Note – I’ll be using anime fan lingo in this, so if you don’t understand the words please search it up on Google.
WARNING – The following post contains spoilers and material that may not be appropriate for the younger audience. You have been warned, I will not be liable for any grief this post may cause you should you decide to read it.
While I find Anime to be very enjoyable to watch, there are many annoying wrinkles that need to be ironed out. These annoying mistakes are being made every single season, and most likely you’ll only find a few diamonds in the rough. It breaks the hearts many Anime fans, including the most jaded and experienced few to see that the people behind the scenes aren’t performing at their full potential to create wonderful series that will catch our attention and keep it until the series ends. A lot of the times, a series would last a season or two, however it won’t follow through and create at least one sequel, leaving us fans dissatisfied. The main problem here is that the most irritating aspects of Anime are being done every single damn season and it really needs to stop.
Here are the things that need to be addressed.
4. Annoying romance stories that never end.
You have a protagonist, and he has a love interest or two, or three, or four or Nine thousand and one. What annoys viewers the most in the romance and harem genres is that the main protagonist put in the most accurate way possible is a complete idiot with a mind that has a density which rivals a super massive black hole. They never seem to notice the affections of their admirers and they often dismiss it as something else. They trample over the hopes and dreams of their potential love interests which often is met with an appropriate use of a punch to the face. We’ve all heard of this line before.
I wonder why is she mad? I only answered her question though. – Random Harem King.
The love interests are no better than the main protagonist either, they often fall in love with him unconditionally. It’s a story of guy meets girl, girl hates him, they somehow get to know each other a little bit better, *BOOM*, and the result is girl becomes delusional enough have the desire to marry the guy. Such a romance is paced too fast and is unconvincing at best. There is literally no reason for these love interests to like the main protagonist, he’s a lost cause and it’s probably better for them to look for someone else who genuinely cares about them. Instead all logic and reasoning is thrown out of the airlock and they compete with each other to get the main protagonist’s attention which often is the same shit all over again.
When the punch to the face doesn’t work, kick him instead.
Why are you chasing him when all he is going to do is not notice your affections? Even if you throw it into his face, and you already know he’s going to brush it off and meet it with indifference. Why do you still bother? It’ll just be a never ending cycle of getting pissed off, calming down and getting pissed off again. Seriously, this is annoying and frustrating to watch, please stop making cheap romance stories like these into Anime.
Let me write a more realistic and developed concept for a romance story.
It was bright and soothing spring afternoon, the air smelt of fragrant flowers and leaves. I just finished delivering a stack of exam papers to the staff room and I was free to go home. In the corner of my eye I noticed a somewhat muscular figure leaning on the window sill, I turned and looked at him. His jet black hair were flowing in the wind, and his crystal like eyes were gazing into the sky. It was senpai, I’ve admired him from a distance for as long as I can remember, he doesn’t know me, I’ve never introduced myself to him.
I would slowly and gradually walk towards him, my knees would start to give out and my legs would be shaking. I would curl my arms and twiddle my fingers, thinking what I should do. My heart would become a prisoner inside my rib cage beating hard and trying to break out of its cell. I try to gather my courage to speak to him but my mind would stop working so I get very lost and confused. What should I do? What if he rejects me? What if the girl he speaks to everyday is his girlfriend?
It’s impossible now, I’ll only be able to watch him from a distance. My wish will never be granted.
Please notice me senpai…
3. Having a plot but not developing it enough.
While some Anime can get by without a plot like the Comedy genre which is meant to make you laugh your socks off and some Slice-of-life series that make you feel some emotions that you’d normally won’t get in real life so that you can relate with the characters. The Anime that do actually tell a story however will have to contain a well written plot that will captivate our short attention spans. As the writer, you have 30 or less seconds to sell your story to us, and at least 3-5 episodes to get us to keep our interest which means there’s no screwing around, you have to write an interesting story. If your story isn’t interesting, there’s no reason for us viewers to even watch.
Sometimes the plot doesn’t go deep enough, we get introduced to a world that we want to explore and then it screws around, beats around the bush and throws away all the potential. A plot that doesn’t go through the main points of the story doesn’t appeal to the viewers. We’ll just see characters walk and talk and never actually see them contributing to the themes and ideas they’re meant to portray to you. A story should have a message to be sent to the viewer, themes and ideas are the substances that hold the story together, and it gives reason to the characters so that they can advance the plot. Without these, the plot will be uninteresting and the story being shown in the Anime won’t be worth watching.
Too often we see poor pacing in the plot, which results in a lot of potential views being dropped because the plot just doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. You could have a good story but it starts too late or a good story that starts early from episode one but it goes into boring mindless dribble from episode 3 and onwards. Sometimes pacing can be too fast, and before we know what the hell just happened, the story is already moving to the next chapter. You can also get a series like “Attack On Titan” (Shingeki no Kyojin) is an anime that would’ve done better if it was faster paced, the entire 25 + 2 OVA episodes can be literally be compacted into just 13-15 episodes. Often the reason why anime fails to keep our attention is that it the pace isn’t set at the right speed and the key points are not distributed very evenly.
This anime series is literally Dragon Ball Z divided by 2.
Another example of a poorly written plot is the improper use of “Deus ex machina” in which somehow something happens but we don’t how and it breaks the established rules of the world the story is set in. The general rule is that for every effect to advance the plot, you must have a cause to support it. If the writers fail follow this rule, throw them into the naughty corner and make them reflect on what they did wrong.
A proper use of a Deus ex machina would be when you get a reasonable explanation and a decent plot twist. For example, in a story, the main protagonist supposedly dies and then he is revealed to have a special power, this special power saves him from the brink of death however it causes him to feel anguish because it hurts his friends and the story continues. The explanation for this plot is decent, however it also begs the question, “Where does this special power come from?”, this will help move the plot in the right direction and it leaves us viewers wondering what will happen from that point onwards. The air of mystery keeps us interested because we want to know what happens next, and why the protagonist has this ability.
An improper use of Deus ex machina would be a story that goes along the lines of being in a no-win situation, and then suddenly there’s conveniently a get out of jail free card that solves everything. An example of this would be the main protagonist trying to save his lover who is being molested by Mr Evil Doctor Lord Count Butterfly. However the protagonist’s injuries are so severe he can’t stand up and somehow the Purposeless Mad Super Genius who trapped the main protagonist in his world for two years manages to come back to life and give him god powers so that he can defeat the villain, save the damsel in distress and it’s happily ever after. It’s common sense that the dead can’t come back to life and unless there’s a reasonable cause you can’t revive them, however we don’t see the cause, instead it just happens for the sake of just making sure the story has a happy ending.
A severe case of Deus ex machina. – THAT’S BULLSHIT.
All in all, we want to see more time and effort into developing and making the plot. If the Anime has a story, and the plot isn’t up to par, it will not work out very well.
2. Characters are too shallow
There are a whole heap of anime that take advantage of using pre-established character archetypes. You get a guy who can be dense, stupid, perverted, a total chick magnet or wimpy little kid who needs to get into the damn robot (shout out to Neon Genesis Evangelion), or the girls could be tsundere, yandere, dandere, kuudere, deredere, a little sister type, etc. There are many archetypes out there which are ripe for the picking which many writers use to save time instead of fleshing out the characters themselves. The work is already done for them so why waste time? While it’s actually alright to use these character archetypes to save time, however the truth is if these character archetypes that are used are not well developed, the character will just seem generic.
It’s quite easy to make up a character on the spot by using these archetypes off the shelf however, the characters will be very shallow. A generic tsundere would say the following.
It’s n-not that I-I-I like you or anything b-b-b-b-b-BAKA!!! I just thought you might n-need some h-h-help. Yeah! Help! – Generic Tsundere
Let’s say she’s around 168cm tall, weighs 55kg and is a brunette with long hair and there you go, a tsundere character ready for your story….
…HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!
Appealing character design, personality of a cookie cutter tsundere. A prime example.
Is there any reason for this character to be a tsundere? Why is she being a complete pain in the neck to towards the main protagonist? Just why? A generic off the shelf archetype does not answer these questions, the character needs to be more fleshed out.
I hated him from the bottom of my heart, but he’s so kind to me even if I do everything to push him away, I kind of feel sorry for him but I can’t let him know. He’s my rival! He’ll mock me for it, I can’t be honest with him, I must hide these feelings! Now I must concentrate on training to beat him again! – Iris (A tsundere character I just made up on the spot)
Just ask yourself. Which tsundere character I’ve presented appeals to you more? Using an off the shelf character archetype will yield an uninteresting and shallow character. While we can relate to these characters since they’re in pretty much a majority of the Anime we watch, however we can’t relate to them as much as we’d like to. It’s like having your favourite food served to you every single day and over time you start to lose interest.
It’s not impossible to start from scratch, and develop the character from the ground up however it’s very difficult to do. It’s not the use of character archetypes that irritates us, it’s just that writers don’t add substance to the character enough to make it stand out from the rest.
1. Fan-servicing done horribly wrong.
The reason why we see so many poorly developed plots and very shallow characters is because fanservice is getting in the way. Fanservice when implemented incorrectly will just ruin everything. All logic and reasoning is thrown out the air lock and the important aspects such as character development and a well written plot are pushed aside to make way for screen time showing upskirt panty shots, boob shots, beautiful guys with abs and muscles, girls interacting with each other so adorably to the point that it’s very unrealistic, very skimpy outfits, big breasts, flat chests, pretty girls kissing each other, hot guys kissing each other, naked girls with sexy bodies, naked guys with sexy bodies and the list goes on.
A majority of Anime these days are just cookie cutters made purely of fan-service and these are just PG-13+ rated pornography full of juvenile fantasies. These may arouse you at first if you’re a hormone charged teenager but as you watch you’ll begin to notice that these Anime are lacking substance. In short, you can grow out of these real quick.
The anime this screenshot came from gave me diabeetus.
It’s not that there is anything thing wrong with fan-service, it’s just that it is often too involved in the Anime itself that it ignores the plot and character development. Fan service should only complement the plot itself and shouldn’t be the central theme to the Anime. If there’s too much of it to the point that it’s sacrificing the plot, it’s not worth our time. Fan-service shouldn’t be shoved right into the Anime itself when it clearly doesn’t fit, instead it would be a better idea to create an OVA to contain it so that there will be enough room for the characters and plot to develop.
OMG, HARUKA I’LL BE YOUR WAIFU. KYAA~!!! > W<
As I’ve said before, a story that doesn’t go through the main plot points are uninteresting and characters that only borrow off the shelf archetypes are too shallow. Fan-service is very integrated in Anime culture however too often we see Anime that doesn’t have an interesting plot or deep character development because of forced fan-service. As long as the Anime develops its plot we don’t actually mind the sexual content, however if we get too much to the point it starts taking too much screen time and it sacrifices the plot to do so, it just ruins the entire experience.
To wrap things up, we would like to see more time invested in planning out the plot, using more unique characters and the people making the Anime actually listen to what we fans have to say rather than just assuming what we want.
Good Luck, Have Fun
– Haiji Onii-san