Post Reply Predictability in Anime
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32 / M / Canada
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Posted 3/5/15 , edited 3/5/15
When I read some general comments on generic shows, predictable is a term that gets thrown arround a lot, so I wanted to pose some questions here to you all:

1) Is predictability (especially in anime) a bad thing? A neutral thing? Is it ever a good thing? Is this a matter of subjective or objective?

2) Is execution more important than a show being predictable? Or just as important? Or not as important as all?

3) Are originality and predictability two sides of the same coin, or different? Can you have a fully original show or manga that has a very obvious plot?

4) Is an old show being predictable an indicator of it not aging well? Is a new show being predictable an indicator of lazy writing?

5) How much weight does that complaint/opinion go, in the end? If you see the ending of a show coming or a plot twist coming do you drop it immediately? Do you give it a chance?


Thanks to anyone who replies.
Posted 3/5/15 , edited 3/5/15
I don't mind lazy writing as much as bad writing. Predictable story lines are oft times executed better than plot twists.I mean, look at Code Geass and Mirai Nikki.


1. Depends. I crave a certain amount of predictability in my moe anime. I don't want to be surprised by drama out of nowhere. Other times I'm tired of the predictability wrought by overuse of tired tropes.

2. Execution is the most important. It can give life to an overused trope and make it unique, or at the very least a high quality work. This is especially important in shows not known for originality, like Kiniro Moasic or Non Non Biyori.

3. Depends on your definition of original. Perhaps the word you are looking for is unique?
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Posted 3/5/15
1.Predictability- It depends what genre and hoe the show is advertised.If the show is suppose to be a mystery than predictability is terrible. Sports anime that I have watched are all very similar. Rivals that become teammates, rivalry with certain people and backstories that show why "they can't give up",the heavily use of the word "ace"...I don't think similar stories in this case is a bad thing,the action and humor in these shows are the reason I like so many of them.

2. Execution-IMO execution is everything, the right person can make a great anime out of working at a laundry mat.

3-Originality-Their are many ways to be "original" and yet its very easy to be "predictable". If a story can't be totally "original" in story, graphics,tone(humor,seriousness,etc...), direction(shows focus),themes can supplement or even negate the loss of originality.

4-Predictability-Predictabilty is often caused by what the fans want. If fans want power up Dragonball Z type shows and nothing else,than many of them will be generic. I think staying relevant is sometimes a hard thing. When so many new, quality things are coming out,people need a reason to watch shows from the past. It shows more about the superior qualities of shows that stand the test of time, but doesn't mean the other shows were all that bad.

5-I watch shows for different reasons. If its a thriller and I can predict the end, i'll finish it,but be dissatisfied. Many action based shows,I can predict,but it doesn't bother me. The reason being is, I watched it for multiple reasons.I think sometimes,people want to rip shows and are selective because their are so many options out their. Predictability isn't always a bad thing.
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39 / Inside your compu...
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Posted 3/5/15 , edited 3/5/15
Talking about "I've seen this before" is like talking about deja vu; There's only so many ways of arranging together so many ideas.

Therefore, tropes.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/browse.php
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Posted 3/5/15
1) It can be a bad thing but it can definitely be a good thing. I won't reveal the name of it as to prevent spoilers but I remember watching one show in particular where there were two main heroes, the circumstances dictated that one had to die but it would have been very wrong to kill the main hero. I was well aware of which would die because he was the only who could it of the two and the show was well aware that I knew. They subtly built the suspense and back story of that character so that when the time came it had a greater impact than the random and often cheap deaths shows like to throw in these days.

2) Execution is easily more important

3) Originality is a very rare thing these days I would say but shaping a story with less frequented ideas doesn't require anything unexpected. You definitely can have one without the other. About five years ago when I was taking a literature class someone turned me on to the book "The man with a thousand faces" (I think?) That was a very interesting read if you want to look at originality in any story.

4) I don't know that I have any confidence in an opinion about how well a show has aged but I am very sure predictability is not equal to lazy writing. In fact I would almost say with the number of shows going for shocking and unexpected deaths these days, unpredictability can very easily turn into lazy writing.

5) Always give it a chance, you never know when one will pull off another ending like Fight Club and just hit you from left field. When you do know without a doubt it's not always bad either. There is some real dramatic tension in watching a character you have become attached to go and meet their fate whatever that may be.
mnmike 
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Posted 3/5/15 , edited 3/5/15
1) Total unpredictability is always bad; it interferes with suspension of disbelief. Great plot twists are the ones that are foreshadowed--the ones where you kick yourself in retrospect (or re-watching it) with "ah, I should have seen that coming!". But it's always better to err on the side of giving too much away--better that the audience see something coming (when usually they will just pat themselves on the back for their foresight!), than be blindsided by something that seems unbelievable or random.

2) Execution is easily more important. Romeo and Juliet was predictable even when Shakespeare wrote it, but it's been a classic for hundreds of years.

3) They are separate, but overlapping concepts. It is difficult to be both unpredictable and unoriginal--unless your audience is completely unfamiliar with the material you are ripping off. That being said, it is very easy to be both predictable and original--just get a little heavy-handed with your foreshadowing. Moreover, originality is often not a good thing; at the end of the day, good stories are ones that speak to commonly held human emotions; the reader to be able to empathize with the characters and what they are going through. That requires at least some amount of familiarity.

4) Absolutely not, in both cases. Predictable things can be great--both for the first viewing and for the 100th viewing. In fact, making things predictable-but-still-worth-watching is probably the greatest challenge of any artist.

5) To be honest, I prefer some amount of predictability in what I watch. Moreover, if I didn't see a plot twist coming at all--even in retrospect--it was probably a poorly conceived plot twist. I'm more likely to drop a show because of some crap "out of left field" twist, than I am because I saw something coming.
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Posted 3/6/15
1) Is predictability (especially in anime) a bad thing? A neutral thing? Is it ever a good thing? Is this a matter of subjective or objective?
That strongly depends on the anime and the situation. When it's something that you expect, but oh man you NEED TO SEE IT, then I'd say that's when it needs to be there. The hype is so satisfying when I see it happen when I thought about it way before it happened, but it's only satisfying is that's where I want the story to go. Since people like different things, it's probably very difficult to pull off the fun kind of predictability, and so in a lot of cases, it can be very bad. No anime hits me better than when I say "this guy gonna die" or "this guy is the antagonist all along" or whatever, and I turn out to be right. It can really make a person feel good.

2) Is execution more important than a show being predictable? Or just as important? Or not as important as all?
Execution is the most important thing for me. Predictable or not, only a well executed scene will be remembered.

3) Are originality and predictability two sides of the same coin, or different? Can you have a fully original show or manga that has a very obvious plot?
I want to believe so because I'm not sure. I don't think I've seen much of anything like that. It's a lot easier to have some originality in something that might not be very original itself, and make that predictable, but I feel like very original stuff would have problems trying to be predictable. They're different things, but I don't think they can be considered "two sides of a coin" different because they both range too much.

4) Is an old show being predictable an indicator of it not aging well? Is a new show being predictable an indicator of lazy writing?
Once again, depends on story, style, and execution. Age is rarely a factor in anything as far as I've been concerned. Nothing I've experienced has taught me differently, so I'd have to say no.

5) How much weight does that complaint/opinion go, in the end? If you see the ending of a show coming or a plot twist coming do you drop it immediately? Do you give it a chance?
I give it more than just a chance. Regardless of the outcome, I want to see the execution. I wanna see characters grow and things happen, predictable or not. I wouldn't drop something based on it's predictability.
KoA21 
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Posted 3/6/15
1) It depends on the type of show. If it's a slice of life show I am perfectly fine with it being predictable. However if it is an action show I do like it when it's unpredictable as it makes it more exciting!

2) Execution is more important. What happens in a show whether it's predictable or not doesn't matter if the show is poorly executed.

3)
It is hard/impossible for a show to be unpredictable and unoriginal as the same thing has already been done before so you can easily predict the outcome. However at the same time a show with an original concept can be predictable but that depends on how it is written.

4) This is hard to answer. An old show may be predictable these days but when it came out it may have been unpredictable. This may be due to more modern shows copying it's format. However new shows being predictable doesn't always mean lazy writing. It may be lazy writing if it is basically a copy of another show. However a predictable show can still have well written characters and character interactions.

5) Predictability has no impact on me dropping it. Sure it can affect my enjoyment a little. But like I said about execution, how predictable it is doesn't matter if the show/characters are bad.
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38 / M / Charlotte, NC
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Posted 3/6/15
I want originality over everything. Predictable, reused, rehashed, dead horse plots just do nothing for me. Execution is the same old thing a lot of folks fall back on as a defense of lazy writing and lack of ideas- the problem here is that EVERY show will have great execution in someone's eyes, rendering the "It has great execution!" argument moot. I don't care what the show's about, execution is important regardless- so if it falls short in the quality department it's probably just going to turn me off completely.
There is no way that it's impossible to come out with a fresh and original concept, story line, or character style. Do we really need more super robot shows? Is there not another story that could be told about humanity's struggles with technology than teenagers piloting robots to save Earth?
Are there other approaches to romance that don't take place in a classroom setting? Or with one doofus male character surrounded by multiple cookie cutter girls who always have archetypal personalities?
I have a somewhat cynical view of plot twists in a lot of recent anime. Much of the time it appears the show is just some goofing off for several episodes, and then when it's clear they have nothing new to say- a bolt comes down from the sky announcing The Plot Twist; oh boy here it comes... and it just feels so cheap and lazy.
Sure I watch shows that are unoriginal, there isn't much choice. But mostly I look for things that are unique. I would rather watch a handful of good anime than a hundred dull and boring ones.

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