I hate Bleach. I hate Bleach for the same reason that I hate Naruto, and I hate Naruto with a fucking PASSION. I feel that shows like these dumb down Anime as a whole, and give the entire thing a sour vibe and a bad name. Kind of like what Lil’ Wayne does for Hip hop. For every Shonen Domo or Neon Genesis Evangelion out there, there’s a Young Jeezy or a ST-RA-IN to make it look bad.
I happen to be in a social circle full of people who feel very differently about this subject, however, and from such exposure I have begun to notice a few things. A few things that reminded me of another article that I have previously written. I began to notice that much like the Pokemons and the Yu-Gi-Ohs of yesteryear, a flow chart has been developed and secretly used to siphon money from an entire generation of Anime fans, without them even noticing. Today I am going to expose this formula in an attempt to save the world.
If you were to pick up the box for one of these shows and read the description on the back, they would all have a similar description. Something along these lines:
To illustrate this, I will take each sentence of the above description, and break it down using examples from four different shows that I’ve watched recently. Although there might be SLIGHT differences in the shows, they will for the most part follow this formula to the T. Especially worth noting is that the two that share the most similarities, Bleach and Buso Renkin, are both works of Shonen Jump.
Without further ado, HEAVEN OR HELL! DUEL ONE! LET’S ROCK!
In fact, the opening narration of your anime should have the main character saying “Before today I was just an average High School student…”. The guy will be lukewarm in almost every way. He’ll be disinterested, distanced from his peers, and nothing special in class. Not to the point of delinquency, however. Ichigo, the protagonist from Bleach, is a slight break to this formula. The first time we meet him, he’s beating a bunch of people up.
Within the first five or so minutes, our “hero” will be attacked by a monster of some sort. This is where he meets his reluctant partner in crime, after she saves him from danger. An amusing but unoriginal twist used in Shakugan No Shana has the protagonist discovering that he’s already dead before this encounter even happens, with Buso Renkin having our hero being slaughtered BECAUSE of meeting his better half.
A group of very uninteresting people, in fact. Give all of these characters some sort of a personality or design quirk, but don’t worry about going too in depth with it. They just have to look cool for posters and T-Shirts. Also, make sure there are a lot of these people. According to Wikipedia there are 53 Soul Reapers in Bleach, for example.
Be it ghosts, demons, or even homunculi, they’ll be something that average humans are unaware of. They’ll also be eating those average humans. This won’t really be explored too much, however. Sometimes it’ll be explained that they do it to survive, sometimes they’ll just do it because they’re dicks like that. Reasoning isn’t important, though. They’re just bad guys, plain and simple. They’ll be taking a backseat soon enough, anyway.
The heroes will all have a special weapon, and that special weapon will have a hidden ability that’s supposed to be incredibly strong or unique. Magic swords, alchemy, spiritual bonds to corpses, whatever. Doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about keeping any sort of rhyme or reason to how these things work, either, as your show will throw this to the wind and just do whatever’s convenient at the time anyway. Buso Renkin really fucks this up by stating early on that each of the show’s namesake weapons are unique enough to have a unique serial number and function, and then on multiple occasions hereafter have the crests be practically interchangeable.
Something always ends up happening that will force the two of them to work together, even though the male is confused or reluctant, and the female views him as an annoying eyesore. Bleach cleverly has Ichigo “stealing” the female Rukia’s powers and being forced to do her job until she can figure out how to fix the situation, much to his chagrin. Shikibane Hime (or Corpse Princess, for the Funimation crowd) simply has the male, Ouri, constantly get involved in his older brother’s business (the actual hero) until he manages to get him killed, forcing the younger sibling to take over to the disdain of our heroine Makina.
But what’s this? For some reason, even though he lacks ANY sort of formal training or combat experience, our new hero is able to hold his own based on sheer willpower alone! Sure, why the hell not? There will be some mumbo jumbo explanation about dudebro having sooo much spiritual energy or whatever, and that will be that.
To “keep an eye” on the boy, the girl will enroll in his school and get mixed up with his social life. For whatever reason the two will have to keep their situation a secret, which will lead to all sorts of wacky misunderstandings. The circle of friends will also assume they are fucking. The friends can take a tip from the heroine’s homies and be uninteresting except for a single character quirk each, as well often being mentioned as our hero’s strength or reason to fight. Depending on how long the show is they may even get involved in the fight with some sort of “pulled out of the ass” reasoning (like Bleach did in it’s second season onward, and Shakugan No Shana liberally sprinkled througoht it’s series), or at lease have some filler episodes dedicated to them getting involved in some zany situations.
This is mandatory. It WILL happen, it’s just a matter of when and how it can be worked into the script. There’s nothing I have to say about this, as it’s pretty self explanatory, other than explaining that there will always be a segment about choosing swimsuits.
Usually through a love triangle with one of the guy’s friends. The female protagonist will constantly get jealous and act like a bitch, and then question why she was doing it to begin with. While this is happening the male will be utterly confused, to the point of making the viewer want to cringe over his stupidity.
Whether we’re talking about the guys from Bleach “arresting” Rukia for allowing Ichigo to use her powers, the guys from Buso Renkin trying to kill Kazuki because he’s a Super Saiyan, or even the guys from Shakugan No Shana hoping to murder Yuji because he’s got a powerful weapon inside of his body, some retarded explanation will be given for turning the good guys against our heroes.
That’s cool, though. Our hero seems to have conveniently unlocked the next level of his power. Now he’s so strong that nobody can believe it… until one of the guy’s he’s fighting do the same thing… then he does it again… then THEY do it again…
The show’s theme song plays, the bad guy dies, the good guys get about rebuilding, the hero’s friends all get together and have a party… and sexual tension still exists between the main characters, but in a light, comedic way. fade out, cash in.
Can I have a job at Funimation now?