If you frequent my blog and read my regular feature “What’s on my Reading List?” you know how shoujo & josei dominate my reading list. I’m unashamed about it because they’re my favorite things to read. They are easier to digest and I have fun reading them. But not everything I read live up to my expectations (as expected!) but of course like many readers, I do have hopes to anything new I read. I want it to satisfy me. I’m a simple person, I don’t have super high standards or as if my tastes are anything particular. A good old cliché romance if done well is OK with me. But I do expect something even if the idea is simple; therefore execution plays a major role.
I love a good romance but since I’m character driven type of reader it is equally important to me that characters aren’t mere puppets dancing aimlessly around the plot. I always read for the narrative not solely for the relationship (even though I may sound like the former). It’s true in every genre. So that being said when it comes to love interest I don’t like them to fulfill that role ONLY!
So what do I mean by that? In many series I read (books, manga or even shows) it’s already bad that lead characters (often male leads) were not only too cliché as if handpicked from tropes trove mold into synthetic perfection, they didn’t have other roles other than being the female MCs’ partner (or vice-versa). That won’t do! At least give the lead a proper character development! There was a local TV show I watched before and I felt frustrated by the fact that male lead was delegated nothing but a love interest. As if his whole world revolved around the female MC. He didn’t do anything outside of the MC’s narrative. He didn’t have his own backstory (if he does it closely tied with the girl MC), or even his own conflict—as if he was a lead but by name only; because in reality his purpose was to provide romantic angle for the female MC. Nothing more. Nothing less.
And I don’t want that! I hate that! There’s romance because the characters fell in love, the reason is still administer by the characters’ emotion! The romance exists because of them and not the other way around! And that there still a purpose, an objective, and a story outside of the romantic context! The story doesn’t have to suffer; it doesn’t have to be convoluted to room for a good character development! It didn’t mean it has to sacrifice this, even if the story is heavily romantically inclined. I don’t like damsel in distress waiting for his prince to arrive! I also don’t like a prince who arrived later only to complete the HEA package. I desire a prince who slayed the dragon. A princess who also faced and triumphed over the wicked witch! Yes, I want characters that if left alone have his own interesting story. That’s what I want! That’s what I prefer! So no, I don’t like plain love interest!
How about you? Do you also agree that one-dimensional love interest is a no go! Have you read/watch a character delegated with this boring role! Are you frustrated by it! Tell me your thoughts!