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Post Reply Killing off main characters
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
Me and my friend have come to a (near) violent disagreement about whether or not this is an entirely bad thing or not. I personally think that if a movie, series, or otherwise has the guts to commit to removing a factor from the story that it instantly deserves praise, assuming it does it correctly. Things like "plot armor" after all make movies incredibly predictable. My friend on the other hand argues that it makes it difficult to relate or even care about a character if they know there is a chance they'll just be killed later on.

So I wanted to ask here to see what you guys think, not to justify if I'm right or not (because I know I am~) but just to see what the majority opinion here is.

I present to you Pigeon-kun, who will be missed.


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19 / M / Valhalla
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
It depends.If it fits in with the story and feels like a natural progression,then yes.If it's done for shock value then no.
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
For me, main characters can die at the very end (of a season), a significant turning point, or not at all. If in the middle, it changes the whole series. It's like "Oh you liked those characters for the first half of the season? Well now you have the same show, but with less of the stuff you liked. And who knows who we'll kill off next right?" Turning points shouldn't be commonplace either or they aren't turning points, just mood swings.

Game of Thrones where basically everyone dies has fans obviously, but I'm more with your friend. I won't care about any of them if they just drop like flies. That leaves ... I guess just the plotline and events, since now I don't care about the characters (not worth it).

Probably because I like character interactions and clever dialog over "plot." A show can have a great plot, but it's not all I'm there for.

However if I know up front "Oh yeah this will be a bloodbath, don't worry about the characters" like Juuni Taisen I can watch those shows. It's not about characters to begin with.
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20 / M / Palm Coast, Florida
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
Just watch Akame Ga Kill, you can't have main characters if you kill them all off. Anyway, on topic, get rid off a main character if they're annoying imo.
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
I think you and your friends are both right. Having a character become near indestructible makes many of the "exciting" moments non-impactful or have any sort of emotional sway. You never really feel that "what-if?" fear. Its the same for rooting for underdogs in fights. If you know the "Champ" will always be the "Champ" (for a fact) the sport becomes repetitious and uninteresting.

At the other end of the "Killing off main character" spectrum, though, you would end up with essentially no character becoming a main character, making the story hard to follow. At best, it would end up being a story where the "main character" would be the villain... who is killing the pseudo main characters off. In the end, if there is absolutely nothing to hold onto, it becomes hard to stay interested in the story.

So, instead, you take a median route. By having some characters die it adds realism to the story, which gives weight and merit to the world, while also giving those who don't die's life meaning. It makes the remaining characters seem more human and shows their flaws and triumphs better. It also injects the fear of "what-if?" which is good, so long as it doesn't become "When will the next one die?".

One of the things that absolutely irks me the most is when a cast of characters "die" in order to protect someone only to appear later on in the story (sometimes at the behest of fans) having never really died at all through some miracle.

That all being said, though, it really just depends on what the writer of the story/show wants to express in the end.

Its hard to be a "hero show" when every "hero" character has the lifespan of a mayfly, no?
Its hard to be a "hero show" when every "villain" character's strongest attack is blowing harmless bubbles at everyone.

Somewhere in-between is best to me.
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
There's no right answer to this question. If it works, it works. That's really all there is to it.
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
It depends on how it's executed and if the story can still flow afterwards.
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31 / M / Glendale, AZ
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
I think killing off the lead guy and girl should happen in the very last chapter (so they can die together).
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
It seems to have worked moving Game of Thrones along from season to season.
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M / A Very Specific P...
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
I think that IF done correctly and compellingly, it can actually be narratively satisfying to kill off a main character.
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25 / M
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
it depends on the execution, but I agree with you for the most part. I don't want the whole dropping like flies approach a la Game of Thrones or Akame ga Kill, but characters need to be able to lose, develop, and die. The worst any series can do is essentially bend over backwards to keep the stakes of a plot where the characters can die, but never pull that trigger. Main characters should not be immune from this either.
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28 / M / Louisville, KY
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17

21stCenturyGemini wrote:

It seems to have worked moving Game of Thrones along from season to season.


Game of Thrones does not have a main character. There are several sub-plots that have a main character, but if they die, the sub-plot ends, but the main plot remains. So, yes, if some anime, movie, game, etc. followed this type of layout where there are several sub-plots that each have their own main character, it would be fine if those sub-plots just fizzled out because the main character of that sub-plot died. It wouldn't work if the entire plot is centered on one main character and they just die. The story can't continue, unless it is some type of plot where a sub character becomes the main character all of a sudden, I don't image that being interesting to watch though.

Edit: If the story concludes with the main character's death, that is fine.
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
Tengen toppa, kaminas death made the show great, still wish he lived thoug
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
Meh I think if they are going to die do it before the end or at least let there be closure. Shows like Code Geass or Akame ga Kill where the main characters basically die and no real closure is given... is a great way to get your studios on the DO NOT WATCH list. When I can name at least a dozen powerful and emotional anime that don't involve people dying I feel like killing characters for shock value is kinda taking the easy route. That said shows like Iron Blooded Orphans... characters dying added to the drama of a mecha anime that was really more drama then mechs and fight scenes. Though that show in particular did a great job of giving closure and almost gave you the sense that without their deaths there wouldn't be closure.

R.I.P Pigeon-kun tell Grape-kun we miss him!
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27 / M / Leanbox, Gameindu...
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
It can be done right if it is done for character development purposes


and be done wrong if overused and does little to affect other characters
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