On Tuesday, I had a series of multiple dreams. I've since forgotten them--all except for one. I had a dream about a more modern-aesthetic Power Rangers team. One Ranger (maybe blue?) was a morbidly obese (incredibly, INCREDIBLY fat) 10-14 year-old dark-skinned (I forget if he was Black or Hispanic, but it was one of the two) boy, and he was the ace of the team; strong, skilled, and smart, but NOT the leader, either in or out of combat.
There were two or so other initial Rangers, with a fourth and fifth antagonistic-to-the-first-group-at-first duo of Rangers. (Like I said. More modern, rather than classical, Rangers.) They were led, OUT of combat, by an elderly gentleman who was obscenely rich.
That's about all I remembered from the dream once waking up...but it was enough to send off a chain reaction in my mind, where I reminisced about a really, REALLY old idea of mine.
We're talking, I know for a fact I was younger than 15 when I had this idea, young. Since I turn 25 in 2 days, that means this idea is in the 11-15-year range, of OLD ideas. I believe the tenth season of Power Rangers was recently ended when I had this, old. (You know. The season which had the Red Ranger special, which had a Tommy Oliver clone in the form of a sixth Ranger that was highly antagonistic at first that disabled/stole animal zords from the Rangers until the Red Ranger managed to undo the brainwashing and turn him good again, with him being a wolf-themed Ranger. That season. It was the last season I watched as a child, so it left its mark on me.)
Let me look that up, in fact, since I have a computer.
...Yep. February 9, 2002 to November 16, 2002. Wild Force.
I distinctly recall, also, that I actually never got to see the conclusion of the series. I got CLOSE to the conclusion, including seeing numerous villains die/do heelfaceturns/fight with other villains/work with the Rangers either temporarily or permanently, but RIGHT near the very end of the series...
...I didn't get to see the end of the series, leaving me immensely disappointed, and as a child who was creative.
My answer to being disappointed was to write my own story using the material.
Not immediately after. I don't think I was that young, and that it was written that close. So not when I was nine years old. But close sounds about right; the 10-12 range is exactly the zone where I would have written this story idea down.
And I call it a story, but what it really was...was fanfiction.
I don't use that term lightly.
You know how I have dozens of stories which are knockoffs of things? I still call those stories, and use the term knockoff, because I developed original aspects to the stories--some of them even being prophetic! For instance, my Bleach-knockoff story was written before the Hueco Mundo arc, yet contained details about my Hollow-equivalent and Shinigami-equivalent's relationship to one another that was only revealed during/AFTER that arc (including having my story feature Hollow-equivalent characters as heroes!); my Bleach-knockoff story was written to contain a canonically-optional sequel that contains children of the main characters...
...Which had them meet in a VERY SIMILAR situation to the actual end of the Bleach manga. I wrote that ending when Aizen was still a main villain. Like. I didn't even know that there was anything after Aizen, because at the time I was writing it, there wasn't. So now if I ever were to publish the story, it would look like I DID blatantly steal ideas...
...Even though those ideas were my original creations. In other words, it'll look MORE like a knockoff than it actually was, because I developed a deep setting and lore on my own, without utilizing the details of the setting.
...BUT I DIGRESS.
MY POINT BEING.
I usually will call things knockoffs when they are knockoffs.
This wasn't me writing a knockoff, "basically Power Rangers with the serial numbers filed off".
This was me writing Power Rangers. Fanfiction, of me writing a series paying respect to the entirety of the series as I had known it to be. To my childhood of the first ten seasons, of which I'd seen a large portion of but never the entirety of. (For some strange reason, that "seen 90% of the series, but not the season finale" thing that happened for season ten for me? Also happened for many prior seasons. I got to the part where series-long villains were defeated, and said series-long villains went down destroying zords, but didn't actually reach the conclusion of the series.)
The basic premise of this was that--due to an inherent clause of the background material--this would be an alternate universe, but would be almost identical to the known Ranger works. The story involved how an ancient, powerful civilization (implied to be Atlantis...in Mesoamerica, with strong ties to the Mayans) deciding to materialize all the evils across the universe, be them past, present, or future evils, into a single entity.
They hoped that by doing so, they could create a utopia for generations to come, as a world free of Evil would prosper--but they underestimated the strength of Evil, and in order to save the world, they had to seal the Evil entity up using the ten elements. Though they ultimately succeeded, it was not without cost; by the time Evil was sealed, their civilization laid in ruins.
Come modern day, an expedition uncovered this Evil, and accidentally broke the seal, setting it loose on the world once more to wreck havoc...but all was not lost, as the ten elements each chose a champion, from across the world (that "across the world" aspect was important; I wanted a diverse, multiracial cast, spanning the entire globe), to carry on the fight.
That's the basic backstory I came up with.
Now for what that means.
I envisioned an ambitious project, with either ten short seasons or five longer ones featuring a mid-season finale. An actual multi-year storyline, continued start to finish with the same cast and setting. As the backstory implied, there were TEN initial Rangers, rather than just five; double the number.
The ten Rangers were:
(Nature, you may note, is missing; he's the eleventh Ranger, joining at a later date. This cast being incredibly genre-savvy, a humorous moment arises when one of the two lead-Rangers comments, "Okay, if anyone has a recent new friend, long-lost relative, or notices a change in behavior from existing friends or family, speak up. Especially if they're wearing green."
"What's suspicious about wearing green?"
*camera pans to show off the Rangers in their civilian attire wearing colors matching their Ranger color; the lead Ranger says nothing but communicates the message nonverbally*)
Evil would have nine generals, each representing a sin. Yes, nine sins. I originally planned out all nine of them, but I forgot what the original 9th was. I developed a new 9th on Tuesday to replace the forgotten one. All the generals would have different personalities and approximate power levels, with the 9th and final being the hardest. One of said sins was incredibly sympathetic, defeated/destroyed at about the midway point in the series.
I don't remember my original sin ranking, other than the 9th was the most powerful, and 8th was the second-most powerful; of the seven sins WE know, I don't remember how I ranked them most to least. But the idea was in a ten-season series one would be defeated at each finale; in a five-season series, same idea, just also utilizing mid-season finales.
But I did work on said sins on Tuesday; it was my main project I worked on. Absolutely new, I came up with an idea that each of the sins would not, in of itself, inherently be evil, that they represent things that are not bad, but in extremes, can be bad--and thus, that their opposites (which would be themes of the season) wouldn't be direct opposites, but rather, the thing necessary in order to provide balance to the sin.
With that in mind:
The ninth sin, Knowledge, I took a little bit of an obvious biblical cue as to the source. However, Knowledge being a sin, by my definition of the sins, makes sense when you think about it. Your first inclination might be, "how can the pursuit of knowledge be evil?", but what makes it a sin is reckless and unchecked pursuit of knowledge. Pursuit of knowledge, above any and all ethical concerns.
You can think of this in some fairly obvious terms. Human experimentation is a bad thing, we can generally agree to that, yes? And yet, the results of human experimentation have yielded great advances in understanding of the human body. The problem is, that knowledge came at the price of literally being genocide. (Think, as a go-to example, the holocaust.)
Knowledge is undeniably a good thing. But pure knowledge, with nothing to put it in check, leads to a level of amorality that is, undeniably, something we'd define as evil, because there is nothing inherent in pursuing knowledge that gives us ethics; quite the opposite, ethics impair the pursuit of knowledge, thus why they're often portrayed as discarded and we have the common mad scientist trope.
So the opposite of knowledge isn't ignorance as you may expect or something to that effect; the opposite of knowledge, I defined as Wisdom. Wisdom, here, would essentially be having the sense to 'know' things that knowledge doesn't give you, in that it's having the capacity to have good judgement, to know "that's wrong" in ways knowledge doesn't allow. To take experience, and put it not so much in cold data points, but warm feelings, as it were.
In terms of the story, Knowledge is the strongest general--and is, in fact, the first of the generals to destroy a zord beyond capacity for it to be repaired. He thus, goes down VERY late in the series. Near the end. He hurts the Rangers. He damages them, and wages psychological warfare on them by bringing up truths they don't want to hear, and the Rangers struggle to overcome this and are left rattled even after having done so.
The eighth sin, Despair, is not from Danganronpa, thankyouverymuch. Danganronpa was not even a game in JAPAN when I came up with this idea, yet alone with an American release. It's actually taking more of a cue from Fullmetal Alchemist in that I always thought Father, as a homunculus, should have an eighth sin to be named for, just like the other seven homunculi had sins they were named for.
In hindsight, Knowledge would actually be a better fit for a sin for Father, but at the time, my younger brain came up with the idea that Despair was an eighth sin, because it made sense. Despair seems to be a common, strong negative force of humanity, similar to the other seven sins, so to me it was just a logical extension, especially since it does have a direct opposite: Hope.
Despair, in terms of the story, takes the story in a bit of a darker turn, the catalyst on which results in the exploits of Knowledge. Despair, himself, does not inflict personal damage. He doesn't destroy a zord, but what he does do, is leave the Rangers struggling in ways they have never struggled before, and even after he is defeated, the Rangers consider it a phyrric victory thanks to what they were unable to recover.
From there, we get into the familiar seven sins. The below isn't a power ranking, as a reminder, and is just the order I happened to remember the sins in.
Pride I defined as not being evil, because sometimes, it is good to be proud. Proud of what you are, of what you have done, of your heritage, of your progeny, these things may be prideful but they are all admirable. It then should be no surprise, then, that the opposite of pride I don't consider humility, here. Because pride also leads to aspects such as honor and nobility.
The thing making pride a sin is when pride is given in excess as to blind someone to others, potentially harming them. Thus, the opposite of pride, I defined as Compassion. In that by being compassionate at all times for others, you would keep the pride in check, and be unafraid to take a blow to the pride in order to help those in need.
Wrath was a difficult one for me to justify as not being evil because it's the sin I have the hardest time understanding. Ironically, of the seven sins it is probably the one I feel third-strongest (second only to sloth, with pride as my main sin), in that I have lashed out blindly against the world, but I never really understood why. I knew the feelings of wrath, but not the underlying reasoning of wrath.
Still, I did what I could, and came up with the idea that wrath is a source of strength for humanity when humanity has been in pain. You can think of it as a strong survivalism instinct of sort, to lash out blindly, without purpose, to cope with hardship and hope that by the time the wrath has subsided, the damage dealt has left us in a position where we can continue to survive, hopefully in better positions than we were at the time we became wrathful.
The check for this blind lashing out, then, would be Understanding. Understanding the source of our suffering would allow us to root out the real problem. Attacking aggressively (a trait of wrath) is not necessarily a bad thing! But to do so without aim is reckless-at-best, destructive at worst. By understanding what's wrong and being able to deal with it at the root of the problem allows the emotions to be channeled productively, rather than destructively.
Greed is, as defined by me, more or less a focus on materialism. Materialism is not, in of itself, evil. A want for the material can be quite innocent, with beneficial traits of it including sentimentality. Attachment to objects can lead to feelings of warmth, as well as preservation of history and the creation of stories. In every day-to-day life, materialism also manifests as a want to provide not only for oneself, but also for those that one cares about.
In our world, you can't get by without materials. Most commonly, we think of wealth, of money, but even in a land without it, you need materials in order to survive. Food, shelter, water; all of these are or require materials. And craving these, especially when you are lacking in them, is not something which can ever be evil to me; that's just simple survivalism.
What makes greed be a sin is an excess of this focus on materialism. Where gathering the materials is in excess, and you gather more than you have a need for and make no productive use of the extra. Depriving others of what you didn't need in the first place, simply because you gathered it for whatever reason and don't give it back.
For me, I then defined the opposite of this materialism as Spiritualism. This is not, inherently, religious. And frankly, the dictionary definition for spiritualism sucks. (Good god, is that what people think I meant when I have used the term previously? I've used the term spiritualism a LOT because I am spiritualistic but not religious, and yet...what I mean by that is most decisively NOT what google is telling me when I search for that term.)
Okay so apparently I'm gonna need to go off on a tangent because I'm not sure how to explain this because I can't do it with google. Spiritualism as I see it is a companion opposite to materialism. By that, I mean, they are opposites, but you can and SHOULD have BOTH. Which is why it is what keeps greed in check.
So if materialism can be thought of as a focus on the material world, on the physical reality, then spiritualism is a focus on the immaterial, on the belief that there's more than the sum of the parts. You don't have to believe in an afterlife in order to be spiritual.
Actually, that's the word I was looking for in order to get google to tell you the meaning I'm going for:
relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
"I'm responsible for his spiritual welfare"
synonyms:nonmaterial, incorporeal, intangible;
inner, mental, psychological;
transcendent, ethereal, otherworldly, mystic, mystical, metaphysical;
"your spiritual self"
- (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.
(Huh, didn't know weebly could do that kind of formatting.)
THAT is what I mean.
So a sense of spiritualism to me is that. To have a sense of more to life than just the material. And having this, I consider an essential counter to greed, because with a sense of spiritualism, you then have purpose for your materials. And when you have no need for the materials, you are more willing to give these materials to those who are in need of them rather than hording them for yourself. Giving to others, because of a sense that spirituality allows for a type of peace.
Lust is a sin which I also don't really understand that well, but for me, the idea of its opposite being chastity was absolutely absurd. Instead, I simply developed the idea that its opposite would be, quite simply, Love. In this case, because Lust as I understand it is a sin because it is lusting after something, namely, pleasures of the flesh.
For me, abstinence would then not be an opposite; it'd just be stupid. The opposite over a crave for something would be a genuine appreciation of that something. Love can then take any form. Of objects, of family, of a platonic friend, of a romantic partner, and even of strangers.
In this case, then, you could say it is absolutely okay to crave after things. Having cravings is not a bad thing; it is entirely human to want, and there is nothing wrong with wanting things, as this want can lead to a great many things, including motivation to drive your life in a positive direction. It is only when this craving becomes harmful that it becomes a problem, and by having genuine love for the thing you are craving, you wouldn't be able to cause that harm because if you did then that wouldn't be genuine love. (More or less, anyway. Probably not the best wording, but I feel like the basic idea comes across.)
Gluttony I more or less define as eating in excess. Obviously, eating is not a sin. We need to eat to survive. Eating a lot is not inherently bad, either. Some of us really need to load on the food. And it is perfectly healthy to eat as much as you want; it is probably unhealthy if you're not, if you're starving yourself.
So what makes eating in excess a sin, then? By letting it accumulate. Eating, but not making anything out of the consumption. So what I defined as the opposite of gluttony, is Drive. A drive to do something, strong, powerful, motivating, allows that consumption to have purpose.
Sloth, then, follows a similar purpose, but here, I define sloth as being inaction. Here, it becomes a sin when it is deliberate inaction, especially deliberate harmful inaction. Where taking action will prevent harm, and by choosing not to, harm is produced.
However, inaction is not itself a bad thing. Inaction leads to gathering of more information, to create a more reasoned opinion, allowing action when taken to be better, be more precise, be more on target. To accomplish the goal, to accomplish what you set out to do, with a greater ease, speed, and success rate.
What works as an opposite to Slothfulness then, is Decisiveness. That being, decisively deciding, "Now is the time to act". Having the ability to know when you need to act...but also when you need to not act. Someone lacking decisiveness, someone indecisive, is likely going to lead to harm by having hesitated, or alternatively, someone lacking decisiveness, someone impulsive, is likely to charge into a problem without a thought, recklessly causing havoc. (You can understand, now, why I consider this my second-greatest sin!)
Last but not least (presumably, anyway; one of the seven sins is 'least' for the purposes of the story, but heck if I know what the order was), we have Envy. Envy is honestly the sin I might have the hardest time defining. For me, I can think of it in the terms of,
"Seeing that someone else has this thing, or has done something, and a drive arising to action from this", more or less. What makes that a sin is when the action taken is destructive, is harmful, is damaging to others. But Envy is not, in of itself, evil, because seeing someone having done great and wishing to act after having done so is not evil.
After all...humans idolize other humans. What do you do when you idolize someone? You generally take direct action motivated by that someone. That's not an inherently bad thing at all! It can be a bad thing, but it can be an immense force for good, driving you to do a many great things.
So what I define as envy's opposite, is Acceptance. Acceptance works as a companion to envy on all levels. It is acknowledgement of what you can, and cannot, achieve, so you don't harm yourself trying to do the impossible. It is acknowledgement of what the differences between you and your object of envy are. It is acknowledgement of what your object of envy wants, it is acknowledgement of...
...Well, all the various circumstances. If you harm someone else out of envy, you're not accepting the circumstances; you're trying to reject them. And that's what makes the difference. Accepting, rather than rejecting, reality...but still using those feelings for productive ends. "I can't do this, I can never be that...but this is what I CAN do, that is what I CAN be", is where I am going with what I mean.
So those are the sins I developed for the story, and their accompanying themes. Each time the Rangers would clash with the generals, one of these themes would come up, in either subtle or overt ways. And over time, the narrative would be woven.
One sin, I don't remember which, was far more sympathetic; this sin ends up destroyed at the half-way point in the series.
For the curious, eventually, there would be two other Rangers joining, for 13 total.
The 12th Ranger is Heart; the 13th Ranger is Void.
However, yesterday, I did something I was never able to do as a child:
I knew the elements of the 13 Rangers as a kid.
But I never knew what their zords were, what their teams were (that being, the distribution of the initial ten Rangers), or even what their colors were.
I did all three yesterday.
ONE OF THE TEAMS:
Fire, the Red Ranger, would have a Dragon as his zord, and would be the leader of one team.
Earth, the Orange Ranger, I wasn't quite sure what the zord would be but I came up with Badger.
Metal, the Silver Ranger, would have a Dog zord.
Darkness, the Purple Ranger, is another one I wasn't certain of but I came up with Rat for the zord.
Water, the Blue Ranger, was an easy choice for zords, with a Shark. (Yes, I know, it's been done before, but so have most animals in terms of zords. Admit it, you know it's true.)
In the megazord, the dragon would be the body; shark, one arm; rat, one or both of the legs; wasn't sure beyond that.
THE OTHER TEAM:
Ice, the White Ranger, would have a Bear as his zord, and would be the leader of the other team.
Air, I had trouble coming up with a color but decided Pale Ranger would work. As far as zords, didn't get a specific animal but it'd be some form of Bird. (All three megazords I envisioned as having wings on their backs. Membranes for the dragon, feathers for the bird, and then a third type of wing below.)
Rock, the Brown Ranger, would have a Snake as a zord. (Yes, this is basically Onyx.)
Light, the Yellow Ranger, I had trouble with but settled on Elephant. (Mostly for the purposes of shaping the megazord.)
Energy, the Cyan Ranger, I came up with a Jellyfish zord. (I know, a creature of the sea. But literally all the animals I can think of as having a 'sting' that aren't fang/tail-based are aquatic animals. What would you use if not a stingray, electric eel, or jellyfish? Spiders/scorpions/snakes weren't viable because that's an entirely different type of sting, and NOT the type I was going for. Also see below.)
In the megazord, the bear would be the body; the bird would be the wings; the snake would be one arm; the jellyfish, the other arm; the elephant, the legs and maybe also a shield/weapon.
Nature, the Green Ranger, would be the 11th Ranger, joining some time in the earlier half of the series relatively early-on. His zord would be a Dragonfly.
Heart, the Pink Ranger, would be either the 12th or 13th Ranger, depending on whether she joins before or after the mid-way point in the series. (I don't remember.) Regardless, her zord is a Cat.
Void, the Black Ranger, would be either the 13th or 12th Ranger, depending on when Heart joins. However, his join point is fixed; he joins immediately after the half-way point in the series. (It's not really much of a leap of logic to conclude this; yes, the sympathetic sin destroyed plays a part in the creation of the Void Ranger. But it's not in the way you would expect...)
I should mention:
A key individual, not a Ranger, but a vital cast member, is their out-of-battle leader. This guy, a young billionaire at the head of a massive corporation, was the sole survivor of the group that unearthed the Evil; he was responsible for accidentally breaking the seal. This is also a fundamental part of the backstory from the very beginning; he was always designed to function as a bit of a Big Good.
He is the one who brings the Rangers from their positions across the globe and gets them to work together as a team; he is the one who bankrolls the entire operation, and more or less is responsible for founding an entire corporation dedicated purely to the purpose of defeating the Evil he unleashed. It was remembering him that made me do all of this work, because of the similarities between him and the elderly gentleman I dreamed of.
But today, I gave him a first name which I hadn't done before. None of my characters had any names. But I gave him the first name of Adam.
Other stuff I did yesterday:
Adam's organization would equip all the Rangers with stun pistols--incapable of destroying Evil, but capable of momentarily stopping it. Similarly, each Ranger would have special daggers, which can wound beings of Evil, but not destroy them.
Each Ranger would have their own unique weapon, though. I did in fact come up with 13.
Armor (think, big boxing gloves, and an equivalent for the foot to allow for Kamen Rideresque kicks)
Obviously, Power Rangers being merchandise-driven, each Ranger would develop 2-3 additional weapons or so, and all Rangers may receive the Armor (with the original holder of the Armor simply getting superior armor, upgrading the existing armor to be MUCH better) because that's an excuse to make at least 13 new toys, but AT LEAST TO START WITH, each Ranger would have one of these weapons.
No, I didn't assign specific Rangers specific weapons; I can kinda sorta give some decent ideas for which Rangers would be candidates for which weapons based both on their element and animal (as both can contribute), but I don't see any weapons which scream one particular Ranger. (Other than Fire having the Sword, out of tradition because obviously a/the leader has the sword.)
One final thing I did yesterday: develop a Quirky Miniboss Squad.
Specifically, War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death. These four would be subordinates to the generals, always helping out but being comically inept. You know the type. Every Power Rangers squad had these villains, the villains who don't often fight the heroes if they fight the heroes at all, mostly work in the background, have scenes with the major villains, might have some character development, but are ultimately mostly harmless and sidekicks to the REAL threats.
That's all I made.
There's more to the story, more details I created originally that I'm not going into now (I only really described the details necessary for you to know what's new), but you get the idea of what I worked on.
And why it was way too ambitious for a ten-year-old.