This is because anime, like a lot of soap operas and film and TV genres, make use of stock character or tropes to populate their narratives. While this could be seen as unoriginal or uninspired, some of these anime stock characters have become so popular that not including them would be a missed opportunity for a lot of studios who want to maximise their show or film’s potential to be popular.
As we’ve recently partnered with the incredible indie manga publication Saturday AM, we thought we’d run through some of the characters that could be popping up in your new favourite manga series. Head on over to their site to learn more and get a feel for some truly diverse and eclectic manga from the indie scene.
There are so many variations of the Tsundere trope that we could probably spend a whole article talking about their iterations and characteristics.
Tsundere are hot-headed, emotional, childish, bratty and hostile but over the course of the story become fierce, loving and warm. They make frequent appearances in anime and manga, and some of the most memorable characters in recent years stem from the Tsundere trope.
Think Asuka Langley Soryu from Evangelion and Rin Tohsaka from Fate/Stay Night. Tsundere also are frequently depicted with pigtails.
Roughly translated as a wallflower, the Yamato Nadeshiko is a subtle, meek and extremely submissive character that has complicated roots in Japanese notions of womanhood and femininity. While some narratives suggest the wallflower is actually a wildflower at heart, many of the times the mild-mannered and gentle Yamato Nadeshiko tend to be sidelined in favour of more overt and charismatic characters like Tsundere or Genki Girl.
Some examples of the Yamato Nadeshiko are Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess and Rika Sasaki from Cardcopter Sakura.
Love them or hate them, the super chipper and cheerful Genki Girl is here to stay. Usually a supporting character, the Genki Girl usually functions as comic relief and stirs up the narrative a bit with her boundless energy, high-pitched voice and chaotic energy.
They are usually younger in age or smaller in size, and can be seen as aloof and stupid but also genuinely caring and emotional. The Genki Girl can be seen as a Japanese version of the Western Pollyanna, and even shares traits with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
Some examples of Genki Girls in anime are Mako from Kill la Kill, Pino from Ergo Proxy and even Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist to some extent_._
The Hikikomori is a quiet, reserved character that suffers from acute social withdrawal. These sombre and secluded individuals are often the protagonists in their respective anime film or series and have to overcome their inhibitions to rise to the occasion and emerge victoriously.
Hikikomori is unfortunately not just a trope or stock character in anime and manga, as studies conducted across Japan have found almost a million people of varying ages have become social recluses and choose to abstain from human interaction.
Some popular anime featuring hikikomori are Chaos;Head, RELife and Welcome to the NHK.
Last but certainly not least we have the Shonen Hero, the loveable and rambunctious scrapper at the helm of a lot of our favourite shows.
Shonen heroes almost always have big hearts, big dreams and a massive drive to overcome or fulfil their destiny. In the brains department, they’re really not all that but in terms of their passion and caring, they stand out and face their challenges head-on. They stumble along the way and are frequently bested, but in the end, they gain valuable skills and abilities and rise to the occasion.
Popular Shonen Heroes are Ash from Pokemon, Goku from Dragonball and Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach!
- Dante Ludolf