I said I would do this one day and here it is. A revamped list of ten anime clichés I can’t stand with a passion, with examples included to highlight their prominence. Death to all of them!
– Bear in mind that there is a difference between a cliché and a genre, so nothing like “spiritual Japan” or “war stories” are on here. Edit: Of course, when you think about it (particularly in regards to #9), the whole list is more like a top ten “complaints” list rather than a “worst clichés” one. But clichés sounds cooler, so eh.
– I’m not sure if I’ll do a best anime cliches list because I can’t think of any I particularly love to make a full list. I dig insane characters obviously. I love Tom and Jerry-style slapstick. Characters getting screwed and growing worse gives me all sorts of feels. But what I dig about anime tends to be unique to that specific anime, whereas what I don’t like is pretty common-ground. But we’ll see.
– Well enough idling. Let’s get on with what pisses me off about anime.
10. I’m A Virgin/I’m a Horndog
Examples: Practically every LN Protagonist Falls Under One Or The Other.
My problem with this cliché is very simple: it feels forced. Obviously, the idea that a teenager, even when you take into account Japan’s low birthrate, can handle himself with all of these pretty girls around him is extremely hard to buy. But anime has this tendency to play the “virgin” card like it’s the gold standard, then that’s when I get pissed. I’m all for people not consummating the relationship if they’re smart about it. I understand that in real life, sex is pretty important for both parties and whatnot. But it’s pretty clear what the real reason anime guys don’t have teenagers acting horny is, and it can be attributed to the reactions to Kannagi and Ano Hana when certain females were thought to be deflowered. And whilst the intention is good, it doesn’t translate well to screen. At least have them kiss.
I’m definitely not a fan of the other side of the spectrum though. It feels like someone is trying to copy Ataru from Urusei Yatsura, except they didn’t get why Ataru worked. I talked before about how Nourin’s protagonist does this, but I think the crowning example is Saito from Zero no Tsukaima. Because they’re so horny, it’s hard to believe them when they say they love one girl (and the wrong girl on top of that) and it makes me feel like I’m rooting for infidelity or something. Maybe if their theme song was Mambo No. 5, I’d be supportive.
Examples: KyoAni and Shaft Are Two Of the Biggest Offenders Of This Cliché As Of Late. Sunrise Has Done This Countless Times, Especially With Gundam. A Bunch of Weekly Shonen Jump Series Can Only Stay In Popularity By Playing The Same Tired Trope Over and Over. And Need I Mention the VN Adaptations Back in the Old Days?
We all know the anime industry survives by ripping off other popular works without getting why those works were popular. But good works in general usually put enough spins on them so that they feel unique. Even when you’ve watched a thousand different anime, you still continue to keep up with the current stuff because there’s always something that feels new. You just got to wade through the 30-other generic recycled crap to get to them, because originality is getting harder and harder to find in the medium because of certain industry politics I’m not at liberty to talk about.
Do I really need to expand on this one? If something isn’t providing anything unique, then why should I watch it? I don’t look to mediocrity for entertainment. Real relationships themselves don’t survive by the person staying the same their entire lifetime. It’s called evolution guys. Get with the program.
8. Giving Sense to Stuff That’s Not Necessary
Examples: Break Blade. Angel Beats. A Bunch of Light Novels, Although the Anime Adaptations Tend to Excise Details. Madoka Magica.
I don’t get the whole “please explain what’s going on here” mentality a bunch of fans seem to have regarding anime. What’s wrong with leaving things to the imagination? What’s wrong with coming up with our own theories regarding what happens? Is there any explanation that could possibly be given regarding that particular scene that would have improved the story in any way? Without ruining everything that happened previously? Without just making things shittier?
If there isn’t, then don’t bother to explain it. I’m still living life fine without needing to know the details regarding why I was born as an Asian male blogging about foreign cartoons.
7. Lazy Exposition
Examples: Fate/Zero’s First Episode is Self-Explanatory. Nobunaga the Fool’s First Episode Is The Same. Mono/Katanagatari Take the Cake. Don’t Get Me Started on Dark F*cking Myth.
Anime is a visual medium. You’re supposed to tell the story through animation first and foremost. Not give me a book report and put some pretty pictures in the background that aren’t at all interesting to look at, especially when they don’t move. There’s a difference between throwing me into a complicated world and listening to an audiobook of some crappy fanfiction. Or playing a VN. I don’t even like reading books these days anyways. So you can bet I don’t like it when my moving pictures hand me a glossary that I am not allowed to control the pace of regarding my reading speed and go “remember this!”
Is it really a wonder that my least favorite subjects in school were literature and government? Yeah, that explains a lot, doesn’t it?
6. Reset Button Ending
Examples: After Story/Mai-Hime Are The Most Infamous Examples. Madoka Magica Does This Too. Rahxephon Has One That Just Made Me Go WHAT?!
Life doesn’t give you second chances. There’s using entertainment to escape from reality, and then there’s just plain insulting. The reset button ending is the latter.
5. The Gary Stu/Mary Sue Character
Examples: Kaze no Stigma. My Pet Monster. To-Love-Ru.
I’m usually tolerant of some crappy characters as long as they do something interesting, but I absolutely cannot stand the perfect being and the show forcing us to take their side. You guys probably know by now that my most hated anime character of all-time is Kazuma from Kaze no Stigma. Why? Because he’s a prick with no faults and the show wants us to respect him, despite him doing some pretty jackass things! That’s not a compelling protagonist! That’s a self-entitled jackass with no irony to him! Why would I want to watch a guy like that?
On the female side, we have characters like Lala from To-Love-Ru and other similar magical girlfriends who have no faults other than being a ditz. They get great grades. They’re super strong. They love our loser for no real reason. They feel like some wet dream without the personality to make them interesting in real life. They don’t even have the stupid “tragic backstory” stuff that Kazuma tried to sell himself off with.
The reason I hate these characters so much is because they feel like they’re above me. I’m fine with someone being different from me, both in real life and in fiction. But when they start thinking they’re the law or whatever, I get pissed off.
Examples: So Many Harem/Incest/Trashy Shows Do This.
My reason for hating this is simple: it’s pedophilia! It’s goddamn wrong, anyway you look at it. And yet Adam Sandler seems to think it’s funny in that godawful That’s My Boy film of his. Why?
3. Drama/Message Bombs (Particularly Nonsensical Ones)
Examples: Honey and Clover II. Little Busters. Sakurasou. A Fuckton of NTR Hentai. Every Story In Hell Girl. Humanity Has Declined.
A lot of people complain regarding how they don’t like emotional manipulation or melodrama, when in reality seeing Simon in TTGL triumph over his enemies through the power of awesome is just as emotionally manipulative as the final crying scene in Anohana. The only difference is that the latter kind of emotional manipulation is fucking boring because I go to fiction to escape the fact that reality is a load of crap. And I don’t really appreciate you telling me that the environment needs to be saved or that war is bad or whatever whilst you’re at it. If you’re going to tell me that the world sucks in my escapist fiction, tell it to me as a comedy. As a martial arts romp with great action scenes. As pulp. Don’t tell it to me through a bunch of selfish people crying their eyes out and say “this is what the world is like!” I don’t generally even really like it when that stuff is done well, unless Miyazaki is the man behind the whole thing.
It particularly gets irritating when they rely on drama/message bombs to justify the most insufferable of behavior.
-The reason I still love you after all the abuse I put you through? Who cares, because love conquers all?
-Oh, the reason why we’re showing this woman killing dogs? In order to show just how dark humanity is.
-I’m siding against my family because? They’re a bunch of filthy tree haters.
Yeah, gag me.
Examples: Beck. Accel World. Hell Girl. Too Many Non-Anime Movies Like “Let Me In”.
If you remember my first “worst anime clichés” list, this was my most hated, and even in its current #2 position, it still pisses me off to this day.
I’m going to make this clear: these characters ruin EVERYTHING I’ve seen them in. I hate these kinds of antagonists to the point that they ruined Beck for me. The asshole who is pathetic and yet somehow has this domination over somebody because…I dunno why. For some reason, they’re always (well, usually) big and muscular. For some reason, they always have similar friends. For some reason, they don’t seem to have any hobbies outside of picking on the kid, and when they do, it’s always related to the kid. They never have any character of their own and are thus boring to watch when they’re not outright insulting my intelligence.
Basically, they’re like Dark Helmet from Spaceballs. Except they’re not the least bit funny, which is pretty much the only good bully character in my opinion. I’d like to see a show/movie where the bully is the protagonist personally…oh wait, we do have Robot Girls Z.
What else can I really say about them? They’re lazy in concept. They’re lazy in execution. They look lazy. And they irritate me. Fuck them!
1. Not Making Anything Happen
Examples: God, where do I start with this one? Penguindrum. Rahxephon. Everything White Fox Makes. Odin Photon Sailer Starlight. Too Many Shonen Jump Series. K-On. Space Brothers. Robotics;Notes. Shiki. The Eccentric Family. Practically the Entire Type-Moon Franchise. Monogatari. All the Madhouse Sports Shows. Eureka Sev…Yeah I Need to Stop.
After I started blogging, I started digesting all the popular stuff that people told me were the best of the best. I ended up not really liking stuff like Eureka Seven, Rahxephon, and all that, but I couldn’t really pinpoint why besides “this isn’t what I want”. Then it suddenly clicked on me a few months ago and after revisiting some of them, as well as looking at whatever new crap White Fox puts out, the problem with these series turned out to be simple.
They. Take. Too. Long. To. Do. ANYTHING!
I’d like to re-iterate something that should have been made clear with some of the clichés below this one: I HATE shows that think you can just have the characters dick around, relying on whether you like them or not, and call it entertainment. And I also hate it when shows ignore what could have made them fun in order to focus on character development that takes too long to go anywhere and isn’t even done well. As fun as Okabe in Steins;Gate was, having him do nothing but go from girl to girl whilst spouting out theories is fucking boring when that’s all he does for eleven episodes, and wasn’t really worth that second half in the grand scheme of things. Having Kaiki and Senjougahara tell the story through their banter can be funny, but it puts me to sleep if you make it go on for however the fuck long that Monogatari Season 2 arc went. And Galilei Donna? You could have removed those middle nine episodes of nothing happening and the show wouldn’t have changed in the least. Blegh!
Do you guys really like that kind of storytelling? Do you guys really like that kind of pacing? I mean I don’t know why I’m asking that question because it’s clear that most of you do, but I’ll never understand the appeal of watching animated drawings just goof around without any plot progression . Seinfeld, a show about “nothing”, always weaved in about two-three plotlines an episode. Louie is pretty much just about a guy’s life, but that works because it’s funny AND the situations he finds himself in are creatively bizarre. I know people hated Robotics;Notes almost as much as I did, but I definitely didn’t see the difference between it and something like Rahxephon. Except for that part where Ayato accidentally kills his friend because she was linked to a Dolem. That was cooler than anything the former did.
I dunno. You guys are weird.