Drama and Unpredictability
WARNING: Before you read this article, there’s a chance for spoilers in My Hero Academia and WWE. The events being spoiled happened a bit under 2 weeks ago – You have been warned. If that doesn’t put you off, read on!
As a fan of My Hero Academia, I find myself often sat forward, wondering what’s going to happen next. It’s a series that plays well on the tired tropes of tournaments and succeeding someone in power. Also, as a fan of pro wrestling, the last big pay-per-view had a massive main event, where only a handful of people correctly guessed the outcome. Surprises are welcome in all media, but when does this become less of a surprise and more of a bad taste in the mouth? By analysing a few light spoilers, we’ll hopefully learn more.
Anyone who keeps up with My Hero Academia or WWE will be aware of these two relatively recent results, but to everyone else, please be aware these are sort of spoilers. A while has passed since these two events occurred, so hopefully other websites got you up to scratch first. But without working examples, it’s hard to really get a grasp on this topic. Ultimately, what makes a surprise so surprising and fun? Why do we enjoy these unpredictable results?
It all comes down to the status quo, or the tried and tested. It’s a case of familiarity coming back and expecting a result which is congruent with the norms of the media you’re enjoying. Put simply, it’s like saying “It’s okay, Goku will beat whatever bad guy is there”. It’s such a simple, easy narrative, that it genuinely puts people off the result. For some, the status quo is all that’s needed – Dare I say, it’s even the only acceptable outcome for some people. Using our recent examples then, this is how a surprise can be installed, without it being completely out there, to where the result is unbelievable.
My Hero Academia – Izuku vs Todoroki
Starting with the superhero anime, we have had no reason to believe that Todoroki couldn’t go on to beat Izuku. If anything, it makes so much more sense – But this wasn’t even the finals of the tournament they were holding. Instead it was the second round and Izuku, the main character of the series, lost to a supporting character. To make it even more unpredictable, when the dust settled, they show us Izuku’s shoe first. But what makes this such an effective surprise exactly?
First of all, timing is key. You wouldn’t expect the main character to lose to a secondary character whilst barking encouragement at him. You also wouldn’t expect him to lose in only the second round of the tournament. So it feels almost premature, until you realise the series is entirely about Izuku growing to become the greatest hero of all. He shows glimpses of this by just being an all round good guy, even encouraging his opponent to be the best he can be. He might go down, but this is merely a minor setback.
Don’t forget, you can watch this episode in it’s entirety for free on Crunchyroll.
WWE – Fatal Five Way: Extreme Rules
Love it, hate it; whatever you thought about it, this was a massive swerve which prepared us for a dream match, which is the real surprise here. No one expected the trigger to be pulled and to give us Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar, except for those who went quids in at the bookies. Mind you, it was a surprise, but it didn’t come out of the blue. It was telegraphed the Monday before the match, when Samoa Joe beat Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt in a triple threat match, pretty decisively.
Ultimately this is a man who has put butts on seats across the world, all because of how good he is. He’s a monster who has clashed with the best; who shows incredible strength and agility. He throws enzigiri’s as if he was a cruiserweight, so to see a man of such explosiveness represent RAW to go to fight The Beast, Brock Lesnar – It’s a dream match that probably won’t happen either ever again, or at least not a lot after all is said and done. As if “”Great Balls of Fire”” is a name that makes you think there’s going to be much excellent wrestling, at least the marquee match is set to be exciting, dynamic and physical!
There are countless cases where a surprise can give you that genuine sense of elation, but we would be here for a very long time if we went through many examples. The joy of drama is that unpredictable side – The chance that the goodies lose and have to rise again, or that a character we all know and love is suddenly sent away from the series. No matter what you think of surprises, they keep us on the edge of our seats and ultimately, we’re enthralled by the experience. But what do you think of swerves and unpredictability? Do you have any memorable twists you want to share? Let us know in the comments below or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.