BEST MALE CHARACTER
Kevin Anderson (Tiger Mask W)
Whether in anime or pro wrestling, when you look like Generic Background Figure #45, there usually isn’t much hope for someone to make an impression. Kevin Anderson (pictured right) defies the odds, even despite the most incredibly generic name. A member of the dastardly Global Wrestling Monopoly, he’s a frequent teammate of the mysterious and nasty Tiger the Dark. But while Kevin is indeed party to some of the nastier elements of GWM, he’s also a loyal friend in an environment where backstabs and grabs for power are par for the course. When Tiger the Dark is at his lowest point, Kevin stands by him. Even when Tiger the Dark abandons GWM, Kevin takes it more as a betrayal of their friendship and fights to bring him back over. Poor Kevin.
BEST FEMALE CHARACTER
Mauve (ACCA 13-Territory Inspection Dept.)
ACCA is the kind of series where you can never tell who’s on what side—sometimes not even the protagonist himself. In a cast full of intriguing characters, Mauve stands out for her striking presence. The director-general of ACCA, an independent watchdog group for the Dowa Kingdom’s government, she holds a lot of power and has to match wits with figures even more influential than her. Mauve embodies brains, beauty, and the idea that brains are beauty, and it’s telling that even our stoic hero, Jean Otus, finds himself a bit flustered around her.
I think the qualities that have stood out to me most about the anime characters of 2017 are exceed their trappings and their archetypes, and just a greater sense of cleverness overall. Sucy from Little Witch Academia seems nasty, but she cherishes friendship in her own bizarre way. Both Sakurai and Morioka from Recovery of an MMO Junkie recast the image of the MMO player without delving into wish fulfillment fantasy or rejecting previous characters outright. Cure Macaron from Kira Kira Precure a la Mode is a highly perceptive and aloof teenage heroine—an uncommon combination in that franchise. Kevin is a nobody jobber, but his sincerity is real. Mauve casts a huge shadow on the rest of the story, but it’s more in the sense of Legend of the Galactic Heroes-esque political maneuvering over “innocent honesty.” As more and more characters challenge expectations, I look forward to what 2018 has to offer.