First  Prev  1  2  3  4  Next  Last
Highschool Age Characters = Japan's Hope for the Future?
16120 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
25 / M / Seattle
Offline
Posted 4/16/13

imiami wrote:

@Ama_no_Kasage: it doesn't seem that niche though: Ouran, which was huge, and which my ten year old cousin introduced me to, had incest as an overt theme (I was duly mortified). That was a basic shoujo and not something being marketed for an older audience. I guess my concern is that there doesn't seem to be any concern that a young audience is watching/reading things like this too. Fanservice, lolicon, hentai etc etc, these are all things I've had to go look up since returning to anime recently: maybe I just got lucky to miss out on it when i was younger..? You're definitely right that in a lot of shows the pervy guys are frequently being clobbered!

Going back to the topic at hand: a lot of the shows I watched as a teen had older characters as their heroes and that never put me off: I always totally identified with their ideals. It is odd really, to have so many 'high school heroes': (I often find myself worrying about Ichigo and co's grades when watching Bleach!)

Tbh if they didn't make it so overt that characters were highschoolers I'd never even guess their age and I'd still identify with them: it's their personality and what they stand for that's important. I don't think I'm unique in this respect, so are producers just dumbing down programming by shoving teen characters in our faces, or are they really trying to project their hopes on the youth of today (adults of tomorrow)? I find it hard to believe that all of these studios are programming with such grand aspirations: as has been mentioned in the thread earlier a lot of stuff out now is definitely lowest-common-denominator material.

And yes: go watch Flowers of Evil: nerve-wracking is the phrase.


I think that Ouran is a bit of an exception personally. I still scratch my head a little and how it blew up the way it did. This wouldn't be the first report that I have heard that a younger person enjoyed and recommended Ouran Host Club. And admittedly, while I did enjoy the show thoroughly, I would agreed that the original content is inappropriate for a younger audience. I think we have our own anime community to blame for that one, as Ouran Host Club is not a show that would not have gotten so big without the community pushing it everywhere. A lot of my non-anime watching associates are even familiar with it.. Which is weird.

There really needs to be a filler arc for Bleach where they enter a time chamber. Not to power up ala DBZ, but instead where they can cram study for their college entrance exams.. Or however old they are now.

I think lolicon is a relatively new niche, but yeah fanservice goes back pretty far. I mean, uncut Vampire Hunter D anyone?

Anyway. I do not think that this is an agenda item for everyone, to be sure. I don't see the dudes over at Kodansha sitting in a round table discussion about how to have a more positive impact on today's youth to program to become the messiahs of the next generation.. But on the creative level I certainly think that at least some parties are conscious of it. I probably should have been a little more clear in my original argument.


Sophiekat89 wrote:

I agree with the OP in that there is definitely a trend in portraying younger characters as heroic figures, duty bound to bring about change. However, this isn't unique to anime. In dystopian literature (especially novels in the YA market, e.g Hunger Games/Maze Runner/Chaos Walking trilogy) hope is bestowed on adolescent or pre-adolescent characters to transform society. This is also the overarching theme in dystopian anime (Technolyze, Shinsekai Yori, Ergo Proxy, and Attack on Titan, to name a few). It may well be that the popularity of these series reflects growing concerns in modern Japan (political or societal) or even a sense of nostalgia for the innocence/ideals of adolescence. Very interesting topic!


Agreed. It's not just anime that reflects this shift in focus. I have nothing constructive to add to this, however.


runec wrote:

You're asking why the characters in shounen anime are teenagers? >.>

"Youngsters save the world" has been a trope since the dawn of animation. You're basically asking why Harry Potter or Aang is a teenager. Of course they are, that's the target market. Strangely enough teenagers tend to be self absorbed, they like to see and/or imagine themselves in the role of the protagonist. They can't relate to an adult character very well yet. So adult characters serve as role models or goals to strive for.

If there's an adult character around, they are a mentor or bad ass role model to strive towards being like. Someone to measure up to or ultimately defeat if its an antagonist. They need to grow up/power up to reach that level.

You might have a point if we suddenly had a huge rush of shows with whippersnappers saving the world. But its been like that since the dawn of anime and JRPGs.

If you look at seinen or josei, guess what happens to the age of the protagonists? ;p


You do bring a good argument to the table with Harry Potter. I think the argument that could be made for Aang and Avatar is the fact that the creators did try to emulate common elements in modern anime. Around the same time that Avatar was around, we were seeing the rise of shows like Naruto and before that Yu Yu Hakusho and other pre-Naruto shows that kind of started the shift in the adolescent direction. Of course, I'm not going to say that Yu Yu Hakusho was the first SHOW EVER OMAGAH to feature a young protagonist, but before that era there certainly was less of a focus.

It could be argued that the older 'mentor' character type, or even the villain, could be playing off of the idea Japan is demonizing the older generation for royally fuxing up the economy.. But THAT would be reading too far into it.

Anyway, again. I'm not trying to say that target audience is not a factor. Just that the rise in popularity for these shows correlates with the media frenzy surrounding birth rates in Japan. It would be a lie to say that Japan is unaware of the cultural impact their pop culture can have with them establishing a Pop Culture Administration.. or ministry, or something.

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/04/15/japan-pop-culture-subcommittee-formed-to-show-the-world-cool-japan/
runec 
17441 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Offline
Posted 4/16/13 , edited 4/16/13

Ama_no_Kagaseo wrote:

You do bring a good argument to the table with Harry Potter. I think the argument that could be made for Aang and Avatar is the fact that the creators did try to emulate common elements in modern anime. Around the same time that Avatar was around, we were seeing the rise of shows like Naruto and before that Yu Yu Hakusho and other pre-Naruto shows that kind of started the shift in the adolescent direction. Of course, I'm not going to say that Yu Yu Hakusho was the first SHOW EVER OMAGAH to feature a young protagonist, but before that era there certainly was less of a focus.

It could be argued that the older 'mentor' character type, or even the villain, could be playing off of the idea Japan is demonizing the older generation for royally fuxing up the economy.. But THAT would be reading too far into it.

Anyway, again. I'm not trying to say that target audience is not a factor. Just that the rise in popularity for these shows correlates with the media frenzy surrounding birth rates in Japan. It would be a lie to say that Japan is unaware of the cultural impact their pop culture can have with them establishing a Pop Culture Administration.. or ministry, or something.

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/04/15/japan-pop-culture-subcommittee-formed-to-show-the-world-cool-japan/


Aang is Aang because that's the target demographic. In fact, Aang;s design is doubly clever because he's at that awkward kind of age where the girl's hit their growth spurt first and the older boys seem cooler.

In order for the op's theory to hold true, there must be an exclusively Japanese trend towards an increase in this type of media and it must not correlate to an expanding market base. IE there can't be more teenage anime simply because there is more teenagers with money to buy it now. Otherwise the theory is dead in the water out of the gate. There has been major growth in shounen/shoujo market over the last 10 years due to increased acceptance of anime and an expanding market overseas in western countries. What sort of anime is most popular in the west? You guested it, stuff for teenagers. Teenagers are a huge demographic with a lot of disposal income.

The hero being young is not a trend by any means, its a classic trope at this point. Kids like to see kids as the hero. Teenagers like to see teenagers as the hero. Look at the first anime that started to really gain traction in the west. Astroboy ( Kid is the hero saving the world ). Robotech ( Teenager is the hero saving the world ). Hell, look at the games. The average age range is 15-21 for your typical JRPG cast and has been since consoles were invented to play them. With one or two older characters for wise mentor or whacky grandpa-ness.

The older mentor character is as old a trope as they come. There's always a Yoda.

If Japan was really trying to address its problems through anime every high school romance comedy would end with them having 2.5 kids. >.>



10374 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
31 / F / UK
Offline
Posted 4/17/13

runec wrote:
Hell, look at the games. The average age range is 15-21 for your typical JRPG cast and has been since consoles were invented to play them. With one or two older characters for wise mentor or whacky grandpa-ness.

Mario Bros was the 'it' for me....those mustachios definitely exclude them from being teens! Then there were random animals: Sonic, Banjo-Kazooie... Yeah, again it all seemed mostly ageless back in my day.


If Japan was really trying to address its problems through anime every high school romance comedy would end with them having 2.5 kids. >.>


LOL!! Now that's a suggestion I'd like to see actualised!
runec 
17441 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Offline
Posted 4/17/13

imiami wrote:
Mario Bros was the 'it' for me....those mustachios definitely exclude them from being teens! Then there were random animals: Sonic, Banjo-Kazooie... Yeah, again it all seemed mostly ageless back in my day.
[


Sonic was only 10 years old ( Seriously ). Link was 9-10 ( and is typically around that age in most Zelda games really ). Kid Icarus is a pretty obvious one. There were many NES / SNES games with children or teenagers as the hero. Banjo Kazooie is the PSX / N64 era though, when spiky haired teenager saves the world was really coming to the forefront with a new wave of JRPGs. Teenager saves the world is a pretty old trope for JRPGs and really kicked up with the PSX when they were able to better portray characters with better graphics and cut scenes. Any given Final Fantasy game will be 15-21. Hell, most the cast of Xenogears was 16-18. Despite how epic the story was, Fei and Elly couldn't even legally buy beer yet. The lead character in all of the Tales games is always 15-18. Kingdom Hearts? Yeah.

Even the anime that spurned this, Devil Survivor, is an adaption of a game in a series dating back to 1994 in which the main cast is ALWAYS high school students. There's like 20 games in or related to the series.




EmpReb 
17906 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
23 / M / Incoming Air Stomp
Offline
Posted 4/17/13 , edited 4/17/13
To tell you the truth... even though one of my favorite series was high school ages out right. (Full Metal Panic) I find I prefer again... again. Young adult or even middle age main characters. The allow for more mature (not what you are all thinking) content and thought out plots to be done.

Cowboy Bebop stands pretty much as a pinnacle of this in my mind. Spike is Spike because he lived life to have history and same as the rest of the main cast... besides ein. Yes, we have a child in Cowboy Bebop but is represented as skilled but still naive and growing. Thats what I feel is missing is teenaged anime.

Time gives experience that is only know because of time... sorry but no teen... even the SMARTEST ones I know can do what anime shows think is possible (even with in the realms of possibility). Full Metal Painc has a teen driving mecha and one commanding a sub. I forgive the one with mecha because he has had way to much time with weapons and mechs NOT to know how use them right. Other one... yeah still kind pushing it HARD. OH well. Prays for some good old Adult age anime (main cast ages you pervs...) to come out.
34498 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
36 / M
Offline
Posted 4/17/13
Might be interesting to compare this to the popular american comic book characters.

There are definitely the teens->early 20s characters... spiderman, a lot of x-men

But a whole lot of them (in their most popular forms) are 40+... Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Dr. Strange

It is a different market... the same characters exist for decades... perhaps that keeps one generation interested for longer... leading to an aging of the actual character...

I would actually like to see more older protagonists... Monster is an exceptional anime with an older protagonist.
17892 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
34 / M / Small Wooded town...
Offline
Posted 4/18/13

otakurocklee wrote:

Might be interesting to compare this to the popular american comic book characters.

There are definitely the teens->early 20s characters... spiderman, a lot of x-men

But a whole lot of them (in their most popular forms) are 40+... Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Dr. Strange

It is a different market... the same characters exist for decades... perhaps that keeps one generation interested for longer... leading to an aging of the actual character...

I would actually like to see more older protagonists... Monster is an exceptional anime with an older protagonist.


1. Berserk characters age throughout the series.
2. Dragon Ball starts as a child but end in his 50's or so.
3. Tiger and Bunny the main male character is in his 40's (bad-ass anime.)
5. Alucard ???
6. Genshiken is based on people in there 20's
7. welcome to NHK based around people in there mid 20's
8. Black Lagoon characters are in there 30's and older.
9. Pumpkin Scissors Late 20's to 30's.
10. Irresponsible Captain Tylor 20's and older.
11. Mad Bull 34 30's
12. Tank Police 20's
13. Planetes 30's (really liked this one.)


not hard to find anime with older main characters.. there the ones with the better stories usually.

I can list 100's more if you don't believe me.
33706 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
33 / M / Planet Sanno
Offline
Posted 4/18/13

Even the anime that spurned this, Devil Survivor, is an adaption of a game in a series dating back to 1994 in which the main cast is ALWAYS high school students. There's like 20 games in or related to the series.


Important to note here that the Shin Megami Tensei series pulls no punches in this regard, as it frequently punishes its characters for acting like the teenagers they are. Favorite example: In Shin Megami Tensei If ... (the beginning of Persona continuity), the whole game happens because one student – alone, bullied, no friends, etc. – wishes for his entire school to go to Hell ... and it does. Similarly, in the novel that originated the franchise (Digital Devil Story), the main character uses the Demon Summoning Program to get revenge on his class, but does not realize exactly what he is bringing into the world and promptly loses control of it.
One Punch Mod
47823 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
F / Boston-ish
Offline
Posted 10/22/13
Forum cleaning. Clearing out threads that have been inactive for more than six months.

locked and closed
First  Prev  1  2  3  4  Next  Last
You must be logged in to post.