I was playing Kingdom Hearts the last few weeks and I had this realization that the reason I like the series is that it indulges in a lot of the silly anime tropes I enjoy and avoids a lot of the ones I find annoying/problematic.
I love the kind of ridiculous names for things. All of the Organization members. The World that Never Was. Unnecessarily long latin names. There is a part of me that finds it inexplicably cool. Give me those proper nouns.
What about you? What are some tropes you just can’t help but find fun.
I watched Gundam Wing last year and for the last dozen or so episodes they changed to a different OP but then during one of the final big climactic battles the original OP started blasting and it just fucked me all the way up. I am an absolutely sucker for that trope but the fact that I had gone like eight or nine episodes without hearing it just made it that much more powerful.
While I am actively thinking of like a million examples that undermine what I am going to write, I kind of enjoy the childhood friends who are actually in love with each other and one of them didn’t realize it storyline. I am a sucker for a silly romance b-plot in the middle of a game about killing an emperor or a god or whatever.
One of my favourites has always been honing a skill through an eccentric training sequence. Pair that with a seemingly underwhelming skill/ lack of obvious talent which turns out to be a secret weapon, and I am hooked for something light-hearted to watch when I want to turn my brain off for a bit.
It’s why I get into sports anime/ manga so easily despite hardly caring about the sport being featured. Mind you, I also get turned off such sports series when they go into excessive losing streaks. It’s not that I am against it from a story-telling perspective, but when you are waiting weekly for new episodes/ chapters, it can be a really long grind to see the protagonist flailing about for months at a time. Especially when you know the series may just get cancelled after a few seasons, it’s like damn it all, stop wasting so much time on this. I get it already.
I’m also a sucker for whenever either the opening theme or a really hype song accompanies an epic moment in a series, and to that point I also am really drawn to melodrama and sappy stuff about trust and friendship (not to say those are “sappy” things but I mean really laying it on thick).
That also includes big finishes in a shonen or other fighting series, including anime inspired video games, where it’s all turned to 11 and the scale is off the scale and everyone is screaming. Most recently has been during the last arc of current DB Super, all of Goku’s Ultra Instinct moments for example, plus that whole tournament is full of all that stuff.
It gets exhausting after a point but that’s because I tend to binge.
That said I also like the chill out episodes, whether it’s the hot springs trope or some other hang out activity with all the main characters where they can just interact and be goofy.
I alluded to a little it in my prior post but I friggin’ love that our protagonists are almost always teens or super young people who end up unlocking powers and abilities that put them on par with a deity. Like you are typically 12 in the pokemon games and you end up catching and controlling monsters that can bend time and space!! That’s wild.
I love the goofy character that when they get serious you know shit is going down i.e. Luffy,Vash, ect.
Also the badass teacher Kakashi, All Might, Makarov, Master Asia, ect.
Characters whose power is trying very hard and not giving up Rock Lee, Deku,Sora Naegino, Ippo, ect
Tropes like the hot springs episode or the beach episode, when done well, feel of a piece with the issues of X-Men where the team plays a sport or goes out for a night on the town. It’s nice to get that occasional break from the constant fighting and highest of stakes, and just get to see the characters cut loose and have some fun.
A lot of anime/manga series and superhero comics will often be so focused on going full speed ahead with the plot that those cool down episodes are almost as necessary for the viewer as they are for the characters of the story.