This party's guest list has only just started filling up. I named the first batch of my all-time favorite anime characters, forever and ever, just recently, and today we’re going to keep the parade rolling with another batch of old friends. Would you want these people at your dinner table, too? Tell me why or why not.
Saintly journeyman can be more boring than a bag a sand as leading men. Ashitaka, however, has such simplicity of heart that you really do believe his basest motivation it to do right in all circumstances without wanting to roll your eyes. That he maintains such innocence, without ever succumbing to bitterness, even when an unnatural disease spreads through his body makes him all the more noble a man. He truly is an impartial outsider who approaches the complex moral quagmire in Iron Town without a bit of prejudice - - without eyes clouded by hate, as it were. Yet he's not some doormat for all the cynics of feudeal Japan to walk on. He's quite dangerous when necessary - - only when necessary - - and when the demonic influence forces him to defend himself with excessive force, the betrayal of character hits closer than any number of other story lines where some evil black ooze perverts a hero.
Arsène Lupin III from CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO (among many things)
As a kid, I could never get into crime fiction because I had something of a silly moralistic hang-up. I just couldn’t ever root for the bad guys - - even the especially charming ones. Lupin III was the first “gentleman thief” whose charms finally worked on me (though I suppose a lot of that had to do with the Duke in this movie being such a jerk. The lesser of two evils and what not.) To this day, whenever adventurous physical comedy's brought up, this guy comes immediately to mind along with the venerable likes of Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton. Even if you dropped the surrounding plots into the dumpster, it’s endlessly diverting to simply see this guy move. And I appreciate how he doesn't have especially extreme personality, either. Yeah, he's a master thief, but he has no grand agenda nor even a memorable catchphrase to dress matters up too much. He's just a fun, capable charming dude you could chill with after an especially wacky heist.
I’ll confess to any charges of favoritism in this because Misato’s probably my biggest cartoon crush outside of maybe Jessica Rabbit. True three dimensionality is tough to capture in fiction without faking it, so I dig whole all the pieces of this lady's puzzle (OK, that sounds a little dirty) are rendered with equal levels of credibility. She can kick ass and rise to the occasion when the heat’s on and the world's ending, but she’s certainly got heartache and vulnerabilities that manifest in behavior that’s realer than any amount of dark poetry could try to convey. She's supremely cable in a war room, yet utterly disorganized in her home life. She's a pillar of stability to keep the wildly moody EVA pilots on track, yet she's got enough relationship hang-ups to keep a shrink busy for a solid year. The contradictions are just stacked so high! Rei and Asuka might be the flashier choices from the series, but I'll always prefer this lady and the chic, red officer's uniform she wears so well.