive. I'll go more into his story later.

              Now that you know both the humble beginnings, and the endgame suffering, we can switch on over to the juicy parts- what exactly is Animorphs about?

            Animorphs is about those kids mentioned- they discover a crashed alien ship, housing an Andalite named Elfangor, who gives them information about another alien race currently at war with them called the Yeerks. These aliens are like parasitic slugs that enter your brain through your ear, and take over all of its functions, while your consciousness is forced to watch in a dark corner, where it either dies, or fights endlessly against its intruder. Elfangor informs them that Yeerks are already numerous on earth. Already dying, he gives the kids the option to fight back- which, being naive, they agree to. He gives them the ability to morph into animals for up to two hours. If they stay in those forms longer, they are forced to live in that permanently- a human brain in the body of an animal. Soon after agreeing and obtaining the power, the kids hide, as a ship approaches, containing an Andalite, controlled by a yeerk. This andalite, called Visser Three, transforms into a monstrous alien, and eats Elfangor while he still lives, as the kids watch from the sidelines, and then run.

              The series has multiple plots, most of which center around the idea that you cannot trust anyone- for anyone could have a Yeerk in their head. Jake's brother  has one, and Marco's mother, who had been missing for two years, is revealed to under the control of Visser One, the yeerk in control of the earth invasion.  Aximili, hereby Ax, is Elfangors brother, who was also there in the war above earth before his ship crashed into the ocean. Ax is also a kid in the eyes of his people, and although he is extremely intelligent, he is quite elitist about his form, and has a sense of disgust towards disabled people. This changes to respect eventually, but he begins as a being of hate- which is understandable. He was raised to believe in pride above all else. He joins the group and largely acts as the groups culture expert and computer guy.

              Tobias, in the second book of the series, becomes a nothlit- a morpher permanently stuck in the body of another creature. Because of this, he attempts suicide in book three. Before this, he lived with his abusive uncle, who hardly noticed he was gone. Before that, he had a mother named Loren, who became blind and an amnesiac after an accident. His father was none but Elfangor himself, removed from time and replaced to fight wars with his andalite fellows, while on Earth, his non-removed self lived happily with his wife as a nothlit human.

              How did Elfangor get removed? A being called the Elimist, an almost divine being of omnipotence- although not completely. He acts as "God" towards his counter "Satan," Krayak. Both are having a sort of chess game bet, with the Elimist doing everything in his power to win- including ruining the lives of those less divine than himself. He removed Elfangor, for he was the only Andalite who would ever trust humans to fight yeerks in place of Andalites. One of those humans being his own son from his removed time, Tobias.

              This of course, sets off a chain of events that lead to Earth being won for humans again, but not after a long waging war, costing the life of many innocent people and alien races.




              The takeaway of the series is as follows: The kids, once hanging out at malls and attending school like normal kids, become so separated from their reality that escaping humanism seems like the happiest possible path, that letting yourself die is better than returning to a warless land, that making regretable choices at such a young age results in PTSD, constant flashbacks to times of immense danger and death, a complete separation from the present.

              Leaving children to suffer the consequences of a war not belonging to them results in more tragedy than necessary. Forcing kids to make grown up decisions before they've even entered high school only gives them depression, anxiety, and dissociation from reality.

              Thinking younger generations can handle the repercussions of your actions, thus making it not your problem, brings the end of youth and innocence.

              Millennial humor is often looked on as "dark and depressed," and those Millennials, now in the work force, are accused of bringing the end of many businesses and morals held previously by older generations.

              Gen Z is viewed as completely nihilist, having even darker humor, with many having a complete separation from the reality they live in. They're viewed as lazy and brainwashed by entertainment media, when in truth, more happiness can be found in books, games, and television than in their own lives, and it is a daily experience for many of them to wake up in a world that is dull and dystopian compared to the wonders of fictional universes.

              These generations are expecting by previous ones to pick up what they left for them- to prepare meals with the scraps of meat so carelessly dripping out of their mouths and onto the floor. To end wars they've started. To fix the economies they themselves ruined. To be able to open the Burger King the day after a customer is murdered before them.

              Too much responsibility is being pushed onto our generations because previous generations think it is too much trouble for themselves to handle. They think our generations can take these responsibilities without so much as a grimace.

              However, just because one thinks others can handle issues, doesn't mean that they should have to. 

              Animorphs has an ending. It is not a happy one. It is not an awful one. It is happy for the ones who did not have to endure the war others left for them. If it awful for the ones forced to handle situations pushed on them by adults who thought the problem best be left with the future.

              The problem may have been fixed, but an entire generation of people were left to suffer because those in charge refused to handle it themselves, and chose instead to leave it to someone else.

              My final word?

              Finish the problems you create yourself.

 

              Sincerly,

              a tired Millennial who was forced into homelessness because of choices made by other people. 

Edited by Shard the Gentleman

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