Without disclosing, exactly how old of a geezer I am (which really isn’t old, I just like to say I am) I like to say I have watched many of arcs of anime, and started and completed manga series (as they released!) that bode an easy 30 volume count….To say the least, anime and manga have been part of my life since childhood and I simply refuse to let it go. I have seen the art styles change, I have read epic- and really long!- stories, but there are certain subtle themes in both anime and manga that never change through out the years.
Below is a list of observations, “rules” if you will, that stand the test of time and themes in anime and manga; the unspoken “need to haves” in an anime:
It’s very subtle, but think about it- think about all the anime you have watched and manga you read. Your main character is always in that particular seat, staring dreamily out the window. You just had a revelation, am I right? Beside is just being one of the golden rules to anime/manga, there is an actual reason for this. To keep their hands from dying from carpal tunnel, mangka always put their main character in this particular seat because it means LESS classmates, or characters, they have to draw.
If they dropped their main character in the middle of the class, everytime they had a classroom scene, the poor mangaka would be drawing not only your protagonist, but every character that sits around it.
It’s pretty entertaining, because Watamote’s protagonist also make this observation during an episode. I thought it was pretty good joke.
-The transfer student is always a billion times more attractive than everyone else.
Or so it seems. It a total plot device to ship your main protagonist together (pair up, for you non-fan-service readers, who have no idea that “ship” is) – or just accentuate the fact that this mysterious transfer student is now the center of the show. Regardless, if you already have a harem of beautiful men and women, the transfer student is instantly more beautiful and sought after.
Yes, there is always a general sense of mytery around a new student…but In anime/manga, the student is COVERED in mystery and generally wants to stay that way. Again, another plot device.
For those of you not familiar with anime/manga culture, the nose bleed is a sign for when a character is having perverted thought or totally turned on, and if you havent quite figured it out yet…the perverts are a plenty in each series.
-There is always a pantie shot
Riding on that pervert wave: the coveted pantie shot make seems to make its way into every series, at least once.
-Character always announce their next move
Dragon Ball Z probably made this rule the most famous (with serious follow up from Naruto and Bleach) but it is an absolute MUST to announce your next kick ass move so people know what you’re doing. Fuck subtlety.
-What once was complicated at the start of the series, is super simple at the end of the series.
You can chalk this one up to character growth, and experience, but I always found this hysterical when watching a long term series; that once something was extremely complicated is then done with a flick of the wrist. Perfect example is Naruto: at the start of the series, there is a (slap in the face) emphasis that hand gestures NEED to be done for any jujitsu. At this point in the series, people are just calling out a jujitsu name and it shit starts happening….Or in some cases, they THINK it, and shit starts happening.
Again, you chalk it up to character growth and how powerful someone is but I still find it funny.
-There is always a love triangle
Yup, there is always an odd number of people vying for the attention of the main character, that motivates others character into action. Regardless of the genre, shounen or shoujou, there is always a love triangle. (Even if it’s not needed)
-Everyone BUT the main character is aware of who has a crush on them
We see it all the time, hear it all the time, the one friend who always with the main character has a massive crush on them…And of course, everyone else is totally aware, except the protagonist….they’re totally ignorant to the fact that their ( what they assume is a) close friend, harbors some serious romantic feelings.
-There is always a rival
You need a driving force that pushes your character to do their very best…and that is a rival; the kind of rival that you hate and love at the same time. The kind of rival that divides the fanbase into two factions that will KILL each other if the other side says something bad about their favorite character.
Whether it’s the main character’s companion, adorable animal, small child or whatever, every series has a mascot that makes an appearance in every episode.
-The opening credit/closing credit songs are always good
I’ll fully admit that I have many opening/closing credit songs from animes I have watched going on my playlists. Don’t judge, some of those songs are absolutely catchy, or just plain awesome.
-The Hero always shows up when the situation seems almost impossible to overcome
Sorry, the planet is about to explode? The massive alien invasion is about to conquer over human race? Someone is about to die?! HERE COMES THE HERO, regardless of how fast they completed their training.
-It doesnt matter how many times you use your ultimate move; your next slew of opponents can’t figure how to beat it.
I’m looking at you Sailor Moon.
-The smallest characters are the ones you least expect…
Everyone can fly, or defy gravity, in some way. It isn’t a law in the anime universe.