My Favorite Anime/Manga Characters 10-1

Tohru and Kyo, Fruits Basket

This is going to be an emotional journey for me to go through these characters. These ten characters are the ones who feel like my good friends. I don’t know if you have ever encountered this kind of feeling before with fictional characters.

For me, it’s as though they embody what I love and value. They taught me life-long lessons I still carry with me.

Sorry to get a little emotional, but this list is essentially an extension of WHO I AM. If you’ve been following these past few weeks as I’ve gone through these 50 characters, you’ve got a glimpse of what I notice, value, and aspire towards.

So, in some sort of order, here are my top ten anime/manga characters. As always, I’ve left links for each character if you are curious and want to learn more about them and where they come from.

Just an FYI, this list is subject to change depending on what I am reading or studying at the time. I could mix and match any of these ten characters in any order. I did my best to show who has been CONSISTENTLY my favorite.

Hope you enjoy!

10. Kenshin Himura, Rurouni Kenshin

What makes them stand out?

Some characters in stories start out with high ideals and have to strive to maintain them in the face of opposition. Kenshin is an example of a man who vainly believed that through using his skills to kill and fight in a revolution he would become grand.

However, he learned in a painful way that war is hell and killing begets more killing. He resolves to never kill again and instead aspires to protect others. He evolved because tragedy opened his eyes to the fruits of his pride.

For me, he stands out because of his resolve to live a peaceful life and keep his promises to himself and those he loves. He’s gentle, emotionally resilient, and above all changes many lives because of his decision to change.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

Yes. He’s also an example of a character whose design speaks volumes. I don’t like spoiling stories, and I’m sure there are many who will read this and not have a clue what Rurouni Kenshin is.

Let’s just say, I like his design, especially in the manga.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

It is never too late to live a good life. Everyone can move forward and find happiness if they are willing to put behind them the past.

Have I always liked them?

When I first tried to watch the anime, I like his skills with the sword but didn’t think too much about it. Later in life, I finally read the manga all the way through and fell in love with him. I distinctly remember crying several times. . . good times.

What is my favorite scene with them?

The last chapter, showing him with his wife and son. Finally, finally, he found peace.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

He does because he’s a hero not looking for glory, but for forgiveness and healing.

Would I like to meet them in person?

I would love to meet him just so I could sit and listen to his stories.

9. Rain Jewlitt, Meteor Methuselah/ Immortal Rain

What makes them stand out?

Rain isn’t a warrior or some overpowered fighter. He’s a gentle man whose friend betrayed him and set him on a long, lonely path. Much like Vash the stampede, Rain earned a reputation for having one of the largest bounties in the world.

He’s seen a lot of horrible things, lost a lot of friends to death, and done nothing to deserve the hate and malice people show him. Despite the suffering and bitterness that should have sprouted from his experiences, he maintains a love for people and living.

He also doesn’t idly stand by and let horrible people have their way. When given the chance, he fights to preserve people and what they love.

His ending, one of love and peace, was undoubtedly earned.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

His hair, jawline, and eyes. Though I don’t like most of the manga Ozaki writes, she has beautiful designs for her characters. Rain is no exception.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

When given the chance to grasp love and life, take it. Don’t let the bitter experiences from the past keep you from enjoying the present and creating a better future.

Have I always liked them?

Always. From the time I first read the manga over ten years ago.

What is my favorite scene with them?

There are several. 1. When he saves Machika from a deluge of bullets and explosions. 2. When he faces his friend Yuca before a bomb sets off. 3. The last scene, showing him living with Machika, free from his curse and to live his life.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

He brings a good balance to the story as a whole because he’s a hero who values love and life. He’s gentle and if given the choice he wouldn’t resort to violence or killing at all.

Would I like to meet them in person?

I would if I could talk to him about his 900 years of travel.

8. Train Heartnet, Black Cat

What makes them stand out?

His skills are one thing for me. He’s the one and the only character I can think of who handles guns in a way I find impressive. (I’m not really a gun fan so this is saying something.)

On a more serious note, I like following his story because he evolves multiple times from his childhood to adulthood. He didn’t become a killer out of choice. His life circumstances forced him into a world filled with killing and malice.

What’s impressive about him is how he faces the future. He’s killed a lot of people and made some bad mistakes. But that doesn’t stop him from pressing forward.

The defining moment for him had to be his decision to NOT kill Creed, who brutally murdered one of his dearest friends. Throughout the anime and manga, he teetered between giving in and killing Creed out of hatred, thus reverting back to his old self, and moving forward beyond his hatred.

I admire him because he’s a man who rose above his circumstances by using his skills for better purposes.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

I like his design better in the anime, though to be fair the anime is not the best. I. Love. His. Eyes. and his outfit with the blue jacket and bell.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

Forgiveness is hard, but it is attainable. That goes for forgiving yourself for the wrongs you’ve done and others for what they have done.

Have I always liked them?

I might have been a little bit in love with him. . . as a teenager. No joke! So, yes. But the reasons why I like him as a character evolved as I aged.

What is my favorite scene with them?

ANY time Train faces Creed, though my favorite would have to be when he saves him in the last volume/ final episode in the Creed arc.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

Without him, I wouldn’t watch the anime. No joke. I find no other reason to watch that anime than to see Train with his crazy skills and story arc. However, the manga is a lot better and I can safely say he blends with the other characters remarkably.

Would I like to meet them in person?

Actually, not really. I know that sounds crazy but I enjoy seeing him from afar. His personality is a little too nonchalant for me.

7. Syaoran, Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE

What makes them stand out?

Syaoran impressed me from the first chapter of Tsubasa. I remember being hungry for more Manga to read after Fruits Basket and finding this series in the back corner of Hastings. As I read, Syaoran’s kindness, dedication to Sakura, and hard-working disposition moved me.

As the series progressed, I followed his journey of love, watched him lose all semblance of himself, and eventually come back to himself. I was so thoroughly invested in his story I cried bitterly at the end of the series.

The cool thing was, his character split in two, giving me more to admire and understand. (I can’t explain what this means without spoiling the story. )

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

CLAMP always does a good job designing their characters. For Syaoran, I always liked his hair, eyes, and hands.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

He is one of the characters who taught me what true love looks like in action.

Have I always liked them?

Yes. He’s such a wonderful soul. I especially admire his mature outlook on history and people.

What is my favorite scene with them?

His sacrifice in the beginning, when he gives up his past relationship with Sakura in order to save her.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

His character arc has a lot of twists and turns. Without him, I don’t know if the story COULD have progressed as beautifully as it did.

Would I like to meet them in person?

Just as long as if I could see him and Sakura together, talking about how they finally were able to find each other again.

6. Noriko, Kanata kara

What makes them stand out?

Isekai’s have been around for a long time. Noriko might be one of the first characters to find themselves flung into a new world. She doesn’t speak the language of those in the new world. She doesn’t get powers. In fact, she is also not a genius or anything initially remarkable at first glance.

Yet, she is the Awakening, meant to cause the sky demon to come forth. Or, at least, that is what people think. She is, in fact, one of the most remarkable heroines I’ve ever come across.

Since she didn’t know the language, she pushed herself to learn it. She didn’t have powers but that didn’t keep her from trying her hardest to help and heal those around her. Her gift is her loving heart and dedication to her loved ones and friends.

I watched her intently when I first read this series and marveled at how much she loved Izark and strove to support him. More than once she defeated evil people simply because her love and light shown through the dark.

Does this seem cliqued, or. . . . SIMPLY INSPIRING.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

I like her hair and how soft it seems. Her design as a whole is simple but subtly beautiful.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

When all goes dark, remember you are a person with light and love. There is great power in compassion. To be brave is not to be physically strong. It’s about facing your fears in order to protect what is most dear to you.

Have I always liked them?

Yes. I especially appreciated how she wasn’t whiney. SOOOOO many heroines from the 90’s anime/manga complained way too much. I admired her gentleness and wanted to emanate that in my own life.

What is my favorite scene with them?

I have several. 1. When she thought Izark was in danger because of his illness. So, she carries him on her back to safety despite being barely able to carry him at all. 2. Each time she escaped her captures to help Izark. Her courage is inspiring.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

Oh yes. Without her, so many people would not know the truth about themselves; that they have light inside them they can nourish to withstand any evil.

Would I like to meet them in person?

This is another case where I would meet her with her partner in crime, in this case, Izark, so I could find out what happened to them after everything was said and done.

5. Izark, Kanata kara

What makes them stand out?

Izark is the other character, besides Noriko, who embodies what I believe about every human being. From his birth, people told Izark he would become the Sky Demon; a great evil that would tear apart the world. Izark did not want this. He fought it and desired to escape this fate.

What Izark learns and believes is he ISN’T the sky demon. He is himself and he has the power to decide FOR HIMSELF how to use the power inside him. Above anything, he uses it to help and save others.

Too many male characters in any genre are domineering, loud, violent, and crude. Izark is the exact opposite. He’s soft-spoken, respects women, and doesn’t go out of his way to show how strong he is. And there are times when he becomes emotionally vulnerable and turns to Noriko, who has strengths of her own, to help him.

His love for Noriko and how much he respects her was a welcome sight for me. Every time I read this series, I think to myself what a wonderful world it would be if all men and the same desires as Izark; to do good continually and fight the evil within them.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

What I like most about his design is his hair and eyes.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

We are who we decide to become. We have the agency to choose good or evil and use this agency to help rather than hurt others.

Have I always liked them?

Just like Noriko, I liked him from the beginning.

What is my favorite scene with them?

Near the end of the series when Noriko comes back to him, bruised with her hair cut in painful angles. When he realizes she doesn’t want him to see her like that and one of their friends has him wait outside he leaves and weeps. I read this and realized how fragile people are, even if they have incredible human strength.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

There is no question of that!

Would I like to meet them in person?

Just like I said for Noriko, I would love to meet him with her to talk about what happened later in their lives.

4. Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist

What makes them stand out?

Once upon a time, I talked about Edward in a post on Character Design.

As a character, Edward is a very passionate individual still physically growing into himself. When the audience is first introduced to him, though he is only fifteen, he speaks and acts more like an adult. In other words, he is a child with an adult’s understanding. Because of traumatic childhood events, he was forced to put aside youthful innocence in favor of needed maturity. 

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What I admire most about Edward Elric is he faces his problems and overall situation with his eyes wide open. When he realizes he’s made mistakes he moves to fix them or learn from them. And he REMEMBERS what’s important.

He’s passionate, loyal to a fault, and strives to value human life. He’s intelligent and talented but he understands WHY and isn’t boastful. He also has an incredible sense of justice. He’s the character I think of with a true FIRE in his eyes.

But beyond these aspects of his personality are those which truly make him stand out. He values family and friends and doesn’t make allowances in his beliefs or goals that would hurt them or make it so he couldn’t stand before them with pride.

He forgives many who he held grudges against for a long time: his father, Greed, Scar etc. He’s able to see past his feelings to the bigger picture.

He’ll continue fighting until he’s unable to move. Not in a self-destructive way, but in a way that shows he understands what’s at stake if he stays down.

He gave up power to save his brother, even if it meant shutting himself off from Alchemy. Though he had dedicated himself to this science for most of his life he saw through it to what is truly important. It’s a rare thing to see someone willingly give up something you’ve loved and gained for so long.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Edward is a multilayered character who really CHANGES physically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout the series.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

Oh yeah. Edward was number 7 on my Top 50 Character Designs project several years ago. I basically like everything about his design. And I mean everything. He is probably my favorite character design in anime. . . (wow that could be another blogging adventure I could go through! You’re welcome future self.)

Did they teach me any life lessons?

Gosh, where do I begin?

  1. Dedicate yourself fully to any goal you have but don’t be afriad to let your desires and focus shift in light of more important aspirations.
  2. Learn to not let your temper be the first emotion you fall to.
  3. Some sacrifices are worth making. Make sure you learn which ones those are.
  4. Loving others and valuing life is NOT weakness.

Have I always liked them?

I did in the first series Fullmetal Alchemist (2004), but my love for him EXPLODED after I read the manga and watched Brotherhood.

What is my favorite scene with them?

Lordy Lou, I didn’t think this would be so hard. Let me shorten them to FOUR.

  1. When he faced his fears and dug up the creature he and Alphonse brought to life.
  2. When he forced his way through tthe gate to give Alphone’s body
  3. When he beats the crap out of Father after he gets his arm back .
  4. When he gave up alchemy

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

I don’t need to answer this. It’s obvious.

Would I like to meet them in person?

When he’s older. Not as a child. He yells too much.

3. Tanjiro, Kamado Kimetsu no Yaiba

What makes them stand out?

He is one of the most remarkable protagonists to come out in anime in a LONG time. In a short review, I put it this way.

I looked beyond the initial slaughter of Tanjiro’s family and paid attention to how he reacted to his suffering.

I found it truly remarkable how compassionate and kind he remained. He didn’t turn HARD because of his circumstances. He didn’t shut off his emotions. He moved forward despite his trauma.

Honestly, that’s why I kept watching. I fell in love with Tanjiro as the protagonist. He was sincere, brave, and emotionally raw. I loved how eloquently the animators showed a man does not need to be brazen or cruel to be a true man.

Sometimes, the strongest people cry the hardest.

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I don’t think I can put it any better. I admire gentle people, with resilience, righteous motivations, and wide focused eyes.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

What I like most about Tanjiro’s design are his eyes, clothes, and earrings. His whole design is interesting though. So he’ll end up on a character design list as well sometime.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

As Gandalf once said, “Not all tears are an evil.” Emotions, good or bad, are part of what makes us human. When we need to cry, cry. But, when the time comes it’s pivotal we still move forward.

Move through your fear. True courage isn’t just fighting because you know you can win. It’s when you fight despite your fear to protect what really matters to you.

Above all else, be kind.

Have I always liked them?

His gentleness and kindness touched me from the first episode.

What is my favorite scene with them?

There are several:

  1. When he faces the Spider demon to save his sister.
  2. When he faces the twelve highest fighters to save his sister.
  3. When he escapes his dreams with his family again and again so he can save the people on the train.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

Tanjiro is the heart and soul in this story. Without him, it would be just another fighting show.

Would I like to meet them in person?

I would love to meet him and travel back in time to Japan in the 1930’s-40’s. It seems like a quieter time.

2. Kyo Souma, Fruits Basket

It doesn’t seem like I have adequate words to describe how much Kyo and Tohru mean to me as characters. But I’ll do my best.

What makes them stand out?

When I first read this series, I wanted him to find healing so he could be free to be the gentle and insightful person trapped beneath ragged emotion. How that would happen I didn’t know. In fact, I didn’t understand fully how badly abused he’d been in his life.

Kyo is a hothead at the beginning of the series but grows up slowly but surely because he opens himself up to love. Just like anyone else in the Souma family, he finds love and acceptance with Tohru.

Unlike other members of the family, his love for her is different and started long before the others. He needed to allow himself to love her and be loved by her. Like any of us, Kyo needed to learn for himself he had value and had the right to choose happiness for himself.

This seems easy for an average person to say, but harder for someone like Kyo who, after being born, heard, again and again, he was born to be hated. His main abusers were people who SHOULD have loved him: his father, Akito as head of the family, and his other family members.

They say victims of abuse go one of two ways. They become like their abusers or run in the opposite direction. Kyo went in the opposite direction.

But what really stood out to me was his restraint despite his trauma. Despite being loud and somewhat violent (mostly towards Yuki) he never intentionally abused others. He could have. He would be able to justify it. But he didn’t.

This is partly because of Tohru, who he loves unconditionally, but also because he grows up and decides for himself he doesn’t want to be that kind of person.

Watching him mature as a person was one of the most beautiful transformations I’ve ever read. I rooted for him, cried for him, and rejoiced when he finally chose a happy ending for himself.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

I’ve always liked his sense of style as well as his hair color and eyes.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

  1. It’s okay to let yourself be sad.
  2. We are strong enough to overcome any trauma if we open oursleves up to love.
  3. To be strong isn’t about physical strength. It’s about becoming emotionally resistent.
  4. Just because one feels engulfed by trauma doesn’t mean they will never find healing.

Have I always liked them?

At first, I liked him because he was handsome. (Oh my beautiful teenage self.) But as I’ve grown up my love for him has evolved.

What is my favorite scene with them?

Hard, hard hard. I’ll limit it to FOUR again.

  1. When he transforms and embraces Tohru, opening himself to love.
  2. When he leaves Akito at the summer house to find Tohru.
  3. When he goes to find Tohru after she visits her mother’s grave to embrace her and let her talk about her darkest fear.
  4. When he runs after Tohru and finally tells her he loves her.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

He, Tohru, and Yuki are the three characters that make Fruits Basket so memorable.

Would I like to meet them in person?

When he’s older. I would love to know how he and Tohru built their lives together.

1. Tohru Honda, Fruits Basket

What makes them stand out?

Tohru is one of the strongest heroines in anime/manga. Not because she can punch through walls or do crazy martial arts. She is a one-of-a-kind, true blue, compassionate soul and it makes ALL the difference.

Her charity and kindness heal SOOO many people. She doesn’t preach to anyone or become their therapist. She just opens her circle of love to include them.

She sees people where they are, beyond their yelling, harshness, rebellion, timidity, and abrasive behavior. And, she loves them. No conditions.

She’s another character who COULD have grown bitter because of her situation. She lost her father, her mother, her home, and wasn’t treated well by any family she had left.

But she faces it with optimism and eventually gains a new family.

What I’ve admired about her over these past ten or so years are her humility and compassion. When I read Fruits Basket at 16 years old I wanted to BE LIKE HER. I didn’t care about martial arts or fame and fortune. Tohru Honda helped me want to become kinder and more inclusive.

Do I like their design? If so, What do I like?

Her design fluctuates in the manga, but in the anime, I’d say her design is fairly ordinary.

Did they teach me any life lessons?

  1. Have courage to face life’s difficulties with a smile, and be kind. But one’s kindness doesn’t have to look a certain way to be impactful. There is power by being yourself and serving others.
  2. Pay attention to people. They carry more pain then you know.
  3. Don’t be afraid to cry and be vulnerable.
  4. There is power in simply being there. Not everyone needs to be sermonized. They just need a person willing to listen and love them.
  5. When you find love, run after it.

Have I always liked them?

Like I said, I’ve aspired to be her for half of my life.

What is my favorite scene with them?

  1. When she runs after Kyo after he transforms.
  2. When Rin finally turns to her for comfort and Tohru is ready and willing to be there with her most of the night.
  3. When she tells Kyo about her analogy about Onigiri.
  4. When she meets Momiji’s sister and cries for him because his sister will never know who he is.

Do they make their prospective anime/manga better?

Tohru is the heart and soul of this story.

Would I like to meet them in person?

I would love to be her friend.

Thank you for following these last five posts! It’s been a pleasure exploring myself these past few weeks through these characters! See you next time.

My Favorite Anime/ Manga Characters 20-11

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