One of my buddies suggested I write a blog post to honor our favorite anime character from this last year. I collected nominations and here we are!
The original thought was to highlight the anime men of the year, but I know how much the anime fandom loves its waifus and I hate to disappoint. Enjoy! Let me know who you would add to the list. Warning! Spoilers ahead.
Elizabeth – The Seven Deadly Sins
The third princess of the Kingdom of Liones. Elizabeth is a kindhearted sort. She is determined to save both her kingdom and anyone else she can save along the way. She may not be the strongest warrior or even the most capable support, but she makes up for it with her courage and dedication to the people of her kingdom.
Elizabeth never fails to help someone in need, even when that someone is Meliodas and he is sticking his head in her skirt to “heal his wounds.” Yes, she might be a bit naive thanks to her sheltered upbringing, but that’s all the more reason to love her.
Gakuto – Prison School
Strategist and bro, Gakuto might not be all right in the head, but he is the best kind of friend you can ever hope to have. His obsession with the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history proves to be more than useless nerd triva. Gakuto is as sure to make you laugh as he is to make you cry. He often manages both at the same time.
Lets take a short look at the things Gakuto is willing to do in the name of Guan Yu, the Red Hare and friendship. Sacrifice his idealized days of youth by crapping his pants in public? Check. Risk his neck to cover for his friends? Check. Destroy his most prized possessions in the name of friendship? He does that too. You can’t hope to have a better friend than this guy, though it’s probably not hard to find one who smells better.
Nagi Aizato – Your Lie In April
Spoiled and self-righteous, Nagi is a breath of a fresh air in the midst of angst and tragedy. Initially out to get revenge for her hero, she comes to love the piano for its own sake as she spends time improving her skills.
Nagi fall in love with music in a new way when Arima puts her on the spot during a recital. It’s one of the more charming moments of Your Lie In April. She learns first hand how the hard work, sweat and tears that come with perfecting her art are redeemed in a moment on stage. Her character makes a statement: Sorrow has a purpose, endure it and find your reward.
Yuu Otosaka – Charlotte
Everyone loves a narcissist right? No? To be perfectly honest Yuu Otosaka isn’t the most likable guy around. Frankly, he’s a douche with super powers that he uses to cheat on tests and impress girls. Despite his personality, Yuu’s story paints a wonderful picture of redemption.
As Yuu comes to understand the truths of his world and his own ability he decides to shoulder the entire burden on his own. He sacrifices sanity and cherished memories to make the world a better place. It’s hard not to respect how far he comes. If you ever need your own narcissistic Jesus, Yuu Oyosaka is your man.
Kaori Miyanozo – Your Lie In April
Music is freedom, or so Kaori like to say. When she realizes she doesn’t have long to live she dedicates herself to the violin to create the kind of beautiful music she admired as a child.
When you dig beneath the surface of CRY MOTHERFUCKER CRY, Kaori’s life tells a tale of living life to the fullest and giving back. Kaori gets her chance to play and becomes a beacon of hope for own source of inspiration. It’s a beautiful thing to watch… Even if none of us want to revisit and experience the pain involved in watching it more than once.
Bell Cranel – Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Most harem protagonist are spoon fed a harem full of beautiful women. Those women throw themselves at his feat and fight over attending to his every need. Not so for Bell Cranel. He earns his harem the hard way by proving himself with blood, sweat and tears in an old school dungeon grind.
Bell is a charming character. He is probably the most effeminate character in his entire universe, but he wants to live up to the standards set by his woman loving granddad. Bell goes on an adventure to become a hero and gets his chance on multiple occasions. When Bell fights a minotaur as a level one noob he earns his spot as not only one of anime’s men of the year, but also as a certified badass. I think I speak for many an anime fan when I say I can’t wait to continue his adventure in anime form.
Ayame Kajou – A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist
Too much innocence is a terrifying thing. Ayame Kajou has one goal in life. She wants to become a dirty joke. Sadly, that is something denied to her by the draconian dystopia she lives in. Ayame’s fight to remove restrictions on dirty thought crosses over into meaningful rights we take for granted in our modern world. Freedom of expression and even freedom of education are at stake.
The interesting thing to note about Ayame and her plight is that she is fighting for the right to be honest and to say things even when people know they are “bad”. Despite her foul mouth and frequent displays of sexual frustration, she proves surprisingly innocent when she gets close to the real thing. The statement is an obvious one: Bad things are bad and I know they are bad, but being a bad joke doesn’t make me a bad person.
King – The Seven Deadly Sins
Tragic and frail, King is literally the King of the fairies, or at least he was before his forest was destroyed by demons. He abandoned his throne to search for a friend only to find madness and betrayal. King’s sin is the sin of sloth. While he rested the kingdom that was entrusted to him fell to ruin. By the time he realized what happened it was too late.
King’s story proved to be the unexpected tragedy of the year. The terrible things he goes through and the sense of sadness from his past make him easy to root for. The anime tells us that true sins are things you can’t atone for. King has his shining moment of glory when he finally manages to protect his friends, but it’s risking his life to fulfill an old promise that earned him my nomination. He may not be able to atone for the mistakes of his past, but he is a hero in my book.