I’ll probably do a proper character analysis on Danielle later, but I still wanted to do a little bit on her now.
I know a lot of people don’t like her, call her a canon sue and other such things. However, I’ve never saw her this way. I can see why some people would. She fulfills the usual traits of the DP Mary Sues. She’s a half ghost, connected to Danny, connected to Vlad, has a female version of Danny’s name. But really, when you get down to it, there’s a lot of characters who sound like mary sues on paper and the what makes them not is execution.
Dani is literally Danny’s clone. The similarities in appearance are deliberate, and the name is not her choice, but instead Vlad’s. Vlad is obsessed with Danny, so of course she’d end up with the female version of the name. This isn’t lazy story convention, but instead a sign of Vlad’s own psychosis and obsession. He would be trying to make her as close as possible, because getting Danny is his whole motive.
And female clones have been a thing in superhero comic books, which Danny Phantom gets a lot of inspiration from. It’s just another trope.
Every mary sue trait is from Vlad, not Dani. Every similarity and her existence is just a sign of how far Vlad has lost it, which they had been building. Even in the story itself they make it clear how much Vlad had blinded himself.
He says he wants love. This is true. Unfortunately he only sees one way to do this anymore, which is to take Maddie and Danny for his own. He couldn’t see the little girl who was more than willing to love him. He wasn’t even letting himself see her as human.
Another thing that’s common in mary sue stories is that the heroes are oddly trusting of the character. Letting them in too much, not questioning their origins enough. This isn’t so with Dani. Danny is suspicious of her, even when she’s human. At first, he’s not overly concerned because he thinks she’s a human little girl. He feeds her because she ran away from home and was probably hungry. Danny is a good kid, this is a natural first step. It’s also a moment that let’s us see them bond for a few moments over things they like.
Then he’s immediately dragging her to his parents because he still doesn’t really know who this girl is. Of course she runs, and he goes after her. He discovers she’s a halfa! And what does he do? He asks what’s up with that, but then she ‘passes out.’ Again, Danny is a good kid and he’s confused, but he can’t ignore this girl. Not only would it be cruel, but there’s too many questions to let her go. He just doesn’t think about her leaving because…well, Danny isn’t known for his foresight.
Even when he runs into her again, he’s rather quick to question who she is. Except a ghost comes through and he has to deal with that. Sure he has a little fun, but at no point does Danny show just blind acceptance of her. He’s questioning her the whole time, he wants to know what’s up, but things keep distracting him. Probably all deliberate moves on Dani and Vlad’s part.
The only time he truly takes a chance to ‘trust’ her is when he’s hardpressed. She helped him before, maybe she will again, but it’s not like he has much choice in the matter. She wasn’t a bigger threat than Vlad.
Plus, she was a little girl. Perhaps half ghost, but she was still twelve. By this point Danny had only encountered two ‘kids’ in his own battles, and one was from an alternate future attacking him for justifiable reasons. And it’s pretty obvious Youngblood mostly just wants to play games. Neither one are put into the same threat level of Vlad.
And later, he even asks about her helping him. He knows by this point she will, but it’s still a shot. It acknowledges the fact Danny knows he shouldn’t have trusted her then. But while he’s WILLING to trust her and he cares for her deeply, his trust is still shakey at best.
In D-Stabilized, Danny is accusatory when Valerie mentions Dani being a bait and he looks at Dani. He doesn’t assume she didn’t know, he assumed she DID. He assumed Dani was out to capture her until he was corrected.
Even Valerie is cold to her when she finds out she’s a ghost. When she’s just a human girl? She shows concern about a little girl whose about to be in the middle of a fight with a ghost. Valerie is the one who knows best how much collateral damage can happen in a ghost fight. She doesn’t want a little girl involved with that. It’s only after Danny drives it home that she’s a little girl too that Valerie chooses to listen to her better self. Is she a ghost? Yes, but she saw she was human. Even if she didn’t understand it, she couldn’t do that to a little girl. It was about what Dani was, not Dani herself. If this was any other little girl, Valerie would do the same.
As for Vlad? Well, we already know he’s a bit off his rocker. He wasn’t being cruel to Dani because she was oh so special. It was simply because she was a tool to be used. She wasn’t perfect, she couldn’t be a ‘real’ person yet. She was just a part of an experiment. He never acknowledged her as human. He probably wasn’t even looking for her, Dani was just paranoid he was. And when he saw her, that’s when he went after her. He never even went out of his way, he just thought to use what he could use when it was there.
It’s probably why he wasn’t all that concerned when he lost. It wasn’t a grand scheme. It was more a whim. It was better to not lose the valuable piece of Valerie on a whim, so he accepted the loss rather graciously. Ultimately, Dani was of no consequence to him.
When Dani is there, there’s a story around her, but she doesn’t truly take over. There’s other struggles involved, only adding a new dimension to them. There’s more strife between Vlad and Danny over their views on her, and she forces Valerie and Danny to work together because of the greater good they both see. She moves others along. Kindred Spirits if the episode where Vlad truly and utterly snaps. He was doing a desperate ploy and to have it fail makes him really lose it. Even in D-Stabilized, if it had been used EARLIER in the season and the elements explored more, it could have had interesting elements. Valerie knowing about halfas, knowing about Vlad. Even without Dani involved, it would have been interesting to see that truly explored.
Then there’s her own character, but I’ll get into that more later.
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