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  • Astro Boy:
    • The example on the main page is from the manga. Thanks to his sophisticated storytelling, a lot of Osamu Tezuka's work is like this. It's difficult to convince people that Pluto isn't so much a Darker and Edgier version of the tale as it is a mere perspective flip.
    • This seems to be common with remakes of Tezuka's work. Some viewers are surprised to find that the original source material is often just as dark, Art-Style Dissonance aside.
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    • As an example, the Astro Boy arc "The World's Strongest Robot" (of which Pluto is an adaptation) unbuilds the concept of Power Levels: when Astro worries his 100,000 horsepower output isn't enough to stand up to Pluto's 1,000,000 horsepower, not only does Dr. Ochanomizu refuse to upgrade Astro's motor, he points out that brute strength isn't everything. Sure enough, Astro's tiny frame and flexibility allow him to destroy a 2,000,000 horsepower robot from the inside — after that robot effortlessly thrashed Pluto.
  • The Boogiepop Series provided the Ur-Example of the Stock Light-Novel Hero with Nagi Kirima, and also deconstructed it. Unlike other examples, her Chronic Hero Syndrome is a deliberate choice because she actually does have a death wish, and even though she has plans within plans, she rarely saves the day on her own, generally requiring the timely intervention of the title character. Unlike other examples who tend to be magnetic, most others, save for the few who know, just find her weird and avoid her. When was the work written? The late 90s/early 2000s, well before the trope was even a thing.
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  • .hack//SIGN is basically a deconstruction of the Isekai subgenre of fantasy, of stories where the main character, often a social loser, gets trapped in an MMO and gets a very OP skill in the process. Well, except that it came out years before the anime of other Isekai stories like Sword Art Online or Overlord came out and became popular. Tsukasa starts the show such a miserable jerk that few people actually want to spend time with him, and those that do eventually become his friends are put off by his cold demeanor. His OP power is his guardian, which can one hit kill any enemy or player. But having such a power makes him hated by the playerbase at large for being a cheater, so he sometimes has to deal with people trying to kill him for that. And beyond that power, he isn't a powerful character at all. His class is a support class, so when properly playing the game, he is only good for healing and buffing his allies who do the actual fighting. And his ultimate character arc is finding something that he wants to live for after they find a way to get him out of the game he's stuck in, not finding meaning in the game itself.
  • For all the flak it takes as the pioneer of modern shonen franchises, many don't realize how big of a Deconstructive Parody Dragon Ball always was.
    • The protagonist Son Goku is often considered to be the Trope Codifier of the Stock Shōnen Hero, but at the same time he's not the noble hero one would expect from a typical shonen manga; his motivations are purely selfish, with nearly everything he does being a means of getting stronger, and while he is willing to lend a helping hand to people in need, his final goal is always something for his own benefit. The nobility he has a reputation for was far more emphasized in the anime than in the manga (and the English dub exaggerated it even further), which original creator Akira Toriyama has criticized since he always meant for Goku to have a more selfish side to him that occasionally sneaks through. Goku also actually ages to adulthood in the middle of his own story while most later examples that come after him are stuck in their teenage years throughout their own stories, usually to emphasise Adults Are Useless despite the fact that the codifier's adult self is the most iconic one.
    • While Goku is famous for codifying the Idiot Hero in shonen manga, he isn't actually an idiot so much as being very naive, a lot of his strangeness coming from ignorance of the world around him due to his upbringing; he was raised in a forest, far away from modern civilization and spent most of his early childhood living by himself among wild animals thanks to the death of his adopted grandfather. Because of this, he isn't aware of the kind of knowledge or social norms that most of the other characters (and the viewers) see as a rule-of-thumb, and it's Master Roshi who teaches him basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic. The series also makes a point of showing that, when it comes to battle, Goku is a genius level prodigy, able to come up with new training techniques himself and think up clever strategies while fighting, making it an unintentional subversion of the Attack! Attack! Attack! method of fighting a lot of characters he's influenced rely on (though Goku himself is definitely no stranger to this method, as the series is also famous for its Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs). And lastly, while shonen heroes are known for their large appetites, Goku's Big Eater tendencies are a trait that all Saiyans share, with it being demonstrated that no human could possibly eat such huge portions (though it is worth noting that Toriyama didn't come up with the whole Saiyan thing until later).
    • Highly powerful techniques/forms like the Kamehameha and the Super Saiyan transformation are widespread among the general cast, rather than being exclusive to a single character or a select few for the sake of emphasizing their importance.
    • invokedDespite being the Trope Namer and Codifier for Power Levels, the whole idea was a concept meant to illustrate how inaccurate and frivolous it would be to try and numerically quantify someone's fighting ability (or, much more specifically, their chi), according to Word of God. Numerous times, the villains end up losing because they miscalculate the ability of their opponents by their power levels alone, not accounting for skill or tactics, or the fact that the characters learn to recognize this and trick their opponents by hiding their power. This goes Up to Eleven in the Android Saga, which explicitly states that the Artificial Humans do not have detectable power levels due to not having chi at all (and thus their chi would be read by a scouter as '0'). Attempting to sense an android's power level is the equivalent of trying to detect the power level of an atomic bomb— which won't possess chi unlike a human and will thus seem undetectable, despite the atomic bomb obviously being nigh-infinitely stronger than any human alive. Despite this, it's still very common to see fans attempt to put a number to their power level, which almost hilariously misses the entire point. Overall, a lot of what Dragon Ball is best known for can actually be considered an unintended parody of its imitators when looked into nowadays.
    • It codified the Shonen Tournament Arc but subverted it long before other shows did. While most tournament arcs end with the main protagonist coming out on top in the end, Goku actually loses the first two and forfeits the last two (three if the Cell Games are counted). Master Roshi even tells him and Krillin that participating in the tournament is just another part of their training, and that winning isn't the point at all (and, in fact, he also entered the tournament under an alias to keep them from winning, so they wouldn't come to believe themselves above everybody else in fighting skill). This last point especially sticks out considering how the protagonist of another shonen anime that started right around when DBZ originally ended is often reduced to a laughing stock among viewers for his frequent losses. Lampshaded by this comic, ironically released not long before said protagonist won the Alola League.
    • The manga also pulled one of these on itself: when Goku first confronts the shapeshifting Oolong, the latter constantly stalls time by taking on bigger and more powerful-looking forms to try and intimidate an increasingly impatient Goku (who just wants to fight the guy), only to run off because Oolong in actuality is very weak and can only hold a form for five minutes at a time. This is from the same series that would later become infamous for having copious amounts of padding and inaction sequences as a result of its anime adaptation, to say nothing of the number of later Dragon Ball villains with increasingly powerful transformations.
    • Dragon Ball Z is also often considered the Trope Codifier for Super Mode transformations in any future Shonen series with the Super Saiyan transformation. However, what many people forget is how much of an enigma it was originally. When Goku first achieved it, he specifically told Gohan to get as far away as possible because he was afraid he would lose control and end up harming him in the process, and Goku was far more ruthless when he first achieved it because of its power. Even after the transformation undergoes Uniqueness Decay, it still proves to be a challenge for the characters to effectively master, taking them a great deal of time and effort to use the transformation without letting the rage needed to activate it take control. This isn't even getting into the more 'advanced' forms of Super Saiyan. Although they tend to get mocked because of the sheer ridiculous hair growth they cause, many forget that even the more famous Super Saiyan 2 and 3 were shown to be incredibly inefficient in battle later on in the series, often burning through the fighters' ki too quickly to justify the power boost it grants. If the villain could survive the onslaught from these forms, the fighters were essentially screwed. Even in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Super the Super Saiyan God form is shown to be flawed, with Goku barely being able to maintain it for a few minutes before it fades away. The only real benefit it did was give Goku his own natural godly ki, and even that is shown to be not enough to stop an actual God. Even when you achieve a new tier of power, it doesn't mean you'll always win. Even Super Saiyan Blue is stated by Word of God to not be its own separate transformation, rather being Goku (and later Vegeta) channeling his god ki in a stabler form through the base Super Saiyan transformation.

      In fact, its unbuilding of the Super Mode transformation started all the way back near the start of Dragon Ball Z with the Kaioken. It has the same behaviour as a super mode, but unlike later ones, it has something that is almost never touched upon: the side effects of pushing one's body past their limits. The Kaioken may offer the user a significant power boost, but the body reacts in the way you'd expect from suddenly gaining a large amount of muscle tone and power — with incredible pain. Simply activating the higher tiers of Kaioken almost leaves Goku paralyzed and he was specifically warned to never go past times two because of this; he pushes it up to times ten and the side effects of it are readily apparent. Even a simple pat on the back from Yajirobe leaves him screaming in pain and, as mentioned above, Goku had to spend months in a hospital recovering from pushing himself too much. He later stops using the technique after becoming a Super Saiyan, since the latter transformation offers more power with less harmful side-effects, and combining the two would have even more dire consequences; even in Super, where Goku manages to combine Kaioken with the Super Saiyan Blue transformation, it's shown to have terrible side effects. Goku offhandedly mentions it has a ninety percent chance of killing him if he can't pull it off, and extended use of the two together ends up throwing Goku's ability to control his ki completely out of whack, forcing him to spend time recovering from it as a result. Not even a Senzu Bean can help speed up the recovery process here.
    • The series also subverts the Plot Armor seen in a lot of the shows inspired by it. Despite the Dragon Balls constantly making death a quick fix, it doesn't change the fact that characters actually die, and often. When all is said and done, most of the opponents they face are extremely dangerous Hero Killers, and just because it's the main protagonists facing them doesn't mean they're any more likely to survive than other characters in the series. If not for the Dragon Balls, a good portion of the cast would be long dead by now, including Goku. The results of this are emphasized in Future Trunks' timeline.
    • Goku is almost always the one to defeat the main villain in every arc, and winds up being one of the most powerful characters in the series (if not the most). Naturally, the rest of the cast come to rely on him a little too much. It gets so bad that the other characters are unable to catch up, getting slaughtered by the Androids in Future Trunks' timeline specifically because he's not there to save them (he succumbs to a heart disease well before the Androids even show up). Not only is he aware of this problem, but he also takes steps to avoid it; starting with the Cell Saga he willingly takes a back seat, while still helping his friends, just so they'll learn to handle their problems without him, and starts looking for a successor, initially choosing his firstborn son Gohan, then Goten and Trunks, and later Uub. This is the reason he trains Gohan to fight Perfect Cell, instead of doing it himself, and naturally everyone is shocked. Given that the series (chronologically) ends with Uub becoming his apprentice, it's unclear whether this attempt at a successor works out.
    • Vegeta is the codifier for the Stock Shōnen Rival... and it's also shown that his inability to catch up, and Goku's habit of constantly surpassing him even when he does in particular, are what ultimately drive him to pull a second (and brief) Face–Heel Turn. All those years of resentment and anger at being second best to The Hero pushed him to his breaking point, causing him to make a Deal with the Devil, play right into their hands and essentially doom the world, solely in exchange for enough power to finally beat Goku. It's also worth pointing out that unlike the rivalries seen in later shonen series, Vegeta's rivalry with Goku is almost entirely one-sided, with Goku regarding Vegeta as a friend and sparring partner, but never having to worry about catching up to him after his introductory arc. This along with Goku's general friendliness just makes Vegeta even angrier.
    • The franchise also deconstructs the way training would be handled in later Shonen series. Roshi's training can be difficult and/or tedious, but he knows not to overdo it and makes sure to pass that knowledge to his students. Despite how demanding he can be, he knows that training too hard and not having enough fun or getting enough rest is counterproductive, a lesson Goku learns and applies to later training. Meanwhile, it's heavily implied (and eventually confirmed by Whis) that part of the reason Vegeta Can't Catch Up is because he never learned this, so he pushes himself too hard when he trains and gets diminishing returns as a result of overexerting himself and not getting enough rest, just like what would happen to a real person who tries overly punishing exercise. In other words, it's not a typical case of Hard Work Hardly Works; a big part of Goku's success is that he trains smart, knowing how hard to push himself and when to take a rest so that he can achieve better results.
  • Fist of the North Star was one of the first shonen Fighting Series and played tropes common to later entries realistically. Life would be extremely messed up for an ordinary person in a world where all the real power is wielded by a relatively small number of people, and that power is not financial or political, but militaristic. Democratic government is essentially meaningless since no union of ordinary people can stand against the might of a lone badass. Because everyone knows that violence is the force that drives the wheel of civilization, fights occur constantly, and everyone with a bit of ability wants to claw their way as high up the badass scale as possible, whether for the sake of protecting innocents or enforcing their own will on others. The only genuinely powerful people who have any interest in being in charge are usually megalomaniacs and/or sociopaths. Governments tend to be either tyrannies, or farcical constructs whose laws can only be adequately be enforced by sympathetic vigilantes and a few Knight Templar civil servants who butt heads with them at every opportunity. Countries are constantly in flux between the two as evil overlords are dethroned by good guys, replaced with ineffectual governments, and conquered again by new bad guys.
  • Future Diary is credited for popularizing the Yandere trope, but it shows what it takes for someone to become a yandere and the effect they have on others. The yandere in question, Yuno, had Abusive Parents with high standards for their daughter, locking her up in a cage when she didn't do well in school. After killing them in retaliation, Yuno became extremely lonely, which is why she gravitated towards Yukki. This unhealthy obsession for Yukki eventually led to his own Start of Darkness, becoming more unhinged as he started growing closer to her. Unlike most yanderes who came after (and most likely were inspired by her), Yuno was genuinely mentally ill, not just a Clingy Jealous Girl taken Up to Eleven.
  • Galaxy Express 999 in its various incarnations is a very pessimistic account of prospects for The Singularity, despite coming out in 1978, nearly a decade before Vinge introduced the term.
  • Go Nagai:
  • Haruhi Suzumiya popularized the idea of overpowered Reality Warpers. The series also spends a lot of time demonstrating how ridiculously dangerous Haruhi's powers would be: she very nearly destroys the universe several times, without even knowing she's capable of doing so. Her self-serving powers have also caused her to become an unbelievably self-centered jerkass, and it takes her a long time to begin growing out of it.
  • Hunter × Hunter seems like a heavy deconstruction of Shōnen series from the 2000s such as Naruto and Fairy Tail, with its profoundly messed up mentor figures, an extremely consequential power system that screws its users over as often as it helps them, insinuation that a setting full of mercenaries with supernatural powers who are the de facto highest authority in said setting might be a bad thing, and its deconstruction of the idea of turning enemies into friends, but it debuted in 1998, before almost all of the series it reads like a response to.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure mostly avoids New Powers as the Plot Demands in favor of enemies being Puzzle Bosses. Each "Part" is essentially a standalone Story Arc with a new main character, but occasionally keeps old characters as the plot skips generations, challenging the Competence Zone. The author even intentionally sought to avoid the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, since it requires you to either infinitely escalate or occasionally reset the status quo in a way that's not satisfying. For example, in Part 3, he chose a location (Egypt) as the protagonists' main goal so that progression could be shown through them getting physically closer after defeating every enemy instead of through every enemy being explicitly stronger than the last. Araki also avoided the stereotypical Tournament Arc for similar reasons. Each of these things might sound like a reaction to a chain of Shōnen Fighting Series about young main characters fighting increasingly more powerful enemies with the stakes growing out of control, but the series was created on the heels of Fist of the North Star, and ended up making and codifying many of the genre tropes itself.
  • While the term Chuunibyou and its examples have existed long before Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, few people had heard about the term before the work debuted, to the point that it's frequently mistaken as being the Trope Namer as it popularized the trope. The series also deconstructed the archetype. Rikka Takanashi became a chuunibyou as a coping mechanism for her father's death, and her chuunibyou behavior became problematic for her and her family. When Rikka renounces her chuunibyou self due to pressure from Yuuta, she is left unable to deal with all the changes happening around her, such as her mother returning to her life and her sister moving to Italy.
  • Love Hina is frequently cited as the codifier of many tropes of the Harem Genre of Eastern animation. Except, from the very beginning, it subverts or deconstructs a lot of tropes that would become commonplace in the genre.
    • Quite early on, hints are already given that the protagonist Keitaro will pair up with a girl in the end. Even before hints are given, half the characters don't develop romantic affection for Keitaro at all, and the few that do are less interested in romancing Keitaro himself and more with shipping him with their chosen love interest for him.
    • Rather than having every girl fall in love with the protagonist as soon as they see him, or being indifferent to him at worst, half the girls in the show hate his guts when they meet him, believing him to be a pervert, including exploiting this for blackmail and trying to get him fired.
    • Keitaro is an adult instead of a teenager, so the plot primarily takes place in an inn instead of a school. And while he is studious, it's at the college level. Half the plot involves Keitaro trying to pass entrance exams to enter Tokyo University, and rather than everything going well, he fails the exams the first time he tries, and has to reapply himself to do better next time.
  • Monster Musume's first volume was published in 2012, just before the massive explosion of the Cute Monster Girl-centric genre. Many view the series as the Trope Codifier for many of the tropes in said genre. However, the series either Deconstructs or at least Justifies many of the common tropes in the genre.
    • Host families are biased in favor of humanoid or Little Bit Beastly species whilst predator-based species like lamias and arachnes have a much tougher time gaining trust and acceptance in the human population as their predator-based bodies cause fear among general humans.
    • Related to the above, demihumans are treated with much greater scrutiny than humans, with them having to live with a host family and being forced to obey curfews and be accompanied by their host family. Demihumans caught violating the laws can be taken away from their host family and even be deported.
    • Animal-based species are given the strength of their respective animals to match, and examined realistically as well. With the exception of Rachneranote  and Lalanote , Kimihito's monster girls frequently have trouble holding their strength back, which results in him getting injured. Should any of them not hold back any of their strength, such as during a full moon, their strength could literally kill him.
  • Mushoku Tensei. The first volume was published in 2012, just before the massive explosion of the modern Isekai genre. Many view the series as one of those that served as a Trope Codifier for many of the tropes in said genre. However, the series either Deconstructs or at least Justifies many of the common tropes in the genre.
    • To start with, the main character is, much like many Isekai protagonists, both a Hikikomori and a NEET. However, unlike many other works, the Light Novel actually addresses that this lifestyle is both unhealthy and fairly tragic. The main character (before his reincarnation) is an overweight loser who is considered to be the Black Sheep of his family. He's spent his entire adult life sponging off of his family and when his parents die, his disgusting habits, combined with the fact that he didn't attend their funeral, prompt his remaining family members to kick him out of the house and essentially disown him. On top of that, the Light Novel addresses the fact that many who live this lifestyle have serious underlying psychological issues - he dies shortly after coming to the belief that his life has been entirely meaningless - and those issues carry over with him into the next world. None of this is Played for Laughs, by the way.
    • The main character's perverted antics are also shown in a much different light. His obsession with sex is shown to be the result of his constant exposure to hentai and other pornographic material warping how he perceives women and sex, and it's also shown to make many of the female characters he interacts with deeply uncomfortable, even afraid to be around him. In fact, growing out of his attitudes and tendencies is a major part of his Character Development.
    • In a similar vein to the above, the series is, like many Isekai works, set in a pseudo-Medieval European setting. A lot of works in such settings either tend to downplay or outright ignore the way that women were treated (or exploit it for Fetish Fuel), with even powerful women being little more than political bargaining chips who had very little autonomy in many regards to their own lives. In addition to that, many of the powerful men are very corrupt and often do at-best morally-dubious things. Rudeus's new father is, while not without his redeeming qualities, still a philandering rapist who cheated on his pregnant wife with one of his former victims. His Uncle Phillip is a schemer who offers to allow the 10-year-old main character to have sex with his 12-year-old daughter in exchange for the former's support in a coup he's planning, and his grandfather Sauros (and Phillip as well) both enjoy having at-best extremely-dubiously-consensual sex with their beastgirl servants/slaves. And keep in mind, these are the "good" members of the family. The higher-ranking ones who actually hold power are even worse than they are. And the series does not shy away from showing the psychological impact that living in this sort of society has on women.
    • The Light Novel also justifies the protagonist being a prodigy-level genius with regards to magic: he didn't keep his old body when he started over in the new world, and was reborn into the body of an infant with all his knowledge and memories intact from his previous life. Due to this, he has the intelligence of a fully-grown adult with the learning capacity and neuroplasticity of a child, granting him a massive advantage over other children. And even then, he still has to put in a lot of work in order to excel the way that he does.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Rei Ayanami was the creator of the Rei Ayanami Expy. She also happens to be a deconstruction of the archetype, as she is a Came Back Wrong under-aged clone of the main character's mother and is inhabited by the soul of an Eldritch Abomination that goes on to destroy the world. She's a significant victim of a Misaimed Fandom, as she was intended to fall directly into the Uncanny Valley, only coming this close to climbing out of that valley before plummeting back down into the depths, even creepier than she was before. However, since the initial uncanny valley was fueled primarily by her enigmatic nature, the fans' interest was piqued. Even after The Movie ended the series and made Rei suddenly not so cute anymore, she remained, and to some degree still remains, the queen of waifus — a symbol of the Otaku's disinterest in real women. Rei is also thought to be a prototype of modern Moe... and she is also a deconstruction of it for much the same reasons. A particularly odd example of the trope being played with is the Rebuild films, where Rei's character was shown in a highly sympathetic light in the first two films, before being replaced by a different Rei in the third film, who also is much more in tune with her portrayal in the original series, and this time most viewers see Rei Q as exactly as creepy and inhuman as the original was meant to be seen the first time around — possibly the result of audiences used to something like a decade and a half of The Theme Park Version of her character.
    • Gendo helped popularize the Manipulative Bastard, but he's also a deconstruction of the archetype, being portrayed as a deeply screwed up man who has only become ruthless because of a Dark and Troubled Past and the loss of his wife. In the end, he gets effortlessly Out-Gambitted by Rei, who steals the role he had planned for himself and gives it to Shinji instead. Most other examples do not ever really get distracted much in their plans and if they are main characters, they get portrayed positively, often absurdly so. The idea that a Manipulative Bastard could actually be taken care of in an unexpected way is usually unheard of.
    • Kaworu is the archetypal White Hair, Black Heart character, but he’s only a villain because he’s SEELE's trump card and the final Angel Shinji has to kill. While he's apparently very nice and selfless (manga version aside) and connects with Shinji easily, even allowing himself to be killed by him, many doubt if he's being manipulative or unaware of the damage he ultimately causes in a series all about very flawed people.
    • Asuka Langley Soryu is widely considered one of the Trope Codifiers of the Tsundere character archetype, also showing a much more realistic portrayal of these sorts of characters than many of her imitators. The show makes it clear that her "harsh" actions towards Shinji do little to help his already low self-esteem, and her inability to portray her feelings for him without it coming across any other way only leads to the two becoming an ineffective Battle Couple. In addition, this front is done to cover up the fact that she is deeply traumatized over her mother's suicide, with said mother having gone insane and treating a doll more lovingly than her actual daughter. Indeed, her character shows just how screwed up someone with a tsundere mentality towards others would be and how damaging it is to both the character herself and her love interest.
    • The series predates Love Hina above, but could easily be read as a deconstruction of the Harem Genre. We have an Unlucky Everydude (who even looks a lot like the generic harem protagonist) who is surrounded by attractive girls and women, in an environment riddled with sexual tension and plenty of tease and raunchy humor. But Shinji's discomfort with the proceedings and hormonal nature are increasingly not Played for Laughs as the series goes on, and pretty much every revelation in their relationships just makes them look weird, creepy, and unhealthy. Rei has unclear interest in Shinji that is also borne out of association with his father and the pairing itself is revealed to be sort-of incestuous, Asuka's tsundere nature is shown to be rooted in deep emotional insecurity and horrifying childhood trauma rather than a misguided crush, and Misato's interest in Shinji is portrayed as somewhere between messed-up maternal instinct and outright pedophilia. And Kaworu is a one-episode character that provides easy, automatic affection to Shinji without requiring any effort from him and then dies soon after these notions turn out to be fantasies, convincing Shinji nobody even cares about him.
  • Perfect Blue heavily emphasizes the dangers of the Japanese idol industry: A former Idol Singer who decides to graduate to pursuit her career as an actress, Mima ends up landing the role of a rape victim in a murder-mystery show, only to struggle with the increasingly-intense demands of her part. Along the way, Mima finds an internet blog seemingly written by her former Idol Singer persona, only to find out that it's written by a creepy stalker from her days as an Idol Singer. Sounds like a harsh deconstruction of the Idol Singer. It came out in 1997, well before franchises like The Idolmaster and Love Live! popularized the Idol Singer to the mainstream audiences, and well before issues plaguing the idol industry such as sexual abuse from the executives of groups such as AKB48 became publicized.
  • Pokémon: The Series is one of the most famous examples of the Mons genre, popularizing it even more than the games. But earlier seasons, especially the first episode, deconstruct the whole Pokémon experience:
    • Ash Ketchum in the early seasons is an example of what happens when you let an inexperienced and ignorant child into such a world. In the first episode, his incompetence gets him laughed at, and at worst, nearly gets him and Pikachu killed. Criminal organizations, like Team Rocket, weren't bumbling nuisances but were very real threats to him. Two of his most powerful Pokémon (Pikachu and Charizard) were very disobedient because they didn't respect such a hapless kid. He didn't earn half of his badges in the intended manner of defeating a Gym Leader in battle, instead usually getting them by doing favors for the leader or stopping Team Rocket. He doesn't end up actually facing his rival in their first tournament because he lost before Ash and he doesn't actually win said tournament either, due to laziness and bad luck. Sure, Ash eventually became a good trainer through his loyalty, tenacity, courage, and love, but it took a while to get there.
    • Other early episodes deal with other problems with a Pokémon world, like abandonment (Charmander's first appearance), disobedience (Pikachu in early episodes, the aforementioned Charmander shortly after it evolved), crime (not only the omnipresence of Team Rocket's Pokémon-stealing operations, but even groups of Pokémon themselves committing crimes like the Squirtle Squad, as well as the episodes in and around the Safari Zone implying serious problems with poaching), and the origins of Mewtwo, which are a tragic and frightening example of the experimentation that can exist in a world with the same kind of technological advances as this series.
    • Mewtwo's portrayal in the first movie, in particular, can come across as a pretty sharp indictment of many aspects of Mons series. The treatment of a highly intelligent and powerful creature as a primarily subservient entity and a means to an end (like in the games, where Mewtwo is a Bonus Boss and a Purposely Overpowered fighter) by humans is precisely what turns Mewtwo into a villain, more than a decade before the source material would question if the concept of Pokémon training was ethically right in Pokémon Black and White. And while Ash's sacrifice destroyed his vendetta, he still felt lost and alone in the world.
    • Pokémon 2000 had the first villain who went after Legendaries, predating Team Magma and Aqua. His goal was much different than other examples, merely looking to collect Zapdos, Moltres, Articuno, and Lugia. Plus, merely capturing one of them was enough to throw the weather completely out of balance.
  • Ranma ½:
    • It has elements of the Harem Genre before it was really a thing, complete with an Unwanted Harem. Despite this, it's mainly a martial arts series. And there's a big emphasis on "unwanted", especially in the manga. The only one Ranma wants is Akane, and Ukyo is the only other he even likes, while most shows with even a Supporting Harem have the hero develop romantic tension with every member.
    • Akane is usually cited as one of the Trope Codifiers of the Tsundere. Critics and deconstructions of the archetype usually cite how unjustified such behavior is (namely that such a person would have to be somewhat imbalanced and could easily cross the line into Domestic Abuse), but in the manga, Ranma is portrayed as a bit of a jerk, with Akane's actions coming across as justified (or at least understandable) in most cases. It also examines why she's a tsundere: she suffers from deep insecurities and had to deal with a lot of frustrations (such as Kuno) even before Ranma and his father came to the Tendo Dojo.
  • Comparing Sailor Moon and the Magical Girl Warrior genre it inspired:
  • Saint Seiya:
    • It popularized the Rescue Arc as well as the convention of having a sequence of enemies impeding the heroes, but it also deviates heavily from later versions of it. The Gold Saints were above the level of strength Seiya and company could bring to the table and the battles were often determined by outside forces intervening.
    • It also established early on that Made of Iron was not the default state. The whole point of the Cloths wasn't just for a Transformation Sequence or to give the wearer superpowers; the Saints need them because for all their flashy and powerful attacks, their bodies are still that of a human's. Not to mention that from all those fights, they need to be repaired very often.
  • Skull Man has all the trappings of a '90s Anti-Hero, complete with killing numerous people just for the hell of it. And yet it also does a good job of pointing out the protagonist is murdering relatively innocent people and by his own standards, he'd have to kill every person in Japan to accomplish his goals. It also originated in 1970.
  • Tenchi Muyo! has the definitive example of an Unwanted Harem, and arguably the first. But to many modern viewers, it can seem like a deconstruction. Tenchi Masaki is literally an Unlucky Everydude - he is both a Butt-Monkey and a Nice Guy. Being a Nice Guy means he's too ethical to abuse the girls' affections, let alone Marry Them All with any kind of speed. Also, every one of the girls is both jaw-droppingly gorgeous and a prime example of a certain fetish... but they're also actual people with all the complications thereof. As he's a Butt Monkey, those complications threaten his life - along with the entire planet and occasionally universe - on a regular basis. Manic Pixie Dream Girl Ryoko? A space pirate with a price on her head several dozen orders of magnitude greater than Earth's combined GNP. The princesses? Elegant and refined Aeka is a bossy, prudishly-repressed proto-dominatrix, while adorable homemaker Sasami is a little girl who happens to be the avatar of one of the three goddesses who created the universe, and they're both half-sisters of his grandfather. The cute lil' Mad Scientist? She's really 20,000 years old, is the mother of the Space Pirate, she wants him anyway, and she's another of the three goddesses who created the universe. Oh, and according to Word of God, the third goddess wants in as well. There's also two Galaxy Police Detectives; both are interested, but the sensible one is Married to the Job and the other is an absolute ditz who clears cases mostly through blind luck. The ditz is also the grandchild of the Mad Scientist's disastrous first marriage.
  • Tomorrow's Joe heavily emphasizes the dangers of the boxing world: Joe is forced to undergo Training from Hell to have any chance of qualifying for even the lowest-ranked matches, a regimen that is only harsher for Rikishi, who forces anorexia upon himself in order to lose enough weight to fight Joe in the bantamweight ranks. This measure ends up disastrous for Rikishi, as it ultimately ends up killing him after his long-awaited match with Joe, combined with an unlucky blow to the temple and him hitting his head on the ropes during a fall. Rikishi's death traumatizes Joe, inducing a phobia of delivering blows to the face, and it takes him a considerable amount of time and three straight losses to get over it. During the chapters leading up to Joe's championship match with José Mendoza, it becomes increasingly clear that Joe is suffering from punch-drunk syndrome, which is severely impairing his ability to fight; in the end, Joe not only loses the championship bout, but also passes away from his injuries immediately after. Sounds like a harsh deconstruction of the Determinator trope and sports manga, doesn't it? Well it couldn't be, because the manga ran from 1968 to 1973, making it one of the earliest contributors to the genre. Another thing to note is that the manga started and ended long before the issues it touched on were common knowledge; most people wouldn't even become aware of the health effects of boxing until Muhammad Ali's appearance at the 1996 Olympics.
  • Urusei Yatsura predates both the Magical Girlfriend genre and the Harem Genre as we know them, but looks like a Deconstructive Parody of both genres now that they're established. Ataru is a Harem Seeker and unabashed pervert who wants every girl except the one girl who can actually stand him, and the number two girl actually does the smart thing and books out of their relationship fairly early rather than putting up with Ataru's games. On Lum's part, she likes him being lecherous but wants a bit of that lechery for herself, and is a hot-tempered woman who's not above using Shock and Awe to punish him when his gaze strays too far. Furthermore, Ataru actively wants nothing to do with her, at least at first, and thinks of her as more of a pain in the ass rather than a Love Interest.


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