Kamehameha! Laser beam eyes! Super strength, super speed, super powers! They don't need a conjured monster to fight for them. They want to get down in the ring and earn their own black eye. They'll eschew a card that can summon a giant golden electricity-breathing dragon because they can whittle that thing's neck with their pinkie finger. Emphasis on their. The fighters themselves wield great power, and they use it with their fists or their weapons.
A Direct Action work is one where the opponents themselves actively fight, as opposed to Indirect Action, where there is 'passive' action by the protagonist. Because of this, Direct Action fighters can reach ridiculous levels of power unless limits are clearly placed.
Giant Mecha series can still be seen as Direct Action, unless the giant mechs were summoned by someone else and act on their own. Weapon based shows (i.e. guns, swords...) are definitely Direct Action, unless you just saw an anime with card summoned revolvers and conjured swords that fight on their own accord. Western shows, especially superhero media, tends to stay this way pretty consistently, but there have been exceptions.
Most superhero movies are also this way.
Ordering your goons to fight for you is not the same thing.
Occasionally, some media will cross Direct Action with Indirect Action, or have fighters from one school battle opponents from another.
This trope is much, much Older Than They Think, dating back to ancient religions and myths.
Keep examples limited to Action, Action/Adventure, or Fighting-based media. Almost every work in existence features conflict and violence. If it's a fighting game, fighting series, or something that features many elements of fighting, then put it here.
Don't bother listing it if it's a:
- comedy show that sometimes has creatures zapping each other but usually for comedic effect,
- drama or tragedy where someone is shot or stabbed but this isn't the point of the work,
- realistic military conflict.
Generally, if it features hand-to-hand combat, energy spells and attacks, swords, or something of that nature, it belongs here.
Not everything is pure or perfectly homogeneous. A mix of Direct or Indirect Action is possible and has been done many times. An occurrence of Direct Action
inside a normally Indirect Action
work can be labeled, but keep the examples low in number or generally listed.
If a normally Direct Action
series uses Indirect Action
, then consider it a subversion.
Contrast with Indirect Action
- Examples are greatly appreciated!*
- Fistofthe North Star is the trope codifier for martial arts based shonen action manga, and is also a great example of a Direct Action series.
- Dragon Ball Z, originally to be the trope namer and quite possibly the greatest example that can be given, takes this trope Up to Eleven and then some. Character powers frequently go off the scale, and then as soon as new scales have been created, powers crush that scale to nothing, and so on.
- Most Giant Mecha series are this way. It may not be the person themselves fighting, but they still actively control a giant robot.
- Naruto is a famous Direct Action series. Characters consistently beat others- and oft themselves- up.
- Bleach is a sword anime, but swords don't swing themselves.
In fact, most comic characters rely on super powers, and even those that don't still use weapons or special skills which can relegated to the role of Direct Action Series abilities.