Those are the ones who move the plot forward through their actions towards an event and they come in all shape and forms, literally. What we see in every anime is the manifestation of grandure, epicness and hilarity. And from time to time, we see the opposites as well, the evil, misunderstood and lost (or enlightened). And we love them all! The characters of every anime is always voiced by someone, yet they have a very human-feel and emotions unique to themselves. Our heroes all have goals that seem impossible to achieve, yet we root for them! Our villains (or anti-heroes if you prefer) turn to questionable methods to achieve their goals and we also root for them! Why? We are real humans. They are characters in a fictional universe! Why do we feel connected to our characters that we love?
Let us ask ourselves:
What makes a character?
In every anime, a character has to have a purpose. Be it born out of a quest of vendetta, a passion for oppai or a pursuit for love, every character has to have something that defines the character other than appearences and voicing. This could literally be anything. Once a goal and purpose has been defined (and clear enough), we need a personality to watch and hopefully understand. And this is where the imagination can sparkle bright as hell (when accounting the previous point: their goals): - He's a lone wanderer, seeking revenge for the death of his father and has a talent for bad jokes... - She's a lesbian (hurray for yuri!), will do anything to come in contact with oppai and uses her inhuman intelligence to do so... - They saw their mother killed, they are determined to never let each other go and help out in school instead... Now, of course, a creation of clichés might happen. Then this will be the final step on how we define a character:
Their reaction towards events
Will they take on the math-test as if it was the Colossal Titan all over?Or will they attack this monster as easily as through a tutorial in a game?
The Connection to Us
Now, every character will (or rather, must) have emotions, believe it or not. Seeing how they react and feel is our only way to truly understand what they are going through, even though we can literally see their world through their eyes. Emotion is the universal language between all humans and across all medias. We know that a hug means. We know what tears means. We know what a smile is. In fact, we were born already from the start knowing that a mothers smile was a happy smile. We knew that laughter meant a way to convey happiness and started laughing ourselves. And some things, we didn't know. We didn't know consciously that we explored the world with curiosity. And we didn't know the emotion of pain until we felt it. Now we get to see and even feel what they feel. That is why we cry when they cry. That's why we smile when they smile. That is why when they show us their emotions through animation that we can understand who they are. This connection can go much deeper if the previous points align with your own. A goal that is unachieveable, yet we strive to do that anyways (a connection right there). A broken past, yet trying to recover (a connection right there). A longing for love that goes unanswered (a connection right there). The more things you and the character have in common, the easier it'll be to understand who they are and what they feel.
From the get-go, we see our character faced with a problem and does (hopefully) everything in their power to solve it. Along the way, their actions speak more than their words and as you see them further and further along as the anime progresses, maturnity and self-consciousness start to grow. This has significant impact on us, as many of us are still in our development (yes, just because you're 18 or up doesn't mean you suddenly stop taking in experiences from the world and learn from them) and as we see them become a better version of themselves compared to when we first saw them, we too have the yearning of being the best version of ourselves as possible. We were made that way. If there is a more sufficient way to do something, then we humans are simply programmed to do the more effective and most profitable action that favours ourselves, wether that be economical, relationship-wise or self-knowledge.
Anti-heroes: Our Darker Versions
And let's not forget our most beloved character-trope out there: the Anti-hero! If you don't know what an anti-hero is...well...watch Death Note or Code Geass. Anyways, they experience the same growth and evolvement as any other character. But, their methods is somewhat...dark. No way in hell would we ever do such things that most anti-heroes eventually does and achieves. Are you really willing to play God and judge over people's lives by either letting them leave or die of dismay, in order for the greater good? Or are you willing to take sacrifices no man should take to achieve their goals? Getting rid off ones humanity, getting the blame of the darkest accusations and taking upon yourself to get all the world's hate on your name to get rid off it? We wish we could do that. But unfortunately, making ultimate sacrifices and such isn't really our style as anime-viewers... ...since you'll be no longer able to watch anime from that point! XD But we can see what could happen. And that's the most amazing part!
Further more, characters who interact with other characters build an even bigger layer upon our connection with them already, as friendships both are reflected and shown in both the real world and in the fictional. But, that's a topic for another day :) Now, this Card is a part of my own series where I put up more anime-related posts such as discussing, analyzing and showing you parts of Anime that makes an Anime an Anime! Every topic from the technical aspects, core elements and even entire shows are collected there so make sure you check out and follow "Why anime?" collection for more posts about and around anime! :D Please feel free to comment your thoughts on the topic and suggest one! :D And if you want to leave a direct feedback, you're more than welcome to message me :)
And a like on this post would be very much appreciated :* 'til next time! //VoidX