Soft: The rules and limitations of the magic isn't really explained. It's all just fantasy to the reader. Stuff happens, and it's powerful. Some examples are The Lord of the Rings and the kind of magic you see in Disney movies.
Hard: There is an explanation for how magic works with clear costs and limitations. To the reader, it's more technical than fantastical. For example, you have Fullmetal Alchemist and Mx0.
It's really a spectrum though, so series typically fall somewhere in between. Naruto started hard but got softer as the series progressed. In my opinion, many long-running series fall into this trap of continually introducing new antagonists that are somehow stronger than anyone before with very little explanation. If you want a more detailed explanation, go read the Wikipedia article.
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Question: Do you purchase fan art of manga/anime series?
I just own free stuff - votes: 457 (16.3%)
I don't have any art - votes: 1489 (53.2%)
I have some - votes: 486 (17.4%)
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There were 2797 total votes.
The poll ended: January 18th 2020
I used to have a poster hanging on my wall, but I moved, and now my walls are bare
» VawX on January 18th, 2020, 2:47am
Both have their perk but soft magic system is very polarizing, if implemented right it'll be amazing but not it will be very annoying mmm...
And as far as I remember there are more bad soft magic system (oh I read so many bad manga) so Hard System seems better in general for me since it's less risky mmm...
» Sosseres on January 18th, 2020, 5:23am
A soft system done well is very good though. No problem reading both types if handled well. Just that a hard system handled badly won't have as much negative impact on the story since it forces constraints on the author.
An example I usually think about is mystery novels. In a badly written soft magic system the killer walked through the window without opening it. Even though you as a reader don't know it is possible. It makes it impossible for the reader to deduce the options available in that situation. A hard system forces the author to surprise you with how the tools are used and not with what they are.
» Rouzmary on January 18th, 2020, 3:26am
Eh, I would've preferred if there was also the option of "both", because I do love both of 'em and each has their own uniqueness I like.
Oh well, I guess I'll pick soft because I've read/seen that one more than hard.
» calstine on January 18th, 2020, 6:02am
Both can be done well, and both can be (and have been) done badly. Soft magic allows for more creativity and whimsy (which is quite charming) while hard magic allows for more planning and forethought (which is better for logical series like FMA). I don't see any point in picking what's "better," since they're both good for their respective genre and demographics.
» hkanz on January 18th, 2020, 7:57am
» Transdude1996 on January 18th, 2020, 8:22am
» Silent Howl on January 18th, 2020, 10:00am
ex: Avatar the last airbender....bender can discover a way to bend metal, blood, lightning, in the basis that those elements are part of the greater rule: earth, water, and fire.
Hard should not become soft. Soft should not become predictable in a way to make the character fail or triumph for plot convenience.
» HikaruYami on January 18th, 2020, 11:58am
I prefer hard magic systems as well.
» residentgrigo on January 18th, 2020, 1:33pm
I wouldn't say the same if I had a sci-fi story (not science-fantasy, see SW) on my hands. Those need some rules to properly function. Hard fantasy can lastly function but how rarely is it seen? Just read lambchopsil´s post. Examples that stick to such rules and more importantly explain them are near nonexistent in the long run.
Hunter x Hunter comes to mind, the 2nd anime messed with this though. JoJo tried but overall failed. Etc.
» amy_levi on January 18th, 2020, 2:16pm
» Mizutina on January 18th, 2020, 4:21pm
I enjoy hard cause it's informal but sometimes I just want something that is more action than technical like soft. Then again, I'm all about the story and didn't notice there was a difference till now 🤣
» dreamer00013 on January 18th, 2020, 6:22pm
After explanation: obviously hard! Soft magic can be done great - thinking of Tangled, a personal favorite - but usually it tends to be just really random. That and Deus ex.
Give me fixed rules any day, proves the author was actually thinking about the magic system and the world building!
» Lorska on January 19th, 2020, 9:30am
Until that explanation is literally copy-pasted from a fantasy game manual.
You don't need an MP bar and have Mana potions as well as a skill tree.
If it's unoriginal to this degree you might as well use a soft system, because what is the point.
A video game ruleset is not designed to be used like this. These rules are in place because of the medium it was created for.
» wotonito on January 19th, 2020, 12:36pm
In general, I prefer soft systems like the one in the web novel Pact; but I don't like how they frequently get abused in poorly written stories.
» aly_angelflight on January 20th, 2020, 12:48am
» ebisu on January 22nd, 2020, 10:49am
» residentgrigo on January 22nd, 2020, 8:27pm
The "extended cut" fan edits of the 1984 film are pretty respectable:
The Denis Villeneuve adaptation will be legendary, I can already feel it but will it make money...?
Pre 2009 Star Trek (back when it tried to make sense) is a curious case btw. It set fairly hard rules for the sci-fi but the fantasy elements, greek gods for example, just showed up.
Sure you are. He even shot lightning from his fingers.