A promise? No, no, no, this is a bit different from what it actually means. Yes, this means a promise, but if you place お[o] ahead of 約束[yakusoku], it would change the meaning somehow…Well, when you watch anime or TV drama, or read a novel, do you happen to be able to predict what would happen next or how the story concludes? If the story goes as you predict, and that is like what you have seen so many times, it could be what’s called, お約束[oyakusoku]. The funny thing is that nobody can break the rule-of-thumb, so everybody has to follow it…To get to the point, yes, it means cliche or cliched. Now we also say ベタ[beta] to mean the same thing. You can say like ベタなxxx [beta na sth] to mean cliched xxx. Okay, I shall give you some example I can think of…
お約束１. One morning, the protagonist schoolboy is almost late for the school because of oversleep. He is running towards the school, but when he turns at the corner, he hits a beautiful schoolgirl. At the moment he has a soft spot for her because she is so ladylike and pretty. At any rate, he has no time to chat, so he leaves with a word “I-I am okay.” Hopefully he can catch the roll call…When the teacher comes to the classroom, he says, “Well, today we got a newcomer, come in!” And when the door opens, it turns out to be the girl whom he hit minutes ago! She steps into the classroom, and finds him…And the two stare each other for the moment…To be continued.
Ugh, this is too cheezy. Who else can use such a predictable prologue? Anyway, this can be called ベタな展開[beta na tenkai, “a cliched storyline”]. So we have learned a protagonist shall encounter a transfered student ahead of any other classmates by accident.
お約束２. “Yes, we are over…I won’t see her anymore,” he sighs in his room. But his mobile rings, and it is from his friend. “Hey, what are you doing now!? Are you absolutely sure about this?,” “What are you talking about?””Oh, don’t you know that? She is leaving Japan, she is going to Paris (otherwise possibly New York or L.A)! Her flight is 3 o’clock, so you can still catch it! Go!””Well, we are finished, though…””You will never see her again if you don’t go.” He starts to think over for several minutes…and leaves for the airport. Usually, the transportation should be a taxi. Of course, he doesn’t pay the driver, but leaves his ID(if he is a student, he could leave his student card and uniform). He tries to find her, but it’s too late. The plane she is supposed to get in leaves…”Oh no, it’s too late..,” when he is out of breath, he feels somebody is behind him. Yes, it’s her. Oh hey, how can she find him in such a crowding airport at once? And how come she knows he is at the airport? “I couldn’t leave as I thought…,” she says. The two embrace each other. The ending theme song plays here…Fin.
This is ベタな結末[beta na ketsumatsu, “a cliched ending”]. We have learned women have a radar to sense where he exactly is even at the crowding airport.
お約束３. In Korean soap operas, there are at least three of below items;
a. traffic accident
c. conflict between parents over the marriage
d. triangle relationship
e. a mean girl
お約束４. An ordinary schoolgirl is summoned to a different world on the way to school (or home). And she is supposed to be the Messiah to save the world (example, Twelve Kingdoms, Harukanaru toki no naka de, Fushigi yugi, Kyou kara maou).
お約束５. In bishoujo games, a protagonist boy lives by himself so that he can call in girls anytime. His parents mostly either passed away or are away due to the business for years.
That’s all I can think of now. But what about in your country? Above(expect no. 3) are all common in Japan, but are they so overseas as well? No way, impossible. So if you know any cliches in your country, please tell me. I want to know.