I am writing this because honestly, I believe being able to keep up with the 5 differing personalities of the Robas takes talent and there is definitely an art to it. I have had to be in their heads so much this month, I started to have problems with this very concept. So I figured I'd take some time out and sort things out. This is my headcanon which only borrows slightly from the tidbits we get in The ESP Duelist episodes.
In his episodes of origin, Espa comes off as somewhat cocky and sneaky. Indeed, he is found to be cheating at the duel, using his little brothers to do the job. This just about put him on my "KILL KILL KILL" list right up there with Rex and Weevil. He was going up against Joey! And in those days, Joey was the it man for me. Needless to say that my attitude towards Espa and his brothers have changed, or we wouldn't be here to discuss it!
In my head canon, Espa made good on his word for the Robas never to cheat it again. It kinda became a family code. And it extends far past dueling. And why? Because The Robas are all psychic in my mind. The code of the Roba Family is to never ever use their psychic gifts to hurt another person, or each other. This means, of course, no ESP on each other. Though Espa's is somewhat heightened and he always has that instinct when something is wrong, he tries his best to not intervene when at all possible where his brothers are concerned.
Speaking of his brothers... because of the way things went down with his mother, Espa has a very active hand in his brothers' lives, even if they get increasingly annoyed by it as they get older. The young man has spent his entire life protecting his family, and so it's very hard for him to step away and have his own life apart from them. Which is where his (now) fiancee Nora Lancaster comes in.
Nora was a childhood friend, and the only person left at the carnival from Espa's days there. They started up a relationship shortly after Espa signed the papers to the carnival, and they've been slowly progressing. While with Nora, Espa does his best to turn off the older brother switch, and Nora is all too happy to help him do that. She has been instrumental in helping Espa see that he wanted to be more than the caregiver for his family. So now he's going to finally go to school and do something else.
Espa's personality is...somewhere between closed off and downright cold. Or so it would seem. Because of his early risse into adulthood at the age of 13, Espa has had to make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of his four brothers. Not one does he regret. He is always acutely aware of the fact he missed out. Early on he decided he wasn't going to accept any help from anyone. This changed later, but he still is reluctant, even with Kaiba being a main benefactor.
When it comes to making friends, he can come off as standoffish, but that's because he holds people at arms length. If you're lucky to get into Espa's good graces, don't ever do anything that would make him regret it. This is a lesson Victoria learns quickly. And it also is the main reason why she has been trying harder to be more sensitive to Espa's wishes.
Jonathan Roba. Ah... he is his brother's brother. Almost a hair taller than Espa, he carries himself in about the same manner. But it didn't start that way! When he was younger, he was all too happy to help Espa with Christien, Andrew, and Ej, but he, himself, always managed to get sucked into their varying schemes, often resulting in Espa being disappointed in him. His favorite thing to do was to go on crazy adventures with Mokuba Kaiba, and then come home and tell them all about it. (Granted these adventures were mostly consistently of sneaking past security at Kaiba Corp on the days Seto was extra busy, and going ot Kaibaland sometimes after dark, so nothing too big...or dangerous. Just annoying for the elder Roba to get calls about).
As he got older, he started to take more of a serious role in the family, often acting as Espa's second in command when his eldest brother had to work late. He is no expert at the child care game, though. It is mostly for that reason he is thankful when Victoria Ishtar comes into the picture to try and straighten them out. He's at first, like Espa, very wary of her, given her past transgression of following Espa home just for a look at them. But soon warms up to her, seeing that she brings out a somewhat adventurous side in his younger brother, Christien.
His personality on a whole is a lot softer than Espa's. He, too, is protective of his entire family, but mostly of his three younger brothers. He doesn't really do the dueling thing but has always held a fascination with it as a spectator. He keeps people at arms length too, but often he relents to letting them in. Mokuba is a good example of this. Because he and Mokuba can relate to having protective older brothers, they hit it off almost immediately after Battle City (where Mokuba busted the four younger brothers cheating on Espa's behalf).
Jonathan is also much easier at starting up relationships. Unlike his elder brother and his youger brother, he has had two romantic relationships. The first was with a girl named Nikki who was in the KaibaCorp dueling league with him when he was still dueling. That relationship lasted a year until Nikki left Domino pursue a professional dueling career. The second is with Kendra Underwood.
Kendra and Jonathan started out as friendly rivals on opposing soccer teams. That friendship suddenly got serious a few years later when the Robas and Victoria traveled to Las Vegas to have Victoria finally be able to compete in a dueling tournament against Veronica Skylar, another girl who was brought into that world from an alternate one where the Robas and company were fictional. Jonathan asked Kendra out, and much to Weevil's dismay, the youngest Underwood agreed.
At the age of 20, Jonathan has become a sort of Espa lite, as he has taken on the responsibility of the carnival, and the care of his brothers, though Christien is legally an adult. He runs a very effective routine, and with Victoria at his side as second in command caregiver wise, the carnival is set to run for a long time.
Eee! (-clears throat-Ahem. Fan girl moment). It is not a big secret that Christien Roba is my favorite Roba to write for. He is quiet, and thoughtful, and at times, seems to have a somewhat mischevious side early in life. He is the middle Roba, and that sometimes has adverse effects. Sometimes he doesn't feel like he gets the same amount of attention from Espa that Jonathan started to get as he got older, or that the littles got because they were younger.
He also has problems letting people in, but that mostly extends to female friends, becuase he has Mommy Issues (a tidbit revealed more recently, but I had to add it as it was important!) . When we first see Christien, he is a little over 9 (so I'm assuming, but I'm not entirely sure that's accurate. Sometimes I really hate that the Robas got so shafted and were only given those two episodes!!) because of that, he is happy to tag along with Jonathan and Mokuba on their varying adventures.
Like Jonathan, Christien takes special interest in his younger brothers. He has very close relationship with Andrew, and usually if he's getting into a fight its because someone's picking on him. But it would take a lot to get Christien riled up because he is very much a quiet boy. Until Victoria.
When Christien met Victoria, it was almost love at first sight though neither he or she was aware of it. He found himself increasingly intrigued with her as she introduced the Robas to her strange obsession with Ancient Egyptian culture and rituals. But it wasn't until she became the Robas' standing sitter, and he saw her in a completely different environment that he became smitten. It became his mission from that point on to court her.
He and Victoria have had a roller coaster of a relationship, but most of it has been good. He finds himself consistently protecting her from people and things, and sometimes herself. She has been good for him, too, though. Due to some coaxing, and downright bribery, he wound up auditioning with her for a community production of The Phantom of the Opera. That audition would lead the pair to become the longest running Phantom and Christine in history of the theatre. Because of their continued involvement with 'Phantom', Christien used their signature song, "All I Ask Of You" to give her both a promise ring, and her engagement ring.
Personality wise, Christien is very quiet and thoughtful. He likes to help people, and he tries to do so at every opportunity. He is the main runner of the midway at the carnival, and he really enjoys it. When it comes to meeting new people, he is like his elder brothers, and is very cautious. He doesn't even like to have Victoria meet new people when he's not present. He is often able to make quick decisions because of always being on the listen for advice, and dangers.
Andrew and Ej Roba
As the babies of hte family, one would think I wouldn't really spend much time on them. Boy are you wrong. Of all of the Robas, these two got a Lot of development. Andrew was betwen 4 and 5 in the ESP Duelist episodes, and Ej, of course, was a baby. But I am thinking now he might've been abou 1. In one fic, I had him being 2. Hmm. Anyway! The littlest Robas aren't any less fun to write for than their older brothers.
Andrew is so adorable. His relationship with Victoria is one that I can completely relate to. That relationship was modeled after my early relationship with Daniel. He likes sweets, but they often make him bounce off the walls, so Victoria started monitoring that. Now he's into more healthy foods, like apples and bananas. He often likes to act like he's older than he is and that leads Tori to call him her second in command. He is always good at finding lost shoes in the daily Great Shoe Hunt.
Now that he's ten, he has finally joined the carnival with his own act with Jonathan. It is a long and complicated Juggling act that he is very proud of. He doesn't like Victoria constantly being on his case anymore, but he never says it outright, knowing what the teen has done for him. Being older also means he takes on more responsibility which in this case means that he takes care of Ej now. And Victoria is okay with that, most days. Besides, Andrew likes to point out, Victoria needs some time to rest now that they're older!
Ej (which stand for Esp Jacob) is the youngest of the Roba brood. When he first meets Victoria, it's adoration at firsit sight. The baby of the family became really attached quick, and even demanded on more than on occasion that she stay the night just so she can put him to bed with her songs.
As he got older, he grew more attached to Tori. So much so that when Victoria gets abducted twice, he freaks out, thinking she's left. He doesn't remember his mother, so Victoria's all he got in that respect.
Ej has developed a little personality as he's gotten older. He's very self-reliant, or he tries to be. Is it really his fault that his shoes end up in the plant in Espa's room on a regular basis? Someone should tell the shoe monster to stop taking them! He takes pride in being able ot help his former babysitter soon to be sister-in-law with more grown up things now.
He doesn't really go to people outside the family at all. He is very closed off to newer people, and if it's Espa and his brothers, or Victoria introducing them, it still takes time for him to adjust. He prefers things to stay on routine. Differences upset him greatly, like Tori going off to the Conservatory. He hadn't liked that at all!
As you can see... it can get pretty hairy in any given Roba fic without Victoria's presence. But when I throw that girl into things, it makes it easier for me to determine their personalities because the relationship she has with Espa is vastly different from the one she has with any of his other brothers.
In these last few fics, I have tried to give Espa more of a voice because somehow he got lost in the shuffle of Christoria (Christien x Victoria) and Jendra (Jonthan x Kendra), as well as some of their actual antics and things. Espa, I feel, gets the least amount of attention from the group, so I wanted to remedy that, and introduced a new concept: Espa in a real, romantic relationship. I thnk I really loved writing his scenes at the prom because it was unusual for me to get to show that gentler side of Espa, and that reluctant-to-give-in side, too. Nora brings it out of him though, and it's sweet. Also, that ship name is Espora.
Trivia: Nora's last name is taken from Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars.