Hey guys, SolZen here, today I'm going to go on about the difference between something 'Dark' and something being 'Tragic'
I recently had a discussion on the other Wiki about Dark shows in the series. I own later realized my mistake, that dark and tragic, are not the same.
Go and look at Ultraman Nexus, or Ultraseven X, two shows in the series considered 'dark'. In both shows, there is not always a happy ending for all characters, people die, yet, that alone is not dark. I'm serious. In Ultraman Tiga, numerous times, the ending was bittersweet, yeah the monster was destroyed, but someone's life with either destroyed, ruined or both, with the survivors having to endure the loss.
If both shows are so full of tragedy, then why is Tiga not considered 'Dark' while Seven X and Nexus are? Well, to answer a question with a question, what is 'Dark'?
Dark is the atmosphere, a vague explanation, but let me continue. While tragedy was never shied away from in Tiga, it never did try to go into certain areas. Yes, the failures of man were sometimes noticed, both individual and as whole, but it was never in your face about it. In Tiga, we had mankind under the effects of a narcotic, in Seven X, we have actual drug dealers, who were attempting to kill a couple.
Another thing 'Dark', does not have to be 'adult', or 'mature' or however people call it.
Between Dark and Tragic
With 'Dark' the tragedy is part of the point, with 'Tragic' tragedy is only part of the equation. Take Evolu, a man so obsessed with being the best, due to his upbringing. It drives him mad, to the point that he exposes himself to a mutagen to get the superhuman powers he thinks he needs to get ahead. He was a man trapped in his own inferiority complex, jealous of Horii his friend who admired his achievements... Yet the majority of the episode is a mystery about finding out where Evolu is coming from and disappearing to, and also the possible love triangle.
Ultraseven X, Hupnath is an alien that believes he was human. A victim of his nature who accidentally killed his wife. Under the delusion that she is still alive and the alien, he kills the drug dealers, I previously mentioned, until he himself is struck down by Seven. Before all of that happened, he was a meek, calm, gentleman, turned into a monster, killed his beloved, and when forced with such a terrible truth, retreated into a delusion. All of this makes up a good portion, if not the majority of the episode.
Yet, Dark is not just tragedy at the forefront, sometimes it's not about the tragedy, itself, but the pitiable nature of a question, a question that generally doesn't paint us a bright light. Said question could be explored in a context, no less gruesome but still 'dark'. For example, the question of 'what makes serial killers', through the context of a murderous robot who abducts and kills certain young women. All of that is dark, the fate of his victims, tragic, the bot could be under the influence of a virus or faulty programming, tragic, the bot could be aware of the immoral nature of their actions and still be unable to stop themselves, that is tragic. Granted the tragic, the pitiable nature of these facts are not meant to be universal, but they are all still tragic aspects of one dark situation
Thematic Dark versus Atmospheric Dark
Indeed, a horror movie is 'dark', I speak specifically of the 'gore fests' in most horror films these days. Yet, I don't really find those films...scary, disgusting yes, and they may jump me, but if I can go to sleep immediately afterwards and not care...it wasn't really scary... Jaws had me scared to go into the sea for months, it had me afraid to go into the tub (I was a sensitive child, don't judge me).
As I said before, Dark is the atmosphere. You should be able to look at a horror movie and see the difference between it an a comedy. The sound, lighting, the mood was intended not to make you laugh but unsettle you, even if it isn't obvious at first. With simply 'dark', the mood set is not a happy one. A dark world can be beautiful, but it's not one, you should want to live in if you had any sense.
Ultraman Axel's world has a Dark Atmosphere, the Earth in that series, is dystopian, mankind has forsaken its free will and future in the name of some alien overlord. Yet, so far, thematically it isn't that dark. STAR member Vincent, was abused as a child, if that wasn't obvious, well there you go. Orion got bulleied and beaten a lot as a child, Mizuki watched her family and friends get killed by Zoe, and yet... Despite all the dark moments, the tragic moments in Orion, I wouldn't personally call it dark.
So I hope this helps all you future writers in you future endeavors, not just Ultra Fan Fiction, but in any fiction you wish to create.