Are the Characters the Only Good Thing About Anime?

Three (or four) of the most intriguing characters of any anime series.

Way back in sometime last year, I wrote a post about anime that seemed a wee bit condescending on quite a few levels. In retrospect, I suppose I was referring more to the fan culture surrounding it  than to the animation itself.

Long story short, I recently began watching Witchblade, the first anime show I’ve watched since I bought Neon Genesis Evangelion on DVD a few years ago, and I have to say that I appreciate anime in a much different way than I used to.

Now, I notice that I pay much less attention to the likes of plot, animation and setting and much more attention to the characters themselves. Now perhaps that’s just me, although I tend to judge a film/TV show on the characters more than anything else.

So that led me to begin wondering whether in the case of other anime; is it the characters much more than anything else that provide the appeal of this particular kind of animation?

I mean, why would I find a character in an anime show interesting? That I don’t know, although if I were to hazard a guess it is because anime characters are more complex and layered than their American counterparts, for the most part that is. There are plenty of US and European shows with just as complex characters too.

Such depth naturally allows for a lot of character development throughout a series and helps keep the viewer coming back every week. It’s a bit unlikely that American viewers are coming back for the voice-acting, right? I wouldn’t. (Not to detract from the voice actors who do marvelous work, it’s just that unless your Dan Castellaneta, I’m unlikely to be watching the show for your voice alone).

While there is clearly a story to tell in Witchblade, it is the characters more than anything else that has kept me hooked on the series.

Is it the same for you, or is there something else about anime that keeps you interested in a series?


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