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Misconceptions #1: Plot no Jutsu and it's effects

Discussion in 'Konoha Library Archives' started by Woozie, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. Woozie

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    A lot of people seem to think that Plot no Jutsu (PNJ) refers to the plot as a whole, and that bitching about PNJ because certain events doesn't make any sense because of it. This is wrong. PNJ =/= Plot.

    When people bitch about PNJ they are referring to certain events or all the time affecting anomalies that affect events/characters during the course of the story in a way that goes against the story's internal logic and breaks the on some readers.

    The suspension of disbelief is the most important part, because it is true PNJ affects many events people don't bitch about. This is because readers are willing to overlook these events in exchange for the promise of entertaiment.

    However when people start bitching about PNJ is when this suspension is broken and the entertaiment of certain things taken away.

    Now in order to define what plot no jutsu is, I made a list of commonly used terms in the fandoms of fiction, use wikipedia to explain them and give an example from Naruto to each of them:

    : Prevents important character from dying or being seriously injured in dramatically inconvenient moments. In Naruto, an example would be Sasori's poison not having any visible effect on Chiyo, despite if it's supposed to be insta-paralyzing.

    : A gap in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic set-up by the plot. Hidan: *impales through heart* Shikamaru: The pulse is still there...

    : A person or an object introduced to a story to affect or advance the plot. Basically every character/item is a plot device, but in this context we mean a poor plot device, that only servers for one purpose, that again breaks the suspension of disbelief. Example: antidote against Sasori.

    : Used to describe an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot. Characters are faced against an opponent they simply do not have resources to take down with. Sakura needs her time to shine. Gaara is dead. Solution: Chiyo is created.

    : Cliché in works of fiction where minor characters are unrealistically ineffective in combat against more important characters. This mostly effects nameless jounin level ninjas, as seen during the Konoha invasion arc for example, but there is also no antagonist in Naruto who wouldn't suffer from this, especially in their final battles.

    : The effectiveness of a group of ninja are inversely proportional to the number of ninja in the group. A single Akatsuki member is always individually stronger than an Akatsuki pair fighting together. Likewise Orochimaru is always stronger than an Akatsuki member (excluding Itachi & AL, possibly) even if their reputation might be atleast nearly on the same level as Oro's.

    That's about all I can think at the moment. Feel free to disagree. Oh yes, and bitching about PNJ is criticizing the writer and the manga. These incidents are always considered as flaws in the story. When people call PNJ, they usually mean one or some of the events above.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
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  2. Yamato (Inactive)

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    The truth is, that Wave arc along with Chunnin Exam arc were the best. Then only Sasori arc come close to that level even if we mind how does it ended (two biggest plot no jutsus in Naruto history).

    I guess that it will be easier to judge the whole story after it ends, we still don't know the most important things like Uchiha's secret (no, not that related to running!) or Akatsuki's purpose.
     
  3. Vata

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    A long post just to explain a little phrase used by some of the fans on the boards but yeah... I don't think anyone that read this can misunderstand the concept after reading this thread.

    I think the bitching about PNJ is pretty legitimate in Naruto so it's good to make things clear.
     
  4. Odlam

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    Honestly, I think the term is more annoying than the bitching in general. I can deal with whining about this or that not being reasonable in a fan's opinion for story purposes, but the just hearing some fool scream "plot-no-jutsu!" makes me want to tear my hair out.

    But ya, the basic point of the post is correct. The term is more or less used by people when thier suspension of disbelief is broken. The thing about that though is everybody has a different tolerance for suspending disbelief. So while some people may scream "plot-no-jutsu!" (shudder) from the rooftops every issue that doesn't feature thier favorite character owning it up, other people are almost never going to say it because almost every action a character takes has at least some justification within the story.
     
  5. Vata

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    The truth is that the use of the so called "plot no jutsu" by an author makes the story less believable and also less entertaining for the intelligent and analyzing reader.

    You shouldn't scream about PNJ for all the things that doesn't happen according to what you want but if there is a clear case of the kinds of PNJ:s that are taken up by the OP I don't mind discussing and dwell it a little on the forums. I don't mind atleast :p
    I haven't been here for that long though..
     
  6. Genesis

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    It is used too much.

    @ Odlam - I know it's late, congrats on being promoted.
     
  7. Odlam

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    it's never too late! Thanks for the thanks!
     
  8. TenshiOni

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    Cool post, but...
    ...isn't that an assumption?

    I highly doubt Kishimoto would actually give someone stabbed through the heart a pulse at all.

    Don't you think it's more logical Hidan didn't pierce his heart but just another general area in the chest?
     
  9. Odlam

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    Hidan's body is pretty much anatomically outlined in his skeletor mode, and it looked like the pole when through his spine from the back shot if I recall correctly. Nor do I think he ever mentioned impaling himself in the heart.

    Considering he's a pain freak, I don't think a quick death would really fit his character either, but rather somewhere very painful where Asuma would probably linger in lots of pain for some time before dying.

    Of course Asuma surviving such a multitude of serious wounds could still bother some people, but ya, Hidan never once said, nor does the picture give evidence of, him stabbing himself in the heart.
     
  10. Vata

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    In this specific situation I don't think people have shouted "PNJ!", rather "Hope the old fart died, we need blood". But maybe I looked the other way :p.
     
  11. Muk

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    But hidan was definetly stabbed in some vital organs when the 2 Hokage helpers first attacked him. I think they might have aimed for his heart wit the two big weapons.

    I was wondering if someone had a picture of the "Every time you ..... God kills a Cat girl." I really wana put in "Every time you shout 'Plot no jutsu' God kills a Cat girl. Please use the correct literature term and think of the Cat girls." I really hate people generalising plot no jutsu for all the terms available. They are just plain lazy when using plot no jutsu.
     
  12. Franckie

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    Hehe, the last thing I expected was a thread to clarify the use and labelling of certain manga events with plot no jutsu. Some people might find it stupid and ridiculous, but some events can only be described with plot no jutsu because they go against the credentials and logic of the manga itself just to make the story progress.
     
  13. Muk

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    I still hate the term plot no jutsu. Why can't you say plot hole, character shield, plost device, dues dx machina, stormtropper effect, and inverse ninja law? Is it that hard to use these definet terms instead of the lazy mans term of plot no jutsu? Cat girls really are going to die from this.
     
  14. Pyroneko 28

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    Or we could all just say plot contrivance.
     
  15. Production

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    When people say Plot no Jutsu, they`re saying that kishi`s story sucks. Yet they still go on reading it and bitching.
    There are some "Plot no Jutsus" but the story is still great =/
     
  16. geG

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    I don't see how that antidote breaks the suspension of disbelief. Sakura extracted the poison from Kankuro and made an antidote out of it. It's not like she said "By the way, here's this antidote I suddenly have that will definitely work against Sasori's poison."
     
  17. Pyroneko 28

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    If I recall, his issue is that a chuunin with less three years worth of training can create an effective antidote reletively quickly when Sasori said that he even would need a recipe to make an antidote to it.
     
  18. Sorrow-Tear's Champion

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    PNJ seems to come up whenever things goes in favor of a character they hate or against a character they like. Or when they can't come up with valid reasons something they disagree with happens in the story. Kishimoto has been very inconsistent in the story from day one, but this is a long running series and over time he's changed things in the a story that contradicts something that happened in the past.
     
  19. Muk

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    But a lot of people really are too lazy to call the situation they deem worth of plot no jutsu by the correct plot contrivance terminology. It is their lazy way out and excuse for something they don't want to try to understand or just simply reject. Example I just made a thread calling the weak pulse a plot hole instead of plot no jutsu and suddenly not everyone sees it as a plot no jutsu anymore. They wonder who's calling it a plot hole and why. It seems by simplifying the terminology many members in this forum lower their intillectual niveau of their conversation, simply out of lazyness. Even if this story is directed at young teenagers, we don't need to destroy the story by labeling many things as plot no jutsu.
     
  20. Woozie

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    Normally maybe, but Hidan was talking about ending just before that hit. I'm not sure if he was talking about hitting the heart, but anyway. And it should take atleast 30 minutes for them to get to Konoha...

    Well like Pyroneko said Sakura shouldn't have been able to make it in the first place. Also it was very lucky she created three antidotes - the exact number they needed to survive Sasori even if the purpose was to create only one for Kankurou in the first place.
     
  21. bearzerger

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    Sakura not being able to create an antidote is trying to apply realism to a fantasy story. If you argue she hasn't enough experience to do this or that you seem to forget you are reading a story about teenage shinobi of whom none should be able to do half of what he or she is doing.
    And about making just the necessary amount of antidotes is a typical stylistic means to create the tension. If Sakura had been able to create several dozen shots of the antidote, there would have been no need to bother even giving Sasori poisoned weapons.

    Also Chiyo isn't really a Deus Ex Machina. A Deus Ex Machina is a superior power who appears without any proper introduction and pretty much on a whim decides the outcome. For example had Itachi appeared at the cave and killed Sasori because he didn't want Sasori to lay his hands on Naruto would be a good example for a Deus Ex Machina.


    I have used the term plot no jutsu a few times myself and I always regarded as a means of the author to cover up plot holes nothing else. Like Sasori conveniently telling them where and when to meet Kabuto, just because he got defeated
     
  22. big nate

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    If you dont like pnj you shouldnt read any fiction anymore
    was this thread even needed. Idiots I tell you!
    Thread Closed
     
  23. kulgan18

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    PNJ is just an euphemism for stuff that doesnt make sense or was poorly written. It DOES exist and i I dont understand why is it that people get piss off like is a insult to kishimoto or even refuse to believe it exist. cmon guys.
    I hate to break it to you but this is not classical literature, it Is shonen manga, so is pretty much normal to see a certain degree of inconsistencies to follow the rules of the genre, for example: character shields.

    To put it in perspective in naruto pnj is not that bad like in others mangas, like lets say one piece and bleach. In one piece you have to wonder sometimes how much pnj this arc is gonna get. Does it make it any less entertaining?? no. Because you are expecting that kind of stuff.
     
  24. Eruravenne

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    You have used several bad examples here and it's not helping you look any smarter. I'll tell you what's wrong with each of them and try to give you a better example if I can. I hate the term "plot no jutsu" with a holy passion, but I am willing to admit that there are several inconsistancies in the story of Naruto. However, they are NOT what people usually seem to think they are.

    Why is this considered character shield? Chiyo was a very experienced and skilled ninja with particular expertise in poisons and medical techniques. Why is it so difficult to believe she would be less affected by a poison? I mean, any more difficult to believe than say, a person who is an expert on puppets turning their own body into a puppet...?

    A better example of character shield would possibly be... Zabuza not just running over and killing Sakura and the bridgebuilder as soon as he had Kakashi confused by his mist. I mean, he was certainly fast enough, but that would have been bad for the story, so it didn't happen.

    Last time I checked, your heart is not directly in the middle of your chest. He seemed to stab himself in the middle of his chest, more to the right and below where the heart is. Still a mortal wound, apparently going right through the spine and very likely hitting several other organs, but not necessarily an instant death.

    A better example... Shino's dad coming to save him at the last minute from Kankuro's poison or Neji and Chouji living despite the fact that they (especially Chouji) were supposed to be dead for sure, period, end of discussion. (Which actually made me happy cause I didn't want them to die, but it was still pretty questionable, heheh.) Of course, if they manage to get Asuma to a hospital JUST before he dies and he's saved at the very last second, then it can be scorned freely. (Except by me, cause I don't want him to die, either. :p )

    I'll stand by what's already been said about this one. Sakura's supposed to be very smart, so this is not nearly as unbelievable as other things. I think a lot of people hate everything involved in the fight between Sakura, Chiyo and Sasori because so many people seem biased against Sakura.

    A better (worse?) plot device...? Soldier pills. I mean, does this even need explaination? If it does, I'll elaborate later.

    I notice you seem to think this particular battle is the manga equivilent of swiss cheese. Hmmm... very interesting... Anyway, this was also already addressed and I'll agree with the person who talked about it before.

    A much better example would be the random arrival of the Sand Trio who came at exactly the right moment to save the butts of the Konoha guys. Need I say more? (Note that I have nothing against this particular arc, I actually really love it, but you have to admit, it's pretty improbable except for the fact that this is Naruto we're talking about. :amuse )

    Seeing as this is extremely common in almost all forms of action-type stuff (as well as some other genres, I suppose), I'm not gonna bother talking about it. Yeah, it's there. So what?

    Hm... I can't say I've really noticed this much... maybe it's just not a big deal to me in any way. :huh

    ~

    So... I guess that's it for me... I suppose the thing I actually hate about people spouting off about "PNJ" is that they are almost always doing it because of some bias either against or for whatever character happens to be involved and when things don't turn out the way THEY want them to. Positively irritating... :notrust
     
  25. Crowe

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    There is nothing in a story that isn't a "Plot no jutsu", deal with it.
     
  26. lyrs_amv

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    Sakura's anti-dote never broke my suspension of belief. Sakura has amazingly intelligence and her memory is on par with Shikamaru. For her, 2.5 years of intensive study with biochemistry, anatomy, and chakra manipulation should have built up an impressive understanding of at least the basic concepts behind how the body and chemicals react to each other.

    This is on par with 2 year tech colleges where lab time is empahsized. For example, at the local tech college here, within 2 years (4 semesters), a programming student would have been introduced to 6 programming languages (perl, javascript, php, c++, vb.net, rubyonrails, python, etc.) and have completed competencies on them. Among those 6 languages are some non-programming languages such as xhtml, css, english, and even body/appearance language. However, for the combined time spent within classes for those 2 years, it's only around one and a half years once you take away summer vacation and evening hours. Naturally, 2 year nurse programs are also offered and their schedule is none too different, only they learn different stuff.

    A diligent and academically skilled student like Sakura would have no problem memorizing, practicing, and enhancing her medical skills and knowledge.
     
  27. Majob

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    It's a weekly manga. I'd be hard up on ideas and scripting if I had to work out weekly chapters and make them fit together. You leave yourself too much room for cliff hangers, which are almost necessary to net contiued interest in your readers, and not enough time to work a completely well rounded out arc or story.

    Besides, I can't think of a single piece of fiction that doesn't have poorly scripted excuses, plot holes, ect. It's something that just simply goes along with fiction, you can't avoid it.
     
  28. HolyHands

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    Although I actually agree a lot with this post, understand that the reason why "plot-no-jutsu" is becoming a hated term is because people keep spouting it off. I knew from the very first moment I saw PNJ used that this would happen. It happens everytime a label is used. It always becomes popular to the point where people throw it left and right without thinking. Without really caring if the plot in question is actually an inconsistency or not, or without knowing what PNJ really means (using PNJ simply because a character didn't pwn everybody in one hit for example).

    It's annoying because gone are the days where people analyzed situations in plot to determine why so-and-so happened. Now it's just "PLOT-NO-JUSTU LOL!!!" to explain just about every thing that happens. And it builds up negativity towards Kishimoto even when he didn't do anything wrong. It's true that plot-no-justu DOES happen sometimes, but it would be nice if people actually discussed scenes a little more than just going into a Kishi-bashing spree before actually getting to discuss anything.

    I don't mean this post to bash you Woozie, just trying to explain to the community why PNJ becomes annoying.
     
  29. Sho

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    Great post Woozie. I think the term PNJ is overused, but the reason is--like you clarified--because people are using it incorrectly many of the times. Your post accurately describes what defines PNJ and what makes it a weakness in story-telling, which is what the real problem is.

    I usually don't resort labeling PNJ for whatever happens, since I usually try to see if there was foreshadowing, or some valid background from the manga that supports the instance I'm currently looking over. And many times, there are, though people may not immediately see so. However even despite that, there are many examples of badly done PNJ in this story, and that in itself weakens it since it does ruin the suspension of belief. I say this thread is pretty valid since it explains what really defines PNJ, and gives the reason why it's a flaw in storytelling, rather than a necessary part of it.
     
  30. Khamzul

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    ^I agree.
    Quoted for truth. The problem is that the expression is overused, and misused. Many people use it when there is a may be another more logical explanation (CS related to Orochimaru changing body? NO, IT'S THE PLJ) and so on. Personally I think people should stop using this expression outside of comedy purposes since it's to wide.

    And good OP by the way. Seems the term is a popular subject these days.
     
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