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Old 2012-06-17, 21:30   Link #21
Qilin
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No offense to anyone, but something about this just rubs me the wrong way. Why does there have to be such a divide between the male and female experience? As many have already stated, a vast majority of human experience is independent of gender distinctions. By that logic, it would be impossible to relate to any character that isn't exactly identical to the viewer. It's no different from asking why people watch anime when the main characters are Japanese, (assuming the viewer is non-Japanese).

Immersion in a fictional work is much more than just inserting one's self into a story, and a protagonist is not just a vessel for the viewer to experience the story through. Much of the beauty of it comes from understanding other perspectives and ideas. That's why I actually like having different sorts of protagonists in my stories.
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Old 2012-06-17, 21:34   Link #22
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Wow, Classified. It seems that you’ve become the center of attention here . It’s okay though, some taste just can’t change no matter how far you push it. Just like me who just can’t like any gastropod-oriented food (like escargot) no matter how far I try. Well, I’ve known you since your first post here in animesuki. You also addressed this issue in your initial thread, so I know that you’ve been trying to understand other kind of protagonists and other kinds of anime genre.

Maybe the key for you to enjoy magical girl genre is to watch it when you don’t feel the need to sub into the main character. Thus, you can view it just like any other entertainment. For you, that might become the first step for trying to enjoy magical girl genre. For that, I personally like a more action oriented magical girl like Magic Knight Rayearth and Nanoha where those anime didn’t go like “Love Wave defeats Evil Ray! Kyaa kyaaa“ or any other stuff which is “too childish” or “too feminine” for you.

As for Triple R's suggestion to watch Negima!, Since you're into manga now, I think you'd better read the manga coz it has better story and artwork. So, good luck for you, Classified .
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Old 2012-06-17, 21:53   Link #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classified Info View Post
@Coldlight: Ye well, as i was saying before, this is where the problem lies: i like girls so much that if i were a girl, i would be lesbian;
Well there you go,maybe you could try getting into Yuri manga/anime?

But still this explenation only covers a very specific example in the romance genre,anime is a whole lot wider than that,your explenation doesn't cover an action show like Claymore for example
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Old 2012-06-17, 23:36   Link #24
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What you should be thankful for is that you're at least making the effort to watch and enjoy anime with female protagonists. If you keep this mindset, I can see it becoming easier for you to connect with female protagonists. Some guys may not even reach the stage you are already in, completely eliminating anything with a lot of female characters, and not willing to admit that they could afford to be a little more open-minded.

As for me, I might have a similar problem. There was a stage in my teen years when I was ashamed of being male, and I had this silly impression that women had it better in life. I cultivated an interest in anything traditionally associated with women, such as skirts, gracefulness, long hair, and "girly" anime (many of which were actually aimed at males!).

I've mostly recovered from that, and now I'm even proud to be a man, but I'd be lying if this didn't affect how I am now. Stuff like Madoka Magica is easy for me to get into, and I even gravitate towards media with a lot of female characters, although it's mostly because I'm attracted to women now. I have more trouble connecting with "tough-guy" male characters (the type that wants to solve every problem by fighting, cannot cook to save his life, and is always loud and hot-blooded) than I do with most female characters.
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Old 2012-06-18, 06:40   Link #25
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Originally Posted by totoum View Post
But still this explanation only covers a very specific example in the romance genre,anime is a whole lot wider than that,your explanation doesn't cover an action show like Claymore for example
I had rather the same reaction as totoum, that you might benefit from watching a few shows with strong female protagonists in action-adventure settings rather than magical-girl shows. You might find it easier to identify with the women in shows like these since they often have a mix of female and male characteristics.

I'd recommend Seirei no Moribito as a possible entry point. The heroine is a 30-year-old bodyguard who becomes the guardian of an endangered 12-year-old prince. Her profession and some aspects of her upbringing often make it seem as if she's a man inside a woman's body, but the novelist cleverly forces her to deal with her femininity by placing her in a nurturing and protective role. Some of that same duality appears in Claymore, where the heroine Clare, a demon-fighter, is accompanied by a teen-aged boy for a good portion of the story. Unlike Balsa's rather maternal relationship to young Chagum, there's a bit more romance in the relationship between Clare and Raki.

The classic Juuni Kokki ("Twelve Kingdoms") also falls into this category though the masculine-feminine duality isn't really prominent the way it is in Moribito. Nevertheless it would be hard not to identify with Yuuko and admire her transformation from a timid "good-girl" character into a powerful and decisive young woman.

I'll also suggest Shion no Ou and Nijuu Mensou no Musume as quality shows with strong girls in non-traditional roles.

Despite my gender I actually appreciate shows with female protagonists more than I do shows with men in the leading roles. Some of this comes from (single-handedly) raising a daughter, but also because female protagonists offer the possibility for more complex dramatic development. Heroines often face the dual problem of confronting their antagonists while at the same time dealing with sexism and patriarchal expectations concerning womens' roles. The excellent Saiunkoku Monogatari puts issues like these in the center of the story, and it has romance to boot.
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Old 2012-06-19, 21:00   Link #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempester View Post
I have more trouble connecting with "tough-guy" male characters (the type that wants to solve every problem by fighting, cannot cook to save his life, and is always loud and hot-blooded) than I do with most female characters.
I tend to think that "tough guy" persona role model is and has always been "full of shit" - despite my looks, demeanor, and activities. I've always found that sort of "man" limited and distasteful (like the military men George C. Scott (Turgidson) and Sterling Hayden (Ripper) portrayed in Dr. Strangelove). If you look at the cinema even in the 20th Century - the most popular leading men played heroes who were complex creatures who didn't "solve" everything with a baseball bat. Being unable to project oneself into a female role brings up questions about how one perceives women as human beings to begin with.
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Old 2012-06-20, 00:00   Link #27
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Hayden and Scott in Dr. Strangelove

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Old 2012-06-20, 16:50   Link #28
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I am very curious about the idea of 'putting yourself into the main characters position' as it is described in the OP.

I never do this, even if the MC is a guy. I always take the third person perspective and if I wanted to insert myself into the story it would always be as an addition to the existing cast, not as a substitution for any of the characters.
The only exception may be books that are written strictly in the first person perspective and don't give away much to define the MC. But in visual media this is just impossible to me.

So to those of you, that do this: How does it work?
You have no control over the MC. If the MC does something you would not have done in that way, doesn't that break the immersion?
Aren't you bound by the storyline? If you take on an already written role, what is the difference between just watching the movie and inserting yourself in it?

It's hard for me to grasp this concept. I couldn't keep it up for more than a few minutes.


On a sidenote, my 3rd person stance is why I prefer female MCs. I just care more for females than for males, can't help it, it's in my genes or something.
And if I'm adding myself as addition to the cast, there is a detailed characterized female already in there, which is also a plus.
If the MC is a guy however... it's harder to get me hooked. Not impossible though.
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Old 2012-06-20, 17:34   Link #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhomochevsky View Post
I am very curious about the idea of 'putting yourself into the main characters position' as it is described in the OP.

I never do this, even if the MC is a guy. I always take the third person perspective and if I wanted to insert myself into the story it would always be as an addition to the existing cast, not as a substitution for any of the characters.
The only exception may be books that are written strictly in the first person perspective and don't give away much to define the MC. But in visual media this is just impossible to me.

So to those of you, that do this: How does it work?
I don't always do this, but frequently I do. I'll try to get into how much of the entertainment industry aims for exactly this, and "how it works".

Much of the modern entertainment industry (especially out of Hollywood) is designed around what I call "The Touch-Point Approach". The Touch-Point Character is the character (often, but not always, the main character) that the targeted viewer will hopefully find easy to relate to, and hence live vicariously through (the Touch-Point Approach being that you appeal to a Target Demographic by having a Touch-Point Character that is a member of that demographic).

The idea isn't to make the targeted viewer agree with everything that the touch-point character does - Just enough to ensure that the targeted viewer continues to relate to him, and root for him, and hence live vicariously through him (or her, as the case may be).

In my experience, most people have an easier time emotionally investing in characters that are like them (especially with respect to age, gender, and moral beliefs). This is why the everyman character type is common in fiction, and why there's a lot of "Yuji Everyleads" in anime (for good or for ill).

If "living vicariously through" sounds too strong to you, just replace it with "experiences the narrative through".

Part of it is a thought experiment - Put yourself in a character's shoes. Try to truly understand that character, and/or identify with him/her. A lot of people will tend to put themselves in a favorite character's shoes without even conscientiously intending to. It's often ideal if this favorite character is intended to have such an impact on viewers, because then the writer is able to account for it and create a possibly very deep immersive experience for the player/reader/viewer.


I'm honestly not surprised by Classified Info's posts on this thread. "Male leads for male viewers, female leads for female viewers, adult leads for adult viewers, teenage leads for teenage viewers, kid leads for kid viewers" is the way it tends to be done in North American entertainment, and so it can be hard for a lot of people to break out of that mode of thinking.

But breaking out of that mode of thinking is something that has to be done to fully enjoy anime, imo.
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Old 2012-06-20, 20:05   Link #30
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Or to put it more simply, if you enjoy the character, then you enjoy the character. There's not really much more to it than that. You can intellectualize it all you want, but in the end, you'll know when you enjoy them. And like I said, I was only keen on Sayaka (and even she wasn't really an exceptional character), but I still really liked Madoka Magica.
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Old 2012-06-20, 22:02   Link #31
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I sorta understand the self-insert thing through playing video games. As you know in a number of them, the main character is generally supposed to represent the player. So naturally this works for any game or visual novel adaptation. A number of harem romance anime are naturally suited to this too.]

But that's just really one way, and for the most part it's no longer what I look for in anime.
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Old 2012-06-20, 22:08   Link #32
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
In my experience, most people have an easier time emotionally investing in characters that are like them (especially with respect to age, gender, and moral beliefs).

But breaking out of that mode of thinking is something that has to be done to fully enjoy anime, imo.
If I had to follow this approach, I'd never be able to watch anime or most anything else like movies or read fiction.

Like Dhomochevsky I generally approach fictional material from the third-party perspective. If I had to inject myself into a protagonist's shoes to enjoy a story, my alternatives would be few. Show me an anime about 62-yo guys.

I can understand and appreciate a character's motivations, feelings, thoughts, judgements, etc., without having to project myself into the character himself. I'm generally tired of watching shows with teen-aged protagonists, but that's not because I can't identify with them personally. It's because most of the issues they face are ones I dealt with forty years ago. I can appreciate well-written shows about teen-aged angst like Sakamichi no Apollon, but I can't say I identify with Kaoru or Sen.

How do you handle something like historical fiction? Herman Wouk's War and Remembrance is one of my favorite novels, but I'm not a 40-ish naval officer in World War II nor a Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz. That doesn't mean I cannot appreciate these characters and try and understand them, but I certainly don't identify with them. Characters may say or do things that I might say or do in the same circumstances, but that doesn't translate into identifying with the character. It has more to do with commonalities in the nature of the human experience that we all share. I'm not sure I'd go as far as Jung who believed we all share common archetypes or a "collective consciousness" (though DNA research may someday provide some biochemical basis for his rather mystical beliefs), but humans do face common problems and share common motives. Things like the Catholic doctrine of the "seven deadly sins" is an early example of such commonalities. We all can be greedy, lustful, mendacious, and the like. What matters is how we, and in this context fictional humans, cope with these basic motivations and either succumb or transcend them as we pursue our lives.

Good fiction transcends mere self-identification by building a world and allowing you to understand how the characters relate to that world and to each other. I can appreciate how Yuuko grows as a character over the course of Junni Kokki and admire her development, but I don't identify with her. If self-identification were a requirement for appreciating fiction, I'd have a pretty narrow range of options available to me.

(Reading my post above on this page shows I used the word "identify" in the context of Yuuko's development, but that isn't really what I meant to say. Chalk it up to the demands of hasty writing that usually happens in forum postings. My comments here hew closer to my actual beliefs on the subject of identifying with characters.)
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Old 2012-06-20, 22:15   Link #33
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My preferences on whether to watch a Shoujo majou based anime or not is on the balance of male and female characters.... I want to note Sailormoon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka where the males takes part to the development of the mahou girls...You might say I'm after romance.. well kinda... that is something that make them special for me. . .
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Old 2012-06-20, 23:27   Link #34
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Like Dhomochevsky I generally approach fictional material from the third-party perspective. [...] If self-identification were a requirement for appreciating fiction, I'd have a pretty narrow range of options available to me.
I'm with you both on this one. While I can often identify with some of the issues the protagonists face, and can sometimes apply them to my own life, I don't really try to approach the story from their perspective. Even in stories where that is a forced part of the narrative (i.e. as Archon_Wing said, visual novels that are written in "first-person perpsective", or most narrative-driven video games), I usually take it more as "I'm witnessing the story from this perspective". In anime with a protagonist-driven narrative, I appreciate getting the perspective, as that can help me cheer for the protagonist and identify with their needs/concerns, but it's pretty hard to pretend they're me because they don't necessarily do what I would do (so I can only watch in horror as "I" act like an idiot ).

I suppose being able to appreciate perspectives that differ sharply from your own (and to see a story from multiple perspectives) is something that is easier for people as they get older and have more perspective on life and on people. As you alluded to as an example, as you get older you can probably more easily understand and appreciate the issues teenagers face and the way they may confront them than any teenager could at the time -- even if that makes it more frustrating to watch. So the need to have stories told from a perspective like your own is lessened because a) you have a better understanding of other people's points of view through your own life experiences, b) there's less stories written from your perspective anyway, and c) you may not even identify with people who are ostensibly "like you" as much as you might with other perspectives. (I know, even now, I have extremely little in common with most men my age, and it's been that way all my life.)
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Old 2012-06-21, 01:41   Link #35
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How many times in a visual novel or RPG have I said.... "all the choices are idiotic, where's a choice *I* would make"?

I can't even begin to play this "projection game" in an anime series or any other entertainment where there's no participatory input at all. I don't "project myself" into Bruce Willis because Bruce's characters don't do what I want them to do, no controller/mouse do I see o.O Nor do I "project myself" into Keitaro in Love Hina (though daydreaming about Motoko is another matter ).

I recognize the fact that production management *thinks* this is what the audience wants... that's why we get "white-washed" anime->hollywood adaptations... or Wesley Crusher ("we need someone that the teens in the audience can identify with", even Wil Wheaton said that motivation for a character is idiotic).

But this (anime watching or any other theater of entertainment) is passive entertainment and I can empathize with characters who are male, female, human, NON-human, old, young, etc. If I want to pretend to be something, there are other activities for that.
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Old 2012-06-21, 03:25   Link #36
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So what I take from it is, that while they say they put themselves into the main characters place, they don't really do that. Instead they just take up his perspective (which is the perspective of the narrative anyway, so that's a natural thing to do) and relate strongly to him/her while experiencing the story.

To eloberate, when I speak of placing myself into a story, I really mean it. If I enjoy a movie I can hardly watch it in one sitting. I need to pause it every so often, to evolve the setting in my mind and only when I'm stuck there, I can go back to watching.
Quite annoying actually, but that's how I feel.

It's a habit that developed from reading lots of books I guess. You can put those away any time you want and think about a certain aspect that interests you then get back to reading. Not so much in movies, especially if you are not watching alone.
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Old 2012-06-21, 03:59   Link #37
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Quote:
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So what I take from it is, that while they say they put themselves into the main characters place, they don't really do that. Instead they just take up his perspective (which is the perspective of the narrative anyway, so that's a natural thing to do) and relate strongly to him/her while experiencing the story.
Right. That's a very good way to put it.

You're right that it's not really on the level of, say, playing the silent protagonist in a Suikoden game (which is probably the self-insertion idea taken as far as it can go without blurring the lines between "self" and "player-character" completely).

Speaking personally, I can empathize with a wide range of characters myself (one of my favorite fictional characters of all-time is Nanoha Takamachi, who is a nine year old girl, which is pretty far from a 30-year old man).

But sometimes I find it nice to have a major character that's 'like me'. This is part of the reason why I like Usagi Drop, Space Bros., and Tiger and Bunny.
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Old 2012-06-21, 06:34   Link #38
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I'm with you both on this one. While I can often identify with some of the issues the protagonists face, and can sometimes apply them to my own life, I don't really try to approach the story from their perspective. Even in stories where that is a forced part of the narrative (i.e. as Archon_Wing said, visual novels that are written in "first-person perpsective", or most narrative-driven video games), I usually take it more as "I'm witnessing the story from this perspective". In anime with a protagonist-driven narrative, I appreciate getting the perspective, as that can help me cheer for the protagonist and identify with their needs/concerns, but it's pretty hard to pretend they're me because they don't necessarily do what I would do (so I can only watch in horror as "I" act like an idiot ).
That so reminds me of games with crappy interface or controls, where you're just like "No! I didn't mean that!" /reloads

Well, I guess there's a possbility where someone could think "well, I might have similar flaws to Main Character X, but at least I DIDNT DO THAT... thus I can do better!" Well, I'm not sure if that's relating anymore to the story. It's unfortunate that it's usually not feasible to display all possible outcomes such as "good end" and "bad end" and such. That might also give some incentive for viewers to go play the game to make the "better" choice.

I think it'd be really fun to see an anime where the outcome is decided by viewer vote. Now that would be a new level of being able to project into the anime.
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Old 2012-06-21, 07:35   Link #39
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I think it'd be really fun to see an anime where the outcome is decided by viewer vote. Now that would be a new level of being able to project into the anime.
Buying 1 volume of the first few eps on blueray grants one vote and 10 volumes get you to a 'handshaking' event with cosplayers dressing up as the cast.

Yes, a valid and proven business model which the target audience is already accustomed to. I wonder why they didn't think of that yet.
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Old 2012-06-21, 07:46   Link #40
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I think it'd be really fun to see an anime where the outcome is decided by viewer vote. Now that would be a new level of being able to project into the anime.
They actually did this in comics once.

The 2nd Robin (Jason Todd) had become incredibly unpopular, and so DC Comics actually decided to poll their readers about it.

The poll question was - "Do you want Robin (Jason Todd) to die?"

The Joker now owes one of his most memorable kills to comic book fans voting in favor of it.


It would be interesting to see how certain anime love triangles/harems would have played out if viewers could have voted on it before it was resolved.
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