Top Five Xanatos Gambits in Anime

According to TV Tropes, a Xanatos Gambit is a ” plan for which all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator — including ones that superficially appear to be failure. The creator predicts potential attempts to thwart the plan, and arranges the situation such that the creator will ultimately benefit even if their adversary “succeeds” in “stopping” them.” Basically, regardless of whether the plan succeeds or fails, the creator benefits.

5. Attack on Titan – Erwin “wins” no matter what

During the 57th Exterior Scouting Mission arc, the Scout Regiment begin an expedition that was interrupted by the Female Titan. No matter the result of the expedition, Erwin won. If they captured the Female Titan, the scouts got rid of a major threat and learn more about spies in the scouts. If they failed, Erwin would learn the identity of the “infiltrators” and by extension the Female Titan.

4. Cowboy Bebop – Vicious takes over the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate

The Red Dragon Crime Syndicate was a crime organization in Cowboy Bebop. Vicious attempts a coup d’etat against the Red Dragon Syndicate. While he hoped to succeed, he anticipated his failure. Which indeed happened. He was sentenced to death. However, he stacked the execution squad with his men, who then killed the elders.

3. MHA – All For One is victorious against All Might

When he fought All Might, All For One would be victorious whether he lost or not. In victory, he would kill the “symbol of peace.” Had he lost, he would force All Might to use the rest of One for All rendering him less effective against villains. This would result in the rise of villains once again. In addition to this, his defeat would anger Shigaraki, making him angry and more dangerous.

2. Yu Yu Hakusho – Sensui tricks Koenma

Sensui wanted to open Makai Tunnel. In order to accomplish this he enacts an elaborate plan that enlists eleven year old Amanuma. With the ability to “bring video games to life,” Amanuma traps Yusuke and his friends in a game world that “kills the antagonist if the heroes win, or the heroes if they give up.” Kurama kills Amanuma, but Koenma bring him back to life.

This however turns out to be part of the plan. Sensui knows that Koenma, feeling guilty for the situation will use up his powers to save Amanuma. Koenma is the only one that had the power to stop Sensui, so he managed to eliminate as a threat him. Regardless of what happened, Makai Tunnel would open.

1. Dragon Ball Super – The Zenos get what they want

On the surface, Zeno appears to be an adorable child like being. However, as the Grand Zeno (The Supreme ruler of the Multiverse), Zeno is the most powerful being. Like most deities, Zeno is largely indifferent to other beings. Zeno, along with Future Zeno create the Tournament of Power. Within that tournament, any universe that loses will be erased. Initial it seems like the Gods simply want to be entertained, however they really want a “good person” to win and resurrect the erased universes.

This act would show that the universes can change and grow.If the wish is selfish, the Zenos would erase everything anyway. They type of wish doesn’t matter. The Zenos would get an entertaining tournament and would have to worry about mortals, either because the proved that they can change or they were erased.

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Why are shonen anime characters so stupid?

Important Note: I haven’t been blogging recently due to the fact that I got a job working for USPS. It’s a temporary holiday job that will end in late December. I work overnight from midnight to 8:30 AM, six days a week. As you can image, I don’t have much time left if I include sleeping. I just wanted you guys to know that in case you were wondering why I stopped blogging. I’ll be back in full force in January.

A common question among anime and manga fans for decades has been, why are anime characters so stupid? This question is specifically asked when referring to shonen manga. It should be noted that “shonen” isn’t technically a genre, as it refers to a targeted demographic. However, within anime culture many fans know what’s being referred to when you mention, shonen. Shonen’s main demographic is young teen males. Intended for boys between the ages of 12 and 18, shonen series highlight the themes that generally matter most to this demo. Primarily, fighting series focuses on action packed battle scenes with friendships between boys being emphasized. To make characters more appealing to the young male demographic they tend to begin as young boys.

It’s Akira Toriyama’s fault

But, I think the reason that shonen feature “stupid” protagonists is primarily due to the admiration and influence of Akira Toriyama. A Japanese manga artists and character designer, Toriyama, first achieve success with his Dr. Slump manga series. It won him the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1981 and went on to sell 35 million copies. As a character designer he has been successful for Dragon Quests, Chrono Trigger and Blue Dragon series. However, Akira Toriyama is best known for his follow up manga series Dragon Ball. Having sold over 250 million copies, Dragon Ball is the second best selling manga of all time. Considered to be a primary driving force in increasing manga sales from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s, Dragon Ball’s impact continues to be felt till this day. Akira Toriyama is credited with popularizing shonen manga beginning in the 80’s continuing to this day.

The invention of the Stock Shonen Hero trope

It is this influence that is responsible for the trend of “dumb” shonen characters. To be more specific, it is Dragon Ball’s main protagonist, Son Goku that is the template that shonen heroes are built upon. Considered to be the most influential manga characters of all time, he’s a saiyan that was sent to conquer Earth as a baby. After hitting his head as a child, he loses his aggression that comes naturally to the saiyan race. As a result, he is no longer able to conquer the world. As Goku ages, he makes friends, enemies, gets married and has children. He’s presented as being profoundly stupid, but innocent at heart. Always has mercy for his enemies and is capable of brilliance during combat. Goku, like all saiyans, takes pride in his strength. Goku has been credited with giving birth to the “Stock Shonen Hero” trope.

This trope describes a “big hearted, energetic kid,” that is not too bright. They have pride in their fighting strength. These heroes are willing to train hard to achieve even greater strength. However, their true power comes from the friendships they have gained and the sense of justice they possess. The “stock shonen hero” is always ready to help the weak, risk their lives for strangers and friends, while often showing mercy towards enemies. Every character that is inspired by Goku has many of these qualities as well. Akira Toriyama and his Dragon Ball series has been cited as inspiration for many manga artists. Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto) and Tite Kubo (Bleach) have all claimed to have been influenced by Dragon Ball. Oda’s Monkey D. Luffy, Kishimoto’s Naruto and Kubo’s Ichigo, all share the parts of the tropes Goku made famous.

A genre that priorities the physical strength of a character over their intelligence, is obviously going result in dumb characters with epic battles. Making characters dumb is considered to be a great way to make them appealing to a larger audience. What they lack in book smarts, they make up in “street smarts.” Meaning these characters are able to think on the fly and can problem solve when needed. In shonen manga this “intelligence” is often shown during fights. While shonen anime existed before Akira Toriyama, it’s his Dragon Ball series that popularized the genre. Toriyama’s Goku was the inspiration for many future protagonist, making stupid heroes the norm.

My Hero Academia Season 4 – Episode 5: Recap and Review

In My Hero Academia Season 4 - Episode 5, Mimic and Chronostasis attacking Tomura.
Mimic and Chronostasis attacking Tomura

My Hero Academia has been slowly heading towards confrontation between the heroes and the Yakuza. Personally, I’m happy to get some action after several episodes of narrative building. My Hero Academia Episode 5, Let’s Go, Gutsy Red Riot, begins with a brief but enjoyable battle scene. Two villains with Gigantification Quirks are causing damage to the city while they fight. One of the “Big 3,” Nejire Hado arrives and uses her super move Wring Wave. Uravity and Froppy follow up with their join super move, Meteor Fafroskies. My Hero Academia hasn’t made a big deal out of joint super moves, but the introduction of them opens some possibilities. They’re congratulated by the No. 9 Hero, Ryukyu.

Tomura and Overhaul negotiate

The two leaders finally have their conversation. mimic asks Tomura if he “is serious about joining them.” Tomura states that their are several conditions. The League of Villains will never be under anyone and Tomura wants to know their plan. When he reaches in his pocket, Chronostasis and Mimic attack him. However, Tomura isn’t intimidated and states that the “Yakuza meat shields” aren’t of equal to the lost of Big Sis Magne or Compress’s arm. He asks about the mysterious bullets that suppresses Compress Quirk. These bullets will likely play a role in the rest of this arc, but I’m not sure it will really take away any Quirks permanently. Overhaul tells Tomura that he hopes to ” use these weapons to change the status quo.”

In My Hero Academia Season 4 - Episode 5. Red Riot (Eijiro) using his Red Riot Unbreakable super move.
Red Riot (Eijiro) using his Red Riot Unbreakable super move

Red Riot comes into his own

My Hero Academia has a large cast of characters. This of course has limiting aspects as you cannot focus on every character equally. This episode puts the main characters Bakugo, Todoroki and Midoriya on the back burner. Focusing instead on secondary characters like Urahara, Froppy and Eijiro. Mostly known for being the only real friend of Bakugo, Eijiro is seemingly going to get more attention. In Esuha City, Fat Gum, Suneater (Tamaki) and Red Riot (Eijiro) patrol. They encounter a group of thieves. Tamaki’s Quirk is revealed to be Manifest. He can manifest the characteristics of the foods he eats. He defeats on of the thieves with his octopus tentacles, a clam husk and a chicken foot.

During the confrontation, Eijiro and Tamaki, are shoot by the mysterious bullet. However, Eijiro’s Quirk protects him. He chases one of thieves into an alley. Eijiro falls for the false tears of the villain. The villain uses a drug to increase his powers, cutting through Eijiro’s rough skin. Eijiro uses his new move, Red Riot Unbreakable. He then defeats the villain with his Super Move: Red Gauntlet. Eijiro’s debut is a massive success. The civilians he saved marvel over his victory. Ochaco and Tsuyu debuts are also noted in the news. While the series will eventually return to focus on Midoriya, but I’m happy to see that other characters gets some shine.

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Blade of the Immortal – Episode 6: Recap and Review

Season 1, Episode 6: Act Six – Wing Roots. Araya dead, Rin on the floor, Manji and Renzo standing
Araya dead, Rin on the floor, Manji and Renzo standing

Season 1, Episode 6: Act Six – Wing Roots

Rin keeps struggle to decide if she wants revenge

While shopping at a food stand, Rin is annoyed by a boy named Renzo Kawakami. Meanwhile, Manji meets a former member of the Itto-ryu, Araya Kawakami. He uses Manji’s sword to create a mask for a crying boy. Later, Rin encounters Renzo again. This time however, he’s being attacked for breaking a samurai’s sandal. She offers to repair his sandal. While she does so, he takes the opportunity to molest her with his foot. He thanks her, as he leaves while laughing. Rin learns that Renzo has no idea who the Itto-ryu is . He invites her to have tea with his father.

Araya thanks Rin for her help. He asks Rin if her parents “are doing well.” She tells him that they were killed. She offers the story of her parents death. Araya sends Renzo away to get more tea. Rin states that because Araya is “Renzo’s only relative” and killing Araya will result in Renzo becoming like her, she won’t kill him. It’s a little arrogant of Rin to think she would be able to kill him considering her lack of skills. What Rin wants is an apology. Araya seems appalled. He calls her request “cheap.” He basically calls her a coward. He believes that a human life is worth a human life. Rin simply doesn’t want to get her “hands dirty.”

Rin smiling after saving Renzo from a cycle of revenge

Does Rin really want revenge?

He feints an apology, attacking Rin. He doesn’t want his son to learn that he was a member of Itto-ryu. Therefore, he must kill Rin. However, before he can kill her, Manji arrives. Manji manages to stab Araya. However, before he can die of these injuries, he tells Rin to “finish it.” Unsurprisingly, she refuses. Manji kills Araya as Renzo returns. Manji pretends that he was killed by Renzo. To prevent Renzo from pursuing revenge, Rin and Manji pretend that he was buried. By cutting off his arm and burying it, they’re able to convince Renzo that he already got his vengeance. If Rin isn’t willing to kill someone that raped and murder her parents, then this whole revenge thing isn’t going to work. She didn’t even want Manji to kill Araya.

Struggling with vengeance is fine, but it feels like she’s backsliding. It doesn’t make much sense to me. However, fooling Renzo into believing Manji was dead and thus freeing him from the revenge cycle, was both good for everyone. I also thought it was cleverly done.

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Dr. Stone Episode 19: Recap and Review

Season 1, Episode 19: To Modernity. Picture of Tsukasa reviving Hyoga.
Tsukasa reviving Hyoga

Season 1, Episode 19: To Modernity

Senku plans to defeat Tsukasa’s army with smartphones

This episode begins with Tsukasa freeing Hyoga. According to some of his men, Tsukasa was looking for Hyoga. Tsukasa welcomes Hyoga to the new world. However, some of the men aren’t impressed. Tsukasa tell them to fight him. With his “preferred” weapon, Hyoga defeats them single handily. Tsukasa shows Hyoga around the new world. Tsukasa comments on hoe the privileged abused the weak in the old world. By obtaining the “weapons of science that make killing so easy.” Tsukasa and Hyoga are in complete agreement. Tsukasa states that to get the world he wants, he’s will “stain” his hands. Meanwhile, in the present, Hyoga is impressed with Senku and the others for their “teamwork.” However, this was all a distraction.

Hyoga’s Homura Sets fire to the village

They set the village on fire. Homura then sets fire to the bridge. Smarter than the typical meat heads that Tsukasa revived, she swam to the village. Homura then uses acrobatic skills to evade the former Chief and Kohaku. The fire spreads, aided by the wind. Hyoga set the fire to get the villagers out into the open. Meanwhile, several of the men plan on kidnapping a child as a hostage. Suika plans to save the “Kingdom of Science.” She draws the attention of some of Tsukasa’s men and they give chase. Both Homura and Hyoga assume that Suika will be an easy catch. However, the wind spreads the sulfuric acid down the mountain. The poison gas forces Hyoga, Homura and others to climb trees. Meanwhile, Senku, Suika and Kohaku have gas masks.

Season 1, Episode 19: To Modernity. Suika pretending to be scared to lure Hyoga and his group
Suika pretending to be scared to lure Hyoga and his group

Cellular phones are the greatest invention

Despite it being an act of mother nature, Senku takes credit for it. Hyoga knocks the “meat heads” off the tree. They’re are killed by the gas, proving to Hyoga that the gas masks were real. Hyoga plans on coming back with Tsukasa’s army.Anyway, without the nitric acid, Senku can’t make gunpowder or revive anyone. Basically, the more time pasts the more soldiers Tsukasa has, but the same isn’t true for gunpowder. Tsukasa would be aware of this as well. Senku’s plan. Attack them first. How. With the “strongest weapon in two million years.” Cellular phones and double agents. Taiju and Yuzuriha.

Obviously I’m curious how cell phones will help them. It has to be more than helping Taiju and Yuzuriha spy. Speaking of Taiju and Yuzuriha, we haven’t had any confirmation that they have been let into Tsukasa’s Kingdom. Personally, I don’t think that it’s plausible that Tsukasa would fall for their trick anyway. I did enjoy the playing with our expectations. I did think that Hyoga was defeated (for now). However, to be able to out smart even Senku was refreshing. I’m looking forward to the next episodes.

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