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Old 2008-04-13, 19:09   Link #21
SeedFreedom
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I really have no problem with cliches. In fact, i like a lot of cliche character types. It makes me fell familiar with the character faster, and i can enjoy the story more knowing i don't need to figure out whats going on in there head. The problem i have is with cliche endings. I think endings should be the some of the best part of the story, and if i can easily guess the ending, the story is a loss for me. Cliche story lines after boarder on copying, sometimes, but i find "original" story lines are often a complete mess and are impossible to follow.
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Old 2008-04-13, 19:18   Link #22
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorfl View Post
Cliches being fun is the entire premise behind the existence of tvtropes.org
...though the site seems to show that subverting clichés is a lot more fun than carrying them out straight-laced.

Lots of wise posts here, with lots of different viewpoints that I can somewhat agree with on all sides. I think it just shows how complex the concept is -- despite the fact that almost by definition the substance of a cliché tends to be utterly shallow.

I don't have much to add, but sometimes I feel that a mix of familiarity and originality (and oh how I hate the "originality is dead" cliché ) produce the best works. It knocks the socks off the audience, to use a cliché, but there's also a nice old homely carpet to take the fall.

There's also the matter of execution to use an old clichéd argument in which defines which artistic production is enjoyable and which is utterly trite. A masterful execution hides many flaws. An original execution breaks the cliché itself.
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Old 2008-04-13, 19:23   Link #23
KholdStare
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
I think the litmus test is predictability. When you can tell what will happen beforehand then you've probably encountered a cliché. How original a story is that is something that can be judged only afterwards.
Yes, I think this is correct, so props for mentioning this. I think this best summarizes this thread.
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Old 2008-04-13, 20:45   Link #24
Reckoner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KholdStare View Post
Yes, I think this is correct, so props for mentioning this. I think this best summarizes this thread.
I disagree. Predictability != cliche.

When I watch something cliche this is what goes through my head "This is the same goddamn storyline with the same type of goddamn generic and flat characters all over again for the millionth time." I easily predicted events in a series like Death Note, under this line of thought, I would define Death Note as cliche, but it is not.

Measuring cliche is irrelevant, because cliche is relative to the person watching it anyways. Again let me requote myself what cliche actually is,

1. Stereotypical - a widely held but fixed and oversimflied image or idea of a particular type of person or thing
2. in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

Nothing about predictability is stated there!
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Old 2008-04-13, 21:29   Link #25
KholdStare
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
I disagree. Predictability != cliche.

When I watch something cliche this is what goes through my head "This is the same goddamn storyline with the same type of goddamn generic and flat characters all over again for the millionth time." I easily predicted events in a series like Death Note, under this line of thought, I would define Death Note as cliche, but it is not.

Measuring cliche is irrelevant, because cliche is relative to the person watching it anyways. Again let me requote myself what cliche actually is,

1. Stereotypical - a widely held but fixed and oversimflied image or idea of a particular type of person or thing
2. in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

Nothing about predictability is stated there!
That's too bad, because I disagree. I'll change my post to "most of the time" then. Your example indicates an exception, not a disproof. Predictability is not the definition of cliché, but it is a tool to identify it (in my opinion). That's the difference.
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Old 2008-04-14, 06:50   Link #26
Slice of Life
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My remark aimed at distinguishing between "cliché" and just "has been done before" not at testing arbitrary elements of a story without looking at their broader function. It's not meant to classify the fact the sune rises in the east and sets in the west.

A story follows the rules of physics and society as they are in RL or as they are constructed within the story. A protagonist will act within the bounds of his character. Many crime stories are meant to have a predicable outcome if one pays attention. And so on. In so far some elements will always be predictable. Otherwise there weren't a plot, just white noise.

It's necessary that there is more than one likely alternative in the first place. If there are three possible outcomes of an action A, B, and, C and you're willing to bet money on A although there's no logical reason that it's not B or C then it's probably a cliché. Worse, if there's an infinite number of likely alternatives of if A is realistically even quite unlikely.

Then there is the case where you can predict an outcome because it's the only way to keep the story going. That's also not a cliché (although its execution might be); that's simply bad scripting.

So if you can predict events in DN through logical reasoning then it's not a cliché. Otherwise the only alternatives I see at the moment are sheer luck or because it's "stereotypical", "hackneyed", "overused".
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Old 2008-04-14, 16:19   Link #27
Solace
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I agree with Slice of Life. The basic element of all narrative is structured, which will inevitably lead to at least one cliche during the span of that narrative. There has to be a protagonist, an antagonist, a conflict, a resolution. Stories that stray from the basic principles of writing tend to fail miserably (although there are some exceptions, generally abstract).

Cliche isn't a bad thing in itself though. Cliches are only bad when they are overused. Predictability is a sign of overuse, but it's also a sign of poor writing. A recent anime example is Dragonaut, with cliches and terrible script writing all over the place. On the other end of the spectrum is something like Lain or Mushishi, where nonlinear or episodic writing takes the cliche and makes something new from it.

Now the tired cliche can still be enjoyable. People have been milking the same cliches for decades. They'll wear out, then be brought back for new people to enjoy. What's old is new again, in a sense.

Has every story been told, every song been written, every idea been thought of before? No. Originality is not dead. Creativity is not dead. As long as there is a human who pushes the limits of imagination, there will always be new creations. But structure plays an important part in how those creations enter the world and how they play out, but barring revolution, structure takes a long time to change.
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Old 2008-04-14, 16:59   Link #28
Kakashi
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Whole movies/books/anime have become about cliches and ridiculing them, take the first episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi for example, the narrator basically explains word by word what is going to happen in a sarcastic tone blatently implying 'we are ridiculing cliches'. Although sometimes funny personally I find it distasteful because to me it signals - the ideas have run out so we're taking the easy option and using material that has already been done and ridiculing it. Of course there are exceptions when these things are done really well because the writer/director adds their own spin of originality to the cliche such as upsurd setting and circumstances etc.

As for cliches in anime I would agree with Kholdstare. As long as it's executed well, usually it ends up being unique. Being original is not that important but I guess those who can somehow be completely original and execute it in a believable yet breathtaking manner can truly create a master piece. A good example being Tolkein. He took the meaning of original to a entirely different level by creating a new world, new languages and still somehow making core themes such as the power of friendship the real focus of the entire story. That's what a true master of any medium is. Of course story telling is still business when you're working for money so risk has to be taken into account.
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Old 2008-04-26, 03:38   Link #29
Blackmoon042
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Sigh, people are sadly confused on what a cliche even is.

1. Stereotypical - a widely held but fixed and oversimflied image or idea of a particular type of person or thing
2. in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

These are different ways to describe what cliche is, but

not cliche != original

Please clear this misconception. Yes there is nothing really truly original these days, but there are definitely many animes that are not cliches.
Er, well, I'm not 100% sure whether or not you're addressing me, but in my post I guess I should've mentioned cliches and originality being kind of like black and white. I say "kind of" because I think true black and white in this sense would be always used and totally new, whereas cliche is not always used and original could imply that there are parts of a story, series, etc., that aren't original, and I don't think it's possible to be totally original in a sense, due to how every story, series, book, etc. I *think* needs words, symbols or something, to tell the story. *shrug*. But anyway, to get to the point: I realize that there is a "grey"-like area involved, assuming cliche and originality are black and white.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mueti View Post
But then, it depends on the individual, where one draws the line, whether one considers something a cliché through overuse or not. I don't think common ground would be an easy thing to find here. I myself am not really sure where my border would be located, sometimes I'll find myself considering even the most basic boundaries to be stereotyped. Such as, say, the fact that there is a plot in the first place. Noone would really consider that a cliché I guess, yet it's one of the most common elements in (story)telling, one which even defines the term itself in a way. Maybe there are still barriers to be broken somewhere, I hope so. Not that I myself could come up with anything. Well, I guess I'm behind my time though, with the avantgarde being mostly out-dated after the beginning of so called post-modernism.

...I guess this is kinda of topic though, I'm sorry for interrupting the flow of the thread with my silly thoughts.
I appreciate your thoughts, and I don't think they're silly at all.


Thank you for the responses. I enjoyed reading them and I hope for more if possible. ^^

Last edited by Blackmoon042; 2008-04-26 at 04:34.
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