Top Ten Anime Tropes We Secretly Love


There’s a certain point when you’ve watched too much anime. And you notice you have when patterns become apparent, and when those patterns began to matter.

There’s a certain point when you’ve watched too much anime. And you notice you have when patterns become apparent, and when those patterns began to matter.

Everyone has their list of cliches: the worst anime tropes, the biggest cliches in anime, etc. Even I have my own list of Anime Pet Peeves, where the tropes that annoy me the most are explained in great detail. But on the opposite end of that spectrum are the repeating motifs, cliches, and commonplace plot items that, despite our claims to the contrary, we love to itty-bitty little pieces. Fellow Otaku, it’s time we were honest with ourselves. Because, like TV Tropes says, Tropes Are Not Bad.

These are the Top Ten Tropes I suspect we all secretly love, despite their tendency to appear over and over again. After all, they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t finding an audience.

10. Tournament Arcs


I watch a lot of anime where people hit each other, be it in the name of great justice or otherwise. As such, while many a critic will roll their eyes at the concept, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t enjoy the chance to see new moves, characters fight characters they normally wouldn’t, and all those pretty, gratuitous action scenes. Dragon Ball Z got the ball rolling with at least one per arc, and other shounen soured the whole affair by not providing much of an interesting plot alongside the tournament. But, if you want proof that something interesting can be done with it, check out Yu Yu Hakusho’s Dark Tournament Arc.

9. Super Cheesy, Cheery Opening

This Otaku loves it when her anime sings to her, but most people will tell you that the best openings are the big, bombastic ones: “Guren No Yumiya” from Attack on Titan, “Through the Night” from Outlaw Star, and “Tank!” from Cowboy Bebop just to name a few. But oh, ye of little faith, how many of you will find yourself in a moment of weakness humming the theme to Lucky Star or the old opening to Sailor Moon?

Or, for me, I find myself singing the tune above. It’s scary.

Because, as much as we do love the dramatic music in our anime, we will always have a soft spot for the sweet, silly J-Pop openings that resonate several shades of adorable. it’s overly cute and catchy; you will be humming it again later.

8. Food In All of It’s Elegant Glory


You all know the joke: the anime fighter who eats like a linebacker and never gets sick/fat/sluggish. But I think everyone loves it when food is given a special spotlight in anime. Whether it’s The Festival Episode where the protagonist makes special note of the Dango they bought or Black Butler’s Fancy Pie Fetish, we have fun when the anime takes the time to really stop and admire their culinary delights.

7. Transformation Sequence, ACTIVATE!

If you are an anime fan, you are a fan of spectacle. And one doesn’t get into a flashier event than a big’ole transformation scene. From Sailor Moon’s reverse strip tease transformations to Cell’s liquidy shifting between forms, we like it when our characters change because we expect more awesome on the horizon. What actually annoys us is not the transformation, but a bad payoff, or if the damn thing gets so elaborate that we’re watching it for three or so hours. Needless to say, I was never too happy when all the scouts changed at once; it took some time.

6. I Heart Nostradamus


The prophecy has foretold that young, parentless, youth shall rise up from the streets/darkside and save the entire world. We don’t know who foretold it, why they foretold it, or how, but they predicted it, and we ate it up.

Legends, myths, predictions and prophecies have a special place in the Otaku fortress of raman-a-tude. It’s a comment writer’s technique that got its start in western stories as well, but I feel that anime revels in the Chosen One/Destined For Greatness techniques pretty hard. 


5.  But… THE DRAMA!

tumblr_m88bpxiv5k1rp3ji5Bad pasts, bad parents, terrible happenstances, and twists of fate: we eat up the drama in anime like candy. Well written, well-timed punches to the feels will always be received with massive piles of used tissues and thumbs up. One Piece capitalizes on this one pretty hard, with each character suffering multiple moments of emotional trauma, and its one of the most popular shows/mangas to date. But One Piece tempers its huge emotional upheavals with comedy, well-written adventures, and lots of good characters. Anime that fails to do that will be labeled melodramatic and shuffled on its’ way.

4. Spike Hates Women with Attitude, But…


Faye Valentine, Mai Valentine, and Nami have all captured our hearts. They take no prisoners, they don’t care what you think about them, and they just make life more interesting. Women like this appeal either because of their physical appearances or their predisposition to be active in the action, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes they overstay their welcome, as Mai does with her snarky, snobby attitude, but well-written Women With Attitude will steal your heart and keep you running.



3. Humanity is for Suckers

anime-dead-death-fragile-humans-kuroshitsuji-undertaker-weak-sinigami-favim-com-796936Image from

Anime has a lot of weird, humanoid creatures: Demons, half-demons, angels, reapers, vampires, and countless others. They make frequent appearances in anime because “the human is weak” and mortality, or threat of, really makes it hard to be a badass. Thus, you see several instances of non-human creatures who can do the spectacles with less danger of death, which is also fun for the audience.

On the flip side, the danger of death can make the story more exciting as well, but it won’t stop us from gravitating towards Vampire McImmortalMan for his cool powers.

2. Glory At The Tender Age of Below 18


Anime has a lot of young kids doing big stuff. Nevermind that every Pokemon Champion is ten or under, or that Sailor Moon is 14 years old: how about Goku starting off for the Dragon Balls when he’s still just a little kid under 10? It’s hard to argue that not all cartoons are for kids when so much of anime features a little boy/girl in the lead, but we seem to get some enjoyment from it. After all, wouldn’t we all like to be capable of great things when we’re little kids?

1.We’re Going to Blow Up the Moon! (and Other Big Plots)


Nothing feels more satisfying than defeating a giant insurmountable odd and proving that you are King of the Mountain. Anime will deliver that in a way that’s so ridiculous, so outrageous, it’s just too awesome. You’ll suddenly find yourself fighting Neo-Nazi cyborgs with armies of undead, defeating a ninja who plans to resurrect a giant demon out of the sky, or fighting a giant mountain humanoid and slicing it in half.  Because, at the end of the day, anime is about the entertainment, so sometimes you have to go big or go home.

Do you secretly love these tropes? Am I so off the mark you can’t stand it? Feel free to comment below and don’t forget to like and follow for more content like this.



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