The “Normal Protagonist”

Sometimes, we see tropes over and over again and gloss right over them, barely even noticing that we’ve seen the same archetype a hundred times before. Other times, something is just enough the same or just enough different that we sit up and take notice.

The particular trope I want to take a look at today is that of the “normal protagonist.”

While the normal protagonist archetype takes various forms, such as the much decried blandly nice guy, the “ordinary high school student” monologue, the clueless harem lead or the personality-less main character (or the “generic brown-haired/blue-haired MC), this particular pattern appears in numerous anime, sometimes explicitly, sometimes not. Examples follow:

Kajimo Touma

Kajimo Touma, A Certain Magical Index

Shu Ouma

Shu Ouma, Guilty Crown

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 7.56.50 PM

Honoka Takamiya, Witchcraft Works

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Likable Characters Save Bad Anime

I recently picked up (and finished within two days), the first season of Seitokai Yakuindomo, a highly crude, irreverent and sex-obsessed anime about the student council of the recently turned co-ed high school, Ousai High.

First off, why did I pick up the show? I honestly couldn’t tell you. The second season is currently simulcasting on Crunchyroll and I had wandered into the show thread, just to see what people were saying and, although I didn’t really think the show would be to my tastes, thought I would at least give it a look. The first episode was just about as bad as I thought it would be (excepting the stellar animation from GoHands), and I didn’t really think about going back to the show until the other day, when I for, as I said, inexplicable reasons went and watched the whole show.

I gave Seitokai Yakuindomo a 4/10 (ranking here), and my opinion of the show didn’t really change from the first episode of the first season to the last. So why did I continue watching it?

Because of these guys.

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Hunter x Hunter Impressions: Archetypes in Action

Note: at the time of writing, I have watched through episode 76.

I was about to start off this post by saying I didn’t know why I began watching Hunter x Hunter, but I remembered before I started down that erroneous path. I began watching this popular shounen when someone on Crunchyroll began a topic debate on whether Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Hunter x Hunter was better. Now, I had heard good things (not great, but good) about Hunter x Hunter before, but when someone asked this question and people began saying that HxH was the better of the two, I was intrigued. Why?

Killua and Gon

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, in my book, is one of the best anime I have ever watched. It’s one of three shows which I have esteemed enough to spend my hard-earned money to own. For me, buying an anime is a sign that I have claimed ownership of the show, that I validate it and respect it. While there are a few anime which I personally like more than FMA: Brotherhood, I have not yet seen another show that deals with the diversity of themes, portrays the range of emotions, has the intensity of suspense and action, all in one, like it. To challenge FMA: Brotherhood is to challenge the best anime has to offer. I had my suspicions about a simple shounen (one I had seen classified with Bleach and Naruto) being able to take on the crown jewel of anime, but people seemed to think that the claim was justified. And so, I began to watch.

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