Normally I’m a person that really likes anime tropes. I find them comforting and it makes me feel like I’m really watching anime when I come across them. That last sentence is nonsense. Sheesh, you would think I’m being paid by the word! I’m not. I’m not being paid at all!
Just to make it clear, I’m not saying that these tropes are always awful, there are always ways to execute a trope well. And some of them I don’t mind at all it’s just that I like them less.
As always, this is personal taste. The very fact that these are tropes is because audiences have reacted well to them over the years!
Ok enough wishy washy disclaimers. Let’s get this list on the road:
5. Abuse as romance
In a way, Tsunderes can fall into this trope as well. Somewhat throwing a fit and making their partner feel horrible about having an innocent conversation with a friend because they are jealous is not a sign of love. Someone having feelings so strong that they lash out at their supposed loved one is not passion.
I’m already super picky about romantic storylines as it is, but the second someone gets raped but it’s o.k., you’ve lost me. I just immediately stop rooting for that couple. I think most people agree with me but this is just so common in all media that I have to believe someone likes it.
4. Stupidity as purity
I get that some notions are really though to bring across in fiction. But why do characters who are presented as particularly “good” or “pure of heart” have to be painfully naive? Once again this isn’t restricted to anime tropes, it happens a lot. But I do see it a bit more often in anime.
This isn’t a hard set rule but I very often see the good or kind characterization illustrated by a character that believes every lie, is easy to fool or doesn’t seem to ever think or question anything too deeply. And that goes for boys as much as girls. It just makes for boring characters is all.
3. Isekai exposition
Now this one isn’t really fair. Isekais have it though by virtue of being set in worlds that are different enough to our own that if the rules aren’t explained to the audience, it’s hard to understand what’s going on. However, that doesn’t mean you have to just get a bunch of characters sitting around explaining to each other how everything works. There are smoother ways to do it. I’ve seen it.
But the exposition route seems to be heavily favoured lately and a lot of new shows depend on dialogue to get the details across. There are up sides to this and I know for a fact that a lot of viewers like this approach. But I don’t!
2. Freudian excuses
Sure they’re evil but they had a though childhood. They betrayed us all, but their family was in trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all good with redeemable villains, some are fantastic. And it’s great to give characters backstories, conflict and nuance. But once in a while, you can have someone who’s just a jerk. No excuse needed. They just have values, preferences and beliefs that clash with the heroes (and probably the audience) and that’s all there is to it.
They aren’t lonely or misunderstood and they don’t regret their actions. And characters like that can still be complex and layered. Heck, they could even be redeemable. There are a lot of complete jerks who I would never want to meet or even talk to in real life, who I think make amazing characters.
It’s just that sometimes I get the feeling authors don’t want to risk completely alienating their audiences with regard to any one character (to be clear this happens in every form of media, not specifically anime tropes) so they find excuses for their bad behaviour. And lately, it happens so often that finding a plain bad guy cause they just are, is getting to be a thrill.
Also, when excuses are done badly it can really muddle the themes and messages of a story. Am I suppose to feel bad for this dude that just killed a whole bunch of people because he got made fun of at school?
1. Love triangles
I hate them!
I actually have not one but two friends who consider love triangles as one of their favourite anime tropes. They are more likely to pick up a story if a love triangle is involved. I think I have seen this trope executed well exactly 3 times out of 12887352490475624541872. But who’s counting.
This said, I still like quite a few stories that have them so it’s not like it’s gonna destroy everything. Peguindrum only had love triangles and that’s a masterpiece!
Hey look at that. I managed to contradict myself in my own post! Go me!
Like I said, there are ways to execute these tropes that I really enjoy. So it’s definitely not absolutes. But these are somewhat common narrative elements that I have noticed I have very little patience for in general.
Are there any tropes that you don’t like? Do you know why? It’s o.k. if you don’t, sometimes stuff just bugs us!