Anime Tropes, Explained

Published by Bianca Johnson on

Anime Tropes, Explained

Japanese subculture is no longer a subculture in the U.S., it’s mainstream.

Anime-lovers nerd out, play video games, discuss and show off their cosplay game daily. For fans of action-type anime, we can spot several common character tropes. Though the regular tropes became cliché, I’ve learned that they’re used to relate to and influence the audience.

Julia Dwyer | Avant-Youth

The OP Character
Many shows exhibit an overpowered character, “The OP,” because characters require a goal, something to chase. The OP gives the protagonist something to work toward, assuming the protagonist isn’t the OP themselves, of course.

The OP satisfies our bloodlust. We watch Saitama from One-Punch Man defeat his opponents in just one blow so we can laugh at them. Not only do we laugh at his opponents, but we laugh at the lesser heroes before him trying their hardest to defeat the villain.

They reach the brink of death just before the main character comes in to save the day. We love that, and want to see those epic battles. The writers allow the lesser heroes to struggle to show how the opponent compares to the OP, and relieve us of our need to watch people get the snot beaten out of them.

The Self-Blame

The “self-blame” tropes are the cry babies on this list, but a character’s weakness makes him or her more relatable. We know characters who blame everything on themselves and wish for death. Sometimes, it’s the protagonist themselves. Other times it’s a secondary character.

Eventually, after a lamentatious monologue, they overcome their guilt and either attempt to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, or resolve to become the best and beat their opponent.

We see this in The Seven Deadly Sins when Elizabeth, the proverbial damsel in distress, watches as Meliodas battles Holy Knights in various scenes. In the first season, she perpetually blames herself, saying that if she hadn’t tried to find the Sins, they and Meliodas wouldn’t be getting hurt.

The problem with this character trope is the self-blame is usually unwarranted. For example, Meliodas was looking for the Sins before Elizabeth even found him. It wouldn’t have made a difference whether Elizabeth was with Meliodas or not.

Julia Dwyer | Avant-Youth

The problem with this character trope is the self-blame is usually unwarranted. For example, Meliodas was looking for the Sins before Elizabeth even found him. It wouldn’t have made a difference whether Elizabeth was with Meliodas or not.

Over time, the character grows out of it, no longer blaming themselves for things out of their control. It takes longer for some than others, but they overcome it. It’s an easy and simple way to show growth within a character.

The Fight for Loved Ones

This trope is evident in Fairy Tail. Natsu, when at his limit in battle, proclaims his love for his friends and overcomes the evil-doer. Fighting for what’s most important in life gives protagonists a purpose. The people in their lives are their motivation, and the reason they fight. Noble acts influence the audience and show us what we should value most. Life is precious and once lost, it’s lost forever. This trope teaches the worth of each and every individual in the world as it promotes self-love and love for others.

Animes such as My Hero Academia instill the value of life and individualism too. They introduced many different kids with both amazing and seemingly stupid quirks. Later, we see that even the most menial quirks can prove most handy in a plethora of situations. Every one of us has our own quirks. We don’t have super powers like the characters of My Hero Academia, but we all have our own abilities, which makes us individually unique.

Julia Dwyer | Avant-Youth

Share it:

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print

0 Comments

Share your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.