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A sniper is an individual who supports the front from distance. They use ranged weapons to shoot from very long distances with great accuracy. The snipers are famous for their precision and to attack from unexpected directions.
HistoryThe term of sniper has a history dating back to the British India at 1770. Amongst soldiers who were skilled enough to kill the really elusive snipe they tagged the title of 'sniper'. The name didn't became common in America though until the end of the Civil War.
Real life practice:In real life snipers are going through difficult filtering and training before they get to the front lines. They get high quality rifles with great precision(generally referred as sniper rifles) and they are like elite soldiers. They operate either alone or in groups of two. In the later case one is the sniper while the other is the spotter who searches for targets and warns the sniper to incoming dangers.
A sniper must have great endurance, self-control and perception. Knowing seemingly little things like the air humidity and the wind's speed and distance are important and without that their accuracy could drop drastically. A sniper sometimes needs to stay hours still with barely any movement. For a sniper being found out or missing a shot equals failure.
Fiction: Compared to that fictional snipers have it much better. In anime and other ficitions the snipers are generally lazy and lighthearted. In battle they may turn serious but the writers mostly use them to lighten the mood. They can be often flirtatious and sarcastic. With the later the "curse of sniper" may occur.
The other possible archetype is the emotionless silent type. It fits the real sniper attitude better though it goes overboard usually. They're cold-blooded and always serious. They barely fit in to the group and generally they're loners.
The later two categories only apply to males. If the sniper is female it either will be the Chick (the most flirtatious woman on the deck) or the emotionless type(later category). In anime the female snipers may even become the shy or clumsy girl archetype. They usually helpless outside their specialization(sniping) though they might prove the viewers wrong later in the show.
Curse of the Sniper: It's a legend about the fate of sniper character. It's strongly associated with the first kind of sniper. The funny and cool sniper despite his advances has no luck to score with any important character and if someone dies in the show then it's probably be him. It comes about true as often as it not but the legend still stands.