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  • ThisTroper hopes/believes that the original intention of this trope was, "Hey, you don't have to be the smartest person in the world to save it," but somewhere along the line (Goku I'm looking at you,) the message became, "Brains are a liability! All you need is heart!" Yeah, because things like sound strategies and tactics just get in the way when all you need is blind optimism, a few friends and an obnoxious animal sidekick. Then sometimes it goes from mere Unfortunate Implications to a full-on lesson that intelligence is best left to the less-effectual members of the Nakama, which unintentionally leads to Evil Is Cool, Rooting for the Empire, Good Is Boring, etc.
    • This troper suspects the reason this trope is so popular is because it gives the lead a flaw while still leaving them made of pure "goodness".
    • The problem really comes in with the fact that, just as every hero has varying levels of 'goodness', they have varying levels of 'stupidity' as well. Goku, to use the first example, is literally dumb as a brick... but a character like Natsu Dragonil, while technically an Idiot Hero, is actually smart in certain ways (for example, he is capable of strategics and discerning enemy weaknesses), but he simply prefers to let others do the heavy thinking. And another reason for this trope is to give the other characters a stronger position. If, for example, you have The Smart Guy, he needs to be in contrast to the lead's lack of intelligence, or there's no reason for him. I do agree that it is often taken too far, but moderate Idiot Heroes leave room for their co-stars to shine. I would like to see a shonen hero who is Weak but Skilled, though.
    • That is why for This Troper, the ideal Hero is one who's not too dumb to be particularly frustrating, but not too smart to nullify the need for the guy with the most experience who does all the heavy thinking the other members of the Five-Man Band just can't.
    • Speaking of which, why is this trope so endemic to Shounen? Just once I'd like to see a character in a shounen fighting series who is not only intelligent, but Genre Savvy. The current situation leads to Unfortunate Implications since the target audience of shounen is young boys; it suggests that boys are incapable of understanding plots that aren't incredibly simplistic.
      • Let me sum this trope's presence in Shounen anime very quickly: This Loser Is You. Or at least thats what the writers think, doesn't really make it any better though. They think all people who watch Shounen programs have the IQ of a sack of bricks.
      • The people who still watch programs telling them that they're losers probably do.
  • Coincidentally, ThisTroper realized from his stories as to why his own reactionary heroes aren't as much as fun as his Rival Turned Evil villains, Well-Intentioned Extremist or just plain Gray and Gray Morality Antiheroes.
    • I suspect this is the reason why idealistic characters tend to either get horribly maimed, horribly jaded, or both. They are equated automatically with idiot heroes, so are made to look as bad as possible by people who dislike this trope.
  • Is it just me or does there seem to be a directly proportional relationship between how smart the hero is, and how fast the plot goes? Idiot Hero shows tend to consist mostly of Filler or just plain be Status Quo Is God, while ones with smart protagonists tend to get interesting fast.
    • It's not just you. It's the only sensible way to write a show. Simply put, if the hero is an idiot, you can expect/forgive them doing stupid things and not getting anywhere fast. But if the hero is both smart and dedicated, then there's no excuse for the plot to progress so slowly, because they should have figured out something' of what's going on relatively quickly.
    • Which is why this troper has shifted gears and is now watching shows with smart protagonists. Plus I'm just fed up with fillers and the Idiot Ball being handed out like halloween candy.
    • Maybe it's because shows with idiot heroes are usually shounen, which seem to be great as cash cows for those prepubescents they attract...
    • I thought the filler was a production problem...you know...because Anime has to be broadcast year-round or else people will basically assume it's canceled, whereas on a lot of other places, it'd just be put on a seasonal hold so it can more faithfully adapt to the manga. (Course then again though, there hasn't really been any direct adaptations of any American comics in TV format...)
  • I figure the best solution to this problem is a Deconstruction, but not just any deconstruction. I talking Neon Genesis Evangelion levels of visciousness. The kind that will make the Idiot Hero so painful to look at, that no one dares even touch that kind of character until they are willing to put a bit more thought into them, ala how Gaogaigar reconstructed the Super Robot. It would be brutal, but tearing down into bloody chunks might cause an upswing in intelligent heroes for a bit.
    • But then that would cause most people to basically just do the same thing?
      • Exactly.
  • Idiot Hero bugs me for the opposite reason as the first poster; it implies that heroic sentiments such as compassion, wisdom and empathy are an intellectual liability and the more heroic you are, the more stupid you are likely to be.
    • Well you could argue that doing the heroic thing (or what looks like the Heroic thing) can also be a stupid thing to do, but yeah, I kind of see your point.
  • This Troper actually would rather have the Idiot Hero in some ways over the intelligent hero.Because most of the time the smart protagonist end up being closer to being cynicial,dark, or assholes.Usually for a good reason,mind you.I understand the point they are trying to get across in Shounen anime.Bravery takes heart and alot of stupid in order to do the right thing.I kind of wish they had a protagonist who just had common sense really.Who knew stuff,but not too much,or could be smart and dumb at the same time.Probably why I like Cloudcuckoolander so much.
    • But see, therein lies the problem. Writers can't seem to create intelligent characters without making them lean toward the dark side at least a little. There's nothing inherently evil about being smart, so there really isn't a reason this should be the case, but it is. It kinda smells of anti-intellectualism to me.
  • I know that people make fun of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, but the reason why this troper prefers to watch it instead of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is because of Yusei, so far he seems the most mature, calm, intelligent and self-reliable of all the yugioh protagonists, now compare that to Judai, he is your typical idiot here, loudmouthed, goes for the power of friendship, while the more intelligent antagonist lose against him an idiot, ive got so sick of him that yugioh 5d´s was a refereshing new series that averts this trope if it means cardgames on motorcycles
    • The show also solved some Fridge Logic I've been having. Wouldn't it make more sense for a show about what is essentially a strategy game to have a smart protagonist? If the protagonist of such a series is smart the success of the hero makes more sense and is more relatable since we probably do similar things. Also I've heard a theory or saying that a hero dictates how his villian performs, a smart and competent hero = an even smarter and more effective villian which in turn gives a more interesting story. When you have a hero who is inept and dim you don't have to go far to make someone who can antagonize him.
  • But seriously, why all the hate towards smart people, to the point that they are most likely to be villains? For once I would like to see a smart hero pitted against a villain who relies on pure physical strength or Superpower Lottery.
  • This trope is the reason I'm working on a series where the protagonist is pretty much a Villain Protagonist who ends up being forced into working for a good cause. He's The Hero of the team, but also the Token Evil Teammate, and while not outright stupid, he's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. The Heart of the team is actually a Science Hero (despite the fact that she hates most scientists due to her Dark and Troubled Past), and probably one of the most moral people too. The problem with making the main villain stupid though? Brain kicks brawn in the ass nine out of ten times. At least, this is what I find. And in order to drive the plot, a good story needs a good conflict. A better villain makes it much harder for the hero to work things over, so often you end up needing an Evil Genius or Magnificent Bastard for someone of "average" intelligence or lower to try to outwit. I still think that an effective hero should at least have some brain cells though; how come we can't have nerdy bookworm with glasses saving the day?
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