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Old 2011-04-12, 21:09   Link #1
Guernsey
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Character Driven or Plot Driven

I notice that there seems to be a trend towards plot driven stories as opposed to character driven stories earlier. I wonder which do most viewers prefer character driven or plot driven stories?
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Old 2011-04-12, 21:13   Link #2
Midonin
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The line between this is thin and blurry. For what is a plot but characters reacting off each other to their own ends? Rather than one or the other, I believe they're the same.
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Old 2011-04-12, 21:14   Link #3
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You can have the best plots in a story -- BUT -- if the characters flat out suck, then it won't matter. In fact, sucky characters tend to kill plots, because their personalities would fail to drive the plot or their sheer existence won't make sense. Often times, good character personalities "create" good plots on their own.
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Old 2011-04-12, 21:36   Link #4
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It's not really clear-cut but I'd say there's definitely a spectrum of more plot-based vs. more character-based. Ghost in the Shell is the best example I can think up of something that's more plot-based than character-based, while Minami-ke is something I'd consider more character-based than plot-based.

I've actually felt that most anime have strong characters or, even if they have a large focus on the running plot, also give the characters a lot of focus. Then again that's most likely heavily biased by the kind of shows that I tend to watch. So I guess I prefer character-driven shows.
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Old 2011-04-12, 22:48   Link #5
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I definitely prefer character-driven, slice-of-life, stories over plot driven stories. Not to say a good plot isn't necessary, I just believe a good character is more necessary than a good plot.
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Old 2011-04-12, 23:12   Link #6
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Originally Posted by Midonin View Post
The line between this is thin and blurry. For what is a plot but characters reacting off each other to their own ends? Rather than one or the other, I believe they're the same.
Compare and contrast, say, Yu-gi-oh! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and you'll see that the line isn't blurry at all (or at least, it doesn't have to be). The former is totally objective-based: defeat Pegasus, find out about the Pharaoh's past, and so on. Sure, the characters grow and develop, but they're pulled along by the plot, rather than advancing it themselves.

MHS, on the other hand, has no plot to speak of. You're told that Haruhi's a god, Yuki's an alien, etc., and everything that happens afterwards is a result of who they are, rather than something they have to accomplish. Here, the plots only exist because of what the characters are doing. There's no direction, no conclusion to reach, nothing like that. It's totally character driven.


As for the original question, I prefer a combination of the two; something in the vein of Neon Genesis Evangelion or Elfen Lied. A good, strong, tight plot needs to exist to drive the story, but the characters have to be thoroughly entwined in it.
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Old 2011-04-13, 01:34   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
Compare and contrast, say, Yu-gi-oh! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and you'll see that the line isn't blurry at all (or at least, it doesn't have to be). The former is totally objective-based: defeat Pegasus, find out about the Pharaoh's past, and so on. Sure, the characters grow and develop, but they're pulled along by the plot, rather than advancing it themselves.

MHS, on the other hand, has no plot to speak of. You're told that Haruhi's a god, Yuki's an alien, etc., and everything that happens afterwards is a result of who they are, rather than something they have to accomplish. Here, the plots only exist because of what the characters are doing. There's no direction, no conclusion to reach, nothing like that. It's totally character driven.


As for the original question, I prefer a combination of the two; something in the vein of Neon Genesis Evangelion or Elfen Lied. A good, strong, tight plot needs to exist to drive the story, but the characters have to be thoroughly entwined in it.
In essence I agree with this, but in the case of plot-driven stories the characters don't necessarily need to simply be pulled along. I see Code Geass as a possible means of judging a combination, where there is a clear cut goal (crush/destroy/otherwise pwn Britannia) but there's no denying the importance of the characters (or at least, Lelouch and to a lesser extent, Suzaku). That is my ideal preference, but practically speaking I agree with everything you said.
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Old 2011-04-13, 01:58   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuu View Post
You can have the best plots in a story -- BUT -- if the characters flat out suck, then it won't matter. In fact, sucky characters tend to kill plots, because their personalities would fail to drive the plot or their sheer existence won't make sense. Often times, good character personalities "create" good plots on their own.
Yea, that's true. You could have the most complex setup, and I just wouldn't care if the characters bored me to death. I'd need to give a damn before I can enjoy the plot.
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Old 2011-04-13, 13:08   Link #9
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As much as I like a good story with a unique premise and well-done excecution, I have to agree that if the characters aren't likeable then I wouldn't be able to tolerate it at all.

This is only if I like none of the characters though, which doesn't happen very often. Even if there's just one I like then I tend to stick it out through the whole thing.
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Old 2011-04-13, 14:36   Link #10
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Personally, I think you need good characters to drive a plot.
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Old 2011-04-13, 14:48   Link #11
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Character driven because thats what it makes the anime plot-driven.
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Old 2011-04-13, 15:08   Link #12
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I find Comedies, Slice of Life and Drama tend to be Character driven, while Thrillers, Sci-fi and Action tend to be Plot driven.

Kaiji, Eden of the East or Liar game would be quite plot driven, it's characters reacting to odd circumstances. Same would go for Code Geass, or Death Note (even if the characters drive the plot). How much you're focusing on the events rather then characters emotions is what divides it.

Something like Macross is more difficult to pin down as inordinate amounts of time are spent on the love triangle.

Generally speaking however Anime is more character driven then plot driven, there is always someone the audience identifies with and follows, there's almost always one central character (or duo in romances). A western movie or series more frequently have fiction focusing both on ensembles or single characters. It's a cultural difference I guess.
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Old 2011-04-13, 15:22   Link #13
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Something like Macross is more difficult to pin down as inordinate amounts of time are spent on the love triangle.
I kinda wished they dropped the love triangle thing and focused more on the general theme: exploration and colonization of the galaxy.

Funny. Too bad, Americans did not come up with Macross because the Wild West theme very much fits in with that theme. Pioneering and settlement. That's most of America's history in the 19th century.

Just one episode to the Iron Man anime pointed out this major cultural difference.
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Old 2011-04-13, 16:20   Link #14
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I really thrive on character development. It'd be really good for an anime to have both, but I'll take "Character Driven" over "Plot Driven". :3
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Old 2011-04-13, 17:18   Link #15
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characters? the anime coming out now-a-days (it's like a bubble for anime... in other words crap is being splurged out endlessly till this bubble pops) have really shoddy/crappy characters that not only suck but even go as far as to irritate the viewer. they are very soulLESS. I can't put in any other words except soulLESS. A good example is Love Hina. none of them had souls.
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Old 2011-04-13, 17:45   Link #16
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Part of me wonders if some posters on here really understand the difference between character driven and plot driven stories. A show that has a mediocre or just plain bad cast of characters can still be considered a character driven story.

I think a good comparison to look at for this topic is a couple of Studio BONES' works, Fullmetal Alchemist and Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto. Fullmetal Alchemist is a great example of a plot driven show: the Elric Brothers go on a journey to find a way to reverse their mistake. Sure, you learn more about the Elrics and the support cast, as well as their problems and the decisions they have to make. But where the show goes is dictated by the goal the Elrics have, which makes it plot driven.

Star Driver, on the other hand, is most definitely character driven. Does it have a plot? Yes, and Takuto certainly has his own goals. But when a show devotes more of its time to school life, looks into the problems and secrets of characters (including minor ones) and doesn't come back to the main character's goals until the end of the show, you know it's not plot driven.

Just based on what I've watched and what are my favorites, I can safely say that I prefer plot driven stories. Being a fan of fantasy and action, I love a fast pace and things happening. If I want to learn more about a character, I'd rather they reveal it through action instead of going on extended monologue.

As far as what's popular and what the majority prefer, I think demographics are the answer. Younger viewers generally like plot driven stories, whereas older ones are more into characters. Of course, this doesn't hold true to everyone, but that appears to be the tendency.
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Old 2011-04-15, 00:44   Link #17
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While I do enjoy a series with an interesting plot, it isn't a requirement in fact next to no plot can be present and I still enjoy a series. So I'd say character driven is more important to me, but character driven plots in say something like Wandering Son can be very good .
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Old 2011-04-15, 05:24   Link #18
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i suppose i prefer the character thing, i do enjoy monologues (my life is character driven and is almost always accompanied by my little monologues and conversations that i have with myself in my head) so i suppose it shows in my preference in anime
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Old 2011-04-15, 05:39   Link #19
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Originally Posted by xxanimefan4_ever View Post
characters? the anime coming out now-a-days (it's like a bubble for anime... in other words crap is being splurged out endlessly till this bubble pops) have really shoddy/crappy characters that not only suck but even go as far as to irritate the viewer. they are very soulLESS. I can't put in any other words except soulLESS. A good example is Love Hina. none of them had souls.
Bad example, as Love Hina came out before the current boom, which started around 2005-2006.
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Old 2011-04-16, 01:31   Link #20
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I'd go with character driven plots. I'm a sucker for good/interesting characters that I care about. Without them, the plot of the series would be practically useless.
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