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Old 2012-11-11, 12:27   Link #4
Triple_R
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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When I clicked on this thread, I thought this would be a thread about various Mafia and Yazuka characters in anime. You know, members of "the mob".

But I'm honestly glad it's about something more commonplace than that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post

Lately I’ve been finding that “mob” characters have been catching my attention and affecting my enjoyment of a series so I was hoping to get more thoughts on this.

Often in High school anime you’ll have background characters often with no names and faces whispering gossip about a particular character of attention, and often I can’t help but fell how cheap and artificial it seems, as if the world entirely revolves around them.
I don't have a problem with this since gossip is definitely a part of high school life, and gossip tends to surround any student who's doing/saying anything even remotely interesting. So, honestly, I'm not sure why you'd find this "cheap and artificial". I daresay it's realistic.


What I have a problem with are "student celebrities" that are treated like actual celebrities.

To be fair, it's true that some students do attract more attention from their peers than other students do (and yes, how high your grades are, how attractive you look, and how good you are at athletic competitions, are all big factors here). That much alone I can accept. So the attention and gossip that, say, a Haruhi Suzumiya garners is something that I can easily accept.

But when certain students get dedicated fan clubs that treat them like actual rock-stars, that's when it can seem a bit much to me. It certainly seems a bit much when an entire school seems to revolve around just a student or two.

So "mob characters" can hurt a story when they make me think of the out of control fans of a big rock star.


I would argue that "mob characters" are the most effective when they seem to have their own goals and motivations. They may be paying special attention to our major protagonists, but they're not completely wrapped up in them either.

And yes, Hyouka certainly handles this very well. You can tell how Oreki, Irisu, and some other students have gained a certain degree of special attention, and perhaps even quiet admiration, but nobody treats them like rockstars.


On a final note, I do think that "mob characters" are important, precisely for the reason that you listed - Without them, a narrative setup in a high school can have this weird insular feeling. Off the top of my head, though, I honestly can't think of an anime that had that weird, insular feeling. Maybe K-On and Kokoro Connect in the early going, although both shows effectively corrected that later on.
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