All-time Favorite Characters
1. Okabe Rintarou (Steins;Gate)
If there’s a character that has all the makings to be a good protagonist — Okabe Rintarou is that man. He feels different at first, his… let’s just say, “unique” attitude makes him looks like he’s segregated from the rest of the cast at times. Because of that, he can be enjoyable to be with for some, but infuriating to others. But regardless, endearing when you realized the reasons he acts that way, and sympathetic because of his tormenting time-traveling journey. Okabe’s fun but serious, flawed but is willing to do the right thing. He’s not a perfect character by any means, but imperfection makes the best character, and imperfection creates a protagonist you just really want to root for.
2. Sakata Gintoki (Gintama)
Gintama’s idea of shounen is one everybody may not be as familiar with, and it’s resident protagonist reflects that sentiment. Gintoki is sarcastic, lazy, makes lots of dirty jokes and just generally has attitudes you don’t normally expect a shounen protagonist to have. Gintoki complains a lot and is petty as fuck, but despite all of his faults, he is so sincere in his trashiness you just can’t not love him. What’s more, he’s shown he can be pretty capable when the situation calls for it. After all, a true hero makes his cool appearance only in the nick of time right? With that being said, Gintoki might arguably be a better shounen protagonist than most of his peers.
3. Tohsaka Rin (Fate/Stay Night)
I’m gonna be frank — Rin is the perfect waifu. Rin is the answer to my dream character, as she possesses all the looks and personality that infatuated me to no end. Tsundere, twintails, zettai ryouiki; at some point one just has to ask — how is it possible for one character to be so perfect? I also like how she marches to the beat of her own drum, honest and straightforward in an otherwise, setting where having dead-eyes and tricking your opponents is the norm. Aside from that, she’s also an important character to the series and played a pivotal part in all scenarios of Fate/Stay Night. Last but not least, she’s also extremely expressive and has the best faces in the series.
4. Shana (Shakugan no Shana)
Shana is a character all love or hate and for me, it’s the former. Aside from being the first tsundere I ever came across, a character archetype I like even now; the best thing about Shana is her development itself. In retrospect, while it was lengthy, Shana’s character development throughout the course of three seasons actually feel pretty natural. And again, yes, red-haired tsundere with fire powers. What’s not to like?
5. Nakano Azusa aka Azunyan (K-ON!)
Admittedly, I’m one of those who don’t mind the cute girls doing cute things genre, in fact, I like them, and when I was watching K-ON, Azunyan had always been in my heart as my favorite character of the show ever since she debuted. Moe anime girls and guitar are always a great combo, and what more can you ask when a high school girl can jam on her guitar like Jimi Hendrix? Originally, Mio was supposed to have the role of the “moe character” but in my opinion, Azunyan is on par with her or perhaps even surpasses her in that department. She is the hugging scapegoat of the band though that comes as no surprise. She’s also involved in one of the most emotional scenes of the anime so that played a major factor in her being in this list too.
6. Kisaragi Chihaya (Idolm@ster)
If I’m to pick a favorite idol in idolm@ster, I would have a really hard time between Miki and Chihaya, the former because of her personality, and the latter because of her story. In the end though, I ended up picking Chihaya because while drama is sometimes common in idol anime, none of them just seem to be as well-written as Chihaya’s story in my opinion. Chihaya’s character arc is etched so naturally with her personality and unsurprisingly, she also got the best character development in the whole series.
7. Ranka Lee (Macross Frontier)
There’s just so many things to love about Ranka Lee — her underdog idol story of the slow ascent to stardom, her innumerable blushing faces, her songs are sweet, her backstory with her brother, Ozma (which gives us that incredible “My Soul for You” scene), and of her being one of the key players in ending the war due to her connection with the Vajra. And to top if all off, she has a fang! Being a latecomer to the Macross franchise, I never understood the hate surrounding her when the anime was airing. Ranka is love, Ranka is life.
8. Roronoa Zoro (One Piece)
One of the most unique anime swordsman, using the three-sword-style techniques in combat, clutching the third one with his mouth. He is also one of the stronger characters in the series and has the second highest bounty in the straw hats pirates. However, strength isn’t his only appeal, as his undying faith and loyalty is something worth mentioning as well. Even comparing his to the other straw hat pirates who valued friendship and teamwork, I always feel Zoro’s level of loyalty is on another level, which is the main reason he is my choice in a show full of great characters.
9. Narukami Yu (Persona 4)
Just like every other Persona games, (Yu) is also nameless and a “silent protagonist” in the game, so it’s hard to be empathetic for him. The anime resolved this by finally giving him a name, character, personality and a voice, in ways which still somehow transitioned perfectly from his “silent character” persona in the game, but extremely optimistic yet natural. While there are a lot of characters whose characterizations stem from “protecting his friends”, none I feel could capture this stereotypical personality as organic and genuine as Yu. Despite that, he is also just a down-to-earth guy with a quirky sense of humor. At the end of the day, Yu is a strong, charismatic leader, and a very good friend whom you can depend on. Oh, he also steals all your waifu, but he’s so damn likable and charismatic you probably don’t even mind anyway. The swag is unreal.
10. Hikigaya Hachiman (OreGairu)
Hachiman. The hero that OreGairu deserves, but not the one it needs right now. The dark knight of LN romcoms. He’s self-sacrificial, protecting his “friends” by being the social scapegoat. The best part about his character is how it’s written. Is his act of “helping his friends” genuinely for the sake of others or for himself? Is Hachiman selfless, or is he actually selfish? Is he solving social problems just because they are there? Is he actually putting up a facade and genuinely want friends? His character is written in a way that people would understand his base actions, but vague enough to be interpretative. Not many people would agree his method of solving problems are justifiable, but when all is said and done, Hachiman is just one hell of an interesting character.