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Old 2011-08-19, 19:22   Link #41
Flower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
... stuff like in-jokes and common tropes.
I think this could be one reference point for a working definition of "pandering" ... but pandering has a negative connotation imo, and re-using a "trope" sometimes works for many diff reasons: method of presentation could be one, but also the love of the staff, director, etc. for the subject coming through can sometimes make something "work".

Maybe one example of this would be the "mosquito catching sequence" that appeared in Lucky Star and Nichijou ... both use very similar material and both shows are from the same studio, but (at least for me) it "worked". I also noticed very few people mentioning it in the Nichijou thread here after it aired....

One could argue where the reason for something working comes from, but there are occasions where using tropes does "work". So maybe demanding solely on originality as a criteria might be stepping into dangerous territory. Even originality as an end in and of itself can (and for me often does) wind up in failure - for me the atonal music of European/American classical music composers from the 40's-60's is a stark example of this.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:34   Link #42
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I have to disagree with you here.

If the author of the work didn't intend it to be pandering, then it's not.

For example, Rei was intended to creep out the viewer (which certainly isn't pandering). It was entirely unintentional on Anno's part for her to inspire an insanely popular character type.
In that, I was referring to the use of mecha tropes and just because they common to the genre in no way justifies their use on its own.

It's just like how if people said Kirino from Ore no Imouto acts a certain way because she's a tsundere; that doesn't help you just because we realize it's a certain trope.


And something I think that blasting a lot of the show's budget off was definitely intentional, but of course it's hardly a bad thing either...

I mean when you see good action scenes, I could care less about them giving what people want.

As for Rei, hmm, oh yea that debacle. >.> *Switch to serious* Well, that's just misaimed fandom to the max, I guess.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:37   Link #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flower View Post
I think this could be one reference point for a working definition of "pandering" ... but pandering has a negative connotation imo, and re-using a "trope" sometimes works for many diff reasons: method of presentation could be one, but also the love of the staff, director, etc. for the subject coming through can sometimes make something "work".
Tropes are perfectly legitimate literary mechanisms. I'm not saying that writers should actively avoid tropes, and such a thing is likely even impossible.

But... and this is hard to convey, but I'll try anyway... I can kind of tell when a show is just a mechanical assemblage of tropes with little thought to how they help serve the broader narrative or theme (and pretty much without exception, from what I've seen at least, such mechanical assemblages arise from excessive pandering). I can also kind of tell when tropes are being used judiciously, to serve the broader work.

The tropes exist to serve the narrative and its characters, the narrative doesn't exist to showcase the tropes. That's they key, in my opinion. Well, with the possible exception of a comedy, anyway.


Quote:
One could argue where the reason for something working comes from, but there are occasions where using tropes does "work".
Oh, certainly.


Quote:
So maybe demanding solely on originality as a criteria might be stepping into dangerous territory.
Of course.

I'm just saying that it's generally good to aim for originality in at least some aspects of a creative work. Things that are totally generic usually don't get noticed, after all.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:38   Link #44
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Tropes exist because they work. No one complains about the fact Macbeth dies at the end of Macbeth being predictable, it's a tragedy. That's what tragedies are all about.

In fact if you go back all the way to Greek Drama, it did a fair amount of pandering as well. Greek Drama was written quite strictly to formula, and works that deviated too far were considered terrible. Invariably the playwright has to give the audience something they want, or else the audience isn't going to want to see it. Shakespeare, for all his acclaim, always gave the audience what they wanted and never wrote a thing with a particularly original plot.

I'll echo Flower's remarks about Atonal music, sure it's original, it also doesn't sound like music.

Authors who are too obsessed with originality often end out committing the sin of looking down on their audience. Audiences are usually better then you think at sussing out what is good, and what isn't.

For instance, if you compare Rotten Tomatoes to "popular opinion"(EG IMDB) there is only rarely a large dissagreement about the quality of something.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:40   Link #45
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Tropes exist because they work. No one complains about the fact Macbeth dies at the end of Macbeth being predictable, it's a tragedy. That's what tragedies are all about.

In fact if you go back all the way to Greek Drama, it did a fair amount of pandering as well. Greek Drama was written quite strictly to formula, and works that deviated too far were considered terrible. Invariably the playwright has to give the audience something they want, or else the audience isn't going to want to see it. Shakespeare, for all his acclaim, always gave the audience what they wanted and never wrote a thing with an original plot.
Ah, and here's something I was trying to get out.

I should have reviewed Shakespeare to get the point across more. XD
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:42   Link #46
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Ah, and here's something I was trying to get out.

I should have reviewed Shakespeare to get the point across more. XD
I edited in "Shakespeare, for all his acclaim, always gave the audience what they wanted and never wrote a thing with a particularly original plot."

But you ninjaed me.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:46   Link #47
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I know more than a few cliche-ridden anime works that include plenty of fan pandering, and sold poorly.

I know relatively original works that include few cliches and have very little pandering. and sold great.

Heck, on your own list, Gurren Lagann sold very well. Guess that's one "spending risk" that paid off, eh?

Oh, and a new Last Exile is coming this fall. Hope you enjoy it.


In looking over the best selling anime shows of 2011, a fair number of them actually have very little pandering, or cliches (at least of the anime variety). Madoka Magica, Anohana, and Tiger and Bunny all sold very well, and I don't see that much pandering in either of them.
Well, of course these things aren't absolute. Just like how not all COD clones do well. However, enough of them do well enough to give an incentive to follow in their footsteps as opposed to do something risky.

I was initially kind of happy that they've started doing more light novel adaptations, but now I'm disappointed that pretty much 90% of the adaptations they are doing are the rom-com/harem ones.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:47   Link #48
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Tropes exist because they work. No one complains about the fact Macbeth dies at the end of Macbeth being predictable, it's a tragedy. That's what tragedies are all about.

In fact if you go back all the way to Greek Drama, it did a fair amount of pandering as well. Greek Drama was written quite strictly to formula, and works that deviated too far were considered terrible. Invariably the playwright has to give the audience something they want, or else the audience isn't going to want to see it. Shakespeare, for all his acclaim, always gave the audience what they wanted and never wrote a thing with a particularly original plot.
I disagree with this. Shakespeare actually broke with many of the established norms for theatrical performances of his time. That likely contributed to his popularity, and the lasting success of his work.

The truly great artists differentiate themselves from what is commonplace (at the time, at least).


Quote:
Authors who are too obsessed with originality often end out committing the sin of looking down on their audience.
Authors who never try to rise above the commonplace often never get noticed at all.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:48   Link #49
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
...But... and this is hard to convey, but I'll try anyway... I can kind of tell when a show is just a mechanical assemblage of tropes with little thought to how they help serve the broader narrative or theme (and pretty much without exception, from what I've seen at least, such mechanical assemblages arise from excessive pandering). I can also kind of tell when tropes are being used judiciously, to serve the broader work.
I know what you mean ... it IS a hard thing to articulate, but I think you have made a good stab at it here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
The tropes exist to serve the narrative and its characters, the narrative doesn't exist to showcase the tropes. That's they key, in my opinion. Well, with the possible exception of a comedy, anyway....
A good clarification of things in my opinion. It is not an "either/or" situation bit rather a "primary/secondary". Both are important, but it is a question of priorities.

****

So then the issue (for me) comes back around to the question of not necessarily what is wrong with the arts - the use of pandering, unoriginality and the rest have always been present throughout history (even in ancient Greek drama, as Don rightly reminds us).

It is easier to identify what is wrong, I think. And while this is good and perhaps even necessary to articulate, I think it is should occupy the "secondary" position in the primary/secondary paradigm mentioned above.

For me the primary issue is what can/should be done to make material better? Of course it is always easier to tell others what they should do, but I think the "audience" should form distinct opinions and help to make their opinions known to others as one way (albeit a small one) to help improve the ... erm ... "quality" of art that becomes available.

Also, I think there is another aspect to the problem and that is our own culpability in contributing to the problem. I am sure there is some material/art out there that contains elements that are part and parcel of what we see in general contributing to worsening a particular genre that we enjoy and help "feed the monster" in this way. I think we should be honest with ourselves in this regard.... Not trying to talk down to others or be "preachy" here (apologies if it comes across like that), but I think it is something we all should consider/remember when looking at the larger picture.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:49   Link #50
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
What if the viewing experience for some in the audience who has this specialized knowledge is reduced because they dislike the pandering? Is the pandering not then arguably harmful? It certainly is for at least these viewers with different taste.

I daresay that's the case for many of the old-school mecha fans that you mentioned before on this thread.
Good point, I had not considered that angle.

I was actually thinking of Macross Frontier, when that show aired a lot of old fans who hadn't watched anime in years returned to discuss it on forums and there was a lot of controversy about one of the girls (standard clumsy moe type) whose actions confused them.

But then there was also the alien pantsu hunt in high school in episode (dont ask) which pissed of new and old fans for being completely out of character of the show... So yeah, your right.
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Old 2011-08-19, 19:55   Link #51
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I disagree with this. Shakespeare actually broke with many of the established norms for theatrical performances of his time. That likely contributed to his popularity, and the lasting success of his work.

The truly great artists differentiate themselves from what is commonplace (at the time, at least).
Shakespeare certainly had his share of innovations, all great authors do, but my point was that he didn't try for complete originality, he still used the older norms as a base, he just expanded it, evolved it. Shakespeare was an evolutionary, rather then revolutionary figure. And he did always write to entertain, and he was quite definitely part of the "establishment".
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Old 2011-08-19, 20:04   Link #52
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You know what?

I find originality overrated. Mostly because of the grey area between uniqueness and absurdity. How about an anime where WWII fighter planes are turned into pantsless girls wearing mecha legs fighting aliens? Pretty original ain't it?

But I digress. Overexposure to any medium will often breed contempt through familiarity, usually because one becomes tired of seeing the same old thing over and over. The result is that people become so cynical toward clichés that uniqueness will often become a substitute for quality, when in reality bad writing is bad writing no matter how original or not something is. Speaking of which, fictional tropes have a tendency to be treated differently for anything watched earlier simply for the novelty to the viewer at the time--for example, compare the, er, critical reception of Azumanga Daioh to K-On!--but if one is willing to look hard enough they’ll be able to find stuff that walks the beaten path and look good doing it.
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Old 2011-08-19, 20:36   Link #53
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Originally Posted by Akito_Kinomoto View Post
You know what?

I find originality overrated.
And I think that you, and some others on this thread, are underrating it.

Would you want to never see something original, or truly different, ever again? Would you want to just watch nothing more than the same tired, old tropes for the rest of your life?

I know that I wouldn't. Which is why I support originality, and I don't think that it's overrated at all.


Edit: Looking over your anime favorites on your wall, two of the three your listed are Clannad: After Story and Time of Eve (I haven't seen the third, so I can't comment on that). I've seen both of them, and they're both pretty original, imo.

Clannad: After Story takes the VN romance narrative well beyond the point of consummation or the start of marriage, making it stand out in comparison to other VNs (or VN adaptations) that I'm aware of.

Time of Eve is a serious sci-fi story that addresses the issue of how the widespread existence and use of human-like server-robots would realistically play out in the real world. It subverts the common idea of "They'd turn against us" that we see in western fiction like The Terminator movies, and I. Robot. It's also one of the least pandering anime productions I've ever seen.

In any event, good taste. I share your love of these two, and in large part because they're very different from the norm, imo.
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Old 2011-08-19, 20:52   Link #54
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Hmm ... perhaps a working definition of originality may help here?

One dictionary defines it thus:

Quote:
1. the quality or state of being original

2. freshness of aspect, design, style

3. the power of independent thought or constructive imagination.
I think (and please correct me if I am wrong!) what Akito is primarily expressing dislike for is originality as an end in and of itself. That it has its place in the overall process and result of a work of art but should not be the primary focus.

I think what people hope for (and dislike seeing an absence of , especially if it seems "pre-processed" for purposes of mass consumption) begins to be expressed in points 2 and 3 above.

For me the fountainhead of those two aspects comes first and foremost out of an individual's personal life, growth, talents, experiences, etc.

I would even go a little further and say that perhaps our ability to identify such things is directly affected by our own personal life, growth, talents, experiences, etc.? This could get a little too subjective and involve finger pointing at others, but again I think it should be considered in the overall perspective of criticism of pandering and lack of originality as opposed to the rightful praise of a work where it is present.
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Old 2011-08-19, 21:17   Link #55
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I never said it didn't have otaku appeal. I said it wasn't otaku centric.
To me, otaku centric means that its appeals are entirely rooted in what otakus tend to like. That's simply not the case with Madoka Magica, as it holds appeal far beyond that alone.
The very premise of Madoka is reliant on the viewer being familiar with Mahou Shoujo works. How can it not be otaku-centric? Do you somehow think that it's designed for little girls?
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Generally speaking, though, smart businesses try to expand their customer base. You don't do that by only focusing on the customer base you already have.
:lol: Since when have anime ever been associated with smart businesses? More seriously, anime producers have no real idea of what will be a hit and what will sell.
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Pandering can lead into bad writing and direction, though. Attempts may be made to shoe-horn in a scene designed to pander to a certain group of fans, but by putting that scene in, the flow of the narrative is hindered, or inconsistent characterization is created, or plot holes begin to surface.
You've got it backwards: bad writing and bad direction will lead to bad pandering. If the writing and direction were good, then the pandering would also be good.
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A person can enjoy Madoka Magica without ever having watched a magical girl show previous to it. You don't have to be familiar with magical girl anime in order to follow the story of Madoka Magica, or understand its characters, or relate to its narrative.
Sure, people familiar with the magical girl genre will have a deeper, or at least different, appreciation for the show than those that don't, but familiarity with magical girl anime is not a prerequisite to watching/enjoying Madoka Magica.
Are you trying to say that the narrative behind Madoka isn't reliant on its viewers having certain preconceptions of what's going to happen to the magical girls? I find that a very dubious assertion.
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
A review of the most pandering anime ever, from yours truly
Bravo! A most cogently formulated review!
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I know more than a few cliche-ridden anime works that include plenty of fan pandering, and sold poorly.
I know relatively original works that include few cliches and have very little pandering. and sold great.
Heck, on your own list, Gurren Lagann sold very well. Guess that's one "spending risk" that paid off, eh?
Gurren Lagann panders like crazy.
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In looking over the best selling anime shows of 2011, a fair number of them actually have very little pandering, or cliches (at least of the anime variety). Madoka Magica, Anohana, and Tiger and Bunny all sold very well, and I don't see that much pandering in either of them.
I haven't been watching Tiger and Bunny, but Anohana panders like crazy as well. Did you think that it was a coincidence that so many of the popular anime character archetype were hit on by the cast of that show?
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The thing is. How do we distinguish between what is pandering to the audience and pandering to the otakus? One may argue that the audience and otaku are the same thing, but I don't think this is also the case, especially when it comes to notamina historically.
Basically, if a story element only works for otaku, then that's who it panders towards. I don't really think that there's any difference. Nor do I think that there's anything negative about that.
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To me, there's a difference between trying to be entertaining in a general sense, and pandering to a specific audience with stuff like in-jokes and common tropes.
For example, the "Survival Strategy!" sequence in Mawaru Penguindrum isn't pandering to anybody in particular (yes, it references Sailor Moon briefly, but you don't have to get that to enjoy the sequence): It's just trying to look awesome and cool (and succeeding, imo).
While the "Seizon Senryaku!" sequence isn't a specific reference to anything, Penguindrum does a fair bit of pandering as well. If you want an example of a show that doesn't do any of that, you're better off picking something like Hourou Musuko.

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Time of Eve is a serious sci-fi story that addresses the issue of how the widespread existence and use of human-like server-robots would realistically play out in the real world. It subverts the common idea of "They'd turn against us" that we see in western fiction like The Terminator movies, and I. Robot. It's also one of the least pandering anime productions I've ever seen..
Time of Eve is I, Robot. It's just based on the original Asimov short stories rather than the Will Smith movie.
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Old 2011-08-19, 21:20   Link #56
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But I digress. Overexposure to any medium will often breed contempt through familiarity, usually because one becomes tired of seeing the same old thing over and over. The result is that people become so cynical toward clichés that uniqueness will often become a substitute for quality, when in reality bad writing is bad writing no matter how original or not something is. Speaking of which, fictional tropes have a tendency to be treated differently for anything watched earlier simply for the novelty to the viewer at the time--for example, compare the, er, critical reception of Azumanga Daioh to K-On!--but if one is willing to look hard enough they’ll be able to find stuff that walks the beaten path and look good doing it.
I second this. Also, exposure to the really high quality materials might also "boost up" the lower threshold people can take, and could potentially impair their objectivity.
I watched tsukihime and liked it...until I go read the VN and came to know the Nasuverse. Same thing happened with Higurashi where I watched the anime before even knowing Ryuuksihi.

Regarding originality. Every material in existence has been used before and will again in the future. What differs is only its presentation. Mix-matching, subversion, inversion, reboot, basically any kind of creativity in recycling old materials to create something new. Though you can say "originality" is "that new formula nobody has tried before".
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Old 2011-08-19, 21:27   Link #57
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I think Tatami Galaxy is an example of a show that doesn't pander to Otaku. It is about things that a lot of Otaku would be familiar with, however. The opposite would be Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which is filled with Otaku pandering. Both are perfectly good.

Pandering is not necessarily bad, most Mecha is inherently Pandering. All the elaborate transformation sequences and missile ballet are pandering to mechheads that often has little bearing on the plot, but it wouldn't be mecha without it.

There are a fair number of shows outside the Anime "mainstream" that don't pander to Otaku, not all of them are neccessarily good though.
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Old 2011-08-19, 21:30   Link #58
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Hmm ... after re-reading the thread I begin to wonder again about the use of the word "pandering" being used too easily or lightly.

Whether or not something is similar to another work is one question in and of itself. No doubt there will be cross-overs and similarities - that is just how the arts in general have been over the centuries, I think, and I don't think that is going to change, and I don't think it is necessarily "bad". These are "tropes", and I don't think that the larger percentage of them are in and of themselves bad - as others have mentioned before they are "artistic devices" for the specific medium one is creating a work in.

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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
....Pandering is not necessarily bad....
Agreed.

In a broad general definition, I'd hazard that a large aspect of "pandering" (perhaps not the only one, mind you) is when a "trope" is done badly, or cheaply, or where it feels (i.e. this involving one's personal perception and tastes to a degree) the folks involved in producing the work took the "easy road" priorities wise.

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Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
...exposure to the really high quality materials might also "boost up" the lower threshold people can take, and could potentially impair their objectivity....

Regarding originality. Every material in existence has been used before and will again in the future. What differs is only its presentation. Mix-matching, subversion, inversion, reboot, basically any kind of creativity in recycling old materials to create something new. Though you can say "originality" is "that new formula nobody has tried before".
Good points ... although I would add that originality does not necessarily only involve a use of new and unused before materials for a work - that can still be done badly. For me the primary importance of a work is whether or no it is done well and done with love of the subject matter.
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Old 2011-08-19, 21:46   Link #59
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Hmm ... after re-reading the thread I begin to wonder again about the use of the word "pandering" being used too easily or lightly.
No, it's used about correctly. While there's a negative connotation attached to the word, it isn't necessarily negative.

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In a broad general definition, I'd hazard that a large aspect of "pandering" (perhaps not the only one, mind you) is when a "trope" is done badly, or cheaply, or where it feels (i.e. this involving one's personal perception and tastes to a degree) the folks involved in producing the work took the "easy road" priorities wise.
Pandering and tropes are two relatively separate concepts. Pandering is about catering to the desires of the audience in some way. This is often done by referencing another work, but fanservice is also a form of pandering. Tropes (as detestable a word as that is) is about common story elements that are injected into works.
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Old 2011-08-19, 21:48   Link #60
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I think the claim of Pandering comes in when the producers put more effort into satisfying the desires of core fans then into producing a coherent work with decent plotting etc.

So in Moé it's the insertion of beach episodes even though it has no place in the plot, just so that they can show the female leads in a scantily clad manner.

In Mecha it would be the continuous introduction of new mecha models every episode, and concentrating more on the arms race and the boys and their cool toys then on keeping the whole thing coherent (Gundam 00 is particularly guilty of this).

It's when the priorities of the producers grow too out of line with the "man on the street" casual viewer.

Another case where you could clearly level an accusation of "pandering" is if the thing is an overly blatant case of wish fulfillment. EG the way every Harem show features a dull stupid male lead with throngs of girls falling over themselves for him. Or the well known "Mary Sue".

Mary Sue's are reviled because they're pandering of the worst kind, they're pandering to the author himself, the author has grown so attached to the character that (s)he has made him/her amazing and beyong all moral reproach. It's particularly bad because Mary Sues are often stand ins for the author themselves. People also hate Mary Sues because deep down we hate people who are "perfect", and even more so if the bad author is talking about the character as if they are perfect, while the audience judging her by her own in-universe actions disagree. You can see this with Mecha fandom's general dislike of Kira "Jesus" Yamato.

We like people who are flawed, but are always trying to do the right thing. The only exception is in Heroic works, where you can more easily get away with it because the emphasis is on feats of daring do. But if you start focussing on their perfectness over their feats of daring do even Hero fans will begin to cry foul.
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