Subverting Expectations: The Megathread - Or How Baby Dick Creators ‘Sort of Forgot’ What an Anti-Climax Is

RomanesEuntDomus

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I'll never fucking forgive that cunt for that. He started watching Game of Thrones and then was like, "ME WANT" and just did that. I don't think its an exaggeration that the manga lost basically half its audience after he made the switch and the basement was revealed. I seriously think the only thing that actually saved the manga was the Anime, and the Anime is basically relying on the first part that everyone loved, I have a feeling its going to crash. And crash fucking hard. The only people I see really left are shippers (oh my fucking christ, the shippers in that community), people who think he's a secret genius and fanboys who don't even think, just consume.

The funny thing is, fanboys are like "OH GOD, WAIT TILL THE ANIME SEES THE BASEMENT REVEAL LOL" and I'm like, "You mean when he upsets everyone for making his universe a worse game of thrones and loses half his audience because he basically threw out what they loved? And then he does a time-skip because he shifted the entire genre and had no fucking idea what he was doing and has been winging it ever since, and character motivations haven't made sense for years with 0 revelation because Isayama doesn't actually know what he's doing?" I'm really going to love when the brigade rides out to defend that fucking shit show.

I mean, for non-anime people, I really feel like I have to explain how really jarring this was. Attack on Titan was this post-apocalypse setting where the remnants of humanity were set up in these huge walls, surrounded by gigantic titans, monsters that would just eat people. Then you gradually learn there are sentient titans, humans that can control these monsters. So there's this big mystery, the primary genre is the horror of people fighting these things. The answers are held in the protagonist's basement. For which there's this huge charge, a major sacrifice, huge character deaths to get to.

Then it turns out that no, humanity is thriving and just fine, and the island is just a World War 2 concentration camp (figuratively) because the world hates the Trump's Chosen People people on this island and they're there for punishment. They just have a deus ex machina magic titan that uses the MIB mind eraser on the entire population of this island to forget the existence of the rest of the world to make an excuse as to 'why don't they know the world exists'. Then there's a whole bunch of bullshit nonsense with royal families and bloodlines and shit and eventually most of the 'fighting these horrifying titans' are replaced with some stupid fucking world political machinations and its just fucking nauseatingly bad, where Isayama did a major timeskip after this revelation and basically the protagonist's motivations have made absolutely no sense since then, because he clearly doesn't know what the fuck he's doing. Fuck even the major ANTAGONIST'S actions make no sense at all. Even WITH what he revealed.
I was currently watching AoT and I knew things would fall apart catastrophically at some point, now I know what. I was eager to find out just what the hell is going on in that basement and ... wow. Okay. That's really exactly the way how not to do it. Any reveal in the basement should have expanded the setting with the Titans, not replace it like this. I mean, the "it's just Titan-Auschwitz" might be a somewhat interesting turn of events, but when it completely replaces the storyline and setting that people enjoyed in the past, it's not hard to see why people are upset.

2 other examples come to mind from Manga/Anime: Claymore and Vinland Saga.

In Claymore, we have a medieval setting with shapeshifting monsters (called Youma) that hide amongst humans and eat them. Humanity can't match their strength on its own, so they create half-youma half-human hybrids called "Claymore". Said Claymores carry huge swords, can unleash their Youma-powers and fight... however there's some shady organisation involved. Essentially, a dude will enter a village with a Youma, offer to send a Claymore to said village and once the village has been cleansed, he comes again to pick up the payment.
In the later chapters, so called "Awakened Beings" emerge, what at first looks like incredibly strong Youma turns out to be Claymores that unleashed too much power and transformed into monsters even worse than Youma, insanely strong and insatiable hunger for human guts.
Where this becomes incredibly similar to AoT is that in some chapter, it turns out that the entire continent that this is settled on... is a weapons test facility by the guys that operate the shady organisation and they want to make the perfect weapon (either Claymores or Awakened Beings) in their war on the mainland.
I don't know if the author got backlash, but the later chapters of the manga pretty much ignore that whole point and the story goes back to where it should go. For a time, I was afraid that it would turn into "Main Character goes to the mainland to fight in the war/against the assholes that keep an entire continent as a weapons test range", but that thankfully never happened.
A reveal like that doesn't feel like a big expansion on the setting, even though it adds fluff, it feels like it takes away from the setting.
Claymore narrowly escaped the fate of AoT, it seems.

The other example, Vinland Saga, is pretty interesting, too. There's 50ish chapters of vikings doing viking things, with some intrigue, backstabbing, betrayal, etc. and a lot of fighting.
Around the 54 chapter mark, shit goes south in a very major (and absolutely amazing) way for one of the more important characters, the main character is taken prisoner and ends up as a slave. He then vows to never kill someone again and the whole story shifts tremendeously. It was jokingly called Farmland Saga, since Thorfinn (the MC), spends a few chapters working as a farm slave, until he escapes. The whole thing still has some action-scenes, but not to the same extend as it used to
Many people didn't like the way how it shifted away from gore-y war action, but the story continues strong and it feels like a logical developement of the story and characters. I personally liked the change of pace and I think it didn't suffer a cataclysmic exodus of fans and is still going strong.

So, there you have it. Three instances of a story changing element being introduced: 1 falling apart, 1 having a near miss and 1 actually being successful.
 

kadoink

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The problem with subverting expectations is that it creates licence for writers to be fucking lazy pricks by having something unexpected or random happen and get defended for it. Subverting expectations isn't entirely bad if its done organically/feels natural.

Heres a good example. So from the Star Wars rebels series they have Darth Maul comeback get robot legs and he wants revenge against Obi Wan. This gets built up for a season as you see Maul become a stronger and more dangerous foe and then comes to a climax. This is their fight.


I'm not a Star Wars fan, but I am a fan of good storytelling and this surgical precision. Better than any of the last movies and it stays true to the original series.

This is the right way to do it.
Here is the wrong way.

Happens for the sake of happening, feels out of place, we don't care because we know nothing about Snoke other than hes bad. Theres no emotional attachment or even afterthought, its not built up, having Ren just do this almost on the fly feels awkward more than anything. If this happened at the end of the movie and was built up it could have worked.
 

RomanesEuntDomus

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This is the right way to do it.
Here is the wrong way.

Happens for the sake of happening, feels out of place, we don't care because we know nothing about Snoke other than hes bad. Theres no emotional attachment or even afterthought, its not built up, having Ren just do this almost on the fly feels awkward more than anything. If this happened at the end of the movie and was built up it could have worked.
Best thing about it is that there went so little thought into killing Snoke, they didn't even spare the smallest of thoughts on how this would affect the trilogy, if the main villain is killed off so stupidly.
Now, IX is without a villain and they had to dig up Sheev. Geez, that's some desperation right there.
 

iRON-mAn

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Subverting expectations are just bad twists to be honest. Twists are good when they add something to the narrative, bad twists don't, even though you were hoping it would.

Take The Last Jedi. Given how The Force Awakens aped A New Hope, people expected TLJ to follow a similar pattern to The Empire Strikes Back, and expected a twist similar to 'Luke, I am your Father'. Instead, Rey's parents are nobodies. Ok, fine, not everyone needs to be interconnected or a relative of someone significant, however, this twist does nothing for the story. It makes Rey look like a dimwitted idealist who stayed on a planet waiting for parents who didn't exist to come back, it explains nothing about how she's so proficient with the force and a lightsaber with little to no training, and it does nothing to create or resolve conflict. Rey's place in the story is basically because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and now feels invested.

On a meta level, some of this can be explained because she's a woman and Star Wars want their women to look good and have audiences applaud. But even so, it was expected that they would give some narrative reason for this, especially because they were following the narrative beats of the first trilogy. The decision to 'subvert' this was really a decision to make the 'twist' be less impactful. I'm not suggesting her being Palpatine's long lost force daughter would have made the story any better, but it certainly might have given a reason for how she could pick up a lightsaber and fight with more finesse than Finn, who presumably at least had melee practice with those electric batons, or why she was so drawn to that dark hole on that island. Instead they went with, 'she's just good' and it felt cheap and there was nowhere else to go with it.

As in, at least when Vader was revealed to be Luke's father, he had the existential crisis and it affected how he then dealt with Vader and Palpatine in the next movie. Rey's parents being nobodies causes her pain because apparently she had delusions of grandeur but it doesn't affect her behavior. There's no reason to think that she wouldn't have went to save the resistance at the end of the film if Kylo hadn't made her face the truth. Nothing about this 'twist' changes her actions, behavior or thoughts, so it's functionally useless.
 

BScCollateral

kiwifarms.net
For me, the head-scratcher about Rey's parents is Watsonian.

Fans care if Rey's parents came up in the story before. Rey doesn't, because she doesn't know she's in a film.
 

Spatula

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Fate/Zero, Madoka Magica, Psycho Pass aka Gen Urobuchi's best work is how subverting expectations is done right.

Heck, SW: EST did a pretty good plot twist for Luke parentage.
 
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Secret Asshole

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I was currently watching AoT and I knew things would fall apart catastrophically at some point, now I know what. I was eager to find out just what the hell is going on in that basement and ... wow. Okay. That's really exactly the way how not to do it. Any reveal in the basement should have expanded the setting with the Titans, not replace it like this. I mean, the "it's just Titan-Auschwitz" might be a somewhat interesting turn of events, but when it completely replaces the storyline and setting that people enjoyed in the past, it's not hard to see why people are upset.

2 other examples come to mind from Manga/Anime: Claymore and Vinland Saga.

In Claymore, we have a medieval setting with shapeshifting monsters (called Youma) that hide amongst humans and eat them. Humanity can't match their strength on its own, so they create half-youma half-human hybrids called "Claymore". Said Claymores carry huge swords, can unleash their Youma-powers and fight... however there's some shady organisation involved. Essentially, a dude will enter a village with a Youma, offer to send a Claymore to said village and once the village has been cleansed, he comes again to pick up the payment.
In the later chapters, so called "Awakened Beings" emerge, what at first looks like incredibly strong Youma turns out to be Claymores that unleashed too much power and transformed into monsters even worse than Youma, insanely strong and insatiable hunger for human guts.
Where this becomes incredibly similar to AoT is that in some chapter, it turns out that the entire continent that this is settled on... is a weapons test facility by the guys that operate the shady organisation and they want to make the perfect weapon (either Claymores or Awakened Beings) in their war on the mainland.
I don't know if the author got backlash, but the later chapters of the manga pretty much ignore that whole point and the story goes back to where it should go. For a time, I was afraid that it would turn into "Main Character goes to the mainland to fight in the war/against the assholes that keep an entire continent as a weapons test range", but that thankfully never happened.
A reveal like that doesn't feel like a big expansion on the setting, even though it adds fluff, it feels like it takes away from the setting.
Claymore narrowly escaped the fate of AoT, it seems.

The other example, Vinland Saga, is pretty interesting, too. There's 50ish chapters of vikings doing viking things, with some intrigue, backstabbing, betrayal, etc. and a lot of fighting.
Around the 54 chapter mark, shit goes south in a very major (and absolutely amazing) way for one of the more important characters, the main character is taken prisoner and ends up as a slave. He then vows to never kill someone again and the whole story shifts tremendeously. It was jokingly called Farmland Saga, since Thorfinn (the MC), spends a few chapters working as a farm slave, until he escapes. The whole thing still has some action-scenes, but not to the same extend as it used to
Many people didn't like the way how it shifted away from gore-y war action, but the story continues strong and it feels like a logical developement of the story and characters. I personally liked the change of pace and I think it didn't suffer a cataclysmic exodus of fans and is still going strong.

So, there you have it. Three instances of a story changing element being introduced: 1 falling apart, 1 having a near miss and 1 actually being successful.
If you want to get really mind-fucked for Attack on Titan, come to the thread. There's a chance the entire series is a fucking time loop ala 'The Dark Tower' ala 'The Ending Everyone Universally Fucking Hated'.

Attack of Titan really could have worked if put in the hands of someone competent. There's something brilliant about a story advancing in such a way that the terrifying creatures from beyond the veil are outclassed when tanks and guns come along.
Part of me just wants to fucking plagiarize the fuck out of it and make it the first third into a whole story. I might actually fucking do that, because what it turned into is uggghhhheeeeddd.

Fight club did it right

The Shield did it right

Rogue one almost did it right

Too bad everyone nowadays wants to make the next Lost (which did it right for a little while).
The differences between all the examples that did it wrong and the examples you state (Fight Club and Shield), is that they let the viewer in early on. You KNEW this wasn't going to be a typical story. The style and tone did it. 'The Shield' was great for doing this. Vic kills a cop in the first episode ('We killed a cop-uh' was probably the best meme because that line was repeated forty million fucking times), but then it accelerates down to where you're rooting for him. Until you come to the finale, which is fucking amazing, where he just lists off all the evil and heinous shit he's done in sequence and it just blows your fucking mind, because the show sort of luls you into this false sense of security because he possesses some morality and codes. But that doesn't negate the fact he is an evil, evil fuck.

Best thing about it is that there went so little thought into killing Snoke, they didn't even spare the smallest of thoughts on how this would affect the trilogy, if the main villain is killed off so stupidly.
Now, IX is without a villain and they had to dig up Sheev. Geez, that's some desperation right there.
That's really the problem with killing off characters. You've got to replace them with something. And Rain Johnson replaced him with...Kylo Ren, I guess? Who we only really hate because he killed Han Solo and maybe some other random people. Its just bad.
 

friedshrimp

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Psycho, Se7en, the original Watchmen comic did it right. Fuck even a kid's show like Steven Universe did work around with the Pink Diamond twist.

The idea is that the twist must have a consequence, and slowly build up to it. Throw breadcrumbs all over the plot so that it's not so sudden and observant audiences can catch on the clues. And once the twist occurs, then the consequences might be more interesting, how will the characters deal with such unexpected turn of events? You doing the twist and then going all "and then main leads farted and did nothing" is what leads to so many twists being bad.
 
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Akumaten

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Urobuchi ruined the subversion concept right where I was introduced to. With Madoka, I saw the bullshit, but I played along thinking it would be interesting. As a whole, Madoka Magica was dumb. I had a better experience with Princess Tutu.
I appreciate a literal honest work now a days. Not everybody can be a Togashi.
 

Y2K Baby

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Fuck even a kid's show like Steven Universe did work around with the Pink Diamond twist.
Cringe.
Urobuchi ruined the subversion concept right where I was introduced to. With Madoka, I saw the bullshit, but I played along thinking it would be interesting. As a whole, Madoka Magica was dumb. I had a better experience with Princess Tutu.
I appreciate a literal honest work now a days. Not everybody can be a Togashi.
Weebtalk.
 

Pokemonquistador2

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Not to push more weebshit into the conversation, but there is one recent anime that subverted expectations by....not subverting expectations...

This is a review of said anime, pointing out how it managed to lull the audience into a subversion by avoiding the typical anime cliches that plague formulaic adventure series: (Warning, spoilers for the Houseki no Kuni anime...)


In a nutshell, Houseki no Kuni is a series about a race of gem people (not related to the ones in Steven Universe) who live an immortal existence on an idyllic island sometime in the post apocalyptic far future. Life is easy for the gems, except for the random attack by the Moon People, who want to steal said gems, break them apart and turn them into jewelry. One of the gem people, named Phos, wants to contribute to society by fighting the Moon People, but she (I'll call her a she, even though gem people are technically genderless, ) is too weak to do much of anything but sit around most of the time. Eventually, Phos does grow and develop as a character, undergoing trials that usually lead to physical transformations and increases in power.

The series is notable for having lots of scenes that you'd think would lead to formulaic anime arcs (ones centered around loss and revenge,) but most of the crises that Phos faces are quickly resolved and in her favor. The series thus subverts your expectations by not having the main character go through the trauma Conga Line that usually leads to the strengthening and development of most anime main characters. No matter what happens to Phos, no matter how many new powers she gains, she doesn't really change on the inside...

....Until the series finally DOES drop the hammer, and have Phos suffer a tragic loss that sticks. Only then does Phos finally change on the inside (she also gets yet another upgrade in power, which, despite it's awesomeness, fails to avert the tragic event that changes Phos - even though by this point in the series, you'd expect it to do so..) After this, you'd expect the series to finally wallow in darkness and misery and take on an entirely new tone, but it doesn't. Sure, it spends a lot of time focusing on Pho's adjustment to the new normal, but everything else in the series pretty much goes on as usual. Near the end of the story, new mysteries crop up, but there's still plenty of slice of life stuff to be had.

In short HnK shows that you can play with audience's expectations and set up a WHAM! Storyline that shocks said audience without having to beat them over the head with wild, out of nowhere plot elements, asspulls, and pointless tragedy.
 

Manwithn0n0men

kiwifarms.net
This is how subverting expectations works, in. Essentially, its a narrative magic trick. However, you’re ALWAYS hinting to your audience that something is off, something isn’t right, and what they are expecting to happen in your story, might not happen as they imagine. But the point is: You let them in on your trick. I mean, not so much as The Prestige does, as it directly tell it to your face its going to trick you. But narratively, everything is there. The point is, as Michael Caine says, ‘Making something disappear, it isn’t enough. You have to bring it back.’ And that’s exactly what you have to do when you subvert any narrative. You MUST bring it thematically, tonally, narratively, back to a place where it makes sense within your story-telling trick. If you don’t bring it back….
This is also why most Deconstruction fails. Anyone can wreck batman, but you need to wreck him for a point and build him back up
 
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Secret Asshole

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This is also why most Deconstruction fails. Anyone can wreck batman, but you need to wreck him for a point and build him back up
Pretty much. The problem with deconstruction and people who want to do it basically do demolition. They want to render the character unrecognizable. The problem is a deconstruction is a close, detailed look at a concept. Its a very narrowed focus. For example, with Batman, we'd get down to his psyche, why he is the way he is. We pull Batman apart, but the essentials are there. Deconstruction is basically separating Batman's themes from the text. IE: His look and background.

His familial love, his pain of loss and his inability to get over that loss and wanting to prevent it to others and has a stringent sense of justice that goes beyond the law. That's basically who Batman really is. If you don't have him have any attachment to family, an innate desire for justice, you really don't have Batman. Like, for example, him committing murder is tantamount to destroying the character. That character may resemble Batman, but it really isn't him. You have deconstructed him, he's really Batman in name only. Like if you make Batman a rich pimp or something, that's not really the character as someone with a strong sense of justice wouldn't be a pimp. Unless its like a 'What If' or alternate reality, where essentially you're taking know characters and twisting them for thematic or dramatic reasons. We know they're not the same and the text isn't pretending they are either. Unlike Replacement culture.

With replacement culture, you can gender shift or race shift characters, but they're not really those characters any more, as shifting gender and race gives them different experiences and perspectives than their counterparts. You can deconstruct characters in this way, but you cannot re-create them, as their essential experiences are now fundamentally different. If you deny that, then you're saying the black experience is identical to the white experience. Or the male experience is identical to the female experience. It is not. So in essence, when the filmmakers or TV studio say "Oh, these are the same characters you know and love" They aren't, unless they're telling me that black and white experiences are identical and would have shaped them identically. Which everyone on the planet knows is bullshit. You've just basically done a really weak deconstruction, as in, you're not willing to go the extra mile and re-make their essentials by making them different, but by interchanging their race and gender, you're hoping to appeal to a wider audience. Race and gender swapping is not a creative choice unless you go the full mile. 99% of the time, film makers and networks never do, because they're relying on that character's name recognition to draw audiences. Race and gender swapping are rarely, if ever, creative decisions. They're marketing and PR ones.

This is why so many, many many race and gender swaps just fail outright or just stick to the outlying cast. Because it renders their characters unrecognizable. They're essentially different, yet marketing and the movie are telling you they're the same. So you create this natural cognitive dissonance in the audience, who will never, ever believe that. Fantasy is also another genre that wants to get into the race/gender swapping game. We know black people have black skin because of evolutionary reasons, so why is the cast 99% white with a couple of black people here and there? Are they from different lands, then how are they black? It asks really uncomfortable questions and also creates cognitive dissonance within your audience, black and white. Nobody is going to open their mouth about it, because they'll 100% be called a racist, but you can thought police all you want, everyone is thinking it. And even if they know it is socially unacceptable to say it out loud, they can just avoid that piece of media with no social consequences if they just remain silent and not buy it. Why do you think so many progtards want Communisim? Because they want to FORCE you to consume it, to have no other choice. Which never, ever works as 100% of communist countries always smuggle in Western or Eastern works or force their way around censorship.

You see this happening more and more. Because people are no longer allowed to say what they feel, you have this silent majority that has been socially conditioned to not speak their opinions. So you see these woke projects flopping again and again and again, because market research on the majority of people has been made universally impossible. People simply don't talk about these projects and don't bother consuming them, avoiding them altogether. I mean, people can see the virtue signals and intrinsically avoid them.

Not to push more weebshit into the conversation, but there is one recent anime that subverted expectations by....not subverting expectations...

This is a review of said anime, pointing out how it managed to lull the audience into a subversion by avoiding the typical anime cliches that plague formulaic adventure series: (Warning, spoilers for the Houseki no Kuni anime...)


In a nutshell, Houseki no Kuni is a series about a race of gem people (not related to the ones in Steven Universe) who live an immortal existence on an idyllic island sometime in the post apocalyptic far future. Life is easy for the gems, except for the random attack by the Moon People, who want to steal said gems, break them apart and turn them into jewelry. One of the gem people, named Phos, wants to contribute to society by fighting the Moon People, but she (I'll call her a she, even though gem people are technically genderless, ) is too weak to do much of anything but sit around most of the time. Eventually, Phos does grow and develop as a character, undergoing trials that usually lead to physical transformations and increases in power.

The series is notable for having lots of scenes that you'd think would lead to formulaic anime arcs (ones centered around loss and revenge,) but most of the crises that Phos faces are quickly resolved and in her favor. The series thus subverts your expectations by not having the main character go through the trauma Conga Line that usually leads to the strengthening and development of most anime main characters. No matter what happens to Phos, no matter how many new powers she gains, she doesn't really change on the inside...

....Until the series finally DOES drop the hammer, and have Phos suffer a tragic loss that sticks. Only then does Phos finally change on the inside (she also gets yet another upgrade in power, which, despite it's awesomeness, fails to avert the tragic event that changes Phos - even though by this point in the series, you'd expect it to do so..) After this, you'd expect the series to finally wallow in darkness and misery and take on an entirely new tone, but it doesn't. Sure, it spends a lot of time focusing on Pho's adjustment to the new normal, but everything else in the series pretty much goes on as usual. Near the end of the story, new mysteries crop up, but there's still plenty of slice of life stuff to be had.

In short HnK shows that you can play with audience's expectations and set up a WHAM! Storyline that shocks said audience without having to beat them over the head with wild, out of nowhere plot elements, asspulls, and pointless tragedy.
That's really another way creators to create: Imply a work is going to subvert tropes and just follow them, without betraying the audience. It creates something unique, because there's this feeling between what the audience expects and what they're seeing. Its something different and not done often. Another one that subverts expectations (in anime at least) is Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious. It is an Isekai (basically, a genre of anime where you go to another world, a videogame or whatever and are a hero, surrounded by beautiful women who fan over you. Basically, its power fantasy: the show). Except with this one, the 'hero' is not filled with any sense of wonder or excitement. He doesn't care about women or adventures. He doesn't really even seem to be reacting to the fantastical world around him, just to exploit it to get so overpowered that everything for him is trivial. He doesn't play video-games, isn't an otaku and isn't rendered pretty (he just is). Its also pretty meta as it mentions the genre. Its basically a commentary on the genre itself and subverts all the usual tropes that it has in funny and hilarious fashion. There's fan service, but its anime, what do you expect?

Another, more nefarious way of 'subverting' expectations is what we're seeing when people infiltrate anime or video-games or other things and take what the traditional audience wants and destroys it, for ideological reasons. They want to fundamentally change the genre itself to be more compatible to their ideological and political goals. This is subversion by definition. They want to change the creative work they dislike and subvert traditional audience expectations and desires in order to 'preach' to them. Or try to get them 'hooked' on this subversion of the genre or creative work. Again, this rarely works as audiences don't tolerate total subversion of a hobby. You can do this in a genre, but you can't do it to an entire medium. This results in destruction rather than creation. Audiences of genres and mediums have been built up over decades, and the audience drawn towards them rarely changes unless it becomes socially acceptable. NOT because the medium has changed. This is the key difference. When people see a medium that is mostly one gender (male 99.99% of the time) and one race (white 99.99% of the time), they think that social acceptance should mean more people in that medium. I say white and male not because "HURR RACIST SEXIST MISOGYTNERD" is that I've never actually seen an invasion of female or minority media, hobbies and creative works them being subverted completely to something different, or heavily criticized or have it try to be changed. Largely, I think because these communities tell people to fuck off. Which is why I am firmly and 100% behind gate keeping. If you don't like the medium, get the fuck out.

So they try to subvert it and change it, not realizing that the minorities and women that are already in that space are there because of what everyone else likes. So inevitably, this medium basically just becomes white as it drives everyone out of it. Do women really like gory, competitive FPS games? As a majority, no. But some do. And if you change the nature of that hobby, you lose all the men and the women that were there, because they enjoyed it for what it was. And you rarely, if ever attract a new audience. Which is basically the hangers on of the old audience, hoping it will change back.

The only way this succeeds is to have money be poured into the machine constantly, hoping the audience will eventually come back (it won't).

So there's a ton of ways that subversion works and playing on people's expectations. Some good (taking expectations and ignoring them in a work that seems subversive, critiquing a genre in hilarious and unique ways, genuinely giving something back to the audience that they didn't expect) and mostly bad (mystery boxes, race/gender swapping, ideological infiltration and egotistical creators).
 

Secret Asshole

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Did this all start with LOST? That's the first time I can remember a huge pop culture phenomenon ending with a wet fart of an ending and then everyone basically forgetting about it afterward.
For mainstream stuff, I think you can pinpoint Lost and Battlestar: Galactica as catalysts. But this type of stuff has been going on since the dawn of creation. It was just a LOT less common in genre and popular creative works. And typically these works were not serialized and just singular plays, stories or novels. That's why I mention subverting expectations is extremely difficult with a serialized work. You need a roadmap, outline, post-its and a whiteboard at minimum if you're even going to attempt it.

I think my creative advice for serialized works, regardless of subverting expectations or not: Always know where you are going and have a plan. Plot things out. If you don't, it just results in a mess. Like some series just expecting one season and were granted three. They completely wrap up the story and go "OH FUCK WHAT DO WE DO NOW" and everything turns to shit.
 

Dom Cruise

kiwifarms.net
For mainstream stuff, I think you can pinpoint Lost and Battlestar: Galactica as catalysts. But this type of stuff has been going on since the dawn of creation. It was just a LOT less common in genre and popular creative works. And typically these works were not serialized and just singular plays, stories or novels. That's why I mention subverting expectations is extremely difficult with a serialized work. You need a roadmap, outline, post-its and a whiteboard at minimum if you're even going to attempt it.

I think my creative advice for serialized works, regardless of subverting expectations or not: Always know where you are going and have a plan. Plot things out. If you don't, it just results in a mess. Like some series just expecting one season and were granted three. They completely wrap up the story and go "OH FUCK WHAT DO WE DO NOW" and everything turns to shit.
It seems like a very modern phenomenon though of online fan theories putting creators in a bind.

I remember a long time ago seeing this fan theory for LOST that was done as a comic, it was like really well done and detailed, people get pretty nuts about this stuff.

Now why creators pay attention to fan theories and don't just come up with the story they want to tell beforehand is beyond me.
 
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