Japanese animation is bigger and better than ever, with a growing fanbase around the world and more big-budget titles coming out every year (not to mention the related products and manga volumes). In terms of content, the world of anime is rich and diverse, but it is also stagnant in some respects.
Classic ideas, like the shonen style « never give up on your dreams! », Will always endure, but shonen, shojo, seinen and other series have their share of ideas or conventions that are simply worn out and no longer relevant. They can be awkward in modern titles, and anime studios may want to eliminate them entirely.
10 Tripping and falling on someone is unrealistic and a bad way to introduce new characters
Many of anime’s most worn-out cliches and tropes are pretty harmless, but that’s not necessarily an excuse to keep including them in new episodes. One of the most common gags is for one character to stumble and fall on top of another.
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Most of the time, this is done to force two potential love interests to meet, and they end up face to face, right there on the floor. But it’s an awkward and flashy way to put the characters together, and it’s hard to believe that everyone is so prone to stumbling.
9 The antics of the baths and hot springs have exhausted their capacity for welcoming
In real life in Japan, hot springs and baths are big business, so it’s no wonder that many anima / manga scenes take place in them. There is nothing wrong with the idea, but too often these scenarios are used for cheap gags.
Many anime series show a character trying to look the other way, or accidentally seeing another person naked, and chaos and screaming ensue. Even My Hero Academia did it, possibly as a tongue-in-cheek gag, but the idea is pretty tired. Everyone needs to bathe in peace at once.
8 Isekai’s leading men who self-insert are to be expected, but diversity would be appreciated
The isekai genre is one of the most important, as it provides a sense of liberation and escape from everyday Japanese life. That’s fine, but things get pretty tedious when so many isekai leads end up having the same specific attributes and personality.
There are exceptions, like Katarina Claes and Myne, the book-loving girl, but too many isekai heroes are high-school classmates with dark hair, a neutral attitude, and a love of games and swords. There are too many Kiritos out there right now.
7 jokes about female underwear are sexist and have no place in modern anime
A little bit of fanservice never hurts anyone (as long as it’s respectful), but the idea can be carried very far, very fast, and there are a lot of awkward clichés surrounding the idea of fanservice. One of them is the total fixation for women’s underwear of all colors and styles.
Too often, women’s underwear ends up being the butt of a joke, such as a nervous male character trying to borrow or steal a girl’s underwear for some reason, only to be caught and beaten. Or someone ends up wearing a pair of panties on their head, like it or not. Such a tired idea.
6 extremely dense male leads are overdone
Many of the most well-known cliches / jokes in anime are decent ideas that have just been done ad nauseam, or exaggerated to an irrational point. For example, it is a generally accepted stereotype that women are more socially and emotionally perceptive and empathetic than men, but that does not mean that men are completely insensitive to the feelings or intentions of others.
Yet all too often this idea is expressed in the form of a rock-dense male lead who always spouts hateful nonsense or doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset. There is nothing wrong with a strong but sensitive young man who can touch the hearts of others. That would be a nice change of pace.
5 popular Prince characters feel cheap and unrealistic
This trope is common in the world of shojo anime, although it can appear elsewhere as well. Most high schools have a handful of popular students, yes, but some anime series condense all of this into one (handsome) male student who can win over entire crowds of girls.
Rarely does a real person have so much influence, and these high school princes, like Yuki Sohma or Takumi Usui, don’t even have to do much to earn this attention. They just get it because they are so attractive and stylish, but that seems cheap. Actions speak louder than words and pretty faces.
4 The « hidden inner power » twist is no longer a surprise
Characters in any work of fiction should achieve their goals and progress on the merit of their own abilities, skills and intelligence, and not on special favors or powers granted by other characters or the environment. That is invading the territory of the deus ex machina, but some shonen protagonists delight in it.
Many shonen (or even seinen) characters carry dark and hidden power within them, such as Naruto Uzumaki’s demonic fox, Ichigo Kurosaki’s Inner Hollow, Inuyasha’s demonic side, and even Yuji Itadori’s Sukuna powers. The idea of »the monster inside me » is already the real monster.
3 Consumer characters included for cheap laughs but no longer funny
This is another of the most typical clichés of the shonen series, but it can also appear in other places. Many series feature a character with an infinite appetite, and whether his friends catch his eye or not, he will gobble up whatever they put in front of him.
Son Goku, Monkey D. Luffy, and Prince Ling Yao are good examples of it, and it’s not limited to boys either. In Bleach, Lady Yoruichi Shihoin ate an outrageous amount of food to recover after a tough fight.
2 The « shy library girl » trope is lazy character development
This cliché is not as prevalent as others, but when it does appear, some viewers may think « not this again. » In some animated series, there will be a « shy girl coming out of her shell », and she will most likely treat the library as her refuge.
Loving books is a wonderful thing, but there should be a better way to flesh out the shy girl convention, other than tucking her into a quiet library where she can avoid the chaos of everyday life inside a book. There are many other hobbies and activities that a shy character can get lost in.
1 The perfect distant rival is too predictable
This particular cliché is practically unique in the world of shonen, where the main character, hotheaded and unpredictable, stands in stark contrast to his rival « genius genius. » In fact, Sasuke Uchiha was deliberately designed with this trope in mind.
Sasuke is not alone either. Shoto Todoroki is a great rival to Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo, and Uryu Ishida fulfills this trope to contrast with Ichigo Kurosaki. In defense of Uryu, however, he can get nervous or flustered at times, and has a lovely crush on Orihime Inoue, acting quite protective of her.