Romance in anime is either the entire story or non- existent. Neither is necessarily wrong, though. When you click on a romance anime, you expect to be watching an actual “romance”. However, I’ve realized that when it comes to how romance effects the stories that’s been told; it’s generally in very black and white scenarios.
You either have a story completely focused on the romance aspect, generally a high school romance, or a show that has relatively nothing to do with romance. Again, i’m presenting this as if it’s some sort of “problem” but it’s just normal anime…
My point is: romance doesn’t seem to be used in many more forms other than to just let the romance play out. It could be used in much bigger stories to create an incentive, not only for the viewer but the actual characters in the relationship. Yeah, we have a lot of “love interests” that play off the idea of a potential romance down the line but the ratio in which it happens is very minimal; especially “during” the actual show which we can experience and grow to care about the two as a pair.
I think the closest subjects we have that somewhat mirror this ideal are Eureka Seven and Chivalry of a Failed Knight. And there are more out there, I would assume. It’s just with how long I’ve been watching anime and the innumerable amount I’ve see; I can only calculate that there’s only a handful that use romance effectively as an incentive or smaller part of a much bigger story.
For the most part, I think we should start with using romance as an incentive. Starting an interesting story with a set amount of characters; having two individuals participate in the fray while realizing what kind of relationship they may want together. When I initially first thought about this, I have to admit, I am still under the effects of the Tokyo Ghoul manga.
But as I watched this story, I began to watch the relationship between Kaneki and Touka very slowly progress towards… Something. It’s not perfect, it’s still kind of a bait. However, these real moments of progression has created an incentive to keep you watching.. or reading, in this case.
I think that anime should worry less about how much time they have to tell the story and work on actually fleshing it out. I think using romance as an incentive to get people something to care while progressing through the story is where we should start, at the moment. Eventually, I think romance can really go far but I think we can tell bigger stories while using romance as more of a “appetizer” rather than… Y’know, the actual food you eat. You get what I mean…
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