Anime Vice News

Almost Otaku: Who is Anime's #1 Character?

Who's got the biggest swing? Goku? Astro Boy? Speed Racer? Pikachu?

 Might speedo and knee-highs be keeping Astro Boy from keeping hip to the times?
 Might speedo and knee-highs be keeping Astro Boy from keeping hip to the times?

Frieza: Comic books have Superman. When it comes to anime/manga, what 1 character has had an impact upon japanese manga/anime like Superman had  to American comic books? Two that come to mind, when I think about this, are Astro Boy and Goku, but perhaps they aren't the ones who have had the biggest impact upon japanese anime/manga. Who do you think has?

Every field always has its “big man,” its figurehead, its originator. Rock has Elvis, wrestling has Hulk Hogan, video games have Mario and, yeah, comics have Superman. They might not have been the first (or even the greatest in a lot of people’s eyes) but they’re the ones everybody thinks of first.

Astro Boy would seem like the logical choice. You can't get much more "#1" then the creation of the "god of manga." He was even the star of the very first anime TV show, right? And he's inspired however many imitators and tributes (I'm looking at your, Mega Man!)  I also wonder if the dominance of mecha in this field might have a lot to with the kid's robotic nature.  

But that ASTRO BOY movie last year didn't do too well, even in Japan. Maybe this is more of a generational thing?  
 I'm not done YETTTTTTT!!!
 I'm not done YETTTTTTT!!!

See, I might’ve said Goku. He basically is Japan’s answer to Superman, anyway.  An orphaned, exiled, absurdly-powerful alien who's raised on Earth and defends from his fellow, evil refuges? Which one am I describing there, you know? The moving movement’s certainly faster than a speeding bullet and the kamamaya’s certainly as powerful as locomotive. And, lord knows, he's famous the world over.  

But I wonder if this might also be a generational thing. Sure, he’s big in the eyes of guys my age, but how relevant is DBZ to kids these days? Say, anybody born after ’95? Has KAI been doing a good job of keeping it relevant? Has Goku been eclipsed by Pikachu?

I bring that up, because I'm sure some older fans would really want to give Speed Racer as an answer - - and they might have had a point at one point - - but I'm sure most of you are going to disagree. His hour may have passed, just Astro Boy and Goku's may have.

Anyway, keep the questions coming. Seriously, I’ll answer anything you ask me in this column.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of   HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here.

Kelleth moderator on Sept. 8, 2010 at 2:14 p.m.
@Gaff: 
1 Musti only got to holland in 1980, Nijntje was already popular then.
2 Have you read my post? because you act like i did not notice what you meant lol
RadiantTheLighton Sept. 8, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.
Astro Boy and Goku... tie.
mrflukeon Sept. 9, 2010 at 7:43 a.m.
goku is definitely number 1, but sadly his time has been eclipsed by shows like bakugan and pikachu :(
Gaffon Sept. 9, 2010 at 8:13 a.m.
@Kelleth: Whoops. Sorry! My point was that Musti is quite a bit older than Nijntje / Miffy. Just like Dick Bruna, you could say that Nijntje was a copy of Musti :P
Grambyteon Sept. 9, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.
Goku hands down for me. Not saying rest isn't cool. Just growing up with Goku and the DB & DBZ series makes me not even have much of a choice. Also not saying it was the only anime I watched during my childhood just that none could grab me like Goku did. From baby Goku till Dead/Risen Goku... it's Goku that's anime's #1 char.
Kelleth moderator on Sept. 9, 2010 at 2:31 p.m.
@Gaff:  i know that's what you meant and i also said @Kelleth said:
" @Gaff:  1 Musti only got to holland in 1980, Nijntje was already popular then.
YotaruVegetaon Sept. 10, 2010 at 5:49 a.m.
@TimothyWessel: 
 
This is a much better Vs


 http://media.animevice.com/uploads/0/463/266913-blud_shot_hulk_vs_vegeta_super.jpg
 
agila61on Sept. 10, 2010 at 8:15 a.m.
@sotyfan16 said:
"

Sorry that I keep asking questions for this segment but I have another:  
Sports anime/manga: good, bad, or just plain ugly?

"
Giant Killing is a fine (association) football anime. But 90% of everything is crud, and I am sure that bad and just plain ugly sports manga and anime that will only be appreciated by hard core fans of sports manga and anime can be found.  
 
Who is this Goku that you speak of, by the way? I assume that it must be one of those tedious long running shonen platforms, an endless succession of fights with ever escalating powers.
daikarion Sept. 10, 2010 at 11:25 a.m.
I think it is hard to pick a #1 character when it comes to anime. The best way would be to cut it into categories of #1's.
hitsusatsu11on Sept. 10, 2010 at 11:46 a.m.
Goku for sure.
 
But nowadays Naruto and Ichigo are not far off.
YotaruVegetaon Sept. 10, 2010 at 6:53 p.m.
I think Naruto will have more staying power as a character than Ichigo.
Lady_Nightmareon Sept. 10, 2010 at 11:32 p.m.
I vote Goku
Caligulaon Sept. 10, 2010 at 11:34 p.m.
i have to say Kakarot.
EganTheVile1on Sept. 11, 2010 at 12:18 a.m.
50's/60's Astro Boy, 70's Speed Racer, Voltron owned the 80's with Robotech as the under-appreciated red-headed step-child of the time, 90's is a bit arguable Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Pokemon were all pretty big among different demographics, Yu-Gi-Oh for late 90's early 2000, One Piece (hate to admit it) was the mid 2K's inexplicable juggernaut, and overall success you HAVE TO give to Transformers just hands down unstoppable franchise that spanks even Dragon Ball worldwide.
YotaruVegetaon Sept. 11, 2010 at 5:29 a.m.
One Piece's success is not inexplicable. It's a fun shounen action/adventure
Bigandtastyon Sept. 11, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.
It is interesting to think about; characters are a bit too generational.
DavidHochoyon Sept. 11, 2010 at 7:01 p.m.

Goku!Who doesn't know what "KA-ME-HA-ME-HA" is?Pikachu can't be the choice because it's such a vague approach since everyone considers the fact that Pokemon has been running for 10 years therefore it's the most popular but it's not relavent anymore,& DBZ has been done for how many years,Yet it's still relavent.Goku is the Japanese equivelent of Superman while Astro Boy comes second.
pawsoffuryon Sept. 12, 2010 at 1:06 p.m.
Here in the UK I think you'd get a lot more name recognition out of PIkachu then you would out of Goku (providing you're asking a regular member of the public). Probably due to Dragonball or DBZ never having been shown on a main channel outside satellite or cable. 
 
Anything else forget it! I doubt kids here even remember who Tai and Yugi are anymore, the only thing that seems to air is ancient Naruto episodes on 'Disney XD'. It's no wonder Anime coventions here are so bland and uninspiring when those less internet savvy fans have next to no exposure of anything modern (or indeed the classics predating 2000).
TheDukeon Sept. 12, 2010 at 3:41 p.m.
 Spike Spiegel is my personal favorite

Dig Deeper into Astro Boy

Astro Boy was created by Osamu Tezuka, the "Father of Manga". As the story goes, Astro Boy is a child robot made by Dr. Tenma to replace his dead son. Instead, he becomes the greatest superhero.

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