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Post Reply Idealistic Characters in Anime
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Posted 7/10/16 , edited 7/10/16

greg8west wrote:

When I say consequences I mean real consequences in alot of shows (im mainly talking about shoenen and action) the MC or whoever is fighting the villain and fails to deliver the decisive blow not even killing just seriously injuring him, usually the girl or friend gets kidnapped for a little bit but they go kick his ass and save the girl with little little harm done, or some variation of this. I can believe it once but when everything essentially returns to the status quo at the end of each arc, its just not idk intense? suspenseful?

I'm not saying the MC should just brutally murder every perceived threat, and i'm not saying all the main characters should be killed either. But just some more serious permanent consequences to good or bad decisions, like betrayal in the vein of Naruto and Sasuke, or permanent loss of important items or resources, or world damage. Just something that adds some weight to the characters actions.

Also just think about what happens in a show like Fairy Tail after they beat up one of the TONS of infamous murderers. The stronger ones usually show up a few times throughout the story, so what do you think people known for being psychotic killers would be doing after they get beaten and humiliated? They always come back stronger and are supposed to be real murderers in the lore so we can assume they have been fighting and killing alot of people many probably innocent, in the period of years sometimes between them showing back up for another fight with the MC's. Can you really say it was a better decision not to kill them? But it would be far more self gratifying to not have to dirty your hands and think everything is just good after that point.

Basically I just want characters to make decisions based on logic more often when their choices are supposed to hold real weight in the story. I'm not saying killing is fantastic (although it can be entertaining) but just logically necessary sometimes, until they just pull a deus ex machina and pat the character on the back for not doing anything.

Also it may not be a very nice world view but when humans are involved there will never be true peace. We are not "moral" by nature, in the end were just animals and most people will act that way when a situation truly gets desperate. I can't just pretend not to see how the world works because that wouldn't make me any happier.

Also i'm digging the debate so far




So you would rather them kill the villain? if they did that then it would be stupid as fuck.

Yes it's stupid they don't arrest the murderers they don't need to kill them nor should they kill those scum they deserve prison killing them just gets your hands dirty don't take a life unless you have no choice.

A logical decision would to be to make them unable to move and lock them away.

That's why i prefer shounen anime because idiots jump to killing as a good solution when it's not at all you should avoid killing even if the person is a murderer when possible if you need to kill them to save someone and there was no other way then thats fine to kill them then but you should still regret having to commit those actions.



Shounen anime could do with heavier consequences sure i can agree there however killing is very rarely logically necessary as there are most of the times other options.

Its no different from the whole he was coming at me with a knife and i had a gun so i killed him argument fine that's self defense and legal but it was not the only option and to say otherwise is just ridiculous.

If you found a rapist or murderer and caught him i would hope you to be a better person then he and not kill them when there are better options available.

However most humans would kill them because they aren't logical and are highly emotional :P


Don't get me wrong i would be the person that would choose to kill them just like many others my ideals aren't that heavy set i believe such people give up the right to live but you get the point i was trying to make i think that there are always other options.
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Posted 7/10/16
Well if this suddenly became realistic and normal people fighting yeah you could incapacitate him, but were talking about anime here and the villains usually dealt with in lots of these shows tend to be pretty damn powerful, and it takes the MC to actually beat them and until that point were usually led to believe these superhumans are incredibly hard to capture and actually lock up for a long period, and they usually have a team backing them up. In an ideal world you could knock them out, but that would require pulling your punches and holding back. In an actual death match with nearly equal power in a team fight, the team that is holding back and afraid of hurting people will lose, game over. Holding back and constantly hesitating would also increase collateral damage, making you even less focused.

Its not really a knife and gun in this case, its more he came at me with teleporting nuclear bombs so I killed him with a black hole (power up lol)

Really in a lot of shounen, and action series the reason killing is taken off the table is because they suddenly get a third deus ex machina option before they actually have to make a meaningful choice.
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Posted 7/10/16 , edited 7/10/16

rcsatcrunchyroll wrote:


LionelJeid wrote:
I think Shinn is about the only character I've ever legit hated in an anime.


Understandably. He's far from being a good person, and he makes a lot of bonehead decisions. But, in terms of this topic, Kira "Jesus" Yamato is the worst (IMO).


Kira absolutely could've been handled better.
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Posted 7/10/16 , edited 7/17/16
I actually get more annoyed when a cynical anti-heroic d-bag is presented as a heroic type (usually its either one or the other), than an idealistic person trying to do good. You've mentioned FS/N in this thread but I'd point to Saber "idealistic hero" vs Archer "cynical anti-hero" or even Kiritsugu; I easily prefer Saber's views and actions over the latter, to the point where I actually find it just as frustrating to watch them as Saber is. For me its far more annoying to see characters or even viewers/readers, insulting or looking down on idealism, while trying to raise up cynicism or pragmatism (<- this one I don't mind so long as the person isn't trying to bash idealism with it).

On the killing aspect, if someone is pushed to kill via self-defense that's one thing or when there is no other choice. That being said killing, even for the sake of future lives, shouldn't be held as a good/heroic thing maybe a necessary thing but not good/heroic. Not to mention as you want to put 'consequences' on being idealistic, there should be consequences for being willing to cross certain lines (emotional stress, mental breakdown, being isolated from others, families/friends of the killed coming after the killer for revenge thus triggering a revenge cycle, etc).

On the consequences, there's way too much "edge" material that is the go-to for this for me to go 100% go "sure".

And above all, the irl world we live in is shit enough, I don't need nor want to see it take over creative worlds too.
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Posted 7/10/16 , edited 7/17/16
So basically, what you're saying is instead of black and white morality, there should be black and grey morality, where the bad guys are still disgusting evil scum that need to be punished, but the heroes are shown doing the punishing, to the audience's sadistic glee.

I think there should be grey and grey morality. The protagonists and antagonists all have their reasons, and neither is deserving of violent treatment - the "bad guy" in this case isn't a character, but the idea of war itself, and the conflict shouldn't end with one side pummeling the other into the dust, it should end with both sides forgiving each other and coming to understand each other and make peace together.

Because in real life, there are no "bad guys" who are completely evil and deserve to die, and if you believe someone is that, then you're just asking for the conflict to continue so that you'll never be happy. Unless violence is what you enjoy. If your goal is peace, stop believing in "bad guys" and try actually talking it out.
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Posted 7/10/16

greg8west wrote:

When I say consequences I mean real consequences in alot of shows (im mainly talking about shoenen and action) the MC or whoever is fighting the villain and fails to deliver the decisive blow not even killing just seriously injuring him, usually the girl or friend gets kidnapped for a little bit but they go kick his ass and save the girl with little little harm done, or some variation of this. I can believe it once but when everything essentially returns to the status quo at the end of each arc, its just not idk intense? suspenseful?

I'm not saying the MC should just brutally murder every perceived threat, and i'm not saying all the main characters should be killed either. But just some more serious permanent consequences to good or bad decisions, like betrayal in the vein of Naruto and Sasuke, or permanent loss of important items or resources, or world damage. Just something that adds some weight to the characters actions.

Also just think about what happens in a show like Fairy Tail after they beat up one of the TONS of infamous murderers. The stronger ones usually show up a few times throughout the story, so what do you think people known for being psychotic killers would be doing after they get beaten and humiliated? They always come back stronger and are supposed to be real murderers in the lore so we can assume they have been fighting and killing alot of people many probably innocent, in the period of years sometimes between them showing back up for another fight with the MC's. Can you really say it was a better decision not to kill them? But it would be far more self gratifying to not have to dirty your hands and think everything is just good after that point.

Basically I just want characters to make decisions based on logic more often when their choices are supposed to hold real weight in the story. I'm not saying killing is fantastic (although it can be entertaining) but just logically necessary sometimes, until they just pull a deus ex machina and pat the character on the back for not doing anything.

Also it may not be a very nice world view but when humans are involved there will never be true peace. We are not "moral" by nature, in the end were just animals and most people will act that way when a situation truly gets desperate. I can't just pretend not to see how the world works because that wouldn't make me any happier.

Also i'm digging the debate so far


I love your topic and you are bringing up some true points. I just finished watching kabaneri of the iron fortress not too long ago and I couldn't get into it because of the main character. I get tired of the same overly idealistic main character that is such a saint that he can do no wrong. I also hate that they are so perfect that everything just seem to work out for them. It bothered me how these types of characters will save anybody and do anything to save the world regardless of what might actually happen. Honestly, characters need to be more realistic. Characters need to have visible consequences to their actions and they need to fail and get messed up once in a while. in these types of shows, it becomes predictable to think that the idealistic main character will always come out on top without losing any close friends or suffering major loss. I guess that is why i love characters like shinji akari from evangelion. He may get hate, but I love how realistic he is. He's unwilling to save the world, he deals with major psychological issues, he experiences loss, he feels loneliness and regret, and he struggles to overcome his own self-doubt. That is a character that I can root for because he actually has issues. I can't feel sympathy for main characters who go into a slump when they fail once or something bad happens to them once in a while. That just makes them seem delusional by seemingly believing that they could save everybody and never fail. Characters really need to suffer a good share of losses so that their victory is actually satisfying. And yeah, I get annoyed in those anime where people who really need to get killed don't. Like, it would save so much time and lives if the bad guys died. Also the classic deus ex machine moments get pretty old too.

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Posted 7/10/16 , edited 7/10/16
I'm personally always torn by pragmatism/ realism and my romantic notion of idealism.
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Posted 7/11/16 , edited 7/17/16

LavenderMintRose wrote:

So basically, what you're saying is instead of black and white morality, there should be black and grey morality, where the bad guys are still disgusting evil scum that need to be punished, but the heroes are shown doing the punishing, to the audience's sadistic glee.

I think there should be grey and grey morality. The protagonists and antagonists all have their reasons, and neither is deserving of violent treatment - the "bad guy" in this case isn't a character, but the idea of war itself, and the conflict shouldn't end with one side pummeling the other into the dust, it should end with both sides forgiving each other and coming to understand each other and make peace together.

Because in real life, there are no "bad guys" who are completely evil and deserve to die, and if you believe someone is that, then you're just asking for the conflict to continue so that you'll never be happy. Unless violence is what you enjoy. If your goal is peace, stop believing in "bad guys" and try actually talking it out.


Not black and grey, only grey. What is good or bad is entirely dependent on the angle its viewed. Nobody is deserving of anything, bad guys don't deserve punishment and hero's don't deserve rewards. What either party gets is dependent on the choices they made and the choices others connected to them made.

All i'm saying is I want to see more logical outcomes from the choices that are made. For instance when a character who is built up as a killer sociopath gets saved by a MC after killing/trying to kill the MC and his crew, it doesn't make sense for them to just go "well I understand and agree with you now bro, I guess all the death and destruction i've caused my whole life was for nothing!" and now their good guys is frustrating to watch. They would be far more likely to just stab them the second the MC's back is turned but that never happens lol

Or even worse when they do the whole "pick one of these two people to die or ill kill both" and the MC just says "no thats evil" and somehow everyone get out of it okay instead of the villain actually following through with his "real" threat.

I'm not saying I want every show to be a gritty deathfest where every character is sociopath guided only by logic with no personality (although that could be interesting) but when a character makes an obviously wrong choice or at least a choice that doesn't give them their desired outcome, there shouldn't be just some cop out that makes everything work out because they refused to "stoop to their level".

Its also been pretty clear throughout history that no matter how thouroughly you crush one side in any conflict, their will always been some form of long lasting fallout, yet even today we still start conflicts everyday all over the world and they all have a similar outcome in the end. Its also like if your country was suddenly attacked on a massive scale like full on military invasion, and everyone just going "better surrender, violence would be bad", even though they have the means to seriously fight back.

If I have to come up with an example of a mainstream more idealistic character I like i'd go with Ichigo from Bleach. He wants to protect people and he understands that he has to use the tools at his disposal to do so. When he fights other PEOPLE (soul society, arrancar) he is still fighting to kill, even if he would rather not, because holding back his strength would just end up getting him and the people he is protecting killed.
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Posted 7/11/16 , edited 7/13/16

greg8west wrote:


LavenderMintRose wrote:

So basically, what you're saying is instead of black and white morality, there should be black and grey morality, where the bad guys are still disgusting evil scum that need to be punished, but the heroes are shown doing the punishing, to the audience's sadistic glee.

I think there should be grey and grey morality. The protagonists and antagonists all have their reasons, and neither is deserving of violent treatment - the "bad guy" in this case isn't a character, but the idea of war itself, and the conflict shouldn't end with one side pummeling the other into the dust, it should end with both sides forgiving each other and coming to understand each other and make peace together.

Because in real life, there are no "bad guys" who are completely evil and deserve to die, and if you believe someone is that, then you're just asking for the conflict to continue so that you'll never be happy. Unless violence is what you enjoy. If your goal is peace, stop believing in "bad guys" and try actually talking it out.


Not black and grey, only grey. What is good or bad is entirely dependent on the angle its viewed. Nobody is deserving of anything, bad guys don't deserve punishment and hero's don't deserve rewards. What either party gets is dependent on the choices they made and the choices others connected to them made.

All i'm saying is I want to see more logical outcomes from the choices that are made. For instance when a character who is built up as a killer sociopath gets saved by a MC after killing/trying to kill the MC and his crew, it doesn't make sense for them to just go "well I understand and agree with you now bro, I guess all the death and destruction i've caused my whole life was for nothing!" and now their good guys is frustrating to watch. They would be far more likely to just stab them the second the MC's back is turned but that never happens lol

Or even worse when they do the whole "pick one of these two people to die or ill kill both" and the MC just says "no thats evil" and somehow everyone get out of it okay instead of the villain actually following through with his "real" threat.

I'm not saying I want every show to be a gritty deathfest where every character is sociopath guided only by logic with no personality (although that could be interesting) but when a character makes an obviously wrong choice or at least a choice that doesn't give them their desired outcome, there shouldn't be just some cop out that makes everything work out because they refused to "stoop to their level".

Its also been pretty clear throughout history that no matter how thouroughly you crush one side in any conflict, their will always been some form of long lasting fallout, yet even today we still start conflicts everyday all over the world and they all have a similar outcome in the end. Its also like if your country was suddenly attacked on a massive scale like full on military invasion, and everyone just going "better surrender, violence would be bad", even though they have the means to seriously fight back.

If I have to come up with an example of a mainstream more idealistic character I like i'd go with Ichigo from Bleach. He wants to protect people and he understands that he has to use the tools at his disposal to do so. When he fights other PEOPLE (soul society, arrancar) he is still fighting to kill, even if he would rather not, because holding back his strength would just end up getting him and the people he is protecting killed.


So if someone killed your friend it would be illogical not to kill them because you don't want to stoop to their level?
Thats the kind of logic i'm getting from this

Also alot of people do think black and white instead of shades of grey its realistic that people do that.
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This is a bit of a heady topic and its a bit hard to explain things clearly without writing a book lol.

I'm not saying all characters have to logic based robots, that wouldn't be interesting or realistic, i'm more looking for realistic reactions to the choices characters make whether good or bad instead of outcomes that constantly work for the protagonist regardless of how much sense is made.

Almost every person in the world think in black and white, us vs them kind of logic, its just the way our brains are wired. Just look at the muslim situation right now, even though all of the statistics show that muslim terrorism isn't nearly as common as believed and the fact that they are the largest world religion with over a billion followers and yet only a few percent have anything do with terrorism, a huge amount of non muslims discriminate against and fear ALL of them, even though it isn't logical at all. Its just human nature unfortunately, and the reason why we will never be united on a global scale unless were talking about a global dictatorship type situation.

The only people who act based on pure logic are sociopaths. If someone wanted to kill another only for revenge thats not logical at all, but its a understandable reaction to the murder of someone close to you, so it makes sense as an outcome. If the MC just said "I won't stoop to your level I forgive you, come be a good guy" and then they teamed up and saved the world that would be stupid.
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Posted 7/11/16 , edited 7/13/16
Joker Game must have driven you nuts. XD
One of the spies' rules is to avoid killing people. Because that pulls a lot of attention.

Vash is one of my favorite characters because he's idealistic in a gritty world. The conflict of a character's ideals with the world around them and their struggle to uphold them is something I find interesting. And Vash clearly suffers the consequences of following his ideals.
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LokiLB wrote:

Joker Game must have driven you nuts. XD
One of the spies' rules is to avoid killing people. Because that pulls a lot of attention.

Vash is one of my favorite characters because he's idealistic in a gritty world. The conflict of a character's ideals with the world around them and their struggle to uphold them is something I find interesting. And Vash clearly suffers the consequences of following his ideals.


Haven't checked out Joker Game yet cause I hear lots of bad things even though the premise seems interesting enough.

That's a pretty good example of what i'm talking about with Trigun, it shows a character who refuses to kill in a world where murder and death is the norm, and their are consequences for him trying to uphold his morals. It constantly works against him because thats the logical outcome in that setting, unlike lots of other shows in which refusing to kill in a world full of killing always work out for the protagonist because their the "good guys".
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Posted 7/11/16 , edited 7/13/16

greg8west wrote:


LokiLB wrote:

Joker Game must have driven you nuts. XD
One of the spies' rules is to avoid killing people. Because that pulls a lot of attention.

Vash is one of my favorite characters because he's idealistic in a gritty world. The conflict of a character's ideals with the world around them and their struggle to uphold them is something I find interesting. And Vash clearly suffers the consequences of following his ideals.


Haven't checked out Joker Game yet cause I hear lots of bad things even though the premise seems interesting enough.

That's a pretty good example of what i'm talking about with Trigun, it shows a character who refuses to kill in a world where murder and death is the norm, and their are consequences for him trying to uphold his morals. It constantly works against him because thats the logical outcome in that setting, unlike lots of other shows in which refusing to kill in a world full of killing always work out for the protagonist because their the "good guys".


It's a good show and worth checking out.
It just doesn't have much pull between episodes, partially because it's episodic.
Relevant to this topic, it's one of the few shows where killing is discouraged not due to some ideal or moral but due to pragmatism.

The ones that don't have the 'no good deed goes unpunished' thing going on are usually aimed at kids or younger teenagers. They are showing a nicer more idealized world to them. Gone are the days when stories like Grimm's fairy tales are told to children.
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Posted 7/11/16

greg8west wrote:

Well if this suddenly became realistic and normal people fighting yeah you could incapacitate him, but were talking about anime here and the villains usually dealt with in lots of these shows tend to be pretty damn powerful, and it takes the MC to actually beat them and until that point were usually led to believe these superhumans are incredibly hard to capture and actually lock up for a long period, and they usually have a team backing them up. In an ideal world you could knock them out, but that would require pulling your punches and holding back. In an actual death match with nearly equal power in a team fight, the team that is holding back and afraid of hurting people will lose, game over. Holding back and constantly hesitating would also increase collateral damage, making you even less focused.

Its not really a knife and gun in this case, its more he came at me with teleporting nuclear bombs so I killed him with a black hole (power up lol)

Really in a lot of shounen, and action series the reason killing is taken off the table is because they suddenly get a third deus ex machina option before they actually have to make a meaningful choice.


Usually these really idealistic characters tend to be in shounen series aimed towards young children, and it isn't exactly a kid friendly message that you should kill people when it's necessary, but you are right about the lack of consequences. At this point you would really be better off reading seinen or old school shounen series. Maybe you've read it or not but the Tokyo Ghoul manga does a really excellent job of portraying the grey vs grey morality, and idealism having consequences. This is a bit of a spoiler, but the protagonist in it is given the choice of choosing to save one of two people, a mother and child, when he says he can't choose one they both get killed. But yeah, the lack of realism in anime and manga is starting to get a bit tiring, especially with all these selfless protagonists who are completely okay with ruining themselves for the sake of others, even though they never really had any inspiration to become like that.
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Posted 7/11/16

LokiLB wrote:


greg8west wrote:


LokiLB wrote:

Joker Game must have driven you nuts. XD
One of the spies' rules is to avoid killing people. Because that pulls a lot of attention.

Vash is one of my favorite characters because he's idealistic in a gritty world. The conflict of a character's ideals with the world around them and their struggle to uphold them is something I find interesting. And Vash clearly suffers the consequences of following his ideals.


Haven't checked out Joker Game yet cause I hear lots of bad things even though the premise seems interesting enough.

That's a pretty good example of what i'm talking about with Trigun, it shows a character who refuses to kill in a world where murder and death is the norm, and their are consequences for him trying to uphold his morals. It constantly works against him because thats the logical outcome in that setting, unlike lots of other shows in which refusing to kill in a world full of killing always work out for the protagonist because their the "good guys".


It's a good show and worth checking out.
It just doesn't have much pull between episodes, partially because it's episodic.
Relevant to this topic, it's one of the few shows where killing is discouraged not due to some ideal or moral but due to pragmatism.

The ones that don't have the 'no good deed goes unpunished' thing going on are usually aimed at kids or younger teenagers. They are showing a nicer more idealized world to them. Gone are the days when stories like Grimm's fairy tales are told to children.


Yeah I do get that a lot of shows are aimed at younger audiences, but in a lot of those show they still have violence, killing, sexual innuendo, and the like its just that the main character doesn't take part in some of the darker aspects. So its not like these are all G rated shows, more like PG13 shows with a G rated protagonist if that makes sense haha.
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