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What makes a good shounen storyline?

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scribbledoutname
Post #546395
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3:36 am, Apr 19 2012
Posts: 9


A little while ago I heard someone complaining about Ao No Exorcist's plot, which surprised me. They said that it was really generic. I've always through that Ao No Exorcist was pretty fresh. It's true that it's similar to other shounen stories in a way, but that's like complaining that an action story has action! So anyway, it got me thinking, and I decided to ask this question. What do you think makes a good shounen story? What might make one shounen's story better than another? I really wonder what most people use to judge whether a shounen is good or not, because it isn't the first time I've heard people complaining about the storyline of a series I love... confused

PS: I'm talking about storyline and not art, because everyone knows decent art is a given biggrin

FormX
Post #546396
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3:42 am, Apr 19 2012
Posts: 678


I haven't read Ao No Exorcist, but for a storyline to be good, it's the characters that do it.

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leiyepewei
Post #546397
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3:48 am, Apr 19 2012
Posts: 131


i second that if you dont care or like the characters you wont really care or like the storyline

MisaoFan
Post #546442
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11:59 am, Apr 19 2012
Posts: 84


To make a good shounen storyline, use a right amount of drama, action, comedy (not too slapstick otherwise it turn off feminist people) and fanservice (needs to be light, and you can use it in dramatic scenes in once or twice), because too much is a turn off (not matter what, there's a limit to anything). The romantic subplot is also a requirement to give suspense and resolve underdevelopped things, but not necessary. Also, don't make the story too draggy or generic. Use some generic things and leave everything else so original and fresh. Also the number of volumes should be 20 or less. It is also noted that shounen has a large variety of genres and storylines (not just action and fighting) but I heard you are making a action shounen storyline. It needs with a actual plot, meaningful character development, plot improvement and rich amount of subplots (including romance).

Last edited by MisaoFan at 12:08 pm, Apr 19

Doc-kun
Post #546489
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5:41 pm, Apr 19 2012
Posts: 4


I agree with MisaoFan in almost everything but the limitation about the number of volumes, so do I with what the others said. The characters need to be charismatic and they need a catch, the main character needs a difference with the others characters in the story (normally they have an special skill others don't, are really good at something or have a disadvantage regarding the others yet that disadvantage becomes his main strenght). Their personalities have to be easy to grasp, the reader has to know what is the place of the characters in the manga. Plus, it's rather common to have traits of their personalities increased so the reader can relate the character to them, make them easy to understand in the surface and therefore easier to like (that's why cliches work so well). People like characters who exceed common sense however its equally important NOT TO GO OVER THE EDGE.
Readers are not stupid, and they won't buy a storyline if the explanation for everything it's "just because". However, I think the most important thing in any shounen manga, that will decide whether its good or bad will be the ocasional insertion of cool scenes in a way that flows naturally. And by that i mean that if its too obvious that the author wants you to think that a character is cool and goes all the way to force it, people won't like it because they will feel like the author tries to control what they think. On the other hand, how many times have we been awestruck by a comeback win, a last second appearence, a character defying all common sense and surprising everone around him? How many times have we read a badass phrase and thought "I want to say that"? Even side characters as the story develops have random moments of coolness that suddenly boast their popularity. And in those cases it's not rare to see some comic relief just after that, since otherwise the effort the author made to "move that character up in the ranks" becomes too obviios and have the oposite effect.
So, besides everything the others said, I think the most important thing is the right dose of cool scenes.

nesfe
Post #546496
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6:06 pm, Apr 19 2012
Posts: 191


For me a good shonnen manga should have :
(only talking about action manga because shonnen is too broad .)

1) a strong main character that grows stronger as story goes (I dislike most weak to strong manga).
2) a well established power system (No pulling power ups from the mangaka ass).
3) An actual story, not just fights and battle tournaments (god i hate tournaments).
4) Some comedy or romance because pure action gets repetitive and boring.


Examples:
One piece : Strong main character , Devil fruit power system.
D.Gray man : Strong main character , Innocence / Dark matter.
Hunter x Hunter : Strong main characters , Nen power system.
Get Backers : Strong main Characters.
Full Metal Alchemist : Strong main Characters, Alchemy power system.
Claymore, zetman , dragon ball, Dance in the Vampire Bund, fairy tail etc....

Actually Thinking about it, it's rare for manga with weak characters to become popular. Am i on to something confused

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Hell_Clues
Post #550882
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4:10 am, May 14 2012
Posts: 173


Seems pretty basic and can really apply to any fiction, stuff like a world that's interesting, characters ect.

basically everything nesfe said but as oppose to nesfe though, I don't think it needs a power up system exactly. Fairy Tale does it okay without it(too much, guess it does happen). A lot of the school gangster ones don't have a magical system either. You can have a person learn more about fighting or it could just be the situation changing. I can understand why so many have it, when you want to present a new, badder thread, it has to make sense why the character can deal with it.

Ao no exocist is in my queue and I've seen about one episode of the anime(I liked it). I gotta say it does sound really generic from the description on here. I saw it sight unseen, and just tried the anime so I didn't have any conceptions of it going in.

Why does Blue exorcist sound generic? Maybe because it doesn't focus or say anything about the main character and just explains a basic scenario that we've seen a lot. I mean this could just as easily be the description of devil may cry.


sarah-eats-cupcakes
Post #550897
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his and her sonnet
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5:50 am, May 14 2012
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minimise action, realistic situations and characters, psychological themes, a dark ambiance....
sci-fi and tragedy are good too

BlackOrion
Post #550903 - Reply to (#546496) by nesfe
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Not-BlackOrion
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6:15 am, May 14 2012
Posts: 719


Quote from nesfe
For me a good shonnen manga should have :
(only talking about action manga because shonnen is too broad .)

1) a strong main character that grows stronger as story goes (I dislike most weak to strong manga).
2) a well established power system (No pulling power ups from the mangaka ass).
3) An actua ...

Deadman Wonderland
The breaker
Higanjima(which is really popular in japan... i wish they would upload it faster ;_ ; )
Shamo
Kurogane (although it only started recently is doing pretty well)

And let's not forget History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi


I think, and this is only my opinion, that what really matters is the strength of mind. I actually like weak to strong, i like to see a character grow in more that one way trough training.

A strong minded male lead would always make an excellent protagonist for me.


StaticHD
Post #550907
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Big Bucks
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6:28 am, May 14 2012
Posts: 168


To understand what makes a good shounen story-line, you'd have to understand the elements of what makes a bad shounen story-line. So pretty much, if all (or most) of the bad points of a shounen story are unseen or unnoticed in the shounen story - you will most likely end up reading a good shounen story.

So here is what I think is the general "good" story-line:

You've probably got a main character, right? Your Main character encounters something in his life (past/present/future), and he/she probably wants To Be a Master of whatever his/her universe deems Serious Business. At least, that's the motivation. Other characters will have other motivations. But that'll be the core of a good shounen story.

There will be a good balance of comedy, art scenes, and other main character scenarios.
If the main character starts out sad or angry or depressed or confused - then the main character must have a story-line that allows them to find a revelation to make them feel better.

Unless you are talking about Death Note, where the main character started out as a perfect good going teenager, and ended up trying using an evil book to accomplish his goals. Even if his methods were considered justice means, it was still evil. Which leads to the main character's doom.

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Shakaku
Post #550994
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10:51 pm, May 14 2012
Posts: 233


All one really needs is good storytelling. Type-moon made a story about a lot of old heros resurrected to kill each other into a masterpiece, and ISE Katsura made a story about a masturbating pubescent boy into one of my favorite manga series of all time.

But I do agree with balance being needed in any series.

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Syphilis
Post #551074
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10:52 am, May 15 2012
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At this point, anything unpredictable is worth reading. With most series, it's far too easy to tell what's going to happen next. Then again, you could say that predictability is part of the genre, but I don't like it.

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Mangaotaku-chan
Post #564097
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Falcon
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6:24 am, Aug 3 2012
Posts: 13


For me, I prefer reading shounen with plots that have enough drama and suspense to keep me reading to the next chapter, but not so dark that I become depressed or scared by what I'm reading. But plot isn't the only thing that's important, there's got to be good 3-dimensional characters that are flexible and realistic. When it comes to shounen, I prefer strong-minded or confident main characters, it gets kind of tiring when the MC spends most of the series doubting himself. The MC can have moments of doubt (he has to because he's only human) but his self-confidence will always win out in the end. The plot can absolutely suck, but a manga can still survive on good characters. Unfortunately, that isn't the same vice-versa. No matter how amazing the plot is, you need good characters to make a good manga. Plot and characters are just for manga in general, but in a shounen, I usually prefer a dose of action and comedy. There should be good reason why there's action, and not just strong guys whacking at each other with big weapons. The comedy also shouldn't be random, slapstick, or just plain stupid comedy. Comedy has to be genuinely funny comedy.
This could just be me, but this is what I usually look for in a good shounen. biggrin

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shichiriie
Post #565049
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5:52 am, Aug 9 2012
Posts: 3


Hmm... For me that would be the element of surprise. It would be really good if the plot has a lot of unpredictable scenes. That would make me say, "wow, I thought he was going to do this but he didn't." and I would certainly keep reading to see what surprises are in wait for me.
Also another thing that would make a good storyline would be consistent power balance and a good deal of comedy. The main character should also have strong beliefs and determination.
I think consistency and balance is the most important in a shonen manga biggrin

Madzai
Post #566952
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7:12 pm, Aug 21 2012
Posts: 26


A solid backstoty and world lore. In case of "school" shounen a lot of well-writen side-characters. In short, mangakas need a space for maneuver if their manga became popular. Just exploiting one good idea may lead to disaster and lack of any decent story over the time. Bleach is a prime example, but it looks like Beelzebub and TWGoK heading with way.

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