Fall 2012: Favorite Characters
Who were my favorite characters from the anime that aired in the fall? Well, it’s a bit hard to choose, to be honest! There were a lot of anime I really enjoyed, and it was largely thanks to the characters in all of them.
I’ll start with Shiro, the protagonist of K. He was definitely my favorite character from the very start of this quirky series, largely thanks to just how fun he was. The happy-go-lucky way he interacted with everyone was certainly amusing at least, particularly when Kuroh and Neko were involved (as they generally were). But eventually the series started bringing in plot twists regarding Shiro’s backstory, and while I can’t claim to fully understand it all, I still found it rather engaging. Shiro is an interesting blend of likeable, sympathetic, and respectable character traits, and I’m always glad when a story successfully makes its protagonist the most interesting character. And then there was the ending of this series, or rather–this season. I won’t post spoilers, but… yes, pretty epic stuff where Shiro is involved.
For your basic shoujo high school romance, it really is pretty critical that both the lead heroine and hero are interesting characters. Fortunately, Mei and Yamato were very well-written, and the series did a great job moving their relationship along at a decent pace, without making anything feel rushed. Yamato may be that “bad boy” bishie we often get in these stories, but there was a frank, unapologetic way he approached romance that felt refreshing–he was straightforward yet gentle, perhaps you could say. He exudes confidence, but a good part of that may be to hide his own human insecurities, and there’s a charm to all this once it becomes clear just how much he truly cares about Mei.
Meanwhile I felt the story portrayed Mei in a rather realistic way, considering just how new she was to making real friends, let alone a significant other. I was a little worried at first that she would be reactionary the entire series, but she ended up taking the initiative time and time again. This is largely thanks to her willingness to see the point of view of others and recognize the difficulties they were facing, and then take the time to help them see that they too could break out of their shells and change who they were. In terms of romance–yes, it was a very gradual process, but I found myself repeatedly relating to all the things that went through her head from episode to episode.
Tomoe and Nanami are funny, cute, and work just perfectly for the atmosphere of Kamisama Hajimemashita. While the series was much more comedy than it was romance, it was still clear to me that these characters were always genuine. The anime did a great job making its protagonists fun and easy to like, but it did just as well at giving them flaws and letting them make mistakes. Lots of amusing things would happen, but the characters themselves were not the joke–I genuinely cared about them, at least, and it was nice to see how the two gradually grew to like each other more over the course of the series… even if this development was always obvious from the start!
At first I called From the New World a very setting-driven series. The first several episodes focused a great deal on the village the main characters live in, and since the series was based off a long novel, I found it acceptable that it would take some time for the protagonists to be fleshed out a bit. But now that we’re halfway through the series, I can safely say From the New World is doing an excellent job with its characters. They may be young, but they are very mature for their age, and the story in general is not cutting them any slack. It actually pains me a little to see them all enjoying themselves in this fanart, considering all that’s been happening to them in recent episodes. TT.TT
Saki is the character who has been the most developed so far, and I am really excited to see where the series will ultimately go with her. Will catastrophe lead her to side with the village’s system, or will she try to fight it? I can see From the New World going either way, and there are many interesting possibilities the plot can lead from either branching point.
I sympathize with all five characters in this series, but I feel an extra bit of sadness for Shun and Mamoru at the moment. I personally think we haven’t seen the last of Shun, but either way, I’m still a little shocked the plot took such an unforgiving turn for him. And as for Mamoru, it’s just so sad that things have turned out the way they have for him. How naive of me would it be to hope that he will gain some positive conclusion in this current story arc?
Now for the two who are probably my most favorite characters of the season…
Yoshino and Mahiro, from Zetsuen no Tempest. I found them both rather unique and intriguing from the very start, but then episode four came. Maybe it was only me, but I was really, really impressed with how this series handled the flashbacks revealing how they became “friends.” And as the series went on, they only become more interesting to me. I love how intelligent they are, and how driven they are by their similar yet (slightly?) conflicting goals. These boys aren’t ordinary in any way, which I feel is the point–everyone in Zetsuen no Tempest is theatrical, dramatic, and larger-than-life. But there’s just something more about these two protagonists that I find fascinating. Is it just the difficulty I find when I try to label them as heroes or anti-heroes? That may be part of it, but I’m definitely looking forward to see where things will go for these two from here. It seems almost guaranteed that they will be against one another in the end (SEE: Aika), but I really hope they can maintain that strange sort of friendship they carried somehow.
There’s my list of favorite characters for fall, but I’ll give special mention to one other figure from Zetsuen no Tempest, who really surprised me in episodes eight through twelve.
I don’t want to say too much since I don’t want to spoil everything, but Samon has become a really interesting character! At first I thought he made a great antagonist since he seemed every bit as cunning as the main cast, but eventually we came to see his point of view in everything, and just how skewed our understanding was of all the events happening at the start of the series. In most adventure stories, the villain always seems to be someone who has an extremely unfair advantage (giving the hero “impossible odds” to prevail against), but in Zetsuen no Tempest… it’s really bizarre, because in many ways it seems Samon is the real underdog. I mean, the very laws of reality are literally working against him! x_x And yet he kept pulling through for a long while there, though now it remains to be seen what sort of role he will play in the episodes to come. I hope the plot won’t just set him aside, at least.
That post took a bit of effort! Fall was a great season, and I’m glad we have From the New World and Zetsuen no Tempest continuing into winter right now. I wonder if there will be any new faces for winter’s set of favorite characters?