Monday, 28 July 2008

Anime Cliches #01: Pure-hearted Hero

His voice has a volume range that starts with a shout and increases depending on the amount of emotion he needs to express. Often for additional emphasis he will shout the same thing over and over again. He is particularly fond of shouting the name of Ethereal Girl. During the rare moments of confusion and uncertainty, for example when speaking to a girl, he will entirely lose the remains of his primitive ability to construct full sentences and resort to meaningless, directionless interjections like, "But I..." and "It's not like that. It's...", and "...[girl's name]...". This is not a problem though. It is a well-established fact that inability to express complex emotions is regarded as a sign of sincerity and is considered an extremely desirable character trait by women.

Fortunately, as the main character he is protected by the most powerful kind of plot shield -- one that not only protects him from physical harm but also shields his brain, a tiny object as small and hard as a walnut, from any consideration of the consequences of his behaviour or any doubt as to the righteousness of his every action. He reacts to moral ambiguity with confusion and shouting but don't be fooled; as we already know, shouting=emotion and it is a well known fact that reason is obliterated when the emotion index reaches approximately 85dB. If your words don't fit in with his worldview, he will stick his fingers in his ears and shout "lalala" until the narrative is able to contort itself around his narrow moral absolutism and teach you a lesson.

As a rule, the more serious the story and the more real the dilemmas faced, the more infuriating he is.


Romantically compatibile with:
- Ethereal Girl

Natural Allies:
- Wise Old Woman
- Annoying Mascot Creature
- Impressionable Child

Natural enemies:
- Relativist
- Utilitarian
- Misanthropic Villain

Plot Shield:
- 10/10


Jonas said...

I knew anime was rife with these, but still I seem to have a lot of trouble finding a moral absolutist in anime. I'm working on an anime-themed chart, and so far I've got hedonism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, nihilism, speciesism, social darwinism, and solipsism. But somehow I can only find Priscilla (Claymore) for moral absolutism, but she's kinda crazy and doesn't have any good quotes.
Could you please point out a moral absolutist in anime?

Jonas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dotdash said...

Sorry, only just noticed this comment. I wrote this ages ago but I seem to remember the character I was thinking of when I made that comment was Shu from "Now and Then, Here and There". The scenario was rife with moral ambiguity but he just marches on through the series without any consideration for the circumstances. He just knows he's right all the time. I think it was his reaction to the bit about the girl who gets pregnant after being repeatedly raped that annoyed me. I'm kind of torn on whether Erin from "Kemono no Souja Erin" might be another example. She certainly has a very uncompromising attitude towards her morals but she also exhibits a capacity to change and grow as the series progresses. Also she didn't annoy me so I'm reluctant to put her in the same category.

Jonas said...

I watched the first two episodes of that one way back when. Then I guess I had a case of angst aversion, so now I'm kinda curious about said reaction - but don't spoil it to me, I'm thinking I should get that series done and over with. Like I should the last two episodes of Saikano... *panic* Who am I kidding, I can't do this! :-)

dotdash said...

Don't make me force you to watch it! There were some nice ideas but I spent so much of the show struggling along, one step at a time, tearing my hair out and screaming at the screen in frustration. At times it almost seems like a very dry satire on the typical shonen anime hero, by taking this completely unrealistic character, putting him in the most brutal, morally ambiguous scenario possible, and seeing how he reacts. A bit like rewriting Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" with The Famous Five as the main characters.