Created By: Nocturna on August 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 18, 2015

Two Pairs Of Foils And A Mediator

A common five-member team dynamic, where the team consists of two sets of foils and a mediator.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Five-Man Band is properly four guys and a girl. This is the supertrope

taking bad examples of Five Man Band and moving them to examples of this trope. Follow this link to help out if you are familiar with any of the unsorted works!

Name crowner here

One common way to have a five-person team is to make it up from two matched pairs of characters and a fifth, mediating character. Each set of matched characters are foils for the other character in the pair, and the pairs complement each other and the mediating character. Often, the character pairs will follow standard dynamics, such as Brains and Brawn, Red Oni, Blue Oni, Beast and Beauty, etc. (See Foil for additional common pairings.)

The main idea behind this team structure is that it allows for a five-person team with an easily definable contrast and complementation structure. The four members of the pairs contrast each other, with the fifth team member in the center, holding them together. This provides variety and ample opportunity for conflict, but also gives the group a broad range of skills, viewpoints, and competencies to draw on, making them an effective team.

A common way—but certainly not the only way—to implement this team structure is to have one pair provide leadership, e.g., a Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough duo, another provide operational capability, e.g. using a Brains and Brawn duo, and let the mediator be The Heart. Very specific implementations of this are the Five-Man Band and the Five-Bad Band.
Community Feedback Replies: 129
  • August 26, 2012
    MrEvildoom
    five man band isn't gender restrictive, the names are that way because that's how it's commonly done. The distinction isn't needed.
  • August 26, 2012
    MrEvildoom
    Looking back at it, I messed up, it's restricted. Still, I'm not sure we need the distinction.
  • August 26, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    Yeah, there's no reason I can think of that Five Man Band should have that restriction. Especially since even Super Sentai/Power Rangers, IMHO probably the most iconic example of the trope, doesn't have that restriction.

    I don't see the point in having two otherwise identical tropes for an arbitrary distinction, unless someone can explain why it's not arbitrary.
  • August 26, 2012
    abk0100
    Fast Eddie is the only one who would be able to explain the reasoning -- you'd have to ask him.

    About the definition, wouldn't it make more sense to leave it at "This is a Five Man Band but the genders can be whatever." Call a spade a spade.
  • August 26, 2012
    surgoshan
    When I look at the examples on various pages for the Five Man Band, half the time The Chick is a dude.
  • August 26, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    Yeah, if we're going to be forced to make two tropes for the exact same concept, might as not beat around the bush about it.
  • August 26, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^^^ This is Five Man Band. The descriptions are talking about the exact same thing. Part of the reason why I've written up the definition here is that there's a lot of misuse of Five Man Band (aside from the gender restrictions), so I'm hoping a different description might do better at making the points clear.
  • August 26, 2012
    abk0100
    I'm just saying it seems weird having all 5 roles described on 2 separate pages. One page should describe all the roles in detail, and the other should just say "see the other page for a description of the roles."

    for the name, something in the vein of Gender Blind Band?
  • August 27, 2012
    jkbeta
    How about doing it the other way 'round? Move the role description here, and state the explicit restrictions on Five Man Band? In that case, when people actually read the trope page (ok, if...), they'll know to use this trope instead. We could even write some things about the resulting standardized dynamics on Five Man Band. It's more than just "four of them are guys, and the chick is a girl", isn't it?

    Anyway, how about the title "ISO Standard Five Person Team"?
  • August 27, 2012
    Routerie
    Five Man Band is definitely broken beyond repair, so I support rebooting the trope under this more accurate name.
  • August 27, 2012
    Koveras
    Wasn't there a TRS effort to split Five Man Band?
  • August 27, 2012
    JustaUsername
    I agree with Routerie, especially since Fast Eddie is too reluctant to accept that the Five Man Band 's definition has drifted.
  • August 27, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    ^^^^ Now that idea I like. Start using this trope instead and move all the examples and wicks over here (since it'll be too confusing to try to keep them separated and way prone to messups), and leave Five Man Band as one of those fandom term explaining pages.

    I was going to suggest just Five Person Band myself, but the ISO Standard bit also amuses me.
  • August 27, 2012
    acrobox
    This trope is redundant with Five Man Band essentially turning Five Man Band into The Same But More Specific and it probably wont fix a lot of shoehorning issues.

    As stated a lot of iconic fiveman bands don't follow the 4guys and a girl dynamic such as many Power Ranger teams and Sailor Moon.

    The only disticnct trope I could think about splitting off from Five Man Band is the visual distinctions that might not always overlap with the roles. In that you have a Heroic looking character, an antiheroic looking character, a large or tall charactr, a short or younger character, and a more feminine character (or a female in case all other roles are filled by guys, or a more girly girl character in case there is more than one girl on the team.)

    in which case the second trope is purely about aesthetic character design and not necessarily roles or group dynamics. (the small one could be a Tag Along Kid, the large one could be The Mentor, the feminine one could be The Leader etc.)

    if you want a trope to cover group dynamics shoehorning, just make a general Group Dynamics trope where you could list any and all genders and any and all number of members an any and all roles. wasn't there a YKKTW for that a little while ago
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    ^ From what I've seen, pretty much everyone on T Vtropes agrees with you. You don't need to convince us of anything.

    The person who doesn't agree with you, and the reason that this YKTTW is necessary, is Fast Eddie, and this YKTTW isn't the place to try to change his mind.

    Five Person Band could work as a name.
  • August 27, 2012
    DouglasFir
    Or we could always let this be called Five Man Band and change the name of the other one to Four Guys And A Girl.

    If that is the case, then we could just have one five-member trope based mainly on role and the other based mainly on gender. Like with Freudian Trio and Two Guys And A Girl.
  • August 27, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^That has been disallowed by Word Of Admin, I remember.
  • August 27, 2012
    acrobox
    I feel like Word Of Admin is hampering the healing process for Five Man Band which isnt even that egregiously broken in my opinion..aren't democratic solutions the point of a wiki like this..
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    Can we just focus on this page, and leave that discussion to elsewhere?
  • August 27, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ Yes, please.

    Per word of Eddie, Five Man Band is staying as that name and only covers cases of four guys and a girls as The Chick. Regardless of personal opinions on the issue, we are not removing, renaming, or redefining Five Man Band here. The purpose of this YKTTW is to create the gender-neutral Super Trope for Five Man Band.

    @jkbeta: If you can figure out what the additional dynamics of Five Man Band are, beyond "this trope with gender restriction", and can get TRS support for changing the definition without annoying Fast Eddie, that would be great.
  • August 27, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    ^, ^^ The problem is that the discussion is kind of relevant to figuring out how to work this trope.

    I still stand by my suggestion of having this be the de facto FMB trope for actual usage and just keeping FMB itself as a no-examples/wick explaino page.
  • August 27, 2012
    arromdee
    This is as if we had a Dogs trope, the admin insisted that the trope only cover poodles, and everyone tried to create a Canines trope but couldn't explain how it was different from Dogs other than that it's not restricted to poodles.
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    Again, everyone already agrees that this isn't how we should have to do it. I haven't heard a single user speak up to say "actually, I really do think a Five Man Band has to be 4 guys and a girl."

    If you want to change Fast Eddie's decision, take it up with him, it doesn't do any good to go on about it here. No matter how many people you convince, it won't be enough.
  • August 27, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    I don't know what to tell you. Nobody seems to want to be expected to do all the work for something nobody here can think of a good reason for having to do to begin with. (And with 3500 wicks and all the entries on the trope page itself, that's going to be a lot of work for something nobody can think seem to think of a good reason for doing.)
  • August 27, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    What need is there for a "gender-neutral Super Trope for Five Man Band"? Does not seem necessary. People already shoehorn things into FMB. This would just be easier to shoehorn into?
  • August 27, 2012
    jkbeta
    From what I got from Eddie's statement, Five Man Band is (supposed to be) a pre-established term that covers that one single pre-established group of four guys and a girl who fills the Chick role. I haven't done any research on this, so it's pure guesswork, but the fact that the only female member will always fill the same role, which happens to be The Chick, seems to imply that the Smurfette Principle is at work here, couple with something like Women Are Wiser or some such. Re-distributing genders over the roles keeps the same group dynamics, but will usually not imply the same gender roles anymore. Admittedly, this may be a thing for an analysis page, though.

    About the mis-use: Can we actually deal with that in any way except completely cutting the trope? People will always look for some dumping ground where they can put up "large cast", and the way Five Man Band allowed for SixthRangers and so on made it a prime target. Unless we create and seriously entry pimp some generic "large cast that does not fit any categories" trope, I don't think the shoehorning will stop.
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    How is it any easier to shoehorn examples into "Team consisting of a Leader, Foil, Brains, Brawn, and Girl" than it is to shoehorn examples into "Team consisting of a Leader, Foil, Brains, Brawn, and Heart"?

    If you don't think this is necessary, please provide an actual argument for why this isn't a trope.
  • August 27, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    It is the same thing without gender restrictions. Of course it is easier.
  • August 27, 2012
    abk0100
    If you're not going to try to explain it, fine.

    Either way, you need to explain why this isn't a valid trope. It has a clear description, plenty of examples. Like jkbeta said, can we deal with this without cutting a perfectly valid trope? "would attract misuse" isn't a reason not to have a trope -- it's a reason to open a thread in special efforts.
  • August 27, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I think Five Man Band is a problem and this would make it worse.

    But I see what you mean.
  • August 27, 2012
    Nocturna
    Just because a trope has a potential for misuse doesn't mean it's not a trope. It just means it's going to need careful curation, which I would be doing anyway. And I figured this would have the same "discussion before examples are added" rule that Complete Monster has and which was newly added to Five Man Band, which should help cut down on misuse.
  • August 27, 2012
    Routerie
    ^^No, it's much harder to shoehorn examples into a page named Leader Foil Brain Brawns Heart than it is to shoehorn them into a page called Five Man Band. Any group or adventurers, regardless of the number, regardless of the role breakdown, is likely to receive a pothole to Five Man Band. Leader Foil Brain Brawns Heart will only receive wicks from examples about this specific dynamic.

    "This is as if we had a Dogs trope..."

    Right. Or, it's like we had a age called "Furry Little Friend" which was supposed to be about dogs, but people misused it for all animals. And then Eddie decreed that it was to be only about poodles. So we said, "all right. It's about time we launched a page just called "dogs" then.
  • August 27, 2012
    jkbeta
    ^^ The "complete monster" treatment is probably for the best here. Maybe we could even extend it into a "what ensemble is that?" thread, since, as far as I can tell, a significant percentage of the misuse is actually some other ensemble trope.

    One thing I'd suggest for the page are explicit statements that the group must consist of exactly these five people, with the roles exactly filled, no exceptions, and that if a team doesn't quite fit, it's probably some other ensemble.
  • August 28, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    ^^ Actually, it's more like if we had a Dogs trope, then Fast Eddie decided it was only about females, so we had to create a new identical trope about Dogs that were male or had the gender unknown. Without being able to figure out what the difference was supposed to be.

    I mean, it's like, the five guys and a girl team is supposed to still follow the same dynamic, meaning not having a girl that isn't actually The Heart wouldn't count, so what's the big difference supposed to be? (Like, for instance, The Movie Avengers are four guys and a girl, but Black Widow isn't The Chick despite being female.)
  • August 28, 2012
    Routerie
    See, "Five Man Band" is an unforgiveable name for this trope. The only reason to keep a page called "Five Man Band" is to attract traffic. If Eddie wants to define that page as "any group of five people" or "four guys and a girl" or "a musical quintet" or "a deadly snake," fine. We shouldn't mind. The important thing is that the actual trope - Leader Foil Brain Brawn Heart- has an indicative name that's deters misuse.
  • August 28, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    ^ Not really, since AFAIK, FMB is the existing term outside this wiki for the LFBBH concept, meaning we're basically inventing our own wiki-specific definition for FMB that isn't common usage. Which is at best confusing.
  • August 28, 2012
    Rognik
    ^^Honestly, I think this trope is more likely to have shoehorning that Five Man Band. The other one implies that the group consists of exactly 5 people, while the name Leader Foil Brain Brawn Heart could have more than 5 people in the group. Shoehorning is what caused the breakdown in Five Man Band to begin with. Also, The Chick in Five Mand Band specifically says it doesn't have to be the girl of the group, but it usually ends up that way.

    While I don't dispute Five Man Band needs help somehow, I don't think this is it.
  • August 28, 2012
    Routerie
    ^^ What makes you say the term predates our page? I've never heard that, and I haven't seen any of the Five Man Band cleanup threads mention that.

    ^People on this site routinely use "Five Man Band" to mean "group of adventurers." The page itself does, in listing tropes about other group members as associated tropes. They can't do that with a trope called Leader Foil Brains Brawn Heart.
  • August 28, 2012
    jkbeta
    ^ Eddie's comment could be interpreted that way, although I don't know in which context this is supposed to be true (all results on Google Scholar talk about actual (music) bands with five members, so it's not a scientific terms, I think).
  • August 28, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    ^^ Well, like I said, my most heavy experience with the trope is Power Rangers, which definitely has the set dynamic of the five roles. Captain Planet's also another prominent one I remember from my youth.

    "Four guys and a girl" doesn't seem like a trope to me at all. In fact, "Three guys and two girls" is IMHO the much more common setup even aside from lack-of-tropeness.
  • August 28, 2012
    Nocturna
    Guys, can we please stop arguing over whether this should be separate, and just accept that, for reasons outside our control, it is separate? I don't want this YKTTW discarded for overstepping its bounds.
  • August 28, 2012
    jkbeta
    ^ 100% agree. IMHO, we should concentrate on finding a crystal-clear definition and carefully delineating what makes the subtrope "Five Man Band" special.
  • August 28, 2012
    acrobox
    What makes the Five Man Band special IMHO is not the roles its the visuals that go along with them, which are often present even if the group dynamics aren't right.

    If we want to make a LFBBH trope for the specific group dynamics, then Fiveman Band should be purely about the character diversity aesthetic
  • August 28, 2012
    abk0100
    It doesn't matter if you convince every single one of us that Five Man Band should be about aesthetics - we can't do anything about it. Can we just move on?
  • August 28, 2012
    acrobox
    isnt that what you mean by defining the subtrope of Five Man Band. That's what Fast Eddies getting at anyway by stressing the need for The Chick to be female

    otherwise what is the definition debate over here? The description seems fine for LFBBH
  • August 28, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    Well, I already gave my solution. FMB is a no-examples, no-wick explanation page, and this is Five Person Band or whichever, which is the identical trope without the gender restriction.

    Having an actively used trope which is "FMB but with gender restrictions" is IMHO useless, and having a trope which is "four guys and a girl" is even more useless IMHO. If we really have to keep FMB around as a restricted trope that so far nobody can seem to see a reason for being restricted, it might as well be in only a token way, while this apparently is the replacement.

    I mean, I'm sorry, but the problem is IMHO, NOTHING makes "FMB but with gender restrictions" special. "A five person group with these specific five roles" is special, but that is what FMB is already supposed to be, according to its existing definition. So I'd rather overhaul or replace that trope than have to make an identical duplicate.
  • August 28, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    ^^ I guess my debate is, I'm actually fine with this LFBBH. I'm just having a hard time figuring out how this isn't just an identical copy of FMB, so I don't know why we don't just replace FMB with this instead of creating a duplicate trope, since IMHO "LFBBH+gender restrictions" isn't enough of a difference to be worth a separate trope.
  • August 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Take it on with @/Fast Eddie and/or in Trope Repair Shop. This is a YKTTW.
  • August 28, 2012
    arromdee
    Arkady: It is an identical copy of what FMB should be, except hopefully it's one that we're allowed to use.

    Eddie demanded that FMB be a useless trope, so it has to stay useless.
  • August 28, 2012
    FastEddie
    The original definition of Five Man Band was four guys and a girl. A very distinct pattern. Because we attract lumpers, it started to drift into a more inclusive definitions. It has been corrected back to the original definition.

    If what you want is the most general pattern at work among a 5MB, you want two sets of foils working with a mediator. You can't really assign roles like Leader or Big Guy as necessary to the definition of the uber-trope. It is just two sets of foils, whatever their roles might be. Fat-n-Skinny and Short-n-Tall with a mediator, for example.

    So, if you want the supertrope here, it should be done right, not just as another way to wedge stuff into the 5MB definition.
  • August 28, 2012
    jkbeta
    So, it's essentially "balanced five-person team"? Ok, how about this stab at a write-up?

    One common way to have a five-person team is to make it up from two matched pairs of characters and a fifth, mediating character. The matched characters will be foils for each other, while the pairs complement each other and the mediating character. Often, the character pairs will follow standard dynamics, such as Brains And Brawn, Red Oni Blue Oni, <whatever>. <Need to say something about the pair-pair-mediator structure here - it's not just lifting three-person ensembles>. This being said, the main idea behind this team structure is that it allows for a five-person team with an easily definable contrast and complementation structure.

    A common way to implement this team structure is to have one pair provide leadership, e.g., as The Leader and The Lancer, another provide operational capability, e.g. using a Brains And Brawn duo, and let the mediator be The Heart. A very specific implementation of this is the Five Man Band.

  • August 28, 2012
    FastEddie
    Definitely on track. It might be better not to use the specific roles from 5MB when explaining the foil pairs. There are plenty of other roles to choose from.
  • August 28, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I like that. If the definition is to be broadened, broaden it more. No reason to use exactly (and only) the same roles. That isn't really a pattern. My objection is to "like FMB but different in this one way". That, on the other hand, is only somewhat similar.
  • August 28, 2012
    jkbeta
    Ok, I'm looking for model character teams of exactly five characters right now that don't fit Five Man Band, so that we can find some good foil patterns for our examples. So far, I have:
    • The SOS brigade from LightNovel.Haruhi Suzumiya
      • Kyon and Haruhi form a Savvy Guy Energetic Girl duo, and they clearly form the primary pair for most of the novels.
      • We could say that Mikuru and Yuki count as Tomboy And Girly Girl,
      • Itsuki is Mister Exposition and thus mediates between the (theoretically) real-world Kyon/Haruhi duo and the paranormal Mikuru/Yuki duo. This only really fits in the first novel, though; the later novels keep the brigade dynamics in the background anyway, so that B 5 PT applies in name only.
    • Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni: the problem here is that the group dynamics between the five main characters (Keiichi, Mion, Rena, Rika, Satoko) change around quite a bit depending on which part of the story we are talking about. Probably not a good example to extract explanations, but it would make a nice example of evolving team dynamics.

    I'd love to have some western examples as well, but the only five-member team I can think of right now are the five riders of the apocalypse from Discworld, who don't really fit the pattern. The Firefly team is way too large, and my usual standby Aubrey Maturin does not have a five-person team except via major shoehorning.

    Edit: Name suggestions: Balanced Pairs Five, Balanced Five Person Team, Foil Pairs and Mediator

    Edit 2: In a way, the foil pair - foil pair - mediator structure forms an ensemble as well. Can three-member ensemble tropes (e.g., Freudian Trio) apply here, and are there any examples of it? Or is it always the pair <- mediator -> pair structure implied above?
  • August 28, 2012
    Nocturna
    How's the new definition look?

    (jkbeta, I mostly used your writeup; thanks.)

    Also, for a Western example, there's Teen Titans:
    • Cyborg and Beast Boy provide a large/small contrast, and also serve as personality foils, with Cyborg being more serious and Beast Boy being the Plucky Comic Relief.
    • Raven and Starfire are also contrasts, with Raven being cool, reserved, mysterious, and un-emotive, whereas Starfire is outgoing, enthusiastic, friendly, and wears her heart on her sleeve most of the time.
    • Robin the the fifth member and respected leader, keeping the rest of the team balanced and providing direction. Without him, the group would likely fall apart, as their personalities are too different.

    I don't see any particular tropes that reflect those sets of foils, though. Raven and Starfire are almost but not quite Light Feminine And Dark Feminine.
  • August 28, 2012
    jkbeta
    The current definition is pretty good, I think. I nevertheless removed a hat for the time being - this is such a fundamental trope that we should take the time to make it really watertight.

    Raven and Starfire sound like an ensemble version of Emotions Versus Stoicism from your description, by the way.

    Edit: A proposal, we could list some example foil combinations (maybe the Teen Titans and the Haruhi Suzumiya teams) without references to specific works, to show how possible team dynamics look like.
  • August 28, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ Aha! That is indeed the right trope for them.

    And I agree about taking enough time to get this ironed out. It's going to be pretty big from the get-go (even just considering the number of examples that will be migrated from Five Man Band; I suspect it's going to need to start with subpages for examples), so it's worthwhile to take the time to make sure it's clear and solid.

    Re: your edit: So we could, aside from the leaders-tactical-heart format which forms the basis of Five Man Band and a large number of other examples, list Savvy Guy Energetic Girl-Tomboy And Girly Girl-Mr Exposition and <however we characterize Beast Boy and Cyborg>-Emotions Versus Stoicism-The Leader as examples of possible teams?

    For Cyborg and Beast Boy, I think Genius Bruiser and Crouching Moron Hidden Badass (respectively) would work best to characterize their contrast, although you also gets shades of Boisterous Bruiser (large, honest, and straightforward) vs. The Trickster (small, not always honest, and given to using mind games of a sort).
  • August 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    The name sounds a bit long, though.

    And I approve that we are now on right track without arguing.
  • August 28, 2012
    Nocturna
    The current "name" is a placeholder for a proper name. If you look at the top of the draft, I have a list of proposed names. I'll probably start an alt-names crowner soon-ish, unless a clear favorite emerges in the comments.
  • August 28, 2012
    acrobox
    My question is, if youre going to expand this to being Foils and a Mediator, does it have to have the restriction of Five Members? I could imagine any odd numbered group of characters fitting this with having several paired characters and an odd man out who is typically The Heart or the mediator or at least universally liked by all the members.
  • August 29, 2012
    acrobox
    for example Digimon Adventure

    Examples of this happening with 3 characters are already covered by various Power Trio tropes. If examples of teams of 7 or 9 etc. over complicate things we can leave them out.
  • August 29, 2012
    jkbeta
    I'd actually prefer starting with the strict five-member format here, for the time being. Reasoning: Larger ensembles can very well have different sub-ensemble sizes (i.e., a 7-person group that is not The Magnificient Seven Samurai could well be made up from, say, two foil pairs and a Power Trio, or a Four Temperant Ensemble and a Power Trio), while there are only a very few ways you can make a cohesive five-member troupe. We can of course expand to larger teams later if we find that the trope works better that way.

    @Nocturna: I'd actually say that most of the current examples for Five Man Band are an example of this trope while not being in the strict leaders-tactical-heart format (witness the current Haruhi Suzumiya example on Five Man Band vs. my analysis). If it turns out that this subformat is particularly common, we can still give it specific recognition, or even its own intermediary trope.
  • August 29, 2012
    acrobox
    Another potential example

    or

    with April sometimes filling in as the mediator as The Chick when the turtles are topside instead of in the lair training. Rarely, usually only in climaxes, will April and Splinter be aiding the turtles at the same time.
  • August 29, 2012
    ChaoticNovelist
    I support this. Five Man Band can be one formulation of 'two pairs of foils and a mediator' with many others available. With this trope we can bleed off legitimate five person groups that don't fit FMB.

    I would like to point out that The Heart and The Chick aren't the only kinds of mediators. The Face could step in as well.
  • August 30, 2012
    jkbeta
    ^^ Good example. ^ There's a number of possible mediator roles, but I suspect that these three are very common. Maybe we should try to make a list of candidate personality tropes?

    Anyway, project for tonight: I'll go through the current Five Man Band examples and see whether any of the lister works have an instance of this. I tried it with Film yesterday, but the examples fell into three classes: Bona-fide Five Man Band, badly shoehorned, not familiar with the work at all. Anybody else willing to help?
  • August 30, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ I figured we'd be making a sandbox to sort the examples for Five Man Band, and that it would be coordinated through the Five Man Band Special Efforts thread.
  • August 30, 2012
    jkbeta
    Or that. My idea was basically to sift through the examples to find out if we'd missed some aspect of the trope.
  • August 30, 2012
    acrobox
    Now we still need a name. This might be a bad snowclone, but what about something like Five Man Balancing Act
  • August 30, 2012
    jkbeta
    With all those name suggestions, we should probably build a crowner.
  • August 30, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ Done.

    And the sandbox for sorting examples is at Five Man Band Cleanup. Help would definitely be appreciated.
  • August 30, 2012
    jkbeta
    I went over the current Five Man Band examples for Anime, Literature, Film, Webcomic and Theatre and found one examples that may be interesting to consider here: Why is this interesting? Because the foil pairs do not have a clear structure between them as in the leadership - tactial - mediator structure that occurs in Five Man Band, but are essentially equal. Yui may be the protagonist, but for the story, both pairs are equally important - in fact, each pair can and does play an alpha or a beta role.

    Nevertheless, this fits our description quite well already. The other examples I found did not provide any essential new information either, so I think we have the main structure of the trope covered. What is still missing are possible standard roles for the mediator, but this could be its own trope - there should be mediators in other large team structures as well. It's probably a super-trope in its own right. We don't have tropes describing the interaction between the foils and the mediator either, but this is probably not important. In other words, I think we need not worry too much about these aspects before finalising this trope.

    Does anybody else see any remaining things to be ironed out, or should we concentrate on finding a few good and illustrative examples and launching the trope?
  • August 30, 2012
    FastEddie
    About the names. Nobody has any idea what 'ISO' means. Nor do they need to. Couldn't it just be Standard Five Man Team?
  • August 31, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^"ISO" is probably redundant to "standard" anyway, so I hearthily suggest the change.
  • August 31, 2012
    jkbeta
    For those who don't read Special Efforts: Nocturna has created a sandbox for sorting the current Five Man Band examples into this trope and the tightened Five Man Band here.
  • August 31, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ I actually mentioned it a couple of posts up. But I'm sure a reminder doesn't hurt.
  • September 1, 2012
    Rognik
    I think the "SOS Brigade" from Haruhi Suzumiya fits in this trope as written, where it didn't necessarily fit the Five Man Band.

    Foil 1: Haruhi and Kyon. Haruhi is the Genki Girl who lets her passions run away with her while Kyon is serious, down to earth and constantly concerned with what everyone thinks. Haruhi's passion for finding extraterrestrials, ES Pers or time travelers fuels her, but doesn't pay off; Kyon had given up on such fantasies, and finds out that all three of these not only exist but are all in the club with him. To top it off, Kyon is an Ordinary High School Student while Haruhi has the ability to manipulate the world to her fantasies. They are unquestionably The Hero and The Lancer, although which one is which is debatable. Foil 2: Yuki and Mizuku. Yuki is quiet, stoic, enjoys reading and is generally unremarkable most of the time. She has repeatedly displayed amazing feats, though, whether its at computers, sports or fend off enemies. Mizuku, meanwhile, is the opposite. She is shy and easily embarrassed, especially when Haruhi dresses her in costumes or Kyon gets too forward with her. She's also pretty much completely useless in any combat situation. Mizuku is almost the definition of The Chick, except she usually is at the center of conflict instead of banding the group together. Mediator: Itsuki. There's not much to say about Itsuki, really. He's the only other male in the group besides Kyon, and he has a laid-back attitude, but he doesn't really do much most of the time. He's also pretty useless most of the time he's not in a "closed space" where he can use his ES Per powers, and usually just acts as a confidant to Kyon. However, if anyone keeps the group together and focused, it's him. He engages Kyon and humors Haruhi's whims.

    I might be trying to pigeonhole it a little bit, but it definitely seems to follow the format better than Five Man Band ever could.
  • September 1, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    I'm not sure it has to be four guys and a girl.

    Two Pairs Of Foils And A Mediator means two types that don't get along, or who are opposites in some way (The Hero and The Lancer for instance), but there's no law against each of these pairs later being a romantic couple. The fifth person could be a space alien, a kid, a psychologist, or sexless human. Basically, they don't interfere with the relationships (because for some reason they Cant Have Sex Ever), but act as mediator.

    Example: Tales of Phantasia.

    (We're leaving out Suzu, because she's an extra)

    Cless - The Hero, Hot Blooded Mint - White Magician Girl, Friend To All Living Things Chester - The Lancer, Dead Little Sister Arche - Cute Witch, Genki Girl Klarth - The Smart Guy (He's team mediator, since he's already married, back in the past)

    Oddly enough, there are actually 4 sets of foils here: Cless and Chester (The Hero/The Lancer combo), Mint and Arche (White Magician Girl/Cute Witch combo), and the male-female pairings (Cless is fixated with revenge while Mint is a kind soul grieving over her mother, Chester is upset and in mourning about his sister while Arche is a Genki Girl). Klarth keeps the team together, but is just barely a mediator.
  • September 1, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ This trope does not have to be four guys and a girl. Five Man Band has to be four guys and a girl Chick.
  • September 1, 2012
    jkbeta
    @Rognik: We have Haruhi already - it was one of our first examples :) Nevertheless, we identified basically the same structure as you.
  • September 3, 2012
    FastEddie
    ^^Right. Five Man Band is specifically Leader, Lancer, Big Guy, Smart Guy, Chick.
  • September 3, 2012
    Rognik
    ^^Sorry, i didn't see it mentioned in the OP or the discussion. Are you keeping a list of these groups somewhere for people to peruse, so we don't get more duplicates like I just did?
  • September 3, 2012
    JustaUsername
    ^^ So says Fast Eddie's strange contrived logic.

    Why can't this trope just be merged with Five Man Band? Or at the very least, that trope get a rename?
  • September 3, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Because it has been called that for ages outside of the wiki. For that definition.
  • September 3, 2012
    abk0100
    ...is what has been alleged.
  • September 3, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^^^ This trope is the supertrope; there's no reason to obliterate the subtrope, not when it truly is distinct enough to be a trope in its own right.

    Also, if you're one of the three people who de-hatted it, could you please explain your reasoning? It doesn't do much good to say you think it's not ready to launch if you don't explain why you think that.
  • September 3, 2012
    jkbeta
    @Rognik: It's in the discussion, and in the sorting sandbox Nocturna and I mentioned further up.

    ^ I'm wondering about that as well - what exactly do people think is missing, apart from example sorting and a good name? I think we have the main concept captured here.

    @Septimus Heap, @Fast Eddie: While I'm not disputing this, it would be great to have some concrete pointers to the pre-existing usage, mainly to shut down these endless discussions about what constitutes a five-man band and what doesn't.
  • September 3, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Well, on Google, our page is at the top. I see also some more sources, but there seems to be a lot of noise.
  • September 4, 2012
    jkbeta
    Same for me, sadly. The examples I found were either for something completely different or referenced us.
  • September 5, 2012
    abk0100
    I'd kind of like to see whether or not this is actually a trope before it gets launched. How many examples are there that aren't just Five Man Band but with a male Chick or one of the other members being female?
  • September 5, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^I think Five Man Band is specific for that gender variation.
  • September 5, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ That is correct.
  • September 5, 2012
    abk0100
    What do you mean? You're saying that Five Man Band has to be 4 guys and a girl? I understand that, but what I'm asking is: are there are examples of this trope that don't just involve a leader, lancer, big guy, and smart guy, and a heart.

    If there aren't, then this trope is needlessly broad.
  • September 5, 2012
    Nocturna
    Yes, there are examples that aren't leader-lancer-big guy-smart guy-heart. See the Haruhi, Teen Titans, and K-On examples mentioned in the comments above.
  • September 5, 2012
    DouglasFir
    Five Man Band isn't the only subtrope anyway.

    The five-member variants of Four Temperament Ensemble and Four Philosophy Ensemble could also be examples of this. Five Bad Band is an evil version. And there could easily be other subtropes created in the future.
  • September 6, 2012
    acrobox
    The Digimon Frontier example that was voted out of Five Man Band isnt Leader Lancer Big Smart Heart

    • Takuya and Koji are Leader Lancer
    • JP and Tommy are Large Guy (older, and fat, not particularly 'tough') Small Guy (younger, skinny, not particularly 'smart')
    • Zoe is heart

    The Teen Titans Example that was debated doesnt fit Five Mand Band neatly regardless of gender but can fit in this is potentially more ways than one etc.
  • September 6, 2012
    acrobox
    Technically the second version of the Ninja Turtles example doesnt follow Leader Lancer Big Smart Heart
    • Raph is Big Guy (toughest fighter, advertised as 'The Muscle' even though he's also The Lancer proper, and always the largest when they are portrayed as different sizes) and Don is the Smart Guy
    • Mike is Fun Guy (Which doesnt neatly fit Five Man Band, you could try to make him the Big Guy in a Big Fun kind of way, but thats a shoe horn. or you could make him The Heart, but he's usually treated as 'the ditzy kid brother' Kid Appeal Character, not a moral rallying point) and Leo Serious Guy (Who is also The Leader proper)
    • Splinter is the Mentor figure (Team Dad, The Obi Wan etc.)

  • September 6, 2012
    acrobox
    this clip shows quite nicely how easily the turtles can transition from the above version to a more slightly more traditional but not quite Five Man Band
    • Leo and Raph are Leader Lancer
    • Don and Mike are Smart Guy and Book Dumb
    • Splinter is still mentor
  • September 6, 2012
    acrobox
    which also brings up the fact that many teams may have more than one version of the two foils and fifth setup that work well depending on the situation. we should list them both or all as we discover them.

    also as long as this is now about broadening, the fifth have to be a mediator? or just an odd man out that doesnt have a paired foil?

    and as was brought up a second time should this be for odd numbered teams above Power Trios or are we still limiting to 5?
  • September 6, 2012
    Rognik
    I think this is an example from Chihayafuru:

    Version 1 (classic):
    • Foil 1: Chihaya and Taichi. Chihaya is unquestionably The Leader, being the prototypical shonen hero except for the fact that she's a girl. Taichi is an Unlucky Childhood Friend, but also self-confident, popular to Chihaya's weirdness, smart to Chihaya's book dumb, and Weak But Skilled in karuta while Chihaya is a bit of a prodigy. Taichi wants to be at Chihaya's level, and feels pressure to be the best at everything he tries (or else there's no point); however, he has pretty much come to accept that he will never reach that level and instead works hard at what he can achieve. Or at least manage to get out of B class. (Also, Taichi was appointed as club president despite Chihaya being the one passionate enough to enlist all the memebers, because he was more stable than Chihaya and it allowed her to focus on getting better at the game.)
    • Foil 2: "Porky" and "Desktumo". I forget both of their real names, but they are usually called by nicknames anyway. Porky is kind of The Big Guy, being heftier and more skilled at karuta than Taichi is. Desktumo is The Smart Guy in character, and has analyzed the play style of the other club members in order to raise their skill. While they are more supporting characters, and both have little interaction with each other, their character types cater to complete opposites.
    • Mediator: Kanade. She is every bit The Chick you could expect from a mediator. She's weak, but has a determined spirit. She's cute, to the point where every other member of the club agrees that she is the best one of the club to go out with. Yes, even Chihaya. She joins the karuta club not because she likes the game, but likes all the cultural frills that come with it: the traditional Japanese garb, the poetry written on the cards, the whole "sport of emperors" aspect of it. In the end of the anime series, she decides that rather than becoming a great karuta player, she wants to become a professional karuta reader, a job very few people are even qualified to do; this deepens her position as The Chick as the reader doesn't actually play karuta, but instead acts more like the trivia host, reading out one line of poetry and the players grabbing the card with the next line on it.

    Variety 2 (skill foils)*:
    • Foil 1: Taichi and Porky. Both of them are B class players. Taichi is Weak But Skilled, able to beat other players through memorizing the cards rather than beat them on speed; Porky is strong and fast, but tends to be weaker on remembering where certain cards are. Their play styles are also different, as they cater to their strengths and neither gives an advantage against the other.
    • Foil 2: Desktumo and Kanade. These are the two novices, but completely new to the world of competitive karuta. While both are pretty weak, they take completely opposite attitudes towards their training. Desktumo is not naturally smart; he has to study like a fiend to get good grades, and even then, he's not top of the class. He's also a bit of a defeatist, ready to give up when he finds that he's not doing well against his more skilled opponents. Kanade is quite the opposite. Being pretty much in love with every aspect of karuta, she takes her initial failures in strides and looks to make a victory. In a parallel to Chihaya's origin story, Kanade is overjoyed the first time she manages to nab a card away from her better opponents. This joy, her infectious spirit, is probably the only thing keeping Desktumo from giving up completely and leaving the club.
    • Mediator: Chihaya. Now, you wouldn't think The Hero would be the one to mediate her party normally, right? Well, she doesn't mediate directly. Instead, when her fellow club members start to lose faith, to accept defeatist talk and want to give up, Chihaya will rally them together, giving a "We can do this" speech, or express how her love of karuta will drive her to achieve her goals.

    • I include this version for two reasons. One is that it is very much NOT a Five Man Band format as above. Another is that during a tournament arc in the series, Foil 1 and Foil 2 all end up in the finals and, by amazing coincidence, are facing each other; Chihaya, eliminated early in the competition, is present as an observer and cheers on all her fellow club members silently.
  • September 6, 2012
    Rognik
    ^^Yes, the fifth person has to be a mediator, but doesn't necessarily have to mediate. The fifth person is what binds the two foils together as one, and keeps the band from breaking up. See my example for case 2 above and you'll see what I mean. As for Power Trios, they have their own trope. Presumably, there is a trope in Foil And Mediator, but I don't know if that exists already. If not, go ahead and do it.

    I also thought that Torchwood is probably a good example of a 5 man band without being a Five Man Band. I'm just not certain it's this trope, either. Let me try...

    • Mediator: Ianto. This one is the obvious choice, because he really does little else besides play the love interest to Jack otherwise. He's closer to a butler, and rarely is seen stepping in to actually mediate.
    • Foil 1: Tosh(iko) and Owen. Tosh is the shy, Nerdy Asian tech whiz who does all the computer stuff the team needs. Owen, while not stupid, has a jock attitude, and likes to go out womanizing. They are completely opposite in how they approach life which may be why there is so much Ship Tease between them.
    • Foil 2: Gwen and Jack. This one is harder to label, especially since a case could be made for either being the hero and the other being his/her lancer. Gwen is a former cop and far more grounded in reality; Jack is a former time police/time bandit who lifted the Weirdness Censor for every other member of the team. Jack is immortal and died practically Once An Episode while Gwen is super aware of her mortality, and does her best to keep her Muggle Life. Jack also supports her keeping her muggle life, realizing that he could never have what she has and almost pining for the old life.

    I realize these points will need some clean-up, but at least the basic concepts are present in each.
  • September 9, 2012
    BlueGuy
  • September 11, 2012
    jkbeta
    ^^ Haven't seen Torchwood, but the description sounds valid. Let's see, Foil 1 would possibly be Brains And Brawn, while Foil 2 might be Agent Scully/Agent Mulder. If it also fits The Leader/The Lancer, we just have two kinds of dynamic in one pair.

  • September 15, 2012
    Rognik
    I'm not sure the crossover has been made yet, but the YMMV of "Whore Jock Smart Guy Fool Virgin" seems like it'd fit this trope, least how there's 5 people in a specific set-up. I thought I'd see what people thought about it being a subtrope of this.
  • September 15, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ It's not a subtrope, because there's no requirement on it that those five characters form a team, whereas this trope requires a team dynamic. It's possible there could be some overlap, but that's about it.

    Also, when referring to other YKTTWs, courtesy links are nice.
  • September 16, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Bump.
  • October 11, 2012
    ChaoticNovelist
    How many examples do we have for this? Is there a list or are we going to bleed off bad Five Man Band examples?
  • October 11, 2012
    acrobox
    bleeding off bad examples. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Sandbox/FiveManBandCleanup to see the list and help out if youre familiar with any of the unsorted works
  • December 27, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping this. DO we need a crowner to settle on a name?
  • December 27, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ I think we need name ideas before we can have a crowner. XD
  • December 27, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Mediator In Two Antagonisms? Or the shorter and misuse-prone (but akin to Five Man Band) Five Man Team?
  • December 27, 2012
    acrobox
    we already have a crowner - Five Man Balancing Act was winning before this thread died
  • February 2, 2013
    acrobox
    how much do we need this now that The Team is launched and theres a Five Man Band shoehorning jury keeping vigil?

    if we still do theres still this going on http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Sandbox/FiveManBandCleanup
  • February 2, 2013
    Nocturna
    We definitely still need this. This is the supertrope to Five Man Band, and a subtrope to The Team.
  • February 2, 2013
    Chabal2
    Non-team example: followers of the Chaos gods from Warhammer 40 K can exclusively worship one god and attack the followers of the opposite god (Khorne / Slaanesh represent war/hedonism, Tzeentch / Nurgle change/decay), or follow Chaos Undivided and worship each in equal mesure.
  • February 4, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    In case of Five Man Band, I still think The Chick doesn't have to be female, as long as he/she can fill the role of The Heart, but that's for another time.

    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica. You can divide the cast as pretty much idealists and cynics.
      • In the idealist side we have Sayaka and Mami, while in the cynic side we have Kyoko and Homura. Both sides often get into fights with each other, especially Sayaka and Kyoko.
      • The mediator Madoka, although an idealist, tries her best to make everyone get along and stop fighting.
      • Alternatively:
        • Madoka and Sayaka. Madoka hesitates a lot in making her decisions, while Sayaka tends to not think things through. Also fit the Tomboy And Girly Girl dynamic.
        • Mami and Kyoko, with the idealist and cynic dynamic above.
        • Homura doesn't really mediate, but wants to make sure everyone can work for her own plan.
  • June 14, 2013
    Nocturna
    It would be nice if we could get this going so that we can actually start shifting misuse from Five Man Band to here.
  • July 14, 2013
    DAN004
    If it's two pairs of foils and a mediator, then it's a Freudian Trio. I support the LFBBH thingy for the better name.

    BTW this can be a subtrope to The Team.
  • July 14, 2013
    Nocturna
    ^ Freudian Trio is for three people teams (it's even in the name), i.e. one pair of foils and a mediator. Also, Freudian Trio is much more specific than just "a pair of foils and a mediator".

    Anyway, this trope is about teams of five people: two sets of foils plus a mediator. It's a subtrope to The Team and supertrope to Five Man Band.
  • October 5, 2013
    DonaldthePotholer
    Question: Would this also cover groups where the mediator to one foil is also a pole of another (which has a separate mediator among the five)?

    ASCII Mode:

    Defined:

    -X-

    XXX

    -X-

    My Proposed Expansion:

    XXX

    -X-

    -X-

    EDIT: The backslash-as-soft break markup doesn't work here...
  • October 6, 2013
    Nocturna
    I don't think so, but go ahead and list the example(s) you were thinking of and we can talk about it in more specific terms.
  • October 6, 2013
    Chabal2
    Everworld: Just about any two characters are foils to each other: Christopher, who is given to making racist jokes against the Jewish David and black Jalil; David, who has massive abuse-related issues always has something to prove, opposed by the more laid-back Christopher and the logical Jalil; and Jalil, who's trying to make sense out of a world where All Myths Are True, has to deal with David, who wants to live Heroic Fantasy to the hilt, and Christopher, who wants to enjoy himself. April, as The Chick, serves as mediator to all three (and even describes herself as having to put out testosterone fires with a bucket of estrogen).

  • October 6, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    o_o

    the crowner has... terrible names. adding my own.

    Team Of Opposites And A Referee — think this works but is pretty damn long.

    EDIT:... i don't think new names would get a chance of getting votes on that.
  • February 25, 2014
    THEBATHEAD
    The one thing that keeps me in agreement with Fast Eddie is the word "man." While "guy" is becoming more and more gender neutral, "man" is staying steadfastly male. Also, I was looking at the name crowner and agreed with the general consensus that "Five Man Balancing Act" was the best name so far. However, I'd like to add my own, "Five Guys," for two reasons: We could include both tropes under discussion under the same umbrella and we could have an Evil Counterpart trope, "Five Bad Guys." Or, do you guys want two separate tropes? The Trope Namer is, to be clear, the original guys, with Dad as The Leader. Given how "guy" is more gender neutral than "man" I think it wouldn't pose a problem. Either Five Guys or the current crowner would also be able to accommodate examples where one character from one pair was a foil of a character from another pair in a third way, up to four times, too. Of course, this shouldn't be another huge umbrella: The Leader must be in the middle of both the main pairs and there must be exactly five main team members, with one or more Sixth Rangers. But what about a Power Trio where the two foils aren't foils in a way covered by any subtrope? And what about a pair of foils with no mediator or a group of four with a leader presiding over a leaderless Power Trio? Or three pairs of foils and a mediator or not? Should we start new YKTTW discussions for those? And does there have to be a team dynamic as strong as in the current Five Man Band?
  • February 25, 2014
    acrobox
    Again, if you just want to list the team members and their most salient roles, use The Team. Number, gender, role restrictions don't matter.

    That way it doesn't matter if The Leader is the mediator or The Chick is. Or if the Leader is the mediator sometimes and The Big Guy is a Gentle Giant mediator in others and the Chick is The Heart otherwise. Or if The Chick has to be The Heart because he's male and also Plucky Comic Relief which isn't in the Five Man Band, but you don't have to shoehorn him to be The Big Guy by default because he has a big personality and then displace the Big Guy, just have him be Plucky Comic Relief. Unless he is a second Big Guy but a Big Fun variety instead of Gentle Giant. Or say he plays both roles which makes him The Heart. But once you get to three roles overlapping you should probably stop. or even before then. It can get confusing fast if we have to have rules of many people can be in what roles at what time.
  • February 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ so sometimes tropes aren't flexible after all?
  • April 17, 2015
    NinjaDragon
    So... what happened to this thing? Did it die? It seems like a good idea (finally fixing the 5MB trope after all those years).
  • April 18, 2015
    DAN004
    If this really has potential, I say we should restart this ykttw. Right now the comment is filled with nothing but 5MB debates and, should I say, foul comments aimed at Fast Eddie.

    The concept seems sound, though.
  • April 18, 2015
    Rjinswand
    ^ I'd suggest just... reYKTTW it, with a list of examples and without this wall of comments.
  • April 18, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Maybe you want to?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=xi6bw57igfehdcc8c4cehqvn