Writing Prompt: Do you find anime hard to enjoy when it feels predictable?

Here’s another prompt from MAL I wanted to take a look at. I guess these are kind of more like discussion prompts than writing prompts, as I’m not writing a story here, but “writing prompt” sounds better and technically I am writing, so I’m sticking with it!

Do you find anime hard to enjoy when it feels predictable?

I thought this was a very good question, because lately, predictability has played a role in how I’ve viewed anime.

My answer is that I don’t find anime hard to enjoy when it feels predictable, but I do think that predictability does affect my enjoyment.

So really, I’d say that it’s harder to enjoy, but honestly, I wouldn’t say it’s always a detriment. It depends on the type of anime.

Is the anime is foreshadowing future events in a way that it’s satisfying to predict what will happen next?

I love this form of “prediction”, as demonstrated by my predictions of the Rascal Does Not Dream of Dreaming Girl movie, before I even knew there was going to BE a movie, based on foreshadowing from the anime. This kind of foreshadowing style of storytelling is also heavily used in the Monogatari Series, and I love it. Even if you miss the foreshadowing the first time through, the rewatch will feel that much more satisfying just knowing what is being referenced with all the foreshadowing.

In other words, when done right, I absolutely love foreshadowing. Also, when done right, it’s not overly predictable, and does require you to connect some dots. The resulting predictions then feel rewarding if correct, because you put two and two together, hoping you were correct, and you were rewarded when the answer of “four” was revealed later on.

This kind of “predictability” is great in my eyes.

Is the anime just following a tried-and-true formula that just makes it very predictable?

This is the form of predictability that I believe the original author of the question was trying to get at. And I definitely think that this kind of predictability does have a negative impact on my enjoyment of an anime. Not enough to make an anime unenjoyable, but enough to make me wish it wasn’t so predictable.

I’ve certainly written about this quite a bit over the last year, how I’d like to see more strange and unexpected outcomes. How many anime felt too stock standard, the outcomes too obvious.

For example, if an intense fight breaks out between the protagonist and antagonist of an anime on episode 4 of 12, there’s less tension than there typically should be, because you KNOW the protagonist can’t die. If he did, what would happen for the next 8 episodes? He’s protected, because we know that the story isn’t over yet.

That’s the kind of predictability that I don’t like. If I see a twist coming a mile away, that’s fine. I just don’t like when certain situations in a story lose impact because I know that they will never kill off anyone, or that the anime is only half done, or that I’ve seen several other anime using the exact same formula. Things like this can definitely take away from the enjoyment of an anime for me.

Okazaki and Sunohara

So just to recap, I don’t explicitly find anime hard to enjoy when it feels predictable, but I do think that certain types of predictability can negatively affect my enjoyment of certain anime.

That’s about all I have to say about this one.

What do you think about predictability in anime?

I know that for a lot of people, it’s no big deal. And for me, it was like that, too, for a long time. But I guess after watching enough anime I’ve come around to the point where the repetitiveness, predictability, et cetera can make an anime less enjoyable than it could have been.

I just want to see more “new” content, and things that really shock me or leave me excited. And unfortunately, a lot of the anime that get churned out feel like the same formulas over and over.

Anyways, it is what it is, there are still amazing anime that are coming out and aren’t predictable, such as Re:Zero’s second season. And others that I haven’t seen yet too, I’m sure. So there is a lot of good to go with the average, which in a way, makes the good feel that much better!

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

10 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Do you find anime hard to enjoy when it feels predictable?

    1. Personally, if I have time to kill and an anime I like to think about, I’ll try to predict what’s going on in the anime. In the early stages of a new comedy, in particular, the number of times I’m proven correct can be a “surprise me or I’ll drop you, anime!” moment. (Sometimes I surprise myself by exactly how well I can guess what comes next, which means any anime which gets me to focus enough I /forget to predict/ is a good anime.)

      The “guess an anime from the thumbnail” thing depends on the thumbnail. Some character designs and/or art styles make it obvious where they come from, but some don’t…but then there’s the thumbnails which spoil a key point in the anime as well…(Those are the most annoying kind, I think.)

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’m usually not a big fan of predictability in general, but in the case of predictable narratives/structures like what sometimes happens in the shonen genre (and like you said if something “dangerous” happens too early in story, we know the main character will be safe) it doesn’t really bother me much. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the anime but I always wish it wasn’t so easy to predict.

    On the other hand, sometimes you just want to enjoy cool fight scenes, typical shonen characters being reckless idiots, and a good end battle that you know the MC is probably going to win without worrying the entire time if they’re going to die (like in AOT, which is why I’m only going to watch the last season when it’s complete, I don’t think my heart could take waiting for a new episode every week).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it’s fair to say that a level of predictability is almost always going to exist in an anime, depending on the genre. Like you wouldn’t expect the detective to be killed during his investigation in a mystery anime… But then part of me thinks, wouldn’t that be really interesting if it happened? Haha.

      I think the biggest aspect of predictability of this sort, like the MC not dying because it’s episode 3, is that stories are reliant on their characters, and if you just kill characters off or cast them aside, then you have to develop new characters constantly, which can be a detriment to the story and also harm the viewer’s ability to grow attached to anyone. That said, it can be done, but it takes a very different approach for sure, one that probably wouldn’t appeal to people enough to be worth pushing out into anime. As you say, it can be exhausting in it’s own way.

      Though Akame ga Kill! and AoT are good examples of how it can be done, which is nice to see anyways.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is easier to use the same plot over, change the names and places, and add in a “twist” that isn’t all that twisty. It also bugs me when they use a trope and I see other anime using exactly the same trope the same way.

    Most anime is pure formula, designed to strike certain notes that are calculated to grab the attention of a certain number of viewers. If this note worked here we’ll use it again to grab the viewers who have a thing for this kind of note. It is a science. But, I guess you can’t demand creativity or insight. All you can ask for is competence in producing light entertainment and when the unique stuff shows up, enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s inevitable.

      The very thing that can an anime unique can be polarizing for the better or worse, and risk-taking is something businesses aren’t a big fan of. So it makes sense that they will always go for the average, but reliable anime that don’t really innovate and check all the boxes.


  3. Pingback: Under Pressure: Peer Pressure Tag – Phoenix Talks Pop Culture Japan

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