Why I Find These 8 Anime Character Types the Most Annoying
Round vs. Flat Characters and Anime Stereotypes
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 are seen as "two-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 Misérables 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 cliché or stereotype. In anime, there are numerous recurring character tropes. Sometimes, these can effectively create 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.
What makes a particular instance of a trope bad?
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, hairstyle, 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. They will recognize the cliché as cliché, and realize quickly that these creators have nothing original to add. They're just using cookie cutters or templates to give us a story.
And here are my eight least favorite of cliché anime character types.
Note about the examples I use (in the pictures) to illustrate the article:
If I choose a particular character to illustrate the article, that is an example of a trope I don't like, but it does not mean I don't like that character in particular. Or that that particular character is a poorly written example of the trope he or she is being used to illustrate. A multitude of images of similar-looking characters is used here to demonstrate the ubiquity and sameness of certain anime character types. I had a lot of comments and questions on this article that come from a misunderstanding of this, so I felt like clarifying.
8. The Mary Sue Senpai (Also Known As: The Ojou-Sama)
If you have a protagonist with a crush on senpai (an upperclassmen), the object of his desire is this girl. She is 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. Everyone else looks like a dork around her.
- 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 hairstyle, like princess curls, pigtails, braids, etc.)
- 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
If done poorly, she's too perfect. She doesn't seem like her actual canonical age. She seems like a very elegant and refined 30-something infiltrating the high school or middle school setting. This trope glamorizes richness, making it seem like rich people are totally flawless, god-like beings. It also can be a cheap way to create drama: the totally average male protagonist (which I get to later) falling for the "dream girl" who is way out of his league.
Often, by the end of the anime, he is rewarded with affection for 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. I definitely would not put up with elitist snobbery in real life, let alone find it attractive in a potential partner.
Most importantly, this kind of character is just rarely interesting. You know she's going to be heavily restricted by the bounds 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.
Good Versions and Subversions of this Type:
- Satsuki from Kill La Kill 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 is a parody of this type, that points out its classism.
- Ayame Kajou from Shimoneta 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 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 resembles this character type superficially, but is also revealed to be a lot more complex the more you find out about her.
7. The Annoying Talking Animal
A fairly common anime staple, this character is always at the hero's side. Often, they give exposition in info dumps. Or sometimes it's subtle guidance they give the main characters. They're cute, they're charming, they move merchandise and keep up brand awareness of the show. But they can also be annoying, because
- they ruin serious moments with bad comedy,
- their catchphrases and associated running gags quickly get stale, or
- their blunders make things harder for the protagonist.
A good version of this character would be more competent, but not infallible. They wouldn't know (and explain) everything that happens. But neither would they always seem to be in the way, or always the bumbling comedic relief.
- Happy and upbeat. Cute appearance, often acts child-like.
- Running gags and/or a catchphrase.
- Associated with comedy, often breaks up dramatic tension with comedy.
- Helps or guides the main character(s).
- Is an animal, usually with supernatural powers and unusual characteristics.
- Usually able to talk and intelligent on a human level, though some may act more like animals.
- 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. If poorly written, they will speak in paragraph-long info dumps.
Why I Dislike This Type
It's not always done poorly, but when it is it's annoying. I find comic relief annoying, in general. This type of character often comes across as annoying when the writers are clearly trying to make it 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.
They're also frequently overused as an exposition device and source of knowledge. Since these characters are supernatural or magical, they often have helpful advice to give. But this can be overdone if they're telling the audience a lot of things about their world, instead of showing.
These characters also have a habit of coming to the rescue at the eleventh hour. If this character exists, be prepared to see them save people at the last minute, either directly by using their own powers, or indirectly by getting help or giving the main character new powers.
But those 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.
Good Versions and Subversions of this Type:
- Some Pokémon and Digimon are an exception. For the most part, Pokémon don't talk, so they can be cute without having that annoying child-like tendency of talking too much or saying stupid things.
- Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica acts like this character type, but is actually cunning and manipulative.
- Luna in Sailor Moon isn't bumbling or annoying, but she is an info dump queen.
6. The Adult-Like 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 are obvious erotic scenes with them, which is rare. I'm just uncomfortable using a term that implies the sexual fetishizing of little girls so casually.
Unfortunately, the sexualization of these characters is probably the reason why there are so many of them. Especially those who are not only a bit smart for their age, but act like full-fledged adults. It makes them annoying. Anime likes to make the excuse that the "loli" is there, among older children or adults, because of her intelligence. Child prodigies are smart, sure, but not every child is a prodigy. 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 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 growing up. 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!
It bothers me that these girls often just exist to be sexualized by the fans. The anime industry is not so much about selling anime as it is about selling merchandise. Japanese culture also seems to be 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.
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, there 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:
These characters tend to annoy me because they represent a larger problem within anime: sexualizing little girls. It's weird, off-putting, gross, and makes me very uncomfortable. It's not why I got into anime in the first place, definitely.
But, 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. They can often act like 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 can be funny, but it can also get old quickly. They tend to be very prideful and defensive. This character can is often "flustered" or "frustrated", because they have a huge psychological complex built around feeling inferior to everyone else because of their age. Or height, or (sigh) breast size.
So they act like the typical aloof, bitchy, tsundere princess (I deal with the tsundere later, it is also one of my least favorite types). These characters usually pop in halfway through the anime like an unwanted guest, and they 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 deal with 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. And if I see another "flat chested loli vs. tall and busty gal" love rivalry again, I swear to God...
Interesting Subversions and Good Versions of this Type:
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.
However, 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
She's usually smacked into an anime with the subtlety of a bolt of lightning. Tsunderes are one of the most overplayed 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. Most of the time, they're more "tsun-tsun" than "dere-dere," and don't actually undergo that much character change. Also, because "dere-dere" implies a romantic interest in the main character, these characters are all defined by their relationship with the (male) protagonist. That's why they often fall short of seeming like a real person, because real people have personalities for their own reasons. Reactions to a single person are not what their whole being revolves around.
This trope is also somewhat sexist, as it boils down to just anime's version of Taming of the Shrew.
Technically, Asuka Langley Sohryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion is not a tsundere. She has the harsh "tsun-tsun" part, but doesn't actually use that behavior to mask a crush on the protagonist. And she never actually softens her attitude 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.
- Pigtails, or pinned-up hair.
- Red or blonde hair is common, but other (usually bright and warm) colors can be present as well.
- Eyes are drawn in the cat-like style, less rounded than more innocent characters.
- They 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 right away that I'm not getting substance or depth in that character. Not usually, anyway. She's the typical "lady doth protest too much" character, acting harshly towards a character she likes, because she likes him. While this might be a fantasy wish fulfillment for some guys, it really 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.
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 and Good Versions of the Type:
- 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 's mother committed suicide, and she always tried hard to impress her step-mom after that. She always felt like she was never good enough to be either her real mother's "doll," or her new mother's daughter. 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's female lead, Taiga, is often called a tsundere, but she's not as flat of a character as a badly written tsundere.
The Psychology of Being Attracted to Tsundere Characters
4. The Happy Magical Slave
The Japanese place less of a value on freedom than Western culture. 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.
- A goddess, alien, or other supernatural creature.
- Has powers far beyond a normal human's.
- Incredibly ignorant and naive about the world.
- Wishes to satisfy the protagonist's every whim.
This character often relies on the 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, just the whole "happiness in slavery" thing. We do not see these magical women rebel or revolt against their masters. It's assumed that the male protagonist is good, even when he's a complete jerk. Her goodness is supposed to be such that it justifies the condition of happy slavery. But that makes it seem like they are idealizing an unhealthy relationship in which a "good woman" is an entirely selfless martyr. It's unrealistic.
These stories also make it seem like coming of age, as a man, means learning how to manage and educate a slave. It also sends the message that domestic, sexual slavery is morally justified by whatever supernatural bullshit the writers can think of: 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.
- 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, is fighting for Anthy's honor and dignity as a person.
3. The Overly Plucky Tragedy Girl
This type of character can be male, like Hayate from Hayate the Combat Butler, 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.
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 trauma, 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 living in denial. 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 okay, 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. Related annoying tropes are the "ill girl" or "littlest cancer patient", in other words, characters who are sympathetic and endearing because they're fragile, sick, and dying. Too often, these are stock characters, without much personality, independence, or agency. They're just there to make other characters, and the audience, feel bad. They are also commonly objectified, in the sense that often they're reduced to "the sad thing" that serves as a motivation for the protagonist.
- Shiro from Deadman Wonderland suffered horrible experiments as a child. Even so, she comes off as a bubbly, carefree girl when she meets Ganta. But as we get to know her, we realize that she only acts this way around him because of a promise she made in the past, and not because she is always actually optimistic.
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 swoon*
Whatever, I have work to do, out of my way, ladies!
I know 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 are still annoying like them. 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 expression of said feelings. And the panties drop for him anyway.
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 rewards for being good. Punishment is often 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, 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. And like the Mary Sue-senpai, their love interests fawn all over on them while they barely notice.
- "Jerk with a heart of gold", your mileage may vary.
- Oblivious to romantic and sexual advances, either intentionally or unintentionally. Does not have much or any sexual interest. This gives him power over the girls who desperately pursue him, or makes him immune to the charms of the femme fatale.
- Focuses on one thing (often something associated with increasing his status, like training) so much that women are not a distraction to them.
- Unintentionally hurts girls' feelings for comedy or drama.
- Sometimes can have an immature "girls are icky" attitude.
- 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
It's not terrible per se, but it's bad if it is an abusive relationship dynamic portrayed as a romance (like with sexy slave characters). These kinds of characters are overused and boring, like other character types on this list. It also promotes the "women love jerks" stereotype. In real life, as hard as it is for some 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 the girl. But this is usually without them actually doing anything "nice". Also, "jerk" guys often do nice things for women they're interested in, like protecting her. They might say they were just in the neighborhood, but we love to see the cute hero beat up a few bullies who are hassling his lady.
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 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. And their initial jerk-ness is just there to set them up for character development. They often become better people by the end of the series.
- Renton from Eureka 7 may seem like he's a clueless jerk, but really he's just an angsty teen in love (so he obviously has sex on the brain). He doesn't know how to interact with girls, so he comes off as oblivious. His character develops throughout the show, and by the end, he is a kind, emotionally intelligent young man.
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 or think about! Call now!
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.
- 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).
- Often the victim of an unwanted harem. Poor, poor guy...
- Stuff is explained to him in expository info dumps by said female characters, so they're usually written as a transfer student or freshman.
- Will have the infamous anime cliché 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
They're boring. Basic. 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. 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 from Pokémon is the protagonist, because everything that happens in the anime is caused by or linked to his desire to become a Pokémon master. But these characters are passive and weak. They're reactive rather than active. They usually have weak or no desires of their own, other than: 1) a hot girlfriend, and 2) to survive whatever situation they're dropped into.
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.
- 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.)
- The Otaku Protagonist: Shows up in more and more shows now that isekai is a dominant genre. Usually a sign that a show is unfunny and unoriginal. Better examples are when the show doesn't glamorize otaku-ness, but shows negative consequences of that lifestyle, such as in Welcome to NHK. Other examples seem like they're just trying to stroke the egos of otakus. You get this in Western fiction now too, with things like Ready Player One.
- The Imouto: Anime's new and "improved" way to fetishize little girls, this time with 20% more incest! Thanks, I hate it.
Recognizing the Patterns
There are certainly 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 "new" anime characters that just feel recycled.
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. This almost ruined my enjoyment of, for example Re: Zero: Starting Life Again in a New World. Re: Zero starts off with a first episode that seems cliché as hell. You have a bland protagonist 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 save him from some street thugs (also a cliché), and guess what, she has a TALKING CAT. It took me a long time to make myself watch more Re: Zero, which I did because I wanted to know just why such a cliché-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.
If You Want to Write Your Own Manga . . .
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. Instead, play around with it and make sure your characters are unique, not clichés, 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! And best of luck!
Which Do You Think Is the Worst?
Questions & Answers
Isn't Luna from "Sailor Moon" different than the annoying talking animal troupe? She's pretty serious and mature with Usagi.
I want to clarify because of many of the comments I've been getting that the examples I show as pictures are just examples of a trope. And disliking a trope because it's overused, cliche, or often poor writing, DOES NOT mean I dislike every character used as an example of the trope. The examples are simply used to show HOW the trope is used in popular anime. Individual example characters are mostly shown to represent the origin of the trope, and it's more well-known examples. That's so people can understand what the trope means. But the examples themselves are not bad. It's just that later, derivative works, did create bad examples, and every one of these tropes is pushing into cliche territory by being overused and often poorly executed. Saying you hate tsunderes, for example, does not mean you hate Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion, although she is (arguably) an example of a tsundere.
Similarly, I don't think Luna herself is annoying. She is one of the better "talking animal sidekick" characters. But this is a type of character I often hate in more recent anime because it's so often poorly written. Again, Luna is simply an example of a trope or pattern I dislike about more recent anime. Not a character I necessarily dislike per se.Helpful 28
What are your thoughts on the weird creepy antagonist who displays flamboyant behavior and shows an almost pedophilic interest in the young hero Hisoka from hunter hunter or Orochimaru from Naruto?
I enjoy Hisoka very much. Lol. I didn't watch all of Naruto. I can tell you the LGBT+ community wants representation of more positive same-sex-attraction in media. Sure. But I think I like how Hisoka is flirtatious and confident, in a way that reads as sexy in a playful way. I also like how badass he is. A lot of antagonists have some kind of subtly erotic tension between themselves and the protagonist. I guess I don't mind that as subtext too much. It can get creepy when it's an adult and a child though like that is a problem with Hisoka, I understand why certain moments with him might feel awkward. But it's probably also intentional. He's a bad guy, making the viewer uncomfortable is part of what makes them the bad guy.Helpful 3
Where is Meowth in this list of annoying anime characters?
I liked Meowth. Especially the episode where his backstory is explored. Not always funny, but not the worst character in the show.Helpful 16
Why do anime guys let the girls lead them by the balls?
There could be many reasons, depending on the type of show.
It allows a harem series to exist without there being any actual sex. If there was on-screen sex, it would push the show into being pornography. So to be acceptable on general TV in the desirable time slots, they want "sex sells" without actual sex. So harem shows often feature some kind of conflict that explain why the women who want to do it with the protagonist do not. It usually comes down to the girls being defiant and competitive amongst themselves. It might also be because a lot of anime have a loser protagonist who does whatever a girl tells him to do because at least a girl is actually talking to him. Examples: Kyon in 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya', the protagonist in 'Sakurako: Lovely Bones", etc.
Other times dominant women and weak men are played for comedy because it's considered funny to reverse what they consider normal gender dynamics - like with 'Prison School'.Helpful 15
Isn't Asuna from Sword Art: Online a Mary Sue? She’s got to be part of the strongest guild, respected, comes from a rich family, etc.
Yeah, you could definitely make that case. Part of why I don't like SAO. The point of MMO games is that everyone is supposed to use strategy and fight collectively, working as a team. But all I saw in the episodes I watched before I dropped it was that either Asuna or Kirito charges in and saves the day each time, without much of the planning or strategy that goes into real cooperative game-play.Helpful 9