Post Reply Sword Art Online and Log Horizon almost has me thinking
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Posted 1/22/18 , edited 1/22/18
You know how SAO and Log Horizon were polar opposites of each other, the former being a brainless male power and romantic fantasy that emphasized the individual, the latter being an intelligent political thriller that emphasized the group?

In a way it almost has me thinking. With rare exceptions like Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece, Lelouch vi Britannia from Code Geass, and Shiroe from the aforementioned Log Horizon, we rarely see any anime protagonists in a leadership position, but we see a lot more of them fight like one-man armies. For example, the majority of Gundam series that I remember either watching or looking up primarily had their main-protagonists as ace pilots of their own Gundam-type mobile suits, rather than taking up any leadership roles.

And it's not just limited to anime, either. Movies, books, TV shows, video games, comics, etc., almost always feature their main-protagonists as one-man armies, rather than leaders of either their own small groups of heroes or large armies or factions. And while I would enjoy one-man armies for many of the exact same reasons as most other people, I'd still would have preferred main-protagonists as leaders of their own armies or large-scale factions, because in my opinion, a leadership position would have made them more significant and symbolically powerful than being one-man armies.

So what's the appeal to the protagonist as a one-man army, rather than the protagonist as leader of his own army?
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Posted 1/22/18 , edited 1/22/18
It gives the main character more screen time..and for Log Horizon or SAO, both are same looking since they are all trapped inside the game and trying to get out.

It probably has to do with "male romance" as some animes would describe it. Looks cool but also how lonely they really are.
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Posted 1/22/18 , edited 1/22/18
I would like it if there was more cooperation in fights generally, but this is a kind of genre tradition.

Shonen battle derived from things like Tetsuwan Atom, who was influenced by Super Man. The "great man" theory -- history is most influenced by individuals -- was big from the earlier part of the 20th century. It also appeals to "you can be strong on your own too." This is still the case in a ton of Western media. Outside the Super Friends and Avengers concept, most heroes are loners, their isolation as the only person in the world that can save it part of the mystique.

Battle teams in Japan got common with Super Sentai. Sentai literally means battle team. That gave the strong color-coding, different personality theme. For whatever reason teams became strongly associated with specifically that genre.

There are practical reasons. In general, it's easier to think of an interesting character to be a protagonist in a story, who grows over time, versus planning out the personalities and relationships of a future team before you start writing. You do a lot of thinking and getting into the protagonist's head. The authors can only do so much prep-work, and the audience can't absorb a ton of characters very quickly, which leads to introducing one new character per episode. In the meantime, constant emphasis is returned to the earlier first character, who was likely the original idea for the story, and the catalyst that grabbed the audience's attention.

Drama, along with the traditional masculinity "one on one" duel format of battles is included. In single combat, the main character can be pushed into a corner and then turn the tables suddenly. In group battles, it can feel "safer," there's somebody who has your back. It's also tricky to choreograph multiple moving parts, as well as keep it clear in a manga format who's doing what, who's saying what, what's going on in a given scene. Fewer people involved in a fight makes it easier to understand.

As an aside, it impedes discussion from other viewpoints when you assert Log Horizon's or any anime's superiority to another. They're different shows.
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Posted 1/22/18 , edited 1/22/18

marklebid wrote:

As an aside, it impedes discussion from other viewpoints when you assert Log Horizon's or any anime's superiority to another. They're different shows.


I'm not trying to anger or upset anyone with my preferences. If there are people out there who like one-man armies over leaders, e.g. Sword Art Online > Log Horizon, or Dragon Ball Z > Legend of Galactic Heroes, then they should have every reason to enjoy it, more power to them.
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Posted 1/23/18 , edited 1/24/18
It's like if you look at One Punch Man the you can see how isolated our protagonist is because he can defeat everything with literally one punch. This causes his to not gain any credibility except to work up from the bottom. I personally like watching Majestic Prince because it does have a lot of that team work based absences that so many shows can seem to have. Granted it does have it's main heroes who seem to take on everything, BUT they can't just go and take on whole armies by themselves without taking some hits. I feel Aldnoah.Zero also has some of these aspects but not as much.
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