What Makes Anime Tropes So Powerful?

Explore the ancient origins and cross-cultural significance of calling your attacks.

What Makes Anime Tropes So Powerful?
Photo by Norbert Braun / Unsplash

Anime, a unique form of animation, has captivated global audiences with its distinct style and narrative.

Within this medium, numerous tropes have become synonymous with the genre, such as naming attacks and the iconic visualization of blood shooting out of a person's nose to depict arousal.

The roots of these tropes are deeply intertwined with cultural beliefs and storytelling traditions, evolving over centuries to become integral elements of anime today.

The Power of Words in Folklore

The concept of words granting power is a venerable and cross-cultural phenomenon, prevalent since ancient times and not exclusive to anime.

Its influence can be found in the earliest tales of swords and sorcery across various cultures.

Specifically, members of the Sinitic ethnolinguistic family attribute special importance to the power of written characters, believing that spoken and written words can invoke control over supernatural forces, a fundamental aspect of their folklore.

This belief is also shared in Ancient Egyptian religion and rituals, demonstrating the widespread prevalence of this ancient concept.

Development of Naming Attacks

The practice of characters naming their attacks traces back to the Japanese concept of ki, which denotes the flow of energy.

This concept greatly influenced the portrayal of martial arts and combat in anime.

The naming of attacks provides a visual and auditory representation of power and intensity, further involving viewers in the action.

These naming conventions have become deeply ingrained in the fabric of anime storytelling, enriching the narrative and impact of the characters' actions.

It's fascinating to witness how ancient concepts and cultural beliefs have shaped the iconic features of anime, making it a truly distinctive and powerful form of entertainment.