Love it or hate it, but many anime series share common tropes. These writing tools are easily recognized and understood by fans, and can either lead to enjoyment or displeasure.

Japanese site My Navi Gakusei no Madoguchi asked over 200 hundred college students about anime and manga tropes they would love to see disappear. Here are the top five choices.

1. Body-swapping

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Body-swapping has become a new trend of late. Characters of opposite genders or different social classes swap bodies either through scientific or fantastic means. The stories will usually revolve around misunderstood romance or a moral lesson.

Examples: Your Name / Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches / Kokoro Connect


2. Time Travel


Time travel is another mechanic that has found its way into newer anime. While it seems like a cool gimmick, unfortunately most stories end up being about preventing an unwanted future, which could be leading to viewer fatigue.

Examples: Steins;Gate ERASED / Puella Magi Madoka Magica


3. Harems

Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle

The height of the harem genre was between the years of 2000 to 2010. Since then, the genre has been selling less and less as otaku seem to be favoring idol anime. It also doesn't not help that harems follow a set story structure and use the same characters templates, which leads to a feeling of repetition.

Examples: Masou Gakuen HxH / The Asterisk War / Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle 


4. Isekai


The current big trend next to idol anime is isekai-fantasy. These anime center around a teenager (or a group of teens) being transported to a fantasy world. Usually, the stories always follows a set narrative structure:

Go to a fantasy world -> spend a few episodes confused -> spend a few episodes doing cool stuff -> get ass kicked -> learn they harbor a secret power -> turn the tide of the final battle.

Examples: Re:Zero KonoSuba Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash


5. Bringing Characters Back From the Dead

Dragon Ball Z

This joke may have started with Dragon Ball Z, but death is really cheap in anime. Even if a character "dies", fans won't believe in the death until the final episode. It is very common for shounen series to have a mentor type character fake their death to spark a change in the hero.

Examples: Dragon Ball Z / JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders / Sailor Moon


Do you agree with the choices? Are there any tropes you'd like see die?

I grew up traveling around the world with my parents who practice and teach medicine. We spent 6 years in South Asia, including Japan, and my anime obsession began there. Sports, horror, and Seinen are my favorite genres. Favorite quote: "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." by William James
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