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Ottservia

Why I’ve grown to appreciate the power of friendship as a trope more as I get older.

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These past two years have been something else. With Quarantine having all us all locked away and devoid of human contact for long stretches of time, not to mention work and school eating at my free time, I’ve really begun to value the small bits of time I get to spend with my friends. As I get older and the less time I have to hang out with others, it’s become more and more clear just how important those connections are. I feel like friendship is just something we take for granted nowadays when in reality it’s one of the most complex thing humans are capable of. As corny as it sounds, the power of a bond between two people is something powerful and beautiful beyond words. It’s something that’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. 
 

Really think about what a friendship truly is. Someone you met by complete happen stance is now someone you can rely on, you can laugh with, you can confide in and trust. Someone who can share your joy and your pain as if it was their own. That’s a beautiful thing to me and I don’t think we appreciate that sort of thing enough. It’s why I love how so many stories depict it in fiction by giving it a physical form in terms of a power boost. Because as corny as it sounds, bonds can give you strength. The knowledge that someone out there believes in you, has faith in you, and will always be by your side through thick and thin can give you the strength to push forward when otherwise you would’ve just given up. I dunno I personally just find that sort of message as an important one worth telling. It’s message everyone needs to hear at some point that you know you’re not alone.

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I've never been against the "Power of Friendship" trope in-of-itself; as with most tropes, it's far more about how well the trope is used. Personally, I prefer examples of "power of friendship" where the power is not... nebulous (for lack of a better word); I prefer examples of it where the power comes in the form of teamwork, vital emotional support, and stuff like that.

My favourite examples of this trope in recent years would have to be from Black Clover. There are a number of really good examples I could point to, so I'm just going to list a few to illustrate what they have in common (spoilers ahead):

1. The Black Bulls working together to defeat Third-Eye Vetto.

2. Vanessa, determined to protect her friends, creating the Red Thread of Fate spell that literally bends fate to protect her family, with her family being the Black Bulls and not the Witch Queen.

3. Well, this:

But really any moment with these two.

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On 9/14/2021 at 10:10 PM, Ottservia said:

As corny as it sounds, the power of a bond between two people is something powerful and beautiful beyond words. It’s something that’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. 

Glad to hear that you have found someone to confide in or get a S support with.

I second what you say. It's hard to describe, but I am a better version of myself after marrying one of my close friends. Knowing that she supports me makes a major difference.

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Not that I don't belive what you're saying, about how you can be pushed forward by the feeling that someone trusts you and will be by your side through thick and thin. Like, when you make part of something, a team, a group of friends, a family, and you and have to do something for this group you will decide to not give up, and to work harder, for them too, it has more weight in giving up on something that affects someone you care about than giving up on something that only affects you, so you get this extra strenght/will to continue for them, also because of moral support of course. 

 For me the problem is not the true behind the actual "power of friendship", but the trope and how it usually works in fiction. I mean, Its REALLY overused and, as the other guy said, most of the time its not used as "hey lets work together" or "I will make some extra effort to not let down the ones I care about, but I know that even if I fail now they will still be at my side because they care about me" or even about how loyalty is important.

No.

When the power of friendship trope is used is always: Oh, no! This random villain is destroying the world and if the heroes lose everything will be lost, but the autor of the story made him so OP that the main characters have no way to destroy him, so now either they use the random Mcguffin that apparently was created 1.000 yars ago just to destroy this specific villain but for some reason we never heard about it before in the story and now one of the characters took it out of their ass in the last 5 minutes, or we use the Deus Ex machina power of friendship, that is usually just some speech about "I know I'll win cuz I'm good and have friends, i don't have to do any effort nor anything because my friends belive in me" and then each of the main character's friends will project some kind of laser (some times in the colors of the rainbow) either killing the villain instantly or giving strenght to the MC kill the villain by himself (extra points if the MC do a "you don't have friends and what friendship is" speech to the villain before he dies). I mean, its so lazy to end a story or an arch like this, it literally screams "I didn't know what to do for this villain to get defeated and I was lazy to think for more than 10 minutes, so I did this". Also for some reason the villains never do it, they never have friends or rely on them, its just the heroes that have this power.

 If the story is ABOUT friendship or teamwork or whatever, or if its a children cartoon its fine (like, complaining that "My little pony the friendship is magic" is about the power of friendship is useless). Also if the character constantly thinks about how much strenght and help his friends give him and how he wouldnt be able to continue without them is also fine (Like Marth constantly saying he is grateful to his friends and they are his strenght), or also if its a silly show or if its played for comedy (like now I recall a "Regular Show" episode where Mordecai didnt want to take Rigby as his pair to a videogame tournament because rigby is awful at videogames and they would lose but then he changes his mind because they're friends and thats why they win the tournament, that episode was cool). But when the "power of friendship" is used in the final villain just because theres no other way to defeat him... I get pissed! You watched/read a whole crap of a story just to end with a Deus Ex Machina. Imagine if One piece ends like this after all the years of story we had, don't you think the fans will be pissed? wouldn't YOU be pissed too even if you kinda like the trope?

 I normally prefer when we know the characters are friends, give each other strenght and need each other, but they never have to manifest a rainbow laser of friendship (nor give speechs about friendship. unless is necessary, like if two friends fought and now made up or whatever). You know they need each other and have fierce loyalty without they having to scream "Oh yeah! friendship beats everything!"

 

 I'm going to give an example with Harry potter (the books), so basically the rest of this post is going to be spoilers about harry potter 1, 2, 3 and 4 (I didnt read the rest of the books yet), I spoiler tagged it anyway.

Spoiler

When you read the books you know Harry, Ron and Hermione are VERY loyal to each others, and their friendship is a constant topic in the books. Like, in the end of the first book they wouldn't have passed the tests to get the sorcerer stone if they werent together, using all of their combined strenghts.

In the second book Ron and his brothers help Harry runaway from home, doing an exremelly risky thing that could have had broken the Wizard World rules. Ron also tries to curse Malfoy for calling Hermione a "Mudblood".

In the third book, Hermione slaps Malfoy across the face for talking trash about Hagrid and laughing about Buckbeak being executed. Ron stands in front of Harry with his leg broken to defend him and tells Sirius that if he wants to kill Harry he wil have to kill him first (he does this with a BROKEN LEG, HE STANDS WITH A BROKEN LEG AND DARES AN ASSASSIN TO KILL HIM, FOR HIS FRIEND)

 In the fourth book, One of the challenges of the triwizard tournament was for the contestants to save the most precious thing to them from the seamonsters and what did the seamonsters took from Harry? Ron. He is literally said to be the most important person to Harry there.

 And a lot of other important examples I didint put in here. The characters fight or have disagreements all the time but then make up, they make sacrifices for each others, this kind of stuff. Its awesome to read about their friendship, yet we don't have to listen to unecessary speechs all the time nor the books end with physical lasers of friendship being fired out their asses. We know they are friends and that this is important to them WITHOUT being told all the time, and without their friendship being turning this into a lazy excuse to defeat the bad guys. 

 Basically, if its not done in a lazy, corny or unecessary way. It can be cool (or at least it won't be annoying). Also sorry the long answer. 😛

 

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3 hours ago, ARMADS!!! said:

You watched/read a whole crap of a story just to end with a Deus Ex Machina. Imagine if One piece ends like this after all the years of story we had, don't you think the fans will be pissed? wouldn't YOU be pissed too even if you kinda like the trope?

I don’t have to imagine this because that’s exactly how 90% of the villains in One Piece are actually beaten. Like name one villain in One Piece that isn’t beaten in this fashion. Either Luffy or one of his crew shouts about friendship/determination which gives Luffy the final push he needs to finish the job. That’s like how almost every one piece villain goes down. That’s how Lucci went down, how Doflamingo went down, how Katakuri went down, how Eneru went down, I could go on but I think you get the point. Hell Kaido will probably be the same way considering how things are setting up. I’m not complaining of course because One Piece is a master piece of story telling but that’s just how it is. 

I’m just saying if you don’t think that’s how Luffy will beat Blackbeard or Sakazuki then you haven’t been paying attention to One Piece. 

3 hours ago, ARMADS!!! said:

When the power of friendship trope is used is always: Oh, no! This random villain is destroying the world and if the heroes lose everything will be lost, but the autor of the story made him so OP that the main characters have no way to destroy him, so now either they use the random Mcguffin that apparently was created 1.000 yars ago just to destroy this specific villain but for some reason we never heard about it before in the story and now one of the characters took it out of their ass in the last 5 minutes, or we use the Deus Ex machina power of friendship, that is usually just some speech about "I know I'll win cuz I'm good and have friends, i don't have to do any effort nor anything because my friends belive in me" and then each of the main character's friends will project some kind of laser (some times in the colors of the rainbow) either killing the villain instantly or giving strenght to the MC kill the villain by himself (extra points if the MC do a "you don't have friends and what friendship is" speech to the villain before he dies). I mean, its so lazy to end a story or an arch like this, it literally screams "I didn't know what to do for this villain to get defeated and I was lazy to think for more than 10 minutes, so I did this". Also for some reason the villains never do it, they never have friends or rely on them, its just the heroes that have this power.

It’s a little thing called themes maybe you heard of it because that’s just how themes work. You show it through how your characters win and the characters make that speech to make sure you understand the message. Like the thing you need to understand about fight scenes is that the winner and loser are not determined simply by who’s stronger. Anyone can write a fight scene where two people punch each other until the other falls over but it takes a bit of creativity to craft compelling characters that consistently conform to contradictory conduct. Katekuri didn’t lose to Luffy because luffy worked harder/was stronger no he lost because unlike Luffy he felt trapped by the obligations of his family where as Luffy isn’t and is able to trust in his family to be able to handle things without him. As another example of this here’s probably my favorite scene from the Naruto vs Sasuke part 2 fight
 

As Naruto goes to form his rasengan all the hands of his friends and people he’s connected with help him form it showing that he has all these people supporting him. They all have faith in him and are helping him win this final fight. That rasengan is the culmination of all the bonds he’d forged up til now. He’s not alone anymore and it’s brilliant visual storytelling. It is a sort of “friendship laser” type deal but it works extremely well

Edited by Ottservia

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1 hour ago, Ottservia said:

I don’t have to imagine this because that’s exactly how 90% of the villains in One Piece are actually beaten. Like name one villain in One Piece that isn’t beaten in this fashion. Either Luffy or one of his crew shouts about friendship/determination which gives Luffy the final push he needs to finish the job. That’s like how almost every one piece villain goes down. That’s how Lucci went down, how Doflamingo went down, how Katakuri went down, how Eneru went down, I could go on but I think you get the point. Hell Kaido will probably be the same way considering how things are setting up. I’m not complaining of course because One Piece is a master piece of story telling but that’s just how it is. 

I’m just saying if you don’t think that’s how Luffy will beat Blackbeard or Sakazuki then you haven’t been paying attention to One Piece. 

It’s a little thing called themes maybe you heard of it because that’s just how themes work. You show it through how your characters win and the characters make that speech to make sure you understand the message. Like the thing you need to understand about fight scenes is that the winner and loser are not determined simply by who’s stronger. Anyone can write a fight scene where two people punch each other until the other falls over but it takes a bit of creativity to craft compelling characters that consistently conform to contradictory conduct. Katekuri didn’t lose to Luffy because luffy worked harder/was stronger no he lost because unlike Luffy he felt trapped by the obligations of his family where as Luffy isn’t and is able to trust in his family to be able to handle things without him. As another example of this here’s probably my favorite scene from the Naruto vs Sasuke part 2 fight
 

As Naruto goes to form his rasengan all the hands of his friends and people he’s connected with help him form it showing that he has all these people supporting him. They all have faith in him and are helping him win this final fight. That rasengan is the culmination of all the bonds he’d forged up til now. He’s not alone anymore and it’s brilliant visual storytelling. It is a sort of “friendship laser” type deal but it works extremely well

Oh! you got me there. You REALLY got me there. I only mentioned One piece because is the longer ongoing series that I can think of, but I didnt really started to watch it yet so I didn't know it was actually like this how the show worked. But specially, you got me with this Naruto example.

 Usually when I think about this whole power of friendship deal I think about stuff like Fairy Tail, Steven Universe or Wander over Yonder (except that in the latter its suposed to be annoying, I hope) and stuff like that. Like, I don't know how to explain exactly WHEN it gets annoying, like when Marth and Eliwood talk about their friends and stuff is fine, or mostly in anime it also doesnt really bother me (Fairy tail aside). Like I don't mind if the theme of the story is friendship or if friendship plays an important role in it (like I talked about Harry potter before, or as another example, in FE Friendship is a very recurrent theme too, and it never bothered me), I think that, for me, the problem is when its done overly cheesy or corny, or too obvious, or too Deus Ex machina. But to be honest I think this is mostly done like this in kids shows, I just didnt think about it before I guess.

  But now that I read what you said,  I went to TV tropes and checked out their page about The power of Friendship and, too be honest, way less stories than I remember do this is an annoying way, and way more do it in an amusing or interesting way.

 Well man, to be really honest, I think you (and TV  tropes, but because of what you said) just convinced me about something that I never thought I would ever be convinced about: The Power of Friendship is not really an annoying trope most of the times, and its even kinda cool. I admit it.

Now that I think of it, marjority of my hate for this trope comes from the shows I watched as a kid, where everything was resolved with the most obinoxious frienship magic laser/aura possible, painfully obvious speeches, and other cheesy tropes that were cheesily inserted there too to make everything even more cheesy, such as when the/every villain is an edgy guy that keeps saying "friends are weakness" and this kind of things so the hero have to lesson him on how wrong he is, or when the Main Character was supposed to be dead but then he is revived because his friends belive in him and the villain says "What?! Impossible! You should be dead!"(in this exact words) only to be lessed again about how wrong he is and how friendship can do everything, or the "brainwashing the random villain to our side because we have friends" speech ("please I know you're not evil, person I dont know, come with me and my friends that you also dont know and lets be friends"). I saw exactly this (sometimes all of this, combined) in kids movies, cartoons episodes or even whole shows about it, you name it, to the point where it got so old that simply thinking about this trope made me wanna throw up but now I realize that in the past few years I didnt even heard of it in anything I watched (because I dont watch this kind of stuff anymore), about friendship lasers and stuff, but the friendship theme continues to be always there (but now executed in a good way). One that comes to mind is Big Hero 6, where friendship to overcome mourning is a major theme and its done awesomely. 

 I was saying in my other post that its not worth complaining about the Power of Friendship in My Little Pony and stuff but... I guess that this was kind of what I was doing since seeing this in (countless) kids shows years ago was my whole reason to hate the trope, I got so fed up of it that I never gave second tought about the matter, to be honest I only clicked in this post to see how would you justify appreciating this trope or even if this was some kind of clickbait because I thought it was somethng really hard to appreciate(also cuz I thought you were going to tell a story about how FE made you change your mind or something like this, so I was curious). And in the end you end up convincing me. Well, shame on me I guess, I was wrong. Not that I love the trope now, but I guess I started to appreciate it too

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