Hein (fub) wrote,

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Anime trope: hypercompetents

There's this trope in recent anime that irks me. It is what I call the "hypercompetent": a person (almost always a teenage boy) who is super-powerful or super-competent, but that everybody looks down on for whatever reason. A good example is Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: this guy is really a super-powerful magician, but since his magic is not of a certain type or line, he tests really crappy in the magic school system. So he's ranked last in everything, and so everybody looks down on him. Of course, he doesn't care, because when the shit hits the fan, it is him who has the capabilities to save the day.
We also recently watched Tenkyou no Alderamin, where this lazy guy who has been scientifically trained, turns out to be a better tactician that all the others in his garrison army. (Though with the stupid decisions his superiors make, that's setting the bar quite low...)
It is, of course, nothing more than self-insertion wish fulfillment of the most juvenile kind. Imagine you're a Japanese teenager who doesn't really fit in. Wouldn't it be cool if there was something that you were the best at -- better than all the others who look down on you? Wouldn't that be neat? That would teach them!

So yes, all of those series are super boring, because there is literally nothing you can throw at the main character that they could not solve. Most of the time, they don't even need to break a sweat -- they are just that good. Bo-ring.

So imagine our (pleasant) surprise when we watched Sakamoto desu-ga?, which features the coolest, most stylish high schooler ever, the eponymous Sakamoto. He can do everything, and he does everything well, even though the effects are not as you'd think at first.
And yet, this series is super funny and deep. Because Sakamoto has something that the other main characters do not have. He has humility and empathy. He is like a zen master: always taking things at face value and always ready to help. Of course, those that try to manipulate him for their own ends, end up being played by their own foolishness. And those who seek to take him down because of their own fragile ego, end up being his fans. And this is all something that sort of "just happens" because Sakamoto never has a plan -- he has no ego, and takes things as they come.
That is quite refreshing, and the series is also super funny. I recommend "Sakamoto desu-ga?", while not recommending the other series mentioned here.
Tags: anime, full review

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