When you watch an anime, how do you usually connect with show’s universe? Does the series need to be grounded to make you feel like you can live in that world? What about the scenery being more realistic? Do similar events that have happened in your life have to play out on screen to really get a feel for these character? What about music that can push you into the series? A lot of these appeal to me and maybe at the same time at some points, but a character that learns about the world as I do and is the gateway to it all is sometimes the most effective way for me.
For a start, I know that these kind of characters can easily be confused with some wish fulfillment characters. In some ways, this is correct because both of these are outsiders to the world but there are some small things that are huge differences to me. To me, the show is never about the point of view character but the world around them. They may show up to an area and cause a ruckus, but you get to know the world by them more than the character itself. A quick example is Kino from Kino’s Journey. Wish fulfillment characters completely take the spot light from everything or everybody else and are more obvious about what audience they are appealing too. Yowamushi Pedal’s protagonist is like this because he’s an otaku that somehow has more energy and determination then the rest of the cool cast of bicyclists and that really takes me out of the show. That’s the fundamental difference between the characters. Now on to the list:
In no particular order:
Anime: Kino’s Journey
Kino is a fairly easy character to explain why they belong in this list. She is our familiar element in many cities/countries that we, the audience, do not fully get a grasp on. Kino wakes up every morning practicing with her guns, talks to different people of different importance, gets to know what philosophical issue of the episode is, and rides a talking bike. How cool is that? Honestly, she is just a great character. We never see that much development from her, despite knowing what her background is, but we can assume that she has been hardened from her travels and has formed the character that we see today.
Ginko is similar to Kino in a lot of ways. He is a traveler that goes from village to village helping solve problems, if he can, to that week’s special form of mushi. Mushi are strange life forms that are usually hard to humans to interact with and have seemingly super natural effects on people. Ginko is a master of mushi and can easy be distinguished by his western clothes in a feudal Japanese setting, his white hair, and his green eye.
Character: Banagher Links
Anime: Gundam Unicorn
This one is a harder one to explain or say that he is a point of view character, but I am under the firm opinion that he is. He is the character that is at the heart of the plot and explain both sides of the conflict that takes place in Gundam Unicorn. He doesn’t completely share anybody’s belief and does his best to help both Neo Zeon and the Earth Federation to meet some middle ground for the viewer and himself. Banagher links does go through some standard gundam protagonist tropes and development on his way through the series, but that doesn’t change my opinion on him at all.
Anime: Noragami (Aragoto)
Hiyori is a somewhat less the normal high school girl that somehow, during a traffic accident, had her spiritual body separate from her physical body. There are quite a few bits of comedy that come from her leaving physical body lying around as wanders around the spiritual realm. Following around the mysterious god Yato, Hiyori is the audience’s eyes and she grounds all the strange things that happen in more spiritual realm to make everything feel real. The show never focuses too much on her and follows around Yato and Yuki more.
This is a bit of an unusual choice, but Ichise is the audience’s eyes and ears in the very depressing anime. He explores the strange city of Lux, gets used to his robotic limb as a major part of the plot, and just joins and/or visits groups of people like the mob or several various human factions. Ichise helps the audience explore the various complex themes throughout Texhnolyse.