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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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!