Characters being “Typical” and “Average” Fail as Main Appeal for a Premise

Average and typical for a show’s premise

Don’t you get tired of it? Ever not gotten tired of seeing that repetitious summary of an incoming show each season that goes something like this: “generic main character is bland and dull as blank sheet of paper until one day on a fateful day he meets this other character that changes his life forever.”  I know. It’s magnificent! I’m just 200% compelled to drop just about everything and go watch that revolutionary show as we speak just like you are. That ingenious summary has gotten my  attention right away. It has grabbed me by the collar with a force of 100 people. This show can only be but pure gold. I say, gold!

This would be if I could go back in time and unwatched a big chunk of series or be able to tell myself otherwise that I haven’t heard that plot before, but I have I’ve both heard, read, and seen that very same summary with few to little changes.  It’s just bad. It’s just bad that they come back to the same effortless gimmicks over and over. Out of the many tricks that exists and out of the many possible stories a person could come up with when making a story about this would-be your typical character, bland as butter for a main character and shamelessly use it as foundation for the main premise is the worst you can come up when you’re trying to make something new. Make it absolutely work and you’re in for something to add to a slightly better than generic show with some surprises. Fail at it and you create another rehash product of lack of creativity to add to poorly written plots and anime summaries. Don’t you really get tired of the same strategy, industry?

Well, guess what? This just in. Being “typical” doesn’t cut it as main appeal for new series. It’s not being innovative. It’s not being creative. It’s not making great anime, industry people. We don’t really like it the reason we may be just watching is because we expect something better to come along. Shows that are proud to have this premise aren’t to be cheered in my opinion. Giving a show a premise of guy being your day-to-day super “average” kind of guy who suddenly gets into  craazy events going off one after another isn’t innovative in the anime world. It was a long time ago but not now. Being “normal” ain’t cool for a premise in case you still believe it was.

Let’s go over this most amusing variables we’re presented and what it means to be “typical” and how ground breaking is lost in the process of laziness.

A) Random boy has led a terribly uneventful  life until he got what? Powers. Supers powers which make him invincible, power that will screw his life over, and powers that will doom or save the world. A typical super powers action show everyone has watched for sure.

Hey, this could work, only that it has already been working for years and years and everyone likes it. Why bother to talk about it when it works, huh? Yeah, it works. That doesn’t mean we should be stuck on the same premise over and over when there’s also other titles with premises not relying on it. They rather not copy paste material from past shows and end with the same result of your typical and average appeal for a show. Let’s go to ground breaking B.

B) Boy has a dull life until he meets this (likely) cute alien, cat girl,  any other variation of x girl who is coming to change this uneventful guy’s life for no real reason to complete the recipe for a lower tier fanservice show. Actually, it doesn’t try to disguise that it’s the very same premise used for the genre like beating on a dead horse and 10 more of its past lives. In fact it tries to use the same mechanism to lure the viewers in with the very same lines, come and watch “boring kid gets his life changed” Know what? Add some fanservice to go with it. You’ve got yourself a solid show that will rock everyone’s socks and underpants.

That’s how typical and unrevolutionary a great majority of the shows’ premises are. Let’s  now talk about being “typical” and what it means. Being typical, being average supposedly makes decent premises for anime. It used to be cool a long time ago.  Being normal entails being just just like everyone else. It’s an emphasized hook gimmick but is one of poorly written stories with little depth, ambitionless, and unaudacious followed by more simplistic, mundane, flat, average, and lovable typical characters anime which cliches wouldn’t do nearly enough.

Contrasted with the idea of anime pushing creativity limits to yet once again floor its viewers with shocking and enjoyable stories, generic plots and summaries are poorly written, cut and dry, reaching the anti-thesis of imagination possible for writing. These shows don’t always try break out of it, they stay on a pure linear straight line to the end where typical is exactly that – typical.

Shows with bizarre and ridiculous premises may be as bad but they are not generic cookie cutter material and for that I praise them. They try to do something different and take some chances. So guess what, “he’s just your average guy, main character”? We don’t like you being a typical main character and act as attention grabber material. Industry, we don’t appreciate the efforts made of stressing this “typical” and “average” part because it’s nothing new anymore for anime. It used to be, at some point years ago, however after dozens of shows having the same standard premise, it is but too unsurprising that you can expect at least one show to have something along those lines each season. It’s not going to be groundbreaking . It’s never going to shock everyone a again but newcomers so change the stories, give them new twists, and for creativity’s name – do change the series summaries, Mr. Average.

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7 thoughts on “Characters being “Typical” and “Average” Fail as Main Appeal for a Premise

  1. When I’m making the season preview charts, I have to cut down the summary a bit so it fits in the tiny space I’ve given it. I don’t know how many times I’ve cut out the line ‘is just a normal high school boy/girl’ because it’s almost taken for granted that they will be at this stage.

    • That’s kinda of a given. It’s actually best to not include that initial part of x character is your typical normal guy otherwise shows would start looking the same. We can always skip to the actually meaningful plot behind the standard premise.

  2. But “typical” and “average” is slice of life and that’s automatically good regardless of merit and anyone who disagrees is watching it wrong.

    • Slice of life, where being normal is alright. Typical can get along well with slice of life because the genre asks for it. Action themed shows on the other hand not so much.

  3. Anything involving catgirls is a win in my book no matter how awful it is.

  4. Normal and Typical were never used as premises for shows….intentionally. I mean, no-one would watch shows that are billed to be typical repetitions of plot X , used over 9000 times, right?

    I think it’ll take a while for this plague to recover. Mainly because it’s not the fault of anime studios alone – but instead, of manga and light novels instead, seeing as how most of these shows are based off them…

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