The Protagonist’s Journey – The Hero’s Journey Cycle in Anime (Part 1)

Hello to all!

Since the Holidays are drawing close and the year is rounding up to its end, I figured I’d do something to make a big impression for the end of my first year of blogging and writing.

Let me ask you guys a question ; What do Jonathan Joestar, Issei Hyoudou, and Naruto Uzmaki, all have in common with the great heroes of myths and legends?

Some of you may not see it, but all of these characters follow a very similar story path, aptly known as “The Hero’s Journey.”

For those of who who don’t know, the “Hero’s Journey” is a narrative path used in almost all popular stories. This goes far beyond anime, into movies, books, TV shows, and even video games.

How does the journey go? And where does it end? Let’s take a look

  1. The Ordinary World

We are introduced to our main character and the world they live in. Usually, our hero is unhappy with his status quo, and desires something more to come form his life. This desire feeds into the next stage of the journey…

2. Call to Adventure 

William calls Jojo to defeat Dio and destroy the ancient mask

An event occurs that starts the hero’s advance onto his path. Usually, our protagonist gets help from another character at this stage, someone who knows what the hero is about to face.

3. The Journey Begins

The hero sets off at the start of their quest. There isn’t really anything much to say about this part, other than it goes on to the next stage…

4. The Trials

The hero faces challenges, and succeeds. They feel confident in their abilities, maybe even invincible. However, it won’t last.

5.  The Big Challenge

The hero moves on to face a great threat. Maybe it’s a terrifying monster, or a menacing villain (Dio Brando comes to mind.) The hero faces them for an all out battle for the world they live in. But…

6. Facing Failure

The hero slips up when it mattered the most. He faces failure at the hands of his enemy, and all hope seems lost. They curse themselves for being weak, or for not being strong enough. But this failure teaches them a valuable lesson, that helps greatly in the next stage.

7. Overcoming Evil

The hero faces the Big Challenge once again, this time, ready for whatever comes their way.

The final blow against Dio.

In a last ditch effort, they overcome their demons, and save their world.

8. The Return 

The hero returns to their home, a stronger and better version of themselves than before their journey.

Think about this structure for a moment. Does this sound like any anime you’ve watched, or any book you’ve read?

This formula is used all over the world, in every form of storytelling, from mythology to movies, from legends to video games, and of course, in anime and manga.

But what kind of characters make up the hero’s journey, aside with the main hero?

That will be answered in Part 2!

I’ll see you all then.

In the meantime, be sure to cast your opinion on what I should do for next year on this site on this page.

Until next time…

Stay awesome!


4 thoughts on “The Protagonist’s Journey – The Hero’s Journey Cycle in Anime (Part 1)

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