NubianSatyress on Sep 25th 2017 at 9:55:00 AM
Last Edited By:
NubianSatyress on Oct 18th 2017 at 12:52:42 PM
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.
- High School D×D: Issei Hyoudou sits on the fence between this trope and Stock Shonen Hero. He looks and acts more like a shonen protagonist, but (aside from literally debuting in a light novel) fills the Harem Genre, Ordinary High-School Student and "power acquisition" requirements. He's the current host of the Red Dragon Emperor—a being so powerful that Angels, Demons AND Fallen Angels had to join forces to break up a fight with its Arch-Enemy. The harem aspect, however, is not by accident—Issei's greatest dream is to become the "Harem King".
- Sword Art Online: Kirito is the most well-known example of the trope and quite possibly the Trope Codifier. He's an Ordinary High-School Student with a Badass Longcoat, an Invincible Hero, a Clueless Chick Magnet, and acquires new weapons or abilities without any sort of training whatsoever.
- In Another World with My Smartphone: Touya Mouchizuki takes the trope to an extreme. He's an Ordinary High-School Student who dies and gets transported to another world, acquires a Badass Longcoat, and quickly becomes a Showy Invincible Hero with a harem. Unlike many shows of this type, however, this is the entire point—God feel guilty for killing him before his time and actively works to give Touya the best life ever, with nigh-unbeatable power and an endless supply of women willing to share him in marriage.
- Date A Live: Shido is, of course, an Ordinary High-School Student. The necessity to build a harem, though, is baked right into the plot—the danger threatening the world are Apocalypse Maidens called "spirits" who can only be saved by falling in love with him and then kissing Shido.
- My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: Different from other light novel heroes, The Protagonist Hachiman Hikigaya is a Genre Savvy that usually battles against this, mostly being an Ineffectual Loner and Snark Knight, but he eventually becomes a hero by his own: he's a Badass Bookworm who has the ability of quickly analyse and come to a fairly accurate conclusion of a person's hidden motivations and personality traits. Being obligated to help students as part of the Service Club, Hachiman is rediscovered for the others as a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, the main reason why eventually he gets an Unwanted Harem, starting with his club mates Yui Yuigahama and Yukino Yukinoshita.
- The Irregular at Magic High School: Protagonist Tatsuya Shiba is a "Weed" - a member of the secondary course at his Wizarding School, which caters to students with weaker magical capabilities than their classmates. However, he is only pretending to be weak in order to hide his true capabilities. By night, Tatsuya is Taurus Silver, a famous CAD engineer and Special Officer Ooguro Ryuuya, also known as Mahesvara, who vaporized an entire army at the age of thirteen. While trying to juggle his multiple identities, he ends up amassing an Unwanted Harem which consists of his sister, his cousin, a skilled swordswoman , the student council president, and the resident ordinary girl.
- Strike the Blood: Kojou Akatsuki has silver hair and often wears a hoodie, but other than that, perfectly fits the style of an LN hero. He's the Fourth Progenitor, by his own admission "the most powerful vampire in the world". Progenitors can summon an entire army of familiars—each one by itself a Person of Mass Destruction, but to awaken familiars he must drink blood. The familiars literally won't respect a "virgin" vampire, and some of them still won't respond if he only drinks blood from the same people over and over, thus requiring him to acquire an Unwanted Harem. Even if he didn't have to, though, Kojou's power, good looks, and desire to protect others draws a large number of girls (and some men) to him.
- Campione!: Godou Kusanagi is another Ordinary High-School Student who winds up being The Chosen One that kills a god and thus becomes the seventh and youngest "Campione". He is even special amongst that elite group by defeating the God of Victory, whose power allows him to kill any other god once Godou understands the god's origins and powers. The moment Godou becomes a Campione, Erica throws herself at him and "permits" him to have other mistresses (although she insists he only have one) so long as it helps him fulfill his destiny. However, the fastest way to grant a Campione knowledge is by kissing them, and the Girl of the Week is usually the only one with the knowledge he needs.
- Asura Cryin': Tomoharu is an Ordinary High-School Student who happens to have a best friend that's a ghost. However, it turns out that said "ghosts" are actually the power sources of Humongous Mecha called "Asura Machina". In addition to this, various factions become worried about Tomo's growing relationship with various beautiful demon girls, because any romantic and/or sexual commitment to a demon allows a human to gain a Familiar called a "Daughter". A human with both an Asura and a Daughter is called an "Asura Cryin"—a Person of Mass Destruction whose own powers erase both their memories and ability to love, driving them mad.
- Log Horizon: Shiroe is trapped in a game world along with many other players, and he happens to be one of the greatest strategists alive with the highest level cap (at first) in the game. His exploits earn him the affections of multiple women, and as he learns more about how the mechanics of the game world work, he learns that his abilities and his intellect are perfectly suited to allow him to break reality itself through Magically Binding Contracts.
- 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.
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