I’m curious why your teacher calls this the Asian 2-Act Structure! The link shows more than just anime/manga examples. Could you expand on this? I ask as a fan of anime/manga and particularly Japanese storytelling, though I’ve also been branching out to Korean and Chinese stories as well.
Honestly, I feel that the “lighthearted” beginning and “darker/upside down” ending isn’t really indicative of much. You can find that in many stories regardless of cultural origin, and you also find stories that don’t have that, again regardless of origin… this kind of feels like a case of confirmation bias, but again I don’t know what your teacher is basing this off of so I could be totally wrong. Speaking as an anthropology major, I do wish we could just throw the hero’s journey out the window Sure, it may fit for Greek stories and Star Wars, but the rest of the attempts to shoehorn this structure onto every story in existence are pretty unhelpful.
I genuinely say this as someone who used to own a LOT of Joseph Campbell books… I can only speak for myself but I had this tendency to gobble up any and all theories of storytelling and structure and use ALL of them at once or as many as I could. Quickly I found that this is completely impossible and overwhelmingly restrictive. The only one I stick with is Dramatica as it’s the only one I find to be universal.
Have you heard of kishoutenketsu? This is the Asian story structure (specifically Chinese, Japanese, and Korean stories) that I am familiar with. And guess what? It’s 4 acts! Ki - introduction, Shou - development/process, Ten - twist/reversal (this may be where the concept of the 2 act reconstruction comes from), Ketsu - result/conclusion.
I’ve seen a couple discussions of this structure on here, one referring to it as “without conflict” but I wouldn’t call this structure without conflict. Tension is often felt using this structure, even before the reversal, as one knows throughout the “development” stage that the twist is coming! If you think about it, this follows fairly well with PRCO/PRCP scene structure (also can be used at act/signpost level and really, any level as Dramatica is fractal, as is kishoutenketsu - it was originally used for poetry). Potential, resistance, current/conflict (twist!), outcome/power. Remember these can be used in a different order - rearrange them like so and it looks like KSTK - Potential, current, resistance, outcome. (also resistance can mean a tendency towards inertia, which feels very KSTK-ish). Even more, the 4 stages temporally fit even better, with Jim’s new article about the atomic elements - Growth, Expansion, Transformation, Transcendence.
I’m rambling now, but really, if something can be seen in twos, it probably can be seen in fours. Rather than explicit conflict, what is really needed for a story is an inequity and often in stories this can just be felt as an imbalance/tension.