I came across a Booktuber the other day and watched one of her videos on ranking Fanfiction tropes. It was interesting and comedic, so I decided to try it out.
These tropes apply to my thoughts on plots, too, regardless of whether it’s a book, anime, manga, or show. A lot, if not all, of these, also intersect with each other. You may see high school AU with a love triangle or friends to lovers with miscommunication. When I ranked each of these tropes, that trope was the central premise.
Depends on the Execution
Clearly, a lot of my opinions on plots or tropes are based on its execution. I’ve read a lot of fanfictions and books and watched a lot of shows and anime that did some of these incredibly well. A few examples are the following:
Graveyard Valentine – Bex chan (Draco and Hermione enemies to lovers / angst)
Call on Me – Renohotness (Dante angst)
Hotarubi no Mori e (Unhappy ending? Angst)
Card Captor Sakura (Magic)
Gakuen Alice (Magic / Enemies to lovers)
Vicious – V.E Schwab (College / Magic / Dark)
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern (Enemies to lovers (sort of) / Magic)
Battle Royale – Koushun Takumi (Dark / angst / historical (I think) )
Of course, there are some that I didn’t enjoy. But any plot or any trope can be done well. I think it’s more about the overall message the author tries to convey.
Let’s talk about some specific tropes.
The bang or die trope is when two characters are forced to mate or die. I see a lot of comedic opportunities in this. But there can also be a lot of red flags, depending on what the situation is.
Love triangles are probably the most common trope ever used. And I don’t think it’s going to get old. They can be exciting and keeps the reader or watcher engaged. But, if it’s the typical ‘nice girl ends up with bad boy trope’, I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t be as interested.
Before, I was never a fan of established relationships. It was not fun for me. But, there are a lot of different ways a writer can take this. Frankly, I prefer if an established relationship is antagonistic in the beginning. Let’s get straight into the conflict.
The soulmate trope can either be exciting or incredibly dull. I am not a fan of stories where everyone can somehow see or know who their soulmate is, and they just accept their fate.
I prefer ones with more curious characters. Why can people see their soulmate or know who their soulmate is? Is it even accurate? If they go against their fate, what will happen? I think it comes down to world-building and the characters’ journey.
Enemies to lovers is a trope that’s been around for ages. I don’t think it’ll ever get old. It’s a perfect plot for witty banter and comedic dialogue. But hopefully, it doesn’t get too carried away.
I typically don’t have a problem with fake relationships. But again, were the characters antagonistic towards each other that–for some reason–they must be in a fake relationship to accomplish something? Or, were they friends? It really depends on the context.
Sex pollen is a trope that brings two characters together in a sexual encounter. (I had to Google what this trope was.) I’ve only read a one-shot like this, and it was really well done. I think this comes down to how well the writer writes smut/intimate scenes. This also applies to PWP (porn without plot.)
I’m usually not a fan of body-swap. It’s just… strange to me. But I loved Freaky Friday, and the anime movie, Your Name, wasn’t too bad. Though it’s not something that I would actively search for, I wouldn’t mind it if it was used… just appropriately.
I’m not surprised that any plot or trope where the focus is to take care of a child is a turn-off for me. Maybe it’s because I am not fond of kids. But, there is one exception to this.
When I was younger, I really enjoyed Aishiteruze Baby, an anime where a high school playboy is tasked with taking care of his abandoned, five-year-old cousin. He quickly gets attached to his cousin, and she indirectly teaches him about responsibility. This was a joy to watch, and it’s also heartwarming.
I’ve seen a lot of arranged marriage tropes, and that just doesn’t cut it for me. I do not support the idea of forcing two people together, even if one person is pining for the other.
But then again, how is the author going to execute it? Will the characters break up? Will they grow from this experience, and the plot spins into something different? Maybe this arranged marriage is only a temporary thing.
Frankly, I just don’t want the main message to embrace the idea of an unhealthy relationship.
Mis-communication is a common trope that can be either ridiculous or a suitable catalyst for moving the plot. If miscommunication between characters leads to something being discovered, I am all for it.
If it was a past miscommunication that leads to the central conflict in the story, I don’t think I would complain. But, if it was the main conflict throughout the entire story, probably not, especially if its something that can be solved in a chapter or two.
I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of it. But I wouldn’t complain about school tropes or plots. I think they’re fun, and there are so many ways a writer can take this. It’s a flexible trope that someone can identify with while exploring something new.
First kiss tropes are often really cute. And, I am all for the fluff. So, usually, I wouldn’t mind this trope being used. Though, I am not a fan of the character constantly mentioning that it was their first kiss.
The fix-it fic is a fanfiction trope to change something about the canon plot. The most obvious example is probably the ending to The Game of Thrones. I’ve never watched the show, but apparently, a lot of people weren’t happy with the ending, so they decided to rewrite it. There’s a lot of room for creativity, and if you didn’t like something, it never hurts to write the ‘What-if.’
I’m a fan of the missing scenes trope. Like the fix-it fic trope, there’s a lot of room for creativity. It can provide character insights and explore a character’s past if it had not been done.
Canon divergence is a trope where the writer uses the plot of a show to a certain point and then taking it in a different direction. It’s always fun to explore the ‘What ifs’, and canon divergence in fanfiction makes it a bit more realistic.
Sharing a bed doesn’t have to be intimate. But being in such close proximity with someone else can spark some interesting conversations and maybe even comedic scenarios.
I think hurt/comfort, friends to lovers, and slow burn is a great combination. They are tropes for great character bonding and relationship building.
A character having or had amnesia is used a lot. There’s even a Japanese dating sim game called ‘Amnesia.’ I never had a problem with trope; it’s like you’re solving a character mystery.
I am all for coffee shop AUs. Frankly, any story that revolves around a coffee shop usually gets a thumbs up from me. Gotta love that cozy atmosphere.
The best example of mutual pining I can think of is Kimi ni Todoke. It was so cute, so fluffy, and I’m getting cavities just from thinking about it. Though it’s difficult to imagine two characters that are mutually pining for each other not to notice the other’s feelings, it’s satisfying to see two characters wrestle over their feelings.
Huddle for warmth is a scene that can be extremely cute or sexy, depending on how the writer takes it. I think it’s even better if it’s initially awkward.
Humour is very broad. I love witty banter or comedic scenes or dialogue. But, I’m not a fan of dirty jokes or inappropriate scenes that are meant to be funny
(usually American humour).
This was a lot of fun to do. You can make your own ranking Tiermaker. Let me know what your trope/plot preferences are!