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Why is there a rising trend of wimpy male lead characters matched with strong female characters?

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#1
Apr 15, 2012 10:19 PM

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I've noticed that recently, this has been a rising trend in the anime recently. This can be seen in Guilty Crown, Deadman Wonderland, Mirai Nikki, Accel World. I was just wondering, why did the producers decide to make characters based on this archetype? Someone told me that it was because most (male) viewers can relate to the wimpy characters and can better empathize with the plot as if they are in the shoes of the main character. Honestly, I don't get this because this doesn't attract me at all. I get turned off my wimpy characters and would much rather watch a series with a heroic, badass protagonist. What are your thoughts on this? and if you disagree please tell me why.
 
#2
Apr 15, 2012 10:21 PM

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I'd prefer a balanced main character. Not overly badass, not overly pussy. Just a normal dude going out for a stroll.
 
#3
Apr 15, 2012 10:25 PM

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Why Guilty Crown? Who is the strong female "character" you speak?
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#4
Apr 15, 2012 10:26 PM

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Good questions, usually I think those male characters tends to attract more female viewers. IMO I think characters that relate to us is never attracts me because I want to see a protagonist that refuses to give up and give hope to us like Luffy and Natsu. Wimpy characters tend to develop as the series goes on but then usually something tragic happens and they go in emotional outburst, while most badass protagonist would do something to prevent it from happen with whatever they can even if its inevitable.
 
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Apr 15, 2012 10:26 PM

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Knave said:
I'd prefer a balanced main character. Not overly badass, not overly pussy. Just a normal dude going out for a stroll.


Yeah. I wouldn't mind this either. It just irks me when I see that the main character is so utterly pathetic. Like in Mirai Nikki, the main character can't do anything for himself - he has to rely on his strong female counterpart for everything. It just makes me angry that he can't stand up for himself and use his own power.
 
#6
Apr 15, 2012 10:28 PM

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Sounds like the roles are being switched as time goes on. It's so cliche in anime for the girl to always need help and be kind of wimpy. I think anime is just catching onto the hipster trend yes?
 
#7
Apr 15, 2012 10:49 PM
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It might be getting more frequent, but I know it happened in older anime as well. Not necessarily in physical strength, but just being relied on in general. For some reason wimpy useless males seem to be rather common. I assume for some reason the Japanese viewers enjoy it.
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#8
Apr 15, 2012 10:50 PM

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Well they say that they base main characters usually so you can relate to them... So maybe this generation of males are whimps and pussies? lol
Don't know why, suppose they probably think whimpy characters are the easiest to make progress from a zero to hero. Literally takes no effort to progress that type of character, if they show even a little back-bone bam everyone will notice he changed instantly.

Not sure though. Personally I like balanced characters as well, however I don't mind badass either! Such as Guts from Berserk or Zoro from One Piece. Usually wimpy coward though I'll never like no matter what.
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#9
Apr 15, 2012 11:07 PM
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That idea of a wimp growing in character and becoming badass overtime. Or maybe it's the idea of a wimp being pulled into fantastic situations, which is supposed to appeal and connect with the viewers. Or maybe it's the thing where people like the strong female lead, but the weak male lead is supposed to play off to the strong female lead to emphasize their individual characteristics.

Or I don't know, maybe the idea is tried and true and it makes money. No idea why it works, but it works. And with that, my search for anime with an all-star cast of badasses continues.
 
Apr 16, 2012 12:11 AM

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Claymore has the same set up...
 
Apr 16, 2012 1:18 AM

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because of wimpy male fans :)
 
Apr 16, 2012 1:56 AM

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Black Lagoon did this before it was cool.

 
Apr 16, 2012 2:03 AM

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Dunno, blame the mangaka.

The producers didn't decide such a thing.

This doesn't change the fact that wimpy male characters are an eyesore though.
And who the fuck can empathize with that? What the heck.
 
Apr 16, 2012 2:05 AM

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Probably to get more females into anime? IDK. Or maybe to cater to the needs of some weak male fans haha
 
Apr 16, 2012 2:08 AM

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I think it's a combination of all the reasons just mentioned but I'd point out I actually don't think these characters are meant to be wimpy (except Yuki from Mirai Nikki him being a wimp was meant to make Yuno shine). I think a lot of them are poorly written average Joes that have been thrown into an extraordinary situation. A lot of the times if you look at these characters they were perfectly normal people suddenly thrown into something they don't understand. When you think about it like that reacting with desperation and fear isn't that unbelievable. However, I think the shittier shows take this too far and you end up with a total wimp that can't do anything for himself.

I have no problem with an average Joe type character being the lead in an anime as long as the writing is decent. Rock from BL is the perfect example. I think his horrified reactions are rather justified given some of the shit he sees. I don't think it's fair to write him off as wimpy when you consider the kind of people he's suddenly thrown together with. As much as I love Revy, she would probably scare the shit out of most of us if we were just thrown in a situation with her going wild.

I think a a protagonist like Rock makes for an interesting change from the typical super powered male lead that can look at death and destruction with jaded eyes and not even flinch.

Or maybe they are written extra wimpy so that us average joes watching can look at them and think about how we would handle the situation so much better.
Modified by Itoukaiji, Apr 16, 2012 2:13 AM
 
Apr 16, 2012 2:15 AM

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I like it when the male and female leads are balanced or at least can hold their own in a fight. Wimpy and dull male leads make me want to run my computer through a meat grinder.

As for why they keep making wimpy/dull leads, it's probably cheap-ass character development. You can easily point out and fix a wimpy lead in a story instead of putting a lead with actual issues and having them develop.
 
Apr 16, 2012 2:26 AM

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I feel like its not really a rising trend, just more people are starting to notice it now for some reason.
 
Apr 16, 2012 2:40 AM
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UnrealPie said:
I feel like its not really a rising trend, just more people are starting to notice it now for some reason.


I think it has probably been getting worse lately, but it certainly existed for a long time. http://myanimelist.net/character/4746/Yusaku_Godai is one of the wimpiest and most pathetic characters I have seen, though its not a fighting anime and the 'supporting' cast are total and utter pricks, he is still totally pathetic.

It is probably 'rising' as the op says, just not new.
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Apr 16, 2012 4:14 AM

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Not a problem when they grow out of it, Guren Lagan's a good example, but when they keep getting kicked in the balls by the tsundere for the remaining of the show that's just plain awful. Not to say I am a super badass (I am) but I can't relate at all with wimpy characters with no sort of ambition whatsoever and I don't know how anyone can. Doesn't it get you pumped when you see characters achieving their dreams and kicking major amounts of ass? How can anyone change that feeling for getting kicked in the balls?
 
Apr 16, 2012 5:38 AM

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In Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki, and Deadman Wonderland they eventually grow out of it. They don't remain wimpy for the entire show, you know.

To reiterate, when normal people are put into an extreme ridiculous situation, their first reaction is always that of being scared. We're also talking about teens, here. Not adults.

The only problem here is that they take too long to adapt and become tough. Rock in Black Lagoon adapts quickly, but he was an adult. You can't say the same for teens.

Simon in TTGL adapted quite well for his age, it only took like the half way point for him to become tough. For these others it usually took more than half the episodes, which is disappointing. Even in Eureka 7, one of my favourite shows, Renton was essentially wimpy for almost half the series, as well. But it becomes all the more satisfying when you see him grow up.

I don't think it has anything to do with better relating to the audience. Just that most people love the rags to riches story. In anime, this metaphor is the zero to hero trope.
 
Apr 16, 2012 5:39 AM

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Its psychological. Authors tend to design protagonist after their personalities. Otherwise calculative authors and writers create the main characters to be normal, wimpy and weak-hearted so that their target readers could relate with the plot. They make the girl to be their ideal; strong, loyal and supportive.

Also they needed the protagonist to undergo a development to make the story longer and more interesting.

If you are reading the classics like Illiad, Homer and Oedipus Rex, you'll get tired of strong, ideal protagonists.
Modified by ratratrat098, Apr 16, 2012 5:44 AM
 
Apr 16, 2012 8:16 AM

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I swear there was a entire thread on this like last week, or two, which ended turning into a flame war.

My response to the this thread. It's just another trope, your just over thinking it.
 
Apr 16, 2012 8:24 AM

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id rather the male be like that then the female. I prob would not watch most anime if the female was an ugly loser
 
Apr 16, 2012 8:30 AM

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Because there is already enough anime with strong male leads and wimpy female leads.
But being serious, I just noticed about this trend. Maybe they're trying to be feministi-friendly with this, but I seriously doubt that's the reason lol

Though I don't have much of a problem with whimpy characters, unless they're TOO whiny.
Modified by jiroutachi, Apr 16, 2012 8:36 AM
 
Apr 16, 2012 8:36 AM

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Wimpy male leads are such a flop idea if you check deadman wonderland sales. I don't know about Mirai Nikki sales but if it does well then all credit will goes to other characters for sure. I don't think anyone will buy BD/DVD's to see Yukki to cry in almost every episode.

A protagonist need to be balanced and then if he will become badass as time pass i don't mind, but he should not be a coward and hide behind his girl. BUT also he should not be someone who just come out of his room and suddenly become badass character, just like we saw one in Dragon Crisis!.

Claymore is not the right example. You expect that young boy to come out and then start fight with those monsters and Claymores? you're kidding. basic claymore idea is fights between monsters. not humans vs monsters. Also Raki was not coward, he was weak (and maybe annoying for some) but if you follow manga. first i don't find him annoying at all. second he become strong after training.

tl;dr: I like balanced characters even if they're weak in the beginning and want to punch wimpy/coward leads.
 
Apr 16, 2012 8:58 AM

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Han-yuu said:
Claymore is not the right example. You expect that young boy to come out and then start fight with those monsters and Claymores?


Apparently some people believe anime/manga characters don't have the emotion called "fear". Every character the TS listed was living a daily normal person life, minus some elements. Apparently he expected those characters who lived normal lives for most of their life to suddenly be able to handle life or death situations like it's a walk in the park.

 
Apr 16, 2012 10:03 AM

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Love how everyone repeat what the user above already said in a different wording.
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Apr 16, 2012 10:26 AM

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MSfanatic said:
Knave said:
I'd prefer a balanced main character. Not overly badass, not overly pussy. Just a normal dude going out for a stroll.


Yeah. I wouldn't mind this either. It just irks me when I see that the main character is so utterly pathetic. Like in Mirai Nikki, the main character can't do anything for himself - he has to rely on his strong female counterpart for everything. It just makes me angry that he can't stand up for himself and use his own power.


I couldn't agree more !

 
Feb 6, 2013 6:34 AM

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This is the biggest problem I am having with anime coming out nowadays. I noticed this trend emerging some time after 2006, which is not to say there aren't any badass male characters since (thinking Rider or Kamina) but there are very few compared to the sleuth of wimpy indecisive male characters.

The actual problem isn't so much that they are weak, but that they are weak-willed and they are being pushed around by girls all the time. I mean, what the hell kind of message are the producers trying to send - that men are supposed to submit to women all the time?
 
Feb 6, 2013 6:38 AM

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I prefer balanced characters, though i LOVE when a badass MC appears, and i also hate when a mc is pushed around by the strongest female 24/7, with him just complaining like "I can't do this" "I am not strong enough" "I dont want to do this" and whatever, it just pisses me of
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Feb 6, 2013 7:47 AM

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First, Shu is in no way wimpy. He's indecisive and hesitant (completely understandable), but regardless, never fails to kick ass.

I don't have a problem with characters like this in action type shows. It's realistic that they would react in a more indecisive, cautious way. What kind of 14-16 year old kid would actually be all macho badass when thrown into extreme, life or death situations? Especially if they don't have experience in things like murder, shooting, combat, or everything else these children are expected and forced to be doing. It would feel absolutely contrived and ridiculous if a child character with no experience all of a sudden had no problem killing people.

But I can't stand it when it is a normal slice of life romance comedy, and the male lead is a blithering idiot who acts like he's never properly interacted with another human being before. Honestly, if I see one more "Oops I fell on top of a girl! .....Hmmm? What's this soft thing in my hand?? *Squeeze squeeze* ......I still can't figure it out! *squeeze* ..-eh? EH! BEWBIES!! KYAAA *smack* Bakkaaaa pervert~!!!" situation, I might just quit anime.

And I will also never understand how main characters can take the constant abuse from other characters. I swear, in every single shounen romance, I can guarantee you that the main character will get smacked in almost every single chapter. Usually for no good reason.
Modified by Red_Keys, Feb 6, 2013 7:52 AM
 
Feb 6, 2013 8:00 AM

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Feb 6, 2013 8:03 AM

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I like main characters like Luffy. He is stupid and extremely hilarious but can still be so badass and strong. And he happens to be the same age as the usual so called wimpy protagonists. At least for the first half of One Piece.
 
Feb 6, 2013 8:04 AM
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becuz moe rulz
 
Feb 6, 2013 8:26 AM

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Lindle said:
Because femdom is hot.

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Feb 6, 2013 8:28 AM

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Nidalee said:
I like main characters like Luffy. He is stupid and extremely hilarious but can still be so badass and strong. And he happens to be the same age as the usual so called wimpy protagonists. At least for the first half of One Piece.


But the world is completely different from most of them. In that world, adventure and being strong on what you believe (+nakama power) is almost everything. So people getting more badass before many other characters is kind of normal( not to mention that One piece world is kind of crapsack, especially how some character LOVES to mess around with many villages/towns etc).


I'm in doubt with this. It may be like this because they're want to apply the reverse of the classic style (Uber-strong males that protect females that, even if it is considered strong, is no match for the enemies she encounters, and only reveals her love for the MC at the very end), or can also be just a random "try out".

I noticed 3 animes that used this "trope". Fate/Stay Night (Shirou being a completely idiot and a partner that is somewhat the strongest character in the series), Kurokami and Medaka Box (which is the whole point of the series, before having a genre shift at least.)

So yeah, they're just "trying it out". They're just going against the main river that generally made the old animes (and old stories in general) and see how the people react. Then it'll be also became "mainstream" and they'll go back to the "overly manly man" or try something new. And the time flows on...

 
Feb 6, 2013 8:31 AM

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I think it is dumb going into anime expecting realism.
Tachii said:
I don't think it has anything to do with better relating to the audience. Just that most people love the rags to riches story. In anime, this metaphor is the zero to hero trope.

This is the answer for the thread.
 
Feb 6, 2013 9:06 AM

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I don't know why so many guys find Shu a wimp. So when you are thrown into a full out rebellion while you're still in high-school, you're supposed to act like a fucking hero? You're not allowed to feel scared, or try to back down? Also, who the hell in Guilty Crown did Shu hide behind? 'Cuz it definitely wasn't Inori.

As for the topic itself, like Tachii said, it's easier to sell the zero to hero trope. Plus, that way, it provides a good moral as in to not give up even if you are a nobody, or a victim of bullying, that you can be someone. What is so wrong with that? Personally, I prefer my MCs a bit more on the Yagami Light and L side, though. Smart and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their objective.
 
Feb 6, 2013 9:09 AM

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yhunata said:
I don't know why so many guys find Shu a wimp. So when you are thrown into a full out rebellion while you're still in high-school, you're supposed to act like a fucking hero? You're not allowed to feel scared, or try to back down? Also, who the hell in Guilty Crown did Shu hide behind? 'Cuz it definitely wasn't Inori.

As for the topic itself, like Tachii said, it's easier to sell the zero to hero trope. Plus, that way, it provides a good moral as in to not give up even if you are a nobody, or a victim of bullying, that you can be someone. What is so wrong with that? Personally, I prefer my MCs a bit more on the Yagami Light and L side, though. Smart and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their objective.


Basically, "Neutral Evil" characters. These characters makes some cool MCs.

 
Feb 6, 2013 9:13 AM

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012yArthur0 said:
yhunata said:
I don't know why so many guys find Shu a wimp. So when you are thrown into a full out rebellion while you're still in high-school, you're supposed to act like a fucking hero? You're not allowed to feel scared, or try to back down? Also, who the hell in Guilty Crown did Shu hide behind? 'Cuz it definitely wasn't Inori.

As for the topic itself, like Tachii said, it's easier to sell the zero to hero trope. Plus, that way, it provides a good moral as in to not give up even if you are a nobody, or a victim of bullying, that you can be someone. What is so wrong with that? Personally, I prefer my MCs a bit more on the Yagami Light and L side, though. Smart and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their objective.


Basically, "Neutral Evil" characters. These characters makes some cool MCs.
I agree with yhunata.

But it's not even the fact that they're smart/evil. It's their confidence that I like and find attractive. For me at least.
 
Feb 6, 2013 9:19 AM

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Red_Keys said:
012yArthur0 said:
yhunata said:
I don't know why so many guys find Shu a wimp. So when you are thrown into a full out rebellion while you're still in high-school, you're supposed to act like a fucking hero? You're not allowed to feel scared, or try to back down? Also, who the hell in Guilty Crown did Shu hide behind? 'Cuz it definitely wasn't Inori.

As for the topic itself, like Tachii said, it's easier to sell the zero to hero trope. Plus, that way, it provides a good moral as in to not give up even if you are a nobody, or a victim of bullying, that you can be someone. What is so wrong with that? Personally, I prefer my MCs a bit more on the Yagami Light and L side, though. Smart and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their objective.


Basically, "Neutral Evil" characters. These characters makes some cool MCs.
I agree with yhunata.

But it's not even the fact that they're smart/evil. It's their confidence that I like and find attractive. For me at least.


Well, the "Evil" as alignment is kind of vague in a way, but basically, they'll use whatever,whererver and whenever everything that he has to achieve their objectives. They generally manipulatives and selfish.

If the villain isn't incompetent, intelligence is kind of a "must-have" to them, and confidence and attractive is how good they're at manipulating and planning.

That's why many people loves the "Magnificent Bastard" or "The Chessmaster", which easily applies to Light Yagami, L,Lelouch (It just me that noticed all of them has L's as initials?) and many others.

Also, Femme Fatale mostly applies to this.

 
Feb 6, 2013 9:41 AM
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Another thing is, there's a strong female lead in Mirai Nikki? Last I checked, Yuno was a psychotic bitch acting like a psychotic bitch.
 
Feb 6, 2013 9:51 AM

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MarineSlate said:
Another thing is, there's a strong female lead in Mirai Nikki? Last I checked, Yuno was a psychotic bitch acting like a psychotic bitch.


Yes she was, but she did protect and saved Yukiteru most of the time.
 
Feb 6, 2013 9:58 AM

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yhunata said:
I don't know why so many guys find Shu a wimp. So when you are thrown into a full out rebellion while you're still in high-school, you're supposed to act like a fucking hero? You're not allowed to feel scared, or try to back down? Also, who the hell in Guilty Crown did Shu hide behind? 'Cuz it definitely wasn't Inori.


Erm, Light from Death Note was like, what, 2-3 years older than him and look what kind of shit did he do ... I don't think Shu is a wimp, I just think he's a weak character overall.

I don't mind having male MC falling behind in the aspect of bravery or strength, but sometimes the writers just go way overboard. You can't use an argument such as "for the sake of development" - look at the freekin' Guts from Berserk. The kid was battling in a war when he was 10. Sure, you can say that it's that kind of world, but still, it's not superpower that made him survive, it's his sheer will - something most of these wimpy male MC lack nowadays.
You have a thousands of examples of wimpy characters at the first look that turn out great. When you're trown into a desperate kill or die situation, the thing that's supposed to be activated besides fear is a will to survive and overcome hardships. Later one is being disregarded though, don't know why (Btooom! is a fine example of that will to survive thingy).

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Feb 6, 2013 10:07 AM

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I don't mind this dynamic at all. I like strong females that like to take charge, and I'm perfectly fine with a weaker male - as long as he isn't extremely indecisive because that does tend to get annoying.

That's not to say that I don't like strong males either. Honestly I just want a little bit of everything each anime can be a little different.

So to answer your question, maybe they're so many weak males because they're people like me who are actually okay with that. Also this may or may not be total bullshit but I've heard Japan's younger male generation aren't exactly macho these days lol.
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Feb 6, 2013 10:12 AM

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Because newer generation of males are a bunch of losers.
 
Feb 6, 2013 10:19 AM

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because most of the ppl watching anime are wimpy and they think girls will just come out of nowhere in their lives like in anime
 
Feb 6, 2013 10:22 AM

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MAND4 said:
Erm, Light from Death Note was like, what, 2-3 years older than him and look what kind of shit did he do ... I don't think Shu is a wimp, I just think he's a weak character overall.


That's where the difference comes in, their personalities. Shu was an introvert, while Light was someone who aspired to "cleanse" the world. Then comes the way they came into contact with their powers. Light picked up something he wanted from the depths of his heart thinking it to be a prank, while Shu was thrown into it unfairly.

MAND4 said:
I don't mind having male MC falling behind in the aspect of bravery or strength, but sometimes the writers just go way overboard. You can't use an argument such as "for the sake of development" - look at the freekin' Guts from Berserk. The kid was battling in a war when he was 10. Sure, you can say that it's that kind of world, but still, it's not superpower that made him survive, it's his sheer will - something most of these wimpy male MC lack nowadays.


Dunno much about Berserk since I've never watched it, but a kid will always learn from his environment first. Unlike Shu, who grew up in front of his computer, Guts, from what you've wrote, grew up within a war. Also, there are some MCs who are not wimpy and are from this generation, my greatest example being Lelouch. Other than that, I agree with most of your post.
 
Feb 6, 2013 10:55 AM

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MSfanatic said:
I've noticed that recently, this has been a rising trend in the anime recently. This can be seen in Guilty Crown, Deadman Wonderland, Mirai Nikki, Accel World. I was just wondering, why did the producers decide to make characters based on this archetype? Someone told me that it was because most (male) viewers can relate to the wimpy characters and can better empathize with the plot as if they are in the shoes of the main character. Honestly, I don't get this because this doesn't attract me at all. I get turned off my wimpy characters and would much rather watch a series with a heroic, badass protagonist. What are your thoughts on this? and if you disagree please tell me why.


Your friend was right about the main reason for wimps, and whether you like it or not bares no significance to that fact.
 
Feb 6, 2013 11:59 AM

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I don't mind wimpy characters unless they're like Shinji from NGE or Yuki from Mirai Nikki, who would shit themselves over a fucking snail (I'm assuming this).
"Only one with the courage
to shoulder the burden
of their own fate can
be called a hero.."



 
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