TV Tropes Org

Forums

search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [22]
1

Deconstructing Typical Shonen Character Archetypes:

 1 KSPAM, Mon, 28th Mar '11 11:21:30 PM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
I've been tossing around the idea of writing a deconstruction of shonen fighting series/general heroism tropes. Right now I'm working with the characters and I'd like to know what you think.

The protagonist, while average hero material, also carries a massive abandonment complex over his Disappeared Dad and his Aloof Older Brother. He almost always, if not always, tries to do the right thing and save as many lives as he can, although he comes to learn that "doing the right thing" doesn't necessarily entail a clear-cut good or bad choice. He sets unnaturally high expectations for himself, expecting he achieve a "100% good ending", which pushes him and sometimes his comrades into ever more dangerous situations. When he does fail to meet his impossible standards (which is often), he takes the blame upon himself, carrying a large amount of self-loathing. He feels honor-bound to be a hero because he has The Gift. He knows if others try to do what he does, they'll likely die, so he feels obligated to keep fighting.

The Blood Knight/Boisterous Bruiser is a shy, withdrawn teenage girl who only loses it on the battlefield. She suffers from an addiction to trauma due to her abusive childhood, meaning she only finds any satisfying emotional reaction when she's in pain or inflicting it. Her own behavior worries her, especially the fact that she can't control it. She does her best to isolate herself from others because of this, believing that she is a danger to other people, an assumption only further cemented by her colleagues, who intentionally try to avoid "that crazy psycho bitch".

The Badass Grandpa is a withered and senile old man. He was indeed a badass back in his prime, but that was a long time ago. Now he's just an oldster clinging desperately to his past, insisting he's "still got the moves". He refuses to accept his retirement out of hubris and ends up dragging himself into an unwinnable fight. After his death, he's quickly forgotten and dismissed, having died not a blazing god of war making his last stand, but as a brain-damaged senior who got too far in over his head.

The organization the protagonists work for is one of stark absolutes, insisting theirs is the only way. They routinely squash fledgling groups of other super-humans to eliminate competition and further expand their power base. They use any means necessary to complete the mission and preserve The Masquerade, going so far as to kill any Muggles who learn about them or their work. It's made exceedingly clear that no one but the founders know what the organization intends to do with the MacGuffin the protagonists are questing for and it may be just as bad, if not worse, than the villains.

This is what I've got so far for general character tropes. I know it's not much, but I'll be adding more. I'd like your input. Comments, criticism and ideas are all welcome submissions.
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 2 animemetalhead, Tue, 29th Mar '11 1:11:04 AM from Ashwood Landing, ME
Runs on Awesomeness
Well, your hero sounds a bit like Negi, though a bit darker, and probably not ten.

It's an interesting idea, but as with anything, good writing will make it awesome, bad writing will kill it where it stands.

If anything, I'd worry about it being seen as X shonen series, but Darker and Edgier.
No one believes me when I say angels can turn their panties into guns.
 3 Rynnec, Tue, 29th Mar '11 2:06:47 AM Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Mercenary
So, just to clarify, is this basically a shonen version of Watchmen that your writing?

As for your character archetypes:

Your hero sounds pretty good, I'd just make him more cheerier at first before delving into his psychological issues.

Your Blood Knight also sounds like an interesting character, I dunno about her being worried over it though, but that's just me. If she's supposed to be a deconstruction of the boisterous bruiser as well, wouldn't that sort of make her a Stepford Smiler by extension? Someone who puts on a "party animal" facade to hide her inner turmoil?

Your badass grampa sounds more like a comedy relief character ("the old man who thinks he's got it, but really doesn't" ala Master Roshi in the later portions of the manga.) put played for drama. If he's supposed to be a badass grampa, I would suggest subverting it by having it look like he's going to win a major fight, only to have his age kick in at an inopportune time. Bonus points if you make it so that his opponent actually planned for this to happen, and then proceed to kill him effortlessly.

edited 29th Mar '11 2:25:18 AM by Rynnec

"I'll show you fear, there is no hell, only darkness."

My twitter
 4 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 6:28:46 AM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
[up][up] It's funny you mention Negi, because the protagonist's superpower is basically Awesomeness by Analysis (the powers are going to be a little more subdued here).

[up] He indeed will start out less damaged then he will become. The point is to highlight what the life of a hero can drive a person to.

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
Element of love
I warn you I will reconstruct whatever you do. I love this genre and dragpnballz :)
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
 6 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 8:33:02 AM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
Element of love
I was being playful... With all due respect you are a jerk.

Good luck with your fanfic. It isn't going to become an anime anyways...

edited 29th Mar '11 9:09:29 AM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
 8 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 9:14:40 AM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
I don't write fanfiction, I write original fiction. I fully realize that a nobody westerner getting his work made into anime is about as likely as the Republicans recognizing what taxes are for. And this isn't exclusively a shonen deconstruction, as many shonen tropes aren't entirely exclusive to the genre.

And thank you, for your minimum contribution to my day. Your passive-aggressive insult will be filed under my "Don't Give A Damn" file and addressed at a later date.

edited 29th Mar '11 9:17:47 AM by KSPAM

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
Element of love
You cared enough to reply...

Good luck with your original fiction . I hope you get lucky someone will actually care enough to read it. Certainly I wouldn't.

edited 29th Mar '11 12:27:05 PM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
One thing I'd love to see deconstructed is the idea of Heroic Spirit - the way it's given almost magical powers in most shonen anime. You can be firm in resolve and determined not to give up, and yet be unable to win. You could have a very good (though dark) scene where the hero is determined to achieve something, tries to get it, seems almost defeated, gets his second wind and tries again, and fails. Say he's protecting a loved one, has been mostly defeated and is lying on the ground, and then he gets back up, about to try again, but immediately collapses. And then the villain goes and kills his loved one before his eyes.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 11 Mr AHR, Tue, 29th Mar '11 3:47:10 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I don't really know if this is accurate, but at least for the first two...I get the feeling you wrote up Neon Genesis Evangelion... in a way.

No, that's not accurate. It's obviously different. But I feel as if you are tackling the same archetypes they did.

[up]Moby-Dick.

edited 29th Mar '11 3:48:20 PM by MrAHR

 12 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 4:08:27 PM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
[up] A lot of the archetypes are the same, seeing as the differences between shonen fighting series and giant mecha are very few.

[up][up] THANK GOD SOMEONE FINALLY AGREES THIS BULLSHIT NEEDS A REALITY CHECK.

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 13 Rynnec, Tue, 29th Mar '11 4:52:34 PM Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Mercenary
[up]If you used it the way Ettina suggested, then that would be an excellent way to start the hero over the Despair Event Horizon, turning him into a cynical Anti-Hero.
"I'll show you fear, there is no hell, only darkness."

My twitter
 14 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 5:00:35 PM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
Another angle I wanted to work was how heroes never seem to have to make tough choices. There's always Take a Third Option.

I want to set up a situation in which the hero is forced to follow an order he is morally opposed to (like say, wiping out a fledgling group of super-humans who may or may not oppose his comrades in the future). He does it, and vows from there on out to never do something like it again. So he tries to Take a Third Option. It backfires and makes things worse than before.
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 15 Chubert, Wed, 30th Mar '11 8:26:18 PM from California
highly secure
Out of curiosity, what exactly is the enemy that the superhumans are fighting (besides each other)?
Whatcha gonna do, little buckaroo? | i be pimpin' madoka fics
 16 KSPAM, Wed, 30th Mar '11 8:33:52 PM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
Pretty much only eachother. This is still bare-bones, but the plan is that various groups of superhumans are fighting over a disastrously powerful MacGuffin. How's this for an idea?

They're fighting over the source of their power. While one-time exposure grants superpowers, second time exposure grants either death or godhood. Each faction wants to control this thing and create a supreme army to dominate the other factions.
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 17 Chubert, Wed, 30th Mar '11 11:38:38 PM from California
highly secure
And there's a Masquerade going on, so the governments and politicians aren't getting involved? Hmm.

Well, a major source of deconstruction then is how the protagonist would reconcile his morals with the power-grabbing war that's raging around him. And that could lead into the Take a Third Option scenario that you've illustrated. I'm just tossing out ideas.

Also, challenge: Do this and manage not to make it Darker and Edgier. Just SmarterAndMoreIntelligent.

edited 30th Mar '11 11:58:11 PM by Chubert

Whatcha gonna do, little buckaroo? | i be pimpin' madoka fics
 18 KSPAM, Thu, 31st Mar '11 6:49:07 AM from The Slaine Pain Train Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
ALL ABOARD!
I'm not going to promise that it won't be dark. Most of my stories aren't exactly on the happy side to begin with. But it won't be needlessly dark. Everything that happens will happen for a reason (i.e someone messed it up).

I'm not exactly big on pulling tragedy out of my ass. It makes it meaningless if the characters have anything to blame other than themselves.

edited 31st Mar '11 6:50:38 AM by KSPAM

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
 19 Kersey 475, Sat, 10th Dec '11 10:13:54 PM from Everywhere and Nowhere
My Namesakes
For your Shonen deconstruction, what are your villains (especially the Big Bad) like (The Villain Makes the Plot after all)? For some reason, I picture a Dangerously Genre Savvy Chessmaster Playing Both Sides and taking full advantage of the Shonen tropes.

I've also been working on a Shonen hero deconstruction. My Shonen hero is a Hot-Blooded Wide-Eyed Idealist Determinator Nice Guy Idiot Hero who really wants to be a Lawful Good Knight in Shining Armor. In reality, his hot-bloodedness makes him a Leeroy Jenkins which leads to a couple of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moments, his idealism makes him a major obsticle whenever his teammates have to do something pragmatic and prone to giving corny Rousing Speeches, his determination makes him incapable of making strategic retreats (and also racks up huge gambling debts because he won't fold), his Nice Guy personality is really a Stepford Smilier mask made as a result of an abusive childhood (he is also a "Well Done, Son" Guy with a Social Darwinist father), his attempts at trying to be Lawful Good often end up looking Lawful Stupid or Stupid Good, and he develops a bad case of Heroic Fatigue.

For the Reocnstruction, he eventually develops into a Blood Knight In Jaded Armor.

Any thoughts?
"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thinking, and don't be a dumbass."
Ecce Homo Superior
@OP: I think you've got some really solid characters going there, especially the hero. What you've told about the plot sounds good too.

As for the Blood Knight, she sounds like a good idea, though you probably need to do some research to make sure you portray her psychological issues accurately. (And I'm not sure you can be addicted to trauma. Addicted to pain or violence, sure.)

I don't have any real suggestions or advice, but it sounds like you're off to a good start in terms of ideas.

edited 16th Dec '11 4:48:46 AM by DoktorvonEurotrash

(it's David Bowie)
Just a very quick, non-gravity comment: Do you realize that what you're doing is essentially making a really edgy Saturday morning cartoon? Like changing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into Adult Freaky Forced-Into-Soldierhood Turtles?

If you're going to deconstruct a kids' genre, you should probably do it without taking yourself seriously.

Not to be mean or anything, mind you, it's just that I've seen this idea fail a thousand times before because if this.

edited 11th Dec '11 5:44:32 AM by DisasterGrind

 
 22 Mr AHR, Sun, 11th Dec '11 7:21:43 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I am trying to deconstruct the shonen protag meself.

I ended up realizing the typical Hot-Blooded shonen protag probably has a few mental issues. -.-;

Not that that matters.

You seem to be doing a good job, keep it up.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 22
1


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy