What do we think of plot armour in manga/anime?
Hey Gym N Japan FAM! We have done a post on anime filler and now we are onto another hot topic of PLOT ARMOUR. But what is Plot Armour you ask? Basically it is when you think something bad is going to happen to the main character...but because they are the main character, they are saved by the story or PLOT ARMOUR. That is the simplest way to describe it. Nothing bad can happen to the main characters.
The reason it is a hot topic is because it can be done terribly and makes you feel like there’s no suspense when there’s a fight scene where their life is on the line. The reason there is no suspense is because you know that there will be no real consequences from the fight and you know that they’ll never die or become permanently injured.
As much as we give plot armour a bit of a roast, it does play a vital part in all anime especially the Shonen category with a lot of action. The reason it is so important in all anime if because obviously you don’t want the main character dying midway through the series right? Like imagine if Goku died in the first Dragon Ball series? The series wouldn’t even exist anymore and not see him grow into a sick fighting hero! A lot of the time they set the character up to have a happy ending with kids and a shitty spinoff series *cough* Boruto *cough*. There are however a few examples where the show actually ends on a semi bad note where the MC dies with a noble death, beats the big bad or changes the world. Honestly this type of ending kinda hurts us as readers/watchers so not many authors even attempt it. If the character just dies without accomplishing much it would not be a pretty anime or manga with crap ratings... like who would even want to watch that kind of show? Overcoming some hard adversity is basically why we love to watch anime or read manga!
Here are our personal opinions on the matter:
Alright my personal opinion is that a little bit of plot armour is ok provided that it still seems real! I am a fan of things just lining up and the MC winning the day with some freakish event but don’t really like the power of friendship move that revives them from the dead... although it can be good sometimes... When that happens it kinda annoys me but I’ll probably still watch it if it’s good, thinking of Naruto here, prime example. Using Naruto as an example of how great a bit of plot armour can be in a show! This show does it well by giving Naruto a new power or skills to overcome a bad guy which are brought about by trauma and the emotion which is justified in my book. On the other end of this is soul eater which is a great anime however, the power of friendship might have been a little too strong and ended the series on a poor note in my book. Another one with strong plot armour is Fairy Tale which I absolutely love but it seems that no one ever gets hurt/ no consequences for a lot of their actions.
This is probably why my favourite shows are the ones with minimal plot armour and you feel that there are consequences for their actions thinking: Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan, Akame Ga Kill etc etc. I just love the real/ raw feeling of these where they may lose comrades, limbs, family etc.. Jesus I sound like a psycho saying that LOL! But you get the point I like normal feeling shows where we feel bad for the MC and celebrate the wins etc.
Overall I’m not against plot armour in a show provided it is done well and including good reasons as to why they were protected and not just the power of friendship.
My thoughts on plot armour are pretty similar to Haydon's. No one wants your favourite character to die, otherwise the show would be shit and you probably wouldn't watch it. What's even worse though? When you watch a show years after it is released, knowing there are 1, 2 or even 5 more seasons...so you know full well that the main character doesn't die or lose his powers ahaha.
There are some shows like Haydon mentioned above where the main or sub main characters do die and then you get all annoyed or sad that they are gone. I think only certain stories or authors can make it work to the story they are trying to achieve...but it is super difficult.
I think plot armour is super important and is needed in most anime for them to not only continue with the series, but for people to like them and build a connection with them. As much as we all hate on it, I think it is super important and needed in ALMOST every show that is mainstream or popular.
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