As I have said extensively about the superhero genre is that it’s creatively and practically stagnant and moribund. People will get overdosed on superheroes in their lifetimes even if they’re hardly ever read the original comics. In a few years time, lots of people will really hate superheroes and that hatred is going to destroy the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the CW. I’ve sat through several X-Men, Spider-Man and Batman cartoons growing up. Several years later, I see that the genre even outside of comics is already approaching a dead end with the severe lack of truly original superhero stories and characters.
I don’t dislike superheroes but their presence is tiring. Unsurprisingly, its trajectory is similar to where the Japanese animation and comics industries have been heading. Somebody at 2Chan.us posted a translation of a series of interviews featuring the mastermind behind Love Hina. He goes on stating that even Japanese comics editors aren’t above their own mistakes. They’d make a series run longer than what the creators expected. The creators of Naruto and One Piece never intend their series to run this long and might have wanted to have them end shorter than at present. Heck Naruto got continued with the adventures of the protagonist’s son.
He even talks about a work for hire practise becoming a possible alternative with different creators doing their own takes on familiar franchises. I think this is already being done to stuff like QTaro, Pokemon, Fist of the North Star, Evangelion, Saint Seiya and Gundam to varying degrees. Superhero media has been doing this for several decades without end. It’s also a way to stunt the industry by driving away original voices that might create the next Superman in terms of lore and recognition among the public. Even turning Arrow and Flash into big franchises will never replicate the power that Superman and Batman have over people.
Then we get to stuff that’s practically incomprehensible and repetitive. Somebody said that both Japanese cartoons and comics are the most cliche-ridden media and that’s painfully true. A lot of those stories feel so unoriginal that you could point out that Naruto is based on Hunter x Hunter, which is based on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures which is based on fashion magazines and musicians. It’s almost inbred in a sense. While Attack on Titan seems original enough, some anime are reminiscent of older stories like what Kuroto’s Basketball is to Slam Dunk. Other anime contain in-jokes and references that only makes sense to wizened anime fans.
A good example would be Kill la Kill, full of weird fanservice, obscure anime in-jokes, stereotypical characters, nonsensical battles and parodies of magical girl transformation sequences. Kill la Kill only makes sense to people who are already familiar with anime. That’s where superhero comics have been at for decades and where superhero programmes like Flash are heading for if the producers are this careless. It’s also a coincidence that both industries have shot themselves in the foot by deciding to cater to a niche fanbase via the instigation of niche markets.
OVAs and dounjinshi/fanfiction are to anime and manga as what the Direct Market and never-ending continuations are to superheroes. These days they can’t exist independently of their niche audiences even as some strive to appeal to a more mainstream audience. This speaks volumes about the irrelevance of superheroes and anime, despite their influence on people. Besides outside of Japan, many more people read romance and young adult novels than they read manga. In the like manner, superhero media is being killed by the overwhelming ubiquity of the Internet. Who is going to keep enjoying that stuff? Inevitably it lies in the diehard fanbase, which makes such stories all the more insular.