By: Andrew Lister
Welcome to the next installment of a new articles series, Tuesday Top Five! From time to time I'll be coming up with a Top 5 spanning a number of geeky topics. This week, I'm ranking the worst, more cringe-worthy characters in all of anime.
A while back, I discussed my Top 5 Most Interesting Villains in all of anime. I found ranking them to be fairly easy as each had traits that really made them memorable for one reason or another. As I was watching some YouTube videos last night, I stumbled upon a few characters that just rubbed me the wrong way.
That’s when it hit me! Why not do another Tuesday Top 5 on the inverse of my earlier article: a discussion of the most infuriating anime characters. Each of these characters make the list for their own reasons, but you may notice some similarities in my pet peeves.
As always, I want to hear what you think by leaving a comment below, posting on our forums, or chatting in our Discord under the anime section. We may even read your comments on a future episode of Tooning Japanese!
Check out this week's Top 5 by clicking below!
#5 - Joey Wheeler [Yu-Gi-Oh]
There were so many characters that I wanted to include in my Top 5. I came up with names like Naruto Uzumaki for being completely obnoxious or Shiris from Record of Lodoss War for being far too brash and loud. However, I decided to go with a character that will likely bring back some bad memories.
Yes, I’ve seen Yu-Gi-Oh. Actually, I’ve seen far more Yu-Gi-Oh than a 30-something year old should ever admit to. The show was constantly re-run on Saturday mornings, and I was always too lazy after watching the news to switch it, so I learned quite a bit about this awful card game.
For those that never got involved in the Yu-Gi-Oh hype, it’s a card game similar to Magic the Gathering. Players go head-to-head with their own decks of monsters and traps. The twist comes in the visual aspects of the game, which is played in a large virtual reality board. Sadly, the actual card game isn’t as fun and engaging.
The anime is named after its diminutive protagonist, Yami Yugi. For some reason he has a pyramid that makes a man of him (literally). Don’t worry about all that, though. We’re worried about the guy above with the ridiculously massive head of blonde hair.
That, folks, is Joey Wheeler. He’s the “hotshot” sidekick that is nowhere near as good as Yugi. He’s constantly trying to be relevant, but the fans know that he really isn’t the focus and never will be.
Add to that his really annoying English dubbed voice, his annoying attitude, and the fact that he gets himself into really stupid situations, and you have a really awful character. I guess you can’t ask much from this horrible anime, but he still bugs me.
#4 - Ropponmatsu 2 [Excel Saga]
This one is for the fans of Tooning Japanese! For the last several months we’ve had to spend our Friday nights talking about the insane antics of Excel, Hyatt, and the collection of bizarre characters. No other character from the show got under our skin more than Ropponmatsu 2.
For those that haven’t been following along with our show, the perverted scientist Shioji created a robot named Ropponmatsu in order to help defend the city and counter the actions of ACROSS. When Ropponmatsu died during her first appearance, Shioji decided to build an upgraded version more to his...uh...specific tastes. The result was a hyper lollybot that only vaguely resembled the original model.
In an anime where the protagonist spews nonsense at the speed of light, you know a character has to be super annoying to get under my skin. So what exactly is it about her that drives me crazy?
First of all, her voice is simply annoying. The English voice actors did a great job with this bizarre show overall, and if they were looking for an over-the-top, sugary sweet voice for R2FU, then they succeeded. Her voice only gets worse in scenes where she’s whining.
I’m normally a fan of energetic characters, but there’s just something about her actions that don’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because she isn’t as funny as the others. She comes off as grating rather than cute.
Perhaps the worst thing about this is my loathing of her creator, Shioji. He’s easily the most unsettling character I’ve seen in any anime. The constant pedophile jokes are far from being funny; they make me want to take a shower. So this creation being childlike but also provocative in a way is just plain wrong.
My favorite scenes with Ropponmatsu 2 are her death scenes. Too bad she never stays dead. Stupid robots.
#3 - Toboe [Wolf’s Rain]
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Wolf’s Rain, you’re missing out. It’s a story of a race of wolves that had supposedly gone extinct. Of course, this isn’t the case, and the group of wolves, who can appear as humans, are searching for a way to survive the end of days. The whole story is pretty engaging. And above all else, there’s the theme song.
The main character, Kiba (not to be confused with Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh), is awesome and a bit angsty (being voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch helps, too). Tsume is a great foil for Kiba; Tsume is seen in a negative light for melding into human society. Hige is the comic relief, and Blue has an interesting backstory.
Then there’s Toboe.
Toboe is the youngest of the wolves, and this means that he is more immature and annoying. Sure, there are tragic aspects to his character, such as the fact that he accidentally kills his master, an old woman named Granny, when his wolf-side comes to the forefront. And sure, he did protect his packmates from that walrus that one time. That being said, I just can’t get past how utterly pathetic he acts at times.
I guess when you place a younger, less capable, and more frightened character alongside so many others that are willing to stand up and act, it just feels more frustrating than endearing. I get it. He does evolve throughout the story, but his wide-eyed stares and constant childishness just got on my nerves.
I suppose there’s a theme in a lot of these choices, and it revolve around the age of the character. As you’ll see by these last two choices, I was never meant to teach at a grade school.
#2 - Young Gohan [Dragonball Z]
As most of you know, Goku didn’t start out as a complete badass with an endless appetite. Before he was taking care of Freiza, Buu, and Cell, Goku started out as a young hero with a monkey tail in the anime Dragon Ball. Goku could be a bit annoying, but the story of Dragon Ball was overall rather fun and light-hearted.
Fast forward to DBZ, and now Goku is an adult with his own son, Gohan. From the very first episode, Gohan comes off as a whiny, crying little baby. He gets lost early on and spends just about every moment crying at the top of his lungs. Even Piccolo's early training techniques are met with defiant screams.
I know what you’re going to say. Hey, cut the kid some slack! He’s just a little child! Crazy aliens are attacking his dad and friends. Also, he eventually turns into a super powerful fighter like his father. How could I hate him?
If you don’t cringe listening to this...then I just don’t know what to say about you.
I’m sure there are some people that would be willing to place Gohan at the top of their own lists, but there’s still one more character out there that takes the cake. A pink, sugary cake.
#1 - Chibiusa [Sailor Moon]
I can put up with Ropponmatsu 2 in small doses. Gohan grows up to be a complete badass. Toboe is at least a talking wolf.
Nothing is worse than characters made specifically for the youngest viewer. Back during the days of Scooby Doo, we were subjected to one of the worst characters in all of cartoons, Scrappy Doo. His youthful energy was supposed to be his main appeal, but he just turned out to be grating.
Fast forward to the early 90s and Sailor Moon R. Yes, this is an anime that is known for adding far too many Sailor Senshi (Seriously...Sailor Iron Mouse? Sailor Lead Crow? Just stop.), but at the start of R we are introduced to the 6 year old Chibiusa, the daughter of Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba (spoilers).
Now, as a die hard lover of the series, I was taken aback when our first view of Chibiusa was this.
Yeah, she totally pulls a gun on Usagi. Sure, it wasn’t a real gun, but I feel like this sets the tone for the sort of character she is. This one tough moment is the only one we see over the next several episodes, however. Anytime something doesn't go her way, she freaks out, cries, and causes a beam of light to glow into the sky and attract the Dark Moon Clan right to here whereabouts. I know her mother had a similar power in the early episodes, but we got past those pretty quickly. On top of that, she’s set off just about every episode.
Even when she becomes her evil adult version, Dark Lady, she falls in love with her father in a creepy case of incest. It’s no Old Boy, but it’s still pretty messed up.
Her attack Pink Sugar Heart Attack is worthless. Just check out this cheek-slapping clip as proof.
And she falls in love with a horse…
You know what? No! I'm done! Article over! I can't even spend another moment thinking about these awful characters!
We'll be back for another Tuesday Top 5 article, so be sure to check us out! Let us know what you think about my rankings in the comments below!
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