gia (Level 13)

Watching Durarara 16 on Crunchyroll! #crunchyroll
followed by
Screw You, IGN: My Top 25 Anime Characters
I thought some of us might enjoy putting together our OWN top anime characters, to contrast with IGN's...less than perfect list, shall we say. Of course, no list will exist without SOME disagreement, but I'm interested in seeing who appears on the most lists :) 
For what it's worth, as a writer of some fiction myself (in addition to all this journalistic stuff), to me the "best" characters are the most interesting, and that often means flaws and interesting back stories-- and interesting "front" stories, I guess. So you may not see characters like, say, Doraemon or Golgo 13-- whose backstories aren't particularly well-developed --but that doesn't make them "bad" characters, just not necessarily the kind I'm going for on my list.
You, on the other hand, can rank your characters any way you'd like-- so get to it!

These are in no particular order!
1. Kenzo Tenma

Starts out as a well-meaning doctor, but winds up being prepared to kill...and it's fascinating to watch him make that transition across a span of many, many years.

2. Spike Spiegel

An updated take on an old film noir archetype-- the strong, badass-type; the only difference is he's not a detective and he doesn't explicate in the background of every scene. Superb all around.

3. Kamina

Whether you loved him or hate him, his over-the-top style really made Gurren Lagann what it was-- and it's probably one of the biggest shows of this decade. In scale, at least.

4. Lupin III

A gentleman thief and another take on a classic, but this man's a chameleon: sometimes he's a serious good guy, others a wacky (but lovable) bad guy.

5. L Lawliet

A unique character, but he managed to also be flawed and interesting without some lengthy explanatory backstory coming to the foreground of the series. Very simple design, too. Probably one of my favorite characters of recent memory.

6. Chiba Atsuko

We didn't get to explore her very far in a single film, but I thought she was a really interesting take on the duality that comes part and parcel with womanhood these days: by day, she's a very put-together, intelligent, hard-working, no-nonsense woman. In dreams, she becomes a flirtatious, whimsical sprite.

7. Serena Tsukino

You know...I got over Sailor Moon years ago, and I can recognize that Serena/Usagi could be a pain in the ass. But for me, she was one of the first female characters I'd ever seen who was that kind of character...and a *heroine*.

8. Kuro Hazama

Decades before "House" meant anything but the roof over your head, Black Jack was the original misanthropic doctor-- a rogue, refusing to bow to the demands of the Medical Board and charging occasionally outrageous prices for his risky surgeries. But at heart he still manages to be a good guy...usually. Doubtless one of Tezuka's most interesting characters.

9. Astro Boy

Astro may not be the most "complex" character (in fact, sometimes he can be almost nauseatingly good-guy-ish), but he's amazing because he spawned such an interesting concept. In the US we frequently address the idea of robots taking over and kicking our asses in fiction, but in Japan, they wondered about whether a robot programmed to feel human emotions would "count" as a human or not-- and it spawned a lot of very interesting stories.

10. Yuki Nagato

I know, I know, Haruhi herself will probably be on a lot of these lists. And I'm tempted to put her on here too: her feeling of wanting to live a unique life, to be someone "special," is something I can really relate to. But I think Yuki continues an interesting tradition started by Tezuka himself back in the day-- the idea that a robot can "feel." And he does it very slowly and (relatively) subtly, to boot.

11. Kyon

It's rare to have a strong narrator character in an anime, much less one with a strong penchant for humor, sarcasm, funny references, and dry wit. I know, I know, TWO Haruhi characters? But still.

12. Lum

A strong female character who knows what she wants and takes it, Lum is kind of like Asuka from Evangelion or Naru from Love Hina-- but without all the boring and now cliched denial about their affections.

13. Ayumu Kasuga

Oh, Osaka. There have been plenty of ditzy female anime characters, plenty of clumsy girls, and plenty of them had access to weird piles of information. But somehow, none of them have ever been like you, and your uniquely slow-paced but still energetic take on the world. And they probably never will be!

wwfunderakeron Dec. 21, 2009 at 10:02 a.m.
Pretty good list, but where are the other 12 characters.
giaon Dec. 21, 2009 at 10:57 a.m.
@wwfunderaker: Ah, this was going to be a quick feature but I never finished it ;)
AHoodedFigureon April 6, 2010 at 4:24 p.m.
Spike and Lupin are the only characters I'm familiar with, but they make the list succeed on their own.
newaveon April 22, 2010 at 2:38 a.m.
good call on of Rumikos best
SinisterSirenon April 24, 2010 at 7:22 p.m.
Lmao, yes Tenma is basically a Screw You, IGN!! kind of person! XD 
Especially Spike... o  w o
hitsusatsu11on June 1, 2010 at 5:10 p.m.
IGN list was better, how could you put Yuki instead of Rei?
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