(Written by Deku)
Naruto, Goku, Midoriya, Miyazaki, Mikasa! If any of these names ring a bell, then you are definitely a fan of anime! Kawaii (cute) anime characters can often get you hooked to the shows. But have you ever wondered which characters are adored by the native fans in Japan? We decided to go to the Akihabara District, and ask them ourselves! Why Akihabara? Cause it’s quite a popular market among anime lovers and is often associated with modern Japanese pop-culture! And the results are quite surprising, cause they not only include anime from the current era, but also the classic ones!
LLENN – Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (GGO)
“She is fast and her fighting abilities are top-notch, so I like her!”. Guess who’s he talking about? That’s right, it’s none other than LLENN from the popular SAO (Sword Art Online) spin-off: Gun Gale Online. Known as Kohiruimaki Karen in real life, she is often called the ‘Pink Devil’ in the GGO game, due to her choice of equipment color.
Kirito, Suguha, Yuuki, Asuna – Sword Art Online
Of course, we have some fan-faves from the original SAO too! Kirito, the main character, is quite popular among the audiences. “He really embodies a protagonist”, one of them said.
Kirito’s sister was also the favorite character of one of the SAO fans. “Even though they’re actually cousins, I like how she has feelings for him. Her facial expressions are cute”, he told us.
Yuuki and Asuna were among other fan favorites from the show.
Shiina Mayuri – Steins;Gate
Steins;Gate is an anime that absolutely needs no introduction! But for those who are unfamiliar with it, the series revolves around the concept of time travel and starts with the infamous legend of John Titor, a supposedly real lifetime traveller who became an internet sensation in the early 2000s. Shiina Mayuri, one of the tritagonists from the show, was the favorite character of two passersby we interviewed. Although being a 16-year-old teen, Shiina possesses an extremely child-like and playful persona for her age.
Takumi Fujiwara – Initial D
“Takumi Fujiwara, the main character from Initial D. He’s calm and cool.”, said one of the enthusiastic fans. Usually, characters who are calm and remain unfazed even in the most perilous situations are perceived as badasses or natural leaders, and Takumi is one such character. If you are into street racing franchises like the Fast & Furious, do give a try to Initial D.
Goku – Dragon Ball Z
If you watched Dragon Ball Z in your childhood and adapted the ‘Never Give Up’ attitude in your life, chances are that you learnt it from Goku. “He never gives up and cares about his friends”, a fan commented. Standing up for your close ones makes you instantly attractive, and the same goes for the protagonist of the show! The popular franchise was first created by Akira Toriyama in 1984 and still produces content in the form of various media today.
Zoro & Chopper – One Piece
First published in July 1997, One Piece is one of the mangas which is known for being too long. It’s still ongoing and is expected to end sometime between 2024-2025. The Pirate King, aka Roronoa Zoro, is quite popular among the fans of the franchise. He has a muscular design. “He’s so cool”, one of the female fans commented. Tony Tony Chopper is an anthropomorphic reindeer from the show, known for his cute design. He ate a fruit that gave him the ability to transform into a human-hybrid at will.
Colonel Mustang – Fullmetal Alchemist
One of the Fullmetal Alchemist fans had Colonel Mustang as his favorite characters. “He has the maturity of an adult, and he’s cute when he becomes upset when he gets called ‘useless’. It’s like his weakness”, he said. We would all agree that he’s such a relatable character! 😝
Domon Kasshu, Banagher Links – Gundam Franchise
We met a couple of Gundam fans during our session. “He’s passionate, and that’s something I don’t have”, said one of the guys while referring to his favorite dramatis personae, Domon Kasshu from the classic hit: Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
Banagher Links was another fan-fave from the franchise’s show Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. “He’s a character who doesn’t know who his father is at first, but later is given the Unicorn Gundam from his father, and overcomes many obstacles”, the second fan told us.
With several media publications and giant mecha statues, Gundam is one of those franchises which has now become the face of anime culture in Japan. The country recently inaugurated a gigantic moving 60-foot-tall Gundam robot in Yokohama.
Some Unique Choices:
Sometimes we are just spoiled for choices and hence become indecisive when asked to choose. This happened with one of the passersby when we asked him about his favorite character. “Character… I can’t think of any…”, he said. “It’s hard but there’s got to be one!”, we nudged and encouraged him a bit. And what he said after this, was something really unique: “Ah, Iskandar from Fate. He’s really cool!”. Iskandar has appeared in several games from the Fate franchise, especially Fate/Grand Order.
Matou Sakura from another Fate game (Fate/Stay Night) was also loved by one of the fans. “I’m not sure why, but she’s cute”, he chuckled. She was also a part of the television series.
Snake, a character from the Metal Gear Solid video game series, was also his favorite. “He’s handsome with a beard like this”, he added.
One of the avid Kantai Collection fans even carried the merch bag of the show. Inazuma was his favorite character.
“I like girls that are cheerful and energetic”, said a fan, referring to Cocoa Hoto from Is the Order a Rabbit? She is portrayed as an optimistic girl whose high spirited attitude is often infectious and makes others join her.
Cardcaptor Sakura’s titular character reminded us of Goku and Cocoa Hoto, as her fan described: “I love her because she’s cheerful and always caring about the people around her”.
Tsunderes in anime has gained their own fan following over the ages. For those who haven’t heard the jargon before, tsunderes refer to characters with cold, angry and irritable personality but showing a more affectionate and friendly side over time. Rin from Kemurikusa is one such tritagonist. “I like how she’s a tsundere”, a fan told us.
“I like Misaka Mikoto, she’s my type”, an interviewee grinned. She is the protagonist of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun (A Certain Scientific Railgun).
If you are into characters who act too mature for their age and think they ‘know it all’, then you would definitely love Yoshiko ‘Yohane’ from Love Live!. This mindset is often called the ‘Chuunibyou Syndrome’, which roughly translates to ‘Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome’.
We found another mature character, Hinata-chan, from the show Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! Her fan described what he liked about her: “She’s still in elementary school, but she’s already so grown up. She’s so manly and I think men have a lot to learn from her. So she’s ‘handsome’, but also cute”. An interesting choice indeed!
We found an American anime fan and asked him about his anime biases. “I’m not too familiar, but things like Yu Yu Hakusho or Rurouni Kenshin. I grew up in America and they were broadcasted there, with dubs of course”, he replied.
One of the buffs loved Tanizaki Junichiro from Bungou Stray Dogs for the fact that he really cared about his younger sister.
While her friend admired Onzai Momotaro from B-Project. “He’s very easy going, and doesn’t talk much”, she described.
Sometimes we love the characters solely because they have a cute character design. And so was the case for this Nadeko-chan fan (from Bakemonogatari).
And the same goes for a Yu Yu Hakusho buff who loved Youko Kurama. He is portrayed as a silver-haired fox demon in the show, who obtains the body of the red-haired Shuichi Minamino, after he is badly wounded and chased. “I like his good looks”, she chuckled.
“I like the gap between her looks and personality”, said a person while describing Sakura Kyoko from Madoka Magica.
An IDOLiSH7 fan loved Nanase Riku for his hardworking nature and his cute and attractive smile.
Her friend admired Kashuu Kiyomitsu. “He’s a character from Touken Ranbu. He’s so cool! Touken Ranbu is a game where the player plays the role of the ‘master’, and he’s always fighting for the master, which I think is cute”, she giggled.
“She wears pink and has dog ears, but I really like her”. Guess who’s he describing? No! He isn’t talking about the Pink Demon from GGO! It’s Millhiore from the 2011 fantasy anime: DOG DAYS. So we had a wonderful time talking to these nice folks at Akihabara, but we wonder how different would be the choices of people outside the area. Maybe we continue with this next time at a different place… Who knows? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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