Humiliating the Main Character for a character Growth

Blackout

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This is rather common (at least from what I see) in Action Harem like High School DxD and Absolute Duo. The MC will say some cringey line like "I will protect XXX!" in a real shonen series protagonist fashion, only to have their ass kicked by the antagonist. And the worst part is, the reason some MC won after they fight the same antagonist has nothing to do with their hard training. Using the aforementioned series as examples, Issei only managed to beat Riser Phenex because he had a bottle of Holy Water, and Tooru could beat K only because of the level up serum he received from the loli principal.

I'm not saying that all MCs shoulld remain invincible. My point here is that if you want to make your MC go through a growth stage, I'm sure that there are better ways to do it. Or are the authors suggesting that a guy who tries his best only to fail is cool? I simply do not understand. Any thoughts on this?
 

Viator

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I think it's the obvious easy way to maintain tension. Keep your character at an obvious weakness compared to those that surround them... I hate it to. You don't have to make your characters constantly feel weak in order to display weakness in them at a critical moment.

You can have a strong, flawed character that is neither a constant loser who has to rely on others, or an all powerful super-god. It just takes a little subtlety and patience to flesh out the details.
 

KiraMinoru

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Or are the authors suggesting that a guy who tries his best only to fail is cool? I simply do not understand. Any thoughts on this?
Trying your best and failing is cool as long as you’re willing to keep trying regardless of how many times you encounter failure. Just doing everything correct and perfectly without failing is probably the most boring and uninteresting thing ever.

For example, take science. Is science cool? Yeah, because no matter how many times your experiment fails despite you doing your best to account for everything, you keep trying over and over again making small tweaks and changes until you finally yield the result you’re looking for. In science, things typically never go well the first time around. On the occasions where they do go right the first time around, where’s the fun in that? You just confirmed what you already knew, you didn’t actually learn anything new from it. You only really ever learn something new when you encounter failure.
 

NotaNuffian

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This is rather common (at least from what I see) in Action Harem like High School DxD and Absolute Duo. The MC will say some cringey line like "I will protect XXX!" in a real shonen series protagonist fashion, only to have their ass kicked by the antagonist. And the worst part is, the reason some MC won after they fight the same antagonist has nothing to do with their hard training. Using the aforementioned series as examples, Issei only managed to beat Riser Phenex because he had a bottle of Holy Water, and Tooru could beat K only because of the level up serum he received from the loli principal.

I'm not saying that all MCs shoulld remain invincible. My point here is that if you want to make your MC go through a growth stage, I'm sure that there are better ways to do it. Or are the authors suggesting that a guy who tries his best only to fail is cool? I simply do not understand. Any thoughts on this?
You want Rias NTR moment? There is a doujin from Katsurai Yoshiaki for you to go enjoy.

The point is key audience, these books' audience is for hormone induced teens whose blood has left the brain and to their balls and dick or horny 30s with the same thing but a more flaccid dick.

They don't read the books to think, they read it for wish fulfilment. They don't want failures because they are facing it everyday, they want to see an underdog that they can superimpose their image onto.
 

GodlyKamui

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They don't read the books to think, they read it for wish fulfilment. They don't want failures because they are facing it everyday, they want to see an underdog that they can superimpose their image onto.
And that's basically why there's so many isekai anime.

Although if I had to say, I think Mushoku Tensei handles failure very very well.
Like in the fight with Orsted, Zenith's rescue or also in the arc where Rudeus has to deal with his maternal grandparents.
:blob_hmm:
 

LostLibrarian

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Issei only managed to beat Riser Phenex because he had a bottle of Holy Water,
Correct me if I'm wrong (didn't read it for many years), but didn't he win because he exchanged his arm for a temporary level up from his gear? And him being able to fight Riser at all was the result of the training, just that he didn't "go far enough"...
-----------------------------


If your MC doesn't fail after trying their best, what even is the point? Either they lose because they didn't care (which makes them look even worse) or we end with one of the typical "CN cultivation webnovels" where the MC just goes around and thanks to their super awesome training dominates everything. Might be fun for some face-slapping but gets old fast...

Getting kicked down by an enemy and humiliated is in itself a really good motivation for character growth because it mirrors real life. The problem is that any "intelligent" enemy should kill the MC afterwards, so there is the need for a sudden turnaround when it happens during fights (e.g. action novels). And I think it's the sudden turnaround that turns you off more than the getting kicked down.
There are better and worse ways to do it and your action harem anime mostly belong to the latter. And the reason for that isn't only the target audience but also the format. You only have 3 or 4 books to get a series started and often you only have one volume to finish an arc. So with that, you need an "instant" turnaround.


In the end, it's a matter of execution. Even Lord Of The Rings has these moments, they are just better hidden and written. "Fast Food Stories" like harem often tend to be, don't take the time to innovate said tropes which makes them really obvious.

So yeah, the MC getting kicked down after training before they stand up, get stronger, and redeem themselves is both a typical and cool storyline in its core. It's just the poor execution that might make it laughable...
 

NotaNuffian

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And that's basically why there's so many isekai anime.

Although if I had to say, I think Mushoku Tensei handles failure very very well.
Like in the fight with Orsted, Zenith's rescue or also in the arc where Rudeus has to deal with his maternal grandparents.
:blob_hmm:
Kind of why I liked it, because the novel tries to do things realistically or at the very least, earnestly.
 

GodlyKamui

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Correct me if I'm wrong (didn't read it for many years), but didn't he win because he exchanged his arm for a temporary level up from his gear? And him being able to fight Riser at all was the result of the training, just that he didn't "go far enough"...
-----------------------------


If your MC doesn't fail after trying their best, what even is the point? Either they lose because they didn't care (which makes them look even worse) or we end with one of the typical "CN cultivation webnovels" where the MC just goes around and thanks to their super awesome training dominates everything. Might be fun for some face-slapping but gets old fast...

Getting kicked down by an enemy and humiliated is in itself a really good motivation for character growth because it mirrors real life. The problem is that any "intelligent" enemy should kill the MC afterwards, so there is the need for a sudden turnaround when it happens during fights (e.g. action novels). And I think it's the sudden turnaround that turns you off more than the getting kicked down.
There are better and worse ways to do it and your action harem anime mostly belong to the latter. And the reason for that isn't only the target audience but also the format. You only have 3 or 4 books to get a series started and often you only have one volume to finish an arc. So with that, you need an "instant" turnaround.


In the end, it's a matter of execution. Even Lord Of The Rings has these moments, they are just better hidden and written. "Fast Food Stories" like harem often tend to be, don't take the time to innovate said tropes which makes them really obvious.

So yeah, the MC getting kicked down after training before they stand up, get stronger, and redeem themselves is both a typical and cool storyline in its core. It's just the poor execution that might make it laughable...
That's what I loved about Reincarnated as a Slime.
Hinata actually almost managed to kill Rimuru after playing around with her. It was such a great change of pace to see an antagonist trying to finish the MC off.
:blob_joy:
 

EternalSunset0

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This is rather common (at least from what I see) in Action Harem like High School DxD and Absolute Duo. The MC will say some cringey line like "I will protect XXX!" in a real shonen series protagonist fashion, only to have their ass kicked by the antagonist. And the worst part is, the reason some MC won after they fight the same antagonist has nothing to do with their hard training. Using the aforementioned series as examples, Issei only managed to beat Riser Phenex because he had a bottle of Holy Water, and Tooru could beat K only because of the level up serum he received from the loli principal.

I'm not saying that all MCs shoulld remain invincible. My point here is that if you want to make your MC go through a growth stage, I'm sure that there are better ways to do it. Or are the authors suggesting that a guy who tries his best only to fail is cool? I simply do not understand. Any thoughts on this?
In terms of a guy trying his best failing, I think it's an attempt at subversion? In that "woah, MC actually lost even after his friendship/protect speech?!" thing. Maybe because audiences are too used to stuff like Fairy Tail or those toy commercial shows for kids where thinking of your friends suddenly gets you to do your five moves of doom and win out of nowhere.

Although I don't think the second paragraph (the growth stage) has much to do with your initial examples. I think what you're getting at there is not liking when heroes win in a rematch not because of a training but because of a McGuffin or a special sword/skill that they got mid-arc? Because that makes the victory feel "gifted" instead of "earned."
 

LostLibrarian

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That's what I loved about Reincarnated as a Slime.
I mean there are a lot of cool examples, but most of them share one thing: the good executions need build-up so it doesn't feel like an "plot ex machina". And to be fair, in a hard-fought genre like action-harem you rarely get the time to build up such stuff.

One of the easier ways is the usual "bluff your way through although you are half-dead". But that clashes with often more timid JP-MCs. Or at least I rarely saw it...
 
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I guess it is
regarding the post though. It totally depends on the character, how they are right now and how they should be in the future. Or, how they are right now and how they'll be after they deal with whatever is thrown at them. I guess it depends on how you write and plot. And I wouldn't use any shonen as a respectable measurement.
 

NotaNuffian

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regarding the post though. It totally depends on the character, how they are right now and how they should be in the future. Or, how they are right now and how they'll be after they deal with whatever is thrown at them. I guess it depends on how you write and plot. And I wouldn't use any shonen as a respectable measurement.
Fairy Tail. Fuck Fairy Tail and its friendship power BS. I always think that the work spoilt the market in a whole new different way and Eden Zero is going down the same path. At least the author knows his target audience and basically have the habit to not grow with the audience.
 
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Fairy Tail. Fuck Fairy Tail and its friendship power BS. I always think that the work spoilt the market in a whole new different way and Eden Zero is going down the same path. At least the author knows his target audience and basically have the habit to not grow with the audience.
haven't seen either. the only thing I know worth mentioning about fairy tale is the huge titties.
 

GodlyKamui

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Fairy Tail. Fuck Fairy Tail and its friendship power BS. I always think that the work spoilt the market in a whole new different way and Eden Zero is going down the same path. At least the author knows his target audience and basically have the habit to not grow with the audience.
I was told that Eden Zero had some good arcs and I was planning on reading it, but if it is more Fairy Tail in disguise, then I'll reconsider it... :blob_hmm:
 

SailusGebel

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Fairy Tail. Fuck Fairy Tail and its friendship power BS. I always think that the work spoilt the market in a whole new different way and Eden Zero is going down the same path. At least the author knows his target audience and basically have the habit to not grow with the audience.
Even though I want to put ten more, I can only put one like. Painful...
 
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