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Top Ten – Favourite Characters

July 22, 2010

Over at THAT Anime Blog, ghostlightning made an interesting post about choosing your favourite anime characters and what categories they fall into.  Ghostlightning puts forward two categories ‘Complex’ and ‘Admirable’; over at Borderline Hikikomori Rakuen adds a third category – ‘Entertaining’ (although since I find all the characters on the list entertaining I didn’t use that exlusively for any character).  I decided to follow Rakuen’s lead and write a post of my own Top Ten characters (we all know I adore lists!).  That will do for an intro – onto the list!

1. Yuuko Ichihara (xxxHOLiC) – Complex

No surprises here, there is a reason why Yuuko is the patron saint of my blog!  I adore Yuuko, she fascinates me to no end and even though she has pretty much left the xxxHOLiC manga proper, her presence continues to colour the series.

Yuuko is a mystery, her origins and past pretty much completely unknown; and just what her role as the Space Time Witch entails is also quite hazy.  But all this uncertainty just adds to Yuuko’s appeal!  I love her multi-faceted personality – the serious witch mode when dealing with customers, and the lazy, alcoholic, fangirl side she shows when alone with Watanuki, Mokona, Maru & Moro.

2. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass) – Complex

Ah Lelouch, how much entertainment did you give me over the course of Code Geass?  I have this odd attraction to characters that live in the gray area; it’s not just in anime that this is apparent, it spills over into literature and entertainment in general.  I like characters that have a bit of darkness and moral ambiguity in them – it makes them so much more interesting to watch.  Lelouch is an anti-hero pure and simple, he’s the main character but you can’t in good faith condone his actions – doesn’t make him any less compelling to watch though.

Lelouch dominated Code Geass, I’d go so far as to say that the show would have been rubbish without him (not that the secondary characters weren’t interesting, they were; but Lelouch was on a different level).  From his flair for the dramatic (and Fabulous fashion sense), to his utter incompetence at physical activities, Lelouch demanded my attention and I was happy to give it to him!

3. Kyouko Mogami (Skip Beat!) – Admirable

Kyouko is a character it’s difficult to dislike.  She’s one of the only shoujo heroine’s I can profess to really admire and like, because she’s not a meek, moe little thing waiting for the bishie lead to save her from her crappy life. Oh no, Kyouko launches herself straight into revenge mode  and goes out to grab what she wants with her own two hands.  I really admire the girls’ gutsy attitude.

I just find Kyouko fun to watch, she’s got such a broad range of expressions – from full on scary grudge mode, to sparkly fairytale princess, via sad-girl-in-the-snow mode and oblivious idiot mode; Kyouko is what makes Skip Beat! such a fun series.

4. Kamina (Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann) – Admirable

Kamina is another character that just dominates every scene he’s in.  Despite the fact he’s only physically present in a handful of episodes, his force of personality and the effect he has on the other characters is felt throughout the run of the series, and he’s the character that left the strongest impression on me.  Kamina is just awesome.

Kamina is a born leader and brings out the best in his friends.  Most of the things he says and does are utterly idiotic, but he says/does them with such conviction and passion that I just get utterly sucked into his pace.  It’s a rare character that can make you grin just by appearing on the screen!

5. Izaya Orihara (Durarara!!) – Complex

Durarara!! wouldn’t have been quite so fun if it wasn’t for Izaya, Troll incarnate.  Despite the fact Izaya is an utter bastard who delights in manipulating everyone arround him, I’m still really drawn to his happy-go-lucky personality and the fact he just looks like he’s having an absolute ball all the time!  There’s something infectious about the man’s laughter, and even though he’s the worst kind of manipulative, trolling bastard; I just can’t hate him.  Izaya easily made his way into my favourites pretty early on in Drrr!!’s run – he’s just fun to watch.

Izaya is a pretty complex character – I’m only going on the anime, but we don’t know much about his past or just what motivates him to be the way he is.  Izaya plays by his own rules, and I loved watching him.

6. Washu (Tenchi Muyo!) – Admirable

Tenchi Muyo was one of my gateway anime and the mad scientist loli Washu has always been my favourite character.  Once Washu arrives in the series things get a whole lot more entertaining – the central triangle of Ayeka/Tenchi/Ryoko was entertaining, but Washu’s mad inventions and arrogant personality were more fun to watch IMO – she is the #1 mad scientist in the universe you know!

Washu’s interesting because she is one of the eldest characters, but chooses a childs form so she doesn’t have to deal with adult issues.  Washu can become serious and mature at the drop of the hat, when not clowning around she is a very reliable character.  Plus I just love her mad crab hairdo!

7. Gintoki Sakada (Gintama) – Admirable

On the surface Gintoki is a lazy bum with questionable hygiene, however Gintoki is one of the main reasons I enjoyed Gintama so much; the man is just so entertaining without even having to try all that hard!  Plus I really like his character design – those dead fish-eyes! 😆

What I like about Gin-san is that he’s a war hero who’s trying very hard to live a normal life, but when people are in need of his strength he’ll go above and beyond the call of duty to help.  Gintoki may seem to be a selfish lazy bum, but he’s really a very selfless, caring person…….and can kick serious arse with that wooden sword of his!  It’s not surprising Gintoki attracts so many varied characters to him, he’s just a very likeable person no matter how much he tries to deny it.

8. Light Yagami (Death Note) – Complex

Out of Light and L, I’ve always preferred Light as a character.  L is entertaining to watch, but I find Light much more interesting as a character.  It’s probably because the story is mostly told from Light’s POV, since we follow Light about we get to see his character and morals degrade over the course of the series.  Light starts out as a character with a strict moral code and a strong sense of justice – the power of the Death Note gradually corrupts him until he’s a shell of his former idealistic self  at the end of the series.  Light’s evolution makes for gripping viewing.

Again this is an example of my preference for complex anti-hero characters, and Light is practically the poster child for the anti-hero protagonist.  Plus it takes a special character to make eating crisps and writing in a book such compelling viewing!

9. Hitagi Senjougohara (Bakemonogatari) – Admirable

Senjougohara is what made Bakemonogatari such an awesome series in my eyes.  She’s all at once shallow and complex; she doesn’t really get much development after her arc is complete, but she’s a fascinating character and I missed her when she’s not involved in the plot.  Senjougohara is a massive presence in the show, she has some of the most iconic scenes (eg: falling from the spiral staircase, the playground scene, all of episode 12) from the series and also has the biggest effect on the protagonist Araragi.

What attracts me to Senjougohara is her straightforward personality; she knows what she wants and doesn’t let anything get in her way.  She can be pretty forceful and scary, but is also sweet and thoughtful in her own way – the way she demands Araragi’s attention and affection while still being a bit uncertain about herself is cute.  I find that admirable since I’m a bit wishy-washy sometimes and need a good kick up the arse to make me do things at times.

10. Hei (Darker than BLACK) – Complex

I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint just what it is that I like about Hei so much.  As a contractor he’s pretty detached from his emotions and its very difficult to gauge just what he’s really thinking; Hei definitely isn’t your traditional protagonist.

I enjoy watching Hei on-screen – he’s got a really interesting fighting style and I like the way he can turn on that Li personality of his at the drop of a hat; his acting skills are amazing. As the series progresses Hei becomes more and more interesting as cracks appear in his emotionless facade.  By Ryuusei no Gemini he’s a changed character, and I’m not just as big a fan of Hobo-Hei.  Still I found that I really wanted to see more of him and got a bit irritated when Shion stole the limelight.  The Black Contractor Gaiden OVAs gave me what I was looking for – more Hei development and solidified his place on this list.

Breakdown

So my list ends up being:  Admirable = 5 & Complex = 5; an even split.

It was difficult to just assign one tag of ‘Admirable’ or ‘Complex’ to each character as its usually a mix of factors that makes me like any given character, so just went with whatever I felt strongest.  Entertainment value is the quality I prize highest in selecting favourites, so all the characters on the list are those that really delivered solid entertainment value when they were on-screen.  Favourites lists always give a unique glimpse into a person’s tastes, which is why like making and reading them – this was lots of fun to compile!

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2010 11:12 pm

    MOGAMI KYOKO!!!

    If I were to make a list of favorite characters shared with my wife (my real meatspace wife sybilant), she’d be on this list easy.

    Hmmm, that’s a post we should write together I think! Thanks for (indirectly) giving me the idea!

    • July 22, 2010 11:15 pm

      Haha, glad to provide some (indirect) inspiration since you provided such excellent direct inspiration!

  2. July 22, 2010 11:51 pm

    Ah, several really good characters in here. I can see your flair for the more severe moral ambiguity. They’re the characters I love to hate. 😛

    • July 23, 2010 12:06 am

      I have no idea what it says about me that I generally prefer gobshite characters to the ‘good guys’ 😆

      • July 23, 2010 2:25 am

        Well, I do like a lot of characters in the chaotic alignment. You look at Onizuka, Kamina, and Kuwabara, and there’s a strong preference for “Chaotic Good.” So I don’t like the “good guys” either. Shoot, characters like Flynn or Suzaku annoy the heck out of me because they are so intent on being lawful they become unrealistic.

        • July 23, 2010 6:36 pm

          Oh those holier than thou good character piss me off something serious!; Chaotic Good is much more interesting I agree.

  3. July 23, 2010 12:37 am

    Ooh this is cool I shall do one too xD great list of characters too -nod-

  4. July 23, 2010 1:10 am

    Gintoki should have his own altar so that people can worship him.

  5. twilightshiva permalink
    July 23, 2010 1:56 am

    Wow, I’d say more than half the people on your list would be on my list. 🙂
    And I agree that the third category, ‘Entertaining’, is somewhat unnecessary since I feel like it’s partly covered in the other two categories and, as you said, if they weren’t entertaining, you probably wouldn’t like them.

    • July 23, 2010 2:18 am

      Some characters I like because of their qualities. Some characters I like because of their depth and conflict. And some I like simply because they greatly amuse me. Characters might have more than one aspect, but one clearly jumps out at me and grabs my attention. That’s why I went with the a three category system. Cheers! 🙂

    • July 23, 2010 6:40 pm

      Haha glad someone shares my preferences!

      I was considering using ‘Entertaining’ too, but decided against it in the end as I was starting to become pernickity. Most characters fall into a number of categories so selecting the value you feel strongest is the easiest way to divide them up.

  6. July 23, 2010 4:06 pm

    I love Kyoko — it’s so refreshing to see a shoujo heroine who not only kicks ass but who also isn’t cut down at any point by the male leads. She goes through her own funks, but nothing is ever manufactured for that bastard Fuwa or Ren to swoop in and save her. You can really give all your respect to Kyoko.

    • July 23, 2010 6:42 pm

      This is exactly it. I usually read shoujo fully prepared to hate the heroine for being such a usless sap; Skip Beat was a really pleasant surprise because Kyoko is such a strong girl, but not to Mary Sue proportions.

  7. July 23, 2010 4:56 pm

    Great list! (a pleasant surprise to see Washu here!)

    I wrote my list of top 10 (started from 100) characters late last year, though I didn’t do the complex vs admirable thing (don’t think it would work with some of mine actually). But yeah, if you’re interested:
    http://animeyume.com/blog/2009/11/05/my-100-favorite-anime-characters-10-1/

    • July 23, 2010 6:44 pm

      How do you even go about ranking so many favourites!? Thats a labour of love – shall definitely give it a look.

      Washu is a long time favourite of mine, somehow she’s always managed to keep her place near the top of the list!

  8. July 23, 2010 5:06 pm

    Wow I don’t know any of the characters except Light yagami of deathnote.

  9. July 27, 2010 8:41 am

    I have seen so many girls make Senjougahara their waifus, and I sometimes wonder if it has anything to do with the aspiration of wanting to be juts like her?

    • July 27, 2010 1:04 pm

      I admire the girl and I wouldn’t mind having aspects of her personality – her drive and confidence perhaps, but I could do without the insecurities and violent tendancies!

  10. July 27, 2010 2:20 pm

    Umm, Hei would be on my list as well because of the dress and the mask which are really cool 😉

    • July 27, 2010 6:36 pm

      Hei’s character design is a major part of why I like him so much 😆 – its really simple, yet so eyecatching and memorable

  11. Brandon permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:37 am

    Your top 10 list of Anime characters is interesting but Light Yagami is the only one in my top 10 but, I love Kamina and Izaya though.

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  1. Pointless Debate #11: Favorite Characters | Lower Mid-Table

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