One element used to absolute death in the anime world is the concept of stoicism. Among other immersion reasons, main protagonists often tend to be stoic to give the viewer a way to see better through their eyes. Not every male/female lead is stoic but it can be overused as a character personality and we wonder…is it always so necessary? Aren’t there other ways to make a viewer feel as if they are the main character? In our opinion…no but we will show why stoic leads won’t be leaving the anime world anytime soon.
Become the Hero
Understandably, one of the best feelings when watching any anime is when we can feel as if we’ve become the hero. Case in point, the Persona animation adaptations—based on the gaming franchise—are perfect when it comes to immersion as we can see ourselves in the role of characters like Yu Narukami and/or Ren Amamiya. This feeling would be completely moot if these heroes had strong personalities that conflict with our own. Yes, they might occasionally say something we wouldn’t or be more outgoing but the overall stoic concept makes them stay relatable even when they act super cool. Stoicism is the perfect gateway to becoming an anime character even if you can’t summon persona or unleash special magical abilities.
Boring Main Leads
In shows like Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, the main man Tanaka is extremely stoic—and listless—but that is his charm. Tanaka’s boring nature is used perfectly in the comedy sense and makes his overall character intriguing as we wonder how anyone can be that lazy and that stoic. However, in contrast, stoic heroes like Inaho Kaizuka from Aldnoah.Zero end up not being captivating but just boring. Inaho is a mech pilot who should be full of energy and charm but ends up being so stoic that you almost end up disliking him more than you should. Stoic anime leads can work when in the right situations or genres but if you have an Inaho protagonist, stoicism just ends up ruining the main lead.
Cold vs Stoic
Here at the Honey’s Anime HQ—which isn’t as impressive as you might think—we cringe slightly when people don’t identify the difference between cold and stoic anime characters. One such example is when people say L from Death Note is cold. While his personality can come off a bit cruel—due to his care for only solving the case of who Kira is—L is far from cold but more akin to a stoic protagonist. A better example of a cold protagonist is Shogo Makishima from Psycho Pass who is brutal, ruthless, and truly cruel in nature despite seeming stoic. In our opinions, cold anime protagonists should be more used than stoic ones as it gives more depth to an anime character.
Why Stoicism Won’t End
Ultimately, stoic characters like Itachi Uchiha, Mikasa Ackerman, and Shoto Todoroki prove this personality is well-liked as these characters are considered favorites in the anime world. Yes, stoic characters can come off flat when conversations happen but these characters usually end up being the most amazing as the series progresses. Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko no Basket is extremely quiet and has almost a blank slate persona but ends up being one of the best basketball players due to being unseen by most. Imagine if he acted like his friend Taiga Kagami? Kuroko wouldn’t be able to pull off the wicked saves he makes in the series and would end up being just another rage-filled protagonist. Anime creators want popular heroes and sometimes the cool acting stoic ones end up being the best of the best.
Stoic heroes in anime can be quite a cliché trope but saying they aren’t necessary is a flat-out lie. Stoic heroes will always be a necessity in the anime world to create characters we end up rooting for. Most personality types can be loved/hated in equal measure but stoicism isn’t often flat out hated and it creates a safe way to make a character not become disliked. What do you readers think? Do we need more or fewer stoic anime characters? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to keep stuck to our amazing hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more thought-provoking articles like this one!