I, like many other sheltered anime nerds, have watched a crap-ton of anime. It’s hard not to indulge with the abundance of titles and stories available, even if a grand majority will be sub-par. And when you take lots of samples from the anime chocolate tray, the cliche-cream filling becomes more and more apparent.
Anime, for all its awesome, rests itself on a mountain of repeated tropes: Dere-types, school stories, sword-wielding shounen protagonists, and short skirts than anyone ever wanted in their life. These little buggers bounce around from show to show, successful with some audiences and failures to others. But, while the success of most hinges on the show’s writer, some aren’t salvageable no matter how good the stories are. Straight from the treetops of “Oh God, not this again,” these are my biggest anime pet peeves.
- Allow me to Stop Punching You and Explain Myself…
I actually love shounen anime. It goes to a level of action that shoujo isn’t comfortable with, and I like me some punchy-violence as much as the next gamer-girl. Good shows will provide fast-paced, plot-driven fights that go for a few episodes before wrapping up and moving forward with the plot. Bad shounen will throw a few punches, dump battle exposition on the audience, and then maybe get back to hurting each other. By episode ten, Characters A and B are still yelling about how awesome they are, and an end is not in sight.
Why, Goku, why?
Exposition-ladled fights in shounen are almost infamous by this point, mocked on the internet since the early 2000s. It doesn’t make them any less annoying when they’re still popping up in modern shounen, making them a retro-trend most of us would rather forget.
- I am Boring, Forever and Ever.
As a writer, I understand the need for a character arc. We can’t start out as the Very Best, there’s training to do, faces to smash, drama to be had! But a character that refuses to make any headway and continues to be useless and uninteresting is my kill switch for an anime unless that character gets the boot.
Maybe one day, Shinji. I doubt it, though.
This trope is hardly exclusive to anime, but it’s very rampant in the medium. If it isn’t the bumbling idiot male in harem animes, whose confidence and strength never increase, its characters like Shinji Ikari, who refuse to grow up and overcome whatever difficulties they’re given in life. You can argue that this is more realistic in terms of writing, but you can also argue that it’s less entertaining for the audience as a whole.
- Abuse is Okay For Love
A tag onto the last one, perhaps, but still quite annoying.
Imagine, for a chance, an anime where the male punched a woman in the face because she accidently walked in on him while he was changing. Despite it being a complete accident, and despite her apologies, he sends her sailing far into the horizon and landing in the chicken coop of a nearby farm. This would be rightfully unacceptable, and the male character would be labeled as evil.
But why, oh why, is the scenario I just described okay when the roles are switched?
I can be abusive because Tsundere, bitch!
Now I’m not here to get political, but I will say that I find myself annoyed at an anime when the majority of the comedy is tagged on a male lead being punched around by some “tsundere” whom I’m supposed to find endearing. This is what turns me off titles like Love Hina or the Tenchi Series because I don’t find this one-note joke all that funny. I can forgive it for action shows like Naruto because I know that violence is gonna be aplenty, and I can overlook it for Kagura in Fruits Basket because it’s not the main focus, but I just can’t get over it when it’s the center stage.
- Feel Sorry for the Cute Little Terror
Again, not exclusive to anime. But, again, very common.
Nothing is more annoying than a kid character causing trouble and chaos to the point of annoying the audience. They go about being mean and bratty with reckless abandon, getting no punishment for their actions, while touting a little smug smile. And then, when they finally get caught, you’re told you’re supposed to forgive them because “they’re just a kid, they don’t know any better.” After all, aren’t children just so innocent?
See? Isn’t she harmless?
The short answer is hell no. They’re not fun to watch because the abuse they heap onto the main character also annoys the living hell out of the audience, and asking them to feel sympathy later on for that character will only add fuel to the fire. Maybe it’s something you can only understand if you have kids of your own, or maybe you’re supposed to feel some schadenfreude, but this usually ends with the audience hating a character the author really liked.
What are your anime pet peeves? Feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to like and follow for more content like this, and we’ll see you next time.