Friday, February 24, 2017

Archetype: The Wry Friend

Sangchul is the one thinking, "So what?" 
And yes, Seyun wanted to brag.
I discuss the archetype of the Wry Friend on my main blog. Wry Friends occur in Western literature and television but the Wry Outsider is somewhat more common/popular (Spike from Buffy; Crowley from Supernatural).

The Wry Friend is quite common in manga. He or she is also often more intrusive/interactive than in Western dramas/comedies--the manga Wry Friend doesn't simply sit back and observe; he or she encourages the protagonists to fix their problems and get together. The Wry Friend also often supplies ongoing psychological commentary. Yugi Yamada's fun, boisterous crowds of bohemian friends almost always include a commentator/Wry Friend (Naoki is the protagonist of his own stories plus the Wry, Terribly Amused Friend of several others).

One of my favorite Wry Friends in manga, however, is a pure observer: Sangchul from U Don't Know Me by Rakun (technically, a manhwa published in Japanese style). He is not only very funny with his deadpan dialog ("That guy will kill you."). He is drawn in a physically dry way. In a series of short panels near the end of the manga, we learn how he learned that Seyun and Yoojin are going out.

His reaction?

"Huh" best sums it up.