🔖 5 min read

It has gotten harder and harder to create a fresh and new anime each year that passes. Given that around 50 shows air every quarter, rehashes and cliches are aplenty, especially in shows from the same genre. If anime studios continue to churn out new shows at the current rate, there will be a projected number of 500 shows that will come out each year by 2030.

As weebs ourselves though, who says we still don’t enjoy a good ‘ole “B-b-b-baka!” from our favorite pouty waifus? Down below are our 5 favorite anime tropes that we have grown to love (most of the time)!

1. The Power of Friendship: Buddies and Their Sensei

Image Credit: Denofgeek.com

The most common or popular Anime genre, given its overall demographic, is the Shōnen genre.

Generally, in these stories where a young kid overcomes adversity and becomes the “best at something” or defeats the big baddie, he is always accompanied by a group of friends  that never leave, as well as a mentor that will teach him all that he needs. This trope is alive and kicking in the most popular modern Shōnen Jujutsu Kaisen, where our main character Yuji Itadori is accompanied by his pals Nobara and Megumi, while being trained by their mentor Gojo.

In the popular anime Naruto, we also have our titular main character and his friends, Sasuke and Sakura, as well as their mentor Kakashi. How about another popular Shōnen show by the name of My Hero Academia? As long as Deku, Ochaco, Todoroki, and the rest of the gang have each other and a big Detroit Smash from All Might, anything is possible!

2. “Dere” Characters

Image Credit: anime4lifu.tumblr.com

Although there are more than ten of these, five main types of  “Dere” characters are  present in almost every anime that you’ve seen. The word “Dere” is Japanese for the term “flirty”, pertaining generally to how they deal with the other characters in the show.. These are cookie-cutter personality molds that a lot of the characters we know and love are made from.

The most popular of the five is the “Tsundere”, which pertains to characters that are harsh and cold at the beginning (as shown by their trademark pouty face demonstrated by our favorite tsunderes, Kaguya Shinomiya above and Taiga Aisaka in the cover image) but slowly warm-up once shown affection to by the main character.

Opposite to that, you have the “Deredere” characters which are extremely kind, loving, and attentive from the get-go. Then, you have the “Yandere” character, which is basically your psycho ex-girlfriend in a package that you will either have a secret kink for, or absolutely despise. “Dandere” are similar to “Tsunderes”, except instead of being unapologetically ruthless, they are shy to begin with before slowly opening up. Lastly, we have the “Kuudere”, which is a character who is cold, but more of the cold shoulder type rather than aggressive. More often than not, weebs always seem to enjoy one of these and tend to like characters from a specific mold. Do you like any of these?

3. Training and Tournament Arcs

Image Credit: hunterxhunter.fandom.com

Sticking to Shōnen, what’s a great action show without the main characters facing some adversity?

Hunter X Hunter (2011) is a show that has perfected this formula. In this epic adventure, Gon and Killua went through a cycle of train-fight-lose-train-win multiple times throughout the show, but it never grew stale. In the quest to grow stronger and reach your goals, it is inevitable for these types of shows to show how the characters get to the point of being able to attain victory.

Demon Slayer is another great example of a show that shows exactly this. To join the Demon Corps, Tanjiro had to train for countless days under extreme circumstances, then went through a kind of tournament arc where he had to survive and slay multiple demons to survive and continue on with his journey. Oh, did we mention he does this again later, although of course in a different context.

4. Excessive flashbacks and narration during action-packed fight scenes

Image Credit: Youtube.com

How about some more Shōnen goodness, but this time the actual fights?

Most, if not all shows with any kind of fight scene unfortunately fall victim to this. Not only do they unnecessarily drag out the sequences, but they also slow down the pace and action. This goes part and parcel with the enemy not only announcing each move he will perform before he does it, but explaining how they work during.

Sometimes though, this is executed to absolute perfection. Robert E. Speedwagon specifically acts as a narrator for the fight scenes in part one of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. He adds humor and ironic commentary and callbacks to the fight scenes, explaining every move in detail, which adds to the wacky moments to each of the battles.

5. Main Characters and their Parental Issues

Image Credit: animemotivation.com

Usually an excuse for authors to send prepubescent teens out on adventures around the world with adults, having non-existent or dead parents seems to be one of the easy fool-proof solutions. Rarely do anime protagonists have their parents be a major part of the plot, or the main character’s development.

With Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood being a great exception to how the death of one’s mother fuels a group of brothers to return what was lost, most anime parents get the short end of the stick when it comes to overall development and purpose. Attack on Titan? Eren’s mother dies in the very first episode of the anime.

Naruto? Parents are never around and are dead. Fairy Tail? Also dead and nonexistent. Dragonball? Their mothers somewhat care, but the fathers don’t want to pay attention knowing their strength. Black Clover? Asta’s father is at the center of many of the anime’s theorists, while his mother is dead. One Piece?

No one knows exactly who Luffy’s mother is, and his dad was not part of his growing up. Who can forget Gon from Hunter X Hunter (2011) being raised by Aunt Mito due to his hide-and-seek playing father and dead mother? This list can go for days on end, but one thing is for sure: this is intentionally the case for most mainstream Shonen in order for the audience to focus on the main character’s development.

Whether you like them or not, these tropes are ingrained in most mainstream anime. Given the widespread nature of these cliches, maybe that is the exact reason they are overused in the first place. A big indicator that these are effective methods to tell these stories is that a lot of the shows mentioned are actually still ongoing series that are popular worldwide. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!