The Protagonist | The Heroine
When I talk about a narrative work in my blog. (Story/Anime/Movie/Game.) I try to make a distinction between the main-character terms. I use the term Protagonist to refer to the main character of the work regardless of gender. Though the term Heroine, can mean the protagonist, I use it differently...
The heroine, (a female Hero,) can be the work's main character. I tend to only use the term when she's not the protagonist. One of the reasons I do so is Light Novels. They usually have many heroines who may or may not be necessary to the plot. (Especially novels with Harem elements.)
The term is also loose in the context of these stories. In some works the heroines are just damsels in distress waiting to be saved by the actual protagonist, and have no role in the story otherwise.
One example for the distinction is Mikoto, the protagonist of the titular A Certain Scientific Railgun. She's the protagonist of her own series, but she's only one heroine among many in A Certain Magical Index.
While she gets more focus among the science side characters than any other girls in Index series. She only plays the support roles in most of the arcs. Always being left out of the loop. Mikoto's biggest insecurity in both series, is that she feels outmatched in the main protagonist world despite being very strong herself. She just wants the power to be able to stand beside him...
Another example is how I always take care when talking about Narcissu series to describe Himeko as the Heroine of the 2nd Visual Novel.
Himeko is not the point of view character, but she's definitely at least the deuteragonist. In terms of plot, she affects the story events more than the protagonist of the novel does.
Himeko is the Shelock Holmes to Setsumi's Watson, which should make her the protagonist of the story. But when you play a game, the character you play as should be described as the protagonist right? Even if that game is a novel at heart.
To make things easier, I use the term Heroine to describe her.
What do you think?
This was a short article is me ordering my thoughts after I thought about for a while. Hope this made you think about it too... Tell me if you use the terms like this in comments.
First image is taken from this wallpaper site. 2nd image is taken from Narcissu 2nd Side.
This post is also crossposted on Hive.