Everybody loves them…except me

Everybody loves them…except me

I was thinking about the characters I’ve liked from every anime series I’ve watched. What I quickly realized is that in many series I’ve watched, the character with the biggest fanbase is one that I’m indifferent to, or actively dislike. So, I’ve compiled a list of characters (some more popular than others) that most fans who have seen these series like…but I don’t.

  1. Sailor Mercury (Sailor Moon): I’ll start off with her because she’s a pretty recognizable character. Like many of the other characters on this list, I don’t actually dislike this character – I find her to be pretty boring, but harmless nontheless. However, I don’t understand her enormous popularity – in a poll from Animage magazine ranking the most popular female anime characters of 1992 (the same year as Sailor Moon ‘s debut), Sailor Mercury was voted number one.  Out of all the characters from Sailor Moon , I definitely prefer Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter, who have much brighter personalities.
  2. The elusive Madoka.

    Madoka (Kimagure Orange Road): Now, KOR is from 1987, so I wouldn’t exactly say Madoka’s the most popular female character in anime today. However, back in the late 80s, Madoka was the number one girl-next-door for anime fans in Japan. Even in the late 90s, when Kimagure first came to America, Madoka was seen as a goddess by male anime fans because of her beauty and constant teasing of Kyosuke, the main male protagonist in the series. However, the reason why fans love her is the very reason I have a problem with her character: she’s too perfect. She can play the saxophone and piano, she can sing, horseback ride, ski, surf, is beautiful, and gets good grades without trying. Her only flaw is that she’s so melancholy – which is because everything has come so easily to her. Since I don’t find this to be a very good excuse for her sullen nature, I don’t really sympathize with her. Meanwhile, her best friend and love rival Hikaru, who is considered to be very annoying by most Kimagure fans, I find to be very sympathetic because she is the third wheel in this triangle.

  3. Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist): Here’s another character I don’t have any actual problems with – I just don’t see what the fuss is over him. Now, Ed is still more popular than Roy, but there is a huge fanbase of fangirls for this flaming hot coloniel. Now aside from the fact that I don’t actually find him hot, I’d much watch Ed and Al in action, or find out Lust’s background than waste time seeing Ed and Roy duke it out. Yet,  he was always voted in Newtype’s Top Ten male characters throughout 2004, when FMA was first airing in Japan. Furthermore, in an Oricon poll asking Japanese fans which side characters were most deserving of a spinoff, Roy ranked sixth among male fans. But considering how many fans love Roy because they ship him with Ed, I may have to chalk this one up to not being a yaoi fangirl.
  4. Haruhi in a typically bossy stance.

    Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya): Haruhi is a unique character on this list for several reasons. First, she comes from a series that I really dislike, while all the other characters on this list come from anime I actually enjoyed at one point or another. Second, rather than being neutral towards her or curious as to why she’s so popular, Haruhi is definitely the character that I most actively dislike on this list (and probably in anime in general). Finally, while she’s an enormously popular character, maybe more than any other character I’ve mentioned, she’s also got a significant hatedom. Yet while there are many who can’t stand the loud, bossy leader of the SOS club who sexually assaults it’s female members, her fans seem to outnumber her foes. In a 2010 Newtype poll, Haruhi was ranked the fifth most popular female character of the 2000s. What I have noticed, however, is that the people who dislike her character often tend to be women. Thus, my hatred for this character perhaps can best be explained by the fact that I am not a member of the show’s target demographic: moe-loving males.

  5. Riku Harada (D.N.Angel): While Riku is not anywhere near as popular as, say, Haruhi Suzumiya, of all the female characters in D.N.Angel, Riku is by far the most liked. Now this could be because fans find Risa, Riku’s boy-crazy twin sister to be shallow and Mio, a hyper girl who isn’t from the original manga, to be annoying, thus making her the best of the worst. However, while Risa didn’t really bother me because I’ve met several girls like her, I found Riku to be too bossy and irritating to be considered the ‘nice’ girl, and I’ve never cared for her since.
  6. Rui Hanazawa (Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers). This…is a hard one. I think the main reason I’m not a fan of Rui (aside from the fact that I don’t see why people find him to be a prince charming) is because I love Tsukasa Domyoji, Rui’s rival love interest, so much and want everyone to love him too. That sounds sort of childish, but I just hate when people gush over Rui so much when I find him to be cold and kind of boring for a good portion of the series. There are so many fans who were willing to look past Rui’s jerky moments because of his kinder acts towards Tsukushi, but weren’t willing to do the same for Tsukasa, EVEN WHEN TSUKASA RISKED HIS LIFE FOR HER. Just look at this poll: Crea magazine asked for the top 100 male manga characters Japanese females fell in love with most, and Rui is number four on this list. Four. Out of all male characters in every manga ever created. The only saving grace is that Tsukasa is also on the list, at a very respectable number thirteen. But he’s so much more funny and loving. Sigh. There is no justice.

So have you guys noticed that you tend not to care for characters everyone else seems to love? Share your thoughts!

30 thoughts on “Everybody loves them…except me

  1. I also don’t really get the deal with Roy Mustang; his character design seems really plain and I don’t care much for the development he got throughout any of the series he’s been in, so I have trouble figuring out what makes him so appealing. I’m also pretty neutral towards Sailor Mercury, but Venus has always been my favorite, along with Moon for their more outgoing personalities.

    As far as Haruhi is concerned, there’s a significant portion of her fan and anti-fanbases that take Hirano Aya’s performance into consideration. As a character in the light novels, I don’t care for her much at all, but Hirano’s performance is one that I actually enjoy, which in turn makes me like Haruhi more as a character. I know some folks that really dislike Hirano’s work as Haruhi and feel like she’s miscast for the role, and summarily dislike the character a lot more than they do in the novels.

    1. I agree with you about Roy’s character design – I could never understand why some female fans find him to be good-looking because he looks like many other anime characters and is sort of plain in my opinion. And yay, another Sailor Venus fan!

      As for fans liking Haruhi because of Hirano’s performance, I actually always thought people loved Aya Hirano because they loved Haruhi. She wasn’t amazingly popular until she voiced Haruhi, and people didn’t think of her as overrated until after she performed in the show.

      1. That’s a fair assessment on Hirano. For me personally, I was reading the novels before I had actually even seen the series, and I actually like Haruhi more because she’s voiced by Hirano — so I’m backwards I suppose. I already had enjoyed her performances in Death Note and especially Lucky Star, so finally hearing her voice Haruhi was a level-upper for the character in my case.

        Haruhi’s just less ‘in your face’ in the novels, so it’s easier to just ignore her most of the time and concentrate on Kyon’s thoughts anyway.

        And I’ve been a proud Venus fan for a very long time?! I used to do some scanslation stuff for Sailor V, and now that I actually own domestic Sailor V releases (thank you based Kodansha), it’s reaaaaaally nostalgic being able to thumb through the pages. Can’t wait for the third so I can start collecting Sailor Moon. =)

  2. I never really thought about it before. I agree with Haruhi Suzumiya. The first time my cousin showed me the anime, I didn’t quite understand what was the popularity behind this anime or the lead who it is named after. She’s way too aggressive, and she has a whole slew of personality issues that I hardly find charming.

    Sailor Mercury is definitely not my favorite Sailor Scout. Unfortunately, I always found her to be vanilla compared to all the other scouts. I always enjoyed manga Sailor Mars (not so much anime Mars) and Venus and Jupiter have always captured my interest aside from Sailor Moon herself of course.

    I’m sure there are other characters I may not have cared for, but I can’t think of them at the moment.

    1. I think it’s interesting that most of the people I know who have expressed that they dislike Haruhi’s character are females, which tells me that alot of Haruhi’s bossiness appeals to males in particular (and her character design doesn’t hurt, either). As for Sailor Mercury, although she was the most popular senshi when Sailor Moon was running in Japan, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of her being the most popular in America. I think there’s something about the quiet, smart girl that specifically appeals to Japanese audiences, which is why characters like Yuki Nagato and Rei Ayanami are so popular.

      1. I’ll go off on a limb, as a guy, and agree with you there. Her character design is very appealing (with extra ponytail moe on occasion). The big thing that I’d consider appealing about her as far as her character goes is that she constantly shifts between being a genki girl and borderline tsundere. She doesn’t QUITE get to tsundere, but considering how appealing of a trope it is in general to male audiences that read/watch this kinda stuff, it probably keeps them drawn to her as a character because it’s not always there. Which ends up making it more special/appealing when it happens. I know I personally like it when Haruhi gets kinda huffy over Kyon and Mikuru throughout the series.

  3. I think the main reason Rui Hanazawa appeals to women is because he has that air of mystery and fragility to him. Women see him as vulnerable/secretive and want to protect him because he is kind of spaced out and seems hard to approach. Despite the fact that he is kind of hard to talk to, they fantasize about getting through to him and being special in that regard. That is until you realize underneath the mysterious image and angelic face he is less fragile than odd, and less mysterious than autistic.
    As for Sailor moon, I was always partial to Usagi myself. She gets a bad rap as an airhead/klutz, but she is hilarious and makes the funniest faces.

    1. I think you’re right that a female who likes Rui likes him because she knows if he paid attention to her that means she’s special…but the same can be said about Tsukasa. I actually don’t even care that Rui is odd, I just don’t think any of the ‘nice’ things he did that female fans love him for was anything special.

      I definitely agree with you about Usagi – people criticize her for being just another whiny crybaby, Usagi’s one of the kindest characters in anime and manga.

      1. Fair enough, it does seem that Tsukasa liking a girl is even more rare and special since he is so innocent in some ways that Rui is not. The fans were really just projecting whatever they wanted onto Rui, since it is easy to do that with quiet, aloof types.

        It is good to hear other people stick up for Usagi, She can be rather silly at times, but not in a bad or unappealing way.🙂

        As for characters I dislike, I think I prefer to block them out of my memory completely.

  4. Suzumiya Haruhi is an interesting, but very problematic, show. The best things about it are the opening, the version of God Knows in one of the episodes, and the way Kyon deals with all the crap going on around him.

    I can fully sympathise with wondering why the lead character is so popular.

    KOR was always a mixed bag in terms of quality and writing. One friend has observed that it was a very good 13 episode show, pity about the other 27 episodes. My own reviews of the OAV showed them to be highly variable as well, and the movies are the two strongest pieces of KOR out there.

    In that sense not liking the pin-up cover girl, er, Madoka is perfectly understandable. If you’re a Hikaru fan I would recommend the 2nd movie, because the whiny girl became an astonishing woman who OWNS the first 2/3rds of the movie.

    1. There were many reasons I didn’t like Haruhi Suzumiya (I feel it became popular for superficial reasons like the episodes being shown out of order), but Haruhi herself certainly didn’t help my impression.

      I have seen the second KOR movie, and while it’s not the best part of the series, I do appreciate that it shows that Hikaru truly is a kind girl and not the annoying brat a lot of fans think she is.

  5. I’m not sure why Mercury is popular outside Japan (I’m surprised she is, I’ve never seen many of her fans), but I read somewhere that Mercury was so popular in Japan because she was like the ideal girl due to the fact that school is taken super serious and there is a lot of pressure on kids and teens (of both sexes) to do really well. I like Jupiter more myself, but I’m actually pretty similar to Mercury now. I didn’t really like her growing up, but I’m sort of attached to her now because out of all the inner senshi, she most matches my reactions and thoughts, so I can definitely relate to her more (well anime-wise, in the manga all the girls are pretty calm and rational).

    I’m not a huge Roy fan either. He’s a cool character and I certainly like him a lot, but I wouldn’t put him on my list of favourite male characters. That said, I do see the appeal. He’s got a gritty backstory and unlike Ed and Al, who are still boys, he’s a man. So I can see where the anime crushes come from. xD

    Haruhi, I’ve already mentioned once. I don’t really hate her but I don’t like her either. Sometimes she’s genuinely interesting, other times I roll my eyes at how blatant her fan service is. I do like her relationship with Kyon though and the first season got a few chuckles out of me, so I can’t really hate her.That said, I was always under the impression that Yuki had the bigger fanbase, so this is interesting.

    So, I’m a Rui fan here. As for the appeal? For me personally, it’s how gentle he is and not possessive he is. The reason I have a hard time really getting behind Tsukushi and Tsukasa as a couple is because I really don’t like how super possessive he is. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it first hand, but there are times the HYD manga crosses the line for me and I genuinely find it disturbing. I’m a big fan of bickering relationships (most of my favourites have it in some form), but for Hana Yori Dango, I like Rui more personally because he seems like better boyfriend material. (That and he is personally my type in real life. I tend to like the nerdy, quiet boys who I can have a serious conversation with).

    1. I figured that was the reason Mercury’s so popular in Japan – and at least I don’t have a problem with her character, unlike some of the other ones on this list. As for Haruhi, I’ve never been sure whether she or Yuki are more popular (it seems to alternate), yet while Yuki’s popularity doesn’t bother me too much (save for the implication of quiet girls being popular with males suggesting that a woman who doesn’t express herself is attractive), Haruhi’s certainly does.

      I do think Rui is better boyfriend material in comparison to Tsukasa…on paper. I don’t see any chemistry between him and Tsukushi, and I never was convinced of his feelings for her. And while Tsukasa has also probably been meaner than Rui, he’s also done nicer things than Rui. I can totally see what you mean about Tsukasa being possessive, but there were a few scenes later on the manga that showed me he had changed. Basically, I guess Rui just never stood out to me and I could never actually see him as a nice guy because even when he was the only ‘kind’ member of the F4, he wasn’t all that kind.

      1. It seems we are reversed there then. xD I actually don’t really like Yuki at all (pretty indifferent to her) and I am genuinely perplexed by her popularity as she has zero personality. To me, at least Haruhi has some sort of presence, annoying and juvenile as it may be at time, whereas Yuki is so doll like (and this is coming from someone who usually does like kuuderes). Well I guess anything is better than Mikiru being popular.😛

        Yeah, I’m holding out for more character growth.🙂 I really want to like them. I do like them together, but there are these moments in the manga where I think Kamio is trying to make us hate him or something because he just crosses way too many lines (it doesn’t help that Tsukushi actually feels like she did something wrong in these moments :[ ). Rui was definitely mean, in the sense that he played with her feelings a few times, especially early on and I didn’t really like that Rui. But after he comes back from France again, that was the Rui I like the most. I think him being so honest with her and how they could talk about anything together just won me over. The date contrast was exactly why I prefer Rui to Tsukasa. Tsukasa gives Tsukushi no agency, he butts in all the time, whereas Rui gives her space. I mean there are a few nice moments where he does, but up to where I have read, 90% of the time, he believes he knows better and won’t let her say otherwise. And knowing guys like that IRL, it’s a major turn-off. But like I said, I haven’t given up on them. I’ve got 20+ volumes to go and if he matures, then that’s even better. I just wish Tsukushi didn’t blame herself some times, you know?

  6. From my point of view Ami Mizuno is a real friend in need, everytime there is danger she is there to save the day. Although she doesn’t like outdoor activities very much..for her friends she can enjoy walking in the park or going on vacation to the seaside.Usagi teaches her how to have fun, because vacation means laughing and sports activies. My favourite Sailor Senshi are Usagi Tsukino and Rei Hino for their sense of justice and outgoing personalities.
    Rui Hanazawa(Hana Yori Dango) I agree with your disapproval of him, although he is a great violonist ^ . ^ I don’t like the fact that he approaches Tsukushi only after he was disillusioned by Shizuka who left Paris. But I like the fact that he understood Tsukushi feelings for Tsukasa and he was a true friend for both of them ^ ^ wishing love and happiness.

    1. I guess I can see why people would like Ami’s shyness, and that she gradually warms up over the course of the series, but I still think several of the other senshi are more interesting. I agree with what you said about Rui – it was only at the end of the series when he said his role was to watch over Tsukushi and Tsukasa that I started to tolerate him.

  7. I didn’t know Sailor Mercury was so popular. I don’t really dislike any of the Sailor Scouts but Mercury isn’t one I particularly like either.

    I’m also neutral to Mustang but I think the reason people like him is because he’s “cool” but also troubled and anti-hero-ish I guess.

    Heh, if you’ve read enough of my blog, you’d know that Haruhi is my most favorite character (and the series itself is my most favorite). However, I can understand why people don’t like her, especially those who have only watched the anime. I actually noticed that more females than males tend to dislike her too. But I’m female so maybe I’m one of the few. I wrote all about why I like her and the series in general here if you’re interested: http://animeyume.com/blog/2012/05/18/remembering-love-haruhiism/

    1. Thanks for commenting! I guess I can see why people think of Roy as an anti-hero, but I remember skipping past alot of the scenes when he was talking to Ed because I just didn’t find him interesting. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who doesn’t get his appeal.

      I haven’t read any of the Haruhi Suzumiya novels, and while I can see why, as you wrote in your post, you see her as oblivious, but that still doesn’t excuse her actions for me, not to mention I think it’s pretty unrealistic for someone to be as invasively aggressive and self-centered as she is.

  8. I have to admit, I also dislike Haruhi. I watched some of the anime and read two of the light novels, but I was so put off by Haruhi’s treatment of her club member, Mikuru, that it killed the series for me. I especially hated the scene at the beginning of the series when Haruhi blackmails the computer club by threatening to tell a lie about how they gang raped Mikuru. It really put a bad taste in my mouth. After reading the second novel, I couldn’t stomach her treatment of Mikuru anymore.

    1. I think that scene in particular is the reason many people dislike Haruhi’s character. Before that she had been bossy, but that scene just comes across as completely cruel, yet it’s played for comedy. That being said, even if I liked (or could at least tolerate) Haruhi, I don’t know if I would have kept watching the series since I don’t like anything else about the series either.

  9. 1. Same. I prefer Sailor Mars. She’s so cool and sassy with those kimono. I have weakness for badass miko girl.

    2. Don’t read the manga so no comment. From your description, she’s kind of mary sue.

    3. I prefer Major Armstrong. Tall, manly, have nice muscles, plus he’s sparkle. What not to like?

    4. Same. She’s too bossy to me. And how she forced Mikuru to wear fanservice outift make me go… ugh.

    5. Hahahaha, Riku is a stereotype tomboy girl.

    1. Mars used to be my favorite, but lately it’s been Venus because she’s so funny. And I’ve always loved Jupiter – I think because she’s a feminine tomboy and the episode of the anime where she’s introduced is one of my favorites. The only character in FMA who left a real impression on me was Al – I thought he was sweet! And you’re right that Riku is very stereotypical, which is why she doesn’t stand out in a good way to me. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Oh my gosh, thank you.

    Thank you.

    I CAN’T STAND HARUHI.

    She is THE most annoying character I have EVER come across, and I have watched/red SEVERAL animes/mangas I don’t like. I’m a very objective person, I try to see every side of their personality possible and excuse them for it depending on the situation and all. But Haruhi? Oh, dear lord. NO. She is the most extreme, worst Mary-sue to have ever existed.

    I had no idea Sailor Mercury was so likable, though. She IS really boring, at least to me. She has no personality at all, really. I get that she’s quiet and laid-back, but those type of people can have personality. Mercury simply doesn’t have it. I absolutely love Sailor Jupiter, though. She’s just plain awesome.

    As for Rui, I think he’s a little whiny. Reasonably so (parents dead, pretty empty life, etc), but still, he’s a bit mopey. I do think he’s better suited to be a boyfriend than Tsukasa, BUT, I also watched the Japanese motion picture series of Hana Yori Dango. There was this point near the end when Rui told Tsukushi he loved her, and that he wasn’t sure why. She pretty much said she loved him too, but cared for Tsukasa on a higher level. He’s a jerk and all, but she felt she could be herself around him. That made me realize Rui isn’t fit for Tsukushi. Re-watching it, I could see Tsukushi never really was herself around Rui, not completely. She was too self-conscious. Around Tsukasa, however, she’s all out Tsukushi. Despite how possessive and controlling he likes to be, she’s still her, she seems more free with him than with Rui somehow. Rui would be a good boyfriend, yes, but not the right one for Tsukushi specifically. When I realized that, I was alright with Tsukasa and Tsukushi, especially since I knew Tsukushi would continue to change Tsukasa into a better person.

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