Why is the tournament arc the most popular Shonen anime trope?

From Mortal Kombat to World Martial Arts Tournaments in Dragon Ball, Tournament arcs in shonen anime and other media tend to be incredibly popular. This particular trope doesn’t seem to bother anime fans as much as it does others, which may seem surprising at first glance..

But regardless, there are plenty of reasons, ranging from new characters to storylines and rivalries being resolved, why the tournament arc persists in shonen anime. This article will discuss the same.

Note: This article is the author’s opinion and will contain spoilers for the popular anime.

Why is the tournament arc popular in Shonen anime?

new characters

The Konoha 11 of the anime shonen Naruto, around the Chunin exams!  (Image via Studio Pierrot)

The main reasons tournament arcs tend to be so highly acclaimed in Shonen anime are the matchups/fights themselves. They are similar to wrestling matches that people will gladly pay to see live or on PPV, only animated! They tend to feature conflict without much character drama for people to pick up on.

It’s fun to watch the heroes fight against other featured heroes or villains who challenge the heroes.

Whether it’s a fun fight like Team SSSN vs. Team NDGO’s rwby, a titanic fight like Goku vs. jiren of dragon ball super tournament arc, the Tournament of Power, or an emotional fight like Deku vs. Todoroki from Shonen anime my hero academiaUA High Sports Festival.

The point is that fights generally tend to draw crowds. Goku fighting Jiren certainly did it in dragon ball superapparently inspiring the composer of Dragon Ball Super: Broly music to compose the soundtrack as a wrestling match based on the live event he attended where people were commenting on it as such.

The stories that surround them!

Stories around tournament arcs often interrupt them. Examples include the Vytal Festival of RWBY leading to Beacon’s Fall, by Yu Yu Hakusho The Dark Tournament is an excuse for bloodshed, and the original Chunin Exams lead to a massive battle between the Sand and Leaf peoples in naruto.

Sometimes stories happen within arcs, with heroes entering for whatever reason they want, such as money, fame, or adoration. The Chunin Exams naruto they had several dozen stories interspersed between them, such as Naruto vs. Neji after Neji almost killed Hinata or Sakura vs. Ino to settle their rivalry.

As a final statement about stories, they can have lasting effects on the characters who conquer them.

Examples are the deaths of notable characters like Penny during RWBY‘s VYTAL festival, MHA’s Todoroki’s bad blood with Endeavor started at the UA Sports Festival, and Sasuke’s betrayal of the Hidden Leaf of naruto started in the chunin exams.

Edited by Rupak Kumar Jha