Isekai protagonists have a fairly bad reputation for being generic and dull. Nice guy shut ins with social anxiety also get a fair amount of criticism. Add in harem protagonist to the mix, and Diablo really did shape up to be the single worst protagonist ever.
However, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord never even flinched. They took the generic, the cliche, and the ordinary and went with it. They embraced the faults of these characters as well as their strengths, and gave us, Diablo.
Whether he is posing in front of an army and pretending he’s got it all together or internally freaking out because Shera’s boobs are rubbing against him again, Diablo was a fun character to spend time with. The disconnect between his inner monologues and external dialogue was genuinely amusing. His being nice while being a demon lord gave him enough of an edge to remain interesting. Even though he was overpowered the anime managed to throw decent enough villains his way to keep it feeling fresh.
All and all, Diablo was a gem of a character to come out of 2018 and one that should be remembered as a sign that not all cliches, tropes and generic isekai characters are created equal.
One day to go for the 12 Days of Anime. Yesterday we looked at a support character who deserved his own series (Goro from Darling in the Franxx) and today we’re going to turn our attention to a girl who did an amazing job in the original series but in the most recent iteration – Invisible Victory – got completely sidelined. Yes, we’re looking at Kaname Chidori from Full Metal Panic and one of my all time favourite female characters.
Kaname Chidori starts out as your ordinary high school girl. Then a new student comes along who is a little bit weird. For Kaname, Sousuke is just a little unbalanced, doesn’t really get how things works, and over-reacts to everything. He’s a pain but one she can’t leave alone as she works to ‘correct’ his behaviour in a Japanese school. All too soon though she realises the military maniac is actually trying to protect her from various militia forces that would like to kidnap her because of some knowledge she has in her head.
It’s a lot to take in.
During the first season of Full Metal Panic, Kaname is very much trying to just live her normal life however when push comes to shove, Kaname is ultimately the one who saves the day. Admittedly with some help from Tessa.
Fumoffu gives us more of an inside look at Kaname and Sousuke’s daily lives as high school students and here is where Kaname shines. While she might be out of her element on the battlefield, in a high school setting Kaname has her feet very solidly on the ground and everyone, including Sousuke better watch out if they cross her.
And then we had Second Raid. Second Raid gave Kaname a chance to rise to a military challenge and while she understandably ended up in tears, Kaname’s bravery, endurance and resilience were amazing to behold. To be perfectly franks she came out of Second Raid as the best character in the series.
All of this would have been fine, except that Full Metal Panic felt a need to bring us Invisible Victory. While I wasn’t upset to see more of these characters, the experience was ultimately underwhelming, more so because Kaname gets kidnapped at the end of episode 4 and that’s it for her character essentially for the remainder of the run time. Sousuke is great and all but the show works best when the two are kept together. Still, I won’t turn down the scene with Sousuke and Kaname at the shrine. If Invisible Victory did one thing right, it was definitely that scene.
So here is to Kaname and hoping that if they continue Full Metal Panic beyond this that her character gets back in the spot light where it belongs.
We’ve almost made it to the end of the 12 Days of Anime and as we enter day 10 I’m really kind of sorry to see it end. I’ve had a lot of fun, even if the posts ended up taking a lot longer than expected, participating in this. It gave me something a bit different to write about. So yesterday we looked at Akari, the source of so much warmth in March Comes in Like a Lion. Today, however, we turn our attention to Goro from Darling in the Franxx (patron only post link).
For me, watching Darling in the Franxx, Goro was the unsung hero of the story. No matter how silly the other characters seemed to act or what the plot was doing, any scene or plot that turned the spotlight on Goro ended up being sheer delight. The worst part was, there wasn’t that much of it.
As Ichigo’s partner, and childhood friend of both Ichigo and Hiro, Goro was very much the third wheel as he supported Ichigo’s crush on Hiro despite Hiro’s reasonable indifference to Ichigo. Still, as they say, actions speak louder than words, and Goro certainly took action to try to keep Ichigo safe, even if that did result in him nearly dying and then needing to be rescued.
Goro’s calming influence on the group as someone trusted by almost everyone, can’t be overlooked. Where the others struggled to communicate, Goro managed to find the way to open channels between them again. He was a steady character from start to finish and while that doesn’t make him the most exciting of characters, it did make him someone who I felt a connection with while watching.
It was also nice that eventually Goro got over his Hiro worship. Seriously, needed to claim independence earlier and just go his own way.
So, to Goro, who needs his own anime in order to show off how amazing he can be when not hampered by Hiro’s love triangle, here’s wishing you better luck if there’s ever a sequel.
As we move into Day 9 of the 12 Days of Anime I have realised just how many amazing characters there are that I never really focus on for my blog. I’ve really enjoyed visiting with these characters each day and am glad they’ve each had a moment to shine. Day 8 turned to Lin from Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens but today we are going to focus on someone who has a smile that can make you melt and will take care of you when you are sick, help you when you are down, and stand back and let you go when you need to move forward. Yes, we are turning our attention to the amazing Akari from March Comes in Like a Lion.
Akari is an amazing character and one I regularly overlook because with Rei and Hina to talk about, and even Shimada who was visited early in the 12 Days, Akari just doesn’t get a look in. But that really isn’t fair as she is the back bone of the family and the one who’s words reach both Rei and Hina at their lowest moments. She sits on the side of so much of the story but without her these other characters would not be the people that they are.
It was Akari who saved Rei in the very beginning when he was taken out and drank. Akari was the one who forcibly invited Rei over for dinner so many times, confronting him and making him face people. She was the one who nursed him when he was sick. When Hina wanted to make a lunch box for a boy, Akari was the one who first gave advice and then stepped back and let Hina take charge of the situation as she needed to, but provided comfort for her when it didn’t go well. And it was Akari who tried to deal with the bullying situation at school as Hina’s guardian.
Akari is a source of endless strength and warmth. Her few moments of weakness, where she doubts and questions herself are understandable, and make her even more endearing. Her masterful cooking and ability to help her grandfather, her aunt, and both her sisters, should certainly be recognised as should her effort and good spirit.
For all that I haven’t given Akari enough attention, I really think that needs to end. Akari is not just an awesome character, she’s the big sister all of us want and at some point in our lives needed.
Thank you Akari for being you.
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Lin is one of those characters that you just come to love fairly instantly. The series never really addresses why he cross dresses, he just does, and it just becomes part of his character, like his frugal nature and distrust of others. I will admit though, that Lin is only as interesting and likeable a character as he is because of the connection he forms with Banba in the first episode. And what a greeting.
Considering the situation Lin finds himself in he is a remarkable together character. He’s trying to save money to free his sister, he sends money to his mother, and all he has to do to earn that money is kill people for a boss he hates. However, when the boss refused to pay him because of a double booking, Lin decides it might be time to find new employment leading to a chain reaction of events and reveals (including that all his efforts to support his family up to now have more or less been for nothing).
The thing about Lin is that he’s a character you can sympathise with but not really relate to. You haven’t been sold as a child, trained as an assassin and then worked as a hitman trying to support a family from back home that turns out isn’t being assisted by you in the slightest. So there’s no relating to the character, but you can be sympathetic to his plight and more importantly, he never comes across as pathetic. Lin’s a fighter through and through and has a great sense of humour considering the situation.
However, it is Lin and Banba together that make a truly compelling viewing experience. Where Lin is cold and distant, Banba is very much in your face and intrusive. Lin is cut off from others whereas Banba has an entire support network. Where Lin is frugal and careful with his money, Banba is loose and fairly carefree. The two make a good odd-couple pairing and their contrasts work well.
The only regret here is that we don’t have any word of a second season so we’ll just be left with the 12 episodes we have. And on that note it is probably time I gave the series another watch through.
We’re past halfway and we’re now at Day 7 of the 12 Days of Anime. Yesterday was all about Eren Jaeger, a character who has taken three seasons to grow on me. Today couldn’t be more different as we look at a character who was seen in a vision, appeared, and died, more or less in the space of three episodes and yet managed to leave a massive hole in so many viewers hearts (that and a whole pile of press F on Twitter messages). This one is for Shizue from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.
Few anime treat the death of a character, particularly one who was so newly introduced into the series, with as much respect as Shizue got. Her passing took nearly half an episode, meaning we’d only known her for barely two when we were watching her death scene. They didn’t rush it, they didn’t play any part of it for laughs. Instead this was a quiet scene where Shizue lay on the bed contemplating the life she’d led and confirming the connection she had with Rimuru. And while her acquaintance with the slime was relatively new, the connection they’d forged over those two episodes was pretty impressive.
Shizue was a character I barely knew and yet I still felt her passing keenly. Because, she wasn’t just a plot device dropped in and her death wasn’t used simply to up some stakes or emotional tension. She was written as a person. One who had entered Rimuru’s life, and so ours as viewers, and one who was leaving abruptly after leading a hard life that was filled with moments of tragedy.
She was also a character that this anime made me want to get to know more of. She wasn’t bland and without personality, though we didn’t really get to see too much of her. They kind of took the adage ‘always leave them wanting more’ to heart here as Shizue certainly left me wanting more and wanting her not to be dead.
A very worthy addition to my 12 Days of Anime countdown, Shizue’s time with us may have been brief but it was most definitely felt.
Here we are at Day 6 of the 12 Days of Anime. Yesterday we looked at a character who possessed poise and grace as she moved through her unrequited love (Sayaka from Bloom Into You) but today’s pick couldn’t be any more different. A shounen protagonist who throws himself at everything with the same bull-headed attitude, it is Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan.
Now, Eren Jaeger is a character who I really haven’t liked for a lot of the three seasons and yet as season three progressed, I found myself finding a new appreciation for him. Admittedly, I’m not exactly joining the Eren fan-club anytime soon, but season three managed to see him going through some fairly well deserved character development – or maybe he just finally grew up.
Spending a large number of the episodes tied up and gagged was something I initially found amusing because in the absence of Eren yelling at things, it felt like we could finally see some of the other characters in action without him and let them shine. And that was true to a point, but what I didn’t expect was that when Eren finally got to speak, that for once he wouldn’t just be that angry, shouting little boy we’d endured for the previous seasons.
Suddenly, we had an Eren who was reflecting on the power he had and how he’d received. An Eren who was thinking about the long game and while he was also a little defeatest, understood that he wasn’t necessarily the one who was going to save everyone. Yet even at his lowest point, when push came to shove, Eren acted to save the other scouts. Even after that, he didn’t suddenly let it go to his head; instead he remained aware of his own individual insignificance and was working his hardest to contribute what he could.
Yes, season three of Attack on Titan gave me new reason to think about Eren’s character and the journey he has been on. While I’m still not the biggest fan of Eren, and I still don’t like shouting protagonists, it really was like watching someone grow up right before my eyes and the transformation felt natural given the circumstances, and earned, given what he’d gone through. Now I’m keenly looking forward to where his character goes from here, though given it is Attack on Titan I’m guessing he’s got more pain and misery headed his way.
For a character I don’t normally talk about, I really felt this year he stepped up and so I definitely wanted to include him in this list of twelve characters as I counted down to Christmas.
Here we are at Day 5 of the 12 Days of Anime. Moving on from Elias and the Ancient Magus’ Bride, today we turn our attention firmly to the grounded realities of being the unrequited love in a high school romance and handling it with as much grace and poise as a character can possibly muster.
Yes, I am looking at Sayaka from Bloom Into You today and I must admit I’m pretty happy to look at her even if her story is ongoing and she is continuing to evolve.
Sayaka was a character who at first was seemingly very easy to overlook. She was the one who walked behind or beside Nanami Touko and it seemed like she was just going to be the token friend of the main love interest so that it didn’t look like she had no friends. That was severely underestimating both Sayaka and the narrative Bloom Into You was trying to tell.
Instead of just remaining the friend, we learn fairly early on that Sayaka is interested in Nanami and wants to be more than friends, but she’s been gently put to the side by Nanami. For Sayaka, that’s an acceptable position, by Nanami’s side, because nobody else has Nanami’s heart either. However, after Yuu enters the picture we begin to see Sayaka first become a little jealous of this first year gaining too much of Nanami’s attention, and then we see Sayaka actually having to come to terms with her feelings and the understanding that they are not going to be reciprocated.
This is kind of hard position for anyone to be in, but high schoolers are fairly emotionally ill-equipped to deal with heart break. Still, in Sayaka’s case, she isn’t so much heart-broken as second guessing herself. Should she have made a more aggressive move on Nanami earlier before Yuu entered the picture? If Nanami was okay with two girls, why couldn’t it be her?
It is watching Nanami process these ideas and feelings that she really began to shine. The whole time she continued to work admirably on the student council and interact with the others in a fairly natural manner. While there was a small verbal confrontation with Yuu, the two mostly just aired where they were sitting in relation to Nanami and then continued to work together, at times joining forces to reign in Nanami’s enthusiasm.
Sayaka is a great character. She doesn’t go to extremes, she has a clear goal and motivation but she understands that just wanting it doesn’t mean she can achieve it. She deals with disappointment and while that doesn’t stop her wanting, it does allow us to see a character not succeed and still continue on.
I really loved meeting Sayaka this season and part of me wants a spin-off story where she does find her true love and gets her own happily ever after.
As we enter day 4 of the 12 Days of Anime and today I’m turning my attention to someone far more mysterious and supernatural than the Princess Ani from Dame X Pri. However is being mysterious enough of a character trait?
I really wanted to love The Ancient Magus’ Bride when it began. I loved the three episode OVA that came out prior to the series and I think that really elevated my expectations, that and the hype surrounding the title. Ultimately, the anime works and is certainly aesthetically beautiful, you could lose yourself in endless screen caps of it and in the music, but the plot itself and even how the characters are presented at times remains fairly ordinary. Not bad mind you, just not particularly good and certainly not as strong as the other elements.
However, today I want to look at Elias as a character because he was quite the intriguing figure throughout the anime and one who I don’t think was given enough time, or enough scope to really be all that he could be. In the end, the idea is more interesting than the execution. Now, I haven’t read the source though it is on my read list for that eventual someday, so my views here are entirely constructed through how Elias is presented in the anime.
In the beginning, the air of mystery surrounding him worked in the anime’s favour. He was this mysterious figure steeped in magic who swept in and took Chise under his wing when she was at her lowest. However, this character type only works with the understanding that as the plot progresses we will come to understand him and see him in a different manner.
While The Ancient Magus’ Bride most definitely gave us some back story on Elias, actual emotional connections with him were few and far between and far too many of them were buried underneath his relationship with Chise. While that was really a fundamental part of the story it meant that Elias as an individual was neglected and only the Elias in relation to Chise really got to progress anywhere. There seems like there’s a lot more to his character but it just never had the time to go anywhere.
By the end of the anime series I still feel like I don’t know Elias as a character. He’s still that mysterious figure with one foot half in the world of magic and one foot firmly in the human world and trying to guide/help Chise to navigate her own path, but who he is and what he actually wants remains very much something surrounded in mist. Which is a shame because I would have loved to get to know him more.
It is possible that this is all there is to the character, but it seems more likely that with time constraints and everything else, his character just didn’t get the chance to really go anywhere. I do know that one of my main disappointments as I look back on the show is that I never really felt like I got to know what Elias was all about.
So here’s to Elias and the hope that if the anime gets a sequel his character gets the fleshing out it deserves or at the very least a little bit more revealed to help the audience to connect with him or understand him more.
Onto day three of the 12 Days of Anime and today we shift our focus from a side character who deserves more (Shimada) to a Princess in a harem comedy anime. Her character shouldn’t work anywhere near as well as it did but that is part of what makes her memorable.
Ani is a female protagonist at the centre of a harem of Princes in a parody that doesn’t quite land its mark as often as it should. She’s regularly covered in pink with a flower in her hair, she’s a Princess of her people with a male knight who is also probably into her, and everything about her screams we’ve seen this character before moving on.
And that assessment isn’t really wrong, but it isn’t really right. Ani is quite the caustic and grounded young lady. She’s happy as a Princess and not trying to evade responsibilities or moaning about it, but she’s also someone who gets in and helps her people in the fields or whatever else needs to happen. Her reactions to each of the excessively pampered and very silly Princes are fairly priceless and she’s generally great fun to follow around.
However, she isn’t just the sarcastic one-line character. Ani does work hard to connect with the Princes and to help them through their problems. Part of this is her own protagonist nature that generally compels main characters to be sticky beaks and get involved (in order for the plot not to screech to a halt) and the other part is that she’s a practical young lady and these princes are the people she will need to deal with as a Queen. They are essential to the survival of her country and so personal views or not, she isn’t about to burn any bridges, though I would have forgiven her if she’d tried to drown Narek.
All and all, I really liked Ani’s character. While I might have liked a strong anime overall, I still feel hers is a character worth remembering and I’m really glad I followed her on her journey.
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