D&A Breakdown: Trope vs. Cliche’ (aka “If I told you, it wouldn’t be a Surprise!”)

Ah, Tropes and Cliche’s. If you’re a fan of anime, manga, comic books, fantasy, movies, sci-fi, or anything that takes you away from reality, then 9 times outta 10 you’ve probably seen these two things – a LOT. (Especially if you’re an anime fan.) Now hear us out when we say this; tropes are good. Tropes. Are. Good.

Why do we say this? You’d have to look at the definition of what a Trope is and how it differs from a Cliche’. Instead of trying to Google it we’re gonna break it down through the eyes of an anime fan – by that, we mean us. A Trope is basically a plot, a main character, a setting, or even a pattern/sequence that each and everyone recognizes and knows as such. Certain titles and stories aren’t good or bad based on if they have any tropes or not, but in reality it’s really based on how they’re used. (Remember the filler post on the four things that can make-or-break an anime title? Tropes play a part in that.)

Depending on the genre of anime you find yourself watching on FunimationNow, or even Crunchyroll, tropes can be your best friend…or worst enemy. Here’s the three things that’s cool about them; we’re familiar with them, we’re excited when the plot “gets good”, and when our favorite trope(s) make a sudden detour that we weren’t prepared for. (That’s what we meant by when the plot gets good!) However, there’s a dark side to tropes, and that dark side comes in the form of a (you guessed it) Cliche’.


Think of a cliche’ as someone telling you that you’re getting a surprise party; if that person told you you were getting one, then it wouldn’t be a surprise. Cliche’s are former tropes that are 100% predictable (story, characters, etc.) and have been done for the umteenth time. Check this out; tropes aren’t what makes certain members of the anime community a little bent-outta-shape, it when those same tropes turn into cliche’s overtime. There are hundreds of titles out there that have fallen into this trap, and we’re pretty sure you guys know which ones they are.

Here’s where things get tricky when it comes to dealing with cliche’s; they’re subjective. We’re pretty sure you guys knew that but for those who are just reading this post for the first time, let us say that cliche’s are subjective! No matter how big of an anime fan you are, there’s always a percentage of the fandom (or fanbase) that gets SICK and TIRED of the same song-and-dance that you love so much, and vice-versa.

If you’re a fan fiction writer or manga artist, then this post as well as the previous one we mentioned above can be your creative guideline. The best way to make sure your story doesn’t find itself in the cliche’ graveyard, is to become a trope-savvy expert. Study and learn how your favorite anime creators use them in their series’. Don’t focus yourself on the subjectiveness of cliche’s – in fact, don’t even worry about them. Tropes will never disappear, we just need to find new ways to use them without ‘repeating’ ourselves.

Hopefully this post helped you understand the difference between a trope and a cliche’. You can please some people but you can’t please everybody, so if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of defending your favorite trope (even though someone else thinks it’s a cliche’), find another group of people in your title’s fandom that agree with you. If you love it, do you. Do it! Just do it!