Boring Anime Girls

Boring Anime Girls

Introduction

Today I’m starting a new series on the site titled: Unpopular Anime Opinions. Specifically, these are my opinions about various anime or anime topics which I feel the general anime community disagrees with.

As you can probably tell by the title, this first entry into the series is about boring anime girls. So what do I mean by this? Simply put, what makes a female character interesting, and what makes her boring.

Now, I was originally going to use a large number of characters from various series to explain my point, but in the end I settled on two characters from different series. Along with our two main girls, I’ll also mention another girl or two from each series briefly just as examples to prove smaller points as I go.

The first girl is Utaha Kasumigaoka from Saekano and the second is Nadeko Sengoku from the Monogatari series. I felt it was only fair to pick characters from anime that I love for their character writing. That said, even the best character writers still fall short occasionally.

Utaha Kasumigaoka

While technically the more popular of the two, Utaha is my example of what a boring female character in anime looks like.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “but how can she be boring? She’s perfect in every way!” Well, that’s part of the problem with her. Despite there being conflict involving her within the Saekano series, Utaha herself is essentially flawless.

A character with no flaws is a character who cannot easily grow.

In the second season of Saekano there’s a point when Utaha is told that the script she wrote for the game is trash. This may seem like an example of her not being perfect, but she simply rewrites it without much issue so there wasn’t really any conflict for her character to grow from.

While character growth is an important aspect for a well written character to have, however, it’s not necessary. Likewise a character can grow, but still be a boring character (like Eriri Spencer from the same series).

So what else makes Utaha boring? She’s a trope. For those who aren’t familiar, a trope is a device which is commonly used within a medium or genre that is easily replicable, often overused to the point where it’s easy to identify.

Tropes are used frequently in anime, as well as most of your favorite non-anime movies, tv shows, games, and books. In anime specifically, female character tropes are some of the easiest to recognize simply because there are so many series which use them.

You may be familiar with some anime tropes such as tsundere, yandere, or dandere as well as various others, but there are more than just the -deres. In Utaha’s case, she’s a combination of the “popular girl in school” as well as the “mature older classmate.”

While the use of tropes is popular just like the characters who embody them, they’re predictable, and predictability leads to boredom.

In fact, the only character from Saekano who doesn’t appear to be a trope is the one the series refers to as the “boring” character, Megumi Kato.

Utaha Kasumigaoka from the anime series Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Utaha Kasumigaoka

Nadeko Sengoku

My example of a character who isn’t boring is Nadeko Sengoku, a character who many believe to be the most boring of the Monogatari series (they’re wrong; that’s Tsubasa Hanekawa).

So what makes Nadeko an interesting character? Simply put, she acts like a real girl her age.

I believe I covered this topic when discussing Megumi Kato in both my review of Saekano as well as my Top 10 Anime post, but the most interesting type of character for me is one who acts natural. Sure, the Monogatari series is supernatural, but the way Nadeko acts is natural for her age.

She isn’t a trope, she’s just a middle school girl whose crush doesn’t love her back. She’s relatable unlike the popular girl, Utaha, and that’s what I like about her.

She wants to be noticed by the boy she likes, she’s afraid of what her parents will think if she’s caught breaking rules, and if someone finds out she likes to draw manga she’ll literally die of embarrassment. We’ve all been Nadeko at one point.

Now, if you’ve watched this series or happened to scroll down and see the gif that I used of Nadeko, you might be inclined to argue that she is, in fact, a trope. What trope would this be? Yandere.

A Yandere is a girl (typically) who goes crazy due to her often one-sided love. She’ll try to eliminate her romantic rivals, the person she’s romantically interested in, or both as in Nadeko’s case. Yuno Gasai from The Future Diary is famously the #1 yandere.

Yes, Nadeko is a yandere. However, it’s just a phase. Nadeko would probably say something like, “this isn’t a phase, it’s who I am,” and that would also be completely in character for a 14-year old girl going through a phase.

But let’s be real, she’s not like this at the start of the series and she’s not like this at the end. Technically this phase only lasted a short few months before she got over it and was sent to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay for a character to have some trope-like qualities at some point, but the issue is when the character is the embodiment of a trope through and through.

Nadeko Sengoku from the Monogatari anime series
Nadeko Sengoku

Conclusion

So what have we learned today? Popular female character types are boring and real, normal girls are what make the best female characters.

But I get it, tropes are there for a reason. They’re so characters can easily be written and recognized as a particular type of person. Tropes have a place in anime as well as any other medium, but when they’re overused, they begin to get pretty stale just like anything else.

As I mentioned in the introduction, I was originally going to use a large number of female characters to illustrate my point, most notably Sakura Haruno and Hinata Hyuga from Naruto. However, I feel like those two characters alone would make a good Unpopular Anime Opinions post so look forward to that can of worms in the future.

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