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boink666

Which do you prefer: characters or plot?

Characters vs Plot  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Which would you prefer?

    • A plot driven story / A story with good plot but flat and one-dimensional characters.
      23
    • A character driven story / A story with good characters but almost no plot.
      33


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Both characters and plot are important elements in a story.  However, it is difficult to say which is a more important element.  There are numerous examples of successful character and plot driven media, but the question is, which do you prefer?


Edited by boink666

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Personally I prefer a story with good characters. Although plot is important, without good characters then it is difficult to get into the series and enjoy it. Of course, plot normally develops characters, so it is a moot point.


 


As one other argument, characters > plot is shown quite nicely in most comedy, ecchi, slice of life, or cute girls do cute things series.


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First....One dimensionality only exists in theory as a mathematical construct.


 


 


Second... Both are important. Though it is a lot easier to read a story with well written characters, even without much plot, than it is to read one with terrible characters no matter how good the plot is.


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It seems a bit pedantic to pick on the use of one-dimensional in reference to flat characters. A Google search of "one-dimensional character" brings up many articles and discussions on the term, including the use of two- and three-dimensional in reference to character development (even TV Tropes uses them).


 


Anyway, given the options, I would think both of the hypothetical stories are probably poorly written, but if I had to choose between one, I'd probably pick plot over characters.


 


One of the more difficult things for me to do is read about people's original characters on Tumblr--they go on at length about them, about their characters and interactions with the rest of their OCs, but it's usually pretty boring, no matter how well-developed they are. They seem pointless and aimless, and I find myself unable to care about them even if I see them every day on my dash. I'm not much for slice of life either. There's a lot of great webcomics out there that I don't read because there's almost no story to them and I don't care enough about it to archive dive.


 


I can handle a story with flat characters--a lot of science fiction and action genre stories are this way, as well as a lot of RPGs and fables/fairy tales.


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Personally, if I had to chose one I would prefer a story with a good plot as opposed to good characters.


 


However, if I come across a story with a particularly good character but a poor plot, I am drawn to follow through with it just to find out what happens to them (unless the plot becomes nigh unbearable).


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I couldn't chose.  Back in the day anime was vary plot driven.  For that it was great.  Yet now most animes are charecter driven.  For that they are great.  Its cool to have anime that have both great plot with charecter driven sub plots.  I remember the days when plot drove so much.  The charecters would be cheasy, silly or vary cliche' yet the animes were still great and fun to watch just to see what the writers would do to these kinds of charecters.  Now a days the casual slice of life style of anime is king with even the most adventurous or out there anime haveing these elements.  For that the charecters are more well drawn out and played.  This makes them more simpithetic and relatible.  For these reasons I just couldn't decide. 


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This was really difficult to choose. I tried to think of how I would feel about a show that I currently watch in both scenarios. I thought of Supernatural, which has (or used to have, lolz) both. And I decided to go with character-driven. I think I get really attached to characters anyway.

Although, like EO said, both options sound terrible.

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I suppose it depends on what you mean by plot driven versus character driven. The best description I've found is in the film Stranger than Fiction when Dustin Hoffman's character explains that "Plot is getting a letter from the king." Character being the inverse (a letter to the king). Of course, as people have mentioned, you can't have one without the other. They are an interplay -- yin and yang, so to speak. Every story will have characters -- be they one-dimensional or nuanced -- and every story will have some kind of forward motion. What drives that motion though? Does the story only move when a villain makes an announcement on TV (Iron Man 3, I'm looking at you! Get some fresh material!) or when a petrified Hermione leaves Harry a note about the Basilisk (as much as I love the world she built, I have to admit that Rowling is a lazy writer)? Or, perhaps, the story is driven by a character's internal goals and conditions. Perhaps it is the character's desire to reform his life after an unfair prison sentence that leads him to save the daughter of the woman his inattention condemned (Not how, after the prison sentence, everything in Les Miserables comes out of one character or another, be it the forgiving priest, the penitent Valjean, or the desperate Fantine)?  Under this definition, I will always choose a character driven story.


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I see all character with no plot as moe shows like K-ON which focus so much on the characters that there's really nothing else in the show...

I don't like stuff like K-ON one bit, so I'm firmly seated in the plot > characters camp :P.

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OP is pretty clear that, in this case, plot-driven means a story with cardboard characters and character-driven means more like slice of life. (Cardboard plot? The plot is about cardboard.)


 


I was reading up to see what other people thought about the usage of these terms and the consensus is, as you mentioned, a character-driven story doesn't mean the plot aspect automatically suffers, and vice versa for event-driven (plot-driven, as it were). It is interesting to see the automatic connotations the terms have, though. o3o


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!! Slice of life was the first thing that came to mind when I Saw the poll. I can watch/read anything if I enjoy the characters. Even if it's just literally them living their average life, or what not.

Needless to say, I voted for characters. A plot is great and all, but I have to force myself to watch/read something for the plot if I don't like the characters. Where as, if I like the characters, I can watch/read anything happily.

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I really just think both are important.  An anime doesn't seem great unless all aspects of it are amazing.  The characters are something that draw me in and its always so interesting seeing the different personalities and back stories to a character.  Plot is also necessary.  You can't just have good character...if the story is boring and confusing...then it makes it hard to really get into it despite the good characters.  Without good character it's hard to make a good plot.  For example...Little Buster.  I loved almost all the characters..they uniquely different...but the storyline was so boring.  I just wasn't into it.  The only part of the story that was good was the back stories to some of the characters.


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That's a hard decision. But i'd have to say good characters. Seeing characters you know and love is awesome, even if they're doing nothing and just hanging around.


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For me it's the characters over the plot. 


 


No offense to a plot, but I tend to enjoy stories the most when the characters are memorable irregardless of an ambiguous plot or nonsensical plot. 


 


Take for example: I love Lucky Star because of the characters but there is literally no plot in that show except for that the girls are getting older and school is coming to and end. Even Samurai Champloo, who had one really vague plot point and used to delve into ridiculous story arcs...it remains one of my favorites because of how awesome Mugen, Jin and Fuu were. 


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I'd have to go with characters as well, I think you can have a simple plot but really awesome characters and it'll make for a good anime but that's just my opinion.


 


I like when shows and anime's go in deep with characters too and really build them up, more so then a good story.


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I would definitely prefer characters over plot. Usually the first thing I notice when watching an anime are the characters, and no matter how good the plot will eventually become, if the characters are terrible then I will give up on the anime before I even begin to understand the plot.


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I love characters, knowing their backgrounds, talents, etc. I'm a fan of deep characters within stories. However, for the sake of this argument, I will go with plot.


 


I read the chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a deep novel with loads of different characters, some deep rather than extravagant; others viceversa. However, even with main characters with vast background and importance within the plot, I find that it's the plot that moves them to be that important, to act as they act. I understand that an anime will always feature a main protagonist and antagonist instead of hundreds of characters, but I still find it's the plot that still moves them to do as they do. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the plot makes the character BE that character instead of a chart full of qualities or a résumé.


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