We’re two thirds of the way through these posts, and I can see the blinding, unnecessarily festive light at the end of the tunnel as it grows ever closer. However, as I mused over what kind of half-assed theme I could squeeze out of the number four aside from death, I came to the startling realization that here are some characters that have much more to them than meets the eye. On Day Four of my 12 Days series of posts, I’d like to commemorate the characters that initially appeared to be one-note, but eventually grew to have some kind of depth to them that wasn’t easily apparent at first. Either that, or they started out with potential and met it perfectly. Both are satisfying conclusions and should be rewarded equally. So without further ado…
4. Kotetsu Kaburagi, Tiger & Bunny
Kotetsu originally started off as a rather one dimensional, if likable character. As his popularity was gradually being eclipsed in universe by many of his fellow heroes, he became much easier to sympathize with. What’s more, his rocky relationship with his child, while originally mostly used for comedic purposes, did come through as one of his most defining features, his efforts to remain a loving father to his daughter while keeping up his hero job taking center stage during one of the most crucial moments in the series.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rooting for him to succeed against the odds, even when he’s well past his prime. Kotetsu is that rare male lead in anime that’s both relatable and not an androgynous teenager, and he proves himself quite the complex individual by the end. Despite the rest of the show coming off as incomplete or fragmented, Kotetsu was time enough to shine that he was spared the brunt of those problems. If little else, Tiger & Bunny did that well.
3. Ringo Oginome, Mawaru Penguindrum
I said I was going to make this post in honor of characters who develop like this to such a degree, and it wouldn’t do Ringo justice to leave her out when she’s the one who inspired me so. I’d list every reason here, but instead I’ll just link back to my last Penguindrum post. Yes it’s lazy, but it’s also efficient.
2. Sunako Kirishiki, Shiki
The only entry on this list not from a show that aired this year, Sunako nonetheless piqued my interest with her surprisingly cynical, self loathing outlook on life. While at first glance she seemed to be nothing more than the creepy poster child for the series as the events in Sotoba escalated, the continued philosophical talks with Muroi peeled away her layers until we saw what lay underneath the skin of our nightmare-inducing vampire wunderkind: Somebody still ultimately afraid of her own mortality and of dying alone.
Yes, despite being the catalyst for every single horrible event ever in the series (Spoiler Alert) and her lack of detectable compassion for her victims, she nonetheless still had very human emotions and fears. She didn’t choose to die and come back as a bloodsucking monster perpetually looking like she just got back from the optometrist, yet it cost her everything that she knew and loved in life. Eventually, her very human desire for companionship conflicted with her bloodlust, the two never quite striking the right equilibrium to make her feel happy with her unlife.
Many a post could be written on Sunako, her life, and what her fate should have been or if she truly gave up on her existence. However, since I still have to make room for one other entry, I’ll cut this entry short by saying that Sunako would take the top spot… had her show aired a season or two later. So with that said, that leaves us with…
1. Daikichi Kawachi, Usagi Drop
Unlike the other characters, Daikichi never really appeared to be a one-note character at first glance. From the start, I had the feeling that I was watching a living, breathing human being who just happened to be animated in lovely pastels.
Unlike these other characters, Daikichi realizes right away that his current lifestyle will require sacrifices if it’s going to keep both him and Rin happy. No other character has seemed so prepared for this as Daikichi, even the similarly aged Kotetsu. By the end, he’s given up a cushy job and a nasty habit, all to give Rin a place with him that she can call home. It’s almost cheating to put him here, since he’s such a good character throughout with no hints saying otherwise. But it’d almost be a crime not to put him on this list somewhere, so here he is in the top spot, where he belongs. Daikichi is a surprisingly complex individual, striking the perfect balance between himself and others. If I had to list examples of characters done right, he would be right at the top of there too.
To summarize it, Usagi Drop wouldn’t have been nearly as great if the lead weren’t as well grounded as Daikichi was. Yes, even despite Rin’s overwhelming cuteness.
With three-fourths of these posts done, only fate knows what lays ahead. Until Next time!