Armin is not the typical courageous, charismatic protagonist of a series. In fact, Armin starts off as a nervous wreck, timid and full of self-doubt. As he progresses in his military training and field expeditions, he grows, learning that his strength lies, not in combat, but in strategy.
He has keen instincts and a desire to help his comrades defeat the Titans, so that they can create a better future for mankind. His concern for his friends, and his intelligence, makes him an invaluable asset.
Although some friends of mine dislike Armin for his early ‘cowardice,’ I am drawn to his non-archetypical persona. The fact that he is more brain over brawn comes as a welcome divergence, and makes Armin a favorite of mine.
Li Syaoran’s place in this list is partly due to nostalgia for a series I loved when I was younger. I always wanted to be as adept and aloof as him.
Initially appearing in Sakura’s class as a rude, abrupt, distant character, later Syaoran shows himself to be a caring and thoughtful protagonist. At first, he sees himself as being superior to Sakura, but later comes to accept her strengths, often aiding her in capturing the Clow Cards. He is a lone wolf type of character, and with his array of magical weapons, he is a formidable ally.
Aside from his magical and physical prowess, one of the most interesting aspects of Syaoran’s role in the series are his relationships with other characters. I was always fascinated with Syaoran’s relationship to Yukito Tsukishiro (Julian in the English adaption.) I liked the idea that Syaoran was magically attracted to him because he drew his power from the moon, a force that resided in Yukito in the form of the Moon Guardian Yue. This is a fact that is only revealed later in the series, showing the depth of the magic in the Cardcaptors universe.
His relationship with Sakura is one of the most enduring in anime history, with many sequels, cameos and pieces of fan fiction to continue their story.
Goku has it all: he is one of the kindest beings in the universe, and one of the most ferocious fighters. He combines unparalleled combat knowledge, with the naivety of a little boy.
Throughout the series, Goku continually challenges himself against the strongest foes he comes across. His charming, pure-hearted nature allows him to make friends with most of the opponents he encounters, forming the core of the original Z Fighters, and building friendships throughout the universe.
He is the ultimate warrior, the ultimate defender of Earth, and having sacrificed his life on more than one occasion, Goku leaves his friends and family as a true hero.
The proud Saiyan Prince ranks higher than Goku in my list of favorite male characters.
The main reason for this is that Vegeta is flawed, and he changes over time. You always know what you will get from Goku, he is pure of heart, and so you know he will always make the right decision and win the fight; but with Vegeta, every move is unexpected, and this gives his actions more significance.
When Vegeta appeared as an arrogant, alien villain, I did not think that he would go on to become one of Earth’s greatest protectors. Vegeta is changed by his rivalry with Goku, his love of Bulma and his children, and his new-found friends on Earth.
He is a great foil to Goku’s frivolous persona, and beats Goku in this list for ‘keeping it real,’ and being a cool character with a huge heart.
Quirky, peculiar, weird, creepy: these are some words that could be used to describe this next person on the list.
L gives credence to the notion that intelligence can be cool. With his eccentric mannerisms, the way he sits, the way he dresses, he way he holds objects, his penchant for sweet foods, his straight-talking attitude, and the drastic measures he takes to solve crimes: he is a quintessential genius.
L is a top detective, often taking on the cases that nobody else can crack. Some say that he is even greater than Sherlock Holmes.
The series is dramatic and fast-paced, full of deception and deceit: L must discover the identity of Kira, and Light must discover L’s name so that he can kill him with the Death Note. The lengths L goes to in order to track down Kira, and his initial suspicions regarding the true identity of Light Yagami, make for a truly exciting showdown between the two characters, and his personality make him a memorable and rare character.
Kirito is the standard lone wolf type who perhaps exemplifies a stereotype of the MMO player as quiet and withdrawn.
However, even from the beginning, Kirito displays his compassionate side, branding himself as a Beater to protect other Beta testers in the game, and joining the Moonlit Black Cats guild in the hope of helping them level up sufficiently so they will survive the game.
He is highly regarded, and often feared as a fighter, but is much-loved by the people who recognize his kind heart.
It is clear that the events of Aincrad have had a deep impact on his life. During the GGO arc, it is revealed that he is still haunted by the knowledge that when players died in Aincrad, they died in real life too. It is obvious that he has harboured those feelings for a long time.
He tops this list for being the strongest warrior, a computer geek, a harem-owner, and a considerate, tender-hearted guy all rolled up into one surprisingly believable character.
Who are your favourite male characters from anime?