And here is the second out of four 2010 Summary posts I’ve planned for this year. I’ve noticed that during previous years, I paid rather little attention to the different characters that appeared in each year, so this time I decided to devote an entire post to them. This post contains a bunch of character-based awards, along with my top 6 of favourite supporting characters, male characters and female characters. These were really the characters who caught my attention the most and made the biggest impression on me, so yes: they’re quite personal lists. Feel free to share your own favourite characters of 2010 in the comment section. ;)
Most annoying character
Ookami Kakushi – Hiroshi Kuzumi
This award only goes up for the series that I finished watching. If I didn’t drop Amagami SS on its half-way point, half its cast would probably have walked away with this award. Another character who really annoyed me this year was Elcea from The World God Only Knows as an incredibly obnoxious moeblob, but Hiroshi, the lead character from Ookami Kakushi takes the cake. Throughout the entire series, he’s supposed to be the central character, and yet he does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. He just runs around randomly, says the most generic lines and never gets the story anywhere. This guy… who found it a good idea to make him the central character?
Iron Man – Tony Stark
Again, this only goes for the shows that I actually finished this year, but dear god. At the start of this year, I really could not have guessed that I’d pick an adult for this category. Still, there’s so much wrong with Tony Stark’s character that I hardly know where to start. It’s a complete bastardization of a Cobra-wannabe, who runs after women with cheesy one-liners at one time and keeps on sprouting ridiculously corny morals the other. As a superhero he also makes some of the dumbest decisions out there. I really hope that Wolverine will fare better. A honorable mention goes to Il Re from Togainu no Chi, just for what the heck he turned into in the final two episodes of that series.
Best Cast of Minor Characters
This award goes to the series that had my favourite side and supporting characters, both major and minor. With this award, I especially want to congratulate the series that came with huge casts, and yet gave every character his own purpose, story and development. Full Metal Alchemist and the Armed Librarians were especially good at this, but also Shiki and the way that it gave a unique feel to all of its villagers stands out and Star Driver is also doing a pretty good job so far. None were as good as Giant Killing though: the entire series is about teamwork, and how everyone involved with football is important, from the players to the coaches, the management and the supporters. All of the characters in Giant Killing were great to watch and together they painted a wonderful whole.
Best Voice Acting
This year had a lot of comedies where you could really hear that the voice actors were having the time of their lives: Gag Manga Biyori and Tentai Senshi Sunred had very simple animation, but this gave their voice actors a lot of freedom that they used really well. Beyond that, Full Metal Alchemist also had a very inspired voice cast and Yojou-han’s endlessly fast monologues were also a delight to follow. Ookiku Furikabutte delivered a greatly realistic and down to earth performance, but in the end I decided to pick Sarai-ya Goyou for this category. The voice actors are both restrained and deliver with a lot of emotions, and they really seem to understand their characters.
Best Character Development on a single character
Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei – Watashi
There were a few characters this year that were really well developed throughout their series. A simple form of this is Kobato, who grew up wonderfully as a character. Then there also are these long-running series like Full Metal Alchemist and Cross Game who make great use of their time to show the span of several years. Especially Kou, Aoba and Edward go through these great, subtle changes. For great changes that are anything but subtle, there was Shiki with Toshio who really hardened up as a character with all of the things that happened to him. The best though, was Watashi: the entire series is devoted to showing his antics, and in how many different ways he can change depending on the choices that he makes. Usually the series with the great character development are the long ones, but this is one series that puts more character-development in than most other.
Best Character Development on an entire Cast
Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra
Armed Librarians was just amazing: in every arc, it just took a bunch of characters and developed them in a way that just kept surprising me. Even the long series of Cross Game and Full Metal Alchemist, which both had around twice the amount of episodes to develop their cast didn’t do it as interesting as Bantorra did it. They do take up the second and third place, though: the way in which they show several years subtly change their entire cast made them into some really memorable series. I also want to give a honorable mention to Rainbow: granted there was a lot of stuff wrong with its characterization, but it really tried to give its seven main characters as much development as possible, and that’s really what saved that series from being yet another cheesy drama.
Top 6 Supporting Characters
#6: Rainbow – Ishihara
Ishihara is actually a character that I for a long while considered way too over the top to be likable, often dubbing him “Psycho Guard”. But in the end that’s what his charms turned out to be: he was such a ridiculously over the top character that he became priceless at the point where Rainbow’s plot really got interesting. He’s the ultimate of sadistic characters, but at the same time his development and conclusion had me nailed to the screen.
#5: Kuroshitsuji – Alois Trancy
I only noticed this once I had fully compiled this top list, but my favourite supporting characters of 2010 are chock full of testosterone while surprisingly this isn’t necessarily the case for my favourite main characters. The characters on this list are just so out there that they immediately caught my attention, despite not being the central characters. In the end, Ciel and Sebastian remained the central characters of Kuroshitsuji’s second season, despite all of the hints that previously pointed at this sequel. I still believe that Alois should have been good enough as a lead character himself: his flamboyance totally dominated every scene he was in and it was always great to see his rambling.
#4: Giant Killing – Kazuki Kuroda
Much less over the top than the two previous entries, Kuroda was the lovable nagger of the series: he was constantly complaining and annoying the people around him, but he did it in such a way that it just instantly became charming. Especially when he was trying to pick a fight with people much taller than him. As the series goes on, we also learned quite a bit about him and some of the soccer players around him.
#3: Shiki – Tomio Ookawa
Tomio Ookawa is hard core. He mostly stood out in the latter half of Shiki through his actions, but this guy genuinely impressed me. The exact reason why is riddled with spoilers, but as a supposedly random villager, his change and development were a part that made the final act of Shiki truly memorable.
#2: Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – King Bradley
The thing with King Bradley is that even the animators loved him as a character: every single action scene involving him portrays him as an unstoppable beast with absolutely gorgeous and imaginative drawings. This guy is ridiculously competent and at the same time his backstory gives him a surprising amount of depth.
#1: Shiki – Tatsumi
When I first saw Tatsumi, I laughed at his ridiculous haircut. Throughout the series however, he really made me take all of that back. He is an excellent villain: just when things are starting to look good, this guy shows up. His loyalty and aggression really made him stand out as one of the top characters of 2010, especially considering how he as a villain has so relatively little airtime.
Top 6 Male Characters
#6: Cross Game – Kitamura Kou
First and foremost, Kitamura Kou is a wonderful character to watch during the many slice of life moments in this series. His often-faked nonchalance is consistently witty and enjoyable to watch. He forms a good combination with just about every other character of Cross Game, but his relationship with Aoba really stands out with the way that the creators just consistently kept subtly poking it. His development is amazing, with fifty episodes dedicated to his growth from elementary schooler to a high school student.
#5: xxxHolic Rou – Watanuki
Watanuki only appeared in one single OVA this year, so he counts too as a character of 2010. I mean, before this OVA Watanuki already was a really well developed and sympathetic character, and here the Rou OVA comes and SPOILER is suddenly SPOILER and not to mention that SPOILER. It’s a very spoilerific OVA so I’m not going to detail what happened in this Summary, but he really impressed me.
#4: Sarai-ya Goyou – Yaichi
Sarai-ya Goyou had sublime characterizations, so a few characters were bound to turn up in these lists. Yaichi was an enigmatic character throughout the entire series, subtly menacing, yet he had a ton of different sides. His conclusion was especially stunning, but he was portrayed consistently excellent throughout the entire series.
#3: Shiki – Toshio Ozaki
The reason Toshio is amongst my favourite characters has a lot to do with the things he does through the series. Again due to spoiler reasons I can’t exactly explain what part of him left such a huge impression on me, but those who watched the series can probably imagine what I’m referring to. I will say that we don’t often get doctors as main characters, and this makes him a unique main character for this series to work with.
#2: Sarai-ya Goyou – Masanosuke Akitsu
Masanosuke was completely unlike your average samurai, lacking in confidence due to his timid personality. He had a subtle background, and the entire series was about him coming to terms with both himself and his new friends where he was forced to question his own morals. He was a terrific lead character with excellent development throughout the series, and the chemistry he had with the rest of the cast worked in just about every way.
#1: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei – Watashi
This top 6 is really dominated by Noitamina, but both Shiki, Sarai-Ya Goyou and Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei featured some truly terrific characters, al in their own way. My favourite was Watashi, though. It’s like I said above: every single episode was dedicated to developing Watashi in a different way, depending on the choices he made. He was generally a loser, but in some he was actually successful. In some he was an idiot, in others he turned into a prankster and in others he completely wasted his time. Everything comes together wonderfully at the end, everything about his development feels completely calculated. And that’s what made me chose him as my favourite male character of 2010.
Top 6 Female Characters
#6: Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra – Noloty Maruchie
Noloty could be a main character or a side one; Armed Librarians always was a bit vague on who its main characters were, but with the impact she made on the story, I’m considering her a main one. The thing is that with Noloty, she could have easily been a really annoying character: she’s the epitome of morality. But the creators played it so pure, making her naivety both a cure and a curse with long-lasting implications. Because of this she avoided the problem that most characters with strong morals have: becoming preachy.
#5: Seikimatsu Occult GakuinMaya Kumashiro
Occult Gakuin’s biggest fault was that it spent too much time on Maya’s character, and too little on the plot. This left a really unbalanced series. But granted, Maya was an awesome character in the end. She was ridiculously fun to watch as a strong character with plenty of flaws and her deadpan attitude to everything was consistently entertaining. On top of that, Occult Gakuin is one of the first shows who can actually boast some good five-minute DVD-specials that show a very cute younger version of her.
#4: Cross Game – Tsukishima Aoba
The creators really had a knack for portraying Aoba in situations that turned out completely different from what you first thought they were. Aoba is a very talented baseball player and teacher to Kou, and yet it’s tragic that due to being a girl, she can’t really participate in official matches. Her loyalty to Wakaba combined with her wonderful realistic portrayal made her a character who was consistently enjoyable throughout 50 episodes.
#3: Letter Bee – Nichi
Nichi is awesome in just about everything she does. Her innocence is both comedic gold and captivating in the serious scenes. She works well in combination with just about every other character due to her childish jealousy and loyalty.
#2: Kobato – Hanato Kobato
Clamp… you did it again. I’m not sure why, but they really have a talent to create captivating characters with really strong developments, and Kobato was 2010′s addition to this. For most of Kobato’s first half, she was this typical ditzy female character who just runs around, but as the series moved on, she more and more grew up, found her identity and her conclusion was amongst the best of the year. I usually like strong characters, but Kobato’s charms and innocence really won me over.
#1: Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra – Hamyuts Meseta
This number one spot was a no-brainer for me. Hamyuts Meseta is in a completely different league from all of the other characters this year. She single-handedly took the concept of a strong female character and gave a totally new meaning to it. She was just a fantastic anti-heroine throughout the entire series, and her wishes to die were only a slight hint to her eventual back-story. Hamy consistently kicked ass when she appeared on the screen and her entire appearance was like a steam train: nearly unstoppable.