It’s kind of a thing among amateur writers to cast their characters as if they were making a movie. It’s a fun, harmless little bit of day dreaming, and can actually help to flesh out the character by giving you a base to work on. And it insulates us from the cold, harsh reality of the fact that we don’t get to make that description and no matter who we want, any young non-buff, non-hearthtrob male will be played by Shia Lebouf.
I’m not really good at this game. Literally everyone in the world knows more about actors than I do. People always end up with a list of people from obscure cable shows and art-house movies and I’m left with a list composed mostly of people who get their names on posters for movies uncultured everydudes like me see.
But I am a voice acting buff, so I can and have cast Descendants: The Animated Series. Maybe I should have made this post about that. Oh well.
Anyway, I recently read somewhere that Tita Kubo, creator of the anime series Bleach, assigned theme songs to every member of his very large principle cast and I thought it was an interesting exercise and would allow me to talk a little about what I think about each character.
These are my choices; feel free to hop on the forum, or in comments below and tell me which ones you would pick and why.
Warrick Kane/Alloy – Three Doors Down – Be like That
Even though he’s basically gotten his big dream of being a hero, I think Warrick will always dream of being better. Better at heroics, better as a friend, better as a brother and son. It’s not an issue of perfectionism as much as him wanting to do more.
I also see him as having a very rose colored world view, especially when it comes to his heroes. Whitecoat will always be someone to strive to be like for him, even through he’s arguably in a higher heroic weight class than his former mentor.
It’s important to his character that he has these heroes and role models, I think, because it helps him avoid both hubris and Good Samaritan syndrome: by nature, he always thinks he can do better next time and on some level, is looking forward to.
Cynthia McAllister/ Facsimile – Rei Fu – Life is Like a Boat (Bleach 1st Ending Theme)
Fittingly, since it was Bleach that inspired this, Cyn’s theme is actually from the show.
Cyn is a girl that keeps back a lot of pain and uses her power to hide a great deal, including the full extent of her abilities. All the while though, she keeps her chin up and powers through it. At first, it was an act with her being so flippant about her family life, but now, she’s honestly moving past it with the help of the people she cares about. I feel the lyrical progression of the song suits Cyn’s development and the seamless shifts from English to Japanese is a good reflection of not only her powers, but how she copes with things.
Juniper Taylor/Zero – Smile Empty Soul – Who I Am
Juniper is interesting to me because for a very long time, I didn’t really know who she was and that ended up becoming incorporated into the story.
This song manages to capture the journey of Juniper from the moment she realized that her parents had been right. She hated herself for being such a brat, but couldn’t bring herself to try and get back with her parents. It was only after spending time with the others and deciding for herself on the kind of person she really was (plus being forced to reveal herself) that she was able to put things back together.
Now that she has revealed herself and has the chance to go back to Willow, she’s having another minor identity crisis, but this one isn’t the traumatic kind, but the more uplifting and trans formative search for self.
Kareem Utt/Ephemeral – Jack Johnson – Upside Down
There is a driving theme of hope and wonder in this song that really defines Kareem’s character. He’s well aware that there is bad in the world, but he doesn’t stand idly by and accept it. He does everything he can to make the world a brighter, better place, no matter what’s been done to him.
A lot of the song also lends itself to the lighter side of astral imagery, and the fact that Kareem is the only person who we know that can fully interact with an enjoy those things about it and see the soul at the core of people. One of my original ideas for Kareem was that he would eventually be able to bring others into the astral with him, and after really stopping to listen to this song, I think it’s time to explore that again.
Melissa Forester/Hope – Cake – No Phone
Self imposed isolation is such a big part of Melissa’s character that even I have had trouble developing her out of it. Just like the song, Melissa is fully aware of what she’s doing to herself, but rejects every tug, be it personal, obligatory, or even the very power of plot. All of these constantly seem to pull her back from the brink of total isolation, but never completely out of it.
The result is, we hardly ever see Melissa give her all, or put everything she has into it. It’s a part of her that must be overcome, but it’s a steep rut to climb out of.
Laurel Brant/Codex – Shaggy – Strength of a Woman
Laurel is the team mom, there’s no mistaking this. She cares about the whole team deeply and it’s her genius and love that make the team work and keep the stress and chaos from claiming everyone. The value she brings to the team before she even comes near a fight is immeasurable and when she does get into a fight, her determination to be there for the others and her amazing array of skills makes her someone you can’t dismiss.
And on top of that, it’s Laurel, not any of the others that has extended a hand of hope and compassion to prelates and descendants all over the world. Other people can lift cars or punch through mountains– Laurel holds the Descendants Universe together.
Alexis Keyes/Darkness – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)
Alexis fits this song coming from two directions, based on my interpretation of the song. First, she was one of the kids being indoctrinated by the Academy; subject to all of the lies and propaganda that was pumped into all of the kids there.
But then she great up and became a teacher, making her, without her knowledge, an instrument of that indoctrination. The bitterness of the song fits her thoughts on this subject quite well and serves as a driving force for her to become Darkness and also to help create a school that does none of that.
If you flip the gender, Alexis could be singing both as the narrator in the present, and as the student chorus during her Academy days.
Ian Smythe/Chaos – Eminem – Lose Yourself
A lot in the story is made about how Warrick’s dream came true when he discovered his powers and became a hero, but a lot of people forget about how this idea fits Ian far better. Before coming the Freeland House, he was working at a job he only had because of his best friend, had a very unsuccessful romantic life and really had no prospects for the future.
The path the Freeland House brought him everything he wanted; the chance to do something truly important, to be surrounded by his friends, and to finally win the heart of the girl he loved for years. And he put everything into not wasting any of this good fortune. There’s a reason Ian hasn’t taken a real job and instead volunteers at St. Drausinus: he’s taken heroic and community service as his new job and purpose. Engineering was something he was good at and was safe, but it wasn’t who he was, or something her really and truly loved.
Here, he’s doing what he loves and is completely devoted to it.
Lisa Ortega/Occult – Incubus – Drive
Drive is one of my favorite songs because I think it embodies one of my favorite themes; the idea of controlling one’s own destiny.
For Lisa, this song kicks in right at the beginning of her character arc, way back in volume 1. She decides that she won’t wait in the car and instead goes to confront the Ape Knight and give him the choice to turn against Morganna.
From there, I feel Lisa’s primary conflicts are with this concept. She doesn’t want to be beholden to the Descendants, but eventually finds out that she can work with them without giving up her quest, and later, she as to work through the problem of just how much her quest itself is commanding her actions and possibly prohibiting her from living up to her potential.
Christina Carlyle/Tink – Frou Frou – Holding Out For a Hero (Bonnie Tyler cover)
If you haven’t heard this specific cover, you might be a little confused her. Tink has never cowered behind a ‘hero’ since her debut, even when faced with a powered foe and armed only with her brains and spare parts. She is not the kind of girl you would find Holding Out For a Hero.
Which is good because while the original song is a heartfelt shout to the heavens for deliverance, the cover is a smokey, casual narration that clearly thinks the titular hero is majestic and awesome, but it isn’t so much begging as welcoming his assistance. It feels like she might actually chew the guy out for letting her get bored kicking dudes’ asses up around their ears alone while she was waiting on him. And it sounds just a clear that once she’s done, she might well take him in a womanly fashion if she so chooses.
The narrator in the cover is not afraid. Help would be great, she’s not proud, but it’s no big deal either way.
It might be a little too hardcore to represent Tink in that respect, but I haven’t found a song that subverts the whole Damsel in Distress bit quite so perfectly.
Kay Graycloud –
I’m going to leave this one blank. The reason being that Kay is a musician and with music in her soul, putting someone else’s sound to her seems wrong.
I have a close connection with Kay because she’s an artist and in the end, it’s her friends and her craft that come first for her. Everything Kay does for Snackrifice, is a small reflection of the craft I try to put into The Descendants. So it’s a professional courtesy, from creator to creation that I’m going to let her fill this herself sometime in the future.
No, I’m not insane, I realize I’ll have to write that song. Wouldn’t be the first time.
JC Slate – Stereo Fuse – Superhero
Of all the characters, JC is the only one who isn’t living ‘the life’. He has no powers, he has none of the responsibility and investment that even Kay has, and he’s never encountered any real problems that comes with superheroics.
For him, even more so than for Warrick and Cyn, this is an AWESOME development and he’s still completely unfettered in how he can imagine things are for them. He also serves as a reminder that no matter where the path of the hero leads them, there is still something incredibly cool about who they are and what they do, which is something that superheroes tend to forget after a while.
As a special note, this was Warrick’s theme when I was playing him. It isn’t his theme anymore because that version was in a setting where he was more of a hero in training. So War’s graduated from ‘Woo! Awesome’ to ‘This is a good thing I’m doing’.
The more hot headed of the twins, Isp is both proud and always spoiling for a fight. And there is literally no brawling song quite like Ladies Love Cool James’s masterpiece. Kung Fu Fighting is badass, but it feels more choreographed. While it’s doing handsprings around the room and flourishing it’s dual kamas, this song has broke a chair over some guy’s back while telling him how awesome it is.
Osp – Reel Big Fish – RAVEolution
As the more helpful and intelligent of the twins, Osp is the one in charge of cheering Warrick up. And nothing cheers a person up more than this song. It’s bouncy, the lyrics are catchy (and have an explosion), and I dare you not to smile after listening to this.
Why no, this wasn’t just an excuse to link that, why do you ask?
Anyway, that’s my list for the main cast. Villains will follow someday when I’m feeling lazy in terms of blogging stuff, I’m sure. What do you think? Do you agree, want to call bullshit, or maybe you have a sing you think is even more perfect than these.
I’d love to hear it! Just let me know on the forum, or below in the comments.
Have a nice weekend, everyone. Next chapter is Monday at the stroke of midnight (and one minute).