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Old 2012-05-06, 09:33   Link #1
Kaioshin Sama
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Shonen Action Anime (Like it or Hate It)

I'd been considering make this topic for a while, but hadn't had that much of a drive until recently this week. Here's the scoop, I've noticed that there seems to be a certain attitude in the anime community, not held by all, but noticeable enough to be able to pick out as a trend in my eyes, that anything pertaining to shonen action stylings is automatically for the worse, "cliche" (I see this word thrown around a lot, but pretty much only pertaining to shonen anime) and reliant on "asspull" plot twists that apparently just makes for bad anime in general. I've also picked up on an attitude that Shonen anime is something you are supposed to graduate from and leave behind for what are seen as more "mature" genre's like "slice of life", drama and romance never to return or to show any enthusiasm for lest you come across as someone that enjoys "kiddie" or "brainless" anime.

As someone who isn't really all that averse to Shonen Action anime and in fact still enjoys it I've found this attitude a little puzzling and hard to get to the bottom of, so that's why I wanted to start this topic for people to just share views and opinions on Shonen Action anime since it's otherwise extremely difficult to get people to be open, detailed and honest as to what exactly they like or don't like about the genre and what specifically makes it too "cliche" for them to be able to enjoy if it's the case.
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Old 2012-05-06, 09:45   Link #2
MisaoFan
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For what I see, I like shounen action shows, it's one of my favorite genres. While shounen has a variety of genres (not just action and fighting) and it's labelled as a demographic rather than a genre, I am one of many females who truly love shounen. But not all action shounen are "childish" or "brainless" like you said, there's plenty of "mature" and "smartful" ones, like Fullmetal Alchemist. Many action shounen these days can use themes that are very unique to me. Action shounen shows focuses pretty much on the value of friendship, love, comradeship and anything "positive" and "vital" that makes young teenage males to work very hard through the friendly tension. If cliches work well, then a good action shounen would be accessible to anyone, but if they work too badly, it won't be liked by anyone (unless you are hardcore action shounen fan).
On the other side, I used to watch the long-running ones, like Naruto and Hunter X Hunter, but nowadays it looks too boring to me. That's why I can easily access to the short-running action shounens.
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Old 2012-05-06, 10:19   Link #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
I'd been considering make this topic for a while, but hadn't had that much of a drive until recently this week. Here's the scoop, I've noticed that there seems to be a certain attitude in the anime community, not held by all, but noticeable enough to be able to pick out as a trend in my eyes, that anything pertaining to shonen action stylings is automatically for the worse, "cliche" (I see this word thrown around a lot, but pretty much only pertaining to shonen anime) and reliant on "asspull" plot twists that apparently just makes for bad anime in general. I've also picked up on an attitude that Shonen anime is something you are supposed to graduate from and leave behind for what are seen as more "mature" genre's like "slice of life", drama and romance never to return or to show any enthusiasm for lest you come across as someone that enjoys "kiddie" or "brainless" anime.

As someone who isn't really all that averse to Shonen Action anime and in fact still enjoys it I've found this attitude a little puzzling and hard to get to the bottom of, so that's why I wanted to start this topic for people to just share views and opinions on Shonen Action anime since it's otherwise extremely difficult to get people to be open, detailed and honest as to what exactly they like or don't like about the genre and what specifically makes it too "cliche" for them to be able to enjoy if it's the case.
It's quite difficult for most, if not all viewers not to generalize shonen animes as cliche. First, the power-up aspect. When the characters are losing, they will experience a new form of power because they cannot just be killed off. I am not saying that this happens in all shonen animes, but quite frequently. Then there's the friendship and comrade thingy that Misaofan mentions. Heroes in shonen animes are always accompanied by a bunch of nakamas, and the theme of comrade runs strong with the nakamas. This is just my opinion, but I would say the true problem lies with ppl's perception of what a shonen anime is. I have many friends who claim that they like shonen anime and manga, but when I ask them to name the title they are following, it's Bleach, Naruto, or Fairy Tail. Do you get what I'm trying to say? These big titles have become so popular that it has become the very definition of what a shonen anime/manga is about. These big titles run along the same line-power, friendship,evil bosses that come one after another. As a result, other shonen animes/mangas with very different themes from the popular ones are stereotyped and generalized.

As for your concern about ppl graduating from shonen anime to something more "mature", I guess you can compare it to watching Power Rangers or any cartoons featuring heroes. When you are a child, it is common to watch cartoons with superheroes in it and purchasing water guns and playing heroes game with your neighbours or friends. Applying it in the context of shonen anime/manga, perhaps there is a misconception that shonen stuff is just for kids/teenagers. To some ppl, shonen stuff represents childhood, similar to how they perceive super heroes cartoon. Perhaps they feel that when you are an adult, you should no longer stuck in the past and play heroes. You should move on to something that has more depth, so that it signifies your status as an adult and no longer seen as childish.
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Old 2012-05-06, 10:24   Link #4
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The problem is that nowadays, action shounen is associated with idiot hero, doing dumb things that makes people facepalm as they have grown older. Girls are often reduced to eye candy, not like the opposite, as demonstrated by the Nanoha franchise, where males are reduced to non-factor is better, in fact this opposite is just as bad.

When you talk about action shounen in a less than favourable light to any fan, people tends to think "Dragon Ball Z", or "Naruto". They think idioic heroes that never shut up and screams all the time, they think training and tournament episodes, they think power creep. It's also unfair to think that those who moved to greener pastures are somehow unable to acknowledge the better entries of the genre such as Hunter x Hunter, Full Metal Alchemist or Jojo's Bizarre Adventures, and also Hokuto no Ken that is still a shounen in despite of its graphic violence. Those mentioned shounen are the classic or hit big because they offered much more than the usual. And this could be said about any of the great hits of any other genre. I mean Aria is regarded as one fo the top in its category because it offered something more, as a result, it will be the measuring stick to which one measure the value of a slice-of-life anime. Cyberpunk series will be compared to either Akira, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex or Lain. Etc...
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Old 2012-05-06, 17:04   Link #5
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Shounen does involve a lot of tropes, and like any other trope, you got bored after seeing it over and over again. And some grow up watching these, so they have a lot of exposure to the trope.
Shounen tends to be simplistic in its way of presenting things, so indeed as one grow older one will want to have more "challenging" shows.

But, just because they're simple and cliched doesn't mean they're wrong. It IS important to treasure your friend. Staying true to one noble ideals even if met with pitiful end IS a sign of strength. It's just that because in shonen these endeavors are generally rewarded big time (unlike irl) which made some people belittles them.

People who holds such highly "shonen"-ish view tends to be called a fool irl. But they're the fool who've never lost to themselves. Personally I admire them, because I know I'm too weak to become that guy.
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Old 2012-05-06, 20:05   Link #6
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It depends on which part of the community you talk to. Shounen Action has relative mainstream success in the Western Anime Fandom. If you talk to more "mainstream" fans, I would expect you would see a much different opinion of shounen action.

If you talk to a part of the community that doesn't like shounen action, you will receive a negative viewpoint on shounen action. If you talk to people who like shounen action, you will receive a positive viewpoint on it. Most people are extremely irrational, and thus you will get a lot of irrationally negative or positive viewpoints.

As for the growing out of it thing. A lot of fans in the West were introduced to anime by Naruto and other shounen action series, but discovered genres of anime they liked more. Thus they think shounen action is something one grows out of, because they more or less grew out of shounen action themselves.
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Old 2012-05-06, 21:03   Link #7
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Many people were probably exposed to shounen first and most likely something like DBZ, which causes people to stereotype the genre as something that is ridiculously drawn out and filled with filler, though certain other popular entries certainly haven't helped with this image. On the other hand, it may just be because a lot of people are falling out of the intended audience range.

Though asspulls are hardly unique to this type of show.

Personally, I guess my experience with it has never been the best; I've never been one to be able to keep up with large series and the manga is just frequently more entertaining. If you complain that DBZ takes ages to end a fight, just flip through the manga. Certainly shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, HnK, or Hunter x Hunter are more fun, but they tend to be the exception to me.

On the other hand, the most common shounen tropes tend to have a strong relationship with classic video games and leads to great moments in both, so it's not like I can really dismiss any of it as bad, as long as it isn't overdone.
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Old 2012-05-06, 21:15   Link #8
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Well I think most people's annoyance with shounen action is because some fans think that is all there is to anime.

Shounen was definitely what I started with. The first anime I really got into was DBZ, then Inuyasha. Shortly after I discovered Yu Yu Hakusho & Rurouni Kenshin (thanks to Toonami). If it wasn't for these series perhaps I wouldn't be an anime fan today.

However there is much more to anime than shounen action and as much as I enjoyed the above titles, I am very glad I discovered there is much more to anime than that. So yes I guess it is a sort of graduation in my mind. I think if you are only experiencing shounen then you are missing out on a lot of amazing titles.

As for shounen itself as I said in another thread I tend to like the shounen formula or I like the themes that shounen has. I love coming of age stories, I love the theme of believing in yourself. I love stories about friendship and relying on others. I think all these themes are abundant in shounen.

Of course as I also said in another thread the long length of a lot of shounen action deters me. When I started as an anime fan long series were what I was first introduced to, but now adays I like a story that does not drag on. Of course go figure One Piece is still one of my favorite titles and that is nowhere near finished. But as long as One Piece is, I never felt it it ever dragged on. It's not perfect but I am still enjoying it immensely. Still for every One Piece there are so many more shounen action titles that do go on way past their due. Hence I feel when I was reading more shounen action I had a higher rate of disappointment & frustration than I did with other series.

To conclude my favorite manga is Fullmetal Alchemist (although I would argue that it is more shounen adventure than shounen action). So even though I might have graduated from shounen action that doesn't mean there are not shounen action titles I am still incredibly fond of.
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Old 2012-05-06, 21:45   Link #9
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It's one of the best genres, and probably holds up to repeat viewing/reading better than any other genre. I've read through One Piece a ridiculous amount of times. I've read through Hunter X Hunter several times, watched the series, and now I'm watching and enjoying the new series. Kenshin, again, watched it several times. Fullmetal Alchemist, read it, watched both series. The shonen formula gives room for tons of very powerful themes and has a personal connection (at least for me) greater than any other genre.

And even when it doesn't quite reach those heights, for example Naruto and Bleach, it's usually still a fun watch/read anyway. At least until it goes off the rails like Bleach did.
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Old 2012-05-06, 22:17   Link #10
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shounen is a popular and an attractive genre for someone who has just started watching animes , but then after watching lot of shounen animes it starts getting little boring to see the similar thing again
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Old 2012-05-06, 22:44   Link #11
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Well I think most people's annoyance with shounen action is because some fans think that is all there is to anime.
I think THIS quote here sums up what is the problem with the topic on Shounen Action Anime.
It's not about the anime series per se, it's about the narrow-mindedness of its most avid fans.
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Old 2012-05-06, 22:52   Link #12
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Some shounen really does get repetitive and predictable, but that doesn't represent the whole genre. A lot of shounen can really be fairly mature. Would you call Death Note kiddie stuff? Or even something like Shippuden, with less serious and more lighthearted roots? And somehow, I can still find those that are overly repetitive and predictable somewhat enjoyable. I still find One Piece's themes to be emotional and timeless, even though you can pretty much sort every one of it's story arcs into the same mold.
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Old 2012-05-06, 23:10   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
I think THIS quote here sums up what is the problem with the topic on Shounen Action Anime.
It's not about the anime series per se, it's about the narrow-mindedness of its most avid fans.
Let's be fair here. There is always a vocal minority of fans of any anime genre, be it shounen action or moe or mecha(although some mecha shows have lots in common with shounen action) that can be narrow-minded. I don't choose to categorize the fans of shounen action shows in such a sweeping generalization.

Myself, I don't care for shounen action that much and I suppose it has a lot to do with the convenient power-ups in some of the most popular ones or the incredibly bad plotting(like a lot of shows that Yoshino wrote. *stares at Guilty Crown*) or the endless filler. I guess I have almost always felt that way because while a lot of people started on DBZ or Naruto or Bleach, I started my anime watching by seeing Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell and to this day, that remains one of my favorite anime ever. Of course, the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is what made me passionate about anime and wanting to watch as much as I could.

I suppose it all comes down to personal taste. For some people, shounen action is what they like best while for myself, I prefer slice of life shows or shounen romance(although I do watch more than just that). It's just how I am.
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Old 2012-05-06, 23:47   Link #14
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Originally Posted by lml99 View Post
Some shounen really does get repetitive and predictable, but that doesn't represent the whole genre. A lot of shounen can really be fairly mature. Would you call Death Note kiddie stuff? Or even something like Shippuden, with less serious and more lighthearted roots? And somehow, I can still find those that are overly repetitive and predictable somewhat enjoyable. I still find One Piece's themes to be emotional and timeless, even though you can pretty much sort every one of it's story arcs into the same mold.
i believe Death note is not the shounen this thread are talking about here. this thread is talking about long-running action shounen like bleach, one piece and naruto, which is filled with filler,repetitive, predictable and not as mature as some other anime genre.

for me, i don't like long-running shounen because the real plot is always lost after about 50 episode, after that it will most likely become repetitive and dragged out filler. but i still like shorter-running and more mature shounen like Toaru Majutsu no Index
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Old 2012-05-06, 23:50   Link #15
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I'm not really generalizing every single fan of shonen action anime to act that way, but you can't help but think that these fans need to watch more shows if you're always hearing them go, "Naruto is the best show ever, believe it!" or "I want to be the best ninja in the whole world like Naruto". These kinds of fans really tick me off sometimes.
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Old 2012-05-07, 00:05   Link #16
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I feel it is not needed to rag on fans for having limited viewings. Not everyone likes to venture outside their comfort zones and since anime fandom in general is already stigmatized, it's not really a good idea to create more divisions that can come across as elitist.

It'd be like if someone came to you and say Gundam Wing is DA bomb and you say they haven't watched enough Gundam and they should watch UC Gundam asap. Or if someone comes to you and says Angel Beats or Ano Hana is the saddest animu ever and you tell them to go watch some real drama, etc. Or that someone only watches modern anime and needs to watch the classic "real" anime. People only have so much time, after all.

It's very partonizing to hear from someone that you need to "outgrow" something like shounen, anime in general, or whatever the hell it is.
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Old 2012-05-07, 02:31   Link #17
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I think there needs to be a middle road option regarding one's disposition to any genre of fiction instead of the Either Or fallacy. Not that Action Shonen is a subset of a kind of story more than it is an action story intended for a certain demographic but I "get" the general implications associated with that phrase. Thus I think that in order to better classify Action Shonen you would literally need to see if the work in question satisfies the condition of being an action title and is aimed primarily at...well whatever the demographic for shonen encompasses. Every other stereotype associated with this genre can be discarded as far as I'm concerned. I mean would anybody believe me if I said A Certain Scientific Railgun, Angelic Layer, Tsubasa RESERvoir CHRoNiCLE, or Negima! were Action Shonen works? No you probably wouldn't believe me. I think that when you broaden what Action Shonen is beyond the stigma generated by DBZ and the ilk you might find you like it more than you think. At least I do.

However, if I were to define my opinion on Action Shonen based on its many stereotypes then I guess as far as "getting into" the series I'm usually apprehensive about it. Once I give it a fair shot, what I think of the Action Shonen work in question depends more on its execution. For example, I really like yuri titles as far as "ease of entry" goes but beyond that my ratings for yuri manga are hardly consistent as I've noticed. That's just me though.

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Old 2012-05-07, 11:09   Link #18
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There are a few of them I do really like....even though the idiotic cliches during fight scenes majorly piss me off. XD

I'm a character-lover so no matter what the genre, if I like the cast, I'll love the show. And some shounen battle scenes are indeed quite epic in their own right. You just feel the urge to pump your fist in the air and scream "YEEEEEEEAH!!!" just like the little boys in Japan who are doing the exact same thing at the exact same scene.

They really bring out your 'inner child', I think. And it's fun! It's fun when you find yourself that positively worked up over a fictional piece...because that's when you realize the creators successfully did their job.
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Old 2012-05-07, 12:18   Link #19
Kirarakim
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
I feel it is not needed to rag on fans for having limited viewings. Not everyone likes to venture outside their comfort zones and since anime fandom in general is already stigmatized, it's not really a good idea to create more divisions that can come across as elitist.
Suggesting to someone that there is more out there is not the same as ragging. Certainly I am thankful that I was exposed to many different things anime could be.

If I thought it was just shounen action I might have gotten tired of anime by now. Instead I still like shounen action but I have broadened my horizions as well.
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Old 2012-05-07, 12:20   Link #20
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Some people like AbZeroNow, instead of just starting watching mainstream action shounen like most children do, start watching something else (Ghost in the Shell !? ).
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