This is a draft proposal for the Seamus O'drunky Anime Cliche Rating system. The idea is to measure the degree to which an anime series adheres to common stereotypes, and thus provide a specific way to determine their quality / watchability. The fewer the points, the more original the series.
Takes place at / main characters attend a High School
Involves Giant Robots
- Robots are humanoid
Involves Cybernetics (specifically, neural machine interfacing)
Begins on land and concludes in space
Male lead is romantically desired by at least two females
(Add one point for each scene where females fight each other over lead)
- Lead displays little interest in or actively attempts to repel females
- Lead develops feelings for female who displays little interest in or actively attempts to repel him
Male lead possesses unique ability
- Allows piloting of Giant Robot
- Required to save mankind
Female lead / supporting role enjoys cooking
- Starts with no cooking skill (add bonus point for awkward first tasting scene)
- Wishes to improve cooking skill in order to please male lead
Female lead is a combat expert (one point for each weapon specialization)
- Lives in constant danger yet wears tight revealing clothing
- Has implausibly sized breasts
- Put female characters in compromising position
Humanity in danger of extinction
- Threatening entity is one superconsciousness
- Humanity "trapped" in cage / underground / otherwise restricted
Ancient / Alien device discovered
- Lead character is only one who can control it
- Between lead and main antagonist (one point each time they fight)
- Lead is saved from death at last second (bonus point if saved by female lead)
- Fighting Spirit allows lead to win final battle
Alien / Magical Emissary
- JUST SO HAPPENS to take the form of an attractive human female
- Blank slate - must learn human norms / behaviours
- Returns to original race / form
- Fights with lead characters until remembers time spent as a human
- "I wish we could go back to the way things were" said at some point
- Things actually go back to the way they were
That's what I have so far. Let's apply this to two shows, the older Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, and the newer Solty Rei
Setting (3) Does involve giant robots, however they are generally not humanoid. Person sized robots feature prominently, and Cybernetics is also a key plot device. Story begins in Megatokyo, and reaches it's conclusion in space.
Character (5) Females lead the series, and while they are not combat experts with normal weaponry they each use cybernetics to fight. Only one case of genuinely unreasonable breasts. Clothing is surprisingly pedestrian.
Plot (7) Humanity threatened by superconsciousness. Only one real "Power Battle," which is won through force of will. Avatar of superconsciousness based on a lead character, who JUST SO HAPPENS to be an attractive female.
Overall (14) Despite relying on some very old ideas to form the core plot, BGC 2040 happily avoids most of the stereotypes we associate with scifi thrillers that explore the "line between man and machine." Thanks to realistic and well paced character development and good (for the time) production values, it's one of the few series that I watched then immediately decided to own.
Setting (3) Again, involves giant robots, but not prominently and not in humanoid form. Cybernetics again heavily involved in plot. Begins in an unnamed city and ends in space.
Character (6) Female lead wants badly to cook to please male lead. At least one awkward tasting scene. Lives in constant danger, but does not wear oddly revealing clothing. Male lead refreshingly normal and flawed.
Plot (12) Humanity lives in one city beneath an impenetrable aurora. Existence later threatened by ancient computer. Lead is an emissary for this computer and JUST SO HAPPENS to be a fit attractive female. Major reset butan pushed.
Overall (21) Solty Rei thrilled and disappointed me in turns. It did a few things that were bold and fun to watch, that tugged at the ol' heartstrings and exposed some genuine human emotion. But then it reset a great deal of what had taken place, which always leaves me feeling cheated. Male lead is pretty powerless, actually, however this bumps up the number of times he has to be saved at the last second by the female lead. I enjoyed watching it, and some of the english voice acting is top notch, but I won't be adding it to my library.
Edit: I can't believe I forgot about tentacles. Noob.