As long as people created stories, the stories they told themselves revolved around conflict. From ancient ethnic myths to modern media, plots rely on the presentation of conflicting interests or goals to move a story forward, advancing character and story development. In most folk tales, these conflicts are straightforward, pitting people against each other or describing the dispute between mankind and more powerful immortal forces, such as the gods or nature.
But, as the narrative arts became more complex, the idea of conflict became nuanced. In modern fictional conflict theory, the Man versus Self type of conflict presents the individual himself as the main obstacle that he must overcome. Whether it’s an internal disagreement, their traumatic past, or a personality flaw, the types of situations explored in Man versus Self narratives are some of the most unique and empowering in storytelling media.
ten The hero of Mob Psycho 100 must make peace with his emotions to control his powers
Mob Psycho 100 is beloved by its fans for the series’ explosive and unique action, hilarious character interactions, and inventive, multi-faceted cast. Nevertheless, the themes of the series are much deeper than those of a typical shonen action show. Mob Psycho 100 explores the phycological struggles of its teenage protagonist with incredible nuance, making Mob’s explosive and uncontrollable supernatural powers a metaphor for his emotional instability.
As a typical middle schooler, Mob struggles to understand his emotions, fit into society, and find his place in the world. Unfortunately, the boy’s feelings are intertwined with his incredible psychic abilities, causing Mob to lose control when overstimulated.
9 Cowboy Bebop depicts a man versus self conflict with a heartbreaking conclusion
Some Man versus Self stories explore not only the conflict a character might face with their current identity, but also the haunting mistakes they might have made in the past. cowboy bebop doesn’t give its audience much context for its characters’ backgrounds. Nonetheless, the main themes of the series explore people’s inability to escape their past.
Spike found himself caught between his attempt to distance himself from his old life and his inability to stop looking back at the horrors of the past. Ultimately, this conflict resulted in its downfall, which is considered one of the most heartbreaking anime conclusions to date.
8 March Comes In Like A Lion is a heartfelt study in depression
Coping with mental health issues can be an uphill and exhausting battle for people with depression, anxiety, and other disorders. In the case of Mars is coming like a lion protagonist, Kiriyama Rei, depression and internal turmoil contributed to his isolation from the world, his peers and his family.
As a genius professional shogi player, Rei has a great career ahead of him. Nevertheless, the game does not illuminate his sad and lonely days. Rei must overcome her fears and traumas throughout the series, learning to trust and rely on others.
7 Perfect Blue analyzes the internal dissonance between the authentic and performative self
Themes of duality and the conflicting nature of human self-perception are incredibly prominent in the work of Satoshi Kon, the most iconic anime director of the 20th century.
Its breathtaking physiological horror perfect blue focuses on the identity conflict of Mima Kirigoe, a former pop idol who has decided to pursue a full-time acting career. Through complex metaphors, Satoshi Kon explores the dissonance Mima experiences between her identity as a performer and the more mature, grounded roles she tries to play while critiquing the toxicity of the obsessive and dehumanizing elements of idol culture.
6 Monogatari is nothing like a typical Harem anime series
The Monogatari Series redefined the universally ignored harem genre by adding inventive and unorthodox thematic, visual, and narrative elements to the plot and characters. Issues of hidden identities and internal struggles are prevalent in the show, as most monogatari characters struggle with some parts of who they are as people.
As each arc in the series tackles myriads of unique themes, the Man versus Self conflict prevails at the center of each one. Each character in the series faces conflicts between their ideal selves and their real selves, which usually manifest in the form of quirks.
5 Neon Genesis Evangelion Protagonist Struggles With Self-Acceptance Due To Childhood Trauma
The legendary deconstruction of the mecha genre, Neon Genesis Evangelion, was one of the most influential anime series of the 90s. Unlike most of its predecessors, Hideaki Anno’s magnum opus focused less on the action spectacle components and political aspects of the genre. Instead, it favors complex characterization and in-depth analysis of its cast’s internal conflicts.
Many of the show’s psychological and philosophical themes are explored through Shinji Ikari’s struggles, his devastating search for a suitable place in society, his struggles to please his demanding and distant father, and to deal with opposing desires. of his developing psyche.
4 Tatami Galaxy takes an inventive and unconventional journey inside the mind of its hero
It is impossible for a person to lead a life devoid of mistakes or regrets. Ultimately, no one can always make the right choice that results in the best possible outcome. Overcoming the inevitable fear of regretting your actions and continuing to follow is the message behind Tatami Galaxyone of Masaaki Yuasa’s most beloved series.
While navigating the endless possibilities of his “pink campus life”, the series’ unnamed protagonist realizes that an ideal life simply does not exist, and that the only enemy standing in his way of enjoying the university is its own unreasonable attitude and expectations.
3 The FLCL causes its protagonist to undergo profound psychological transformations
FLCL is a hard series to grasp on the first watch. Its frenetic pace, non-linear narrative structure, and convoluted development make it a fun but confusing medium. Nonetheless, the iconic show has a deeper message hidden beneath its surface-level surreal antics.
FLCL is, ultimately, a heartfelt and nuanced deconstruction of coming-of-age stories that challenges the very concept of adulthood. The series’ compelling themes are portrayed through the eyes of its teenage protagonist, Naota, as he struggles to control his cravings, loses faith in his mentors, and ultimately changes his attitude toward adolescence.
2 Kara No Kyoukai Depicts A Literal Conflict Between Shiki’s Split Personalities
While being a less well-known TYPE-MOON property than the Destin franchisethe urban fantasy series Kara no Kyoukai has many dedicated fans and a prominent cult following. The show’s protagonist, Shiki, possesses a unique supernatural ability to see the mortality of every living and non-living object in the form of lines.
One of the main conflicts in the series focuses on the dual nature of Shiki Ryougi, whose body houses two personalities, Shiki and SHIKI. Both identities represent the male and female sides of the character, malevolent and benevolent natures residing inside the main character.
1 Ping Pong: the animation is not really about ping-pong
Table tennis: entertainment is one of the more unconventional sports anime in the medium, focusing less on the sport itself and more on the motivations and internal struggles of its characters. In the story, a ping pong club acts as a framework that shapes its members, helping them face their own demons and come to terms with who they are.
Consequently, the history of Table tennis: entertainment shapes one of the most authentic and grounded coming-of-age narratives where sports are simply a vantage point for characters to realize their true potentials and desires.
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