Sunday, July 31, 2011

Linear plots: types of series

I did say that I would come back and post about the second basic type of plot, so here we go. These are the linear plots. These series have a fairly straight-forward story line and the plot proceeds relatively smoothly from point A to point B. Sometimes you're not aware of the linear plot until later in the series but it's there. Again, I'll be discussing various series along the way.
Probably one of the best examples of a series with a linear plot is Serei no Moribito. The plot in this series is to protect the prince, Chagum, to prevent him from dying, both from the people trying to kill hima dn from the entity growing inside him. The main character, a warrior named Balsa,takes on this task and it turns out to be significantly more difficult than she expected. She is helped along the way by her friends, including Tanda and Torogai, and opposed by the Palace, basically by the Emperor and all his minions, including the palace elite guards and Shuga, a tutor and star-seer. Balsa-tachi manage to not only keep Chagum alive, they help him grow up and end up helping to restore him to his proper place as the Crown Prince in the Palace.
Another series with a linear plot is Fullmetal Alchemist. The quest that the brothers, Ed and Al Elric, take on is to stop the bad guys from taking over the world and in the process killing much of the world's population. Not much of a task, I admit, (<-- this is sarcasm) but with help from their friends, including Roy Mustang, Risa Hawkeye, Rin and Mai, and a boatload of other cast members, they manage to succeed. Of course, the bad guys are firmly seated in the government of the country where the characters live, so stopping them means working against the government. This series is kind of an epic series. Lots of people are involved in a multitude of side stories along the way, but they all come together eventually to fight for the same goal, the destruction of the "Father" and his homunculi.
Last Exile is another series with a linear plot, and a group of people working against the ruling class. The protagonists in this series are planning to overthrow the Guild, a world government group, and by doing so to create a world where everyone can live in peace. The ruling class Guild controls much of their lives, including the worldwide weather, causing droughts and ice ages when it suits their whim. The main characters, Klaus and Lavi, get sucked into the battles when they help a small girl named Alvis. They end up siding with the Alex Rowe and his ship the Sylvana against the Guild, while becoming friends with a young Guild Member, Dio. Klaus-tachi fulfill their quest, but at the expense of lives, including main character lives.
Eureka Seven is another series in which the main characters plot to overthrow the government and protect the various peoples of the world, including an alien life form which is struggling to understand humans, while different human factions are trying to either protect it or destroy it. Renton and Eureka are two of the main characters caught up in this world-spanning battle. Renton joins Eureka aboard a ship stolen from the military and renamed the Gekko. The very eccentric crew of the Gekko makes up much of the series cast including the captain, Holland and first mate, Talho. Surprisingly, the gang aboard the Gekko manage to accomplish their goals, sometimes almost despite themselves.
Overthrowing existing governments appears to be a favorite theme here. Another linear plot series which manages this is Scrapped Princess. The warrior-brother and sorcerer-sister main characters, Shannon and Raquel, are intending only to protect the life of their adopted little sister, Pacifica. However, in order to do that they and their companions end up taking on the ancient computer which governs their world. In the end they defeat it, freeing the planet to evolve on its own. Quite an accomplishment when all they wanted to do was keep Pacifica alive.
Wolf's Rain is another linear plot anime series. The plot is very straight forward. Four wolves, Kiba, Tsume, Hide and Toboe, who can take the form of humans, are traveling to reach Paradise. First they must find the moon flower, also in the shape of a human, who will lead them there. Unfortunately other people want the moon flower girl also, and thus a plot line is born. Good guys against the existing government structure. This is one of the better series, and would have been one of the great ones if not for the ending. Sadly, no one reaches Paradise or gets what they want.
A last series I'll talk about today with a very linear plot is Jyu oh Sei. Jyu oh Sei's story follows Thor, a child born on a space colony, who is dumped on a brutal planet and expected to survive. Most of the plot revolves around Thor's climb back up, and eventual return to the colony to discover all the why's. Why his parents were murdered and he and his twin were dumped. Why the brutal planet exists, etc, etc. The series is also about the very human will to survive, and surprise, overthrowing the existing government structure.
Hmmmm. I'm just realizing how many linear plots are about ousting the powers that be. Interesting. Code Geass could also be considered one of those. As can Tegami Bachi. And E's Otherwise, and Fractale, and even Angel Beats! Omoshiroi.
Anyway, there are obviously series that don't fit well into either the mini-quest type or the linear plot type. A lot of those are your basic slice of life series. And they often seem to me to not have a lot of plot period. Just day to day living. Which may be why as a rule I'm not that fond of slice of life type series. Fruits Basket and Natsume Yuujinchou would be exceptions to that general rule though. Neither had excessive plot, but both were exceptionally good series.
That's all for today. And this damn system won't let me put spacing in where I want to, so this will just have to look like one long continuous paragraph.