Okay, I made a vague statement yesterday about the only "legit" monomyth. At some point after playing Bayonetta and watching Kill la Kill, my wife and I noticed:
- Character with black and red color scheme
- Unaware at first of the broader conflict they figure into, operating for selfish or short-sighted reasons
- A hybrid of different strains, one benevolent, one malevolent
- Inspired to do right by a dead relative, pushed to do wrong by a living relative
- Opposed by a character with a blue and/or white color scheme
- By remembering more of their hidden past, they discover their duty, and hidden reserves of power
- This involves fighting a hybrid similar to themselves
- In space for some reason
- After which they fall back into the atmosphere, like, straight down
We call this the "Sonic Adventure 2 monomyth", after Shadow's character arc. Except for the end of this, this also applies to Zuko from Avatar.
The whole joke here is that this seems like a superficially compelling mixture of specifics and broad ideas, that all apply to several unrelated stories, but (hopefully) nobody would try to teach this as an actual guide to storytelling.
I think there are, though, some instructive things to be gleaned from the details and nuance that have to be sanded off to fit into the given mold.
- Zuko wants honor, Shadow wants to avenge Maria, Ryūko wants to avenge her father, and Bayonetta is mostly focused on killing angels, but also wants to uncover the mystery of the Eyes of the World.
- Zuko is the child of two different (human) families, Shadow is an artificial hybrid, Ryūko is (IIRC) a human augmented with alien biology, and Bayonetta is a child of members of two different orders of magic users.
- Zuko is inspired by his mother (and also his uncle, who is alive), and pushed by his father and sister, Shadow is inspired by Maria and pushed by Dr. Eggman (who are cousins, the grandchildren of his (human) creator), Ryūko is inspired by her father and pushed by her mother, and Bayonetta is inspired by her mother and pushed by her father.
- Azula has blue fire, and no particular association with white; Jeanne has white hair and no particular association with blue. Further, Azula is a villain, Sonic is a hero, Satsuki is a hero disguised as a villain, and Jeanne is a hero brainwashed into being a villain (... I think)
- Zuko fought his sister, Shadow fought his prototype, Ryūko fought her mother, and Bayonetta fought an angry god summoned by her magic combined with her father's.
- So far as I know, Zuko has never been to space.
In the end, the list above ends up as a mix of character design elements, gradually opening-up storytelling, common character concepts, straightforward character dynamics, and SPAAaaaAAAaaaCE.
None of this should be mistaken for a fair, reasoned critique of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, but I do think it's suggestive that I can put together something that very superficially resembles the form of the hero's journey, yet is obvious bs. That does seem to indicate to me that focusing purely on form doesn't provide any ability to judge quality.
But yeah, there is some documentation of one of our dumb inside jokes.