Every so often, as I slowly swim through the vast expanses of anime and manga, I find characters who I think are just incredible. They’re not necessarily my absolute favorites, but they’re just such good characters that I hope that someone out there champions them the way I do with Ogiue. It’s not just about reveling in a favorite character, but feeling that the character is so well-developed and is portrayed so strongly that heaping praise upon them is the least you can do. I’m going to take this opportunity to list a few.
First is Koizumi Risa from Lovely Complex. In my review of the anime, I mentioned my hope someone out there considers her to be their favorite character. My statement still stands. Risa is an incredibly human character, a girl who isn’t exactly the best looking and who doesn’t possess the most attractive of personalities, but is so unique and full of energy and character that she stands out in more ways than just her height. Koizumi Risa is totally great and I hope you think so too. If you think her more attractive than what normally passes for attractive out there in anime land, then all the better.
Second is Adachi Hana from Yankee-kun to Megane-chan. On the surface she seems like any other glasses-wearing character, and that initial judgment certainly isn’t helped by the title of the manga itself, but almost immediately after you realize that Adachi Hana is a girl of comedic genius that few can live up to. Now the entire series itself is hilarious, but Adachi steals the show far more than anyone, and her blank, bespectacled stare the most killer punchline possible. But don’t think of her as a one-note gag. She’s a former delinquent who’s looking to turn her life around by acting the part of the responsible student in the hopes that she’ll actually become one. If you like Sakagami Tomoyo from Clannad but are looking for a more lighthearted character and story, then Adachi Hana might be right for you.
Third is Sumimura Toshimori from Kekkaishi. The youngest of the Sumimura siblings, with main character Yoshimori as the middle brother and redhat Masamori as the eldest, Toshimori has a long way to go before he can fight like the rest of his family. However, he’s in many ways the most responsible, and it’s especially refreshing to see a younger kid-type supporting character who is intelligent and capable and is able to remain primarily a side character. I look forward to where the story will take him, and how he will further distinguish himself from his brothers over time.
Last is perhaps the most deceptively awesome character of all. While Legend of the Galactic Heroes has the geniuses Yang Wen-Li and Reinhard Von Lohengramm at the forefront, Murai is almost equally deserving of praise, if not just as much. An officer in a galactic war, Murai doesn’t have matchlesss intellect, nor does he have youthful passion, and he isn’t even the most experienced veteran, but he makes up for it by being an incredibly good support person. Knowing how esoteric his leader Yang can be, Murai intentionally plays the straight man, asking the layman’s questions so that Yang can phrase his thoughts more clearly. He even makes a big move later on, but again masks it in simplicity. By being so lacking in immediate notoriety, Murai shows his true strengths.
Those are all the characters I’m listing for now. If you have characters who don’t rank in your top 10 but you think they deserve a place on someone’s, feel free to chime in.
Great call with Murai. I thought he was an extremely important cog in the Yang war machine, as logistics and support go a whole way. Gotta love his gruffness, too.
This Adachi Hana character strikes my fancy, hmm…
Risa is definitely awesome. She kept my love for the show high even when I was exasperated at Otani for being a dumb guy. (Not that I can blame him for being a dumb guy, because that would be sort of hypocritical on my part!) The world could always use more Risas.
I actually just finished reading all the chapters currently translated of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan and I must know, why isn’t this manga animated?
Totally agreed about the greatness of Risa.
I’ve recently seen a few people make cases like this for the Scott Pilgrim character Young Neil.
Lovely Complex might be the only series I finished because of a single character. I found Otani’s thickheadedness sort of endearing, the other friends became a good backup ensemble, but this show would be nothing without Risa. A teenage girl and everything that implies, plus she’s too tall, she’s gangly and spazzy, AND a master of facial expressions. Risa has it all. She is a delight. Just amazing. What a great character!
We don’t get to see very much of Kitagawa from Genshiken, but the glimpses we do get are really interesting. She’s initially portrayed as vindictive, controlling and totally humorless, but beyond this antagonistic facade we find out that she’s really a very insecure young woman with secrets that are… well, none as serious as the ones that Ogiue harbors, but serious enough to hold her hostage to her own sense of shame. She also undergoes a rather significant change of personality as the series progresses, and I don’t think that can simply be chalked up to having a boyfriend. That’s not how character development works in the Genshiken universe. I also got the sense that she understood how others viewed her, and was consciously trying to control and change her appearance and attitude into something more approachable.
I’ll admit that I’m probably reading a lot into her but I just think that below the surface, there’s something complex and interesting about her, the beginnings of a fascinating character that I’d have loved to see more of.