The Typical Anime Protagonist (or Prats n' Why I hate 'em)

[In this video, I analyse every protagonist in every anime, which amounts to about one character.
Warning: spoilers for owari no seraph episode 1, which isn't really that important.]
Tropes and trends are quite reoccurring within popular culture. One could say they are attractive due to their familiarity, but nonetheless I believe them harmful to the overall narrative. Anime is an exciting medium for storytelling, with its own boundries to push but is bound evermore by some of its stereotypes of character. Tsundere, yandere, (raspberry) these character “types” and this idea that character personality can be catalogued into neat little boxes is a harmful one but nevertheless comforting to those with an imagination of an accountant's lobotomised pet rat.
But there is no more damaging and frequent, a character type then the typical Anime protagonist.

That to which I am referring to is the one character we've all seen. He features in Attack on Titan, Owari no seraph and Elfin Lied among many, many other titles.

He always plays a central role and is often both destroying and creating narrative at the same time. Strange, that no-one seems to notice him.

I don't tend to look at other people's interpretations of narrative online. They are usually either wrong or not mine....mmm I suppose those are both the same things though, but anyway when I do find myself reading someone else's views on overplayed Anime tropes I'm surprised to never find anyone complaining about the huge issues with protagonists.

There at least appears to be an awareness of the typical Anime protagonist. People are very quick to get down on their knees for a character who say chooses to dedicate his affections to one girl, even while he fights suitors off with a stick.
But I don't think people, yet, understand what this cliché is or how prevalent it is within Anime. So, in the hopes of clearing this whole thing up whilst at the same time saving following generations from suffering this bullshit in the future, I will attempt to identify the main features of the typical Anime protagonist and from this create a method of easily diagnosing a character with a typical Anime protagonist personality. I will then ride a uni-cycle, solve the refugee crisis, make my parents recognise my art and so forth, but let's take this one step at a time.

Firstly, let's just get this out of the way. I don't want to be needlessly saying typical Anime protagonist every time I refer to that character and so instead I will shorten the name down to protagonist and, so as not to confuse anyone, I will only use the first syllable Prot and then change the o to an a to make it sound better.

So anyway, the first thing you'll notice about a Prat is the strange unconditional kindness he shows to everyone around him. I dare say this is a defining feature as it seems to be present in every Prat. This kindness to all is pure and genuine. A Prat's kindness cannot be fuelled by ulterior motives nor will this kindness be exclusive to a certain person or group of persons.
Indeed, a Prat is devoid of all prejudice. The Prat will accept anyone with a pulse (and probably those without pulses too) with open arms and behave in a mannerly, friendly way towards them. This courteousness extends even to the most hostile of characters, with said character often developing a soft spot exclusively for the Prat. This can even be taken to the extreme with the Prat “curing” these hostile characters of their supposed inappropriate behaviour resulting in them becoming more open to the rest of the group.
The Prat's psychological healing powers can take on a Messianic quality when the Prat is confronted with mentally unstable or even traumatised characters. Whatever the issue, after interacting with the Prat, characters will find themselves put at ease or cured of any troublesome quirks. The Prat manages this not through addressing the source of the problem or relating to the person's issues (the Prat usually has not endured any significant tortures or at least is not weighed down by them) instead the Prat manages to settle the dilemma with words of encouragement, compliments and a pat on the head.
A psychologist tried to do that to me once.
Actually, perhaps tried isn't the best word.
It was more like “flailed about cursing in agony while I bit off her index finger.”
Or maybe try is the right word, I'll have to look that one up later.

In keeping with the Messianic theme, the Prat also has an all forgiving nature. This forgiving nature will stand up to the most grievous of offences. No matter the severity of the injury, as long as the person genuinely repents and regrets their actions the Prat will forgive their transgressions. This forgiveness, like his kindness is pure. The Prat will harbour no mistrust or suspicions regarding betrayal nor will he feel any sort of resentment towards the repentant character.

So given this innate geniality, trusting nature and genuine altruism its natural that characters would take an interest in him. But aside from simply finding this person attractive some characters become completely enamoured with the Prat with the deciding factor being whether the person can cross their legs or not.
Yes, it seems that the Prat attracts women like horse-shit attracts flies on a summers day and more often then not the number of women surrounding the Prat manage to outnumber the flies. So numerous are these women that it appears the Prat cannot help but trip over them, falling head first conveniently into their bosoms and finding women behind every door he opens, often in various stages of undressing. It is mentionable though, that more often then not the Prat himself with at least one male companion. This companion will often be perverse in his defining characteristic. His mind always concerned with sexual activity, the character will often make inappropriate comments or observations dehumanising the female characters for comedic affect. Ha Ha Ha.
Aside from being a tsundere practice dummy, the Prat's male companion is often a blatant attempt at making the Prat seem more likeable or distracting from the Prat's own one track mindedness.
When the Prat isn't accidentally grabbing breasts he is interacting with these beautiful, young women (they have to be beautiful of course because there is no such thing as a likeable ugly female character) and, whether its intentional or not, the Prat finds himself naturally wooing them. It never seems to matter what he is saying to them, he could be reading Leviticus and they would still seem to get hot and bothered. The Prat apparently has this affect on every girl no matter who they are. If the Prat has a sister or a cousin it isn't long before even they begin to develop affections for him, which is especially bizarre because the only feeling that usually appears between a brother and sister is the long lasting resentment for one and other after years of fighting over the hot water.
Strangely, despite being smoother than the right side of a dog fish, the Prat appears to be completely sexually oblivious and very quick to become embarrassed in situations no matter how many times they have occurred to him. Not only that, but the Prat is simultaneously oblivious to any affections being caused by his idle conversation.
Actually, come to think of it seeing as every girl seems to fall in love with him, it wouldn't be suprising if he didn't notice it. He probably think blushing, stuttering and swooning is something all girls just do. He probably thinks the opposite sex are red faced from puberty to adulthood.
However, this strange explosion of unexplained affection is always explained later in the series when it is revealed that the Prat was never human the whole time and was instead a monstrous fleshy organism covered in phalli that disguised itself as a human being using its telepathy only to seduce fertile young women so it can impregnate them causing the birth of more hideous abominations.
Just joking, there is no phallus least not until I'm finished running the tests.

Speaking of the Prat's hidden secret monster that brings us to another of the Prat's attributes: his special power. If the world is one in which the supernatural exists, more often than not, the Prat will have a special power that he always uses to solve the problem. With some of the blander Prat anime this power will be used as a convenient excuse for the Prat to escape any situation without having to lose any of his integrity. If there is any situation where the Prat must sacrifice something then the Prat will simply use his amazing powers to override the situation and come out on top nonetheless.
To bring this into perspective, were the Prat's ability to unlock any lock with his tongue then the plot would call for him to use this power in multiple instances to orally save the day. The highlight of the arc would be the moment he must choose to save either Wendy Wet-pants or Susan Supple-hips both of whom have been tied tn either end of the train tracks by a convenient moustachioed villain. The Prat would solve the conundrum by tonguing his way into the train station staff only section finding the plot resolving button resulting in a secret tunnel sealed away by the ancients opening up and allowing the Prat to save both damsels, in a way the writer insultingly expects us to believe is a clever resolution.

Anyway, it is worthwhile pointing out that there are occasions in which the Prat doesn't have a magical power in order to save the day or is simply too weak to compete against the moustachioed villain despite his best efforts. In this case it is the women who do the work. This usually takes the form of one of the heroines having a special plot resolving power (one that usually involves losing parts of her clothing) and uses it to primarily keep the Prat safe. The Prat never suffers any serious consequences for being too weak to defend himself and others and is usually consoled over this by the female characters who ignore the fact he's useless and treat him like their little pet man.

On the subject of uselessness, even when the Prat is portrayed as above intelligence or at least competent on a socially acceptable level, the Prat will occasionally hit his head and temporarily act like a retard.
I had the pleasure of watching one of these bumbling twats pick up a girls phone at the swimming pool and instead of handing it to another girl, the blithering idiot waddled over to the girls dressing room only for another fucking hilarious wacky awkward piss and shit fucking undressing scene.

Alrighty then, I think its about time to wrap up this song and dance but just before I do I think I need to clarify one point.
In this new day and age mankind is continually finding new ways to re-use the same thing over and over again whilst disguising the fact in new and innovative ways. Its happening in gaming, its happening in television and by Odin Allfather of the Aesir its happening in hollywood.
And so it is the way with the humble Prat.
Because of this some people may not realise they are dealing with a Prat, oh but let me reassure you if there is smoke there is a witch I am currently burning.
Owari no seraph comes to mind as it shows a typical example of a classical Prat in disguise. Well, he's not in disguise in any way, its just that people will whine and moan and defend anything if given the chance and its my solemn duty to ensure those kind of people cease to exist in this way or another.

The Prat in this case is what I fondly call an angsty Prat. This Prat is quite violent or disruptive and impatient to a nearly irritating degree. This apparent everlasting rage stems from a horrific tragedy that occurred in the Prat's past, usually the loss of a family member that makes them swear revenge against that which took from them that which was so dear. Though, usually the grieving lasts all but five minutes at the end of episode one and then we're back to normal.
That said the rage is still often used as a means of motivation for the character however it never once leads to any negative consequence that isn't resolved with a moment of regretful reflection culminating in a “I've learned my lesson” moment. Also, the anger never appears to hamper any sort of relationship with any other character. One would think a person so damaged as to lose a loved one would be unwilling to draw close to people. Well you're wrong, apparently. Prat's uncontrollable rage towards the monsters or devilishly evil moustachioed villains (because lord save us if we have a relateable villain to question our Prat's virtues) is neutralised by the power of sickly cute young women. Prat's anger will also put him at odds with a male peer to which will result in some amount of cat fighting until eventually they put their differences aside and only have the occasional spat after too much wine when the guests all go home.
The kindness is still there. The forgiving nature is still there. Et cetera, et cetera.

Now time to put it all together.

Well, I should explain how this works. Each condition is a quality signature to the Prat. One must determine whether the quality is present in the character and apply a 0,1 or 2 depending on how prevalent the quality is. Well done to everyone who's figured out this is like the Hawe's psychopath test, very smart. But there is a difference. If one finds that a quality can be justified by the story, one should be a more lenient. For example: if the character is surrounded by women and this is due to the world being set in a scenario where the x chromosome takes its revenge. Or the character is not traumatised by his tragic past because he's a monster.
The score will be taken out of 26, by the way.

As I have said, kindness is an omnipresent feature in the Prat and so is altruism and the ability to put mentally unstable characters at ease. The all forgiving quality is also a serious part even though in some animes the Prat never has a chance to display this quality as no-one does anything bad to him without first putting on their grandfather's S.S. Uniform. Nevertheless I will add this feature to the list and expect one to use their imagination if it is not actively demonstrated in the Anime.

A sure fire sign of the Prat is an abundance of the fairer sex and god are they “fair”. Women falling in love with the Prat is a gimme for the list. Having a perverted male companion may seem unfair but due to the prevalence in Prat anime I'll have to leave it in. If he has a sister who loves him I cannot help but think Prat.

The Prat will be sexually oblivious and goes redder than a Russian October, no argument.

Having a special power shall be included and there's not a single doubt about inconsequential weaknesses. Ditto for the unhampering sob story.

And so here it is. I will leave it in the description so that all may see and with hope we can together purge the world from shitty Prats like this forever or at least identify them and take the piss.

1. Unconditional, all encompassing kindness. (a pure geniality towards all characters independent of disposition, creed, sex, et cetera).

2. Compulsive altruism. (an uncontrollable devotion towards selfless acts which can culminate in the character putting himself in serious danger or taking lethal risks).

3. Ability to cure or put at ease mentally unstable characters. (Other characters inexplicably open up to character. Character shows unbelievable sympathy or understanding of other characters' problems and manages to put them at ease with no more than simple reassurances.)

4. All forgiving. (An unlimited capacity for forgiveness, independent of the severity of the trespass committed, on the single condition that the trespasser is repentant.)

5. Surrounded by women. (A large number of female characters surround character and interact with him on a regular basis. There is a distinct lack of male characters who do the same.)

6. Women easily fall in love with him. (Female characters almost instantly become enamoured with character for no reason asides from the character's inherent charisma. Character often needs not interact with female characters more than one episode or simply resolves their problems before they become infatuated.)

7. Perverted male companion. (Present with the character is one or two reoccurring minor characters who show an obsession with sexual activity and often make inappropriate comments much to the aggravation of the female characters.)

8. A love struck relative. (Character has a female relative who despite being related either by blood or by law finds themselves inexplicably drawn towards the character. Relative may be aware of the social faux pas of her affections and yet cannot help but interact more with character.)

9. Sexually oblivious. (A complete lack of awareness of the growing affections of companions and the affect his behaviour is having on companions around him. Often coupled with an inability to tell when he is groping a boob.)

10. Easily embarrassed. (Despite constant interaction with female characters and an ability to woo that suggests some experience with women, character shows moments of embarrassment often when women say certain things, become close or are wearing certain items of clothing. This embarrassment never eases no matter how many times the trigger may occur. Character can often confidently touch or speak with character and then suddenly become embarrassed being touched or talked to at another time.)

11. A special power. (Character has a power to which places him above all other characters in regards to significance. This power is often used to resolve problems and allow the character to avoid making hard decisions or sacrifices. If the character is incapable or lacks a power then he is protected by a female character who happens to have affections for him.)

12. Suffers no consequences due to weaknesses or flaws. (Character may have a certain flaw or weakness that is never portrayed as a disadvantage to the character. Character may be reckless and find himself in a sticky situation but after being rescued he will learn his “lesson” and proceed never to commit the same mistake again. Character often only struggles internally with weakness and even then manages to overcome it with relative ease.)

13. Endures a tragedy. (Character lives through a tragic and traumatising event, usually the claiming of family lives by an antagonist, that serves as a motivating force throughout the story. Despite the severity of the event, character suffers no psychological damage that serves as a disadvantage to the character.)

Right. That's that.

So, go and spread this around. Put it in memes, use it to piss off your friend who likes that harem anime, put it into all the languages of man or at least just japanese because that's probably the only one that matters in this case, tell the world that Sisyphus has solved the Prat problem once and for all.

Oh by the way, I discovered a much easier way to diagnose a Prat while I was writing the list.
You see Prats have the certain qualities of being kind, forgiving and altruistic to a Messianic level, often are loved by all, has an outrageous temper that everyone ignores and has some sort of supernatural ability that puts him above all other men.

So basically if the protagonist of the Anime or Manga is Jesus, then he's a Prat.

No comments:

Post a Comment