Why do most shonen anime have distinct hairstyles?
When you think of anime, especially Shonen, a lot of tropes come to mind. Power-ups, incredible fights, superhuman abilities, mystical creatures are among them. However, the ones that stand out more than the rest are anime hairstyles.
But why are Shonen characters so tied to this trope? Why do they come to mind when the subject is mentioned? In this article, we will try to explain why anime hair is so linked to Shonen protagonists above all other anime genres.
Disclaimer: This article will be based on the opinion of the author and will contain minor spoilers from various anime series.
Why are unique hairstyles used in Shonen?
First, we’ll define what anime hair means. It’s a term normally used to describe an anime character’s weird, colorful, and unique hairstyle. Although it’s mostly used to refer to a Shonen protagonist or character.
This hair style normally comes with spikes, body-defining cuts, and a bright, unique color. It’s not that all of these conditions have to be met, but they usually are, especially when it comes to Shonen.
But there remains the question of why the characters of this genre are the ones that fit more into this style than the others. There are many different reasons for this.
Need to stand out
The anime and manga industry is a very difficult field to succeed in. There are thousands of different artists who want to fulfill their dream of publishing stories, and sadly, not all of them can achieve it. When it comes to Shonen stories, the difficulty increases.
Some of the most popular anime and manga in the world fall into this genre. Something about the adventures, the fights, the different ways a character can overcome their obstacles makes them appealing.
That’s why Shonen artists try to make them as visually appealing as possible. A person with a normal hairstyle won’t draw the attention of a crowd, but someone with bright yellow hair and spikes that stick out way above the person’s head might look attractive.
There are obviously many different ways a manga or anime can stand out – their story, unique abilities, and character personalities are some of the tried and true tropes. Anime hair helps improve these factors.
They make the protagonist unique
Shonen stories are filled with different characters who play important roles over the course of the series. However, it has generally been seen that the artist wants people to remember his protagonists. They’re the ones the story is going to be about, and if your protagonist isn’t memorable, people will quickly lose interest in the story.
Again, there are plenty of ways for a protagonist to become memorable without needing a flashy design, but it helps with first impressions. A flashy hairstyle also helps the reader or viewer focus on them.
To meet their target audience
Many Shonen series that contain anime hair have one thing in common. They are normally aimed at a younger audience. Children are usually attracted to things they see as different and cool. If the protagonist of the series has brightly colored hair, children will be attracted to him.
This is why anime hair is not so common when we talk about series made for adults. Yu Gi Oh is a series with a younger target audience, and Yugi’s hair is famous for being one of the craziest designs in the industry. Berserker is a series that only thinks of adults, and Guts’ hair is something you can totally see in the real world.
Anime hair is a trope that artists usually take advantage of to boost a character’s popularity. It has the ability to grab the attention of potential viewers, and that’s something a genre as oversaturated with content as Shonen needs.
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