Sunday, December 7, 2014

Top Five Anime Cliche's

I've finally hopped on the bandwagon and decided to list the five anime cliches, or tropes, that annoy me the most. I know what you're all thinking. "How could you, Brandon?" I'm sorry, but while I love anime and manga and light novels, even I will admit this particular entertainment media has even more cliches than Chuck Norris has people kissing his butt.

There are hundreds of cliches in the anime world. More than I can list in a single article. For the sake of keeping my word count below 9,000, I'm only going to list the five that bother me the most. If you agree with them, awesome, let me know. If you don't, cool, let me know why. Also, if you have any cliches you dislike, be sure to leave a post and let everyone know.

Number 5: Harem Conclusions.

One of the few things I hate about harem anime is the lack of a conclusive ending. The problem with harems is that they almost always end completely open. The main character almost never mans up and chooses a girl. The most you can expect from an anime like this is for everything to return to the way it was at the beginning, sans the fact that the MC now has several women chasing after his oblivious loser tush.

There are some anime that break this trope. Shuffle did an exceptional job of having the main character man up and pick a girl. The World God Only also ended with the MC not getting with the one girl he might have liked (or any of the other girls). These are great examples of how to properly use a standard trope and make it work. However, generally, most anime fall under this annoyingly open ended category that never ceases to leave me wanting.

Number 4: Overused Female Archetypes

The problem I have with this trope isn't the archetypes themselves, but the fact that directors use them as an excuse to be lazy. Rarely ever will you see these characters fleshed out. In fact, you'll be lucky if these characters get any development before the end of the season. And when the directors actually DO make a half-hearted attempt at giving them some development, it's always during the last one or two episodes, when I'm just so annoyed by how stereotypical their personalities are that I just don't care anymore.

There are, of course, anime that can take these archetypes and create well-thought out, meaningful and believable characters, but those are so rare that usually only maybe one out of every five anime will successfully take an archetype and make them into something more. A few examples of properly created archetype characters are: Rin Tohsaka from Fate/Stay Night, Kanade from Angel Beats, and Yuno Gasai from Mirai Nikki. Rin is a classic example of the tsundere archetype, but there's a lot more to her personality, desires, and traits than this simple title. She strives to be the best at everything, she hates losing to anyone, and she has responsibilities as the second owner of Fuyuki city that she takes seriously. Kanade, while a typical example of kuudere at first, eventually evolves as the story progresses, going from an emotionless girl to someone who can express her emotions more freely. And Yuno Gasai holds the title of Yandere Queen. However, she's not just a yandere, and as the anime progresses, we begin to learn more about her past and see how her actions and experiences shaped her into the person she became in the anime.

Number 3: Anime that Never Go Anywhere

Something I really dislike about some anime is the lack of plot progression for the sake of screwing around. One of my beliefs is that a scene should do something to either progress the plot or develop the characters. In a comedy, character development is done through ensuing hilarity. In romance, it's done by developing the relationship of the hero and heroine. In action, you have an enemy show up that needs to be defeated. In slice-of-life, you generally have people dealing with everyday problems that need to be solved. Excellent examples of these anime are Golden Time (romance), Susei no Gargantia (action/mecha), and ReLIFE (slice of life). Each anime is well-paced, develops their characters, has their characters overcome certain hardships, and gives us a generally satisfying ending.

But what happens when a story has no plot? What happens when the characters are never developed? What happens when all you have are a bunch of characters doing nothing, where the story never progresses and the characters never grow beyond whatever archetypes they've been molded from? You get a horrible anime. That's what.

Number 2: The Boob Fall

Now, this is a cliche I'm on the fence about. I've seen some truly epic boob falls in my time, where the main character ends up falling into a girl's boobs and somehow finds their face planted directly into her notorious cleavage. That being said, a lot of anime seem to use this for no other reason than fanservice. And not the comedy type of fanservice. I'm talking the "let's give these Otaku some fapping material" kind of fanservice.

In my opinion, this cliche is rarely ever done well. To Love Ru can do it because that entire anime is just one big fan service, and they're boob falls are so over the top that they've actually started doing crotch falls now. NouCome also does it well, but they take a very different approach to boob falling. However, while this trope is fine to use in a comedy that relies on its fan service to deliver a story, it doesn't work in a more serious anime, especially if there's a heavy romantic element. Having the main protagonist fall face first into a girl's breasts does not make a believable romance.

Number 1: The Back of the Classroom

Why is it that every main character in every high school anime sits at the back of the main classroom? I just don't get it. Is it somehow symbolic with their rebel attitude? Is it to show how much of a loser they are? How anti-social they are? Why does every main character sit there?

Some of you might be scratching your heads wondering why this bothers me so much. I sometimes wonder that myself. I guess my biggest problem with this cliche is that it happens in EVERY high school anime setting ever conceived, and it's never explained! Just once I would like someone to make the character sit at the front of the class, where he's right up in the middle of the action. Is that too much to ask for? Granted, I understand that this cliche is actually used as a means of cutting cost by re-using the same scenes over again, but please, I just want something different.

This concludes my list of top five anime cliches. There are hundreds of cliches in anime. If any of you would like to add a cliche you dislike, feel free. If you'd like to defend a cliche posted up here, feel free. As always, thanks for reading!