Created By: SkyHedgehogianMaestro on May 8, 2013 Last Edited By: SkyHedgehogianMaestro on May 8, 2013

Indirect Action

Any work where characters summon or conjure creatures, warriors, or monsters to fight for them.

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Indirect Action

Two fighters approach the ring. This is it. An showdown between the forces of good and evil. Maybe it's against a Mook, or maybe it's the Big Bad. But no time to think, it's time to fight! The fighters enter the ring, and it looks like it's poised to be a bloody beatdown.... That is, until they reach into their coat pockets and pull out... trading cards? They thrown them down to the floor and suddenly, giant monsters shoot out of the cards and square off.

"I Choose You!" The calling card of most Saturday morning anime, and most kid popular anime /toy advertisement shows in the West, this is sometimes known as 'Conjuration shows/Summoner anime' or 'External Powers' or 'those shows with the powerful animals coming from cards/balls/toys.' The point is that the opponents who fight each other don't actually fight each other but instead they conjure an avatar or a sentient being- perhaps a beast or a machine- that fights for them. The media may try to subvert this by saying that the fighters do fight, but only by way of 'soul' or 'mind' connections to their conjurations, or say that they do have powers, but they only work through their conjured creations. But unless their asses are in the arena, getting their hands dirty, throwing punches, and shooting kamehamehas, then they're part of an Indirect Action work.

Indirect Action has some advantages over Direct Action, such as DC Comics and Dragon Ball Z. Just mentioning these names should tell you the primary problem- when fighters grow so powerful that a passing sneeze can wipe out a galaxy supercluster, it becomes hard to justify a smaller scale battle. Indirect Action works avoid this because the fighters themselves don't wield any power, and their "pets" might only be capable of fighting in an arena, rendering a galaxy-busting attack very... unfortunate, to say the least. Because the characters themselves don't wield ultimate power, they may seem more real to viewers, and the actual sources of power usually can't destroy whole solar systems by farting. After all, kids are usually the target audience, and what kid wouldn't want a toy that could summon a laser spitting monster? Disadvantages can be that the conjurations never really get that much stronger or they don't feel as if they're any stronger, leading to some repetitive battles, and that Indirect Action works are nearly universally seen as being weaker than their Direct Action counterparts.

In modern times, Indirect Action series can be seen as a crossover of the trading card game phenomenon and middle earth conjuration magic and witchcraft. The conjurers themselves are weak, which is why they have to use a conjured beast in order to beat their enemies, who also use conjured beasts. If the conjurers themselves ever had to fight without their beasts/avatars, it would resemble nothing more than a fistfight, and they would be annihilated into atoms if facing off against a Direct Action hero because they, the conjurer heroes, have no powers of themselves. To that, if they themselves fought one of their own conjured beasts, they wouldn't stand a chance. If they could, they wouldn't be conjuring beasts and avatars to fight for them, would they?

As long as it's not the fighter him/her/itself fighting, but something else, it's Indirect Action. The fighters might be animals, monsters, ancient gods, what would otherwise be called toys, even race-cars. Confused on whether or not you have an Indirect Action work? Ask yourself this- who's the protagonist/antagonist, who's the fighter, who has the power, and who uses the power? If the protagonist/antagonist is the one fighting , you have a Direct Action series. If they summon anything to fight for them, it's indirect. If the power flows through the pro/antagonist, but the conjured beast is still the one fighting, it's still Indirect. It doesn't matter if they channel power through their infected bollocks- if they're not fighting, it's not Direct.

At one point, most popular anime in the West was Direct Action (Magical Girl anime, Giant Mecha anime, Martial Arts anime), but the grunge moment was the jaw-dropping popularity of the Pokemon and Yugioh! series'.

These are very popular in the US because toy companies can employ them to push their products, making it easy to produce a low-budget show to boost say. You can always play with an action figure, but if you have a ball that contains magical animes or a dastardly looking toy of a cyber rhino, you might actually feel like you're in the show, until you realize a giant golden lightning-breathing dinosaur isn't going to jump out of the toy. Because of this, some feel there has been an oversaturation of Indirect Action anime in the West, with Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Bleach, Transformers, and comic-based shows dominating the Direct Action series market.

Please keep examples limited to Fighting, Action, Action/Adventure, RP Gs, and Trading Cards.

Occasionally, some media will cross Direct Action with Indirect Action, or have fighters from one school battle opponents from another.

Contrast with Direct Action.

  • Examples are greatly appreciated!*




  • Pokémon is the most popular conjuration/summoning anime in the world, hands down. It and Yugioh (and arguably Digimon) led to the glut of Indirect Action anime popular nowadays.

  • {{Yugioh!}} was quite nearly the trope namer. The dueling nature of the show appeared much more hardcore compared to Pokemon's style, which was blowing up at the same time.

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • The World Ends with You. For most of the game, your character fights Noise summoned by the Reapers, with you unable to summon any of your own. Then you eventually fight the Reapers head-on and gain the ability to summon a certain Noise. Either way, it's a perfect blend between Direct Action and Indirect Action.
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