Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Charatypes .01

During the summer I had a go at the 20 favourite characters meme. I found it really difficult because I realised, rather than have an affinity for a specific characters of specific shows, I just have a tendency to like character types; certain habits or idiosyncrasies or behaviours that I enjoy when they are apparent in any character in any setting. I don't think I could make an exhaustive list, and anyway sometimes these are only any good when combined with other characteristics. The other problem was that often I only liked characters as part of a pair. In the end, for the meme I ended up drawing characters that either stood out to me because they didn't fit inside my set perimeters of interest or characters that totally defined them.
The point of this post is to start to archive some of these character types.

01: Ridiculous, over the top villains who have a high opinion of themselves, are prone to dressing pompously and have a silly villain laugh. Often in series they 'happen' to show up wherever the heroes find themselves to compete with them. The cornier and more extravagant, the better.
A perfect example is Elena-san from Teppan-Shojo Akane. A daft drama about a girl traveling around Japan taking part in cook-offs in search of her father. Elena-san, her corporation people and fleet of five-star chefs would always be there attempting to buy out some poor cuisine-based family business. Of course, we all grew up on cartoon villains like this. The silliness just has more impact live-action, I think.

02: Bat-shit insane screaming monkeys. I don't mean the kind that spout meaningless garbage like say, GIR in Invader ZIM. Just characters that somehow seem to be oblivious to what is acceptable behaviour, a bit socially retarded and end up screaming their feelings out at everyone. Like above, ridiculous and silly. I know there are plenty of characters like this I have loved but they are all eclipsed in my mind by the one character who personified it down to a T.
Delicious Gakuin's Nangou-sempai. Most of his dialogue is screamed, he is over-dramatic, prone to cheesy posing, and half-assaulting people he wants to talk to but somehow still manages to guide his four kouhais through the mad cookery school. The whole school (drama) was mental. It was run by four teachers who called themselves the Delicious Kings. I still can't type that with a straight face. Incidentally, it was written by the same guy who wrote Teppan Shojo Akane. I admire him for sticking to what he knows: overblown nutter characters and cooking.

03: Smug, pretentious overzealous twats. The kind of character who has grand illusions about themselves and who or what they aspire to be though it is apparent to everyone else that their desired status is comically out of reach. They can never manage to hold the act.

Favourite examples (of different flavours of) this character would be Hidari Shoutarou of Kamen Rider W and Basil Fawlty. Shoutarou inherited a small P.I. agency and fancies himself as a hard-boiled detective like someone out of American 1930s crime fiction, dressing and posing the part, spouting silly monologues that are interrupted by other characters, typing up his exploits on an old-fashioned typewriter at the end of each episode filled with hackneyed phrases and drinking innumerable cups of black coffee. A running gag of the series is other characters 'mistakenly' calling him a 'half-boiled detective'. 


As you've noticed, there's a certain amount of overlap and variety. In addition to which there's an over-arching comedic theme going here. I'm definitely much more susceptible to comedic characters than tragic characters.


  1. Balls. I forgot to mention some aesthetic preferences that are evident in these examples too. Oh well. Another post...