Initially I was very tempted to pick Obi from Snow White With the Red Hair. He is an awesome supporting character and one I would love to see a spin-off of at some point because he’s just a bundle of fun to be around. However, given I already picked Zen for favourite romantic lead I decided to go a different path.
Favourite Male Supporting Character
I’ve previously included Ishida on my top 5 list of male characters who wear glasses, and probably a few other lists. He was without a doubt my favourite of the ‘human’ characters in Bleach (and I use that term fairly loosely). As a supporting character he was fantastic as he provided a skill set the hero actually needed at times, managed to hold his own in more than one battle so wasn’t just filling time until the hero showed up to save the day, and he got to go through a wonderful character arc in his own right. So why is he my favourite supporting character?
Reason One: He’s one of the few human characters who doesn’t just blindly follows Ichigo’s lead.
Where Chad and Orihime at times might ask Ichigo is a course of action is wise, they don’t ever actually make any serious effort to deter him once he’s set on a path. Actually, they largely do everything possible to help or just kind of follow along. Ishida on the other hand will tell Ichigo he’s an idiot and at times will refuse to go. But, he’ll then sometimes come up with his own plan and it is questionable whether his strategies (which regularly result in self-destructive behaviour) are actually any smarter.
This makes Ishida an interesting character to figure out as the series progresses. Sure he’s a supporting character but at times he takes a leading role in his own part of the story as he takes initiative and drives forward toward his own goals. Naturally because he isn’t actually the hero he seldom saves the whole day, but we can definitely say that if Ichigo hadn’t been around, Ishida might have made for a great leading character.
Reason Two: Excellent weapon of choice.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of bow users in general. They are a cool weapon and Ishida’s is the coolest ever. Okay, wildly unrealistic, but very cool.
One thing I’ve noticed about supporting characters, particularly in action anime, is that they get increasingly weird weaponry and often times you just have to wonder how it would even be effective. We’re talking chains, string, weapons so huge and awkward looking you just have to wonder if they are going to injure themselves. So Ishida having a fairly basic weapon that they then tweaked enough to make an actually fairly formidable tool that was capable of very real damage kind of makes him stand out from the crowd.
Reason Three: A solid character in his own right.
Ishida has all the makings of a lead character. He has a tragic childhood, a weird power and the willingness to train hard to get stronger. He’s also deeply flawed through being stubborn and anti-social, particularly early in the series. He gets some wonderful character development as the story progresses and he continues to evolve his powers throughout the series.
That he’s used as part of the supporting cast is fine as he is a nice compliment to the actual lead character, but he never feels like just an extra or a lackey following the hero around. Ishida always feels like he is in fact his own character and one that is well worth paying attention to.
That’s why Ishida remains my favourite male supporting character but who would you have picked?
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