Glomping chibis, people with animal ears, and a host of perverted characters—at first glance, it’s hard to tell what makes Cuticle Detective Inaba at all offensive. After all, it’s all of the same stuff anime producers have been dishing out at us since I was twelve and watching my first anime show, The Slayers. Exaggerated faces and emotional responses, hapless villains and slapstick violence; over the years these tropes have become indiscernible from anime as a genre.
And that’s when it hit me—this stuff has been going on for decades. In every season—in nearly every title—you can expect to see a handful of the same old tropes. Some series are good at putting their own spin on tropes, or at least elbowing the viewer in acknowledgement, like Nichibros or Sergeant Frog. What makes Cuticle Detective Inaba so obnoxious is that it wholeheartedly embraces so many tropes without irony or comment.
Luckily, I’ve thought of a way to spice up this otherwise uncreative show. Last night with the help of Twitter, I brainstormed some of anime’s most tired tropes to create an anime trope bingo card.
Feel free to print it out and try your luck. I’m going for a blackout with Cuticle Detective Inaba.
What are you watching from the Winter 2013 anime season? I’d appreciate your recommendations for a show that doesn’t make my eyes roll so much.