Wrong Genre Savvy: Anime and Manga

  • Dragon Ball Z: Right genre, wrong character archetype:
    • Vegeta's whole complex is how he views himself as the Hero or even the Chosen One, and so constantly gets mad when Goku and Gohan continue to take center stage. It takes him until the fight with Kid Buu to accept his destiny as Goku's lancer.
    • Mr. Satan has basically everyone on Earth convinced that he is The Hero. In the end, he becomes a sort of lancer
  • Mazinger Z:
    • Baron Ashura and Count Brocken hated each other. Big Bad Dr. Hell thought it would be a good thing, since they would surely try to destroy Mazinger-Z harder to upstage each other. Or course, what happened was many operations and schemes went by the wayside because they constantly fought and got in the each other's way, and they were unable to work together, ruining many joined missions, too. Hell's mistake was born of him believing he and his troops were a Five-Man Band instead of a Five-Bad Band.
    • In another episode, Count Brocken has one in which he took hostages, and used cheap tricks to defeat Koji, expecting Koji to be a straight, heroic and honorable hero like pretty much most tv show protagonists at the time. This could have (and at times actually did) work well if not for the fact that this is Koji we're talking about. In fact, Brocken does mention it by complaining about how Koji's fans will cry because of that. Koji's reaction? Take it like a man.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji seems to think he's in a Shojo anime (such as in the Enies Lobby arc and filler) and completely fails to get the girl at all times.
    • Luffy seems to be Genre Savvy to know he's in a Shonen manga, but not what type of Shonen, assuming that Chopper's scope attack will in fact be a beam, a la Dragon Ball. ("BEAM, BEAM! IT'S GONNA BE A BEAM!")
  • Konata from Lucky Star plays so much eroge, she thinks that she's living in one— despite this being a Slice of Life Schoolgirl Series. She sometimes changes the game genre she believes she is in depending of the situation, but still doesn't get it right.
  • Most of the characters in Genshiken are major otaku and treat life like an anime or video game, just not the Slice of Life anime they're actually in. Madarame, unsure how to relate to women, visualizes life as a Dating Sim, and beats himself up about it when he realizes it.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • The eponymous character hopes to meet aliens, time-travelers and espers, experience super-natural mysteries and expose ancient conspiracies. Since she is a Reality Warper, it actually does happen all around her, but she doesn't notice. One could put it so that she makes herself an accurate Genre Savvy.
    • Example: She expects a student president who runs the school and all the clubs like a dictator. There isn't one, so Itsuki hires some guy to play the part of a jerkass president. He's a jerkass in a different way entirely, though. Of course, since this is Haruhi he starts having trouble differentiating himself from the role he is playing, and will possibly end up exactly as Haruhi thinks he is. Wrong Genre Savvy -> Genre Savvy!
    • She does wind up Wrong Genre Savvy in the positions she thinks the other members of the Brigade have. She views Itsuki as The Lancer, Kyon as The Big Guy, Yuki as The Smart Guy, and Mikuru as The Chick. In reality, Kyon is The Hero, Itsuki is The Lancer, Yuki takes the position of both The Smart Guy and The Big Guy, and Mikuru.... is still The Chick.
  • Noboru Yamaguchi from Cromartie High School acts as though the world around him follows the rules of traditional (read: old) styles of comedy, despite the world of Cromartie being one of the most surreal places ever.
  • Edo Phoenix of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX thinks he's The Hero. In fact, he practically thinks he's Batman... in a shonen anime. He initially sets out to defeat Judai, thinking he's the enemy. Then when Judai is getting ready to defeat the Big Bad, Edo rushes off to fight him, believing he will win because of a promise he made, not realizing he is not The Only One Allowed to Defeat You.
  • Saint Seiya: Cancer Deathmask. He decides to serve the corrupt Pope because Utopia Justifies the Means and Right Makes Might, and points out that winners write the history books, which is technically true. Unfortunately, he's in a Shonen Jump series, so he is bound to pay dearly for that remark.
  • Berserk is a Seinen fantasy manga that contains orgies of violence and sex, of both the consensual and non-consensual types. Despite this, Isidro seems to have convinced himself that he's not only in a Shōnen manga (which are generally idealistic and where good always triumphs over evil), but thinks he's the main character. Suffice to say, if it weren't for the fact he's the Plucky Comic Relief, he probably would've died a long time ago.
  • Naga in Slayers believes that she is The Rival when she's actually more of a sidekick. Lina often corrects her when presenting themselves to a new character. In the TV series, Amelia tries desperately to uphold Justice in a slapstick fantasy world.
  • In Puni Puni Poemi the eponymous character is convinced (apparently correctly) that she is the main character — and her voice actress. In the final scene the show's director (who is also a character) reveals that the main character is apparently her love interest.
  • Yuka Sugimoto from The Twelve Kingdoms anime even manages to get her genre right. Unfortunately, she leaps to the immediate assumption that being transported into a fantasy realm means she is The Chosen One, even though all signs point to her classmate Youko Nakajima. In the original novels, Yuka never even reached the Twelve Kingdoms in the first place, which should put things in perspective.
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, young Maria Louise from Neo France is a Rebellious Princess with a crush on the local Knight in Shining Armor, George de Sand. She's depressed because he doesn't fight for her, but for her country. So, if she stages her own kidnapping and recruits Domon Kasshu, a rival that George spurned, he'll fight for her honor, right? WRONG! The far more Genre Savvy George does come for her, fully aware of her trick, and delivers a What the Hell, Hero? speech on how he's much more likely to be absorbed into fighting Domon than on Maria's honor as well as chewing her out for her recklessness. Domon's partner Rain has to bail Maria out, and she's Put on a Bus until the second part of the series.
  • Haruka Akashi of Kamen Tantei is a huge mystery buff and aspiring mystery author who keeps running into mysteries. So far, so good. Unfortunately, she's a "fair play" mystery fan trying to apply "the rules" of such to a world where psychic powers, ghosts, All Just a Dream endings and fictional characters come to life are regular occurrences.
  • Pretty much everyone in Hayate the Combat Butler. Nagi thinks she's in a shounen manga in a case of First Girl Wins. Most of the rest of the cast thinks they're in a genuine action series instead of a parody. Sakuya comes the closest by realizing she's in a comedy series, but even she has the style of humor wrong.
  • Darker Than Black: Genki Girl secretary Kiko appears to be completely convinced that she lives in a shojo comedy. She doesn't. It also gets sort of turned around in the OVA, since it parodies the main series; Mayu has exactly the same ideas as Kiko about what genre she's living in, and starts stalking Hei because she thinks of him as a romantic hero. Hei and company spend so much time dealing with crazy Spy Versus Spy plots and counterplots that it never occurs to them that Mayu might be following him due to nothing more than a huge crush and start speculating that another, previously unknown organization is after them, briefly making them Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • In the third episode of Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki identifies the show as a high-school romance anime, calling himself and Haruhi the main pair destined to be together - not too far off the mark so far, but then he identifies the rest of the club as "the homosexual supporting cast". This last remark inspires Kyouya to show him up by coming up with a better plan to save Haruhi from being exposed by the physical exam and saying "I just don't think I'm supporting cast, homosexual or not."
  • The protagonist Sugisaki Ken from Seitokai no Ichizon is this. He seriously believes that he is inside a H-Game, always says that the student council is his harem, always getting downplayed by Kurimu: "This is not a harem, it's the student council!". "Don't be ridiculous. I don't think I'm in a dating sim. In a dating sim I get all the girls! Have you ever seen me with a girl?" Yep, that'll show her. Still spends too much time looking for flag events though.
  • Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu:
    • Minor example from the second episode. The main character fires off his Rocket Punch, expecting it to fly back to him afterwards. It doesn't, and he even screams out "But don't these things usually come back?!"
    • Notably played with when the protagonist starts off a fight after freshly receiving an upgrade by using his rocket punch...and missing terribly. The villain laughs at him for his stupidity, leaving them wide open for the fist to fly back towards him and drill a hole straight through, coming back to rest on Gaiking's arm once again.
    • Early into the plot, Nouza, and late into the plot, Proist, don't really seem to 'get' the story's main themes (In particular, that unfaltering determination is more potent than raw power). The former changes sides, whereas the latter... well...
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation Divine Wars: Ryusei's Evil Counterpart, Tenzan Nakajima, meanwhile, is the posterboy for this trope. While Ryusei might be a bit naive as to the level of realism, he's got an uncannily firm grip on what kind of game they're in. Tenzan, meanwhile, takes his cues from assholes playing competitively online, and thinks Video Game Cruelty Potential is just as much fun in real life.
  • Rotton in Black Lagoon seems to believe he lives in a much more idealistic series. One that allows In the Name of the Moon speeches. He actually does have genuine genre savviness to go with it, though, but even this is only about 50% effective. Wearing a bullet proof vest: Good idea. Basing all your fighting on trying to be cool: Bad idea. You're not supposed to try.
  • Winner in Karin thinks he's the star of a Shounen vampire hunter series. Unfortunately for him, he's a side character in a Rom Com.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!: Kumojacky is an outrageously hammy and Hot-Blooded character who believes in the power of his own inner strength and loudly declares that any problem can be solved through the sheer grit and determination of your own burning spirit. He also thinks that the only kind of friendship worth having is the kind forged through mutual respect of the other person's strength. In short, he's the kind of guy who would fit in perfectly with any group of Shonen action heroes (or anime bookshop owners)... But he's stuck in a Magical Girl show that more or less runs on the Power of Friendship / Power of Love, and thus his clashing ideals default him directly to a villain role.
  • Naruto: The title character is told multiple times by several different people that he is the kind of person who could never be the main character in a story. Wrong.
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, the character Mayo Mitama is an "evil looking girl" who likes to commit acts of ultra-violence. However, even when she does these things in front of/to people, they refuse to suspect her due to Wrong Genre Savvy. Going by the logic of detective stories and most anime using Face of a Thug, she can't be evil because "no one who looks so obviously evil could actually be evil" (because it wouldn't make for an interesting story). The problem is, Mayo's name means "exactly as she looks", and she's really is an example of Obviously Evil.
  • In Nana to Kaoru, the student council president complains that the main character's "got a secondary character's face!" The poor guy doesn't realize he's in an Ecchi, Ugly Guy, Hot Wife comedy. He's also absolutely dumbfounded at Kaoru's sad, depressed resignation about Nana being way outside of his league, expecting some form of argument or fight.
  • Taikoubou of Soul Hunter zig zags between this and Dangerously Genre Savvy. At the beginning of the story he tries to skip the traditional Sorting Algorithm of Evil and goes straight for the Big Bad. Too bad Dakki is an even more Magnificent Bastard Chessmaster than he is and the plot fails horrifically. Later, Taikoubou tries to invoke Defeat Means Friendship on Nataku, who is out and out trying to kill him (Nataku does eventually join Team Taikoubou, but not for this reason). However, just as many of Taikoubou's insane plans succeed because he seems to be aware of what kind of series he's in.
  • Peorth in Ah! My Goddess manages to pick up that she's in a Magical Girlfriend series, but initially fails to realize that she's not the main love interest, and at one point seemed under the impression she was in a Hentai manga.
  • Musashi Tomoe in the Getter Robo manga clearly thinks he is in the Lighter and Softer anime adaptation. When he claimed a strong fighting spirit is everything that is needed to pilot a Getter unit Ryoma and Hayato wondered if he was serious. Fortunately for him, being Hot-Blooded still helps when piloting Getter Robo.
  • Midori from Mai-HiME seems to think she's in a Sentai series. She's not, and her forcibly assembled team of Magical Girls ends up wallowing in a mess of conflicting personalities. She does, however, set in motion the plan for the girls to Take a Third Option against the Big Bad. In the manga, by contrast, the team doesn't exactly get along, but never gets manipulated into fighting one another.
  • Princess Tutu:
    • Drosselmeyer manages to guess his genre wrong despite being the "author" character, since he has no understanding of Post Modernism. He writes the story as a conventional tragedy, viewing himself as the guiding hand rather than a character in his own right, not realizing until the very end just how thin the fourth wall really is.
    • From the same series, Rue, who knows of Drosselmeyer's role, and knows he intends for a tragedy ending, but assumes that he intended for a tragedy in the sense of The Bad Guy Wins as a result of heroes failing to overcome their flaws, meaning she'd get to keep Mytho to herself. In fact, Drosselmeyer's vision of a tragedy involves screwing over both the heroes AND the villains, something she learns the hard way.
  • The Literature Girl in Daily Lives of High School Boys is trying to reenact her own romantic novel in a Slice of Life comedy. It completely weirded out Hidenori.
  • Sogiita Gunha from A Certain Magical Index thinks he's the hero of a Sentai anime. Not only is this series much more mature and complicated than that, he's not even a main character.
  • Combined with Aliens Steal Cable in Rinne no Lagrange - one of the Human Aliens in one episode watches a samurai movie and mistakes its events for some Earth tradition he then tries to repeat to challenge Madoka for a duel. Surprisingly things work exactly like he is expecting them to, but for different reasons and he accidentally convinces girls at Madoka's school that he is her boyfriend.
  • One of Hibiki's friends from Senki Zesshou Symphogear likes to point out when people act like anime characters, which she treats as unusual, because she doesn't realize she actually is in an anime.
  • The World God Only Knows:
    • Keima gets all his Genre Savvy from Dating Sims, so he falls into this when he gets into situations outside his experience. For example, Haqua is a tsundere who is obviously in love with him. But in Dating Sims, the girl pursuing the boy is a trap for a Bad End, and must be avoided at all costs, so he barely even notices.
    • His misplaced savviness also kicked off the entire plot. He unquestioningly accepted a Deal with the Devil to "capture girls" because he didn't even know demons existed and didn't think anyone would ask him to go after real girls, so he assumed that someone was challenging him to beat a Dating Sim.
  • In the Area 88 manga and OVA, Ryoko seems to think she is in a romance story instead of a war story. She places great faith in the power of love and is determined to reunite with Shin, oblivious to why he would be at Area 88 in the first place and how war might have affected him. She gets heartache in spades for having this attitude.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • Sousuke Sagara approaches every situation as a military operation. Since he is a Private Military Contractor, he's right about half the time. The other half he's at a normal high school playing bodyguard for his love interest, and he proves completely incapable of adjusting his behavior or his situation analyses to fit the undercover assignment. Someone has put something (a love letter) in your shoe locker? Follow standard procedure for dealing with suspected IEDs and blow it up. The gym teacher screams at you and treats you like scum? Clearly he is the local Drill Sergeant Nasty; salute and thank him honestly.
    • Being an action movie buff, Kaname Chidori generally knows what sort of war antics she's going to fall into as part of her friendship with Sousuke. However, she doesn't quite appear to realize she's in an action anime, so she still gets blindsided by the more anime-esque aspects of her new life. For example, upon first meeting the captain of Tuatha De Danaan, a painfully cute teenage girl, she has this to say:
      Kaname: Oh, please. I've seen The Hunt for Red October. Captains are tough old bastards like Sean Connery. You're one of those people who read telegrams or something.
  • Yamada, the protagonist of B Gata H Kei, keeps failing hilariously because she honestly seems to believe that she lives in a hentai manga, when in fact she lives in a romantic comedy.
  • In Haiyore! Nyarko-san, Mahiro thinks he's a Player Character in a Call of Cthulhu game. He's actually in Teenagers from Outer Space, albeit a campaign with heavy Cthulhu Mythos influences.
  • Hashiba from Shooting Star Gakusaver is a weird example, that can be explained as being only 50% Wrong Genre Savvy and the other 50% actually being Genre Savvy - he actually gets the genre right, but he doesn't realize it's a parody. He can predict and understand ways of the plot and come up with appropriate ideas and sometimes things work in his favor purerly because of Rule of Funny, but he completely cannot grasp that people around him are parodies and is also unable to comprehend he isn't The Mentor in command of Mission Control, but Plucky Comic Relief.
  • As a Genre Deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs, Muteki Kanban Musume, in episode 6B, “The Rift That Looked Like Red String”, shows us Wakana, the Token Mini-Moe, seeing the Unknown Rival Kankuro in yet another Curb-Stomp Battle with Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up Miki. Wakana Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Is Kankuro a sweet but quickly angered guy looking for Miki’s Attention? note . Is Miki a secretly kind jerk? note . Are they always fighting? note  So? The only logical conclusion for a girl? Belligerent Sexual Tension! Wakana sets herself to be their Shipper on Deck as Kankuro’s Love Cupid. Hilarity Ensues!
  • Most of the main cast in Kitabuku Katsudou Kiroku. Despite being aware enough of the fourth wall to communicate to each other via overhearing each other's internal monologues as a makeshift telepathy, everybody except the Straight Man character is clueless. They know they're in a gag anime, but none of them think it'll last, so they're preparing themselves to be in a fighting anime, or an anime about social and political games, or an anime with lots of fanservice in it.
  • In Yandere Kanojo, Shiratori is convinced that he is The Ace, Manabu is The Rival, and they are in some sort of anime dramedy. The truth is that Shiratori is the Adorkable Unknown Rival / Butt Monkey that is the character destined to be one half of the Beta Couple in a Romantic Comedy Gag Series.
  • Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan finds out the hard way (very, very hard) that he doesn't live in a shonen series where guts and determination are all you need to take out giant Lightning Bruiser man-eating titans. AOT is a shonen series, yeah, but it's FAR Bloodier and Gorier than you'd expect.
  • In Date A Live, when Shido walks in on Tohka bathing, she freaks out. He's surprised and comments that given that she isn't human and was so ignorant of human society, he expected her to be an Innocent Fanservice Girl. He must have missed the part in the previous episode where she blushed and hid behind him after her clothes were erased.
  • In Aura Battler Dunbine, when Show Zama first came back from Byston Well along with Garalia and their respective Aura Battlers, the first explanation the muggles come up with is that Show was actually a shapeshifting alien who killed then took the boy's appearance. It didn't get better from there.
  • Due to having played a ton of otome games about being a popular high school student, Tomoko of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular thinks that's how things will automatically be when she enters high school... unfortunately nothing really changes.
  • In Captain Tsubasa, Genki Girl Kumi Sugimoto has a crush on popular Lovable Jock and her junior high's School Idol, Tsubasa Ohzora. So she applies to become the Cute Sports Club Manager of the soccer team he's already in, with direct intentions of getting close to him and then winning his affections. Well, such romantic deals often happens in sports stories... but why is she here? Kumi didn't count on how the main CSCM, Sanae, is Tsubasa's Patient Childhood Love Interest with already two years ahead of her. Against a girl like her, Kumi simply could NOT compete.
  • In Bleach:
    • Jidanbo Ikkanzaka, the guardian of Seireitei's western gate, was under the impression that anybody who could beat him in a fight would prove themselves worthy of entering. After Ichigo beats him in a fight, Jidanbo cheerfully attempts to let him in, but Gin Ichimaru stops him and scornfully asks where in the world he got that impression; his job is to keep strangers out, no exceptions.
    • Mask De Masculine thinks that he's the hero and the Soul Reapers are the villains. Renji, most likely realizing he can't be reasoned with, plays along by acting like a villain before brutally killing him.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, being a Shoujo Genre parody, plays with this trope frequently.
    • Mikoshiba thinks more along the lines of a main character in a visual novel rather than a supporting character in a shoujo parody, not to mention that he is the inspiration for a traditional shoujo heroine.
    • Wakamatsu often uses tactics only seen in old-school shoujo genre manga in order to solve his problems with Seo. Of course, they tend to backfire.
      Wakamatsu: Senpai...where did I go wrong...?
      Nozaki: ...Probably from the moment you started using shoujo manga.
    • Even Nozaki himself was guilty of this in Chapter 8, when he plays a Dating Sim with his usual Shoujo Genre mangaka mindset. Mikoshiba called him on "using a girl's viewpoint to play a galge." Of course, Mikoshiba is also guilty of this in the same chapter—from when does a Shoujo Genre mangaka suddenly become an expert on male-oriented Dating Sim?
  • Marika from Bokura no Hentai thinks like she's in a 70s shojo manga. She is not and her idealistic, soft attitude gets scrambled pretty quickly. For example when Ryousuke grabs her hand at school and drags her off to a secluded area she thinks it's so romantic.. When he pushes her across the wall and tells her not to tell others his secret, and act like they've never met, and tells her he'll kill her otherwise suddenly it's far less romantic..
  • Chihayafuru: In one of Sumire's Establishing Character Moments, her friend tells her that Taichi is way out of her league, and Sumire smirks and responds that in actual fact, her slightly above average looks make her perfectly fit the position of a Shoujo Genre manga heroine! And she even has an overly pretty girl in Chihaya to be her rival! She also tries to invoke it later on, telling Taichi that she doesn't mind standing on the train because other people might need to sit more than her in order to put on a sweet Naïve Everygirl image. What Sumire doesn't seem to realise is that Chihayafuru is Josei, not Shoujo, and rather than being a romance, it's actually a sports manga, albeit one with strong romantic elements.
  • Takumi Aldini in Shokugeki no Soma is very well aware that he is the main character's rival, and has all the attributes needed to be a classic Shounen manga rival. He just hasn't twigged to the fact that he is in an Ecchi cooking comedy set in a high school rather than a Shounen high school action series, and that Soma has several rivals who are more dangerous to him (Takumi is on the list, sure, but he's more like number five or six, rather than number one).
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • In the first chapter Keiichi's escalating paranoia and schizophrenia makes him believe that he's in a horror story where the seemingly peaceful residents of an isolated country town butcher a newcomer- i.e, him. He's correct about the genre, but his idea of who the antagonists are couldn't be more wrong. Mion and Rena are trying to save Keiichi, and their reasons for lying to him are entirely harmless. In fact, they're in as much danger as he is.
    • Rika believes she's in a tragedy, where her friends' inability to overcome their distrust and hatred will inevitably doom them. This belief, more than anything else, is what delays their Character Development and eventual happy ending.
    • Miyo believes that Oyashiro is a wrathful god of death and bloodshed, who punishes heretics. In reality, Oyashiro is just the spirit of a deceased human- no better or worse than anyone else- and holds very little power.
  • In Cardfight!! Vanguard, Nagisa thinks she's in a romantic drama, with Kamui as her love interest. Her Cloudcuckoolander tendencies don't help, as she generally remembers things that she just made up; Kamui doesn't have any feelings for her at all. Additionally, she also seems to think she's in Yu-Gi-Oh!, where betting a marriage promise on a card game would be more resonable than in the show where fights are usually done for their own sake.

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