Top 5 Anime Tropes I Hate

The Sailor Scouts
The Sailor Scouts

Parental Abandonment

It’s common for heroes to have no parents. They’re either dead, strangely not mentioned, or abusive. Everyone is “conveniently an orphan.” This often avoids the question of why would someone allow their child to leave home alone? Even if the parent didn’t care it would still be parental neglect. Furthermore, if the main protagonists is a super-powered demon slayer or an actual demon, it would be necessary to explain why their parents didn’t know or didn’t tell them. It’s an understandable trope but one that’s overused. 

  1. Sailor Moon. Rei lives with her grandfather. Her mother died and her father abandoned her, leaving her to be raised by his mother. Ami’s parents are divorced. Makoto’s and Mamoru’s parents both die in tragic accidents. 
  2. Naruto. Sasuke’s parents were slaughtered by his brother. Naruto’s parents died fighting the Nine-Tails. Gaara’s mother died during childbirth. Asuma dies before his child is born.
  3. Bleach. Orhimes parents abandoned her, shes lived alone since she was 12. Chad’s parents died, then his grandfather leaving him to take care of himself since the age of 15. Uryuu’s mother died and his father is estranged. 

Instant Expert

Every once in a while a character must learn something that is conveniently helpful. Not only that the user can master the new power instantly. If you think too hard you will realize that it probably would take years if not decades for the character to learn the new skill. Of course, that’s why writers grant their characters instant abilities in the first place.

  1. Kamehameha. It took Master Roshi almost a century to learn it, Goku does it after seeing Master Roshi do it once. 
  2. Rasengan. Naruto’s father Minato learned the Rasengan after years. Naruto learns it in a week, although he didn’t master it.
  3. Bankai. Normally it takes decades to learn the Bankai. Ichigo learns his Bankai in three days. 

Calling Your Attacks

In anime, long-winded names given to attacks are the norm. Whether its the name of a punch, weapon, or magical attack these names are important to their coolness. The origin of this behavior can be connected to the ancient concept that “special words can invoke control over the supernatural.” The use of a spell’s name can sometimes be part of an incantation. The Kido in Bleach require long incantations that seem to be a random collection of words, however, a user can avoid saying the entire spell, but must sacrifice some power. These names use to be limited to special moves, now every attack has to have a title. 

  1. Bleach. Ultimate Technique: Stunning Charlotte Chuhlhourne’s Miracle Sweet Ultra-Funky Fantastic Dramatic Romantic Sadistic Erotic Exotic Athletic Guillotine Attack. 
  2. Fairy Tail. Metsuryuu Ougi Guren Bakuenjin (Crimson Lotus: Exploding Flame Blade)
  3. Kenshin. Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu Ougi Ama Kakeru Ryu no Hirameki

The Power of Friendship

The villain in many series often mock friendship. Why would you rely on others when you can do everything yourself? Of course, these villains generally have massive group followers that fight for them. However, they’re not friends so it’s different right. What the villain doesn’t know is that these friends are also a secret power. The hero will reach a new level of power to protect his friends or they will work together to defeat the villain. 

  1. Fairy Tail. Wizards gain power based on the strength of their friendships.
  2. Naruto. Like most Shonen heroes Naruto can get stronger to save his friends. Also known as Friendship no Jutsu. 
  3. One Piece. Basic this series runs on the power of friendship or Nakama. 

Explaining Your Power to the Enemy

The villain monologue has become a trope and is now mocked often. The practical reason for it is to inform the audience, however, this info could be gained without telling the villain. Like having the character think about the effect of their attack or its power. The explanation can range from what an ability does to how to counter it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what they explain as their too powerful to lose, although, they usually make their lives harder. 

  1. Berserk. A demon tells Guts that he can’t regenerate if his head cut off. Gut’s immediately cuts his head off. 
  2. Bleach. Hirako Shinji does this twice the time. First, he tells Aizen how his Shikai works. (its powers reverse his opponents’ senses and movements). He then does it again when fighting Bambietta. 
  3. Dragon Ball Z. Gohan explains that his true power only comes out when he’s angry. So Cell tries to kill his father and his friends. 

Top Five Amoral Groups or Races in Anime

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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Anime Tropes I Hate

  1. Oh you hit the dot on Parental Abandonment, I hate that trope as well. It’s so overused and seems like a desperate attempt to give our hero some initial level of depth / sympathetic personality. It doesn’t even have to be “one parent is dead” too; it can also be a character who has issues with their parents, that trope comes up from time to time too and I just feel it’s… ehh.

    I don’t know why too, but for me when I saw “Instant Expert” I was expecting to see Kirito from SAO on the list too 😅 Pardon me

    1. There are so many moments of each trope I had to limit myself to just three. Parental Abandonment is a trope that exists in media outside of anime. It was something I barely noticed, but once I realized how common it was it started to feel lazy.

  2. Great list. I would add in forced drama caused by dumb misunderstandings between characters. Though you find that trope in a lot more than just anime. If it makes sense in the context of the story and how the characters think, then it’s okay sometimes, but too often I feel like this tool is used to artificially extend the length of a series. I hate it every time.

  3. A lot of people complain about the “absentee anime dad” trope but honestly… as someone who grew up with a neglectful, narcissistic, somewhat sociopathic father I kinda get it 🙃

    “The Power of Friendship” is a guilty pleasure. I know it’s sooooo cheesy, but I love it! I guess I’m just a sucker for any story about a chosen family coming together to fight oppression (I mean that could be applied not to just anime but Star Wars, Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, She-Ra…)

    My least favorite anime trope will always be “she’s not 14, she’s actually a thousand year old dragon goddess or whatever”. It’s gross and it comes up in way too many anime, even the good ones! 😖

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