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Old 2014-11-23, 21:52   Link #1
Myname
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Is anyone getting tired of these "Summoned/Reincarnate into Fantasy World" stories?

I don't know which series started this new trend, but seems like more than half of the new LN/WN coming out have the same basic plot.

The MC is either killed and reincarnates or just gets summoned to another world where the technology is very medieval with orcs, elves, magic, etc. The world is very RPGish and some of them are kinda meta with levels and status screens, etc. with adventurers, demon lords and heroes.

The MC use their modern knowledge to either impress those around them or to make themselves incredibly OP/wealthy/influential. Or they just have a really OP ability.

These stories all try to have some unique quirk to make themselves standout but the in the end, it's the same setting. They're all coming out one after the other and there's no sign of them stopping.

I can see that many of these started out as WN and quite a number of them have been adapted to LN so I guess the Japanese really like these stories?

Reminds me of when the trend was Maou x Yuusha stories, little sister incest, or novels with really long titles. But this newest trends takes the cake in terms of bandwagoning.
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Old 2014-11-23, 22:19   Link #2
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They have their appealing, and i do like this set up if it is well done.
When the setting is not well done like when the feeling of that era is not transmitted and the interaction character-dimension fells off, the history sucks hard.

The oldest one that i recall could be ZnK(the mc is summoned to that world), and i didnt like it at all(mainly for the characters)

One that is good is Highschool DxD, the mc is killed and reborn as demon, but even there, the interaction human world to mythological places is very well managed, he doesnt start as an op guy, instead he is weak and, to some degree, useless and after a lot of hardships he grows.

So yeah, it has its good and bad sides, and i do see a lot of them recently, maybe its the new trendy over there
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Old 2014-11-23, 22:26   Link #3
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Anytime a series becomes popular there will be attempts to also cash in on it.

This is so in most any art genre (heck, one could argue there are similarities in scholastic circles too). I don't think that is so much the issue as much as whether or no a series is done well. So yeah, one could get tired of a genre if there are many examples one regards as poorly done - of course.

But at the same time there are folks out there who really love certain genre types or even common methods of telling a story, and their parameters for whether or no they enjoy them will be different than other people's.
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Old 2014-11-23, 23:00   Link #4
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This plot device has been a staple of anime and manga for years. Take a look at shows like Escaflowne and Junni Kokki for classic examples. In the science-fiction genre, Noein has this story as well. Nowadays kids are whisked off to videogames where in older stories they ended up in fantasy worlds.

I rather liked Thermae Romae where the main character, a bath designer in ancient Rome, gets transported into a modern Japanese bath house in downtown Tokyo. He discovers all sorts of strange technologies and brings some back to Rome. In one especially amusing episode he discovers the extraordinary array of toilets that the Japanese have developed.
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Old 2014-11-23, 23:23   Link #5
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If you're tired of the premise, then you're pretty late to start being tired of it.

El Hazard, and other much older anime have all done this story premise.
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Old 2014-11-24, 07:04   Link #6
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He has a reason to be tired of it though. It's the theme of choice for amateur authors on a certain Japanese web novel website, and there seems to be countless examples of it. A surprisingly large number of these stories are being brought over by fan translators or at least summarizers*. Many follow apparently very similar templates, so despite having a great number of examples, they don't show much range and creativity.

*I will never understand the point of the summaries.

It's like EDM. Yes, it's been there forever, but now is its time in the sun (in certain circles). People who never had problems with techno music suddenly have a lot of problems with EDM because of the exposure, ubiquity, the abundance of the "90% are bad" examples and the consequent genre fatigue.

It's also like vampires. Vampires have been around also approximately forever, and even the sexy vampire thing is several generations old. People only really started hating on it when Twilight got absurdly popular and every writer gets on the bandwagon to cash in. Nobody really complained about Anne Rice when she was writing most of her stuff.

For the Japanese anime/manga/light novel subculture itself, I remember a few years ago brocon imoutos were everywhere, and there was a lot of backlash then, too. It's not like little sisters just started coming to the fore in 2008, or have gone away from anime, but the dominance of the theme have died down a lot and people stopped complaining.

So it's perfectly fair for OP to feel this way. I myself have always liked the theme -- Twelve Kingdoms was amazing -- and fortunately my ability to ignore things I don't care to know about is high enough that I'm able to avoid genre fatigue so far. Doesn't mean I don't think many of these stories being brought over are not very good.
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Old 2014-11-24, 08:12   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
He has a reason to be tired of it though. It's the theme of choice for amateur authors on a certain Japanese web novel website, and there seems to be countless examples of it. A surprisingly large number of these stories are being brought over by fan translators or at least summarizers*. Many follow apparently very similar templates, so despite having a great number of examples, they don't show much range and creativity.

*I will never understand the point of the summaries.

It's like EDM. Yes, it's been there forever, but now is its time in the sun (in certain circles). People who never had problems with techno music suddenly have a lot of problems with EDM because of the exposure, ubiquity, the abundance of the "90% are bad" examples and the consequent genre fatigue.

It's also like vampires. Vampires have been around also approximately forever, and even the sexy vampire thing is several generations old. People only really started hating on it when Twilight got absurdly popular and every writer gets on the bandwagon to cash in. Nobody really complained about Anne Rice when she was writing most of her stuff.

For the Japanese anime/manga/light novel subculture itself, I remember a few years ago brocon imoutos were everywhere, and there was a lot of backlash then, too. It's not like little sisters just started coming to the fore in 2008, or have gone away from anime, but the dominance of the theme have died down a lot and people stopped complaining.

So it's perfectly fair for OP to feel this way. I myself have always liked the theme -- Twelve Kingdoms was amazing -- and fortunately my ability to ignore things I don't care to know about is high enough that I'm able to avoid genre fatigue so far. Doesn't mean I don't think many of these stories being brought over are not very good.
Well said. Not to mention that more and more of such stories from that site are making it to the commercial label. Just like OP said, many of these stories actually have a similar 'feel' imo, try to define themselves with some distinct idea with varying degrees of success, but personally speaking, I fail to feel impressed. Right now I just feel turned off when a synopsis mentions isekai or tensei and can't even bear to read further. Unless they have some ridiculous page views or credible reviews, I might then consider giving it a try. So far, despite reading a few volumes of the supposedly highly 'acclaimed' and popular tensei stories that managed to get published commercially, I felt anything but inspired. Gone are the days of 12 Kingdoms.
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Old 2014-11-24, 09:27   Link #8
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It really depends on the story though. Sure, the setting might be overused, but the plot and the characters are the things that make each one different from the other. Arifureta, Sendai Yuusha, Tate no Yuusha, Mushoku Tensei, and Overlord; all of them are very similar to each other, but their plot and their unique character and character interactions are what makes them special.

Even though I, too, get tired from the type of setting, once I've read enough and have deemed it good, I'll continue reading it.
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Old 2014-11-24, 10:04   Link #9
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I always wondered why we get a surge of those light novels with fantasy setting a lot. I understand we may have truly fantastic novels out of all the rest but with light novels, it'd be harder to find it when the one with the most appeal gets commercialised when its substance is very poor at best. I haven't read much light novels with fantasy setting but I'm wondering how deep is the lore. Or do the most light novels exclusively focus on the main character and his interaction around the world?

For that reason I have enjoyed Hitsugi No Chaika. I know it is quite different from what the op is talking about, since its setting is fantasy, it is somewhat relevant. It is one of those few recent novels I know that goes into fair bit of history of the setting. That way it emphasises that the main character is not the most important character but a role to take part in. I have merely started on Tate no Yuusha but I can only presume that it seems to be focusing on the main character. However, it seems to have a lot of chapters maybe it's going places.
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Old 2014-11-24, 10:13   Link #10
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First of all, I agree with Irenicus. He wrote a very good post there.


Now to address one particular point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newprimus View Post
El Hazard, and other much older anime have all done this story premise.
El Hazard: The Magnificent World has a somewhat similar premise, but it's overall execution and setting and character types are considerably different from most modern LN fantasy stories.

I would argue that one of the things that might be fueling Myname's complaints is the degree of formulaic content overlap between the various modern LN fantasy stories. In other words, there is very little that helps them stand apart from each other.

In sharp contrast, the more well-known 90s fantasy anime tend to have a lot of major differences between them. El Hazard, Escaflowne, Magic Knight Rayearth, Record of Lodoss War, The Slayers, and Fushigi Yuugi all have more differences than commonalities between them. They are all very distinct from each other. It's clear they're not all borrowing from the same fantasy narrative template. In sharp contrast, I get the impression that modern LN fantasy stories do tend to borrow from the same fantasy narrative template.


There are some genres modern anime does better than 90s anime. But if there's one thing, any thing, that 90s anime did better, it's definitely fantasy, in my view.
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Old 2014-11-24, 10:55   Link #11
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
First of all, I agree with Irenicus. He wrote a very good post there.


Now to address one particular point.



El Hazard: The Magnificent World has a somewhat similar premise, but it's overall execution and setting and character types are considerably different from most modern LN fantasy stories.

I would argue that one of the things that might be fueling Myname's complaints is the degree of formulaic content overlap between the various modern LN fantasy stories. In other words, there is very little that helps them stand apart from each other.

In sharp contrast, the more well-known 90s fantasy anime tend to have a lot of major differences between them. El Hazard, Escaflowne, Magic Knight Rayearth, Record of Lodoss War, The Slayers, and Fushigi Yuugi all have more differences than commonalities between them. They are all very distinct from each other. It's clear they're not all borrowing from the same fantasy narrative template. In sharp contrast, I get the impression that modern LN fantasy stories do tend to borrow from the same fantasy narrative template.


There are some genres modern anime does better than 90s anime. But if there's one thing, any thing, that 90s anime did better, it's definitely fantasy, in my view.

You want fantasy these days you go for manga or games

Post 2008 good fantasy anime or LN just keep getting rarer and rarer...of the latter I can think of only Horizon, No Game No Life, Itsuten, Tokyo Ravens and Rokka no Yuusha that really stand out.

I'm pretty sure there's more good ones but the increasing difficulty in finding them makes hunting around in the bookshop an ever more taxing endeavour


Sci-fi on the other hand seem to be more or less consistent. Better in some aspects even (cyberpunk especially)
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Old 2014-11-24, 12:18   Link #12
cyth
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Where to start ...

It's very clear these subpar LN authors are not very creative. They are fans of the genre and continue producing stories in these genres because they happen to like that. With that fan mentality behind their creative process, it is nearly impossible to produce something with a distinct feel to it.

Why do kids these days read or watch this stuff? It's like with modern American TV shows where the setting don't really matter. It's the interpersonal drama that matters to the reader/viewer, but not for the usual list of suspect depravities, rather because if something is familiar and easy to approach, it's easier to analyze and discuss with it. Discussing the work may not even be the main point, the end goal is the discussion itself.
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Old 2014-11-24, 12:53   Link #13
Makall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newprimus View Post
If you're tired of the premise, then you're pretty late to start being tired of it.

El Hazard, and other much older anime have all done this story premise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
First of all, I agree with Irenicus. He wrote a very good post there.


Now to address one particular point.



El Hazard: The Magnificent World has a somewhat similar premise, but it's overall execution and setting and character types are considerably different from most modern LN fantasy stories.

I would argue that one of the things that might be fueling Myname's complaints is the degree of formulaic content overlap between the various modern LN fantasy stories. In other words, there is very little that helps them stand apart from each other.

In sharp contrast, the more well-known 90s fantasy anime tend to have a lot of major differences between them. El Hazard, Escaflowne, Magic Knight Rayearth, Record of Lodoss War, The Slayers, and Fushigi Yuugi all have more differences than commonalities between them. They are all very distinct from each other. It's clear they're not all borrowing from the same fantasy narrative template. In sharp contrast, I get the impression that modern LN fantasy stories do tend to borrow from the same fantasy narrative template.


There are some genres modern anime does better than 90s anime. But if there's one thing, any thing, that 90s anime did better, it's definitely fantasy, in my view.
Getting summoned to another world is not a new concept in anime/manga.

But all these new series are very RPG-esque like Dragon Quest or something. They all have adventurers, guilds, parties, leveling up, demon lords, heroes.

Series of old usually had a distinct world setting (medieval, fantasy, futuristic, feudal) but nowadays, there are too many Hero vs Demon Lord type stories (Maoyuu, Hataraku Maou-sama, Yuushibu) and these new "Isekai" series seem to be an extension of that. And even then, there weren't that many "Isekai" series in a year.
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Old 2014-11-24, 13:26   Link #14
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There are only so many premises which you come out with. I think this complaint is a bit too broad and this kind of thing is just standard in many forms of storytelling.

Now, if you'd like to argue that anime in general doesn't provide enough setting differences, then I guess I could really hang with that. For now, I'm just interested when an anime isn't about angsty teenagers doing something. But this is what you get when you have such a niche audience in a difficult economy. Might as well generate the setting to create more markatable waifus/sex dolls and call it a day. [But hey, at least it's not reality tv, so don't think i'm just picking on anyone] And no, I'm not a moe/sex appeal hater either, since I indulge in it quite a bit, but on the other hand it seems so constricting. I don't really envy makers of anime that have ambition at times as I really do feel their hands are tied and it's not like customers have it easy with those expensive prices that can limit the amount of series you can support either. I guess one should be thankful for all the good stuff that comes out of this medium in spite of everything.
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Old 2014-11-24, 15:46   Link #15
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I wouldn't mind if we got more series that do it like Aura Battler Dunbine did way back when and the shows actually made the most of the fantasy setting and took it seriously. That show basically has that guy gets sucked into a fantasy realm premise but instead of focusing on any sort of moe or harem antics it's largely about the politics and ambitions of the rulers of that fictional world Byston Well and how bringing war and the weapons of our world to a magical realm and infusing them with said magic and what not and then later on bringing those weapons back to our world creates a snowballing situation that eventually leads to not much good to put it mildly. It also helped that that show showed enough imagination and bothered to explore it's world and realm whereas most of the time these stories just tend to end up being power fantasy and you get cliches like elf girls and medieval loli empresses and princesses and the like and just....yeah. It's like there's almost no point in even changing the setting from a school to the fantasy realm cause all you're essentially getting most of the time is just a re-skinning of the common modern school setting harem tropes with fantasy ones even though ostensibly they're by and large the same thing.

Escaflowne is another example of a real well handled fantasy setting that a character gets sucked into (in this case a female one) and a lot of interesting themes coming into play as well, but again though that's mainly because it actually bothered to make the most of the opportunity of designing and having characters explore a fantasy realm that is not exactly of this world and again politics and interesting conflicts and character relationships come into play so again it's really just a matter of a show actually taking the idea damn well seriously instead of just using it for the purposes of backdrop and re-skinning.
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Old 2014-11-24, 16:07   Link #16
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There are only so many premises which you come out with. I think this complaint is a bit too broad and this kind of thing is just standard in many forms of storytelling... I guess one should be thankful for all the good stuff that comes out of this medium in spite of everything.
This kind of sums it up for me too, although there have been several good articulations of what the OP was expressing by other posters. And that is fine, of course.

But when the cows come home any art form will have examples like this, and identifying and articulating the trends and patterns of things we diislike is only half the issue. I think it is far better to focus on, value and be thankful for the good things that have come out in the past and do come out today, and even to "vote" for those with your wallet if you can and your example and enthusiasm at the least. :\
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Old 2014-11-24, 16:32   Link #17
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Well that's the harsh thing about a small market. It's hard to vote with your wallet when the pricing is so high and you only have so much money, and at the same time the prices need to be so high and you need to sell your merchandise as it is hard to pay your bills. Unless you're a really dedicated fan, and stuff just gets even harder. It's easy to say businesses should do this or that, but then again there is just so much that many would want, but it's not viable currently. There's probably many that want to do more but it would be risky when one's source of living is on the line.
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Old 2014-11-24, 16:47   Link #18
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Sci-fi on the other hand seem to be more or less consistent. Better in some aspects even (cyberpunk especially)
I think that Sci-Fi is one genre that anime has done very well in recent years, yeah.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Makall View Post
But all these new series are very RPG-esque like Dragon Quest or something. They all have adventurers, guilds, parties, leveling up, demon lords, heroes.

Series of old usually had a distinct world setting (medieval, fantasy, futuristic, feudal) but nowadays, there are too many Hero vs Demon Lord type stories (Maoyuu, Hataraku Maou-sama, Yuushibu) and these new "Isekai" series seem to be an extension of that. And even then, there weren't that many "Isekai" series in a year.
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Originally Posted by Dr. Dahm View Post

Escaflowne is another example of a real well handled fantasy setting that a character gets sucked into (in this case a female one) and a lot of interesting themes coming into play as well, but again though that's mainly because it actually bothered to make the most of the opportunity of designing and having characters explore a fantasy realm that is not exactly of this world and again politics and interesting conflicts and character relationships come into play so again it's really just a matter of a show actually taking the idea damn well seriously instead of just using it for the purposes of backdrop and re-skinning.
Good points.

A lot of modern LN Fantasy stories seem to boil down to fairly conventional harem anime where the male lead goes to a very minimalist version of World of Warcraft. In effect, it becomes like a harem anime re-skinned with standard medieval fantasy attire and given the side-spice of the odd fantasy action scene.

Now, that's not necessarily bad in and of itself. But when it's replicated seemingly endlessly with minimal variation...

There's a certain element of "If you've read/seen one, you've read/seen them all." An exaggeration, certainly, but close enough to the truth to be a bit worrisome.

What Dr. Dahm wrote is key - Writers should probably care more about the fantasy setting itself, and try to infuse it with greater awe and wonderment by giving it compelling lore and/or political intrigue. And change up the antagonists a bit. Instead of 'Demon Lord', maybe a lizard people, or a half-dragon/half-man hybrid, or giant butterflies.

I'd argue that fantasy is at its best when the setting is almost as important as the characters and plot. When the setting is just an aesthetically pleasing (or, worse, aesthetically safe) background, the fantasy narrative tends to suffer a bit.

With the above in mind, The Pilot's Love Song is one of the better fantasy anime I've seen recently. The setting itself matters a fair bit, and there's good lore and intrigue behind some of the key characters.
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Old 2014-11-24, 16:48   Link #19
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I think it's the REINCARNATION into another world that's more the standard trope nowadays. The SUMMONED into another world story is a classic, and is pretty much just a literal take on the Hero's Journey. However, what makes it effective is that often the protagonist will interact with his home again, whether choosing to return or at least settle unfinished business.

The reincarnation stories on the other hand, often really never bothers with the original world again. The previous world backgrounds are almost superflous and often just there as a form of wish fulfillment. Or a way to make the protagonist 'special' without just making him outright special. He's special because he has his past experiences/memory. A few of the stories actually do well with the concept but most of them you can remove the whole reincarnation subplot and it really wouldn't matter much.

It's also not just limited to Japanese LN/WNs, tons of Chinese WNs also follow this trope.
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Old 2014-11-24, 17:41   Link #20
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What Dr. Dahm wrote is key - Writers should probably care more about the fantasy setting itself, and try to infuse it with greater awe and wonderment by giving it compelling lore and/or political intrigue. And change up the antagonists a bit. Instead of 'Demon Lord', maybe a lizard people, or a half-dragon/half-man hybrid, or giant butterflies.
Yet people still consume these stories and only us "old farts" linger in this thread while the rest of the lot are having fun actually discussing the anime we're complaining over in other threads.

Frankly, this generational disconnect bothers me. It's been theorized by Azuma Hiroki, Miyadai Shinji and others. You and Dr. Dahm sound like an 80's Gundam UC fan complaining over non-UC shit from one of their works.

I'm personally of the same breed as you guys are, but I think if so many people consume (and produce!) these shit-tier stories, there needs to be a different discussion taking place, especially, how we can coexist with the new or how to reclaim the previous state. Buying the G-Reco stuff might help, I imagine! Can't change people's minds in how they consume their media, unfortunately.
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