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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.
    • A character driven story / A story with good characters but almost no plot.

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I'm more of a character person: it is so hard for me to enjoy a story if I'm not engaged in the characters.

Of course, the best shows are the ones that have a meeting of plot and character!

But there are good manga and anime with a focus on characters more than a plot: for example Yotsuba & A Bride's Story.

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There are so many stories that are both compelling and event driven with minimal characterisation.


Horror stories immediately come to mind. Well-written creepypastas can be nigh void of characterisation but rife with information that unsettles and disturbs. The SCP Foundation comes to mind, but there are a load of others.


Sci fi can definitely run this way, where events and messages are more important than the characters. Sometimes it's because the events are just bigger than the characters (The Last Question). I've read the Cyberiad at least half a dozen times--although the two main characters, Trurl and Klapaucius, both had their own personalities and a rivalry, their development as characters took a backseat to the plot. What was important was the events, not their growth as people.


Action also does this. The plot is more important than the characters' growth and relationships. There's a definite goal and a definite end and it needs to be achieved one way or another.


One of the things I dislike about long runners and slice of slice is that everything feels pointless. There's no conclusion, no real growth (unless you want to potentially alienate some of your audience). And like Big Papi pointed out, "plot makes the character BE that character instead of a chart full of qualities or a résumé".


Long runners also tend to flanderise characters, either because the writers don't care or because it's too much effort to continue to flesh out every single of their eight billion characters for fifty years. Look at what happened to the Simpsons and how flat a lot of those characters ended up.


I like stories where I can relate to characters for sure, but what keeps me interested in a story isn't necessarily the characters--it's because I want to see the end of the story. I want to see how all of the events eventually wrap up, how it all ties together. I love Homestuck and I love the characters, but I'm more interested in what's going on and how it'll all turn out.


That's one of the reasons why I'm having kind of a hard time with some of the newer webcomics I'm reading like Monster Pop and Ava's Demon. I can tell there's some sort of plot in both of them, but it's just not grabbing me at all.


Same thing with Plume. Lot of characterisation, but the plot is so weak I literally can't even care about any of the characters, in spite of how well they're represented.


I don't care what happens to any of these characters at all, and it's not because they're poorly written--it's because I don't see what the point of their existence is for any of them.


As far as I can tell, Monster Pop is just a slice of life story about monster and human relations, which is cute at least. Plume seems to be about a girl travelling with her guardian and collecting treasure to avenge her father or something (that might not even be right). I dislike a lot of the characters in Ava's Demon so that's a factor, and I know the titular demon has a goal of her own, but I have no idea how important the rest of the characters are.


Again--these comics aren't necessarily poorly written, they're just heavily focussed on the characters and their lives seemingly without giving a lot of regard to the plot. Great characters are great, but a story with a weak or non-existent plot just loses me.


I mean, I love cats. A lot. Almost to the point of being a crazy cat lady. But I don't regularly follow any comics that are just about cats and how cute they are, and that says a lot about how important plot is to me in comparison to characters. (Because I really like cats. A lot. So much.)

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That is very hard... With me I always love plot but whats the point in the plot if you don't have the amazing characters making the plot awesome?

I want both lol. But if the Anime character is super hot then forget the plot I will make my own <3! 

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I voted plot but, to be honest I love anime's like Afro Samurai or Corpse Princess where the main character never really says anything. It makes them mysterious and hard to figure out what there thinking. That always makes for appealing characters. However a plot driven story with a couple of good twists always seems to leave a big impression like "08th MS team" felt like "Generation Kill" with mechs in it. So much fun.

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If the plot's good but I don't like the characters, I'm afraid it isn't going to work. How am I suppose to get immersed over something or someone I don't care about? 

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For me mainly the plot as it has to keep me interested and not end up getting bord. Althought the characters are also important to me as we'll.

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Well, both 'a story with good plot but flat and one-dimensional characters' and 'a story with good characters but almost no plot' sound like synonyms for 'badly written' to me. A story with great characters but nothing going is pretty boring, and it's also pretty hard to keep interested in a story with no characters to care about. A well written story needs some of both, even if it a lot of emphasis on the characters or the plot. Someone mentioned Samurai Champloo, for example, which I love, which is strongly character-driven. But it still has some plot, needed to tie everything together.

I voted for plot, because I think I could still enjoy a story with an intricate plot intellectually, like in a mystery or a sci-fi story. However, of course I'm going to enjoy such a story more if it also has well written characters.

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I'd say plot, as long as characters aren't awful. One might also argue that without nicely written characters there couldn't be a good plot.

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i see where youre coming from... but, kinda hard to choose

  1. i cant even think of any animes that have good characters with no plot.. maybe Kara no Kyoukai, it dragged on, the plot was pretty thin but it wasnt non existant
  2. good plots with bad characters? -- Monster..
  3. so if i were to choose between Monster & Kara no Kyoukai, i would definitely have to go with Garden of Sinners, if i dislike the characters, i immediately dislike the show... where as, i'll at least give a show a decent shot if i feel sympathetic or impressed with the characters

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Depends on genre really for me. If it's a more serious anime, plot is essential. If it's more of a comedy or something silly, characters are more important (as long as there's good humor of course). Gun to my head I'd say plot, since that's what sets anime apart from other animations IMO.

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Characters are what make a story relatable.. I didn't like the plot of Divergent, but the characters were so good that I actually liked the film in the end. So I guess characters would be most important to me.

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I feel like character driven stories are more engaging from a viewers perspective... Plot driven stories feel more like a spectacle... something detached from humanity that we're supposed to appreciate rather than engage with.

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