A Compendium of Cool Characters
Sort of a lie. This isn’t summarizing anything massive; just a little ol’ post inspired by ghostlightning’s post on the why of favoriting characters over at THAT Anime Blog. I’m also a dirty bandwagon hopper, because Rakuen at Borderline Hikikomori has already taken the lead on this. But, hey, bandwagon hopping every once in a while isn’t so bad, right?
(P.S. Still thinking a bit on how to tackle a Macross Plus post. Just know that I greatly enjoyed the OVA and would heartily recommend it to anyone, even those who might be a bit wary of Macross.)
I never really put any deep thought into favorite anime characters . . . my number one requirement, really, is that they entertain me more than other characters. This could come a variety of ways; I don’t necessarily need to feel a deep, personal connection with a favorite character, though there are a couple of those types of characters on my list. A favorite does not have to be particularly admirable either — there are characters I would some day like to grow to emulate, and there are characters who are scummy as hell. A character could be simple but extremely memorable, or incredibly complex.
Whatever. All that 100 percent matters to me is that by doing what they do and being who they are, the characters sticks in my mind and never lets go. Here are 10 characters who do that for me, in no particular order, because then this post would take hours to figure out:
Yuuta Takemoto of Honey and Clover: I identified pretty strongly with the general aimlessness of Takemoto’s existence for much of the series, and the intense fear that just maybe he is not putting his talents to use in the right way. Basically I watched Honey and Clover at the right time in my life, a few months after I walked in college but just before I got my degree (similar to how watching Evangelion in high school was just the right time to watch it). A year of joblessness put the fear of God in me like seeing how much Hagu and Morita’s talent dwarfs his own puts the fear of God into Takemoto. He gets a bittersweet ending, but I also like how he stands up and makes a push to figure out his life and himself.
Oscar Francois de Jarjayes of Rose of Versailles: I like characters who struggle with an identity that goes against what society deems to be correct. Oscar is a woman who kicks more ass than every man combined in the Court of Versailles, and she rises to become the personal protector of Marie Antoinette . . . but she also struggles with her femininity, believing that it clashes with her identity as a soldier. In the world Oscar is born into, it is one or the other; the real tragedy is that Oscar is forced to choose a pre-made identity at all rather than forming one of her own will. The way Oscar grows into herself just captivates me, and it also helps that she is one GAR motherfucker.
Holland Novak of Eureka Seven: Holland is an asshole. He’s a selfish, bitchy, temperamental prick who asserts himself by beating the snot out of a kid. He’s probably the most hateable character in Eureka Seven‘s first half; however, once he finally accepts his place and his responsibilities, Holland becomes the show’s coolest character, someone who will put his life on the line for those he cares about, but also a man who will not recklessly give up his life, because he knows he and Talho have a future. Also, I have a bit of a man crush on his seiyuu, Keiji Fujiwara. :X
Ayato Kamina of RahXephon: Said plenty about my personal connection with the guy in this post, but to make a long story short (too late), I like his search for a self and a place to call his own, even if the ending of the series is a huge cop-out.
Sora Naegino of Kaleido Star: One of the few super energetic, super positive lead anime characters who doesn’t annoy the piss out of me. I love her gumption (using that word just aged me 15 years), and how she doesn’t back down from all the crazy ass work she has to do to be on top of Kaleido Stage. And her super god mode acts that conclude each half of the series are just outstanding. Said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’d go broke going to Kaleido Stage every day.
Juri Arisugawa of Revolutionary Girl Utena: Her arcs are super dramatic and include basically everything I love about Utena, but more than that, I just love Juri’s style. She’s sharp-tempered and forged of steel when crossed, but other times she is shockingly cool and laconic. One moment that has stood out for me since I saw it is when Juri challenges Utena to a duel the second time. Up to that point, the challenges have been ridiculously dramatic as the challengers fall under the influence of Akio and Touga. Not Juri — she simply challenges Utena while staring out a window, nothing on her mind but her lost love. Nothing against Utena; Juri just wants that miracle. Always thought that was cool as fuck.
Dr. Kenzo Tenma of Monster: I love his basic conflict — he is a man who should be (and is) admired because is good and moral, but he is on a quest to commit an act that, under normal circumstances, would be unthinkable to him: Murder. But any diatribe on when (if ever) taking a life is truly justified has nothing to do with why I like Tenma. Really, it’s because the story never forgets the gap between the ideal and the human. Tenma has his ideal morality just like anyone else, and he sticks to it as best as possible, but it’s just fucking hard sometimes, and he loses himself in the guilt of keeping up to an impossible standard. He ain’t perfect — he can be self-righteous, stubborn (in both bad and good ways) and a bit hypocritical (the number of times he tries to steer others away from killing is amusing). But he’s a good man in a world that’s shit as often as it is great. The world just needs more people like Dr. Tenma.
The Count of Monte Cristo from Gankutsuou: Kind of funny that he is right after Tenma, but whatever, haha. The Count is just a wonderful character to watch at all times. His sheer charisma dominates wherever he goes; his silver tongue is capable of convincing anyone that any lie is the truth, and that any truth is the filthiest fallacy. His need for revenge dominates his whole life, and even though his vengeance will destroy everyone around him (even innocents who really have nothing to do with it), the Count is so awe-inspiring that you almost want him to achieve all his goals. That’s the power of his spell.
Also, I have a man crush on Jouji Nakata’s voice, too. :X
Yukino Miyazawa of Kare Kano: Without a doubt my all-time favorite female romantic lead. She’s a god damn spitfire, a relentless spirit who, once she discards her identity as a perfect student, is who she is without a single regret. And what personality! She’s fun, funny, playful, smart, resourceful, confident, and on and on and on. Miyazawa is the type of girl who makes everyone around her fall in love without even trying, and you’d enjoy every second of the experience.
Dilandau Albatou of Vision of Escaflowne: Just a big ball of crazy. He’s a completely ineffective villain (the heroes kick his ass numerous times), he disappears during a large chunk of the show and the final plot twist involving him is truly terrible (and derails him completely), but damn it, I just love Dilandau shrieking like a madman and attacking Van’s crew like a little kid frying ants with a magnifying glass. Even after Escaflowne devolves into abject insanity and episode after episode of shitty romance, I could count on a jolt of Dilandau to wake me up again . . . until the end, anyway. :(