Five anime scenarios Japanese fans are sick of seeing

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

Japanese animation is famous for more actively courting the attention of teens and young adults than its western counterpart. That said, anime is still, undeniably, a youth-oriented entertainment medium.

Because of that, when certain tropes or settings strike a chord with viewers in Japan, you can be sure that dozens of other series will do something similar. Yes, this does run the risk of saturating the market with similar content, but many producers are willing to gamble that a large number of fans will have moved on to other, non-anime hobbies by the time a feeling of repetition really sets in, and so they’d better get what economic lifeblood they can from current fans now, and by the safest, most reliable means.

In other words, stick around long enough, and you’ll start to notice patterns aplenty in anime scenarios. Student Internet portal My Navi Gakusei no Madoguchi recently polled 269 college students (129 male and 140 female) who regularly watch Japanese animation and/or read Japanese comics, asking them what anime and manga situations they’re sick of seeing over and over again, and found particularly negative reactions to the following five.

1. Body-swapping

This was actually a bit of a surprising choice. Sure, some moderately high-profile series, like "Birdy the Mighty" and "Kokoro Connect," have involved characters switching or sharing bodies, and it’s the primary hook of mega-hit "your name." but a lot of casual observers wouldn’t point to this as one of anime’s go-to storytelling devices. Nevertheless, many of the survey respondents said they’ve already seen enough works that fall into this category. One woman wrote the genre off with “You know what’s going to happen,” and apparently has no desire to sit through another anime where the two souls learn to appreciate each other’s differences through joint body custody.

2. Time travel

Time travel series have been picking up steam, with the convention showing up in "Re:Zero," "Steins Gate" and "Puella Madoka Magica." “There’s a surprising sameness to [time travel anime],” declared one respondent, and she might have a point, as stories in this category almost always end up funneling the narrative towards a last-ditch attempt to avoid butting up against an unwanted future.

3. Harems

“They’re almost all exactly the same,” lamented one respondent, a problem which gets exacerbated by the current standard of 13-episode anime seasons. Introduce the main character, add potential romantic partners at the rate of one character per episode through meet cute or meet sexy moments, and by the time the harem is stocked, and there’s not much time left for anything of import to happen before the show has to wrap up.

4. Alternate world stories

Whisking the protagonist from our world to a parallel dimension where a grand adventure awaits is a quick and easy way to build a sense of mysterious tension and exotic excitement, but it’s also a tactic anime writers have been relying on since at least 1983’s "Aura Battler Dunbine." “They’re boring, since you know what’s going to happen next,” grumbled one male respondent, with another giving the more specific complaint of “Eventually some god-like being makes an appearance, and that just spoils the fun.”

5. Bringing characters back from the dead

For a medium that’s extremely comfortable portraying violence, anime can sometimes be rather reluctant to let its stars rest in peace. “You just know they’re not actually dead,” said one male respondent.

The modern anime era, in which revenue generated from character merchandise is such an important channel of lifeblood for anime production companies, means that killing off a popular character is often a poor economic move, even if it’s an interesting narrative one. Resurrecting heroes and heroines isn’t exclusive to newer shows, though, as if you were an anime fan in the ‘90s you saw major characters in "Dragon Ball Z," "Sailor Moon" and "Fushigi Yugi" eventually shake off death like it was just a particularly nasty cold.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that participants in the survey wish that some characters, and some of these storytelling patterns, would just die already.

Source: My Navi Gakusei no Madoguchi via Nico Nico News via Jin

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- What’s more important in making a great anime, characters or story? Japanese fans sound off -- Large portion of Japanese fans are willing to drop an anime after one bad episode, survey says -- Do Japanese men like it when real women speak in anime-style voices? Survey investigates

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Maybe they could swap plots with J-drama and K-drama and A-drama.

Any evil twins in manga?

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I can't agree strongly enough with harem. It's ridiculously common. It feels like every season of new shows has three or four that don't fall into the harem category. How about a show where the main character doesn't have a romantic interest for a change? What makes the harem genre even worse is that, 99% of the time, it's a completely useless and dense MC (Infinite Stratos comes rushing to mind) who can't seem to just make his mind up on who he wants to be with. And that just makes things painful. I think Shuffle! is the only harem show I've seen where the MC actually chooses one girl.

Time Travel is another scenario that's been beaten to death already. And again, it's always the same. Go back in time, bumble around for 99% of the time, then fix everything last second. Re:Zero had that heavily, and it's one of many reasons I disliked the show. How about a time travel scenario where they think they've solved everything right away, only to watch as everything falls apart and ends up even worse than they were before time travelling (kind of like The Butterfly Effect, but good).

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Fox Sora Winters: And that just makes things painful. I think Shuffle! is the only harem show I've seen where the MC actually chooses one girl.

Didn't the guy in Love Hina narrow down to one girl at the end?

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Mostly agree with this, although I would say a lot of the copy paste mentality applies to all drama, all over.

Regarding the harem discussion, my wife has a sorta love hate/guilty pleasure relationship with the genre and from what I have seen, agree that a good many of them have no plot...but it is kinda cheesy fun for her nonetheless. Truth be told it is more of a drinking game where she yells something like "ah! Walked in on her changing clothes! Called it!" (I have to take a shot, even though I didn't know I was playing)

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