Author Topic: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?  (Read 4889 times)

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Offline JMP

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Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« on: April 03, 2015, 04:27:52 AM »
I thought it was odd how similar Mozgus and Azan look. They are both very unusual looking characters, so I find it strange that they share some key features. Do you think this is a coincidence or was it done for some reason? They seem to have more in common than just their stocky figures, wide faces, and large flat noses. Mozgus and Azan both have very strong convictions. They view the world and act according to deeply held personal beliefs and moral codes. Maybe Azan is the positive example of this and Mozgus is the negative example?

Mozgus is way more surreal looking, though. He looks like he's carved out of a block of wood or something, while Azan looks much more normal, so not sure what that means. Maybe to highlight that Mozgus has given himself over to total fanaticism, while Azan hasn't? Mozgus's face is as rigid as his thinking?

What do you all make of this?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 05:24:16 AM by JMP »
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Offline Cuthbert19

Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 05:17:58 AM »
Maybe Azan tried that whole "bang your face against the ground in worship" thing a couple of times and decided it wasn't for him.

Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 05:26:17 AM »
Could be! LOL  :mozgus:
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Online Walter

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 10:53:19 AM »
I think any similarities in their appearance (which I don't really see...) are just coincidence. Also thematically, I don't think they're similar at all. Mozgus is a zealot, but Azan doesn't strike me as a particularly religious guy; he's just dedicated himself completely to the cause he serves.
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Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 02:16:33 PM »
I think any similarities in their appearance (which I don't really see...) are just coincidence.

The similarities in their looks really stood out to me, but maybe that's just me.
Of course the most notable is that nose. It struck me as pretty unusual. Very flat and square. Maybe they are "hard-nosed" characters.  :schnoz:

Also thematically, I don't think they're similar at all. Mozgus is a zealot, but Azan doesn't strike me as a particularly religious guy; he's just dedicated himself completely to the cause he serves.

I wasn't originally looking at it from a religious angle necessarily. The last thing you mentioned was actually my point, that they both devote themselves completely to their convictions and the cause they serve. They both adhere very strictly to a set of principles they've decided to follow and it seems like there's not much room in either of their worldviews to step outside this "box".

I hadn't thought of Azan as being that religious when I wrote this post either. I had thought of his main guiding philosophy as the code of knightly conduct. After going back and looking over some things, though, it does appear Azan was pretty religious. In volume 14, a couple of pages into the Lost Children chapter when Serpico is teasing Azan about getting married, Azan mentions that he's "something of a clergyman". Also on the page before that Azan's line about "A miracle of our solemn and dreadful God" sounds like something a devoted follower would say, so maybe religion is more a part of the picture than I had thought.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 03:03:14 PM by JMP »
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Online Walter

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 03:26:20 PM »
This thread needs some visuals for reference  :carcus:



I suppose it can be said that both have harsh, angular features. But I guess I don't necessarily draw much meaning from that aside from their obvious strictness.
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Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2015, 04:20:57 PM »
Here's a couple more.



A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Online Walter

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2015, 04:22:30 PM »
Is this thread about their noses? Because I really don't see anything else.
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Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2015, 04:32:10 PM »
No, I see more than that in their physical similarity. Smallish, widely set eyes, very wide mouths, and they are both quite stockily built.
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Online Walter

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 05:09:11 PM »
No, I see more than that in their physical similarity. Smallish, widely set eyes, very wide mouths, and they are both quite stockily built.

Well, sure. But I just don't see that lining up with an intentional character dichotomy like you set out to study in this thread. If we were meant to compare these two in this way, don't you think Miura would have emphasized that by having them share a scene together? As it stands, I think you can maybe spot Azan in the background of one Mozgus scene... And that's about it.

Furthrmore like I said before, Azan isn't characterized by the pursuit of his faith. He may be a "clergyman," but first and foremost, he's a stalwart knight for his church. His faith has always struck me as incidental. Whereas Mozgus is purely devoted to his cause, to the point of being grotesque about punishments. So I just don't see any meaningful contrast between these two -- at least, not enough that I think Miura intentionally designed the characters for us to compare the two.
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Offline Aazealh

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2015, 05:17:15 PM »
I thought it was odd how similar Mozgus and Azan look. They are both very unusual looking characters, so I find it strange that they share some key features. Do you think this is a coincidence or was it done for some reason? They seem to have more in common than just their stocky figures, wide faces, and large flat noses.

I don't think they look all that similar, except in some specific panels like the one you posted. They're both bald and have wide noses but that's pretty much it. Azan is a lot bulkier than Mozgus too. Either way, I really don't see why the two characters' designs would be purposedly related.

Mozgus and Azan both have very strong convictions.

...As do many other characters?

They view the world and act according to deeply held personal beliefs and moral codes. Maybe Azan is the positive example of this and Mozgus is the negative example?

I think, and I mean this without offense, that this is an overly simplistic way to put it. Azan is essentially the embodiment of chivalry. He's a man of principles and indeed, he lives according to a rigorous moral code. Just so it's clear, Azan is one of my favorite characters. He's modeled after the romantic archetype of the French Knight, savior of the weak and oppressed and bane of the wicked. Specifically, I've always viewed him as having been inspired by the "Knight of Bayard", the most famous and revered knight that ever lived in France. He was known as "the knight without fear and beyond reproach", and one of his exploits was defending a bridge, alone, against over a hundred enemies soldiers.

Like for historical knights, religion is a factor for Azan, especially while he's with the Holy Iron Chain Knights, but for him it's a side component more than anything. You can see how the nature of Man that he's witnessed over the years pushed him towards espousing religious views, and I think you can also see how what happens in Albion is a great disillusion for him. My point here is that you are correct in saying Azan adheres, to an extreme extent (one that is easy to caricature), to his personal beliefs. That's what makes him so cool. The fact he wouldn't let someone kill Guts while he was down. The fact he was outraged that helpless people were left to be slaughtered.

Meanwhile, what about Mozgus? He's a fanatic, that much is easy to see. But is he really following a moral code? Or is he just a hypocrite, using his power to cruelly subjugate and abuse the weak and helpless? I think we all know the answer. Mozgus has no morals, because morality is about doing what's right, not conforming to rules or customs. And Mozgus interprets the Holy Book as it pleases him so he can do what's wrong. In this, he's actually the complete opposite of Azan. But it's not just a matter of conviction. Mozgus had an extreme fervor, far stronger than that of Azan's. I don't think there's any doubt that in a hypothetical situation Azan would always bend the rules to protect innocents from harm, because he really only has a single rule to follow: doing what's right. Being honorable. Mozgus, on the other hand, is a religious extremist. He uses the pretense of an established code of conduct (one that is not personal to him) to oppress people to a point that renders said code of conduct meaningless.

So I think it's a lot more complicated than just being a positive and a negative example of the same trait. I can see why you would draw a parallel, but it's only superficial in my opinion.

Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2015, 05:39:03 PM »
Thank you both for your thoughts. I was just pondering something I had noticed and wondering what, if anything, other people's views were about it. I appreciate the insights you shared about these characters. Very cool!  :guts:
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Offline Aazealh

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2015, 05:58:43 PM »
Thank you both for your thoughts. I was just pondering something I had noticed and wondering what, if anything, other people's views were about it. I appreciate the insights you shared about these characters. Very cool!  :guts:

No problem, I'm always happy to talk about Azan. I can't wait to see how things will go for him in Elfhelm! :azan:

Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2015, 01:16:36 AM »
I can't wait to see how things will go for him in Elfhelm! :azan:

Me, too! It'll be interesting to see what awaits him there. I really like his character, too, by the way.

Sorry I didn't respond a little more the other day. I was trying to collect my thoughts and sometimes that can take me a while.  :slan:

I'm still convinced that there's some meaning to these two character's physical similarities. Now, I know if you don't think they look all that much alike, then the argument becomes way less convincing and that's all good. It's a matter of opinion. I think they do, so I'm just discussing my own thinking. To me, even leaving out any other similarities besides the nose, it's still enough. It's just too unusual a nose for me to discount! LOL The fact that these two characters who have similar looks (to me) inhabit the same story arc can't be a coincidence. Now, here was the key that made it come together for me.

Meanwhile, what about Mozgus? He's a fanatic, that much is easy to see. But is he really following a moral code? Or is he just a hypocrite, using his power to cruelly subjugate and abuse the weak and helpless? I think we all know the answer. Mozgus has no morals, because morality is about doing what's right, not conforming to rules or customs. And Mozgus interprets the Holy Book as it pleases him so he can do what's wrong. In this, he's actually the complete opposite of Azan. But it's not just a matter of conviction. Mozgus had an extreme fervor, far stronger than that of Azan's. I don't think there's any doubt that in a hypothetical situation Azan would always bend the rules to protect innocents from harm, because he really only has a single rule to follow: doing what's right. Being honorable. Mozgus, on the other hand, is a religious extremist. He uses the pretense of an established code of conduct (one that is not personal to him) to oppress people to a point that renders said code of conduct meaningless.

So I think it's a lot more complicated than just being a positive and a negative example of the same trait. I can see why you would draw a parallel, but it's only superficial in my opinion.

I think the direction I was going with this was initially wrong because I wasn't looking at what a phony Mozgus was. Now I've revised my theory! Mozgus is false while Azan is true. False is such a great description for Mozgus. You probably already figured this out, but it explains to me why he looks so bizarre. When I first saw him I thought for sure he was an apostle, but he was human (before the egg apostle did his thing anyway). But he looks that way because he's a false prophet, so to speak, hence his stiff, artificial appearance. True is also a great description for Azan. He is one of the most pure-hearted and really good characters in the story. He also walks the walk. His good deeds and bravery are proof of his true faith and morality.

Well, anyway. I hope I don't seem overly stubborn. I just wanted to share my opinion, even if I am the only one who thinks it!  :serpico:
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Offline Aazealh

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2015, 05:35:46 PM »
I'm still convinced that there's some meaning to these two character's physical similarities. Now, I know if you don't think they look all that much alike, then the argument becomes way less convincing and that's all good. It's a matter of opinion. I think they do, so I'm just discussing my own thinking. To me, even leaving out any other similarities besides the nose, it's still enough. LOL The fact that these two characters who have similar looks (to me) inhabit the same story arc can't be a coincidence.

Azan was introduced in volume 14, long before Mozgus, and is still active in the story over 15 volumes after Mozgus' death. Anyway, like I said before, even if there was a strong thematic connexion between the two characters, I don't think Miura would emphasize it by giving them similar noses. It just seems arbitrary to me.

Well, anyway. I hope I don't seem overly stubborn. I just wanted to share my opinion, even if I am the only one who thinks it!  :serpico:

I do think you are being stubborn here, but that's fine. =)

On a more general level it's not wrong to say that Azan embodies purity of heart and outstanding morality whereas Mozgus is an avatar of cruelty and false morals. It's just that it isn't specific to Mozgus (Aren't all apostles inherently evil for example? And what about the heretics, what do they represent?). I think you're just guilty of seeing too much into it, trying to make the parallel between the two characters deeper than it really is, while the author himself did not play it up at all.

Offline JMP

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Re: Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2015, 08:27:11 PM »
I do see where you and Walter are coming from. It's definitely possible I made more out of it than there was meant to be. Miura is pretty good about drawing the reader's attention to something that's meaningful and it's true that wasn't specifically done here. Also, when I think about the overall reason within the context of the story as to why there would be a parallel drawn between these two I can admit it does feel like a bit of a stretch.  :azan: :mozgus:
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot