8 Annoying Anime Character Types (That Will Make You Groan!)

Updated on April 9, 2018

Anime sometimes suffers from characters being stereotypes that hit the same note over and over again. These characters lack the psychological complexity that makes characters interesting and human-feeling. In literature, these are called flat characters. They're seen as "2 dimensional" because they're not very life-like, much like how a sculpture of a person can look more real to us than a painted portrait. Like a sculpture, a "round" character is detailed to the audience from many different perspectives. The Joker from Batman is a round character, for example, because he is complex, changes over time, and can be interpreted in many ways. He's like a sculpture in the round, that can be seen in different ways from different angles.

Flat characters certainly have their place. Unimportant supporting characters don't need to be complicated to be effective, because their role in the narrative is more limited. A work of fiction can get kind of weighed down if it tries to make every character round (Les Miserables does this, for example, making the book excessively long). But, generally speaking, it's good for at least the main protagonists and antagonists to be round characters with a lot of complexity to their identity.

A bad flat character can often be a cliche or stereotype. In anime, there are numerous recurring character tropes. Sometimes, these can be used effectively and as stepping stones to creating interesting, dynamic, complex characters. Other times, they're just a hack's way of writing, making boring, unlikable characters that seem like a stack of tropes rather than an actual person we can sympathize with, or get to know in an organic way. If we know everything about a character in the first few seconds based on superficial details like their height, breast size, gender, hair color, eye color, hair style, clothing, eye shape, body language, and voice, it's probably not a very interesting character. And that kind of character instantly alienates the avid anime viewer from the show, because they recognize the cliche as cliche and realize quickly that these creators have nothing original to add, they're just basically using cookie cutters or templates to give us a story.

And here are my 8 least favorite of such anime cliche character types.

8. The Mary Sue Senpai

Basically, she's the object of the "notice me senpai" protagonist's desires. So perfect, you seriously wonder if she even poops. She's an unrealistically swan-like presence in a school full of more realistically awkward teenagers/kids.

Defining Features:

  • Tall in stature, usually with an elegant silhouette.
  • Long, straight hair, usually black or purple, but may also be blonde or silver. (Or she will have a very precise, elegant hair style, like princess curls, pigtails, braids, etc.)
  • Often will either be the student council president or go to an elite school of some kind.
  • Usually from a rich and/or well-connected family.
  • Speaks very polite Japanese and has refined manners.
  • There will be tea.
  • Usually very pale-skinned, as per traditional Japanese beauty standards.

Why I Dislike This Type:

Basically, she's too perfect. She hardly ever seems like her actual canonical age. She seems almost like a very elegant and refined 30-something infiltrating the high school or middle school setting. It glamorizes richness by making it seem like rich people are totally flawless god-like beings. It also seems like such a cheap way to create drama, by having the totally average male protagonist (which I get to later) fall for the "dream girl" who is way out of his league.

He is often by the end of the anime rewarded with affection for basically spending the whole anime as her dog, doing whatever she wants, and constantly white knighting for her. I get that it's a thing because it's a wish fulfillment fantasy, but in real life, people like that are just annoyingly snooty.

But most importantly, this kind of character is just rarely interesting. You know she's going to be heavily restricted by the bonds of propriety and honor, playing the "straight man" in contrast with wilder characters' antics. She's too honest and pure to do anything truly "outside the box". In other words, she's usually a Mary Sue and a Purity Sue type of character, too flawless to be genuine and human.

Interesting Subversions:

  • Satsuki from Kill La Kill, who shows that being this kind of character is not all it's cracked up to be, especially if you have a psychotic mom.
  • Ai from Shin Chan, a parody of this character type that points out its inherent classism.
  • Ayame Kajou from Shimoneta, who only originally looks like she's this type of character, but turns out to be a "dirty joke terrorist".
  • Rei Hino/Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon, who seems like this type at first, but has a lot more depth and complexity revealed about her as the series progresses.
  • Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, who resembles this character type superficially, but is much less passive and a lot more complex of a character, the more you find out about her.

7. The Cute Comic Relief Mascot Talking Animal

^ Part human. Same character type though.
^ Part human. Same character type though.

A fairly common anime staple, this character is always at the hero's side. Often, they give info dump exposition, or just more subtle guidance to the main characters. They're cute, they're charming, and they move merchandise and keep up brand awareness of the show by being memorable. But they can also be annoying, because they ruin serious moments by inserting bad comedy, because their catch phrases and associated running gags quickly get stale, or because their blunders make things harder for the protagonist. A bad one is like Navi from Ocarina of Time, annoying, intrusive, and repetitive.

Defining Features:

  • Always happy and upbeat.
  • Has running gags and/or a catch phrase.
  • Is associated with comedy, and breaks up dramatic tension with comedy.
  • Helps or guides the main character(s).
  • Is an animal, but usually with supernatural powers and unusual characteristics.
  • Usually able to talk and intelligent on a human level (some may act more animal-like though).
  • Sometimes is the source of the hero's power or can become a walking deus ex machina.
  • Constantly refers to what kind of animal they are, or their non-human status is often milked for comedy.
  • Gives a lot of the exposition.
  • Cute appearance, often acts child-like.

Why I Dislike This Type:

It's not always done so badly, but it's annoying to me because, for one, I find comic relief annoying in general, and also because this type of character is often annoying when the writers are clearly trying to make it be likable and funny. It's like a little kid following the main characters around, their ignorance is presented to us as "cute", and their incompetence is supposed to charm us.

It's also overused as an exposition device and source of knowledge. Since these characters are supernatural or magical, often they have helpful advice to give. But it can be overdone if they're telling the audience a lot of things about their world, instead of it being shown.

Finally, I dislike these characters because of how often they come to the rescue at the eleventh hour. Basically, if this kind of character exists, be prepared to see them do a lot of saving people at the last minute, either directly by using their own powers, or indirectly by getting help or giving the main character powers.

And the ones that give the main characters their powers always raise the question; why didn't they just use this magic for themselves instead of giving it to the protagonist? Many of these characters, if you think about it, are powerful enough to be their own heroes. They shouldn't even need some half-baked anime girl or guy to fight their battles for them.

Interesting Subversions:

  • Some Pokemon and Digimon have moments of this, but don't end up being so annoying about it. And Pokemon mostly don't talk, so they can be cute without having that annoying child-like tendency of talking too much or saying stupid things.
  • The main subversion is Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. He acts like this character type, but is actually cunning and manipulative.

6. The Adult-Acting Child

Usually female, this character is usually a side character. Other people have called this one the "deadpan loli", but I don't like referring to these characters as "lolis" because the reference to "Lolita" implies that they're being treated like sex objects, which is very much debatable and up to audience reaction (unless there's obvious erotic scenes with them, which is rare). I just really am a bit uncomfortable using a term that implies the sexual fetishizing of little girls so casually.

But unfortunately, the sexualization of these characters is probably the reason why there are so many who are not only a bit smart for their age, but who completely act like mental adults. And it makes them annoying. Child prodigies are smart, sure, but not every child is a prodigy, but many anime like to make the excuse that the "loli" is there because of her intelligence, and we've all known people who were able to move up a grade or two in school, but many of these examples are a bit extreme.

Some go as far as to give weird, convoluted magical justifications for these girls showing up in a high school with older girls; Sailor Moon's Chibiusa, or "little Usagi", is really the main character's daughter, from the future. And that's not the weird part! The weird part is, she's actually hundreds of years old but never quite got the hang of this whole "growing up" thing. So all that fan art you have of her? Just explain to the feds that whole "future child from the moon" story and no worries about shower time with the other inmates for you!

For one thing, it bothers me that these girls often just exist to be sexualized by the fans, because the anime industry is not so much about selling anime as it is about selling merchandise. Japanese culture also seems to be a bit more relaxed about portraying children in a sexual way than American culture. I'm fine with non-sexual child nudity, such as in the context of bathing (in Japan, family members of the same sex often bathe together and it is not pedophilic). But having a whole character type just designed to appeal to pedophiles in the anime's audience is... creepy.

Plus, in the story itself, the characters are often annoying because, as prodigies, they know a lot, but as children, they still act like conceited brats.

A related character trope I dislike is when older teens, aged 14-18, are drawn short and flat-chested, as if the artist is trying to make them look 11-13. This happens in "slice of life" comedy shows like Lucky Star to make the girls look cuter, but it just kind of bothers me that they don't really look their ages. In some anime series though, this will be a lone character, who is "really 16" or whatever but drawn petite, again, in order to market the character to fetishists of that kind of thing.

Why I Dislike This Type:

They are usually bratty, arrogant know-it-alls. Still being children, they tend to still have chaotic mood swings, and can immaturely over-react to slights and misunderstandings. This is portrayed as funny, but gets a bit old quickly. They tend to be very prideful and very protective of their personal pride. Which gets annoying often. This character can usually be described as "flustered" or "frustrated" because they have a huge psychological complex built around feeling inferior to everyone else because of their age.

So they can act like the typical aloof, bitchy, tsundere princess pretty often (and I deal with the tsundere later because it is also one of my least favorite types). So when these characters show up (usually they pop in halfway through the anime like an unwanted guest), you can expect them to challenge the main character, but usually over issues that are completely shallow and meaningless. Expect them to hold their heads high and never admit they're wrong, even when they are. Ever have a child you just wanted to punch? How "kawaii"!

They just don't add anything new to the show. They create drama and conflict, but rarely do they contribute meaningfully to the resolution of it.

Interesting Subversions:

  • I really can't think of that many. Usually, a loli-brat is annoying, it's just a matter of degree, some being less annoying than others.
  • Banba from Princess Jellyfish either is or appears like she is a little girl, but she's not in any way sexy; instead, she's an otaku who likes trains and who has an eye for picking out the best meat in the grocery store. Her acting is subtle, and she doesn't do what I see many other adult-like children in anime do, which is go out of her way to challenge and belittle adults or older teens. Maybe she is an adult (her age is ambiguous).

5. The Tsundere

This is a character type who's usually smacked into the anime with all the subtlety of a bolt of lightning, and one of the most overplayed mass-produced character types in anime. It gets its name from "tsun-tsun" meaning aloof or standoffish, and "dere-dere", meaning love-struck. So the idea is that the character goes from aloof and bitchy to warm and loving.

This happens in a lot of anime, but a lot of times, they're more "tsun-tsun" than "dere-dere", and don't undergo the character change associated with them. Also, because "dere-dere" implies romantic interest in the main character, these "-dere" characters are all defined by their relationship to the protagonist, and as such fall short of seeming like real people, because real people have personalities for their own reasons, not just as reactions to a single person that their whole being revolves around. (Technically, Asuka Langley Sohryu is not a tsundere, because she has the harsh "tsun-tsun" part, but probably doesn't actually use that behavior to mask a crush on the protagonist, and she never actually softens towards him.) This character is supposed to be about how people bully people they like, but it ends up giving girls a "tsundere card" to basically act like annoying, stuck-up cunts most of the time.

Defining Features:

  • Pigtails, or hair pinned up, is common.
  • Red or blonde hair is common, but other (usually bright and warm) colors can happen as well.
  • Eyes are drawn in the cat-like style, less rounded than more innocent characters.
  • Tend to blush a lot whenever anyone dares to imply that they have feelings for the main character.
  • Has signature ways of huffing, sighing, and turning away angrily.
  • Often known for frowning and scowling.
  • Has a ball-shriveling yelling voice.

Why I Dislike This Type:

Like I said before, the tsundere is so overdone. When I see an angry bratty girl with pigtails, I know I'm not getting substance or depth in that character right off the bat. She's the typical "lady doth protest too much" character, acting harshly towards a character she likes, beacause she likes him, and while this might be a fantasy wish fulfillment for some guys, it really just means putting up with a girl who constantly berates you until you are eventually for inexplicable reasons rewarded with affection... for putting up with all of it? There are easier ways to get laid, guys! (And talk about unrealistic expectations.)

Basically, a tsundere is just a narcissistic, conceited, lady-jerk who is occasionally tamed by the main character's penis. What's to hate?

Interesting Subversions:

  • Like I said, Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion only appears like a tsundere at first, but then you learn about her past and realize that she's a bully because of her traumatic history: Asuka was the daughter of a mom who committed suicide, and she always tried hard to impress her step-mom after that who didn't love her, and she always seemed like she was never good enough to be either her real mother's "doll" or her new mother's daughter in a real sense. Therefore, her personality is interesting and her reasons for being a bully are far deeper than just wanting to mask her raging girl-boner for Shinji.
  • Tora Dora has a female lead who is often called a tsundere, but she's not as flat of a character as a badly written tsundere.

4. The Happy Magical Slave

The Japanese place less of a value on freedom than Western culture does, and it shows in characters like this. Usually a magical girlfriend or magical housewife character, these characters, like the loli and tsundere, are sex objects that exist for the titillation of the audience, and are often not very interesting beyond the fanservice.

Basically, she's a goddess, alien, or other supernatural creature, with powers far beyond a normal human's. But she's incredibly ignorant and naive about the world, relying on guidance from the bland male protagonist. She's meant to be a kind of "manic pixie dream girl" character, or can be a nurturing "Yamato Nadeshiko" or Japanese housewife archetype. It's a harmless wish fulfillment fantasy, but the underlying tones of slavery and subjugation that are usually present in the story are what bother me.

Why I Dislike This Type:

Basically, I dislike it for the whole "happiness in slavery" thing. Never do we see these magical women rebel or revolt against their masters. It's just assumed that the male protagonist is good, even when he's a complete jerk. And that goodness is supposed to be such that it justifies the condition of happy slavery, and I just don't buy it. It makes it seem like coming of age as a man means learning how to manage and educate a slave. It also seems to be sending the message that domestic, sexual slavery is morally justified by whatever supernatural bullshit the writers can think of (like a life debt, magical wish, etc.), yeah, no. That stuff belongs in porn, but doesn't have a place in regular entertainment. And even if it's not a sexual relationship per se, like with Sebastian in Black Butler, or when sex is offered but not accepted, it's still a bit weird to see a being with immense supernatural powers be subjugated and treated like a servant or slave by an ordinary human.

Interesting Subversions:

  • Ai no Kusabi is a short Sci-Fi OVA series that explores real-feeling sexual slavery and all of its emotional consequences. It also shows the problem of having to choose between being an abused "pet" for a rich person's amusement or being free to be poor and starving, in a world with a dramatic gap between the rich and the poor.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, the slavery of the "rose bride", Anthy Himemiya, is not taken lightly at all. Much of the drama of the show revolves around Utena, a newcomer fighter in the duels, fighting for Anthy's honor and dignity as a person.

3. The Unrealistically Cheery Survivor Girl (Sometimes Boy)

This type of character can be male, Hayate from Hayate the Combat Butler is an example. But it's usually a teenage girl. She has cancer. Her mother died. Her father was an abusive drunk. A gang of rival ninjas ritually sacrificed her dog to Cthulu, who also came and ate her legs. She's been living in a ditch by the side of the road and only getting out once a week to scavenge for rotten apples and roadkill. People regularly come by her hole in the ground self-made hovel to beat her up, spit on her, steal her roadkill meat, and call her names.

But she's SO HAPPY! She has a face that just lights up with joy. She's not letting the struggle get the better of her! She's overflowing with milk and honey, no matter how mean everyone is or how tough she has it! She's a survivor!

Yeah, that's a... little unrealistic? People who go through intense traumas and grief in life shouldn't be expected to just put on a fake smile all the time. I'd rather have an "angsty" character, because at least they are feeling something that makes sense relative to the bad things that happened to them. It just doesn't make sense to have a character like that, it's unrealistic. It's also kind of a slap in the face to people who have experienced traumas, like we're supposed to just "get over it" and not let it affect us. I know it's a great ideal to be like that, but it is just that, an ideal. And its use in anime to sort of cutify the suffering girl character is pretty annoying.

Why I Dislike This Type:

If I met someone like this in real life, I would think they had a serious mental illness (kind of like many character types on this list). It's not normal to be so happy when life is bad, no matter what religion or philosophy might tell you otherwise. I get that Japan is very much a "grow a thicker skin" culture, and they respect people for having a strong, unbreakable spirit.

I get that. But it's not good to tell victims of circumstance to just "suck it up, buttercup" all the time, either. Sometimes, people need nurturing, support, and validation of their suffering that can't come from repressing it. Some people need closure in the form of justice. Others just need a shoulder to cry on. The "plucky girl" tells real girls in real life that their suffering and traumas are erasable with a little positive thinking. Positive thinking is ok, but we can't act like it solves everything.

Also, this character's plight is often a string of almost comically exaggerated bad events designed to pull at our heartstrings. It comes across in the worst examples as calculating and manipulative, like showing us a baby bird with a broken wing. Like, of course I sympathize with it, but using things we're all naturally predisposed to sympathize with (basically, a sad little girl) feels sort of like cheating.

2. The Clueless Jerk Guy

Basically, the male version of the tsundere.

Hey, dumb crybaby! You're a girl! Girls are weak and stupid. You should be like me and play sports karate action ball! Feelings are bad! Grr!

*female characters swooon*

Whatever, I have work to do, out of my way, ladies!

Yeah, I've taken shots at many female character types, but there are bad male character types too. They may not be as noticeable as the overly theatrical girl types like the yandere and tsundere, but these can be annoying too. This type is someone who shows up a lot in comedy, shounen, action, ecchi, harem, and romance shows. He is a total jerk who is indifferent to girls' feelings, and/or totally oblivious to their expressions of said feelings. And the panties drop for him anyway. In real life, this happens, and it's just proof that Satan is in control of everything and there's nothing any of us can do about it. Or proof that biological drives to mate with "alpha" guys linger in human girls from a forgotten time when that would have conferred a reproductive advantage on women who did that. Either way, it's a sick, sad world.

I think maybe it's because a certain amount of jerkiness in the Japanese male is tolerated or even encouraged; they are supposed to treat women like children, who need their authority and guidance in the form of punishment for bad behavior and occasional rewards for being good. Usually, this punishment is in the form of indifference or withdrawal, the girl is desperate for the jerk to notice her, and he can use this to get her to do something he wants, or to get her to stop doing something he doesn't like, or to win an argument.

I said they're the male tsundere but they can have a touch of male Mary Sue-senpai as well, often being very handsome, tall, and/or wealthy. Often, like the Mary Sue-senpai, he has refined manners and is elegant. Like the Mary Sue-senpai, their love interests fawn all over on them while they barely notice.

Defining Features:

  • May or may not be a jerk with a heart of gold.
  • Does not recognize love advances, either intentionally or unintentionally. Does not have much sexual interest, if any.
  • Focuses on one thing so much that women are not a distraction to them.
  • Unintentionally hurts girls' feelings for comedy or drama in the story.
  • Sometimes can have an immature "girls are icky" attitude.
  • Likely to be a red oni character type.
  • Not usually as malicious as they are just aloof and indifferent.
  • Cannot catch feels, at least, not until later in the anime series (much like the tsundere).
  • Like the tsundere, will often make "I was just in the neighborhood" claims whenever they do something nice, chivalrous, charitable, or when they rescue a female love interest from danger.
  • Often tells an emotional girl to calm down, but in a mean way, like "you're ugly when you cry".

Why I Dislike This Type:

While it's not terrible per se, it's bad because it can be an abusive relationship dynamic portrayed as a romance (like with sexy slave characters), because these kinds of characters are boring, like their counterpart the Mary Sue-senpai, but mainly because in real life, as hard as this is for many people to believe, women do prefer considerate men.

If they don't like "nice guys" it's because a self-described "nice guy" is usually a loser who thinks that his self-diagnosed niceness is the key to getting you between the sheets. I'll pass. So while women are sometimes attracted to dominant, powerful men, they don't want men to be wholly inconsiderate to them either. Some healthy balance between being self-interested and being interested in the other person is where it's at. I hear many, many more women complaining that their boyfriend or husband is "inconsiderate", a "jerk", or that he "doesn't care" than I ever do that he is a "softie" or a "wimp". It's important to me to challenge this stereotype that women go after jerks, because it will just mean boys will get the message that they have to act like jerks to be attractive. Let's face it, these anime bishounen princes are attractive for other reasons (looks, grades, popularity, refinement, status, charisma), not because of their cold aloofness bordering on sociopathy.

(Although there may be something in the above link about the appeal of tsunderes that applies to males who act that way too.) It's basically exaggerated; women want a powerful, leader-type man, true. But if he's too indifferent, she's just going to, in real life, read the indifference as genuine disinterest in her, and be indifferent to him back. I just want to be as clear as possible in making sure guys don't think aloofness is a way to score, because it could easily backfire in real life and that would suck for them.

Honorable Mentions:

- The Genius Ditz: Oh my God how quirky and charming! NEXT!

- The Hot-Headed Shounen Fighter: Why get meaning out of the conflict or experience character growth, when you can just punch walls until you feel better?

- The Yamato Nadeshiko (traditional housewife type): Yeah, that's what I fantasize about, a girl who will do my laundry and yell at me for forgetting to take off my geta in the house.

- The Overly Optimistic Girl: Makes me want to puke. (Except for Sailor Moon.)

1. The Generic Male Protagonist

New from Kawaiicorp! It's Protagonist Boy! He has brown hair, no glasses, no hobbies, no special interests, and no defining characteristics! He's basically Bella Swan with a penis! He's as dull as dirt, but hot alien babes want to have his babies anyway! Say hello to the best protagonist you won't have to write about or think about! Call now!

Eeyeah. I internally fume whenever I see a new anime pulling this crap. And it happens at least once every season. He's an ordinary high school boy, and.... that's it.

Defining Features:

  • Male.
  • Middle school, high school, or (more rarely) in college.
  • Brown or black hair (occasionally some other color, usually dark).
  • Brown eyes (again, with occasional exceptions).
  • Does not have supernatural abilities or powers of his own, if there are other people in the school who do.
  • Not usually exceptionally skilled or passionately interested in anything.
  • Led around by the balls by female characters, be they tsunderes, yanderes, Mary Sue-senpais, or even complete psycho killers (like in Higurashi).
  • Has to have everything explained to him in expository info dumps by said female characters (which is why they're usually written as a "transfer student" or freshman).
  • Will have the infamous anime cliche spot next to the window in the classroom.
  • Is going to be the "straight man", the only person who's not insane in the room, etc.

Why I Dislike This Type:

Basically, they're boring. Their personalities are a blank slate. Like many female sex-object characters, their entire being is shaped by other characters' actions. Calling them "the protagonist" is sometimes iffy, they're better described as the main character or main viewpoint character. I'll explain. A "protagonist" is supposed to be the character who makes the story happen, whose desires, goals, wishes, and ambitions drive the story. For example, Ash in Pokemon is the protagonist because everything that happens in the anime is caused by or linked to his desire to become a Pokemon master. But these characters are passive and weak. Rather than making the plot, it just sort of feels like a thing that happens to them or around them. They're reactive rather than active.

Interesting Subversions:

  • Accel World subverts the usual trend of the protagonist being average by making him short and chubby.

  • Shinji Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion is essentially a deconstruction of this character type. Says something that this trope was already getting old when NGE first came out. Shinji shows the problems of having a very passive character as the main viewpoint character, and how that can be frustrating for the audience.


Well, it feels good to vent. Now, I'd like to say, there are exceptions and many of the above characters I use as examples are still characters I like. It's just hard to see these patterns and tropes get abused so much that they become cut-and-paste shortcuts for creating a new anime.

And to be honest, the presence of a lot of the above annoying cliches in episode 1 of an anime will make me much, much less likely to click on episode 2. For example, recently there was a new anime called Re: Zero: Starting Life Again in a New World or some other crappy long title that I will shorten to Re: Zero from now on. Re: Zero starts off with a first episode that seems cliche as hell. You have a bland protagonist (1) get put into a parallel dimension, much like in Sword Art Online or the dozens of other "ordinary kid sucked into fantasy world/video game" shows. Then, you have a heroic Mary Sue-senpai girl (8) save him from some street thugs (also a cliche), and guess what, she has a TALKING CAT (7). It took me a long time to make myself watch more Re: Zero, and I mostly watched it because I wanted to know just why such a cliche-infested anime could be rated so highly by reviewers on My Anime List. So, I gave it a chance, and I found out that the first episode of Re: Zero is actually a kind of mask, and after that the mask comes off, and the reality of the anime is revealed. It's definitely worth checking out, I haven't finished it, but I'm definitely going to. And now, I know why everyone's talking about it. But if I hadn't stuck around for episode 2, I probably would have written it off as another cliche-filled blockbuster that appeals to the masses but not to experts and critics like myself.

So, if you want to write your own manga story, books about "how to draw manga" usually tell you how to draw these repeating character types, but they're not fun at all for the seasoned manga reader. Basically, play around with it and make sure your characters are unique, not cliches, but fully developed beings who feel real and human to us (even the non-human ones!). Putting a lot of thought into your characters is one of the most important aspects of writing, so don't half-ass it!

Which Do You Think Is The Worst?

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Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Yumi 32 hours ago

        You forgot the cute sexy blonde foreign exchange student.

      • profile image

        Si 4 days ago

        Cheerful survival girl isn't exactly a slap in the face. Nor is it unrealistic. I've been pshyically and verbally abused, teased as a child, and other things yet I'm not butting heads with the world. A lot of the times when something bothers me it goes away. I've been pelted with things yet I don't walk around with a chip on my shoulder. I'd rather just not butt heads with people.

      • profile image

        Shilpa 6 days ago

        Well, seeing all this,

        what about the protagonist in saga of tanya the evil. That girl sure have some goals

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 4 weeks ago from Illinois

        "It only means means that pretty much every anime is the product of lazy writing." Yeah, that is the problem. They're all copying other anime instead of thinking about how teenagers live in the real world. So what they make is a breathless imitation of anime, rather than something that feels inspired by reality in any way. Hayao Miyazaki said otaku should not be the ones writing anime. What he meant was that to be a storyteller, merely imitating other stories is not sufficient. It's helpful, but a good story has some grounding in real life, even with fantastical elements or unlikely events.

      • profile image

        4 weeks ago

        Kimi Redfox your comment was the dumbest ever written anywhere congratulations. First of all "it's not rare for a teenager to be seen as perfect"? What kind of world you live in man. Teenage years are pretty much always made of acnee, zits, blackheads, mood swings, peer pressure and bitchiness. Nobody is perfect and everybody is well aware of that especially teenagers. Furthermore generic male protagonist are in every anime so you cant criticize them? It only means means that pretty much every anime is the product of lazy writting. And what the hell do you mean when you say anime character shouldnt be relatable?

      • profile image

        Breanna 2 months ago

        I think the cheerful survivor girl is extremely insulting, never mind annoying. I can't believe you used Happy and Inuyasha as examples for annoying characters... I do relate to you on the article though.

      • Fred Heiser profile image

        Fred 2 months ago from SoCal

        My favorite subversive version of the animal sidekick is the cat possessed by Amanojaku in Ghost Stories. Make sure to watch the English dub. The subbed version is terrible and completely different.

      • profile image

        123 2 months ago

        you literally listed all the types of characters in anime...

      • Fred Heiser profile image

        Fred 2 months ago from SoCal

        Tora-dora has the classic tsundere in Taiga. That anime knew how to handle the character type and did it well with a convincing backstory of why she was "tsun-". Her slow evolution into a more "-dere" type was well done and believable. Ryuuji has his own problems. In the anime he starts out as a bit of a jerk with low self-esteem and an unearned reputation of badness. He too evolves over time and in a believable way to a better disposition.

        Lazy authors just incorporated a tsundere into their stories because they thought the character type was popular. No effort to understand why she was "tsun" and why she would ever evolve into something different.

        Asuke from Neon Genisys is definitely NOT tsundere. She has lots of "tsun" but no "dere".

        IMHO Hitagi Senjougahara from the Monogatari franchise is a much better example of a well rounded and genuine tsundere.

        As you pointed out, while it is *possible* to create interesting characters from any character type, most anime authors aren't that talented. They are working with prefabbed and generic characters and plots, not creating things from scratch.

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        Jonny 3 months ago

        Not gonna lie I found myself really into Inuyasha despite him being a jerk. I found it interesting and compelling in some way that he has so much trouble being open about how he feels. It's obvious he cares for Kagome but he rarely ever admits it during the majority of the show. Keep in mind though despite him fitting the trope of The Clueless Jerk Guy he has some pretty compelling backstory for being a jerk. His original love interest tries to kill him and he has no idea why. She also ends up dying though if I recall he didn't find out about it until Kagome woke him up from his slumber on the tree where he was frozen for decades and decades in place by Kikyo's arrow. I found myself really loving the show's romance. Yeah, I was often annoyed because Kikyo was resurrected and stuck around too long forcing Kagome and Inuyasha's romance to be in a near limbo state for most of the series. Kagome admits to herself in like episode 30 or so she fell in love with Inuyasha but he doesn't admit his feelings until the final episode of the final act which aired years after Inuyasha finished.But it's not entirely without development they grow to care about each other over time. Inuyasha eventually becomes a better man who finally admits how he feels for Kagome. In the end, it felt worth the long runtime to see them end up together. Plus I enjoyed seeing Kagome become less and less useless over time and finally start to become able to do shit on her own. Yeah, she never really reaches Kikyo's level on a lot of things I feel and she's certainly not ever as powerful as Inuyasha with his half-demon (technically called a Yokai in the original Japanese version, but he's basically a demon anyway) powers and his powerful sword. You could say he's a jerk and maybe verbally abuse to Kagome a lot but he's not really a bad guy he's just an angry guy. I mean he's a half demon so part of his personality can also be attributed to that too.

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        3 months ago

        You know, art imitates life and in this case I have worked with people like those described above, lost in a sea of introverts, social misfits, Lettermen (and gals) and the hermits.

        The thing is these people do well when they have a common goal or work place (some stay isolated). How they fare in normal society however, one could write a book.

        Just like at the work place a tsundere is usually avoided, the super smart loose their audience rather quickly or have to spend every waking minute describing everything to the laymen.

        Anime in some cases may actually embellish on the rare social misfit or give us office satire.

        Think I'm wrong? What about our fearless leader which is he? How about Ben Stine? The list goes on and on. Humans behave in ways that work for them and some are just plain mad.

        What do you think?

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 4 months ago from Illinois

        This even goes back to historical literature with Estella in 'Great Expectations'. Or 'The Taming of the Shrew', even older.

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 4 months ago from Illinois

        Maybe you're right, blackLeviathan. Maybe it's the gender-inverse of the "women want bad boys" trope. People want something that's hard to get. A bit of a challenge. A hunt. The tsundere offers boys/men that challenge.

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        blackLeviathan 4 months ago

        Regarding the tsundere female character I remember something related:

        Some people made a psychological test. (Heard this in a psychology lesson and I think knowledge taught in school is the most neutral and true.)

        The same/resembling women talked to different men and acted differently and tested which is the most popular. (It wasn't in Japan.) And the type which was the most popular reminded me strongly of tsundere. So I think the success of tsundere characters stems from the general preferences of malekind. (Joke)

        (Sorry for the bad English and fuzzy sentences.)

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        Criticalwatcher 4 months ago

        Generic male prontagonists are the worst. Having this with a tsundere is a pain to watch, full of cringe.

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        Rosaphoria 5 months ago

        I liked Ana better as classic perfect girl with a twist. So pretty... Then she... Watch the show

      • profile image

        B;ah 6 months ago

        God this is stupid.

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 6 months ago from Illinois

        Maybe, I haven't finished Darker Than Black. Maybe I should go back and watch it. :)

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        Crippled Dolphin 6 months ago

        Would you say that Mao from Darker Than Black is an interesting subversion of the talking animal trope?

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        Bob Franklin 7 months ago

        Honestly, it really annoys me whenever a girl with a tragic backstory acts all happy-go-lucky. Obviously in a real-life situation I wouldn't say that, but as stated this type of character is so overused.

        What I dislike the most is that it puts anyone who had actually experienced trauma feel like crap for not having a "better attitude". The message is understandable yet easily poorly executed in a sense that these characters are doing so well JUST because they pretend to be happy.

        A little rule of thumb, being honest is more beneficial to one's mental state than creating a false sense of reality. You can be tough and smile at anything comin' at ya, but at the end of the day, how are you feeling? What is stopping you from getting out of your situation? Are you being honest to yourself?

        I get that my little rant is a bit over-the-top in regards to fiction, but my god it annoys me so much :/. Sometimes you really can't find solace nor gather the strength to do these crazy superhuman feats.

        Seriously, what some animes could be showing is these character's flaws and weaknesses. They are hardly ever portrayed as that because the storyline often shows them using primarily their strengths rather their weaknesses. Which is good considering that is normally how the plot progresses at times, nothing wrong with that.

        It is well noted that you do see moments where the tragic-girls have their moments of despair, but in the end, what are the things you mostly see on screen? Their mask of a face which has a plastic smile.

        So that's my rant for the character I personally have most distaste on, I could be totally wrong but it's just an opinion I have on this cliche.

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 9 months ago from Illinois

        BadAtom, yeah, it's kind of funny. Show, don't tell. You don't need some random person pointing and staring and telling the audience "we are witnessing a fight". Unless it's Juri and Koto from YYH, then I don't mind as much ;)

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        BadAtom 9 months ago

        How 'bout that one person that stands by the side of a fight/battle and does absolutely NOTHING. They just stand around saying something along the lines of,"They're so powerful!"or,"The fight is so intense!" If you're just going to be there to ruin the mood, then begone. their exceptions like, the person is being save in someway (assuming the person is worth saving). PLEASE just give me pure action.

      • profile image

        lul 9 months ago

        i hate the nerd type of characters, the ones with red glasses, a self cut hair cut, oh wait.

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 10 months ago from Illinois

        haha, yeah, I hate that one too. It happens in too many school anime. I otherwise like a new show called "Love and Lies" that's on Amazon Video right now but they did that, and I was rolling my eyes.

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        haha 10 months ago

        I hate the cliches where a male character "accidentally" trips and falls on a girl or a woman, only to get in a compromising position. It can be anything from boob grabbing on the floor to other areas of the body, or their face on the girls chest.

        And then the female retaliates in as cliche and as annoyingly as possible by hurting the guy physically and mentally.

        Whenever I see something like this in anime or manga, I stop watching it or reading it.

      • profile image

        Chloe Jagmai 11 months ago

        This is very true but in the reality of it all the creators simply create these Animes because they like to see people happy about what they've made. They don't care if some people don't like it they only care that 1. People enjoy it. and 2. They get money.

        While they work hard on it many people say bad things about their anime saying "it's so cliché". Their feeling must get hurt because of this but they still continue on with creating, they try to block out all the hate.

        Personally I agree with you, but when I start getting tired of the same character type again and again I go to the animes that nobody watches because they are different and don't get enough attention for that.

        While it seems that I'm arguing with you I am only takeing into consideration the good side to the characters that are so 'Cliché'.

        Now just at take into consideration how these creators have a budget and deadlines, so they can't spend too much time thinking up new and wild imaginations and mind sets for these characters.

        But hey what do I know I'm just some random Middle Schooler who doesn't have a life!~

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 11 months ago from Illinois

        "without these characters it wouldn't be an anime" Uh no. I think anime could get by just fine without being so cliche and repetitive. It sets the industry back when they feel obligated to repeat tired cliches because of audience expectations and commercialism. That's why I prefer seinen, alternative, and indie stuff.

        "...you can always laugh at the funniness or stupidity of the characters. Plus these character types are there to pull you in more..."

        But the thing is, the 87th time I see the same old tsundere character, doing the same old huffing and blushing, because of the same old "ooh he tripped and saw up her skirt or landed on her boobs" scene, it's no longer funny or cute anymore. To the seasoned viewer, it just looks like they took a lazy way out of characterization and plot development. Basically, it shows a lack of creativity. It does not in fact, "pull me in more". It repels me.

      • profile image

        Chloe Jagmai 11 months ago

        But without these characters it wouldn't be an anime cause you can always laugh at the funniness or stupidity of the characters. Plus these character types are there to pull you in more. Maybe Try Maid-Sama, cause the main Character is really smart, gets invited to a pristigious school, is the student council President, I don't strong, has good manners, but she isn't Rich and she works hard for all of this.

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 14 months ago from Illinois

        Yo, the rules of fiction and the rules of reality are different. It's just not a good character type in principle, because they're not unique or interesting in and of themselves. It's ok for a real person to be a certain way, but fictional cliches can make stories boring to the audience. That's the only problem I have with that. Like I knew a girl in real life who was like the "Mary Sue Senpai" type at our anime club, she had gone to conventions when I didn't go to any until I was out of high school, and I was jealous that she had the money to wear Gothic Lolita to school and collect expensive dolls. I didn't hate her, but that character type is boring and kind of lame, for the reasons I stated.

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 18 months ago from Illinois

        I never said I don't like that character type (the generic male protagonist) because it's unrealistic, but because it's boring and it makes any anime it's in seem instantly more predictable and less creative feeling.

      • profile image

        Kimi Redfox 18 months ago

        I actually like some of these types.....I actually find them all hilarious in there own way. Especially Happy's type.....his name is Happy for godsakes! He's there to give Fairy Tail it's happiness! Also,he's never guided Natsu through anything and he's not always happy despite his name. Also..the whole generic anime protagonist thing...? That's like...every anime ever dude,get a grip. It's not rare for a teenager to be seen as perfect, especially in highschool, so I don't think that's too far of a stretch....like come on, stop comparing anime to real life,that's not what it is. The whole, "I don't like them because they don't relate to real life at all" thing is gonna have to stop because comparing anime to the real world...? Is pointless

      • profile image

        somebody 20 months ago

        so.. basically don't like the anime ????

      • RachaelLefler profile image

        Rachael Lefler 22 months ago from Illinois

        Thanks for such a thoughtful comment!

        "you are much more touchy than I am!"

        I'm just being a critic. It means you have to point out what you don't like for the sake of showing the medium you love how to improve.

        "We are trying to get on with our lives and make happy futures just like those who havent.... and if that makes us un mentally well or something, well... sorry? ^^''"

        Good point, I guess what I was trying to say is, in these fictional examples though, this kind of person is often held up as the gold standard for how people dealing with troubling life events should cope, and not everyone can live up to it, or should be expected to. But everyone's reaction to trauma is going to be personally different. There is going to be a lot of diversity. These character cliches might be how some people react, but they don't reflect the complexity of real life.

      • profile image

        SammyTehHooman 22 months ago

        This list I mostly agree with but I must say you are very much so more touchy than I am! With things like womens roles in the anime I dont entirely agree.

        I for one am someone with a VERY tragic past (not bragging, just being objective) And therefore have met many people whove gone through similar incidents (losing parents, homelessness, sexual abuse etc. and im only 19)

        I find it actually refreshing that me and my friends always smile and have a bright disposition on life. Why do people think that since we've been hurt we have to be doom and gloom? We arent FORCED to be happy or smiley, yknow? We are trying to get on with our lives and make happy futures just like those who havent.... and if that makes us un mentally well or something, well... sorry? ^^''

        Anyways, I love your blog and will definitely be reading more!

        Byebye~ :3

      • CYong74 profile image

        Kuan Leong Yong 22 months ago from Singapore

        You're so absolutely right with this list. Nearly every highschool anime I had watched had that perfect Mary Sue senpai. And she's usually the head of too many things too.


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