Chevaliers and Shepherds

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Using power responsibly is an especially complex challenge for magical girls, who are gifted with so much of it at such a young age. Is it ever acceptable to kill an innocent person, in order to save many more? Which foes can be redeemed, and which must be destroyed? What is the relative value of a civilian life compared to that of oneself and one's comrades? In short, when not everyone can be saved, how does a magical girl decide who deserves to live?

On Battle Fantasia, the struggle over responsible use of power has given rise to two competing groups, who are currently at war. The Chevaliers believe in a strict, intrinsic morality; they hold that a magical girl should not commit evil deeds even for a good cause. The Shepherds believe that the ends can justify the means, and that magical girls may need to follow grey paths to survive and protect others. Even as the Chevaliers set out to protect innocents against the harm caused by rogue magical girls, the Shepherds defend magical girls from efforts to control and punish them for doing what must be done.

The story of the Chevaliers and Shepherds is a way to explore this common mahou shoujo theme of the use of power. This story ties the issue into a larger conflict, to interconnect different casts and allow them to explore their characters' feelings on power and responsibility. Both groups resemble a club more than they resemble a team, and they are not exclusive with other affiliations.


Crusading Idealists

There are rules, and being a magical girl doesn't change that. You don't commit murder, ever. If you see someone in danger, you help. Maybe the line between right and wrong is blurry, but there is a line, and being powerful doesn't give you the right to cross it. The moment you decide that you're different, that the evil you commit is for a higher purpose, you have lost what made you a hero.

The Chevaliers were formed to help rogue magical girls, not punish them. They believe that no magical girl has to compromise her beliefs, and that those who act selfishly generally do so because they are afraid or alone. By lending their united strength to magical girls in need, they hope to remove the need to use magical power in ways that harm innocents. If the magical girls of Tokyo united, they feel, there would be no need for the desperation that leads their sisters down dark paths.

Unfortunately, this beautiful future is not so easy to reach. Brute heroics have not been enough to solve everyone's problems, and some magical girls reject assistance to begin with. This is where the Chevaliers become controversial: if a magical girl will not stop putting innocents at risk, the Chevaliers will use force. The people of the city must be protected from renegade magical girls, just as they are from hideous monsters.




Independent Realists

Not everyone can be saved. This isn't a pleasant truth, and the Chevaliers are lucky not to understand it. Human beings live and die by the choices of magical girls every day, and the Shepherds are often drawn from those who have in the past had to make some of the hardest of those choices. Some have killed villains to prevent further bloodshed, others are resolved to take innocent life in order to save something even more precious. Some simply seek to survive, whatever that may cost them. But the Shepherds aren't a force created to further such questionable deeds. They are a group devoted to protecting the freedom of magical girls to decide for themselves how best to use their power.

There's a perceptible insularity to the Shepherds' views; they tend to emphasize the sisterhood of magical girls, whereas the Chevaliers tend to emphasize a responsibility to civilians. An even looser organization than the Chevaliers, the Shepherds tend to coalesce around each other when one among them is in danger. If the Chevaliers were formed to protect people from magical girls, the Shepherds were formed to protect magical girls from Chevaliers.