The tale of Naruto
is great, don’t get me wrong; but are you like me and wonder where the hell the other cool cats are? Neji
, Rock Lee
, Mother flipping Choji
are almost all but gone, only to make their appearances in boring fillers. This gets me thinking, why not just make a Rock Lee anime then? Why does it always seem like the side characters in most anime/manga are more interesting than the main protagonist?
I have a feeling when I ask myself this question that perhaps it has something to do with the well known phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. This is especially true when watching long anime (mostly Shonen Jump
), because I almost feel like I’m married to the main character; an arranged marriage I had no part in.
At first it’s cool, thinking “My husband is so strong, and overcomes any problem that comes his way. Wow look at his special move, did he just go Berserk? Awesome!” But soon the puppy love dries up when more and more of the side characters are revealed. “My hubbie is cool and everything, but did you see what that Neji guy did? He just poked him a million times and the enemy just died!” And then the last nail is nailed into the coffin when the side characters begin to get their own flashbacks, fully flushing them out. “Neji has such a dark and interesting past. If only my husband suffered through that instead of enduring the brutal taunts from ninja children.”
What makes a character great? Fully fleshed out characters with likable personalities would be my best guess; but when it comes to anime that is not all. We also like interesting super powers, unusual abilities, or normal people stuck in unusual situations. I sometimes feel that mangaka are forced to make their mains a certain character archetype, so that the audience can easily relate themselves to them. Yet for side characters they don’t have to follow any of these “rules”, so they go all out.
Deep down you wished this happened instead.
Also, a main’s special move or power is well thought out before the manga is created, but later in the series when more side characters are introduced, the mangaka already has time to think about better powers and can assimilate them better into the story. For example, look at any Shinigami
and compare it to Ichigo’s, do you see how badly he was shafted? I guess that’s why Kubo
threw in all the crazy transformations for him.
This is only a problem when side characters are forgotten from the story; but usually this isn’t as big of a deal as I made it out to be. As long as anime and manga exists, this will always be a problem. So the only way to fix it is to not make it a problem at all. Enjoy it for what it is, and not for what we want it to be. Who really wants to watch a Kamina