A certain blogger who shall remain nameless threw down the gauntlet earlier this week, and he did it in the most belligerent, crass way I could have imagined: An eloquently written and well thought out blog post on the five characters he’d like to see together in some kind of tag team, and the villain they’d be pitted against. Ordinarily I’d ignore this challenge since it wasn’t directed at me or anybody in particular, but the temptation to resume my habit of trend-whoring was too great to pass up. So here it is, my Top Five Character Tag Team, the characters that I would most like to see together in standard anime stock roles, characters whose antics and comic misconceptions would leave me branded with a permanent toothy grin and no sense of shame.
Otherwise known as Protag-kun, Protag-chan, the Head Honcho, or “Fuck, why is this guy so boring?” the hero is a character that the audience is either meant to project on or follow with rapt attention. The personality often runs the gamut from colorful and vibrant to incredibly stale, and the situation that the hero finds him/herself in varies just as much. When everything in life fails, the hero is always there to save the day and set things right with cooed assurances and the verbal equivalent of warm hugs. The hero is meant to represent everything that’s virtuous about humanity, but I say fuck that because virtue’s almost always boring. Admittedly I’m a bit biased toward antiheroes, but I think this choice fits both molds beautifully, albeit in different ways:
I admit this was a difficult choice, because I wanted to go for somebody nasty through and through that has a hint of kindness coursing through their blood. Holland is the perfect fit for my idea of an ideal hero though, because he’s perfectly willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done… even if it involves taking several dozen lives in the process. He’s cold and calculating, definitely a gruff person, but his heart is made of the most lustrous gold imaginable, and it occasionally shines through the cynicism that he has piled on as a shield. In the end, I value his courage to get the job done over the idealism of other potential heroes.
Not to be confused with Lancer from the Fate series, because neither would make this list given how dull they both are, the lancer is the Robin to the hero’s Batman, and the person that very often has an idealistic streak a mile wide, adorned annoying flashing lights that scream “I want to be the hero, fuck the guy that I work under!”. This wasn’t as difficult to figure out as my ideal hero, but it still took a decent amount of thought. After all, a character like Holland whose morality hovers around the grey area with little variation needs a moral compass to sway him one way or the other when the situation calls for it. And for this, I can think of nobody better than…
Claire Stanfield, or Vino as he’s known in some circles, is the perfect fit to sway Holland one way or the other at a critical moment. He sees the world in black and white: those that he should kill, and those that he shouldn’t, playing the foil to Holland’s much more thought out actions. Though he’s undoubtedly psychotic, his warped worldview would provide perspective for Holland to mull over without being completely taken in by his reasoning. The fact that he can hold his own in a fight certainly doesn’t hurt either, though his lack of finesse would probably be a liability at times.
The Big Guy
The big guy is the one on the team that fills a utility role no matter the situation. When the crew is in a stalemate during a particularly nasty conflict, the Big Guy’s intervention quickly sways the odds in his team’s favor. When they’re just sitting around allowing for character growth, the Big Guy imparts sage wisdom on the young’ns or provides the occasional quip to lighten the mood. Immediately I thought of giving Fate/Zero’s Rider the distinction of being my first choice, but he didn’t quite seem to fit the archetype that I had envisioned. So I just went with Tatsumi from Shiki and called it a day.
Tatsumi fulfills a role very similar to Claire, albeit with much more style and deception involved. Okay, maybe his fashion choices are much more baffling, but otherwise he plays a very similar position in the group. The main difference between the two is that Tatsumi knows where he stands, and happily accepts the duties involved.
The Smart Guy
I don’t think this needs much explaining. The Smart Guy is the character that often takes the intellectual approach, coming to blows with one or more of the other teammates in the process, something that often encompasses an episode. I decided that avoiding this would be smart, and so went with one of the least confrontational characters that I know.
The Medicine Seller doesn’t have much of a personality, but what he does have is a vast store of knowledge and the ability to implement it to its fullest. He’s not as personable as some of the other characters chosen, but he has a charm all his own.
The embodiment of the Captain Planet power of Heart, and the character that usually turns out to be utter rubbish. This is why I went with one of the least rubbish, most lecherous girls in all of anime, here shown in remarkable blur-o-vision.
Kitsune was the one character that made Love Hina downright enjoyable for me, mostly because her frequent scheming would lead to some circumstance or another where she’d be left attempting to seduce herself out of a mess. Because hey, why not have a team full of brazen sociopaths whose team dynamics break down halfway through?
The Big Bad
This character often falls in the category of “affably evil”, and rightfully so. Though their aspirations come at the cost of what the protagonists want, you can’t begrudge them because they’re either extremely campy, or their reasons are sound enough that you wouldn’t entirely mind them winning in the end.
And thus enters Sanetoshi, a complex web of contradictions and selfishness masquerading under the guise of philanthropy. Even though he provides medicine for Kanba to keep Himari alive, he does it for the convoluted purpose of eventually putting an end to the world, and even his kindest words are dripping with passive aggressive venom, like a snake ready to strike once you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. He’s conniving, he’s ruthless, and I’ll be damned if he isn’t one of the most fabulous villains ever.
Notable Mention: Johannes Krauser II
Much of this list may seem counterintuitive, given the circumstances. After all, Kitsune is hardly the heart of Love Hina’s harem, and Tatsumi’s role as an unmoving rock in a tempestuous ocean could easily be questioned. There were many characters that didn’t make the cut, some that were probably more deserving by the merit of actually fulfilling the roles given. Still, these are some of my favorite characters that I think would have some degree of interesting chemistry, and if they were in a show together it would take excessive amounts of duct tape to keep me from bouncing off the walls with excitement.