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November 02 2013


The 5 Different Main Character Archetypes in Anime

Just like any form of entertainment out there, Japanese animation offers various stories that deal with multiple topics and driven by well-written characters. And no, they don’t have to rely on Hentai to draw in more audiences.

When you watch any anime series, you might notice that a few character traits keep on recurring amongst the lead characters. If you have no idea what they are, below is a list of the many character archetypes you might see in any anime series and movie.

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The “Ryuu” Warrior

Anyone named Ryuu (or any variation of it) tends to follow certain character traits. First, they are male and are universally good. In addition, they display impressive fighting prowess that continues to develop as the series progresses. Apart from that, they display a strong sense of honor and fair play.

 This is for the reason that the word “ryu” is Japanese for dragon, an entity of power and justice in Japanese Folklore. If one character is attributed with the dragon, they would certainly be honor-bound fighters protecting individuals who can’t defend themselves. Examples of this character type include Ryu from Street Fighter and –Ryuu line of robots in Gaogaigar.

The Accidental Kid Pilot

Common amongst robot genres, characters of this type are generally forced into a war that they have no intention of joining (or have no idea about) in the first place. For various reasons explained in their own series, it seems that only they possess the ability to control and manipulate the main mecha.

Initially incompetent and cowardly, they soon develop confident and heroic qualities as the series progresses. Examples include Simon from Gurren Lagann, Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion (though he still has to display any braver qualities) and various lead pilots like Amuro Ray and Kira Yamato in the Mobile Suit Gundam Series

The Psychotic Killer

This one of the newer character archetypes to be made and they tend to reflect darker and more mature themes in anime. portrayals of this archetype tends to be vary depending on the series, from innocent individuals with a horrifying split personality, highly intellectual people bored with their life or even troubled individuals bestowed with a supernatural ability. What is common between them, however, is their penchant of killing characters in the most brutal ways possible. Examples of this archetype include Lucy from Elfen Leid, Light Yagami from Death Note and Alucard from Hellsing.

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The Redemption Seeker

Common amongst adventure series, this character is desperately seeking to make amends for the mistakes they have made in the past. Common in these characters is some sort of past action, or several of them, which weigh heavily upon them and they seemingly can’t escape from. Characters like the Elric Brothers of Fullmetal Alchemist and Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin come to mind when thinking of this archetype.

The Loveable Rogue

Like Han Solo of Star Wars Fame, these characters are in it for more personal reasons like money. Ever the cynic, they will shoot down any attempt to sympathize with other characters or even look at the bigger picture. Though they are necessarily selfish or arrogant, they were written in the way that the audience will root for them when they beat or steal something from someone. Plus, it helps that none of their victims were likeable in the first place. Characters like Arsene Lupin III of Lupin II fit this archetype perfectly.

These are a few of the many anime character archetypes out there. You can learn more of them and their different stories by watching anime here: http://www.animecraving.com/

Arsene Lupin III - "Berlin"
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