Friday, October 18, 2013

Xenosaga 3's Kevin

Before we get into the rant today, I have a question for you all. I apparently have the option to allow ads on this blog, from which I would presumably make a small, very small, very very small, veeeeeeery very very very very VERY very very ve-he-he-herrrrrrrry small amount of money. Would you, my loyal reader(s), object at all to my having ads on this site? If no one cares at all, I may as well go for that extra nickel per year, but if anyone has even the slightest wish against it, I’d rather just skip it. Lemme know.

And now, the rant.

I actually had thought I’d be wrapping up my long line of Xenosaga rants by now, but somebody actually said that they like them, so on we go with them. Granted, that means I’m basically only catering to a single person by continuing, but on the other hand, that’s still me reaching out to like 25% of my total readership, so this is totally legit. Besides, it’s not like Xenosaga is running out of flaws to point out and criticize any time soon.

Speaking of those flaws, what shall I speak of today? Perhaps I could question why the hell Virgil is one of the Testaments--he’s a guy who dies an hour into Xenosaga 1 and has a very small and only vaguely tangentially-related history with protagonist Shion, so why the hell is he rubbing elbows with the likes of Albedo, the main villain of Xenosaga 1 and 2, Voyager, the main villain of Xenosaga: Pied Piper, and Kevin, the guy whose legacy is the core of the series from the very start to the very end? Or I could take to task the Professor’s explanation of the hero group’s (supposed) journey to the past, the dangers it poses, and how to fix it, for playing faster and looser with science and time travel than a Star Trek engineer writing a Doctor Who episode. Perhaps I could rant about Past-Virgil’s bizarre and utterly reasonless decision to sacrifice himself for Present-Shion and her friends by holding off a small group of enemies that they had already outrun and could easily defeat anyway. Or maybe I should just do a rant about how the looped repetition of loudspeaker announcements in the background of several areas of the game need to SHUT THE FUCK UP BECAUSE THEY’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY, DEAR SWEET CELSIUS ON A SANDWICH I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME YOU ANNOUNCED THAT THE SECURITY LEVEL HAD BEEN SWITCHED TO “A,” STOP TELLING ME EVERY 10 SECONDS!

Er, sorry. My mind seems to have a low breaking point for annoying, useless, repeated vocals. Still, having an announcement for where the Omega Res Novae demonstration’s being held being drilled into your head every 15 seconds as you wander around a facility has gotta be annoying for just about anyone.

Anyway! Let’s mix it up today and do a rant about something loathsome, but which may be so by design. Today, I will rant about Kevin.

Kevin Winnicot is a total dick.

Really, Kevin is just a tool. A huge tool. A tremendous tool. A tool of galactic proportions. It may have been intentional on the part of Xenosaga’s writers to have him be as unlikeable as he is, but I’d be inclined to say that they probably were shooting for a sympathetic villain with Kevin, at least partially. And if that’s the case, they failed big time. And here, not necessarily in order of magnitude, are the reasons why:

Reason Number 1: Kevin is a villain. After his death at the hands of archetype KOS-MOS (she must have known he was a douche even before being properly conscious), Kevin was brought back to life to be the Red Testament, right-hand jerk to Xenosaga’s main villain Willhelm. During his time as Red Testament during the events of Xenosaga 2 and especially 3, Kevin uses Shion’s growing confusion, huge emotional turmoil, and old love for him to his advantage, cruelly manipulating her and stoking the fires of her mental breakdown so that he can get her to join him in his scheme the universe, I think, like Willhelm is planning, only Kevin wants to do it so that it’s (somehow) only him and Shion in the universe. At least, that’s what I THINK his intentions are; it’s not like the game makes it easy to suss out what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what the intentions are behind it. There’re times during the game’s finale when you couldn’t understand the dialogue less if it was all in Al Bhed.

So essentially, Kevin’s out to end the current universe and as a result kill every person currently living in it, which is a typical dick move for a villain, but even further, he wants to remake the universe so that it’s only for 2 people. That’s actually a case of being a bigger jerk than the main villain of the whole series--Wilhelm’s at least going through his many machinations and manipulations for the misguided meaning of somehow salvaging the universe by ending it and resetting it or whatever. Wilhelm’s at least not out for a personal, extremely selfish vendetta, and while his plan also kills all things currently living, at least it’s not also with the intention of barring any other people from ever living in the universe again.

Oh, yeah, and the reason that Kevin’s a villain is more proof of what a giant tool he is. See, as a child, Kevin’s mother died as a result of some catastrophe (Gnosis attack, if I recall right), and used her last moments to help Kevin get away safely. Since that moment, Kevin has hated the entire universe, and it’s from that hate that his desire to destroy it utterly springs. Okay, fine. It’s a short-sighted and stupid reaction to have, but nothing unusual in RPGs for a villain, so I won’t consider that by itself as a count of jerk-itude. BUT, during the course of his planning to assist Wilhelm in ending the current universe, Kevin meets and falls in love with Shion. Now, logically speaking, if his original reason for wanting to destroy the current universe is that he feels it’s irredeemable and terrible, as is stated in the game, then shouldn’t his reasoning change a little once he meets and falls in love with Shion? I mean, Shion, like everything else, is a part of and natural result of this current universe. Shouldn’t the fact that he really, really likes this particular part and result of the universe be a fairly obvious tip-off that there are some parts of the universe so significantly good that they’re worth not destroying?

I mean, he wants to save Shion from the end of the universe, so logically speaking, he must think that she’s good enough that nothing should be done to destroy her. But then why is he letting everything ELSE be destroyed? You can point out that in his whole life, she was the only good thing, but that doesn’t make sense as a reason to destroy the whole universe and everyone in it besides her, because Kevin has not BEEN everywhere in the universe and interacted with EVERY person. He cannot say with any certainty that there is NO ONE else out there as good and worth preserving as Shion. To assume that she’s singular in that regard is foolish--in a colonized galaxy with trillions (or maybe more) of individuals residing in it, it’s statistically nigh impossible that, if there really were only 1 single person as good and worth preserving as Shion, he would just HAPPEN across that 1 single person out of trillions. The only reasonable assumption to make would be that the universe was capable of producing people like Shion in a quantity rare enough that Kevin would only ever have a chance to meet 1 in his lifetime, BUT common enough that he WOULD actually have that chance. And don’t tell me not to bring rational logistics into this--Kevin is a scientist, a brilliant one. The basics of logical thought processes and statistical understandings are a core necessity for a huge portion of his life. So if he gave his plans any real thought once Shion’s in the picture, if he had the basic intelligence and human decency to give the extermination of trillions a real, actual second thought at any point, he would almost certainly realize that basic law of averages indicates that his destroying the universe would doom a tremendous amount of people whose goodness and worth are comparable to Shion’s, and since he can’t bear to let Shion be destroyed by his plans, he shouldn’t be able to go through with a plan that would destroy them as well.

But Kevin attempts to go through with his plans, so we can only conclude that he is a stupid tool who gives no real thought to his actions even though they affect countless people’s lives. What an ass.

Reason Number 2: Kevin didn’t want to let Febronia save Virgil’s life. He argues against it and is rather annoyed when Febronia does it anyway. Now I’ll grant you, there’s reason to at least hesitate before saving the life of an enemy soldier, and Kevin brings up some piddly little reasons why Febronia’s actions will be mildly risky for her in regards to how the higher-ups on their side will see this. Still, it’s a bit cold and mean-spirited to have a good Samaritan bring in a dying person, and to just shake your head as you watch the man bleed out and say “No, sorry, against company policy.” Febronia comes up with a perfectly plausible way for her to save Virgil without putting herself or others at any particularly great risk, and Kevin is still against it, only begrudgingly letting her do what she wants while wiping his hands clean of the matter. Since she has effectively assuaged all of Kevin’s legitimate concerns, he really shouldn’t have any problem with her making the choice to save a human being’s life, unless Kevin just plain dislikes the idea of not letting people die in agony. But he nonetheless does still have a problem with it, and so, he is a douche.

Reason Number 3: Kevin is a dick to little girls. We see the first time he meets Shion, which is when she’s 10 years old and he's a young man (the game later sort of implies that he loved her from the moment he saw her, incidentally, which is kind of creepy, not to mention very contradictory to this scene, as we’re about to see). Little Shion is trying to grow some flowers outside the “hospital” (actually a research facility) in which her mother is a patient. Her reasoning is that when her mother wakes up, Shion wants her to be able to see pretty flowers from her room’s window, and her dad would be happy to see them, too. Very cute and sweet, just the sort of childlike kindness you’d expect from a loving daughter.

Kevin’s reaction is different. Kevin decides that the appropriate response to witnessing this is to start a philosophical argument with Shion about why the world and everyone in it is horrible, and so doing nice things for other people is pointless.

Seriously. Every time I watch this scene, I can’t believe what I’m seeing. This guy, age range 18 to 20-something, is picking a fight with a 10-year-old. The dude is seriously engaging in a philosophical debate with the intention of relentlessly attacking a preteen’s innocent perspective. I just...I can’t...what do I say here, guys? How does one possibly convey in mere words how unbelievably pathetic it is for a grown man to actually make a serious intellectual assault on the sensibilities and moral perspective of a small child? This is a level of dickery beyond the usual mortal realm; this is the douchebaggery of the gods.

And that’s just the basics of what he’s doing. Let’s examine the details. Not only is he picking a fight with a kid, but he’s doing so with the intention of convincing her that the world and its people are defined only by conflict and struggle, about how pointless this is because life is only about encountering and destroying others in order to survive and have your way and blah blah blah Look At Me I Read Thomas Hobbes Aren’t I Special, which, he says, makes acts of kindness meaningless. He’d be an asshole just trying to convince a fellow adult of that, but for the love of Palutena, he’s trying to tear apart a little girl’s innocence! What kind of asswipe is such a miserable piece of shit that he has to spread his lousy perspective to children? As a bonus, he also tries to convince her that the her father won’t care for the flowers, which really has to just be dickery for the sake of dickery, since there’s no reason that Kevin, as Shion’s dad’s assistant, would know more about what the guy personally enjoys than the guy’s own daughter. And let’s not forget what she did to provoke this attack--she was trying to make flowers grow. So she could make her sick mom happy! It’s not like Kevin doesn’t know this intention, either; she tells him quite plainly what her intentions are. It ain’t like she’s shoving her innocent, kind ideas in his face or anything. She’s just minding her own business, and he starts this shit. Unbefuckinglievable.

Oh and hey, here’s some fun food for thought. Kevin’s perspective of how terrible the universe and its people are stems from the loss of his mother. Little Shion’s doing all this as a nice gesture for her sick mother. Nice empathy there, jackass.

Thankfully, Little Shion manages to withstand the slings and arrows of Kevin’s douchebaggery in this scene, but that’s not the only moment where Kevin is a dick to her. A little later on, the flowers Little Shion’s been growing get trampled by the hustling of soldiers as they prepare for the area to become a war zone, since their enemy, the Galactic Federation, has just begun to make its all-out attack on the city. Kevin happens by, and finds the poor kid weeping profusely as she kneels over them, heartbroken that all the work she put into making something nice for her parents has been so carelessly destroyed. It’s the kind of simple, sad loss for a child that gets to ya. Makes me feel like shedding a tear for the kid myself. What’s Kevin do? Why, he stops to gloat, of course. He reminds her that he told her not to bother, and reiterates that this won’t make anyone happy, before telling her not to bother wasting her time trying to grow any more.

CONGRATULATIONS, ASSHOLE, YOU WON THE ARGUMENT AND HURT THE FEELINGS OF A CHILD. Thank God you had nothing better to do, like maybe help prepare for the imminent attack, so that you could take the time to rub the failure a heartbroken child in her tear-streaked face. BIG MAN.

Oh, yeah, and here’s the kicker about this scene: Little Shion’s resilient enough that she refuses to give up, so she announces she’s going to go to Febronia and get more flower seeds. Kevin allows her to run off.

Oh, what’s that? You aren’t sure how that’s a moment of dickery? Well let me rephrase that. Kevin allows her, a young child, to run off alone in a war zone as a major military battle is beginning.

What a fucking tool.*

Reason Number 4: The shit he puts Shion through. You know, for someone who claims to love Shion more than anything else and never want to hurt her, Kevin sure doesn’t have much of a problem of putting Shion through absolute fucking hell. On the night that Shion’s mother and father were murdered before her eyes, Little Shion experienced such unimaginable mental pain that the magnitude of her suffering actually tore the fabric of time and space a new asshole and summoned the Gnosis. She was just a child at the time, and blocked out much of the details later, so she didn’t realize the magnitude of what she’d inadvertently done.

Kevin’s plans for rebuilding the universe for just him and Shion, plans which he’s convinced himself are in essence “saving” Shion, involve having Shion relive this night. Not just remember it, but relive it. That’s why Shion’s sent back in time (sort of but not really), so that she can be on the scene as an adult to see her recently murdered mother and father, and to watch her younger self be so overcome with pain that her screams of anguish call forth lost souls to ravage the galaxy. That is an actual, significant part of Kevin’s plans--to force the woman he supposedly loves to relive the worst night of her life, to once more feel and understand what the game tells us was the most powerful suffering of any human being in the universe, with the added bonus of her being mentally aware enough this time to understand that she’s responsible for calling forth the Gnosis. I find myself once again staggered by how unable I am to find the words for this level of douchebaggery.

Oh, and it’s against this backdrop that he decides to reveal himself, step back into her life after pretending to be dead for, what, 7 years? AND he drops the bombshell of her connection to KOS-MOS draining her life (a claim that’s never verified, and kind of just dropped fairly shortly afterwards). So let’s just review here: Causes Shion to relive the greatest pain in her life, the greatest pain in all the universe. Blows her mind in the process because she now knows that it’s her fault the Gnosis are destroying the universe. Further wreaks havoc on her mental state by revealing that he’s still alive, AND working for the same team as her enemies. And reveals that her connection to KOS-MOS, the strongest and most trusted personal relationship Shion has by this point, is killing her. It’s after all of this happens that he says he wants her to join him. That’s what all this was leading up to. His plan to get Shion on his side is to cause her to spiral into a complete and total, incredibly painful mental breakdown, reduce her to an emotional shambles so she won’t have enough shards of coherent thought left over to resist him.

Best boyfriend ever. I cannot believe I’m saying this, I really can’t, but I think Kevin Winnicot actually surpasses Edward Cullen in the Emotionally-Unhealthy Romance department.

Reason Number 5: Allen has a point. At one point, Allen berates Kevin, saying that rather than having a strong will, as Kevin clearly thinks he possesses, Kevin and the rest of the Testaments actually lack resolve. He points out that they all accepted and used the great power given to them by Wilhelm only to run away from the reality of death. For all of Kevin’s lofty plans and arrogant talk, he’s still just a coward terrified by the shadow of the Reaper. It’s a pretty accurate assessment. And as he’s presiding over the pain and deaths of many others because he can’t accept the simple facts of life, causing others to suffer the same thing that he himself is trying to escape, so do I declare him (and the other Testaments) a tool once more over, on grounds of malicious and cowardly hypocrisy.

Reason Number 6: The shit he puts Shion through, part 2. I’m still a little hazy on whether dying at the hands of the KOS-MOS prototype was or was not part of Kevin’s plan, since dying is a prerequisite to becoming a Testament and gaining the power that comes with that position but otherwise it didn’t seem like something he’d intended. Nonetheless, intentional or not, he wound up being resurrected by Wilhelm to continue with his plans resurrect to Mary Magdalene and gather Anima and activate Zarathustra and all that jazz, and he never once told Shion that he was back from the dead. For...what is it, 7 years between his death and the opening of Xenosaga 1? Can’t remember. We’ll say it was 7 years. For 7 years, Kevin’s death has haunted Shion, the death of the man she loved, the end of the only time in her life that she can remember being happy. Kevin couldn’t just once in all that time have popped in and let her know that he wasn’t actually dead? Couldn’t once have alleviated at least that one scar of the past that she’s carried in silence?

Of course not. Because if he’d done that, he couldn’t have as effectively broken her mind later by showing up, and that would’ve made it harder to save her, since you can’t save anyone without first severely damaging them emotionally! Ass.

Reason Number 7: He beats up Allen. Now yeah, Allen’s standing up to him and calling Kevin out on being a bad influence on Shion and saying that Shion shouldn’t go with him, but here’s the fact of the matter--Allen couldn’t have done a thing to stop Kevin from walking off with Shion. He’s incapable of harming Kevin or physically stopping him, so any violence on Kevin’s part is strictly gratuitous.

Uh, yeah, awesome, Kev, way to show how much of a man you are. Beat the guy who isn’t actually a threat to you at all (Allen even SAYS that he’s powerless right before the beatdown commences) into the ground. You’re, like, so totally tough and manly, using your superpowers to pummel the completely helpless. What’s your encore? You gonna go to a local nursing home and smack around some bedridden retirees? Maybe get into a fist-fight with a week-old kitten? Match wits with a 10-year-old? Oh, no, wait, you already did that one. You’re a real champ, Kevin.

Oh, and hey, that’s not all there is to his mercilessly pounding the weak and defenseless Allen. As Kevin is finishing up with his completely needless beatdown, he begins to taunt Allen about it! Just knocking someone who can’t fight back senseless isn’t enough for Kevin Winnicot, apparently. No, he’s got to gloat about it, too, because apparently he’s no more mentally mature than some random middle school hoodlum. And he’s doing it like it was some sort of significant victory for himself! News flash, Kevin: you won that fight because you had a superior, superhuman power that you acquired as a gift from Wilhelm! You didn’t earn any of that strength yourself! Jeez! It’s like if someone handed you a baseball bat, girded you in a full set of plate mail, and injected you with Captain America super serum for good measure, and then told you to beat the crap out of Moss from The IT Crowd. If you taunt your victim in a fight that one-sided, that makes you a titanic tool! Which is precisely what Kevin is. Sheesh, what a prick.

Reason Number 8: Yet more of the shit he puts Shion through. Rather than accept Shion’s final choice to leave him, he decides to kill her friends, because they’re “confusing” her. First of all, way to respect the wishes of the woman you supposedly love, asshole. God knows she couldn’t possibly make a decision for herself, right? Secondly, yeah, THAT’S sure as hell gonna make the situation better, you idiot. I mean, murdering people Shion cares about right before her eyes in order to make her want to be with you? How could that possibly backfire? And lastly, you just have to love the hypocrisy of it all. Kevin won’t accept her decision because THEY’RE confusing her? I’m sorry, Kevin, buddy, but refresh my memory--when was it, exactly, that you first made your bid for Shion abandoning her friends and coming over to your side? Wasn’t it right after you’d done everything in your power to give her a mental breakdown? I’m pretty sure that as far as “confusion” goes, it doesn’t get much stronger than reliving the horrific and savage deaths of your parents as you learn that you called forth the destruction of the world and also just found out that your most trusted personal connection is killing you and your dead boyfriend isn’t dead and now has evil superpowers. You didn’t seem to object to her making decisions in confusion THEN, when it would work in your favor! Hypocritical prick.

Speaking of hypocrisy, the whole Kevin Is A Dick package ties up neatly for me with this one line, spoken by Mr. Winnicot to Shion: “I don’t want to hurt you either.”

What do you think you’ve been doing this whole time you moron.

As I said before, I’m not sure what Namco’s intention was with Kevin. Did they intentionally make him this much of a tool, wanting the player to hate his lousy stinking guts with a passion? Maybe. If so, great job. But my gut says that they wanted Kevin to be a sympathetic villain, yet another misguided soul whom we would empathize with on some level rather than despise. They tried too hard to emphasize his supposed love for and devotion to Shion, they portrayed his past moments with her too positively, and they had him too honorably betray Wilhelm and die for her for it to be anything but Namco attempting to make Kevin out to be a misguided but ultimately sympathetic antagonist. And if that’s the case, then they failed, big time. Because his tiny moments of decency are utterly swallowed up in the huge tidal waves of douchebaggery that I mentioned above. Kevin Winnicot is a tool, plain and simple.

* Now, technically speaking, we only see all this stuff with Little Shion as part of the story arc where Shion and company are sent to the past (but secretly aren’t), so technically we’re seeing Past Events as they’d have happened if Present Shion were meddling with them. Still, since this representation of the past is otherwise supposed to be 100% accurate, and since Present Shion’s meddling didn’t seem to cause any significant differences with regards to the interactions of Kevin and Little Shion, AND since we see from Kevin’s recollections later in the game that he does remember meeting Little Shion under those same circumstances, we can very safely assume that all the events as we witness them of Kevin’s interactions with Little Shion are in all significant ways accurate to how it actually happened. So yes, he WAS a dick back then by all logical accounts.


  1. I wouldn't mind having ads (as long as it isn't porn ads)

    Kevin needs to ... I can't say die because he already KOS-MOS should keep his skull and talk to it like Yorik

    1. That might be entertaining. Maybe she could engage it in a one-sided philosophical debate.

      The funny thing is that when I decided to make a rant about how much of a tool he is, I did so with only 2 of these 8 reasons in my mind. Then as I began to review his parts in the game to make sure I was accurately understanding them (as accurately as anyone can make sense of Xenosaga 3, anyway), I just kept noticing one thing after another about him that made him more and more into the ultimate douche of gaming history. I feel like I may even have missed a few. I know I could have dug deeper for reasons if I'd wanted--this is mostly just surface reactions!

  2. My first thought: He's a tool, sure, but a douche? Really?

    Then I realized Allen's name isn't Kevin. Sure is fun being a X1-only player.

    Kevin represents all I hate about JRPGs. Overwrought bullshit like this is why I believe in my heart that videogames as a collective will never triumph as literature(not like much else does these days, granted), and most exceptions are flukes and miracles. And I love me some RPG fiction. That ideas like these aren't immediately shot down scares me as an RPG player.

    Here's an idea that might not have fixed everything, but would have done too much for such a simple suggestion:


    That's right. I just fixed Kevin, or at least did a shitload of damage control. Someone was paid good money to come up with this and failed. Damn.

    Never ask for permission. Only forgiveness, and never too much of that.

    And screw Google. I was already annoyed with their hands copping feels of most of my internet accounts, but they finally went too far.

  3. Kevin is only 13 or 14 during the scene where he tells Shion is pointless to grow flowers. Still a dick, just a young teen one rather than young man.

  4. At worst, he is really just a cynical, jaded, and most especially, a selfish teenager. Even as a man in his latter 20s, he keeps that pubescent mindset. A man-child. Sure, he is a booksmart and pragmatic one for designing robots in his early teens, not to mention masterminding the events that occurred at Labryinthos and pinning it on Mizrahi. So sure, clever. But still immature nonetheless. All the same though, what he points out about Allen isn't far from the truth. Allen is a step away from being that creepy stalker of a girl who obviously isnt into him, and his methods of being Allen the Masochist, wouldn't win any girl, any person, over in the real world. Kevin's biggest mistake was thinking he was more clever than Wilhelm, in regards to his selfish goals. "You knew?!?" as he says to Wilhelm in surprise after Wilhelm expected Kevin to chop his arm off, along with Wilhelm critiquing Kevin's reason of doing so out of "love," all along. For such a smart guy he was rather short sighted in reaching his goal of ending up with Shion, given there were numerous other ways to go about doing so instead of teaming up with a guy who is smarter and more powerful than him, thinking he'd outsmart and betray said guy. So yeah, he isn't evil. Just a selfish shortsighted man-child.

    1. He didn't look or act 13 - 14...although I guess that's just anime for you.

      I ain't gonna pretend that Allen's my favorite guy in the world, but I think he's more than a few steps away from being a creepy stalker. Whiny, ineffectual twat whose love is so weak and unconvincing that you literally have to beat a confession of his feelings out of him? Oh, absolutely! Close to a stalker? Eh, not really. There's a difference between a guy stuck in Emotional Constipation Limbo and a guy who violates privacy and/or personal space. Not to say that one can't be both at the same time, but they're not necessarily close to the same.

      Yeah, sorry, but Kevin is, in fact, evil. A selfish, shortsighted man-child, as well, to be sure, but his intention is to ensure the death of literally every single living thing in the universe besides himself and the person he pretends to love, and his plan to do this involves abusing his so-called beloved by forcing her to relive unfathomable mental pain, and when this emotional agony, emotional agony so intense that it ripped a whole in the fabric of the fucking universe, has reduced her ability to make good decisions, that's when he wants to swoop in and take advantage of her inhibited mental and emotional state for his own purposes. So yeah, he is, actually, very fucking evil.

    2. But Kevin's reasoning for his actions. He isnt being cruel or evil for the sake of being cruel or evil, like a sociopath. Rather everything he does is pretty selfish--where he tries to setup a situation that he feels he will get the maximum benefit from (his happy world with Shion and his dead mother.) Pure self-centered reasons, with little disregard for others. Malignant narcissism.

    3. And how exactly does that make him or his actions any less evil? He's not attempting to murder trillions of people and horrifically abuse someone he claims to love out of any misguided sense of good, he's doing it for his own selfish purposes. That's more than enough to qualify as outright evil, with or without malicious intent.

  5. Sure he is acting deplorable, but its not evil. Every child goes through a phase in their life where they are incredibly egocentric and think the world revolves around them. Its part of one's development. But that doesnt make any child "evil" for putting unkind or manipulative demands on their parents or siblings. When they throw a tantrum or play victim or lie, its for secondary gain. Kevin seems to never have grown out of such phases, the egocentric man-child he is. Everything he has done, was for some sort of secondary selfish gain of his. He isnt out murdering strangers (at least not directly,) rather he is manipulating those around him, whom he has some sort of already established bond with, whether its Shion or Prof Mizrahi. He even tries it on Wilhelm, but that doesnt work as he intended (he says to Wilhelm "YOU KNEW?!" when Wilhelm wasnt surprised at being maimed. Even his longer rant at the party right before Wilhelm shows up is quite reminiscent of a child trying to act smug and play victim at the same time. So yeah, he is only as evil as every child or an immature boyfriend/girlfriend acts during their childhood and teenage years (or adulthood, in his case.) For being a smart guy, Kevin was hardly diabolical or insightful in regard to his motivators for secondary gain. All the same, he only acted in ways that would lead to secondary gain, like the stuff he did at Labyrinthos (creating murderous realians, going behind Mizrahi's back,) or any other action of his (--with the tangible result being getting young and old Shion to "call" Gnosis) . If he was haphazardly and indiscriminately kicking puppies, starting fires, murdering and raping---not for tangible secondary gain, but merely for "the fun" of it, then I'd be inclined to say he was evil. But from his actions, he is just an emotionally stunted selfish jerk.

    1. Children's culpability for their actions is debatable depending on the age of the child and their experience with the world. Kevin is a grown-ass man. He may be a sniveling little man-child kind of a man, but he has the life experience and intellectual capacity to be held accountable for his actions. Regardless of his upbringing or lack thereof, he has interacted and participated in a (more or less) normal social environment for years and shows no signs of an inability to understand the concept of other people having needs and wants. He's not unfamiliar with the concepts of why killing and hurting others is considered bad.

      More importantly, you seem to be operating under some bizarre concept that actions are only evil when they're for malice and nothing more. By this definition, I wonder who exactly you would say IS evil. I mean, you couldn't even call, say, Hitler evil, following your argument, because his attempts at genocide were in significant part motivated by a sincere if horribly misguided belief in improving the human race as a whole by eliminating supposed undesirables from the gene pool. It's not evil if the action is made with the intent of gaining something instead of solely out of malice? You've basically just claimed that neither Kevin nor anyone else can be evil unless they're essentially Snidely Whiplash.

    2. It seems you define what is evil in a black and white view. It is, r it isn't, so to say. But there is a lot of grey area. Fascist Germany was indeed evil, and yes it was done so out of malice. They even had a term for those they considered undesirables: √ľntermensch, or the under-man, meaning, sub-human, which was used for Poles, Jews, Roma, etc. So yes Nazi Germany was indeed evil. Yes they did have secondary gain like Lebenstraum (literally 'living space', hence the Poland invasion) but yes they also had malicious intent, for sure. If that is not seen as malicious, thus evil, then I don't understand how that is seen as bizarre. Maybe you have a better example of something that I would claim is not evil yet you would, but I digress since this is all a bit off topic for 2 mutual fans of Xenosaga.
      Yes I can say that evidenced by 5/6 year old Kevin's conversation with Wilhelm in the flashback, that the Kevin at that point was definitely a misanthrope and held malicious views toward humanity, but, understandably he just lost his mother, family, and planet in a Gnosis attack, and he was indeed a child. At no other point does he sound like that in his tone nor words.

    3. Okay, this is getting tedious, so I'm going to skip straight past wrestling with a concept of evil so bizarre and frankly silly that it judges solely on emotion and not acts or intentions, and just get to the point where the dictionary comes in:

      Kevin's actions and intentions are morally bad and cause harm to others, both mental (Shion) and physical (every other living thing if he succeeds). According to all 3 of those dictionaries, which state no qualification for malice, Kevin is evil. You can stick to your personal definition which wouldn't label Joseph Stalin as evil (since the millions of deaths at his hands were out of ambition and paranoia, not malice) if you like, that's your prerogative. But the 3 largest language resources which are agreed upon by the whole of English-speakers as the official source for word definitions would define Kevin's intentions to end the lives of trillions of people and cause inestimable mental harm to someone all for his own personal gain as evil, just as I do. It is an accurate description.

  6. Well, at least Kevin never forced Shion to eat people to make a point, but I think he's a bigger dick than Citan Uzuki in pretty much every other way.