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Ensemble Darkhorse Cleanup

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Apr 30th 2013 at 2:20:02 PM

As was stated in one thread:

  • Ensemble Dark Horse is misused, with many entries missing that the character must be unexpectedly popular. Fans like to mention any characters from ensemble casts. It could use its own clean-up thread.

If those tropers want a cleanup thread for ED, well, they get it.

So, what are some of the pages containing instances of this trope being misused?

Oh, Equestria, we stand on guard for thee!
XFllo There is no Planet B from Planet A
There is no Planet B
Apr 30th 2013 at 7:42:22 PM

Well, we should have a look through Ensemble Dark Horse and its sub-pages, and keep an eye on YMMV tabs. I suspect this clean-up effort will be difficult to do because one has to familiar with the show to judge it properly. The Scrappy clean-up thread has a similar issue.

May 2nd 2013 at 4:59:34 AM

Wait, isn't there a button you can press called "get usage counts" that lists off the articles containing a trope? I bet if we can figure out how to get one of those, it will be much easier to figure which examples count and which don't! grin

Oh, Equestria, we stand on guard for thee!
SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
May 2nd 2013 at 5:06:06 AM

That button only exists in TRS and IP.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
ScoutsGirlfriend Zombies taste like chainsaw death! from San Romero High School
Zombies taste like chainsaw death!
May 2nd 2013 at 5:57:53 AM

You can also click the "Related" button at the top of the page to see all the pages it's listed on too.

DunDun Wandering...
May 2nd 2013 at 7:25:07 AM

So, shouldn't we begin with the description? I assume misuse happens for two reasons: (1) people read the vague, incorrect, or otherwise ambiguous description/laconic and get a misunderstanding of the trope or (2) the name of the trope implies one thing while the meaning of the trope is another thing (i.e. What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? and its friends).

I can help with Norse Mythology-related wicks, but the example page even says Loki isn't this trope; Loki is normally the one in the Norse pantheon to be given the ED status...

edited 2nd May '13 7:25:36 AM by DunDun

helterskelter Relationship Status: Drift compatible
May 2nd 2013 at 2:38:25 PM

The description of ED has been cleaned up and fixed more than once. It's not the problem.

Trust me when I say that a description doesn't need to be source of the majority of misuse. I used to be very vigilant in keeping Audio Erotica clean, but basically 90% of related wicks added were misuse despite a very clear description. Thing is, this is a popular trope, and if the description used to be unclear, it's unlikely a troper is going to go back and read on the now-clarified description. Not to mention bad examples begetting bad examples.

As far as mythology goes, such a major god like Loki could never count. Taking a page out of, say, Greek mythology, I can see a goddess like Psyche counting. She only appears in one myth, but she has a disproportionate representation in art, music, and retellings. More than I'd personally say almost half of the twelve (Hestia, Bacchus, Hephaestus, Demeter, and perhaps Artemis).

Perhaps we should just comment out any example that we're not familiar with and doesn't clarify that this is a minor character?

edited 2nd May '13 2:38:39 PM by helterskelter

May 2nd 2013 at 2:50:58 PM

An ensemble darkhorse is a minor character that is absurdly popular correct? What do you mean by "minor". Do secondary/supporting characters count as "minor"? As I see a lot of those type of characters being listed on this trope page.

edited 2nd May '13 2:51:43 PM by MissKitten

helterskelter Relationship Status: Drift compatible
May 2nd 2013 at 6:58:04 PM

Depends on how secondary. I think generally a secondary character can qualify, unless we're dealing with a work with Loads and Loads of Characters, and there are just so many characters that even important ones are always losing screentime to another important secondary character.

Take Mass Effect or Lost. Both of them have one single, clear-cut protagonist, yet many other very important secondary character. Some aren't as important as others, but these secondary characters tend to get a lot of focus and since there are Loads and Loads of Characters, you see more time devoted to the secondary characters as a whole then you see on the protagonist individually. You'd really have to be a minor character in order to qualify for Ensemble Dark Horse in this bunch.

Thinking on it, perhaps with oft-misused YMMV tropes like these, laying out the basic requirements in a clear list form is important.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
May 3rd 2013 at 9:06:46 AM

I think how minor a character has to be is in relation to her popularity. That is, a bit character can have a rather small fandom and still count, but a secondary character needs a much larger one (in relation to the total).

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DunDun Wandering...
May 6th 2013 at 6:13:24 PM

Took care of the Loki examples on Ensemble Dark Horse.Mythology and Characters.Norse Mythology. I'll keep an eye out for major characters being labeled as this (and bring them up here, obviously).

MsCC93 from In your dreams <3 Relationship Status: Singularity
Jun 28th 2013 at 6:26:50 AM

At least this one will be a lot easier than The Scrappy. I zapped a few examples with main characters being popular because they don't count and you're supposed to like them anyway.

I just looked at the Ensemble Dark Horse page for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and I see Angel listed on there, despite being The Scrappy. This is an obvious case of shoehorning since Angel usually scores the highest on "the worst animal companion" polls.

edited 28th Jun '13 6:29:36 AM by MsCC93

Sep 22nd 2015 at 2:56:00 AM

I guess I should post this here. Not really used to the forums.

Per the Square Peg, Round Trope page, "Ensemble Dark Horse is supposed to refer to when a minor character who does little in the story becomes unexpectedly popular with the fans. It isn't supposed to mean "any character besides the main character who is popular."

I remembered that I had a discussion a while back with a troper about the Ensemble Dark Horse status of a character in Pillars of Eternity. We both noticed that some pages needed a cleanup, including the FinalFantasy one, in which a lot of characters are listed as Ensemble Dark Horse whereas they are anything but minor. So I would like to share my thoughts on the subject and see if you agree that some examples should be removed. Also, I was told that party members couldn't be considered as Ensemble Dark Horse, unless they were guests and had a minor role.

  • Final Fantasy II: All the listed characters (Minwu, Josef, Ricard and the Emperor) had a role to play, either by being party members at one point, or by being the Big Bad of the story (the Emperor). All of the party members did an Heroic Sacrifice (and in the case of Minwu, allowed us to unlock the most powerful magic: Ultima). The Emperor being The Big Bad, I'm pretty sure that he can't be considered an Ensemble Dark Horse.
  • Final Fantasy IV: the Elemental Archfiends could count I guess. Every single other character listed (Rydia, Kain, Golbez) all have an important role to play, and thus can't be considered as Ensemble Dark Horse characters.
  • Final Fantasy V: Exdeath is the Big Bad. Nothing minor, can't be considered as an Ensemble Dark Horse. Faris is a main character and a party member, not an Ensemble Dark Horse. Gilgamesh is an odd case: he is The Dragon, but is mostly played for laughs, and has a rather minor impact on the story (though he does an Heel–Face Turn and performs an Heroic Sacrifice for us at one point).
  • Final Fantasy VI: Sabin and Setzer are party members. Kefka is the Big Bad, thus he shouldn't be listed there. The only character who fits is General Leo, since he has a very minor role, is a guest party member, and players do remember him fondly.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Zack was indeed an Ensemble Dark Horse in the original game (minor but significant role, only appeared a couple of times), and has since then become a Breakout Character. I'm not sure about the Turks, though they have a rather minor role after the Midgard section of the game. Vincent Valentine is a secret character, so I'm not sure how to deal with his case. Rufus can be considered being a part of a Big Bad Ensemble with Sephiroth, which would disqualify him. As for Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz... they are the Arc Villain of Advent Children, I'm pretty sure they don't qualify as a result.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The Laguna trio is difficult to judge. Laguna isn't a minor character, since he is Squall's father, a playable character (albeit a guest one), and became the president of a nation. Ward and Kiros, however, seem to qualify. Though they are not listed, I think that Raijin and Fujin would also qualify.
  • Final Fantasy IX: I love Beatrix, but she has a prominent role in the story, she can't qualify. Black Waltz 3's role was shorter, and could qualify I think (minor impact compared to Beatrix). Vivi is a main character: can't qualify. Same thing for Freya (although she doesn't get any important role or lines after Cleyra).
  • Final Fantasy X: Auron is a very important character and a party member: he doesn't belong there, period. As for Jecht, his role is not minor at all, being Sin - aka The Dragon of The Big Bad.
  • Final Fantasy XI: Shantotto was a minor character who became a Breakout Character later on. No problem here.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: Not familiar enough with this one.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Balthier is a main character and party member, he doesn't belong there. Al-Cid Margrace's role is quite minor, so I guess he qualifies. Larsa Solidor is a fan favorite, but I don't think his role can be considered "minor" at all. Judge Magister Gabranth's role is rather important, considering what happened at the beginning and the end of the story. Montblanc is a minor character in FFXII, so I guess he counts (in this game only: he is a main party member in FFTA).
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Sazh is a main character and party member, not minor, not an Ensemble Dark Horse. Same thing for Hope.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Hildibrand is a minor character, but he does have his own (goofy) storyline, though he has absolutly no impact on the plot, so I guess he counts. Same thing for Godbert, his father.
  • The whole entry about Final Fantasy villains can be deleted.
  • The whole entry regarding popular monsters of the franchise can and should be kept.

I'd rather not delete anything without discussing this action with you, since I am pretty sure some tropers may (read:will) disagree, and I would rather avoid an edit war. Not to mention that while there are some examples that are definitly Square Peg, Round Trope, others can lead to different opinions on the definition of "minor", hence why I would like to hear your thoughts. In any case, the indentation of that page is catastrophic, and I will take care of that after the cleanup.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Sep 22nd 2015 at 4:20:12 AM

As far as resurrecting two-year-old threads go, this is one of the most legitimate reasons I've seen. Good work on that.

Ensemble Dark Horse can refer to a more prominent character if that character is more popular than the main characters. The important part is that they're significantly more popular than what their prominence in the work would imply, so it's not an automatic disqualifier if they play an important role or are secondary characters. However, then they would pretty much have to eclipse all other characters in the work to qualify. If there's more than one character as prominent as a secondary character it's most likely not true for any of them.

A Big Bad or otherwise main antagonist is on the automatic disqualification list. That's a role almost equal to the main protagonist in prominence.

For Final Fantasy characters in general, I'd disqualify any regular party member who's not clearly the most popular character of that game. That said, my comments on the ones I'm familiar with of the ones you've listed here. My experience with the fandom is mainly from reading a lot of fanfiction and discussions, at least up to ~X, around the time the games were new or a few years old.

  • Final Fantasy IV: The Elemental Archfiends aren't that popular to my knowledge. Or at least not popular enough relative to their prominence. Rydia and Kain are at least more popular than Rosa and Cecil, but not enough to qualify for the trope, considering they're main party members. On and off.
  • Final Fantasy V: Gilgamesh is fairly important, but still a few steps down from the main character, and more importantly one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise, which is saying a lot, and clearly eclipsing all other characters of the game. I'd say he counts. I'd also say he's popular enough to disqualify any other characters from the game. Pretty much all characters most people even remember from the game are more prominent than he is, and not nearly as popular.
  • Final Fantasy VI: General Leo is the only one I can see as qualifying. None of the party members really stand out from the others. Being part of a meme isn't a qualifier either. Kefka is automatically disqualified, especially since he's by far the most prominent villain opposed to a rather diverse cast of heroes with no singular main protagonist.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Zack is popular enough, and only mentioned in backstory bits, so he qualifies. I don't think the others are popular enough relative to their roles. Considering how popular the game is in general, most characters would have a significant amount of fans anyway. And none of them are more popular than Cloud, Sephiroth, Aerith, and Tifa anyway. Even if Vincent is technically a secret character, he's treated as a main party member. The Advent Children trio are the main bad guys there, so no.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: I'm not sure there's any character who stands out, honestly. The Laguna trio are playable for some parts of the game, and they're not as popular as the main cast. Laguna himself is more popular than the other two, but equally more notable in the game. Raijin and Fujin are fairly popular, but they're also pretty much in the same spot as the Turks. They'd qualify for me personally, but I'm probably biased there.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Beatrix is basically the physical presence of the antagonism for most of the game. And she's not that popular. Vivi is one of the most important protagonists, comparable to Garnet and Zidane, so no. Freya's less important, but also less popular. Doesn't qualify. Can't say I can recall much about Black Waltz 3.
  • Final Fantasy X: Jecht has a fairly high presence for a character who doesn't actually appear much, so I don't think he qualifies. Maybe Germans Love David Hasselhoff, but that's a different trope, if related. Auron might be a case of just being that popular, but I think he's too significant of a character to fit. His example is also downplaying his prominence while gushing about how good of a character he is. And that latter part is actually irrelevant, since a good character isn't the same as a popular one. I don't think he qualifies.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Balthier is too prominent. Not sure about the others, but I'm not aware of anyone sticking out in popularity.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Hope and Sazh are too main. The entry for the latter is also written as if by a fanboy, which isn't a good sign. If they were at the point of carrying the game by themselves, they might qualify, but they don't.
  • For the others, I'm unsure about the chocobos and moogles. They're relatively prominent mascots of the series. Tonberries definitely stick out among the enemies, though, as for the most part they've not stood out at all in terms of in-game portrayals

edited 22nd Sep '15 4:21:35 AM by AnotherDuck

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Sep 22nd 2015 at 5:13:13 AM

Hello, and thank your for your answer! Your explanation on prominence helps me a little to understand how to deal with this trope.

  • Final Fantasy IV: I thought the archfiends to be quite popular, though only one of them really stands out: Rubicant, thanks to his rivalry with Edge, and the fact that he is one of the few (only?) Fair-Play Villain of the franchise. Fans seem to like him a lot.
  • Final Fantasy V: Considering that Gilgamesh is the most known character of this game (even moreso than the actual main characters) and judging by his popularity, it seems that there is no doubt that he qualifies. Overall I couldn't agree with you more.
  • Final Fantasy VII: It seems we agree on what to do here, but what about the Turks? Maybe we should wait for the others to express their opinions. I really don't know if we should or shouldn't list them, not because of their popularity (they are quite popular, they got their own game, Before Crisis, and Reno even became a playable character in Record Keeper in Japan) but because of their plot importance (during the Midgard storyline, the actions of Reno directly led to Sector 7's destruction, killing thousands of people... That's not minor to me. They do become less prominent after Midgard though).
  • Final Fantasy VIII: I guess we need more input in order to say if we keep any member of the Laguna trio or not (Laguna is very popular though, thanks to his personality and battle theme, so much that he became playable in Dissidia Duodecim). I would add Raijin and Fujin personally though, but I am afraid I would be shoehorning them: I am not quite sure they are that popular.
  • Final Fantasy IX: I think you are underestimating how popular Beatrix is, but yeah, I don't think she qualifies, her role is too big for that.

I won't edit anything until a few days, to allow other tropers to give their input. After that, if everyone agrees on what should be removed (or added, for that matter), I will do the cleanup.

edited 22nd Sep '15 5:18:20 AM by NonoRobot

thok That's Dr. Title, thank you very much Relationship Status: Married to the job
That's Dr. Title, thank you very much
Sep 22nd 2015 at 5:30:41 AM

I took a look at the comics page, and the page image is Wolverine.

Looking at that page, it seems like there's a lot of characters that were Ensemble Darkhorses, but were promoted to Breakout Characters.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Sep 22nd 2015 at 6:20:24 AM

[up][up]Yeah, I'm unsure about the Turks, as with Seifer's buddies. They're fairly popular, but I don't think they're as popular as most of the main characters, and they're probably the most prominent characters on the tier below the party characters. Of those, Reno is probably the most popular, at least.

For the record, Beatrix is my favourite character of that game. By "that popular" I meant popular enough to still qualify as an Ensemble Dark Horse despite her prominence in the game.

[up]If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that most characters listed on Ensemble Dark Horse are shoehorns for characters who're popular with no regard for how popular they are in relation to other characters and their place in their work.

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Karxrida Art by @1340Smile from The Extra Deck Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Art by @1340Smile
Sep 22nd 2015 at 6:35:24 AM

If they're too prominent or important to the narrative then they're not Ensemble Darkhorses. This disqualifies Gilgamesh (recurring boss who's also The Dragon and even gets some Character Development), Zack (massively important to backstory), and Jecht (massively important to backstory).

I know next to nothing about the rest so no comment.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Sep 22nd 2015 at 6:58:00 AM

I've been playing FF 7 on-and-off for the past year, and the Turks are constantly around. That alone should disqualify them. Plot-significance is usually corroborated with appearance. They might be a Quirky Mini Boss squad, but they're around frequently.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Sep 22nd 2015 at 6:58:31 AM

[up][up]I don't think you understand the trope.

Importance doesn't actually matter. A character can be hugely important to a story, but not even appear at all. That's still a character who can qualify for the trope. On the other end, the viewpoint character can be irrelevant for the plot of the story, but that's still the main character of the story, which disqualifies her. "Massively important to backstory" is completely irrelevant.

Prominence matters. How much they appear in the work. How much presence they have. Those are things that make the audience connect to the character, and that's what matter for the trope.

The only real automatic disqualifier is if it's a main character. That's the main protagonist, the main antagonist, and sometimes the main love interest. The best friend, lancer, or sidekick can qualify, although since those are second tier characters, they'd have to be significantly more popular than the main characters.

[up]Not "that alone". That along with not being hugely popular on the same scale or above the most popular characters of the game.

edited 22nd Sep '15 7:00:27 AM by AnotherDuck

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crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Sep 22nd 2015 at 7:09:26 AM

Lemme put it this way; for them to be "more popular than their appearance would imply", they'd have to eclipse the trifecta of Cloud, Aeris, and Sephiroth.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Sep 22nd 2015 at 7:24:17 AM

That's pretty much what I said. My main experience with that fandom is fairly old by now, so I don't know how much that has changed. They didn't qualify back then, but I wouldn't assume that to be static. If you say that's the case, sure, let's go with that.

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crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Sep 22nd 2015 at 8:08:11 AM

/grumble — one of the five main characters in my work "location" just got an entry for Ensemble Dark Horse.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Sep 24th 2015 at 6:25:25 AM

Hello again,

I was expecting a little more input to be honest. Anyhow, thank you very much to the people who answered my questions and told me what they thought about this cleanup.

I will now give my final thoughts about which examples should be kept and which ones should be deleted. If no one disagree, I will make those changes in the following 48 hours on the Ensemble Dark Horse Final Fantasy page, but also on the multiple YMMV pages of this franchise.

  • FF 2: The entire entry should be removed. None of the characters listed there seem popular enough to qualify as an Ensemble Dark Horse. The only potential candidate in my mind would be Minwu, the white mage (who is liked for being a Crutch Character of tremendous help in the beginning, and who later showed up as a main character in the Dawn of Souls special dungeon and also in Theathrythm), but he does have a role in the story, albeit quite minor in my opinion.
  • FF 4: Everyone should be removed, on the ground that they are main characters and/or the main villain of the story. Among the Archfiends, Rubicant could be listed.
  • FF 5: Only Gilgamesh should be kept. Faris and Exdeath are main characters.
  • FF 6: Only General Leo should be kept.
  • FF 7: Zack should be kept. I would like to add the Turks, but I'd rather hear more opinions on that subject, since it seems they aren't minor enough to qualify.
  • FF 8: Laguna is almost as popular (if not more popular) than some of the main characters. Thus I think he should be kept (Ward and Kiros are nowhere near as popular) - unless we consider him as a main character: while he is a guest character, even Squaresoft wanted to make him the main character at one point (the idea was scrapped though). The jury is still out on what to do about Raijin and Fujin.
  • FF 9: I still don't know if we should keep Beatrix or not, but I am leaning towards not keeping her (too important role, and she is an antagonist for a while). Main characters such as Vivi and Freya can't be listed. As for Black Waltz 3, he has a minor but very effective role and is remembered rather fondly by players (not to mention he shows up again against all expectations for a final fight), so I would add him.
  • FF 10: Auron is a main character, and we already established that Jetch's role is too big to qualify him as an Ensemble Dark Horse.
  • FF 12: Not enough opinions here. All we can agree on is to removed Balthier (main character).
  • FF 13: Sazh and Hope are main characters. They will be removed. We can argue that Hope in FFXIII-2 is a minor character who became much more popular thanks partly to his new looks. I'll leave that to your discretion.
  • The villain entry will be removed.
  • I really need more opinions on what to do about the monsters and mascots.

edited 24th Sep '15 6:26:29 AM by NonoRobot

Sep 27th 2015 at 10:57:05 AM

The page has been cleaned up. I removed all entries which were obvious Square Peg, Round Trope cases, and a few which need to be discussed here in order to decide if they belong there or not.

Also, keep in mind that each game should be analyzed individually. We are trying to determine which character is or isn't an Ensemble Dark Horse inside the game he or she appears in.

I still don't feel comfortable deleting so many entries, and I would like to hear more tropers. Once everyone agrees on who belongs there, I will also cleanup the YMMV sections of each game.

edited 27th Sep '15 11:02:43 AM by NonoRobot

Total posts: 491

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