Occasionally, I will be talking to someone about anime online and suddenly they become passionate about how much they dislike a certain character. This almost always takes me by surprise. Not always, some characters are badly written or just don’t fit at all in a story and everyone sort of dislikes them for it but most of the time they just hate someone, and I can’t figure out why.
Of course, I could just ask. And I often do. But the responses in these cases don’t often help. They don’t like the character because he’s a creep, he’s a jerk, she’s trash… All of that is rather relative. And sometimes, it’s what they’re supposed to be. If a character is the main antagonist of a series and the narrative is trying to get the audience to side against them, they probably are going to have a few unlikable traits. But that doesn’t make them bad characters, quite the contrary in fact.
It’s even more baffling when it’s not antagonists. In fact, I often see it with fairly bland characters that don’t really have strong defining traits or with very popular characters that draw an anti-fandom just by virtue of being so popular.
I’m not saying that’s always the case. Some people have actually, thought-out reasons for hating characters. And some people just have personal emotional reasons, as in they were mean to my favourite so now, I hate them. That’s a perfectly sensible reason, I can get behind that! But there’s still this big percentage of people who seem to have random character hatred, at least in my experience.
If I really think about it, I think I get it. This might only be me though.
When I sat down to write this post, I tried really hard to think about characters I did not like. This was tougher than it seemed. Although a character might annoy me while I’m watching a particular show, I rarely get passionate enough about it to remember them after the show is over. Also, I’m much more likely to dislike a show in general than a particular character in the series. For instance, I personally did not care for New Game because I found it grating how all these professional game designers were portrayed as being almost completely ignorant about games but right now, I can’t say I don’t like any of the characters.
The only one that comes to mind at this moment is Alas Ramus (probably because I just watched the second season f the Devil is a Part-Timer and I thought she was a consistent downfall of the show and a perfect example of everything I don’t like in kid character tropes).
I remember really disliking Tuxedo Mask when I was a kid, I thought he was mean and couldn’t understand why everyone was in love with him. I really wanted Sailor Moon to pursue other love interests since I found it more fun when she was with a guy who was nice to her. However, I reread Sailor Moon lately and Tuxedo Mask was a’ight. I was all ready to hate him but really he’s not that bad. He’s pretty patient all things considered. I’m not sure if this means my standards in men have dropped or if anime Tuxedo Mask was more of a pain.
Still, when I really think about it, I think I’m more likely to get irritated with a specific type of character. Not enough to publicly announce my hatred or anything but enough to make me not interested in their story.
Those characters are usually female, usually young, usually frail, oh so innocent, and ever so surprised/amazed/absolutely flabbergasted by everything! I will say that it is possible to create a character with all those traits that I do like. But they need to have a lot of charm or a lot of humour to counter the rest. Otherwise, I have a really tough time with them.
And if I’m completely honest, I can see the reasons for this. There are a few. One is this perception that society doesn’t value women’s intelligence as much as it should, and the idea saddens me. I’m not sure how true it is anymore. I’d like to think it’s the type of thinking that’s been largely left behind. But then there are people that become very popular on the internet for spouting those types of views so I’m not sure.
But that’s not the only reason. It might not even be the main reason. It’s the one I’m more willing to put forth. The main reason is probably that I relate a little too much to these characters. And seeing them act in ways that I wouldn’t want to, is difficult.
How do I say this? I am female, I’m not exactly that young anymore though but I was once and I’m still pretty immature. I’m also a wide-eyed optimist and generally eager to learn as much as possible about everything. Which makes it sometimes seem like I get amazed at things that seem very ordinary for most.
And I have often felt as if I was expected to have a certain role. One that’s kind of similar to those characters I have such a tough time with. But I’m not comfortable being agreeable, quiet and helpless. I’m not patient enough to wait around for someone else to solve my problems and I’m too curious to not learn how to do it by myself. I’m too clumsy to be comforting, not cool enough to laugh things off when I’m being a ditz, and not cute enough to get away with it. And worst of all, I don’t want to be. I never did. I always wanted to be that self-assured badass that got things done. I wanted to be reliable and strong. I wanted to be the type of pretty you might not notice at first but once you do, you won’t forget! I still want to be that. I’m still working on it. But you know, I think I got a bit closer!
And I think to myself, if I was an anime character, then the world would be my oyster. Actually, forget the oyster, my world would be all pearls! Why are these girls squandering their opportunities? Why is everyone acting like it’s normal that they seem incapable of learning anything new? That’s not doing them any favors. They won’t get better that way…
And you see, I got heated again. Not because the characters are actually bad. If they were real people I’m sure they would be precious and I would get along with them just fine. But when I see them in shows I take it more personally than I should. I resent them for representing ideals that I have occasionally felt imposed on me and get angry that they don’t seem mad about it.
I don’t know if that’s the case for everyone. Probably not. But I do think a certain amount of personal relatably may play a part in why some people seem to hate random characters. It could for instance explain up to a certain point why the fandom turned on Eva’s Shinji so bad.
17 thoughts on “Why Do We (I) Hate Certain Anime Characters”
I used to more vehemently hate characters when I was a younger “weeblet”, so on this topic when people so passionately hate a character “just because” I try to remember a lot of anime fans, especially of popular anime, are younger than me and just may not have grown out of it yet.
That said though one of the characters as an adult I absolutely HATE is Kaga Kouko from Golden Time. She is such an abusive bitch who gets away with her awful treatment of Banri because she’s beautiful and he’s a bit of a doormat. She lies to him, manipulates him, hits him and is just generally toxic and overbearing yet the show wants us to root for them as a couple. And most people seem to, I always see Golden Time praised as one of the best mature romances and I think that’s why I hate her so much, she’s not supposed to be a villain and in real life it’s not uncommon for people to overlook beautiful women’s shitty behaviors in relationships.
I haven’t seen golden time but I noticed that a lot of questionable relationships get praised and I don’t know why
Interesting to see a picture of Chitanda from Hyouka in this post. I initially didn’t like her much; I found her annoying. But during the run of the show, I came around to actually liking her. This is pretty rare. I think the turning point for me was around the time the club visited her at home. That really drove home what being an ojou-sama meant for her and sort re-categorised her behaviour at school for me. It was interesting. (Also, Hyouka in general was a show I came around to, and also liked much better on a second viewing.)
For me, it’s Deku from MHA. It’s a character I initially rooted for, but consequently soured on. From the beginning, I didn’t like his fools-rush-in attitude. And eventually I crystallised some sort of punching-people-for-justice trope around him. Now I can’t look at a picture of him without a shudder (though a very small one, mostly). It’s not so much the character himself as the feeling that the show wants me encourage behaviour I find problematic. All this happened during season one, and – I think – I finished three seasons of the show, so it was obviously no deal breaker.
I didn’t like Alas-Ramus much either, but she wasn’t really my main problem with season two of Hataraku Maou sama.
I’m surprised you made it to S3 of MHA!
Aoooh, I get it. Love the point.
I also think you and I couldn’t be much more alike if we were born identical twins. Being quite petite and in my youth, cute, yeah, lots of that – “so you must be helpless”. Like hell. Most people didn’t make that mistake with me twice. I am sorry to inform you that once you reach a “certain age” people will once again assume you are completely ignorant, stupid, and helpless. Which is strange – I mean, doesn’t the fact I lived to my 60s in this “tiny” body at all make you think I just might have learned to COPE at some point? *shaking head* I think you are very correct though that people dislike characters that point up what they dislike in themselves. It’s nice to put those things on the outside and point a finger and go “UGH”. Much easier than looking at oneself and thinking “UGH” (the proper thought for oneself is “I will work on improving that”)
Forgive me, I’ve had the same task explained to me three times in the last two days by nice helpful people – and it’s something I already know how to do. LOL
Oh man. Love it when everyone assumes I’m stupid!
One of these days I swear I’m going to lose it and smack someone for that. Which isn’t the most intellectual response, but it is the most visceral one. Ever notice how the person saying, “Now don’t be upset” is the very person who is upsetting you? LOL
Hmm, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever really hated an anime character. If I find an anime character annoying, I usually stop watching the series long before I can develop a strong opinion about them. I think the last character I came across that was annoying enough to inspire me to stop watching a series, it was probably Princess Vivi from One Piece. In her story arc she was just so helpless and clueless I had to stop watching. It was kind of a shame, a side from that one character, I really did like the anime.
You have a healthy view towards anime instead of feeling uselessly compelled to finish every show you start. I’m working on that
A lot of that has to do with the tropes that teenage boys like. Particularly those in Japan.
Characters who are literally a waste of perfectly good protoplasm because of their general uselessness in advancing the plot are super irritating. I think they are there to make everyone else feel superior.
There’s the useless harem protag who is that way so that the viewers can fantasize about how much better they’d be in the situation. Or the submissive bubble headed bleach blonde inserted so that no male, no matter how weak their ego, can feel threatened. If feeling superior to an anime character were in my list of things I wanted to do, I’d enjoy a lot more anime.
Another character is the little kid – usually a girl – who is so sweet I could fall into a diabetic coma watching. It exceeds even my very substantial ability to suspend my sense of disbelief. It an exaggerated attempt to kick my parental nurturing instinct into overdrive and comes off as unreal and nagging. Interesting kids have complexity.
OTOH there Shinji from Eva. A mass of psycho-sexual dys- and mal- functions. I love him! I meet people like him in real life. He’s exactly what many young teenage boys would be like in his situation. And a lot of people hate him for it because it isn’t heroic fantasy and not the bland harem protag fantasy. They want a protag who kicks ass, takes names, and gets the girl.
That’s my feeling as well
Interesting points here. I don’t think I have much problem with the character type you highlighted personally, but I can see why you don’t like it.
I do have a specific type I hate, one that can practically even kill a series for me: the wildly unhinged pervert who goes after one or more other characters in a creepy way. This type is okay with me if the series treats them appropriately, meaning other characters treat them in a way that makes sense and the story doesn’t try to get me to like them. Say Azumanga, where the teacher Kimura is given a wide berth as he should be.
By contrast, the teacher advisor in K-On! made the first season painful to watch when she was on screen, and I ended up hating her all the more because the show seems like it wants me to like her, so just out of spite maybe I end up disliking her all the more. I know K-On! is a beloved classic, and I do intend to watch the second season, but man that character makes it difficult for me among a couple of other aspects of the series I didn’t care for.
I didn’t like Kimura myself. Kinda put a big damper on Azumanga for me. Ditto for the teacher in K-on. A few readers got upset by that.
I assume you hate certain characters because it’s human nature to form likes and dislikes unique to each individual human. Eventually we the readers of your reviews will note patterns, and might even be able to predict which characters you’ll hate from these patterns. And that’s fine. After all, if you explained to us every like and hate of this or that character in manga/anime? You’d be justifying your human emotions for a millennia. And unless your The Doctor then I don’t think you have a millennia to spare on that.
Sometimes I find it interesting to figure out my biases. It makes it easier to pick anime I like, you know?
I don’t hate him per see, since he is a fictional character,and hating someone who does not exist is pointless.
But I really dislike Sasuke from Naruto. Mostly because when I see him, I see a lot of wasted potential. Come to think of it, that is true of Naruto series as a whole.
A lot of people brought up how they hate Kalego from Welcome to Demon School, but personally I don’t dislike him. Because for all his grumpiness, he is a teacher who wants the best for his students. A lot of people compare him to a certain professor Snape, a comparison which I do not like. They both might be teachers, but they are very different beyond this one fact.
Kalego? Really? He’s one of my favourites
I thought he was really well liked. You learn something everyday