The Fifty Greatest Japanese Animated Characters, Page 3


Name: Lum Invader
Primary Seiyuu: Fumi Hirano
Title: Urusei Yatsura
Debut: 1981

A beautiful, cheerful girl who typically wore a bikini and was completely devoted to her "husband." She'd have been almost perfect if only she didn't electrocute him regularly. As an alien, she was unfamiliar with Earth's culture, and misunderstood things like Ataru's victory shout (which she thought was a marriage proposal); but as usual for such characters, this only made her cuter. An early example of both a tsundere and a "magical girlfriend" character, Lum remains one of anime's most influential characters.


Name: Totoro
Primary Seiyuu: Hitoshi Takagi
Title: My Neighbor Totoro
Debut: 1988

Totoro is just as hard to describe as the Muppets' Gonzo, and just as lovable. This nature spirit, who looked like a huge stuffed animal, quickly befriended the two main girls, and happily helped when one was lost. His trademark grin was reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat's, but much cuter. He remains one of the greatest and best-loved mascots worldwide, and certainly the most popular character by famed director Hayao Miyazaki.


Name: Aoi Sakuraba
Primary Seiyuu: Ayako Kawasumi
Title: Ai Yori Aoshi
Debut: 2002

Despite all the fanservice, this series is one of anime's most tender romances, and Aoi is the main reason why. A modern-day yamato nadeshiko (the traditional Japanese feminine ideal), she fell in love with her arranged fiancée at an early age, and searched long to find him again once she grew up. Through all the difficulties and jealousies, she remained eternally committed to Kaoru. While some people might decry the character as subservient wish fulfillment (and they would not be entirely wrong), it is her wholehearted devotion which makes this character great.


Name: Oscar François de Jarjayes
Primary Seiyuu: Reiko Tajima
Title: Rose of Versailles
Debut: 1979

Although a girl in truth, Oscar was raised as a boy in order to become one of the court guards of France's Louis XVI. Yet despite her masculine appearance and upbringing, she did not lose her femininity, thus making her one of the best-known androgynes in anime. Her various love interests - both male and female - have made her one of the greatest romantic symbols. And oh yes, she was also a fascinating, tragic character, famously torn between her moral obligation to help the peasantry and her duty to defend the court and her beloved Marie Antoinette. Truly she was a heroine for all fans.


Name: Son Goku
Primary Seiyuu: Masako Nozawa
Title: Dragon Ball
Debut: 1986

Goku has had two different "careers" in his life: a cute, funny kid and a serious, powerful adult. Both versions netted him tons of fans. As a kid, his innocence and enthusiasm were always good for a laugh, and he managed to kick some butt, too. His adult version wasn't quite as funny, but the action was enhanced to ridiculous levels. Still, he always held on to his innocence, and his two favorite activities remained eating and fighting - but not killing if he could help it. This was a guy who worked hard, played hard, and always knew how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.


Name: Tohru Honda
Primary Seiyuu: Yui Horie
Title: Fruits Basket
Debut: 2001

Although she seemed to be an ordinary girl, albeit somewhat flighty, Tohru had an inner strength that has seldom been matched elsewhere. Even after her mother died, and she found herself living in a tent, she was always able to smile for others. She was able to find the good in anybody, no matter how much they might have frightened her; and no matter what sort of cruel things they might have done, she was always able to forgive. The Sohma family may have been cursed, but Tohru became its blessing.


Name: Chii
Primary Seiyuu: Rie Tanaka
Title: Chobits
Debut: 2002

In this future, personal computers take the form of androids, many of them quite cute. When a poor college student found Chii in the trash, he had no idea she would turn out to be one of the most powerful "persocoms" ever created. Nor was this fact quickly apparent, as Chii was like a newborn, with absolutely no knowledge of the world around her. Her adorable attempts to learn and to please Hideki were as cute as any baby; but buried deep inside her was a darker personality. Only her blossoming feelings of love could hope to maintain the Chii who fans had grown to worship.


Name: Ran Kotobuki
Primary Seiyuu: Megumi Toyoguchi
Title: Super GALS!
Debut: 2001

The ultimate Shibuya kogal, Ran's greatest loves were fashion, friends, and fun. Unlike everyone else in her family, she had no intention of ever joining the police force; yet she did not hesitate to deliver her own brand of justice to anyone who threatened her friends or her city. She may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she had a unique style of down-home sense; combining that with incredible physical abilities made her the toughest gal around - as well as the coolest.


Name: Yumi Fukuzawa & Sachiko Ogasawara
Primary Seiyuu: Kana Ueda & Miki Ito
Title: Maria Watches Over Us
Debut: 2004

Subtext among anime females is nothing new, but these two took it to extremes. A study in contrasts - Yumi was cheerful, emotional, and open, while Sachiko was sober, composed, and frequently distrustful - the two soeurs became very close very quickly. But was their relationship just the quasi-romantic friendship that sometimes results at an all-girls school? Or was it the real thing? Frankly, that relationship was so beautiful that I don't think it really matters.


Name: Sakura Kinomoto (Sakura Avalon)
Primary Seiyuu: Sakura Tange
Title: Cardcaptor Sakura
Debut: 1998

For a ten-year-old girl, Sakura was surprisingly competent: she was focused, responsible, athletic, and good at housework. Thankfully, she was not overly competent; she could be klutzy, and got distracted easily - especially by her older crush. These factors helped make her one of the most believable child heroes. She was also exceptionally cute, and was lucky enough to have a friend who made new battle outfits for her in every episode. So even without the show being overly funny or action-filled, Sakura always made it fun to watch.

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