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Best/Worst Cliches/Tropes in Anime

Tsurugi

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I still think it's weird to call that "chemistry" though. Chemistry implies something on the part of the actors.

Like where they look so unnatural together, it doesn't matter how good the writing is, they just won't work.

That doesn't really make sense in anime, though, since actors are only using their voices and at least 90% of chemistry is body language. So you can easily have animators work around that if two voice actors don't have good "chemistry" together.
Dictionary.com is telling me that "chemistry" mean "the interaction of one personality with another", so maybe we just have different definitions of what the word means.

If you write 2 characters whose personalities don't mesh together, it doesn't really matter if the animation makes it work if the writing behind it doesn't. It all comes down to whether or not the writing makes it work or not. Good animation is just wasted if they're portraying a bunch of paper thin personalities.
 

Goodbye Blue Monday

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@Tsurugi; Well, okay, but I'm talking about its colloquial use particularly in regards to television/film. When people talk about two characters in a show having "no chemistry" they usually are talking about how the actors interact.
 

SSJ_Jup81

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@Feanor; Well, if they have Americans/Europeans in a cast with Japanese or other Asian characters, how else are they going to make the white people identifiably white? It's not like East Asian characters in anime usually have what we would consider stereotypical East Asian features.

I guess if Western media weren't just as if not more stereotypical whenever they show people of color, I would be more bothered by stereotypical portrayals of Americans and Europeans in anime. Right now I have trouble caring, though. It's similar to when they mess up important details about Christianity, like nuns not being the same thing as mikos. Western media always screws up Eastern religions, usually even worse, so it evens out.
You can blame the media on that. Media from the US, for example, generally features majority whites. In my case, for some people, when first meeting me, never assume I'm from the US. I've been thought to have been from Brazil, South America, and Jamaica just because I am a person of color. For some Japanese (based on our media), it doesn't register, right off, that I could be American or Canadian, for example and how multi-ethnic/cultural the US is. Also in some Asian countries (Japan included), light skin = better and a form of beauty. They even sell skin lightening stuff.
 

Goodbye Blue Monday

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@SSJ_Jup81; Well, of course, when we're talking about media, we should "blame the media."

The issue is who exactly to blame. It's a structural problem, but where? Are studios refusing to produce things that aren't majority white (or refusing to market them toward a general audience), or are writers discouraged from creating interesting POC characters? Or is it just that most writers are white and aren't encouraged to look beyond their background?
 

matt0044

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Anyone like the "wake up and rush for school" opening scene cliche?
...
I thought so.

@Tsurugi What examples do you refer too?
 
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Tsurugi

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@Tsurugi What examples do you refer too?
(Pardon the late response, haven't been online here much)

Examples? I can't really give a specific examples, but it's more apparent with long running series that don't change casts. Characters tend to regress in personality the longer a show goes on for the sake of giving them something to do. I think it's happened in Beyblade, Digimon, and YuuGiOu a few times. (That filler arc (Seal of whatever-its-name-is one) of Yuugiou where Yuugi/whoever inexplicably turns into an angsty evil jackass for no reason kind of reeks of this)

Kamen Rider Fourze, which is live action but is written with so many stereotypical anime tropes that it might as well be anime, is exactly what I'm describing though. Endless cliched message about friendship every episode. Every single plotline ending with people becoming friends with the main character. Main characters getting development that either disappears or gets ignored for the sake of plot convenience. Characters never doing anything together even though they keep saying that they're friends. It's like every problem with shonen anime condensed into a single show. (This is written by the same guy who did Gurren Lagann which I didn't watch enough to know if this is just the way he writes things. I have heard complaints of Gurren Lagann having stereotypical characters, though.)
 

matt0044

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I have heard complaints of Gurren Lagann having stereotypical characters, though.)
Which was kinda the point of the show though I'd advise actually watching that before judging (as in see it to believe it).

Though what you said is something that you'd expect from a cartoon with negative continuity (ala Billy and Mandy).
 

Baby Seals

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I dislike how there are often hardly any female villains in anime besides magical girl anime. I can think of more androgynous male villains than female villains. (Pokemon is an exception, since there are plenty of bad girls.) Honestly, I'm tired of androgynous male villains. How about nasty, psychopathic female villains for a change? Contrary to popular belief, guys will watch something with a female villain.

Despite the bitchy girls, at least Pokemon has no female characters who value only marriage. The "all women want to be married and nothing else" is such a dumb idea nowadays. Imperial Japan is over, Japan.

At least most female anime superheroes were never represented as wusses. (unlike Western stuff - Invisible Woman was portrayed as a weakling in the first few years of the Fantastic Four. They stopped when people complained that it was sexist.)
 

SSJ_Jup81

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Despite the bitchy girls, at least Pokemon has no female characters who value only marriage. The "all women want to be married and nothing else" is such a dumb idea nowadays. Imperial Japan is over, Japan.
Well...that's true, it's not still Imperial Japan, but the mentality does still exist. Ironically, I gave an assignment to my high school students to explain what he/she wanted to be when growing up and why. I got a lot of "I want to be a housewife" from a good number of students. Also, it's still common for women to stop working when they become married. It's probably less now compared to years ago (especially since so many women now don't want to start families, hence Japan's declining population issue), but it still seems to be the normal expectation. Woman gets married, have kids, stay home with them.
 

Kyriaki

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I dislike how there are often hardly any female villains in anime besides magical girl anime. I can think of more androgynous male villains than female villains. (Pokemon is an exception, since there are plenty of bad girls.) Honestly, I'm tired of androgynous male villains. How about nasty, psychopathic female villains for a change? Contrary to popular belief, guys will watch something with a female villain.

Despite the bitchy girls, at least Pokemon has no female characters who value only marriage. The "all women want to be married and nothing else" is such a dumb idea nowadays. Imperial Japan is over, Japan.
Jessie(Rocket), Shelly(Aqua), Mars and Jupiter(Galactic), Hunter J, Angie (Plasma) were and are all awesome female villains. Even Molly Hale from the movie was done good, and also the sisters in the [email protected] movie as well.

However, I do have to agree on the lack of female villain bosses in anime. I can't recall if there had ever been a female villain boss in anime that aren't shoujo/magical-girly cuz the female villains are usually second-in-command, if they ever get a high ranking. Or co-commanders with another guy, who are usually their lovers, family members, really close friends, or simply standing on the same rank due to contracts. And even then the guy turns out to be the final boss.

The closest thing to a female boss we had was probably Hunter J, and yet she was subject to her clients.
 

Utsune

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I'd say Pokemon Hunter J being "subjected to her clients" doesn't make her anything less than a boss, if comparable. A CEO is still subjected to shareholders' influence, and J is simply the head of her mercenary force. Other than that, I quite agree with the post above↑ (although I don't consider Molly Hale as an antagonist either.)

My view for now is that, the lack of female villain bosses in general is because the stereotypical psychological make-up of a female just isn't suited for the role such as the one played by Cyrus, for example. (Might sound discriminatory, but please read on for my reasoning.)

If you tried to imagine a female version of Cyrus, you would obviously feel there is something lacking. Some may reason this gender difference with the theory of evolution, but whether the reason is biological or outright stereotyping, in the grand scheme of things it's probably much more difficult for producers to build up the required character for a female boss, and though possible, it would most likely be emphatically on a different level to a 'standard' male one, a level too high for the age group of the intended target audience. For say, some may find it very difficult to accept a female to sought power for personal gains while holding onto certain human values, because the female might generally be expected to think through the matter both emotionally and rationally, and then decide against hoarding power for personal gain in the first place, thus never becoming a candidate for a female villain boss. Whether the kids watching this realise the deeper reasoning or not, this is one of the things family, media, and society has subtly engraved into them.

The reason J succeeds as a villain is because J has ditched her human side (as opposed to the example above) and held onto ruthlessness. Her selfishness and greed are all there is to her character (at least as portrayed.) Characters like J, it really doesn't matter what gender she is because she's more like a representation of evil rather than a character you can dive into their heart and emphatically analyse. The producers obviously realise the lack of female villain bosses, so they didn't pass up on the free chance of a female-villain-boss when it comes to J.



Sorry for writing in such a messy fashion. I do realise some of my points may have certain loopholes, but I just find it difficult to phrase the rest of my argument in a 'politically correct' fashion, so I just omitted them altogether, for now.
 

Kyriaki

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I think one of the main reasons why there aren't many female villain bosses is because the protagonist is usually a guy. Whether it comes to hand-to-hand combat, logic and deception, or battles, the tension is weaker when the boy is fighting a female boss than a male boss. And...stereotypical, but a guy fighting a girl could seem "unfair" unless there was a drastic age difference or power difference.

Also, there are stereotypic depictions of the female villains almost always being "dark beauties", and their strong points being their intelligence, ability to seduce, and fish out information before killing their opponents. Popular examples would be Lust from FMA, Vermouth from Case Closed, Konan from Naruto, Robin when she was a villain in the Alabaster arc in One-Piece, and that angel girl from Kuroshitsuji (although she was also a guy).

And lol, they are all pretty.
 

Goodbye Blue Monday

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It's funny, we were actually talking about the problems with female villains on tumblr, because of this post that was going around about it, about how female villains are rarely completely evil. I disagree with that; I think you either get a completely evil female villain, or one who is a short step from turning good. You rarely get these villains who are clearly bad, but have sympathetic levels, with women. Those are far more likely to be male characters. And those tend to be my favorite types of villains, so I'd like to see more female ones.

Also, re: the sex thing - I think one bone I have to pick is that female victims are often either the aforementioned seductresses or they are completely asexual. One thing I like about Dante, the main villain from the first FMA anime, is that she is neither of those things. She has a sexuality, often an unsettling one - she had a past romance with Hohenheim (including a kid), and in the show she hits on Ed and arguably, Rose - but she's hardly defined by that.

She still falls into the annoyingly common trope of "female villains who are motivated primarily by vanity/pride" thing, though.
 

matt0044

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How about opening theme song? And recurring tropes in them?
 

zakisrage

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One of the best in my opinion is the nosebleed. It sounds hilarious that something like that can symbolise something naughty.
 

matt0044

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One of the best in my opinion is the nosebleed. It sounds hilarious that something like that can symbolise something naughty.
Oh yeah, when you blush, blood is greatly concentrated around the nose.
 

Baby Seals

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Here's an anime cliché that really pisses me off:

Christmas Cake - Television Tropes & Idioms

This is the idea that if a woman over 25 is still single, no man will want to marry her regardless of how attractive she is. It's even worse than the "all westerners are blond" cliché. The truth is, most Japanese women are still single at 25. The average Japanese person marries in their late twenties or early thirties. I realize that it used to be common for girls (and boys; don't kid yourself by thinking it was only girls) to marry as teens. My maternal grandma's mom was only 15 at the time of her wedding - she had her first kid while her stepmother was finishing up her family. And Japan was a prime case too; I think Hirohito's mother was also 15 when she married the future Emperor Yoshihito. But now practically no one in Japan does that. The "Christmas cake" trope sounds like a really sexist way of thinking, since in anime a man can be 40 and never married and no one will care. It also sounds disrespectful to Japanese career women, be they office ladies or something more modern.

Many Japanese women remain unwed throughout their lives. Some traditional careers even require them to be unmarried, such as Buddhist nuns and geisha. If a geisha wants to marry, she has to quit. (That might be one of the main reasons why not as many Japanese women are willing to be geisha these days.) Erika in Pokémon is something like a geisha, and she could easily be the same age as the player's mom.

It's more or less discredited in real life, but it still happens more than it should in anime. Though of course a lot of anime now subvert it.

Examples I found on the page include Nyamo Kurosawa from Azumanga Daioh and Haruka from Love Hina.
 

SSJ_Jup81

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Here's an anime cliché that really pisses me off:

Christmas Cake - Television Tropes & Idioms

This is the idea that if a woman over 25 is still single, no man will want to marry her regardless of how attractive she is. It's even worse than the "all westerners are blond" cliché. The truth is, most Japanese women are still single at 25. The average Japanese person marries in their late twenties or early thirties. I realize that it used to be common for girls (and boys; don't kid yourself by thinking it was only girls) to marry as teens. My maternal grandma's mom was only 15 at the time of her wedding - she had her first kid while her stepmother was finishing up her family. And Japan was a prime case too; I think Hirohito's mother was also 15 when she married the future Emperor Yoshihito. But now practically no one in Japan does that. The "Christmas cake" trope sounds like a really sexist way of thinking, since in anime a man can be 40 and never married and no one will care. It also sounds disrespectful to Japanese career women, be they office ladies or something more modern.

Many Japanese women remain unwed throughout their lives. Some traditional careers even require them to be unmarried, such as Buddhist nuns and geisha. If a geisha wants to marry, she has to quit. (That might be one of the main reasons why not as many Japanese women are willing to be geisha these days.) Erika in Pokémon is something like a geisha, and she could easily be the same age as the player's mom.

It's more or less discredited in real life, but it still happens more than it should in anime. Though of course a lot of anime now subvert it.

Examples I found on the page include Nyamo Kurosawa from Azumanga Daioh and Haruka from Love Hina.
That's true, but the mentality does still exist to a point. Ironically, I was just having a discussion about this and the ideal age for marriage given was about 25. Yes, men and women are marrying later but seems it looks odd if you're over the age of 30. There are also many people who aren't really marrying at all nowadays.

It is a bit sexist though. I think some women aren't married because they haven't found the right guy who can work so that she doesn't have to (yes that mentality does still exist) and others may not be interested in marriage and kids because they are focused on their careers. Japan doesn't really have a good system as far as working mothers go. Usually women become full time housewives after having kids.
 
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Adil

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*Bleach is my new pick so I'll talk about that*

Best cliche - Rukia and Ichigo's chemistry... (I think it counts as a cliche... two main characters and the whole boy-girl thingy)
Worst cliche - Orihime's breasts... Seriously, not every anime has to follow the "big boobs" trend. It's so annoying
 
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