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Stock Light Novel Hero

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Similar to Stock Shonen Hero, but with its own various tropes and cliches.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
NubianSatyress on Sep 25th 2017 at 9:55:00 AM
Last Edited By:
NubianSatyress on Oct 18th 2017 at 12:52:42 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

The Light Novel counterpart to the Stock Shonen Hero. Since this archetype also comes from Japanese Media, it shares a lot of overlap but also plenty of differences. In fact, the Light Novel hero would probably be the stock Rival to the shonen hero, if they weren't the main character.

While the Stock Shonen Hero is typically Hot-Blooded, Book Dumb, and starts off at the lower end of the Power Level food chain, the Stock Light Novel Protagonist is typically a Stoic (except when he isn't) Genius Bruiser with power, skill or moral character that puts most other characters to shame. Further, very few shonen heroes are a Chick Magnet, and typically only have one "serious" Love Interest. The Light Novel hero commonly gains a harem, wanted or otherwise, without fail.

Appearance-wise, shonen heroes typically have outlandish costumes, bright and/or spikey hair, and rough facial features. The Light Novel protagonist is, more often than not, an Ordinary High-School Student with dark and/or neat hair and soft facial features. Costume-wise, the Light Novel protagonist wears either an ordinary high school uniform or some other simple outfiit, often equipped with a Badass Longcoat.

Shonen heroes are almost always part of a Fighting Series or Sports Story and form an action-oriented Power Fantasy. On the other hand, the Light Novel hero is a different type of Wish Fulfillment that can easily work in a mundane Slice of Life story. They are also a very common protagonist for an "Isekai" plot. note 

Even when action is involved, there are big differences. While shonen heroes focus more on "power growth" (utilizing spirit and training, and gradually improving up the ranks to prove their worth), the Light Novel protagonist is focused more on "power acquisition". Rather than training to improve their abilities, the Light Novel protagonist usually starts out already nigh-unbeatable, and typically "unlocks" new abilities as the story goes on. Not typically through training, but merely as a consequence of adventuring or overcoming the Monster of the Week. If the hero is a Non-Action Guy, then his growing Battle Harem is often how he faces the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.

In videogame terms, comparing the Shounen hero and the Light Novel hero would be the difference between a Role-Playing Game and a Metroid Vania; in the former, power needs to be grinded for—in the latter, it will just come naturally to progress the story. And speaking of games, the Light Novel mixes in a little bit of Dating Sim and Visual Novel also, whereas a common "acquisition" that the Light Novel hero makes is a new member to his harem. The very act of romancing the harem may also may be how power is achieved.

While this is not quite the Omnipresent Trope that its shonen cousin is (due to being newer), it's getting there.

See also Harem Genre for another genre it overlaps with, and Schoolgirl Series for one feminine counterpart.


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  • Konosuba: Kazuma is a light-hearted parody of the trope. When he first arrives in his new world, he thinks he'll be overpowered, but turns out to have some of the weakest stats, aside from luck. And his teammates form the very definition of an Unwanted Harem, as each one of them is hilariously incompetent except for VERY specific circumstances as well as have character flaws which indicate very questionable levels of sanity. Kyouya, his rival and foil, is the epitome of this trope: an extremely attractive Chosen One with an overpowered sword and his own adoring harem. The irony is that Kazuma's harem includes the heroine, Aqua, who Kyouka thought was his main heroine, but it turns out she forgot all about him. In fact, Kazuma's entire harem hates Kyouya and, despite denying it, adore Kazuma for various reasons.

  • Re:Zero: Subaru is a very dark deconstruction of the trope. When he first arrives in his new world, he assumes he's gained powerful magic or some other talent, but initially has none. The only unique ability he gained is to start over from a "save point" after he dies, which is only a blessing considering the horrible ways he constantly meets his end. Gaining a harem means that he has more people to protect (thus meaning he often has to kill himself to save them by trial-and-error) and if he advances his relationship in any way and then dies, said advancement can be completely undone, forcing him to start over from scratch while also trying to figure out what went wrong.

Feedback: 7 replies

Sep 27th 2017 at 7:23:00 AM

Sep 28th 2017 at 2:21:55 PM

Oct 9th 2017 at 12:14:40 PM

Shonen is a genre. Light novels is a medium. So the tropes can overlap.

Oct 9th 2017 at 1:01:13 PM

That's more of a nitpick, since shonen is a demographic, not a genre. The titles are more about the common source for the characters.

Oct 9th 2017 at 1:08:24 PM

I think this may be launching a little too quickly.

Oct 9th 2017 at 2:54:54 PM

I don't mind waiting, but everyone seems to be giving hats and there's been no issues raised. I think it'll start collecting more examples after it's launched and crosswicked.

Oct 10th 2017 at 8:34:23 AM

  • Examples section
    • Corrected spelling (heroe, circumtances).