About a month ago I made a blog post here on Otaku Lounge that discussed 5 of the worst anime I’d seen in recent years. I decided it might be pretty fun to follow that up by writing another post in the same vein – only this time, about 5 of the worst anime characters.
Ironically, the idea for this particular article ocurred to me as I was mulling over two favourite anime of mine – Evangelion and Eureka Seven. Characters like Shinji Ikari and Renton Thurston have copped a lot of flak over the years, mostly because they fall squarely into the “whiny little bitch” category. I’ve met people who didn’t like Evangelion solely because they hated Shinji, and people who couldn’t get into Eureka Seven because they found Renton too annoying a character to handle. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these kinds of characters (i.e. introverted or angsty ‘un-mannish’ males) are among some of the most hated of archetypes within the anime community.
Granted, neither Shinji, Renton, or any other character who falls into the so-called ‘emo’ grouping are especially appealing on first glance (unless of course they’re a bishounen like Naruto’s Sasuke or Itachi, in which case being a fan is apparently totally okay). Then again, how about I kill off your mother, have your dad abandon you as a toddler, turn said dad into a creepy megalomaniac who’s trying to resurrect his dead wife and end the world as we know it and then see how well-adjusted you are? Ditto with someone like Renton who has no parents, a mysteriously missing older sister, few (if any) friends, and one hell of a grumpy grandfather as his legal guardian.
Just as importantly however, both Renton and Shinji are 14. You can call them whiny and you’d probably be right but frankly, about 90% of the 14-year olds I know of could be described as whiny – and that’s assuming their dad isn’t named Gendo. It seems to me that people don’t dislike characters such as Shinji and Renton because they’re whiny so much as they dislike them because they’re actually semi-realistic, given their living circumstances.
But I digress. What I’d really like to know is, why are anime fans not saving their hatred for characters that are truly worth it? So for this blog post, I’ll be going over a few anime characters who are actually deserving of your loathing and/or general contempt. Also, because it’s the guys who tend to get most of the fan abuse for being useless and annoying, I’m going to make this the all-female edition.
Marina Ismail – Gundam 00
Okay, so clearly the space mecha/Gundam franchise has a thing for famous singers. There’s Lynn Minmay from Macross who wins a beauty pageant and then literally ends the war by singing. Then there’s Lacus Clyne from SEED whose career as an idol singer is probably thanks to her enhanced genetics. And in 2007, we got a singing princess who not only lacks kick-assery but does pretty much nothing for the entire series except comfort orphans. Marina doesn’t even have a decent excuse for singing like Lacus did – she just does it. Repeatedly. While solving absolutely nothing, despite the fact that all she ever talks about is the terrible problems in the world. Which for some reason fail to be resolved by her singing. Who’d have thought?
Sakura – Naruto
Naruto has a fairly enormous cast so statistically speaking, I suppose it’s inevitable that someone from the show had to make this list (that, and I don’t really know Bleach or One Piece well enough to pick a character from those). I’ve been informed that Sakura actually Does Stuff later on in the series, but after 100-odd episodes (what can I say, I once had a very long and very dull summer vacation back when I was an under-grad at university), I can’t really bring myself to care. Essentially, Sakura’s role for those 100 episodes is to attempt to hit on Sasuke while snubbing her nose at every other eligible male character, and also get beaten up a lot. Because apparently, her ninja abilities are about as effective as her personality. No wonder Sasuke left town.
Bulma – Dragon Ball Z
I’m going with Dragon Ball Z specifically here because a) I never watched much of the monstrosity that was GT and b) her character demonstrates exactly what I was talking about in the first couple of paragraphs of this article. Bulma is just as whiny and clingy in Z as she is in the original Dragon Ball series, but whereas she’s 16 years old in her first incarnation and therefore has a plausible excuse, she’s nearly 30 at the start of the sequel show. Yet she still has exactly the same personality, complete with painfully shrill voice and childish temper tantrums. I suppose at least her character has some vague purpose in the series – she’s the sciencey chick that helps find the dragon balls. While I get that most of the men in the show are just too thick to do anything for themselves that involves any kind of technology, couldn’t they have just… I don’t know, trained a hamster or something? Meanwhile, Bulma’s main role during the Frieza Saga is to get turned into a frog. I think that pretty much says it all, don’t you?
Flay Allster – Gundam Seed
Good lord, was there ever a Gundam character I wanted to shove out the airlock more than Flay? The thing is, Flay isn’t simply stupid and emotionally needy – she’s also consciously malicious with it. When she isn’t holed up in her room crying over anything and everything, she’s busy bonking (or attempting to bonk) anyone who she feels could be useful to her needs. When she actually gets rejected for a change after her feminine wiles fail her, she has what amounts to a mental breakdown and becomes unable to function on any level at all. Flay is the epitome of cold and manipulative bitch, and no, I don’t think she manages to redeem herself by the end. That’s one character death that’s definitely not worth avenging.
Yuka – Elfen Lied
Most of the previously mentioned characters pale in comparison to how much I hate this woman. Frankly, it’s difficult to even know where to start. Yuka is desperate and needy enough that she dumbs herself down by choosing a poorer university choice over her own original preference, solely to get closer to Kouta. She reacts with sudden and physical violence and often completely irrational jealousy whenever any female gets emotionally close to her cousin, despite the fact that Yuka never makes a move herself. The worst part is, she actually succeeds in the manga version of events and wins the guy, eventually marrying him and spawning a daughter. That baby is going to be screwed for life, and everyone other than Yuka and Kouta himself (who is simply too stupid to know) realises it. If I ever wrote Elfen Lied fanfiction, it’d be an alternative universe in which Lucy dismembers Yuka and then leaves her to be eaten by seagulls.
Question of the post: Who is your least favourite female anime character? Is it a popular choice, or does the general fandom opinion differ wildly from your own?