It is odd to turn on the T.V. and watch an anime on today and feel like I’m watching the exact same protagonist I was watching years ago. For me this mainly means seeing Bleach or Naruto and thinking Back to my old favorite Yu Yu Hakusho. It seems there are certain things expected of a fighting anime character group and not just the main character finds a mirror in more modern anime.

For those of you not familiar with Yu Yu Hakusho and it’s protagonist Yusuke Urameshi let me tell you a little bit. Yusuke is a young man in his early teens. He is seen as something of a delinquent and is ostracized by many people because of this. He likes to fight and gets himself into trouble because of this. He isn’t particularly smart and he is very direct, often to a fault. Now drop out Yusuke and add Ichigo or Naruto and see if it fits.

The other characters around Yusuke even seem to fit similar patterns. He has a brainy companion who is a counterpoint to his direct and often foolhardy ways. Ishida and Sasuke both fill this roll in their respective series. He also has a friend who is very strong and direct like himself and who is used as a foil at times. Rock Lee and Chad fill these rolls in their respective anime. Ofcoarse there is also a woman who is of interest to Yusuke and must often be saved, like Rukia or Sakura.

Perhaps these elements are helpful in making up a good fighting anime? Someone has to be smart so we know what the main character is doing is so very risky. Someone has to be saved so that the main character cares all the more about the fights. Someone has to be a friendly rival to give the character someone to compete against. I don’t know. There are certainly other anime out there that don’t fit this patter as completely, like History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi or The Breaker, but there still seem to be these patterns.

I also wonder why the main character has to be the direct and thoughtless one. Is it more significant that he achieves what he does through hard work and being special that through thought or strategy? Is it more inspiring to see someone achieve through effort than through planning? Perhaps it is simply to make the main character more endearing, easier to connect to somehow.

Perhaps it is just a newer group that is unfamiliar or not as fond of Yu Yu Hakusho that watches anime today. Perhaps stories are just retold every generation in different forms. I know what when I hear a phrase that could easily has come out of Yusukes mouth drop from the lips of some newer character it makes me wonder about the similarities but if I have the urge I just pull out my old DVDs and have a watch at the classic. Maybe in a few years people will be commenting about how another anime is just like Naruto. Maybe I’m just thinking about this too much. Enjoy your Anime, folks.