July 19, 2010

RPGHero Anime Rant: Real Shounen Vs. Sugar Shounen

I'd like to discuss something with you all. Now grab a chair sonny and follow along. Just kidding!

We all like our shounen anime. But the thing is that we live in a world that isn't so great. I like watching Luffy kick Crocodile's ass or Naruto put the beat down on Pain or Kenshin rip Shishio a new one. But in real life the bad guys sometimes win and/or the bad guys sometimes rip the good guys a new one before the good guy can get a chance to win. That's what I hate about the world. I have a few people in my life too I'd like to rival but I wouldn't challenge them to a fight because they might take it too seriously.

Well in Shounen anime some titles are more realistic than others and other titles are more goodie goodie. I've thought of a few ways to tell the difference between the two.

1) Time it takes for the main character to become truly strong: In more realistic shounen the main character gets stronger over a longer period of time or a emphasized period of training. In more sugar-coated shounen the character either is already strong or they get strong really fast.
 Naruto VS. Bleach
Naruto is realer than Bleach: In Naruto the main character, Naruto haha, took a while to get stronger. He had to put in countless hours at night to gain his powers. He will always skip out on sleep and eating to train. I would just say that they emphasized that more in Naruto. Ichigo, just because you're a soul reaper means you don't eat or sleep?? And he had "great" power just right after recieving his powers... Well I mean taking an whooping from Byakuya was good, it's somewhat real. But I just don't think that his involuntary power ups are cutting it for me.

2) The evil intent of the bad guys: In more realistic shounen the bad guys are set on goals like money or psychotic killing. In sugar-coated shounen the bad guys have hidden motives like proving their strength.
Cowboy Bebop VS. Zatch Bell
Cowboy Bebop is realer than Zatch Bell. Well I shouldn't compare these two except to show you how different a shounen anime can be. So of course the bad guys in these two different animes are going to differ in their realisticness. Actually in Bebop the line between bad guy and good guy was less but the line between an evil action and a good action was more clear, making it a realer anime. Like reality. The line between bad guy and good guy isn't apparent but the line between evil action and good action is pretty clear.

3) The amount of injury, death, or casualty: In more realistic anime there is more of this stuff and in sugar coated shounen there is less. The mark of a realistic shounen is that more of this happens to the good guys than the bad guys.
 Hunter X Hunter VS. One Piece
Hunter x Hunter is realer than One Piece. You might say to me I don't think so... in both anime's the main characters don't die or anything. But if you think about it and if you saw both anime's in completion or as much as possible. Wait.. I actually read One Piece manga a bit. But what I'm going by (SPOILER ALERT) is how Gon's arms were destroyed in a fight with a weak (well definitely not a story ending) bad guy and in One Piece Luffy seems to be good taking whales and coming back from death after being stabbed in the chest. However the status of these two shows is debateable because Gon's whole body was healed after that fight where his arms were severely destroyed. One more point I'd like to mention is that in Hunter x Hunter one of the main characters, Kurapica, felt extreme guilt after killing two of the people that destroyed his family, almost like he was under the grudge of the two he killed. That according to Japanese culture is pretty real.

Note: However, for the second two options I'd like to take a chance to remark on Japanese religion. Since it is based highly in Buddhism the fact that alot of anime's try to omit evil, injury, death, or casualty isn't a mark of a cowardly or unrealistic author but of an author who wants to create a great story according to their very beliefs.

Note 2: American cartoons are not based on serious themes at all so they can't be a comparison on that level. For example someone can't say 'well alot of American cartoons don't have any realistic themes'. Well that is because American cartoons are for kids only, and fighting is a no-no for kids to watch in America, let alone realistic fighting.

Remember despite all of this the theme of shounen anime, well the motto of Shounen Jump is: Friendship, Effort, and Victory!

Therefore in the face of adversity it's Friendship, Effort, and Victory that is truimphant! Remember that in your own life! Well keep watching anime friends!

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This blog, "The Otaku Reviewers", was started in February of 2010 on this very same platform, Blogger. At first, it was a venture into the informational and informal world of comics, anime, video games, and Japanese culture. In other words, just a random blog.

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