All about Main Characters!

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Ikka

All about Main Characters!

#1 Post by Ikka » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:46 am

No offense, but a lot of MCs I saw in recent VNs are sooo boring! Usually, if the protagonist is a guy catching lotsa girls, he's bound to be the "clueless, kindhearted, nice and boring guy" who everyone likes... :roll:

Sometimes for no solid reasons...

And, otome game heroines are usually "nice, cheerful, kindhearted" girl who goes "Kyaah!" easily...

It's a little annoying.

I've never seen an asshole of a protagonist, well, except Makoto Itou from School Days. He's actually one of the stereotypical nice guy at first, but his character develops later.
I like it. It developed slowly, and showed how humans really are.
Well, aside that! I've never seen different protagonists!

Even if they are different, they'd be only a LITTLE different. That's all.
Same goes with OG heroines.
Ahahaha, but Banong from TFQ is a hilarious person. Reminds me exactly of my friend. Gotta love that game! But since it's a parody game, I don't know his reactions if he actually face serious situations. :)
What do you think?

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#2 Post by chronoluminaire » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:21 am

Ikka wrote:No offense, but a lot of MCs I saw in recent VNs are sooo boring! Usually, if the protagonist is a guy catching lotsa girls, he's bound to be the "clueless, kindhearted, nice and boring guy" who everyone likes... :roll:
In commercial translated VNs, the male main character seems to be one of three types:
"clueless, kindhearted, nice and boring guy" as you mentioned
"lecherous jerk" - ugh, these irritate me so much
"lazy guy who finds everything boring" - these aren't much better

It's definitely best to try to find something other than these. (I admit Elven Relations's protagonist, Takuya, is pretty close to the stereotype you mentioned - the TVTropes page for the game calls him a DoggedNiceGuy, which is pretty accurate.)

The difficulty is to provide room for the main character to grow over the course of the story, while also making them likeable from the start.
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Re: All about Main Characters!

#3 Post by F.I.A » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:02 am

No offense, but I expected a more productive thread, so just how is this one different from this one?

And who is to judge whether a character is boring or not? I am well aware there are those who dislikes emo type while the other dislikes pushover pimps, for instance.

That said, things are more than meets the eye.
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Re: All about Main Characters!

#4 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:07 am

No offense, but a lot of MCs I saw in recent VNs are sooo boring!
Can you do better? :)

oh, and I'm kinda curious why you started a new thread instead of ever replying on your old one.

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#5 Post by dstarsboy » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:01 pm

I guess that thread was about stereotypical persuant characters, not the main character being stereotyped... which I guess is the same thing... although I agree with him, having a MC that's a total asshole is something new that I'd be really interested in playing.
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Re: All about Main Characters!

#6 Post by anon » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:12 pm

One thing though. Does the OP's complaint apply to the games produced in this community? On a wider scale, I doubt it even applies to most translated doujin titles.

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#7 Post by LVUER » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:56 pm

Commercial (or not) VN, even anime or manga, it's not strange to see the protagonist to be so typical. It's to make easier for the audience to relate themselves to the characters. Almost all kids anime I know have typical protagonist (spiky hair, stupid and silly, hot headed, obsessed with justice, and willing to sacrifice anything, even his life, for his friends).

VN, which is supposed to be a novel, usually wants you the reader to submerge yourself into the story (hence the first person POV). If the main character is like 3 meters hulking behemot, with blazing long hot fiery hair, have homosexual tendency, talking like a bi**h, IQ more than 500... can you really relate yourself with him?

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#8 Post by JQuartz » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:32 pm

LVUER wrote:VN, which is supposed to be a novel, usually wants you the reader to submerge yourself into the story (hence the first person POV). If the main character is like 3 meters hulking behemot, with blazing long hot fiery hair, have homosexual tendency, talking like a bi**h, IQ more than 500... can you really relate yourself with him?
Yeah, I too believe this is the main reason why most protagonist are typical.
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Re: All about Main Characters!

#9 Post by Sapphi » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:56 pm

JQuartz wrote:
LVUER wrote:VN, which is supposed to be a novel, usually wants you the reader to submerge yourself into the story (hence the first person POV). If the main character is like 3 meters hulking behemot, with blazing long hot fiery hair, have homosexual tendency, talking like a bi**h, IQ more than 500... can you really relate yourself with him?
Yeah, I too believe this is the main reason why most protagonist are typical.
That's what I think too.
I mean... if the main character doesn't think of one of the girls very highly, and the player really likes that girl, they aren't going to be able to relate very well to the main character and will probably end up disliking him for his bad attitude towards the girl they like. That would probably make the gameplay pretty annoying since you'll usually hear the main character's thoughts.

I guess it depends on how much immersion you want for the player, though. My VN started out as an idea for a comic, so the protagonist is a bit less generic (and I do stress "a bit". he's supposed to be a normal, everyday guy) than he would be if I just wanted to create a scenario where you could pursue girls. Most guys would be enthusiastic about a ton of catgirls coming to live with them... he sees it as a major inconvenience since he doesn't even like cats.
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Re: All about Main Characters!

#10 Post by F.I.A » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:14 am

LVUER wrote:VN, which is supposed to be a novel, usually wants you the reader to submerge yourself into the story (hence the first person POV). If the main character is like 3 meters hulking behemot, with blazing long hot fiery hair, have homosexual tendency, talking like a bi**h, IQ more than 500... can you really relate yourself with him?
Purely theoretical. And just how are we supposed to relate to a guy that has hax cutting skill and perception? Or one with a sworn servant? What about one with twelve? Or one with an acute case of stroke? Or one with a messed-up brain(That sees thing ugly as pretty and vice versa)?

Unless they are characters with a blank face, the purpose of a story is to allow us to roleplay as those we can't dream of becoming. Or to see things from their views.

To stay on-topic, I will tell you some of the criterias I have problem with. Yes, those that make a character booooooring.
- One that cannot even get a set name.
- One that cannot even get used with the environment around him. Give him a hi-tech tv bundled with the step-by-step manual, and he cannot even set it up. A farmer kid like Hideki from Chobits for instance.
- One that thinks that he knows all but not really. Think of a private that thinks he is better with surviving 10 battles(No injury) compared to veterans that went through 100 and more.
- One that does nothing but mops around and whines this bad or that bad. (Yes, Shinji from Evangelion. I am looking at you.)
Last edited by F.I.A on Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All about Main Characters!

#11 Post by Samu-kun » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:42 am

Purely theoretical. And just how are we supposed to relate to a guy that has hax cutting skill and perception? Or one with a sworn servant? What about one with twelve? Or one with an acute case of stroke? Or one with a messed-up brain(That sees thing ugly as pretty and vice versa)?
Genre conventions, I guess. Depends on what you're trying to write. If you're trying to write an every day school romance game, I wouldn't recommend making the protagonist really unusual unless it's done for a plot pivotal purpose. (or else it wouldn't be an every day school romance any more)

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#12 Post by Vatina » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:39 am

It's kind of interesting though - the usual trend is that in visual novels the story in written in 1st person perspective, because the player is expected to step into the MC's shoes.

But in ordinary novels, reading in 1st person perspective doesn't necessarily mean you're supposed to relate to the guy. Often when you are 'inside someone's head' this way, they will be lying blatantly to 'you' (or actually, themselves) and you can't count on what you hear at all, since you are just experiencing their version of reality. You're not even always expected to agree or like the guy/girl. 1st person is just another way to experience the story and know what is going on in the character's mind during events.

Of course the answer would be "but this is a game! A fantasy! Write a book instead!"

But does it have to be that way? :P

(Yes, a little off-topic, but that has been on my mind for ages.)

On-topic: Like FIA, I definitely prefer MC's that have enough personality to at least have their own name. If the character isn't like me, the greater chance that he/she is interesting, because it means he/she actually has a presence and personality in the story. And then I'll care more.

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#13 Post by pinkmouse » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:43 am

Vatina wrote:It's kind of interesting though - the usual trend is that in visual novels the story in written in 1st person perspective, because the player is expected to step into the MC's shoes.

But in ordinary novels, reading in 1st person perspective doesn't necessarily mean you're supposed to relate to the guy. Often when you are 'inside someone's head' this way, they will be lying blatantly to 'you' (or actually, themselves) and you can't count on what you hear at all, since you are just experiencing their version of reality. You're not even always expected to agree or like the guy/girl. 1st person is just another way to experience the story and know what is going on in the character's mind during events.
This is something that Interactive Fiction (IF for short) has been "struggling" with too. The assumption was that because the player was actually making choices in the real world (by clicking on an option, or entering a command) the protagonist must necessarily be an avatar of the player.

Consequently it's been accepted wisdom that the PC (player character) had to be a characterless "everyman" or the player wouldn't be able to relate to the game. I think that's a mistake born of over-generalization of the player and the small size of our playing communities.

Giving the PC a definite personality does mean that some people will stop playing - just as in mainstream publishing making the protagonist a flesh-eating zombie (or a Raven-Haired Princess) is guaranteed to instantly cause some potential readers to hastily dump the book back on the shelf. But if you walked into a publisher and claimed that the way to tell a better story was to write characters so vaguely that all protagonists could be flesh-eating princesses addicted to daytime TV then I don't think you'd be taken very seriously.

With the small number of people who enjoy VNs compared to the readership for print novels, of course it's tempting to try and make the story appeal to as many different demographics as possible. Having a dozen people say "Oh, it's about [whatever] - yuk!" will mean that much less feedback and squeeing, which is the only reward most of us get from our hobby, other than the actual fun of creating a VN.

I think that's what's happening at the moment (see the other thread on boring main characters).

The danger of trying to please everybody is that you end up pleasing nobody.

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#14 Post by anon » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:33 pm

If you think everyone else's characters are so boring, then make your own.
It's as simple as that. Don't complain, especially if you haven't offered any yourself.

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Re: All about Main Characters!

#15 Post by Lee_Hitsugaya » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:42 pm

yeah anon...I mean, if you hated the new Star Wars movies, why not remake it completely? -_-' im sorry I HATE people like that. As far as on topic. I know how ya feel.
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