Can Impact character be the main character that influences everyone else to his way of thinking?


I watch a lot of anime. A common thread that I noticed is that the Main character had a mentor like character influence him at the beginning of the story, he then goes on the change the world shifting the antagonists to his perspective after a lot of conflict.

So I guess the mentor would be the impact character. But I feel that the main characters in these stories are also the impact characters as they influence everyone else in the story. For example in Naruto, the theme is the desire to be acknowledged by his village.

Each story arc would have the main character Naruto (who is cursed) having the ability to cause great harm, but choosing to be acknowledged in a positive way by embarking on the road to become a leader. He would meet other characters who start out destructive as well but he would manage to convince some to become a positive part of their society.

So in essence, the main character doesn't change..everyone around him does. If they don't, the other characters become the tragic characters.

My question is: would Naruto not be considered an Impact character even though he is the Main character?

Answer: I haven't seen the series, but if you are seeing the story through the eyes of Naruto, then my answer would be no. You do not view the story through the eyes of the impact character. The main character holds the "I" perspective; the impact character is a "you." He is someone the main character observes.

The impact
character also creates inner conflict for the main character, who must question whose approach is right - his own, or the impact character's.

If the main character never doubts himself, and never encounters a character who makes him doubt himself, then it may simply be that these are "tales" rather than "stories." Tales are a simpler type of narrative in that the main character's inner conflict remains undeveloped. They are usually just the overall throughline.

The alternative is that the villain in each episode is also the impact character, who pressures the main character to change. Of course, then the main character must stay steadfast, because to change would mean becoming like the villain.

It's actually a fairly common structure for a series to have a group of adventurers who, each episode, encounter a community with a problem they cannot solve on their own, but the adventurers can help the community solve its problem because they have a superior morality, virtue, skills, etc. So the main character can affect the world for good each episode. It's also typical for this main character to be steadfast and never change from week to week. (If he did change, he might no longer be the person he needs to be in the next episode.)

Of course, these days it is more common to have a main character who evolves over the course of a series, but that's a more sophisticated form of storytelling that usually includes continuing relationships (typically with an impact character) and the evolution happens in the "B" plots of each episode.

Comments for Can Impact character be the main character that influences everyone else to his way of thinking?

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Mar 16, 2014
by: Akemi

Yes, you're right. I see it now. The antagonists pressure Naruto to see the world their way in each arc, but Nartuo just sees in their destructive ways who he could have become if he didn't have the positive influence of his Impact character at the beginning of the story. And he tries to model a different way that they could be. Thank for reviewing this.

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