I need to know because all of the anime that I watch have at least one character or more from another planet, and they're not usually friendly. I don't want to come off as one of those who "follow the crowd" but I don't really have any other ideas.

  • 1
    You need to watch a broader range of anime? Try some of Miyazaki's works for starters.
    – nijineko
    May 26, 2017 at 18:19
  • he made the Ghibli movies, didn't he? I've seen them, but they didn't have a necessary "bad guy" didn't they? May 30, 2017 at 20:03
  • Yes, he is the primary founder of the Ghibli studios. In his movies, humanity itself and/or the actions taken by humanity as a whole is usually what is being portrayed as the "bad guy". Notice the strong environmental themes that run through most of his works. As he once said, his movies are made for Japanese people, to make them think, to remember, and hopefully to change how they conduct themselves.
    – nijineko
    May 30, 2017 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Other as enemy is one of the most basic tropes in all of fiction because it speaks to one of our most primal fears -- fear of the strange, the alien, the unpredictable.

We are tribal beings. Individually we are weak. Our strength lies in our ability to form alliances and to cooperate with each other. Forming these alliances and feeling secure in them depends on love and trust. Members of the tribe must love each other to be willing to sacrifice and take risks of each other. They must trust each other so that each person does their part, relying on their neighbours to keep the battle line intact.

The stranger, the alien, is not loved (we don't know them well enough) and they are not trusted (we don't understand their goals, their language, or their mannerisms). The stranger, therefore, represents danger. This is very very basic to our psychological makeup. Social animals that do not think this way would be at a huge evolutionary disadvantage. We fear strangers because animals that fear strangers live long enough to pass on their genes.

So, no, the villain from another planet will never ever get old. Fear the stranger is the most basic story there is.

There is, of course, more than one way a fear the stranger story can go. The stranger may become the enemy or they may become the friend. Both are compelling story arcs. But, as we perhaps too diligently instill in our kids, stranger=danger.

  • Great point, this helps instill some background to the story, thank you very much. May 25, 2017 at 18:56

The quality of any storyline or character is in the execution. Having one characteristic in common with many other stories does not, by definition, make it a cliché. That said, if you're worried about it, why not change it?

And if you're going to change it, take some time to study why it's done in the first place.

  • Why is the villain from Outside or Other Place in all the animes you've watched? There's a strong communal society element in Asian cultures, so Othering is more meaningful than in Western cultures. Does this play a part?
  • What would happen in your story if your villain was from another country? Another state/province? Another town? Another block? Is it essential to the character and the conflict that he is geographically Outside?
  • Could your villain be a local who is Othered for something he did or said or is rather than his birthplace? Could he be a former local who moved away and was raised Elsewhere, and is now returning?
  • Could your hero be from Other Place returning to Home Place to save it from the villain?

Take some time to analyze the stories you've seen, and this may help you to understand why so many of them are making the same narrative choices. Then you can decide if you want to do this as well, or if your story can be improved by making a different choice.


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