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Thread: The Shounen Formula

  1. #1
    エッチなのはいけないと思います! Malintex_Terek's Avatar
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    Default The Shounen Formula

    Yes, it's that time of night again, where Terek is bored/annoyed and wants to remedy his not so pleasant state of mind!

    ...

    This topic is dedicated to discussing the corollaries, postulates, laws and trends of the mythic "shouen formula", an often discussed but never qualified/quantified into an objectable definition.

    Additionally, this topic is meant to be both fun and informative; once "rules" have been agreed on for the shounen formula, I'll amend this post with our consensus and, hopefully, we can use these rules to predict phenomenon in all shounen manga.

    In this topic, I ask that people propose certain observable shoune behaviour (like, say, "the hero never dies") and people comment on it. I'll do my best to address what some cite as laws/postulates/corollaries but I can't do it alone; I empower you, dear readers, to assist me in hammering out the impurities of points.

    I'll start off with a relatively uncontroversial topic, but the veracity can be called into question; I have done this deliberately to spark the debating.

    ...

    The "archetypes" of all shounen manga began in the late 1970's to 1980's. Among these archetypes which set the precedence for shounen, Dragonball, Hokuto no Ken, and Jojo's Bizzare Adventure firmly established the outlines for which all latter shounen would follow.

    ...

    ~*The Shounen Formula*~

    A. Main Characters
    Postulate 1-1: A main character (usually the protagonist) has a voracious appetite.
    Theorem 1-1: All main characters announce names to their "attacks" right before executing an offensive.
    Theorem 1-2: Main characters start off as underdog or dark horse characters, but rapidly grow in power and skill as the series progresses.
    Theorem 1-3: The protagonist has a "plot device" with "unlimited potential", whereby he possesses a special power that few other individuals have that gives him an edge in whatever he is doing.
    Theorem 1-4: In all shounen manga, the protagonist is a male.

    B. Female Characters
    Theorem 2-1: Female characters are portayed as significantly weaker than their male counterparts (either as antagonists or allies).
    Postulate 2-1: Frequently, female characters are assigned healing or doctoral roles in contrast to combat-oriented ones.
    Last edited by Malintex_Terek; October 8th, 2006 at 01:09 PM.

  2. #2
    DA CRIME OF THE CENT'RY Captain Kaze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    I would agree with that, they are the main archetypes.
    most of the rules would be drawn from those series, then, yes? >_>
    Like.. dragonball.
    Rule 1 - 80% of the time, the main character enjoys eating, and enjoys eating a LOT.
    Rule 1a - 80% of the time, the main character can heal his wounds simply by eating food.
    Rule 2 - Kuririn dies.
    Rule 3 - Always shout out attack names before/while performing them.
    Rule 4 - Almost always, there is a character who starts out an adversary, but ends up a powerful ally later on. "Vegeta" syndrome, so to speak. (hell, maybe even Piccolo)
    Rule 5 - The main character wins 90% of the time. If they lose, they come back and win in the second or third rounds, as..
    Rule 6 - The main character cannot die, no matter how powerful a final attack is used on them. They will always come back. Count on it.
    Rule 7 - Kuririn dies.
    Rule 8 - Major Villians tend to hold back at first, which usually results in an injury that causes them to lose the fight.

    ..that's all I could think of, at the moment.

    J-WALKING

  3. #3
    King of the Klondike "LC"_Lapen's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Don't forget that the law of averages has no meaning in a shounen manga.

    -For example, in just about every training segment, there's always a hidden/forbidden/suicidal method that has a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of succeding. And it always does.

    -Either that, or strength surpassing all known boundaries can be obtained on an average of 3 day training.

    -And a Higher level will always be discovered in a later arc.

  4. #4
    エッチなのはいけないと思います! Malintex_Terek's Avatar
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    Post Re: The Shounen Formula

    Also provide examples, and avoid "rough estimates".


    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 1 - 80% of the time, the main character enjoys eating, and enjoys eating a LOT.
    That's a postulate, but not a theorem. Luffy, Naruto, Natsu, and Goku all like food; Ichigo or Bobobo are not particularly well known for being gluttons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 1a - 80% of the time, the main character can heal his wounds simply by eating food.
    I don't think that's true at all by virtue of itself. Naruto can because he regenerates; Goku doesn't, really, nor does Ichigo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 2 - Kuririn dies.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 3 - Always shout out attack names before/while performing them.
    Theorem, especially for main characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 4 - Almost always, there is a character who starts out an adversary, but ends up a powerful ally later on. "Vegeta" syndrome, so to speak. (hell, maybe even Piccolo)
    Provide some examples as I'm a bit tired at the moment. :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 5 - The main character wins 90% of the time. If they lose, they come back and win in the second or third rounds, as..
    Avoid the percentages, but otherwise that's a good hypothesis; not sure if it's a theorem or not yet, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 6 - The main character cannot die, no matter how powerful a final attack is used on them. They will always come back. Count on it.
    Yuusuke and Goku die and come back. Maybe "permanent" death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 7 - Kuririn dies.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 8 - Major Villians tend to hold back at first, which usually results in an injury that causes them to lose the fight.
    Hubris sounds good as well. Need examples if you would.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Hard to make a formula, besides the few main ones because there are alot of variety in Shounen now.


    But I have one, the first MAIN villian is usually the weakest. Even tho, this wasnt true in Naruto because the first main villian didnt fight the main character.

  6. #6
    DA CRIME OF THE CENT'RY Captain Kaze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by Malintex_Terek
    That's a postulate, but not a theorem. Luffy, Naruto, Natsu, and Goku all like food; Ichigo or Bobobo are not particularly well known for being gluttons.
    Good point. Also can be ignored due to using a rough estimate, I suppose.. I had no direct examples in mind in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malintex_Terek
    I don't think that's true at all by virtue of itself. Naruto can because he regenerates; Goku doesn't, really, nor does Ichigo.
    True. Also, see above. XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Malintex_Terek
    ...
    Whaaaat? >_> You know it's truuuue. There is generally a character at one point SOMEWHERE that is killed, kidnapped, or otherwise, which become a driving/powerful reason to do something. See: Krillen dying, Rukia being taken away, Sasuke being taken away, the several times Beauty has been 'hurt' or taken away, Robin/Enies Lobby situation, Toguro 'killing' Kuwabara, 'Princess' (i can't remember her actual name. x_x) being kidnapped early on in Flame of Recca, or other situations like that. (sorry, a bit tired myself, can't think of many more examples at the moment) This is the type of scenario/situation I was reffering to with "Kuririn dies", although, in a joking, non specific manner. >_>

    Quote Originally Posted by Malintex_Terek
    Provide some examples as I'm a bit tired at the moment. :(
    okay. Although, I guess you should take "powerful" in the lightest sense, as the main characters will always overshadow this type of character.
    Dragonball: Piccolo, Vegeta, Krillen(they never fight, but they're not exactly friends at first..), Yamcha, Tien.
    Shaman King: ..uh, nearly everyone on Yoh's side, excluding Anna and Monta? XD
    One Piece: Vivi, Robin, Franky. (and many more..!)
    Yu Yu Hakusho: Hiei, ..I suppose Kurama
    Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Tokoro Tennosuke, Softon, Torpedo Girl, Rice, Dengaku Man, Suzu, and several other characters.
    Naruto: The Sand Village Genin.
    Bleach: ..like, everyone he meets in Soul Society, + Ishida(I suppose. Ishida is a Krillen case).
    Ruroni Kenshin: Sanosuke, ..that other guy ('s been awhile.) XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Malintex_Terek
    Yuusuke and Goku die and come back. Maybe "permanent" death?
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kaze
    Rule 6 - The main character cannot die, no matter how powerful a final attack is used on them. They will always come back. Count on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malintex_Terek
    Hubris sounds good as well. Need examples if you would.
    This was another one of those things where I had no direct examples in mind. Sorry. >_>

    J-WALKING

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    I some something simular to this on another forum.

    Anyway:

    Special powers:
    A character will almost always draw his/her powers from one of the following sources
    - Energy (DragonBall's Chi/Ki, Naruto's Chakra, YuYu's Reki, Bleach's Retsu etc.)
    - Spirits or monsters (JoJo's Stands, Shaman King's ghosts, YuGiOh's card Monsters)
    - Elements (Natsu's and Recca's fire abilities, Musica's ability to control silver)
    - Mystical weapons/objects (One Piece's Devil Fruit, Haru's sword)

    Inner abilities:
    The main character will always have some kind of power hidden deep within them which they can use as a transformation, i.e. Super Saiyan in DragonBall Z, Yuskue's demon form, the Fox Demon in Naruto, Ichigo's Bankai and Vizard. Luffy's Gears are a bit of a grey area. They were created due to the Devil Fruit ability, but were discovered because Luffy experimented with what his body could do.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Rule 501 (just thinking of an obscure number)
    Main character becomes inexpicliby strong and the explanations of this increase in strength comes later in the series and usually 30% of the time, leaves plotholes

    Rule 666

    Every shounen series ends up with at least 2 main character dying, and half usually getting revived

    DBZ: Too lazy to list revivals, King Kai
    One piece: if you dont know, then you should not be here

    Rule 158

    True Villians in shounen anime either are minor lasting about 4-6 arcs, or major continually lasting thoughout the end of the series

    Minor (DBZ: Emp Pilaf)
    major (Shaman King: Asakura Hao)

    Rule 204

    Main Male Protagonists are either: complete dumbass, complete piss-ants, or abnormally slothful, but in most cases will be completly badass later in the series

    Dumbass: Luffy; Goku
    Piss-ants: Ichigo; Edward
    Slothful: Yoh; Ueki

    Main Female Protagonists are either: completly bitchy, eerily optomistic, or scary beyond all reason while we still are completly mesmorized by them, but from start to finish within the series, they will always be badass

    Rule 712

    All shounen flashbacks will have either a begining or ending or climax that causes people to shed at least 1 tear.

    One Piece: You have to be kidding me if you need examples
    Shaman King: Yoh and Anna flashback, pure and simple
    Bleach: Memories in the Rain ~dur

    Rule 864

    At least once in the series, the characters will break the 3rd wall, either in the series or in the omake

    Naruto: "Naruto is not the type of person to be the main character in a series"
    One Piece: Omake
    Bleach: Radio Kon

    Rule 156

    Shounen series will always be either an epic or completly fucktarded or both

    Fucktarded: Bobobobobo
    Epic: Shounen Trinity (Bleach Naruto One Piece)
    Both: Gainax-plain and simple

    This is all have for now, stick tune for more~!!!
    Last edited by Kazu-kun; October 6th, 2006 at 03:23 AM.

  9. #9
    Idealistic Mercenary
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Rule #1: The plot in general Shounen stories = FIGHT >> FIGHT >> FIGHT >> FIGHT >> FIGHT >> (repeat until you die)

    Rule #2: Anything else that isn't a FIGHT is considered reason for FIGHT so insert any in-between factors (love, dream, etc) but in the end it's FIGHT that matters.

    Rule #3: eternal rivalry is a MUST.

    Rule #4: heroes always have ridiculous amount and method of training. (yea, too bad we didn't see how Luffy trained himself, but we have Zoro.)

    Rule #5: you have to witness nudity (and whatever suggested it) at least once. This includes panty-flashings, peek-a-boob, etc etc.

    That's all for now. I think why main characters mostly have that gigantic appetite, is to set example to their kid fans that if they eat a lot, they can be like them.
    Last edited by guyleon; October 6th, 2006 at 04:18 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by guyleon
    Rule #1: The plot in general Shounen stories = FIGHT >> FIGHT >> FIGHT >> FIGHT >> FIGHT >> (repeat until you die) Rule #2: Anything else that isn't a FIGHT is considered reason for FIGHT so insert any in-between factors (love, dream, etc) but in the end it's FIGHT that matters. Rule #3: eternal rivalry is a MUST. Rule #4: heroes always have ridiculous amount and method of training. (yea, too bad we didn't see how Luffy trained himself, but we have Zoro.) Rule #4: you have to witness nudity (and whatever suggested it) at least once. This includes panty-flashings, peek-a-boob, etc etc. That's all for now. I think why main characters mostly have that gigantic appetite, is to set example to their kid fans that if they eat a lot, they can be like them.
    That's not the first rule. The first rule in shounen anime is the fact that there is at least one guy out there intended for comic relief

  11. #11
    Idealistic Mercenary
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    I might use #, but it's not an ordered rule, mind ye ;) Yeah, I forgot about that one.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazu-kun
    Rule 204

    Main Male Protagonists are either: complete dumbass, complete piss-ants, or abnormally slothful, but in most cases will be completly badass later in the series

    Dumbass: Luffy; Goku
    Piss-ants: Ichigo; Edward
    Slothful: Yoh; Ueki
    Although few people probably have bothered with the greatness of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure... All the male protagonists from Jojo are not at all like those. Also see Kenshiro from Hokuto no ken.

    The crazy training sequences and 1 in a million trainings are not present in jojo, also.

    However, Jojo has alot of the stuff you guys listed. I love the "shonen trinity" thing. As if no manga exist outside of those. Hilarious
    R.I.P. (for now) KO-Scans

  13. #13
    N00b C4NN0N bennyb's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    LoL at Kuririn dies. :)

  14. #14
    Gomu Gomu No Murder Taleran's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Rule 666: Jojo's Doesn't follow most of the above rules.

  15. #15
    Kelly Pavlik vs Bhop warp's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Whenever a shonen manga gets super huge (not excluding op and some other mangas) it gets 100x more fanservice.

    Whenever a villian attemps to blow himself up, he always remains alive.

    Whenever a manga has a timeskip the main character gets somewhat stronger, but doesnt realize still how weak he is before getting his ass kicked.

    Whenever a manga artist makes another series it uses some old idea's/ characters designs with a twist.

    (this one goes out to carter who said this): Always in every sports manga each guy has the same face,different hair, except eyeshield 21.

    If a main character is an ex assassin he always trys to redeem his ways.

    If the manga-ka makes an amazing shonen story he is always sick and doesnt always have chapters come out weekly =P
    Last edited by warp; October 6th, 2006 at 09:22 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.allsunday
    Nice job jumping on the bandwagon there Aethos, I can only wish I was as cool as you

  16. #16

    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Rule: Within the frst few main story arcs, a character will outclass a major hero but pose it as "we'll meet again"

    One Piece - Mihawk explicity, Snanks by basically bailng Luffy out of his mess in chapter 1

    ES21 - Shin

  17. #17
    x Joonas Reuhkala x Yoska's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by warp
    Whenever a shonen manga gets super huge (not excluding op and some other mangas) it gets 100x more fanservice.
    Isn't it other way around? When a manga gets 100 times more fanservice it becomes super huge.

  18. #18
    Shipwright of Justice Paulie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Let's start with some easy ones.

    #1- The main character will always fight the biggestvillain.

    ...I don't think I really need to list any examples here.

    #2- Fights tend to be one on one. It doesn't matter if the rest of their friends are right there, some reason, be it a one-on-one challenge, a game/tournament setup, or whatever, will always make the fight be one-on-one.

    Examples where there's a group, but only one on one fights: The fights against Nappa in Dragonball. And Cell. In One Piece, you have Arlong Park and Enies Lobby for good examples of where fights could have been done in a group, but were one on one instead.

    #3- If you don't explicitely see them die, they're not dead. Simple enough.

    Examples: Any smoking after an attack, where the attacker thinks the enemy must be dead. In Dragonball, Frieza is a good example. For One Piece, we can use Pell, or Igram, and the most recent chapters, too. Anyway, if you don't see their dead body, or at least see their actual dying moment, they're not dead.



    I'll list more when I have time. ;_;

  19. #19
    Gomu Gomu No Murder Taleran's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie
    Let's start with some easy ones.

    #1- The main character will always fight the biggestvillain.

    ...I don't think I really need to list any examples here.

    #2- Fights tend to be one on one. It doesn't matter if the rest of their friends are right there, some reason, be it a one-on-one challenge, a game/tournament setup, or whatever, will always make the fight be one-on-one.



    I can think of many examples where both these are not true

  20. #20
    Shipwright of Justice Paulie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Shounen Formula

    Quote Originally Posted by Taleran
    I can think of many examples where both these are not true
    Why bother saying that if you won't give the examples?

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