At par with, if not beyond any other thing that makes a story memorable to are the characters in it. Co-existent with annual best-of lists are fan-driven tournaments of characters based on their popularity. While such events are also informed by the database animalization of the consumer, I cannot rule out how characters in themselves have distinct fandoms from their shows.
In this issue we’ll look at some of the ways fans evaluate characters, and even shows through the dynamics and presentation of its characters. Finally we’ll get to see a concise reading of a character that to me exemplifies the utility and value of anime blogging for us anime and manga fans.
[As usual, click on the image to read the linked post.]
Many times when a character is seen as “artificially deep,” the accusation leveled at them is that they are simply there to fulfill a checklist. This isn’t necessarily wrong or unwarranted, and even I’ve used the “checklist” criticism before and have no real regrets doing so, but the question then becomes, how did these checklists form and who is responsible for them? To what extent are those negative checklists generated by one’s own standards of realism and authenticity?
I think this checklist phenomenon is related to the Database Animal theory of Otaku, as Azuma proposes it. The concern in this post is how some characters are interpreted as “database filler” when they are actually the opposite.
The comments section of the post is rich, though perhaps inconclusive relative to the concerns raised.
SDS’s post should eventually inform how people choose their favorite characters. Pontifus and I collaborated in this post to explore how exactly fans pick their favorite characters and what they mean. The response was incredible, allowing us to identify the following considerations:
- Aspiration (being admirable)
- Being relatable
- Entertainment value
I think further thought can be devoted in exploring how and why fans pick their favorites, and I do welcome other writers to go ahead and run with this.
Raph of Borderline Hikkikomori blog takes note of how Katanagatari plays with common expectations on female characters. It’s quite interesting in that the anime (and NisiOisiN’s light novel) is in the tradition of chanbara or samurai stories that distinctly feature men being manly.
Katanagatari takes great pleasure in subverting our expectations with regard to the roles women play in stories such as these. In a genre where men have traditionally held the spotlight, it’s fantastic to see a series set olden day Japan driven so much by its female characters. The 50 minute per episode format really allows for character development, and all the people we’ve met so far have been fascinating.
In my own experience of Diebuster! I am wholly preoccupied with identifying Nono as the hero and primary lead and identifying L’alc as a side character (though not a sidekick). Coburn does a great job of showing us not only how L’alc has a more interesting story, but also how she is a rarer kind of character – in that her ‘hero’ status in the narrative as constructed, is more plausible.
Now then, we aren’t so insecure that our inspiration has to start of a complete clutz, are we?
L’alc may be a more realistic idea of the heroic figure than the anime standard issue – she’s the gifted, lofty, focussed expert. When the old chap says that heroes are always isolated, we know what he means in regard to L’alc, but that isolation is categorically not the territory of anime’s routine child hero archetype.
I don’t think I can make the same leap for the character pair in Gunbuster! but I admit that it’s been very tempting to do so after reading this.
I have written extensively not only on Senjougahara but on Bakemonogatari itself, and I think lolikitsune just nails this. He just gets it right.
An editorial may primarily appeal to the cerebral activity of the anime and manga fan, but sometimes a post like this comes along and grabs hold of my figurative gut and I just know I’ve gotten something right through the experience of the post.
Yes, this too is why I love anime blogs.