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  • In one episode of Ai to Yuuki no Pig Girl Tonde Buurin Karin once got a demo of the Magical Girl form she wished for to try for one day, however she failed solving a dangerous situation making her deliberately become Buurin again to do that. While this was probably meant as a "maybe what you already have is better than you think" but is broken since her demo did not possess any super powers aside flight making it useless as a super form.
  • Assassination Classroom's message that individualized education in a caring environment is superior to a colder and less personalized style is rather undermined by the fact that Koro-sensei is explicitly superhuman. A real human being is flat out incapable of the kinds of stunts he pulls because they can't move at super speed, don't have perfect memory or genius level intellect, can't memorize dozens of textbooks and can't hold multiple conversations at once. Nor can they be everywhere at once to stop bullying or attacks. It may be perfectly true that the Japanese educational system is deeply flawed in many respects, but expecting a human being in charge of dozens or hundreds of students to be able to keep up with Koro-sensei is impossible.
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    • This is acknowledged in later chapters when Nagisa considers becoming a teacher himself. At first he has doubts about being as good as Korosensei because he obviously doesn't have Korosensei's powers, but in the end he resolves to become the best teacher he can be regardless.
  • In Bakuman。, the message of the arc in which Mashiro and Takagi get in trouble with their girlfriends is that people in relationships shouldn't keep secrets from one another. Later, when PCP doesn't get an anime, Takagi considers illustrating Shiratori's manga while Mashiro, despite being uncomfortable with the idea, doesn't mention it to Takagi. At the same time, Miyoshi and Azuki never hear that there won't be an anime until Takagi inadvertently mentions it in Miyoshi's presence, and the conflict is mainly between Takagi and Mashiro (mainly because of their conflicting goals; as Mashiro realizes, PCP would help Takagi earn a living as a mangaka, while it does not put Mashiro any closer to fulfilling his promise), not between them and their girlfriends.
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  • Bleach: Ikkaku refuses to use his Bankai in front of others so he can continue serving the 11th Squad Captain Kenpachi, as acquisition of a Bankai is a prerequisite to becoming a captain himself. After losing an important fight to protect Karakura Town from Aizen's forces, he is chewed out for his Honor Before Reason fighting style. However, the same arc had Yumichika narrowly win his fight only after his opponent obscured them from the rest of the battlefield, whereupon he reveals his true power that his squad considers unmanly, and is praised by his opponent's dying words for refusing to use his powers until nobody else could see it. Early in the final arc, Sasakibe is killed and revealed posthumously to have had a Bankai that he concealed for the exact same reason as Ikkaku, yet is showered in praise for his loyalty toward Yamamoto.
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  • One episode of the Blue Dragon anime had the main characters meet a brother/sister pair. The brother wanted to be a Shadow Wielder like the main characters, while the sister hated them. They're then attacked by bandits, and Shu decides not to fight in order to teach the kid that fighting isn't always the answer. This is broken because not only does Shu clearly get the crap beaten out of him, but also because in the end of the episode he goes back and beats up the bandits after the sister tells him that she doesn't really hate all Shadow Wielders anymore.
  • In Cowboy Bebop's "Toys in the Attic" episode, an episode devoted to twisting An Aesop in increasingly silly ways, Ed's already silly lesson of "If you see a stranger, follow him!" is broken by Ed losing interest in the "stranger" and falling asleep.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Karin's Tower arc of Dragon Ball concludes by revealing that there's no such thing as a magic potion that makes you stronger; Goku's ordeals to get the Super Holy Water (being effectively Training from Hell) were what made him strong. Ergo, the moral is "there isn't a way to just magically be great, you have to work for it." Then a few arcs later when Goku needed a powerboost, Karin reveals that he was holding out and there's actually an Super God Water where, if you drink it and survive, you get a lot stronger. At this point, the only thing keeping the moral intact is that the Super God Water was claimed to be poisonous if you weren't strong enough to survive it. Then, over the course of Dragon Ball Z, pretty much every arc would reveal at least one new way for characters to get stronger without having to do any real work for it, including "zenkai boosts", the Super Saiyan forms, the various "unlock potential" abilities, fusions, and absorption, which shattered the moral into a million pieces.
    • Many accounts have claimed that the point of the scouters and Power Levels was to show how silly it was to claim that a fight can be determined by simple numbers or raw strength, because combat is unpredictable - except, Power Levels basically are that silly. Invariably in the series, fights are won by the person who had more raw strength, they often demonstrate the ability to circumvent stuff that really should be able to take them down regardless of how strong they are (most infamously the "fighting candy"), and techniques that can do so like the all-cutting Kienzan are famously underused. There are times where someone with a lower power beats someone with a higher power, but this is almost always through techniques that allow them to make their power greater than the opponent, such as the Kaioken. Even in the Namek Saga, the part of the series that constantly played up the Unskilled, but Strong nature of most of the involved combatants on the enemy team, not a single one was actually beaten by an opponent with a lower power level. And scouters are basically exactly the same thing as energy-sensing that's used by everyone in the series, except that scouters put a number on it while the user of energy-sensing just shouts "They're more than twice my strength!" It's one thing to say this in real life, but when having a higher number than your opponent means they basically can't even scratch you and is indeed based on a distinct value (namely, the person's ki), it's no wonder that the fandom has dedicated so much time to determining everyone's Power Levels.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The series is big on highlighting The Power of Friendship. So much so that many a third of the battles couldn't have been won without it. Lucy gets half her powerups because spirits like how friendly she is with them. Sticking it out for your friends is always the right thing to do... unless you're Jellal, in which case doing so gets you tortured and brainwashed, hated by everyone, and robbed on any semblance of life or freedom. Granted, it gets better for him down the line, but it's a long path...
    • The series isn't particularly subtle about the importance of The Power of Friendship, but one time that the message doesn't work is during the Grand Magic Games. Sabertooth, which took over the rank of the #1 guild in the absence of Fairy Tail's strongest members, is led by The Social Darwinist who throws members out for losing. While the narrative wants to show that Fairy Tail is stronger because they value their comrades, it does so using a fight in which Natsu shoves his partner Gajeel out of the match over a petty argument and goes on to solo Sting and Rogue, a duo who are actually famous for their teamwork. The anime makes this worse when Natsu is under the delusion that Gajeel ran off and chastises him for not understanding teamwork.
    • During the Tenrou Island arc, Natsu is taught by Gildarts that sometimes he needs to accept that an opponent is out of his league instead of attempting to fight. Natsu would go on to consciously ignore this lesson twice in that same arc when he felt that backing down wasn't an option, and suffers no consequences. Against Zancrow, who can eat his flames, he suddenly finds a bizarre way to do the same thing. Against Hades, Fairy Tail gets powered up by outside circumstances just as Hades gets powered down by outside circumstances.
    • During the Tartaros arc, one of Erza's most infamous Ass Pulls involves her opponent Kyouka shutting off her five senses, only for Erza to spout off a generic speech about how "the light of friendship" overcomes any fear Kyouka can try to put her through. By the end of the arc, Erza suddenly starts to feel trauma over Kyouka's torture, and instead of seeking help from the aforementioned friends, secludes herself to angst over her out-of-nowhere trust issues, just to provide a Ship Tease moment when Jellal comes to comfort her.
    • The Edolas arc ends with all magic leaving the dimension and returning to Earthland, and the protagonists have to convince the population that they can do without it. The Tartaros arc focuses on the titular guild of curse-wielding demons trying to activate a superweapon that will shut off the use of magic all across the continent of Ishgar, which is treated as nearly apocalyptic. Keep in mind that while Earthland has mages with inherent magic power that Edolas doesn't, Edolas was much more dependent on magic for everyday activities, so the story is essentially telling Edolas to cope with losing the equivalent of electricity while Ishgar's mages (10% of the population, by the way) losing their superpowers is a horrible outcome.
    • The final arc reveals that two main protagonists are each related to a prominent antagonist, namely that Natsu is Zeref's little brother (as well as his greatest demonic creation after his original body died), and Erza is the daughter of Irene. The story for these parts comes off as incredibly wishy-washy about whether it wants to promote Family of Choice or Thicker Than Water. On the one hand, Natsu hardly seems to care about being the Big Bad's little brother other than the occasional sarcastic "Big Bro", and Erza bluntly tells Irene that Fairy Tail is her true family with her only true parent being Makarov. On the other hand, the story goes to great lengths to display Zeref's ultimately one-sided devotion to his little brother, and Irene suddenly deciding after a full fight of nothing but homicidal hatred toward Erza to kill herself and spare a daughter who still denies any familial connection to her, are both intended to be heartwarming.
  • The 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime starts picking up a message in its second half that revenge is always wrong, and only leads to a cycle of violence. Trouble is, Al, the one most adamant about this, physically stops Marta from taking revenge on Kimblee, who is then left free to do lots more bad stuff before successfully being killed off. You can't help but think a lot more people would have been better off if Al had just let her do it.
    • The manga has an in-universe example. Close to the end, the Big Bad gives a little speech about how all of the sacrifices are being punished in ironic ways for their hubris in performing human transmutation: Izumi being rendered infertile by her attempt to resurrect her lost child, for example. Ed points out immediately that Roy didn't even try human transmutation and only ended up in the Gate of Truth because the villains put him there.
  • The Be Yourself message applied to Simon in the first half of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in regards to trying to be like Kamina falls a little flat when the Time Skip happens and Simon grows up to look and act a lot like Kamina.
  • Gundam suffers from this a bit:
    • The running theme of the entire franchise is "War Is Hell", but it demonstrates this by having giant, awesome battles between slick, badass Humongous Mecha, and often the "Hell" aspect only comes from people dying, sometimes in ludicrously tragic ways (see: Mobile Suit Victory Gundam), making the lesson look like "War is awesome, it's dying that sucks."
    • Lampshaded for tragedy in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, where at the end, having seen the damage war causes firsthand and lost people he cared about in it, Al breaks down into tears while his friends gush about how the next war is gonna have even more awesome robot battles(they're not wrong).
    • Lampshaded by Lacus Clyne in the original Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, when she points out the apparent hypocrisy of their actions: "... calling out for peace with guns in our hands."
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has this happen In-Universe; the protagonists' plan to end war involves attacking anybody who participates in war, regardless of any other factor. Several characters comment on the blatant hypocrisy, and the heroes themselves wonder what they're doing. Turns out it's part of a larger plan, to unite humanity against a common enemy.
  • My Hero Academia tries to get across to its audience that Izuku Midoriya, our protagonist, will start cultivating himself into his generation's number one superhero because of his hard work and compassion along with a genuine heroic spirit that was manifest even before he had a Quirk. However, it follows the old shounen maxims of his power and connections being the most important components of his future success; he would have never gotten the opportunity if the number 1 hero at the time (All Might) didn't gift him his Quirk, and one that has the influence and main powers of every other wielder before him at that, and his brave heart wasn't enough to get him to save his classmate the first go around. Take that into conjunction with Mirio/Lemillion, a person with many of Izuku's qualities but loses his Quirk, whose heroic activities basically grind to a halt after the incident. The world stresses that a Hero can't officially function without having a Quirk either.
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu generally preaches a really heavy-handed Aesop that using tough love in order to try to help someone really won't accomplish anything except for making people hate you. That is, until Hayato and Yukino do it and end up getting exactly what they want from it, making the moral less of "don't be a Jerkass" and more of "don't be a Jerkass unless you're popular".
  • Inazuma Eleven often seems to have some conflicting moral lessons depending on the situation, although this can be put down to the fact that different characters have different opinions, and no one character is perfect on their own, which in turn could be seen as an Aesop of its own.
    • In the first season they seem to have the lesson "don't play as a solo, even if you feel you can score right now, pass to someone else to give them a change". In season 3 however, one of the character's entire arcs revolve around the lesson "it's fine to show off and score all the goals. True team-mates will be happy for you, not angry".
    • The fact that a lot of the show resolves around how soccer is a pure sport and should be played without any methods that aren't natural in soccer (the super-dimensional aspect of it obviously being natural in-universe) can come off as broken when the "mixi-max" ability is introduced. Unlike all the other super-dimensional aspects which involve naturally evolving the ability to use the moves, this one isn't natural and involves having to take and transfer someone's aura with electronic guns. Although the ability can be done naturally too which is seen twice, and you do have to train to match the transfer subject's aura, most of the mixi-maxing is done by force with equipment. Which kinda squishes the moral that you're not supposed to use unnatural enhancements in sport.
    • Although this isn't really a broken Aesop, it's one that can come off as confusing, especially to young viewers which the show is aimed at: A lot of the lessons of the show is based around the fact that winning isn't everything. Which can come off as odd when the characters constantly mention and empathize how they must win certain matches and if they don't then everything they've built up become shattered. This is more confusing then broken, since the specific moral is supposed to be that you should fight to win and tell you have to win, but if you do lose then that's still okay.
    • The fact that violence shouldn't be allowed in soccer is kinda broken by the fact the soccer the character's play is naturally violent. Such as, apparently charging into someone and shoving them is a bad thing to do, but it's completely fine if you electrocute and opponent so much they fall to their knees in pain.
  • Inuyashiki preaches that even the worst people are able of redemption and forgiveness. Somebody might want to tell that to Samejima, though, who wasn't even given the opportunity. Granted, he probably wouldn't have taken it anyways, but if the main villain whose body count ranges into the thousands can redeem himself, then anyone should be at least given the chance, even if they'd done horrible things.
  • Little Witch Academia puts emphasis on the idea that teamwork is essential in order to achieve success, however in the end only Akko and Diana's protagonist/antagonist relationship is really important to the plot, and all the others (even Akko's roommates and friends Sucy and Lotte) become increasingly irrelevant. Even in the final episode, when all the important characters receive a power-up, the other witches are only needed to get Akko and Diana into the stratosphere to fight the final enemy, and aren't seen until the episode's end. Also, Constanze explicitly says she works alone and yet she manages to create stuff nobody else in the show can do.
  • In Love Hina, the idea is that everything is possible if you try your hardest, even getting into Japan's top university and charming a really hot girl, even though you're a total loser. However, while Keitaro does start off as a really pathetic individual, it does not take long before he turns out to not only be handsome but also a gifted archeologist and martial artist. You'd expect someone who is not really cool or talented to captivate through determination and charm. While Keitaro is very determined, his defeatist, whiny and relatively immature personality, as well as his tremendous clumsiness deeply annoy the girls... It's only when he drops his usual act that the females show any attraction for him, often pointing out that he is very handsome when he is not being annoying. Ultimately, instead of Love Hina being about an underdog accomplishing goals far beyond his reach through determination and The Power of Love, it's actually about someone who was Crazy Awesome from the start but never had the proper motivation to unlock his potential until he met the girl.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!'s protagonist seems to break two primary Aesops which he himself claimed to believe in:
    • Firstly the series' quote: "Our Magic is not omnipotent... a little bit of courage is the real magic" is thrown out the window the moment the Shonen features of the series kick in, with the protagonist, Negi, wanting more and more magical power and not showing any courage and/or confidence against opponents unless he knows he has more power than them to the point of obtaining Black Magic to do so. Though characters like Asuna, Ako and Nodoka show courage in the romance department, it's shown that the girls without their Pactios (magical contracts where Negi gives them power) are essentially The Load. Thus the series teaches us "You need to be brave... but without magic you're screwed".
    • Secondly, the Aesop: "We are all the main characters of our own lives" seem broken when you notice that the secondary characters only get A Day in the Limelight when their debatable Character Development has something to do with Negi. And those that don't, like Setsuna, end up Out of Focus even when facing their own rival in the series. Made particularly egregious the fact that Akamatsu doesn't believe this Aesop applies to anyone except Negi is when Kotaro says: "Negi... you're the star". Which seems somewhat Out of Character for a Hot-Blooded, Boisterous Bruiser like him.
    • Then we have a third Aesop everyone tries to make Negi learn, which is impossible since he suffers from a severe case of Aesop Amnesia; it is that team work is important and you can't do anything alone. While this Aesop is followed through in the Festival arc, it ends up being forgotten since Negi's True Companions end up being reduced to We Are "Team Cannon Fodder". Negi defeats Fate on his own and Ala Alba can't do anything but let Ala Rubra and Evangeline sort everything else out.
    • So to sum it up secondary characters can follow the Aesops while the main character can't.
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, at first, appears to simply be a zany trying-to-get-home plot as they travel from one bizarre world to the next. As it turns out, the reason they couldn't get back was that Sashi was the one in control without even realizing it. Not only that, it's revealed to him that they're stuck there because he's suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the fact that Arumi's grandfather died from the fall off his restaurant. Feeling guilty, he tries to distract her and prevent them from returning so she doesn't learn the truth. This fails and, in the end, they start to head home. This, however, is undermined by him unlocking a hidden power, re-writing reality to prevent grandpa from dying. The moral of the story is "while tragedy really hurts, you can't hide in your own little world forever and have to face reality eventually." Or that's what it would be if not for how it ends. Instead, it comes off as "if you wish hard enough, you'll never lose anyone or anything close to you." Another work handled the "dealing with loss" message better.
  • Mai-Otome: Arika succeeds in her quest to become an Otome not because of the purity of her dream, but because she's the daughter of Lena Sayers and so the authorities (first and foremost, Natsuki) are willing to bend the rules for her. And she's a powerful Otome for the same reason: she has inherited the genes and the gems from iena.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro ep. 14 ends with a message about how people shouldn't be so intolerant of other people's cultures. The hypocrisy is that this is delivered in reaction to the antics of possibly the most xenophobic and offensive depiction of an American in anime since 1945. However, a later chapter reveals that the American had been the first test subject of the electronic drug, which exaggerates something a person likes in order to warp them into psychotic killers, making the Eagleland stereotype something of an Exploited Trope. If Yako and the others (possibly even the readers) hadn't been blinded by the stereotype of Americans, they likely would have realized that something was wrong much sooner. So, don't let yourself be blinded by negative stereotypes, kids. If you do, an evil computer will take over the world.
  • Master of Martial Hearts tries to end with a partial "exploiting women for sex is wrong" Aesop (along with a "vengeance is bad" one that comes straight out of nowhere). This Aesop falls flat on its face when the previous four episodes leading up to the finale were shameless and unironic Panty Fighter fair that went beyond panties seeing as the characters frequently ended up completely topless. And that's only one reason why the Aesop fails.
  • Ojamajo Doremi:
    • An episode of the Naisho OVA ends with Seki-sensei chewing out the anchor leg of her room's opponents in a swimming relay for not trying as hard as Aiko. One, the opponents won that race, and two, after all her hard practicing, Aiko didn't even compete.
    • The message about giving up magic, given by the witch apprentices in the penultimate episode of the main series, ended up both contradicting the importance of magic shown in earlier seasons (especially when people's lives are at stake), and tolerating irresponsibility for leaving Hana and leaving most (if not all) future burdens involving the Witch World on her. Similar logic can also be applied to giving up technology as well. Still, to people not thinking hard and just grasping the "achieve things with your own effort" moral, it works, but no aesop is broken if one doesn't connect the dots.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji has been strictly taught never to hit a girl. Combined with his vulnerability toward attractive women, he's completely helpless against female opponents. This is called out as a character flaw by Nami during the Enies Lobby arc after he gets beaten by Kalifa, a female assassin who was clearly weaker and slower than him and may or may not have had the key to releasing Robin from her handcuffs. After the Time Skip, Sanji's lechery has been amplified from spending two years on an island full of Macho Camp transvestites with no women in sight, to the point where he almost dies from a nosebleed when a mermaid on Fishman Island subjects him to Marshmallow Hell, yet his complete inability to maintain his composure against attractive female opponents has been twisted into a good thing. During the Dressrosa and Whole Cake Island arc, Sanji will encounter a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing (Viola in the former and Pudding in the latter) for whom Sanji continues to have perverted thoughts over even when they're putting his life is at risk. Both times, his lust-driven belief that Females Are More Innocent gets him out a pinch, and portrays him as altruistic and noble.
    • The Fishman Island arc focuses heavily on the history of discrimination between humanity and Fishmen/Merfolk. One important lesson is to not hold prejudice toward humanity for the racism shown by a few, particularly the World Nobles who are allowed to practice slavery long after it was made illegal for everyone else. Even Fisher Tiger, who held enough of a grudge against humans over his enslavement to refuse a life-saving transfusion of human blood, openly acknowledges that he’s being irrational and knows that there are plenty of good humans in the world. However, Boa Lady Land empress Hancock and her two younger sisters are openly misandrist for the same reason (which is even less rational, considering that there are female World Nobles and male slaves) without ever getting called out for it. The few exceptions, which include Luffy for punching out a World Noble and obscuring their slave mark from the public, and Rayleigh for taking care of them after they escaped, are regarded as outliers to the average man rather than a sign that they shouldn't be so quick to condemn the opposite sex. However, the Kuja tribe has been holding a hostile views on men for many generations, so it's already been part of their culture.
  • Pokémon:
    • In a very early episode of the anime, a moral about finishing what you started (and not making up excuses for stuff) was broken. The first thing that happens is that the Samurai pulls a sword on Ash just when he's about to catch a Weedle. When Ash didn't catch the Weedle, it gets away and then warns a swarm of Beedrill, which attack everyone before seizing Ash's new Metapod. Now Ash goes out to fetch Metapod, making his best effort—when Team Rocket shows up to harass him more, forcing him to run. In the end, Ash's last "excuse" was that he got sidetracked, he admits that everything was his fault - when in fact, nothing was. So it's a case of Never My Fault by the Samurai, who blamed Ash for the mess he started in the first place!
    • The Trubbish episode had a teacher trying to get rid of a Trubbish, which is a living garbage bag. The kids in her class scream and disobey their teacher because they want to keep it. We're supposed to see Daniella as a mean, stubborn teacher who wasn't listening to their concerns. But the kids just demanded they get their way, and Daniella was concerned about the kids playing with living garbage that spat out toxic fumes - there's a reason kids in this series have to be a certain age to own Pokémon, after all.
    • It has been stated that trained Pokémon are stronger than wild ones, so Pokémon Trainers must train them and can't expect to win battles using untrained ones. This sends the message that you must work hard in order to attain your goals and can't be lazy and expect to get things done the easy way. Yet every time Ash used Pokémon that he had never trained or even used once (ie: Tauros and Krabby) during Pokémon League note  matches during the original series, they kicked far more ass than most of those he had used through most of his journey (ie: the Kanto starters) and thus should be more experienced. Even worse, his Krabby evolved into Kingler in the very first Pokémon Battle it participated in when most of the Pokémon Ash had with him for most of his journey and had participated in dozen of battles were still unevolved. The same thing had happened earlier with Ash's Primeape: it won a Pokémon fighting tournament despite being a freshly caught Pokémon that had never been trained or used in a battle before. In the same tournament participated a guy called Anthony who used a Hitmonchan he had been obsessively training to to the point of neglecting his family, yet he didn't even get to the finals. In fact, Anthony was so impressed by Ash's Primeape that he offered to take it under his mantle, apparently thinking that it was worth more than his highly trained Hitmonchan.
      • To add insult to the injury, during the Johto League, the Pokémon that won most matches and proved to be Ash's strongest was Charizard, who had been training in Charicific Valley without Ash's participation. So while it was a trained Pokémon this time, it sends the message that you can be lazy and expect others do the work for you. It even beat Gary's strongest Pokémon, Blastoise, despite this one having a type advantage and being probably the Pokémon Gary had spent the most time training, being his starter and all.
    • In the second N-related episode, he tries to protect a Braviary from Team Plasma. When Team Plasma sends out two Pokémon to fight him, he expresses his wish that he could rescue them from Team Plasma so that they could return to the wild and live in peace. The problem is that the two Pokémon he's talking to are Zangoose and Seviper, who are using successful teamwork while in Team Plasma's hands, while their entire characterization in the franchise is how they will fight each other to the death in the wild. While some of N's opinions are countered by Ash and friends, this one is not addressed.
    • In episode 65, Gary makes fun of Ash for catching so few Pokemon. Ash says that he doesn't care about the numbers, just that all of his Pokemon are his friends. This is coming from the person who has thirty Tauros. Is he friends with all thirty of them? Can he tell the difference between them? He hadn't even used any Tauros in battle at this point. Even worse, it's made clear that Gary has been switching his Pokemon out regularly to use all of them. In other words, Gary's been making ties with all of his Pokemon. Ash very rarely rotates his Pokemon, leaving them to stay with Oak for who knows how long until he needs them for a particular battle. And if you want to go even farther, the vast majority of his older Pokemon are ignored once a new series begins.
    • Pokémon: The First Movie, dubbed version: the moral was that all fighting is bad! In a series which most Pokémon were competitively fighting every episode - the sheer idea that fighting is bad was apparently lost on many younger children. Now, the original intent was to make clear that fighting to the death was wrong...but 4Kids, in all its wisdom, forbade mentioning death in any of its releases, meaning that the dubbers were left trying very hard to get this message across without being allowed to just say it outright. The original Japanese version averted this, as that moral was "Doesn't matter how you were born, everyone is equal."
  • Popotan ends on a moral about living on in the hearts of those you meet and part with as the key to fulfillment. Except, that's exactly the opposite of what happened to lead Mai to revisit Konami, the one who tells her that, in the first place. It was already revealed in episode 9 that Konami in the main timeline had died of a broken heart due to never seeing Mai again. Clearly, there was reason to assume the protagonists had left any number of others throughout time heartbroken. Also, even though Ai and Mii both crave to eachother and Mai again, Mai's only issues was about Konami bugging her about such an unwanted topic as her journey from all series long, and unlike them, she did find real fulfillment before, even with only Mea living with her, even before finding out about such a debt as she had on her hands to repay, when she missed the timeskip between episodes 5 and 6 and was finally able to settle down for five years, at least until she found out that she and her sisters can't age outside the house while their journey is still in progress.
    • The source of the moral itself makes no sense either. From what we learn in episode 9, Konami had died of a broken heart from never seeing Mai again, and this is why her daughter Mai becomes cold and distant from everyone. As if protagonist-Mai even made any promise to see her again to begin with, one she'd know she wouldn't be able to keep. Episode 2 ended with the two of them only promising not to forget eachother, and Mai's farewell gift saying "Thank you. Goodbye." (Mai did say "See you tomorrow, Konami," while the house was about to leave, but she might not have noticed anything while hugging her with her eyes closed.) It's not like Mai was her only friend either; they are shown with two other girls when bonding earlier in the episode, and it's pretty obvious that Mai wasn't the one who befriended them, given her attitude before and after. Exactly what made Mai so special to Konami that she in turn would obsess over her to the point of naming her daughter thereafter and dying from despair from not seeing her again?
  • Pretty Cure:
    • The movie tie-in to Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, Ballerina of the Doll Kingdom, has the heroes being trapped in a world created from the wish of Tsumugi, a young dancer who can no longer use her legs. As they struggle to free her from the villain, they have to come to grips with some uncomfortable (but mature) lessons, such as Lovely realizing that not all problems can be fixed with hard work or wishes, and that sometimes you're unable to fulfill your dreams - and that's okay; you're fine as you are so long as you remain a good person at heart. But then it turns out that Tsumugi's paralysis was actually caused by the villain's magic, and the Precure defeating him hits the Reset Button. Yes, it's nice that she can dance again, but way to invalidate your message (and drop the ball on what was mostly a realistic, respectful message about disabilities and depression).
    • In Hugtto! Pretty Cure, one episode has Henri back up Homare's dream to be a hero by indulging in his own pastime of crossdressing. He uses it to prove to Masato that a person doesn't have to stick by rigid gender roles in order to be happy, and Masato eventually comes to see his point of view by the end when he sees just how capable the Cures are at being heroes. A fine thing to teach the young girls and adults watching; though to some longtime fans, it came across as a cold comfort to those that watched the previous season, Kirakira★PreCure a la Mode. A bit of minor controversy arose over a lategame shakeup: due to Pekorin being allowed to turn into a Cure in the second-to-last episode, but Pikario getting restricted to an eerily Cure-like powerup 10 episodes before despite his development, the suddenness of Pekorin's change caused some to think it was enforced to ensure the unwritten "No Male Cures" policy. That group wound up indirectly getting the opposite message when the two events were strung together: a boy can wish to be a princess if he wants, but he can never truly become one.
  • The Prince of Tennis: The theme of on-court violence. Tezuka loses his cool a few times in order to deliver this very Aesop, yet some of the strongest players such as Kirihara employ this very strategy with few repercussions.
  • In Sailor Moon, the "Sailor Moon Says" segments forced Aesops into the dub that were never intended. In one particular episode, Usagi/Serena is distraught over Naru's/Molly's infatuation with Nephrite/Nephlyte, the villain of the current arc. Usagi/Serena attempts to convey this by blurting out a bunch of nonsense at her, and then running away to avoid talking about her personal life. Naru/Molly then goes on to steal a priceless gem from her mother's jewelry store at Nephrite/Nephlyte's request and is creepily seduced away from her normal behavior as Nephlyte, being around twice her age, easily manipulates her. When the Sailor Scouts confront them both in a park and attack Nephlyte, Molly attempts to protect him by throwing herself in front of Sailor Moon's tiara. When another monster appears, Nephlyte protects Molly from it, and she passes out. Nephlyte teleports away, gloating about how he's one step away from destroying humanity. Sailor Moon's response? To wish upon a star that Nephlyte will conquer the bitterness in his heart. She watches her friend get coerced into sneaking out at night, lying, and stealing from her mother by an abusive older boyfriend, and her solution to seeing how much her friend cares for said abusive boyfriend is to pray that he gets better. That on its own would not be so awful, if difficult to deal with, except that the Aesop we're handed at the end of the episode is that it's important to talk to your friends if they're doing something dangerous—just like it was important to tell Molly the truth about Nephlyte.
    • Even Luna is bewildered by this:
    "Sailor Moon Says"? What about "Sailor Moon Does"?
  • One episode of Sgt. Frog has the moral of "Treating building Gunpla models (Or anything else) as Serious Business is bad", which is fine in theory, but it ends coming as "Not putting any effort whatsoever at all on doing things is perfectly acceptable if you're having fun", which is... not as fine. For once, the Golden Mean Fallacy is right: Put some effort on doing things, but don't yell at others for making a simple mistake. Thankfully, Aesop Amnesia saves the day.
  • Scum's Wish:
    • Treating other people as your own personal sex toys might feel good in the short term, but in the end you'll wind up lonely and bitter with no one who's willing to see you as any more than a sex object either. Well, unless your name is Akane, where you'll end up with a husband who's unquestionably devoted to you and will wait on you hand and foot...and who you only started dating to screw with that girl who liked him because it was fun to watch her break down.
    • In general, the manga is heavy-handed that using others and lying to them in relationships is a Very Bad Thing, and the protagonists are horrible people for doing so. It's undercut by the fact that not only are both of them fully aware that each are using the other, and in fact feel terrible about it, they only started their relationship based on that and that alone, and even set limits so they wouldn't be consumed by their fake desires. While the protagonists do actually start using others in relationships later on, and bad things happen to them because of it, the narration is deadset on calling them horrible people before even showing the reader why they are.
  • Shaman King: The cause the heroes fight—to prove that humanity is worth its existence—is undermined frequently by their own concessions about the innate bad streak in humanity without acknowledging the good, and their hinted acceptance at the end that humanity is unlikely to change for the better or embrace the Green Aesop the shamans supposedly live by. The story further undermines this by rendering the only non-shaman protagonist utterly useless and giving the roles he could actually play in the story to non-Muggle characters, even in situations where him taking action would be common sense. In addition, all other non-Shamans are depicted at best as too powerless to even help themselves and at worst as greedy, self-centered, corrupt, or downright evil people. And yet the message is still supposed to be seen as in favor of humanity.
    • The aforementioned Green Aesop it tries to portray is also rather screwed up, as while Shamans complain frequently about the damage humanity does to the earth, they still use and spread the same polluting technology and building development strategies into their shaman-only settlements and even use modern weaponry in many of their battles—some against normal humans. So how can shamans ask normal humans to adapt to supposedly better, simpler ways if shamans themselves live technologically the same way as them?
  • Shinzo. They're trying to say that racism and such is bad and forgiveness is good, yet Enterrans outside of the three heroes are at the best depicted as greedy, sneaky and deceiving, and with one mild exception all of the villains are pure, sadistic evil. If Yakumo forgives someone, they will endanger her life shortly after. The real message becomes : forgiveness is stupid and you can judge people on their appearance.
  • Amu Hinamori, lead Magical Girl in Shugo Chara!, spends most of her filler episodes telling other children a number of different aesops, usually variations on "you're great just the way you are", but Amu herself can't grasp these lessons when they apply to herself. Particularly in the latter half of the season when Amu's fourth egg, Dia, turns into an X-egg, resulting in several episodes worth of Heroic BSoD.
  • In an episode of Wedding Peach, the message is that no matter if you are fat or thin, true beauty comes from within. Only, there is a student, Yukiko, whose boyfriend dumps her when she has been turned fat by the Villain of the Week, but takes her back when she is restored to her former, slim self.
  • The show Wonder 3 was seemingly made as a kid-friendlier version of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and has similar problems with its central premise. A coalition of alien races have taken notice of humanity's tendency toward war and send a group of scouts to study us up close and see if we deserve to survive, while bringing along a doomsday bomb to destroy the planet if they decide we do not. It doesn't think to turn the mirror on its supposed "good guys", though. However warlike humankind is we don't know about these aliens' existence and couldn't possibly see them as an enemy, and we don't have anywhere near the technology to visit let alone threaten life in other galaxies even if we wanted to, and thus the aliens are deciding whether they should wipe us out even though we're a threat only to ourselves. It makes the aliens setting themselves up as judge, jury and executioner of a species that doesn't even know they're there look like dangerous xenophobes themselves, even though they're the purported heroes, with some translations of the theme song even calling their kind "angels". At least Klaatu met humanity face-to-face and opened up about his intentions.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions has a couple, mostly by virtue of being a Happy Ending Override that turns Yugi and Atem's final duel into a catalyst for the plot and the scope of what the characters intend to accomplish.
    • Kaiba spends much of the film in an obsessive state, trying futilely to see Atem while being told that Atem has moved on and isn't coming back, with Yugi recompleting the Puzzle to prove it. Throughout the movie Yugi and his friends have moved on from the loss, Yugi gives Kaiba a speech directly telling him to move on, and Atem himself takes the Puzzle to the afterlife with him. Kaiba then decides that if he can't bring Atem back, he'll meet Atem by going to the afterlife instead, leaving Mokuba to run his company in his stead.
    • In the manga and anime, the Ceremonial Battle was all about Yugi overcoming Atem in a duel to prove he had grown to the point he no longer needed his other self and was ready to be on his own. In this film, much of the film is spent building up the ideas that Yugi has grown as a duelist, and he and Kaiba need to move on with their lives and accept Atem isn't coming back. Then the possessed Aigami is about to deal the game-ending blow when Atem spontaneously returns to save Yugi and defeat Aigami, showing that Yugi does still need his help sometimes.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX states repeatedly that having fun at a game is more important than who wins and who loses. Judai, the main character, very nearly wins every time, and many of his duels have nothing at stake, so it's not as though he couldn't afford a few black marks on his record. It's even worse when you take into account how much importance the card game is given in-universe; the same level as friggin politics and economics. This is eventually deconstructed and becomes the driving point of the plot, with Judai realizing how broken his Aesop is after the duels stop being fun, the stakes are increased, and that he wins all the time regardless.
    • One episode has Judai Duel a guy who's essentially used Charles Atlas Superpower to master The Magic Poker Equation, and who relies entirely on his ability to draw any card he wants. The moral, along with the usual "have fun and don't take it too seriously", is "you can't just use luck to carry you; you have to use strategy as well." This is coming from Judai, a character whose ability to always get the right card is an explicit part of his character, to the point of one opponent literally building their strategy around countering it (and failing).
    • One duel had Shou and Kenzan forced into somewhat of a tag duel with Koorimaru and Ikazuchimaru, two members Big Bad's sister's Quirky Miniboss Squad. They spend much of their duel bickering with each other, but realize that they need to put aside their differences and work together after learning that they're going to become hostages to lure Judai into a trap. However, just as they are about to overcome the Teeth-Clenched Teamwork of their adversaries, Koorimaru activates a trap at the last minute to pull out a victory while throwing his partner under the bus, rendering Shou and Kenzan's team efforts meaningless.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, several times, gives the moral that "no card is worthless, just as no person is worthless." However, this is undercut by the fact that protagonist Yusei Fudo uses one of the most powerful decks in the series, full of Synchros ranging from rare to one-of-a-kind. What's more, every time he uses "worthless" cards to make this point, he quickly reverts to his usual Deck. And in any case, Yu-Gi-Oh! is kind of a terrible game to make this moral with, being laden with cards that are either completely useless or strictly outclassed; every time Yusei tried to prove the moral, the card he used was a Lethal Joke Character at worst. One wonders what he'd do with something like Morinphen...
    • Team Unicorn is constantly praised for their amazing teamwork, yet Andre did the majority of the work in their match against Team 5D's by defeating Jack and Aki, as well as cutting Yusei's life points in half. It gets even worse when it's revealed that in all previous team matches before this one, Andre was able to beat all three members of every opposing team by himself without shifting to Breo or Jean. Worse, their apparent duelling performance does not back this up; Breo's entire strategy doesn't even slightly intersect with his teammate's. It's contrasted even further by the fact that, while the moral is supposed to be "Team 5Ds was at a disadvantage because they didn't have teamwork", the fact is, they still won that duel, despite relying entirely on Yusei.
    • In general, the moral of the entire WRGP arc is intended to be of teamwork and The Power of Friendship. This isn't borne out, because Team 5D's works together by far the least of any of the onscreen teams. Every other team runs synergetic if not outright identical decks and frequently dedicate themselves to a single strategy to the point of members deliberately sacrificing themselves, while the members of Team 5D's run personalized and completely dissimilar decks and pursue totally unrelated strategies, at most leaving a card or two for their teammate. Further undermining this is the presence of Yusei, who is the ultimate victor of almost every battle in the tournament, the most skilled and successful member of his team by a significant margin, and the only member who never loses. It's hard to take the idea of teamwork seriously when you get the feeling that Jack, Crow, and Aki could have spent their duels blowing spit bubbles and Yusei would have still carried the whole thing. Not to mention on a meta level, this arc saw most of the prior cast be Demoted to Extra - particularly Ruka and Rua, who have almost no role at all in the entire arc, and Aki, whose only role was to fail at filling in for Crow. Essentially, it asks us to care about the cast's teamwork while writing only the Power Trio as significant and only the protagonist as competent.
    • The moral of Aki's first Duel with Yusei was that she had to learn to think for herself and couldn't just let one person think for her. But when she makes a Heel–Face Turn, her entire role in the series is to be Yusei's Satellite Love Interest, her only significant accomplishments are largely thanks to Yusei's help, and her only arc is dedicated to trying to copy something Yusei does.
    • The Crimson Devil mini-arc deals with Jack accepting that he mustn't rely purely on his power strategy or else he will die. He keeps refusing to accept that until he does something else. But in the end, he's rewarded with an upgrade that gives him even more power and it gives him the victory.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL goes for a Cheaters Never Prosper moral a number of times, a common one in the franchise - but Yuma only succeeds as he does because he has Astral giving him tips, and the ability to alter the result of his draws.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V suffers heavily from having two major morals and attempting to switch between them from episode to episode - specifically, "making people smile and entertaining others are the best things ever", and "War Is Hell and Humans Are Bastards". So a number of characters have personal trauma, deep prejudices, or depraved attitudes... but it's nothing that five minutes of making them smile can't cure. Being an entertainer is awesome and will lead you to greatness... but Yuya's biggest successes are found by relying on his Superpowered Evil Side, and the most prominent entertainer in the cast besides him is a Memetic Loser. People die in war and it's horrible... but that would be a downer, so it's clear from the start that everyone to "die" by being carded can come back. Making people smile is a good deed... but the villain's entire motivation is steeped in the fact that he did what the audience wanted and was corrupted. Class divisions are dangerous, deep-seated, and hard to remove... but if everyone is smiling because they watched a cool duel, they break down overnight. So entertainment can do anything... except that the main villain's defeat has nothing to do with making him smile; he was buried in bodies and sealed through magic.
    • Overlapping with Aesop Amnesia, the intended moral of the Synchro arc was that people have to make their own style. Yuya finds that his entertainment style isn't appealing to people, and Jack calls out Yuya's style of entertaining and duelling as being forced, shallow, and not his own, because it's copied from his father's and powered by Zarc. This does lead to a payoff of Yuya finally developing his own style, along with a set of cards that come from neither, in the final episode of the arc... but then Yuya completely forgets this new style and the cards he created, and goes back to copying his father and borrowing from Zarc for the rest of the series. Where this goes from Aesop Amnesia to Broken Aesop is that despite this, Yuya's never shown having any problems entertaining people again, despite his style being as forced, shallow, and not his own as ever. Turns out never doing your own thing is perfectly fine.
    • Professor Leo Akaba, the Big Bad for most of the story, wants to capture the Bracelet girls and fuse them back into their original incarnation, his daughter Ray. After the conflict with the Greater-Scope Villain Zarc is over, the Professor acknowledges that it was unfair of him to value Ray's existence over the four Bracelet girls' individual lives. However, the story ends with only Yuya and Yuzu retaining their physical form, while their respective dimensional counterparts fuse with them and forever lose their bodies, and the rest of the cast is OK with this.
  • One of the main criticisms of Yuri Kuma Arashi. The series tries to make some points about the treatment of lesbians in Japanese society, as well as some of the more problematic aspects of the Yuri Genre (such as Bait-and-Switch Lesbians and Hide Your Lesbians), but it also gleefully indulges in a lot of the tropes that it set out to criticize (especially Fanservice). The show's heavily reliance on Rule of Symbolism has also made it very difficult to glean any real aesops from it, which is why so many people accuse it of having a muddled, confused message.
  • Lampshaded in YuYu Hakusho. A one-chapter story involves Yusuke investigating an alleged demon haunting at Keiko's school, only to find out that it was perpetrated by two girls trying to force a third off the basketball team because they didn't like her, and as a scholarship student, she wouldn't willingly leave. As the story ends with Yusuke selling the school uniform he borrowed from Keiko online because she refused to pay him, the narrator declares that humans are as bad as demons, if not worse. The author's editor then reminds him "But Yusuke's part demon." Also, the next chapter reveals that Yusuke was only joking when he said that he sold the school uniform.
  • Zekkyou Gakkyuu has this occur in The Bonds Of A Curse. The story has the ostracized Kurosawa and the good-looking Sakahara, with the former being avoided because of her rumored ability to use voodoo dolls to curse people. Kurosawa turns out to be a very nice person, who loves the little puppy the class is taking care of. And Sakahara is actually a huge jerk, who tortured said puppy as ways of stress-relief until the puppy died. The protagonist asks for Kurosawa's help in using a voodoo doll to curse Sakahara and a moral of "killing is wrong" is tacked onto the end. However, neither of the girls gets in trouble for this and they seem quite happy after avenging the puppy's death. A much more appropriate moral would have been to not judge people's goodness on their looks.

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