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Old 2010-06-05, 11:27   Link #1
Seiryuu
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Titles where the "hero" isn't the hero

There's plenty of shows, especially fantasy, where a "hero" appears to save the day, or a person is identified as the hero; in many of these, the appointed savior frequently denies the title, and wants nothing to do with some quest to defeat evil. Have there been any works, of any form, where someone like that comes along but the chosen one really isn't the one that will save the day? Sure, the chosen fellow may play a major part, but couldn't there be a normal guy who decides that he has to do whatever can be done, and winds up becoming the hero this other guy is supposed to be?

Ultimately, I've always felt that a hero isn't someone who's ordained and identified simply because of who he is or where he's from; the hero is a person who doesn't care about any of that, or about any prophecies, because he can't wait for some great knight to save those he loves.

This came in part from an RPG-based anime called Star Ocean. In it, a man finds himself suddenly in a separate world, and a young girl has determined that he is the legendary hero come to save them from the terror that's descended upon them. It's clear from the start that she feel in love at first sight, and that the "hero" wants nothing to do with the title, but just wants to find a way to return home. Early on, there's another character who's been with the girl her entire life, and who has been in love with her, but she didn't return those feelings even before she met her hero.

So, what if a "hero" like that comes along and is given the title, the responsibility, and everything, but a boy follows along to do whatever he can, maybe because he doesn't trust the hero, maybe because he doesn't trust the prophecy, or maybe just to protect the girl he loves. In a way, I'd be suspicious of prophecies myself, because as I said, a person worthy of such fame and responsibility would fight for those he loves even if the prophecies declared that his presence would doom them all.

It would be somewhat interesting, also, to see a case where the prophets or seers declared a false prophecy condemning a man because to speak of his true destiny would somehow prevent him from achieving it.
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Old 2010-06-05, 11:44   Link #2
HayashiTakara
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You mean the main character isn't the hero but rather someone that's just apart of the ordeal? Well, I don't know if I ever heard of anything like that...
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Old 2010-06-05, 14:45   Link #3
Kafriel
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Jio Freed and Cross from 666 Satan, Sora and Riku from Kingdom Hearts (although the latter isn't really ordinary), John and Loki from Nephilim John, and most importantly the main cast from FFXIII.
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Old 2010-06-05, 15:29   Link #4
jedinat
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I've read books like that. Un Lun Dun for example. I can't seem to think of any anime or manga off the top of my head...
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Old 2010-06-05, 16:44   Link #5
devildog23
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Sam from Lord of the Rings? And the Matrix for the last idea would fit lol I can't think of any specific anime

What I'm getting at is your looking for a series, where there is a chosen "hero", but that hero ends up not saving the day while an ordinary person comes through and saves the day for him?

OR

Are you looking for something where there is a chosen hero that does not want to be the chosen hero?
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Old 2010-06-05, 18:21   Link #6
Seiryuu
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I'm not talking about the story being centered on someone other than the hero. What I'm talking about is a character coming in and being "anointed" as the one to save the world (or something like that), taking the role completely, but someone else joins the party and is the main character, whether it's obvious or not. He might not be named as a part of the group, might even be refused by the group, but he's determined to do whatever he can to protect those he loves, no matter what prophecies say about him. He works hard, gives everything he has, and ultimately manages to save the day and fulfill the destiny that's supposed to be the "hero's". Bonus if he loves the hero's "princess", who's naturally infatuated with the hero, and one way or another, at some point, he also wins her heart.

As I said, it might even be set up that the main character is deliberately excluded or condemned in the prophecy because if he was told that he's destined to be the hero, he'd never be able to fulfill that destiny. If you accept that the seer or prophet who provides this prediction can see what will be, then they should be able to see how their words will affect things to come. Rather than say what they see completely and truthfully, a seer like that would almost certainly say what needed to be said to make the future come the way it should.

One man is there, willingly or not, on account of a prophecy that seems to label him as a savior or champion. The main character, though, is there by his own will, maybe even against the prophecy, to do everything he can and protect what's important to him. Ultimately, it becomes clear that a hero is not something that you simply are, it's something you become. The man who is chosen for the job fails, but the man/boy who came uncalled and uninvited does not give up and does not stop fighting until the job is complete.

The chosen hero doesn't have to fail per se. It could be that the one people see as a hero is actually quite the opposite, a pretender who serves the enemy, or turns to serve him.

Also, I don't care about what criteria is placed that determines that the one person is the hero and the other is not. It could simply be that a girl who is connected to everything believes that he's the one who will save and protect her, and that the boy she knew just wouldn't be cut out for the job.

Last edited by Seiryuu; 2010-06-05 at 18:33.
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Old 2010-06-05, 18:36   Link #7
HayashiTakara
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I can only think of one thing... Record of Lodoss Wars: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight. The main character isn't really a hero... He just kinda just got himself into the situation. The real hero is Parn and his high elf "wife" Deedlit. Parn eventually joins the "RPG-esque" party for a period of time.

It feels more like a "Gaiden"/ Side Story to the main plot. It's a 27 episode show. There are several manga's dealing with the "Main" characters of the Lodoss War.
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Old 2010-06-05, 19:09   Link #8
Ash Falls Town
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This sounds like Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou.
The legendary hero is just the main characters friend. While the main character is the demon lord.
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Old 2010-06-05, 22:06   Link #9
frubam
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If you're into manga, I would HIGHLY suggest Ubel Blatt. The main character at first seems to come outta nowhere and help the Empire to protect the people, but eventually ends up going against these "seven heroes" of the Empire for his personal reasons. The big clutch is that the citizens of the Empire highly respect, idolize, and love those 7 heroes, even though those 7 are doing evil deeds behind the eyes of the people. Again, the main char only wishes to fight the 7 heroes for his own personal reasons; not for justice or anything like that, so he must fight the good citizens of the empire to get to them. Of course, this means he's a "hero", even if all the citizens of the Empire consider him their worst enemy(aside from the few allies he makes along the way). Very interesting and there are 95 chapters out.
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Old 2010-06-06, 01:38   Link #10
incube
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Tengen Toppa Guren Lagan
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Old 2010-06-06, 09:10   Link #11
Seiryuu
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Ubel Blatt actually did come to mind. I haven't been able to read much of it, but the setup is definitely similar.

I was thinking, perhaps the best way to describe it is like the old Sword in the Stone. Brave heroes struggle to draw the sword with no success, then the proper heir comes and pulls it out with ease. What if this boy wasn't the ordained heir though? What if the one who's "destined" to be king by birthright can't draw the sword, but some peasant boy does?

Prophecies, inheritance, birthright, and the like will make a star who everyone will look to for protection and salvation, but it will not make a hero who can actually protect and save. Thus, you could have a big, impressive demigod journeying to save the world, and some weak boy who insists on accompanying him so he can be of some help, or so he can protect someone important, and ultimately it is the heart, not the title or circumstance, that determines who has the power to succeed.
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Old 2010-06-06, 09:44   Link #12
Haak
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I think A Song of Ice and Fire fits that description except there aren't really any prophecies to suggest the first 'hero' is the actually hero. It's just heavily hinted. It oinly truly becomes apparent in the fourth book though.
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Old 2010-06-06, 09:52   Link #13
Kafriel
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Read Snow in the dark, it's a one-shot adaptation (of sorts) of Snow White, altered enough to make its own story.
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Old 2010-06-06, 10:35   Link #14
Repelsteeltju
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You might wanna try Shin Angyo Onshi a.k.a. Blade of the Phantom Master. (just the manga the OVA's suck)

The 'hero' there is actually the designated hero because of the great things he has done in the past and not because of some prophecy. But that's still what you're looking for, right?

Spoiler:


PS: The main 'hero' is a anti-hero.
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Old 2010-06-07, 19:33   Link #15
girfanaic501
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America in Hetalia: World Series should technically count as one.
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Old 2010-06-29, 22:56   Link #16
Seiryuu
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I've been looking through tropes to see if there's a good name for the sort of thing I'm looking for, and I believe the "Unchosen One" fits rather well. The prophecy says what the prophecy says, but this guy doesn't care that there's a "chosen one" already out there. Screw destiny, he's not going to sit back and hope some other person will do the job and do it right. Perhaps he even suspects that the "chosen one" is a villain. However it goes, he's not chosen, but he seizes his destiny and makes of it what he will, no matter what anyone says.
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Old 2010-06-29, 23:10   Link #17
james0246
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The first film I thought of, after reading the OP, was Ron Howard's Willow...

Ahiru (and Fakir to an extent) from Princess Tutu fits your criteria. She is the main character, but she is not the "chosen one". But, she still tries with all her might to either defeat the big bad, or help to defeat the big bad (this is a very weak synopsis of this truly great anime series).

Legend of Basara. The main character is the twin sister of the "chosen one", but when her brother dies young, she cross-dresses as her brother, and attempts to complete his destiny even if he is dead...

Mahoujin Guru Guru? Technically the female witch Kukuri is the "chosen one", but she drags around the main character Nike and constantly calls him "Hero", forcing him to become an epic RPG hero despite any desire to the contrary he may have...

Tales of the Abyss? He's the prophesized one...but he's not...but he still eventually tries to become the prophesized one (or at least accomplish the prophesized one's task)...

Last edited by james0246; 2010-06-29 at 23:28.
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Old 2010-07-01, 00:51   Link #18
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Mixim works but I kinda already spoiled it a bit by posting that this manga fits the requirement oh well.
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Old 2010-07-01, 04:36   Link #19
Gordy Lechance
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Two Words.

Code. Geass.
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Old 2010-07-01, 05:35   Link #20
Seiryuu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boduar View Post
Mixim works but I kinda already spoiled it a bit by posting that this manga fits the requirement oh well.
I'll have to read it, but usually it doesn't matter that much imho. I mean, most shows make it pretty clear who the hero is early on; if the story centers on a boy who resists being labeled "hero", he's probably it, but if the story frequently runs from the point of view of a guy who doesn't trust the foretold hero or wants to make sure that the job gets done or that a certain person isn't hurt in the process, he's probably the one. You can usually tell, and the variation tends to fall more often in the area of how things turn out once the hero wins.

Also, I don't usually care that much if I know how it's going to end. After seeing a few shows that surprised me by turning from dark to darker to somebody-shoot-me depressing before bringing an ending filled with despair, I don't mind finding out beforehand that the good guys are going to win and that victory is not going to come at the price of destroying all that is good in the world.
Spoiler for example:


While not a fantasy hero story, some comparable character dynamics can be found in the manga Mei-chan no Shitsuji. This isn't spoiling much, but the thing starts out with the main girl reuniting with a butler who she'd seen as a hero in the past. She looks up to him and depends on him. Another boy doesn't trust him at all, and is jealous of his relationship with the girl of course, and decides that no matter what he's going to be there and protect her. There's no prophecy or anything, but circumstances set this one person up as the identified "prince" and the girl's knight in shining armor, while events seem to suggest that he's anything but. Note, I haven't read it all and I don't believe it's finished anyway. I'm only giving this as an example of the way the characters can interact and the way they are seen by each other and outsiders.
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