If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Howdy class. In celebration of getting 50 members today..okay not really. I was going to make a topic focused on discussion but since having spoken briefly about it to the group and people have become more talky I don't have to, which is great. Thanks for that, good work and all that jazz.
Instead what I'm going to do is talk about what I believe are the three of the most common protagonist archetypes in anime and manga. The traditional romantic hero, the Byronic hero and the antihero. I'm only going to briefly explain what each is and how they're different from each other since after beginning to podcast I learned some fans (Naunsay) prefer the shorter explanation. By the way furry balls, fluffy balls, balls of steel, wrinkly penis flopping around whapping on my thigh. Licking nipples, licking nipples licking licking licking nipples.
The Romantic Hero: Typically depicted as having a larger than life presence (whether physically or figuratively), being more attractive, stronger, clever, braver etc. than your normal schmoo. An idealist who challenges social norms in some manner. Often the focus of the romantic hero's story is his thoughts rather than his actions. Sound familiar? It should. On an interesting side note, Napoleon Bonaparte is considered by many as a real life example of a (failed) romantic hero.
The Byronic Hero: Even though I'm not a fan of it, because this particular type of antihero has to have specific traits I'm going to copy and paste (from wikipedia no less as it had a bullet point list). In addition to lacking the key qualities a Romantic Hero possesses that sort of places them on a moral pedestal..
"The Byronic hero typically exhibits several of the following traits:
Considering a Bryonic hero doesn't have to have all of these traits at least several characters should pop out in your mind.
Finally there is the antihero. This is where I personally have struggled greatly as a reader to find pure examples of because despite having a pretty simplistic definition, I have come across few shining examples of such.
The Antihero: The generally accepted definition of an antihero is a protagonist that lacks the essential qualities that sculpt a true protagonist. An antihero also can be defined by his antagonist - possibly a character that does bad things but is not inherently evil, meanwhile the antihero possesses traits such as being selfish, greedy or corrupt, eating away the audience's ability to sympathize and like the protagonist. Speaking of which they generally fight villains, but not out of a sense of justice. For example, when put in a situation where an antihero has the choice and ability to do the heroic thing, such as save random wounded villager in mud stretching out their hand to said protagonist in hopes they will save them from a beast and the protagonist instead blatantly decides to steal something from them and flee. Pretty sure no one's going to argue that's not heroic.
So I feel there are strong, clear cut examples already for romantic and byronic heroes personally. When I think of romantic heroes, I look back at older anime to recent and I'd say I firmly believe this is the most common of the three. I'd actually say a flawed hero is the most common (relax people not complicated, just a protagonist that has one or more flaws) but overall romantic heroes have been appearing in anime and manga for decades and will continue to do so.
When I think Byronic hero, one in particular comes directly to mind as he holds nearly all the traits of a Byronic Hero: Guts from Berserk. Out of the qualities a Byronic Hero may be defined by, he's missing maybe two which I'd say not socially/sexually dominant and not sophisticated and educated. 15/17 is a very strong case though.
Now what I have trouble with, possibly due to how loose the interpretation may be and how subjective an audience may be. To me, Light Yagami from Deathnote seems pretty close to what I'd define as an antihero. The only problem is I sympathize with him until he kills L, which then in my mind gives him the jump from some form of flawed hero to a complete antihero. He becomes just a murderer killing people with impunity at that point to me.
Another I think as being a better definition of an antihero is Ryo Narushima from Shamo (one of my top five by the way) but I've had conflicting opinions from other readers I've spoken with on whether or not they think he's an antihero. Here's my case - A character who is selfish and wholly motivated to preserve what he was taught to enable him to survive. Every chance he has to do the right thing, he does the selfish thing in my mind. While his world is shit, ultimately he brought it upon himself and continues to do so. Never above taking the shortest, most rewarding route possible, Ryo Narushima constantly hurts those around him through his actions as well as his own image to the audience (me). Instead of a larger than life presence or personality, he's cancerous. This is not to say I don't respect Ryo's tenacity, ability or cunning but I do not like him on a personal level nor do I sympathize with his situation. I did sympathize with him for a while but shortly after he leaves juvenile detention he has a clear character change caused by jealousy, transforming him into an antihero in my mind.
So the discussion part of this I'd like some opinions of these archetypes, examples or even what you feel may be better examples of each (particularly antihero).
Lelouch counts as the posterboy for Byronic Hero as far as I'm concerned.
You..care to elaborate a little on that..?
He's an exile from Britannia.
He's sought after by every woman in his school for his devilish handsomeness.
Ruthlessly devoted to his goals.
Has the integrity of a brain-dead chimp.
Has a distaste for the norms in the universe of Code Geass.
Can get very angsty (perfect example would be the middle and the end of R2).
Able to rally the citizens of Japan to rebel against Britannia (twice!).
Damn near everyone of his plans work out for him, one way or another.
I know there's a few more I'm missing, but that's my take on it. Hell, every time TV Tropes brings up Lulu, there's a good chance it will link straight to Byronic Hero. Either that or Magnificent Bastard. One or the other.
Cool, did not know that as I've only seen a few episodes of Code Geass.
Really? I'm quite surprised. I think you'd like it, even if some elements of it are a tad far-fetched.
"Has the integrity of a brain dead chimp"
I LOL'd in that sentence..